Taken With You by Shannon Stacey

Grade: A
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Kowalski Family #8
Published: 3/25/14
Reviewed by Anne
209 ebook pages

Hailey, the town librarian is happy with her life, but lately, watching all the Kowalski’s couple up and get married has got her wondering when she’ll find her own Prince Charming.  She’s pretty sure he isn’t in Whitford, because she’s looked!  And when her new neighbor, Matt, moves in, she’s sure it’s not him either.  She met him a few weeks before on an ill advised adventure weekend when she got lost in the woods.   He may have been able to guide her to safety, but he looked like he hadn’t seen a shower or washing machine in weeks!  And he might look a whole lot better in his forest ranger uniform, but she’s seen the real Matt and he’s not her Prince Charming.  That’s all just fine with Matt, who was burned once before by a girl friend who didn’t embrace his love of the outdoors.  So they’ll be good neighbors.  Maybe they’ll be very good neighbors… but both of them know they could never have a relationship.

Shannon Stacey’s humor and story telling is great in this book.  Hailey and Matt are both so sure they are just too different to make things work.  It’s a delight to watch them come together.  The small town of Whitford is all over the two of them, with everyone knowing they’ll be a couple before the two of them even get a whiff of it.  So fun and funny!

When I meet people who haven’t read romance lately and I want to recommend a book to them, Exclusively Yours, the first book in this series, is my go to recommendation.  It’s one of my all time favorite reads, right along side Yours to Keep, the third Kowalski book.  Even though the other books weren’t as good as those two, I’ve still enjoyed them as I’ve read through the series, but this one is a return to the best!  It’s not about a Kowalski, but there are plenty of Kowalskis in the story.  There’s not anything OF DOOM, but there’s still plenty of humor.  There’s some ATV fun and gossip at the diner and the grocery store.

This is a long running series, but you could easily jump in and read this book without having read the others – and I recommend you do!  It’s going on my favorite books of the year list!  Do you read the Kowalskis?  If so, what’s your favorite of the series?  And if you don’t, do you have a series to recommend?

Her Kind of Trouble by Sarah Mayberry

Grade: A
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Published: 4/1/14 
Reviewed by Anne
210 pages

What if the two right people met, but it was the wrong time?  Vivian and Seth meet at their siblings’ wedding.  The attraction is instant.  Neither is looking for commitment, and that works out just fine for them.  A quickie in a limo at the wedding turns into a happy memory for both of them as Seth keeps trying to make it big with his rock band and Vivian moves to the US to work on her career as a designer.

Ten years later Vivian moves back to Australia and suddenly she and Seth are seeing each other all the time.  The attraction is still there, and the timing is still awful.  Seth has grown up a lot.  He gave up on the rock star dream and settled down and bought a bar.  But he still managed to knock up his twenty-something girlfriend before they split up. So now he’s looking at fatherhood with a girl who seems more interested in shopping than the baby due in weeks.   Vivian, who is known in her family as the flighty one, has also grown up and settled down.  She’s co-owner of a new photography/stylist business.  But they keep getting thrown together.  And even though the timing couldn’t be worse and their families don’t really approve, they’re starting to find they don’t just have horny pants for each other, but they actually like each other, too!

This book is going on my best of the year list!  I think Vivian is one of my all time favorite heroines.  She knows who she is and she’s fine with herself, flaws and all.  She likes sex and she’s not ashamed that she does.  But she’s mature enough that her life is not all one night stands and she understands that there are repercussions when you decide to sleep with someone.  She will not put up with slut shaming and doesn’t hesitate to call Seth out on it when he starts down that path.

Vivian’s acceptance of herself and her imperfections helps her appreciate the same in Seth.  And if Seth is a little late to see all that is wonderful about Vivian, we’ll give him a pass because his life is a pretty big mess during most of the story.  It’s an awful time to start a relationship.  It’s messy and probably not smart, but it’s their story, and that’s how Mayberry writes it.  So awesome!

There were a couple small things about the book that bothered me.  I would have been happier with a HFN ending instead of the all out HEA.   It’s also not as hot as some of the books I enjoy, but with the strong plot and characters, I didn’t miss the extra couple sex scenes at all.  And the scenes that were in the book were great!

I’ll just say it right here.  I think Sarah Mayberry is one of the most under appreciated romance authors out there right now.  In my book she’s right up there with Jill Shalvis, Jaci Burton, Shannon Stacey, Ruthie Knox, and Cara Mckenna.  I’d even say she writes stronger storylines than any of these authors.  If you haven’t tried her yet, go pick up one of her stories and try her now!

Naughty Bits Part 1: The Lingerie Shop by Joey W. Hill

Naughty Bits Part I: The Lingerie Shop (Naughty Bits, #1)
Hotness Level-Blaze
Kink Level-Mild Kink
Series-Naughty Bits #1
Reviewed by Kate
110 pages
Madison has inherited her sister’s lingerie shop, Naughty Bits. But Naughty Bits is a bit more than just a lingerie shop. Madison has always needed to be in control, yet she recognizes that she’s drawn to being a submissive. She recognizes it, but has been running from it for a while now. When she meets Logan, who runs the hardware store next to Naughty Bits, and discovers that he’s a Dom, she’s not sure how long she’ll be able to keep running.
The relationship that is starting to form between Logan and Madison promises to be so hot, so steamy, so emotional, so….just so much. Madison is so conflicted and Logan is so confident. It seems like the perfect pairing for a great series. I’ve read some of Joey W. Hill’s BDSM romances before and I can’t wait to see what she does with Logan and Madison.
I couldn’t stop turning pages with this one and Joey W. Hill has me tapping my toes, not-so-patiently awaiting the release of part two.
One minor note: there is no sexual interaction between Logan and Madison in this book. I can only imagine that the anticipation will make it all the better when it finally happens. Because if it can be steamy without the sex, I can only imagine…
How about you? What series are you anxiously waiting for the next book to be released?