The Latest in RomCon® Reviews

Offering editorial reviews for the Romance Genre from our dedicated team of reviewers. Want to become a reviewer for us?                                                    

Running Hot by J.L. Shepperd

Ruth West - Monday, October 23, 2017

Title: Running Hot
Author: J.L. Shepperd
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Published: June 23, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, MC




When I first started reading Running Hot, the second book in the series I was a little worried. It was following to closely with the first book but I keep reading and was not disappointed. I decided that the way it was first written it would make it an easier read for anyone that never read the first book in the series. As in the first it has everything, intrigue, anger, uncertainty, mystery and love. But not the easy love, the kind that takes a while to hit you beside the head and be truthful with your feelings. The main characters are enough to drive the reader nuts, like just tell her or him already damn. They wouldn't go through so much hurt if they would. I definitely will read more J. L. Sheppard's books.
Reviewed by Anna



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Believe in My Heart by Maria K. Alexander

Ruth West - Thursday, October 12, 2017

Title: Believe in My Heart
Author: Maria K. Alexander
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Published: Nov 17, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday





This was a well-written contemporary romance. The characters were engaging and I really enjoyed that Hope was honest, vulnerable, and willing to be open to a relationship even though she had recently gone through a break-up. Vinnie had also experienced a break-up, and he was willing to look at himself and make some changes to become a more mature, balanced person. I was drawn in to this story and found it difficult to put down while I read to the end to find out what would happen. I was rooting for these characters. This book can be read as a standalone story, though it is the fourth in a series. I will be looking for the other books in this series as well as more books by this author.
Reviewed by Robin


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Rose by Shanna Hatfield

Ruth West - Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Title: Rose (Beach Brides Book 9)
Author: Shanna Hatfield
Publisher: Amazon
Published: July 18, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance




This story is part of a 12 book series. Each installment is written by a different author and tells the tale of a different member of the Romantic Hearts Book Club. The latter is an online group of readers who are diehard romantics and have not been successful in love. They all decided to meet so enjoyed a Caribbean vacation together. One night, they each wrote a note hoping it would lead to Mr. Right, stuffed it into a bottle and threw them into the ocean.
Tanner Thomas’ mom finds one of the bottles and after reading the note presses her son about contacting the woman who wrote it. Our hero makes appeasing noises, takes it home, puts it away and promptly forgets all about it.
When he does eventually come across the bottle again, he reads it and is intrigued enough to reach out by email to the author of the missive. As they get to know each other online, Tanner feels compelled to meet the sweet woman. He takes time off and travels to the West Coast in order to do just that.
Rose Lawson lives in a small town and is the owner of a shop called One Vintage Rose. She has been unlucky in love and after having her heart broken has put her efforts in running her shop and teaching crafting classes, there. When her recent online friend shows up unexpectedly, she discovers that he may be the man of her dreams.
Rose is a well-written sweet and gentle romance with a delightfully quirky and charming heroine, humor, and a non-ostentatious-secretly-wealthy-yet-down-to-earth hero. The author swirls in a couple of scene stealing secondary characters for readers to chuckle over and with. It is a lovely standalone read and as a bonus includes a recipe to try. This lighthearted read is great for lazing an afternoon or evening away.

Reviewed by Lil

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Stolen by Addison Cain

Ruth West - Saturday, September 23, 2017

Title: Stolen (Alpha's Control Book 1)
Author: Addison Cain
Publisher: Blushing Books
Published: September 26, 2017




Dark, Delicious, and Seductive. Stolen by Addison Cain is a science fiction romance that is edgy and hot that will have you thinking about this book even after you finish reading it. From the very first chapter, we are thrown into a fast moving but well paced plot where Brenya's life is in peril. It's easy to get into this book without feeling overwhelmed early on. The danger element heightens all of ours senses, immediately feeling empathy as we follow her plight, which never seems to waiver. Brenya is a strong character and we immediately like her, even when she's suffering and struggling through obsticles. The heated moments in Stolen include acts of non-consent and power exchange which may not be for everyone. If you like your heroes dark, dirty, and in charge then this book is definitely for you. Along with lots of sexy moments, Stolen also includes strong world-building and a well-timed plot of Alphas, Betas, and Omegas that is complex but easy enough to understand. Addison Cain's writing is smooth and easy to follow, making this a constant page-turner. This is the first Addison Cain book that I've picked up and I look forward to the second book in the series.
Reviewed by Samantha Peters


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Reaper's Kiss by Allison West

Ruth West - Sunday, September 17, 2017

Title: Reaper's Kiss
Author: Allison West
Publisher: Blushing Books
Published: August 29, 2016
Genre:Paranormal, Romantic Erotica






Reaper's Kiss is a paranormal romance about Princess Ophelia, heir to the throne. Very quickly in the story she gets murdered and is given the choice to become a grim reaper. She takes it, seeing as how this is her only way for a second chance at life. She also happens to miss her sister, so she is given the chance to watch over her younger sister, the new heir to the throne.

There is a love story mixed in, (let me say Wynter is hot) but thankfully no love triangle. There are lots of characters but they were pretty easy to keep track of everyone and what they were: grim reapers, dark angels, demons. This paranormal fantasy was unlike anything I've ever read. At times it was like being in a fantasy world that was reminiscent of history. For example the Black Plague was pretty much a focus point of one of the reaps.

The author created strong characters and a fast paced story. Fantastical world building made this book really shine with a heated sexy romance. This story held my interest until the very end, with an unpredictable ending. I would love to read a sequel and although this book had a solid happy ending, I could see the potential for a second book. I will definitely be reading more of Allison West's books in the future. If you like steamy sex scenes and a story with a that is worth reading, not just PWP (plot what plot) then read this book!

Reviewed by Joy


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Heat by Holly S. Roberts

Ruth West - Thursday, September 14, 2017

Title: Heat
Author: Holly S. Roberts
Publisher: Four Carat Press
Published: Jan 18, 2016
Genre: Romantic Suspense




Heat was a well-written, fast paced book. Madison Kinlock was very relatable as a former policewoman turned PI, who was attracted to bad guy Catch Xavier Moon. Moon was beyond hot and sexy, plus smart and powerful. I was rooting for these two characters to find a happy ending from just about the first moment they met. The progression of the story made sense and it was hard to put the book down because I wanted to find out how things would turn out.I really enjoyed this book and want to find (and read) others by this author.
Reviewed by Robin


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Mermaid by Jodi Picoult

Ruth West - Friday, September 08, 2017

Title: Mermaid
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Amazon
Published: July 25, 2017
Genre: Contemporary





Mermaid isn't the first Jodi Picoult novel that I've read. I loved My Sister's Keeper and wanted to dive into this short read. Having discovered that it's a different kind of Kindle book, a Kindle in Motion, I was curious what the differences would be. I read the entire book in a matter of minutes and I read it on my laptop using the Kindle Cloud Reader, where the Kindle in Motion was not functional and offered no benefit. Which was probably good so that I could review the story without being influenced by the technological aspects. For starters, the beginning of the book is bland and there is too much telling instead of showing that is happening. I suspect the author was influenced by the idea of making this book incredibly short with the benefit of doing something "unique" and in doing so the beginning wasn't strong. As the story progressed however, I did feel the writing was more on par with what one would expect from Jodi Picoult or any author that is well-versed in writing fiction. Mermaid follows the story (although it does jump in spots and is strangely choppy in some scenes) of Hope Payne, a professional Mermaid that trains at an aquarium theme park. I do know that such a place exists, I recently learned about this from someone and it is interesting and a unique job. Don't expect for Hope to be a real mermaid or for the story to dive into an Ariel or Siren tale of fantasy. In fact, the prose though flowing nicely while in chapters, was also choppy in sections where there were breaks, making the story break up and feel disjointed. As a story, it doesn't offer a strong resolution, though there is an ending. Hope's husband is a marine biologist and he has filled a pool with flounder, ten of them, only to discover they are vanishing. What happens to them is quite fantastical but also leaves us rather open ended with what it all means. Mermaid would have made for an interesting first chapter in a longer story. As a book, solely, without any gimmicks it's not a strong story. I was never able to complete downloading the book on my phone. It hung up around 80 percent and never let me read or open it, which made it impossible for me to see the Kindle in Motion features.
Reviewed by Melanie P.


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Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Ruth West - Thursday, September 07, 2017

Title: Not Your Sidekick
Author: C.B. Lee
Publisher: Duet, Interlude Press
Published: Sept. 8, 2016
Genre: LGBT, YA, Superhero




A diverse story that suffers from stylistic issues in the writing. Littered throughout the book are awkward sentences, not fragments or incorrect punctuation but sentences that just feel awkward. The story, although predictable suffers mostly from not having a decent round of strong edits to fix the phrases that don't feel natural. How best do I explain this? I feel like the book is being told to me, read by a voice that isn't my own. In most instances of reading you imagine the characters. Personally had the book been written in past tense the writing may have smoothed out some of the inconsistencies and awkwardness. I do recognize that many YA books are moving toward the trend of present tense, but this book clearly suffers because of it. Perhaps if it has been written in first person and the many instances of show don't tell removed, it would have been a better, stronger book. Third person present tense just doesn't work for this story. 

Here's an example that tripped me up while reading. I just felt like I was being tossed out of the book:

They gossip about Captain Orion's romantic life and then get into a silly discussion about the most attractive heroes in the League. The movie is playing but they aren't paying much attention. Jess lost track of the plot a few minutes in. She's enjoying her time with her friends as they argue about who is hotter: Starscream or Copycat.

I wanted to love this story, everything about the plot seemed great but the struggle of reading the style was too much for me. I recommend reading a sample before buying.

Reviewed by: Laura


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The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Ruth West - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher: Harper Teen
Published:Sept. 2, 2014
Genre:YA, Dystopian, Romance



The Jewel feels a bit like The Handmaid's Tale without the story being nearly as heavy. Though the author does create a world that is dystopian and well-crafted, there seems to be the oppressive sense of fear and terror missing. Being slapped isn't great, by any means, but it's not the constant concern of ever-present death either. Yes, living in the Jewel where royalty is and Violet, a mere number no longer a name is nothing more than a slave, auctioned as a surrogate is dark and a dreaded thought, the book is still far lighter that one might think and that could be perhaps because it was written for young adults. That's not to say there aren't deaths that occur, but being only an outsider to the deaths (hearing about it but not witnessing it makes them seem far less horrific). Whereas a book like The Hunger Games found itself to be controversial due to the violent nature of what was depicted, the story also was darker. That's not to say The Jewel isn't a good story. At the end of every chapter I dreaded putting the book down. I wanted to read more, even when it was time for bed and I knew I wouldn't get enough sleep. The story flows nicely, the plot moves along quite well, yet it took more than 150 pages (paperback version) for me to finally meet the potential love interest of Violet. The Jewel is a strong book, the biggest flaws to me were engrained in the lack of fear in what should be a dystopian society and the world itself.
Reviewed by Kate

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Devious Maidens by Maryse Dawson

Ruth West - Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Title: Devious Maidens
Author: Maryse Dawson
Publisher: Blushing Books
Published: July 19, 2017
Genre: Historical, Medieval




I used to read medieval novels all the time, but haven’t picked one up in a while. I was excited to read this collection of short stories. First off, the “old world” language was very distracting. It almost made me not want to continue. Once I got passed that, the stories were entertaining, light but kind of forgettable. These stories have spanking in them, so if this is not your thing then don’t pick it up. Overall I give it a 3 star rating with probably my favorite the 2nd story in the lot.
Reviewed by: Noni Fro


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The Jewel - 4.5 stars