Review: Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert

Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert
Merry Inkmas
Talia Hibbert
Publisher: Nixon House
Publication Date: December 1, 2017
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Links: Amazon Barnes & NobleGoodreadsStoryGraph
Rating:3 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: domestic abuse; homelessness; intrusive thoughts; reference to parental death from cancer

Merry Inkmas is not your traditional holiday romance novella. If you’re looking for a light-hearted holiday romance, this is not the story for you. Now, I don’t think that should put you off the story though.  

However, and I’m being honest, this is a bit of a hard novella for me to review. After reading it almost a month ago, I feel a bit indifferent toward it. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but it didn’t leave as much of a lingering impression on me as I thought it would. It was fine? 

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Review: Once Upon a Winter’s Eve by Tessa Dare

Once Upon a Winter's Eve by Tessa Dare
Once Upon a Winter’s Eve
Tessa Dare
Publisher: Samhaim Publishing
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Series or Standalone: Spinde Cove #1.5
Links: Amazon Barnes & NobleGoodreadsStoryGraph
Rating: 1.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: Violence; sexual harassment

I somehow skipped this novella when I did my last reread of the Spindle Cove series. Now, normally I adore Tessa Dares work – she writes some of the funniest, smartest, and sexiest historical romance novels out there. But this novella was not it. I think I actually hated it? And that pains me to say. Violet should have stayed FAR away from Christian as that man is a walking red flag.

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Review: A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews
A Holiday by Gaslight
Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Links: Amazon Barnes & NobleGoodreadsStoryGraph
Rating:4 Stars

MY REVIEW

Did I read this book after Christmas? Yes. I don’t know why, but I always want to read holiday novels AFTER the holidays.

A Holiday by Gaslight was a super cute, light and fun holiday romance novel! Novellas can be very hit or miss for me as it’s hard to balance the plot, characters, and romance in such a small amount of space, but Mimi Matthews had no problems with that!

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ARC Review: Midnight Duet by Jen Comfort

Midnight Duet by Jen Comfort
Midnight Duet
Jen Comfort
Publisher: Montlake
Publication Date: January 10, 2023
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Links: Amazon Barnes & NobleGoodreadsStoryGraph
Rating: 4.5 Stars


MY REVIEW

CW: injury/disfigurement; fire; minor slut shaming & infidelity (not with main couple)

Things I didn’t know I needed in my life – a modern-day, gender-bent retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. But now, I cannot imagine not having this book in my life. Midnight Duet is pure campy goodness. It leans into the bonkers but doesn’t take itself too seriously, so the story works perfectly. I’m a huge musical theater nerd, and I was DYING at all the musical references. It was perfection! Also, I never expected to cry over some rats (yes, rats), yet this book made me do that. 

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Review: The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels
India Holton
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 15, 2021
Series or Standalone: Dangerous Damsels #1
Links: Amazon Barnes & NobleGoodreadsStoryGraph
Rating: 5 Stars


MY REVIEW

CW: Gun violence; murder; death of parent; sexism

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels is unlike any book I’ve ever read. It’s absurd and over the top, yet I loved every second of reading it! This book combines a fantastic romance with an incredibly unique premise, badass female characters, and razor-sharp wit. I don’t think I’ve had this much fun reading a book in ages!

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Review: A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall
A Lady for a Duke
Alexis Hall
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 24, 2022
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Links: Amazon Barnes & NobleGoodreadsStoryGraph
Rating: 4 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: deadnaming; misgendering; ableist language; suicidal ideation; drug/alchol use; PTSD

A Lady for A Duke has a beautiful love story at its center, and I would love to read more historical romances with trans characters as protagonists. And as much as I thought I would be giving this 5 stars at the start, the story did drag toward the end, which knocked my rating down a bit.

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Trope Tuesday: 4 Books to Read If You Like Troubled Rockstars

When it comes to rockstar romances, my favorite books tend to have a troubled rockstar front and center. Give me all the emotionally damaged men!

I don’t know why I am so drawn to this trope, but I absolutely adore it. I also love the women these rockstars get paired up with, as they usually are take no-nonsense women who care for these troubled rockstars no matter what.

So if you’re looking for a new rockstar romance to pick up and you like your heroes a bit emotionally damaged, look no further than these books:

Lead by Kylie Scott

Lead by Kylie Scott

Lead by Kylie Scott is one of my all-time favorite rockstar romances and a go-to comfort read.

Jimmy Ferris is the best broken and troubled rockstar of the bunch. Sure, he’s a bit of an asshole, but he’s got a heart of gold buried under there. And then there is Lena, who is one of my favorite female characters. She’s outspoken and confident and takes none of Jimmy’s BS. I adore her and Jimmy, and their relationship is just *chef’s kiss*.

Here’s the blurb:

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it’s booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.

Lena’s not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry. But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

Fade Into You by Tracy Wolff

Fade Into You by Tracy Wolff

It’s been a while since I read Fade Into You, but I remember loving it as I read it in one day. I’m still sad we’ll never get book 4 in the Shaken Dirty series, but I can console myself with this book. 

I absolutely love Poppy and Wyatt’s relationship – the banter between them is A+. Plus, the fact that she’s working as the band’s social media consultant but is actually the daughter of their label adds a nice, fun spin to this.

Here’s the blurb:

She’s one addiction he can’t resist.

Wyatt Jennings has been called a lot of things by the media. Bad-boy rocker. Intense drummer. Addict.

Finally out of rehab and desperate for a fresh start, Wyatt rejoins his mega-platinum rock band Shaken Dirty as they prepare for their world tour. But Wyatt’s demons are never far behind, always nipping at his heels for one. More. Fix.

Enter Poppy Germaine, the band’s new social media consultant. A beautiful bombshell who somehow manages to get underneath Wyatt’s skin, Poppy’s an addiction Wyatt can get behind. And even though she’s with the label—and therefore off-limits—he craves her. Needs her.

Except Poppy isn’t actually a social media consultant. She’s the daughter of the label’s CEO, sent undercover to babysit Wyatt and keep him from falling off the wagon again. Proving herself to her father is Poppy’s only goal—until she finds herself in Wyatt’s bed. But if Wyatt discovers the truth, it could send him spiraling all over again…

Fall by Kirsten Callihan

Fall by Kristen Callihan

Fall is one of my favorite books in the VIP series by Kristen Callihan

This book has one of my favorite meet-cutes at a grocery store that involved an impending snowstorm and the last pint of ice cream. I love how Jax and Stella’s relationship develops perfectly throughout the course of the novel, and I love their banter. Jax knows just what buttons to push to get under Stella’s skin. 

This book also has a lot of heart as Jax and Stella find each other at the perfect time as they’re both feeling of emptiness and loneliness that they bond over.

Here’s the blurb:

The first time I met Jax Blackwood things went a little sideways.

In my defense, I didn’t know he was Jax Blackwood—who expects a legendary rock star to be shopping for groceries? More importantly, a blizzard was coming and he was about to grab the last carton of mint-chocolate chip.

Still, I might have walked away, but then he smugly dared me to try and take the coveted ice cream. So I kissed him. And distracted that mint-chip right out of his hands.

Okay, it was a dirty move, but desperate times and all that. Besides, I never expected he’d be my new neighbor.

An annoying neighbor who takes great pleasure in reminding me that I owe him ice cream but would happily accept more kisses as payment. An irresistible neighbor who keeps me up while playing guitar naked–spectacularly naked–in his living room.

Clearly, avoidance is key. Except nothing about Jax is easy to ignore—not the way he makes me laugh, or that his particular brand of darkness matches mine, or how one look from him melts me faster than butter under a hot sun.

Neither of us believes in love or forever. Yet we’re quickly becoming each other’s addiction. But we could be more. We could be everything.

All we have to do is trust enough to fall.

Muses & Melodies by Rebecca Yarros 

Muses & Melodies by Rebecca Yarros

If you want a troubled rock star, Nixon Winters might take the cake from Muses & Melodies by Rebecca Yarros. His past is incredibly tragic, and boy, is he a troubled soul. All I wanted to do was give him a hug. 

His relationship with Zoe is a bit of a slow burn, as she’s tasked with keeping him on the straight and narrow. Watching trust and open up to Zoe was incredibly satisfying and emotional. If you like force proximity, this one is perfect for you!

Here’s the blurb:

If I can keep Hush Note’s leading guitarist, Nixon Winters, on the straight and narrow for the next six months, I’ll finally get my own band to manage—assuming we don’t kill each other first.

The egotistical, irritating rock star is fresh out of rehab, but it’s obvious his demons followed him home—and now I’m sleeping down the hall. I’ve watched him self-destruct every summer, and with album deadlines and tour dates looming, I can’t let it happen again. My career is in his hands.

But tattoos can’t cover every scar, and I’m starting to see through his trademark, irresistible charm to the damage beneath.

Everyone wants the rock star.
I’m falling for the man.

If he doesn’t let me in,
he’ll never break the cycle—
And when these six months are up,
I might be the one left broken.


Who are your favorite fictional troubled rock stars? Let me know in the comments!

Audiobook Review: The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews
The Siren of Sussex
Mimi Matthews
Narrators: Vidish Athavale & Lydia Hanman
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 11, 2022
Series or Standalone: Belles of London
Links: Amazon Barnes & NobleGoodreadsStoryGraph
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Performance Rating: 3.5 Stars
Story Rating:3 Stars

MY REVIEW

CW: Racism/racial slurs; misogyny/sexism; sexual harrasment; colonization; death of parent; references to suicide, pregnancy, abandonment

The Siren of Sussex was not as tempting as I hoped it would be. First, it should be said that while this is marketed as a romance, it is a closed-door romance. Second, it felt much more like historical fiction than historical romance. And third, listening to this as an audiobook was not the right move. 

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Review: In Which Margo Halifax Earns Her Shocking Reputation by Alexandra Vasti

In Which Margo Halifax Earns Her Shocking Reputation by Alexandra Vasti
In Which Margo Halifax Earns Her Shocking Reputation
Alexandra Vasti
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: Septmeber 19, 2022
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Links: GoodreadsStoryGraph Alexandra Vasti’s website
Rating: 4.5 Stars


MY REVIEW

In Which Margo Halifax Earns Her Shocking Reputation was such a cute and spicy little novella that managed to cram a great romance in a short amount of pages! I’m not usually a big reader of novellas, but I saw everyone raving about this on Instagram, so I had to pick it up! 

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Review: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Lord of Scoundrels
Loretta Chase
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 1995
Series or Standalone: Scoundrels #3
Links: Amazon Barnes & NobleGoodreadsStoryGraph
Rating: 5 Stars


MY REVIEW

CW: Bullying; racism; abandonment; gun violence; body shaming

“A monster he may be, but he was her monster.”

I have heard so many people rave about Lord of Scoundrels that I was hesitant to start it. There is no way this book could live up to the hype, I thought. But I was wrong. So so wrong. This book deserves all the hype, love and praise. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact this book published in 1995. It feels so modern in its tone, character and stories – it’s like something you’d find in a Sarah MacLean or Tessa Dare novel publishing today. Loretta Chase was so far ahead of her time.

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