Romance Review Roundup: Vol. 3

 

Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne (Love Unexpectedly #4)

Publisher: Loveswept on April 18, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story. 

A hate-to-want-you story featuring a party girl with a heart of gold and the grumpy-cute lawyer who can’t stop thinking about her, WALK OF SHAME is a funny, low-drama romance that kept me smiling throughout. The banter is strong in this one folks, so if you love light-hearted teasing and sexual tension-laden bickering then you’re in for a treat.

Georgie and Andrew get off on the wrong foot when they first meet in the lobby of their apartment building, and their courtship (or should I say hateship?) grows from there. They have a Super Serious unspoken tradition of meeting in the lobby every day at 5 AM to tease and taunt one another, which is all kinds of adorable. Doughnuts also have a starring role in their weird brand of flirting, so what’s not to like? Of course, it’s not long before these two are spending all kinds of time together outside of the lobby and realizing that there’s more to one another than they first thought.

Unlike some enemies to lovers stories, neither protagonist in WALK OF SHAME crosses the line by saying something too cruel. Andrew definitely comes close, and I found his judgmental attitude grating at points, but his grovelling was pretty good. My only real complaint about this one is that the story wrapped up entirely too quickly and Georgie and Andrew’s HEA felt rushed. Overall though, I really liked this one and I’m excited to read more by Lauren Layne.

Wanted and Wired by Vivien Jackson (Tether #1)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca on April 4, 2017

Source: Publisher

DNF at 59%

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

A rip-roarin’ new snarky, sexy sci-fi paranormal romance series with the perfect balance of humor, heat, and heart.

WANTED AND WIRED is a sci-fi romance set in 2059 in the wake of a conflict that devastated and restricted North America. Arts and culture have taken a backseat to science and technology, with the wealthy and powerful using mech-clones – human-looking robots – to complete all manner of tasks. But when mech-clones can’t get the job done, people like Mari and Heron are called in. A mercenary and her technologically altered handler, this duo is completing a by the books hit when things go sideways. Forced on the run, they’ll have to unravel a conspiracy and confront their feelings for one another.

By all accounts I should’ve loved this one, with its sci-fi meets romance premise and the Latinx heroine, but it left me cold. I couldn’t buy into the relationship between Mari and Heron, largely because their characterization felt forced. Jackson takes a tell not show approach to developing their respective characters, and both of them had the exaggerated “brokenness” that I associate with a poorly executed and overly dramatic romance. Add to that the fact that these two were constantly thinking about sex and I found myself rolling my eyes one too many times. Whether they’re escaping from government agents or literally assassinating someone, you can bet that Mari and Heron have sex on the brain. The sci-fi world building was also quite bare bones.

While this didn’t work for me, I think people who enjoy romances about “broken” people might enjoy WANTED AND WIRED.

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole (The Loyal League #1)

Publisher: Kensington on March 28, 2017

Source: Purchased

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past…

I don’t think I can do AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION justice in only 250 words, but suffice it to say that if you only read one historical romance novel this year, it should be this one.

Elle Burns is a spy for the Loyal League, a group of spies trying to influence Civil War in favour of the Union and abolish slavery. Placed in the home of a Virginia Senator as a house slave, Elle uses her eidetic memory to gather intelligence for the cause. All is going according to plan until she makes contact with her latest partner…a white man posing as a Confederate solider. Elle’s bravery, smarts, and beauty immediately strike Malcolm Burns, a Pinkerton detective also working for the abolitionists. He quickly finds himself falling for the tenacious and smart-mouthed Elle, but can he ever convince her that their love could thrive in such a divided world?

Alyssa Cole is a talented writer who doesn’t shy away from the atrocities and complexities of slavery, and she deftly combines swoon-worthy romance with incisive social commentary about the inherent power imbalance between a black woman and a white man during the American Civil War. Elle and Malcolm have many frank conversations about this and other hurdles in their way, and while they’re hardly solved in one fell swoop there’s a sense of hope that permeates the dark subject matter. There’s a lot to digest in AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION, and I can already tell that I’ll be rereading it later this year.

Related Posts

  • Too bad about the second one, it look interesting, but good riddance then

  • Greg Hill

    Ooh romance! Ha ha just kidding. 🙂 I saw Wanted & Wired and thought ooh but then saw DNF. Oops. Bummer about that. But yeah from the sounds of it… looks like it gets pretty silly. An Extraordinary Union though actually sounds pretty dang good!

    • LOL! Drag me. 😂 I was really excited about W&W – since I love fantasy romance, sci-fi romance is bound to be a win, right? Well maybe yes, but not in this case. It was not up to scratch, in my opinion. An Extraordinary Union on the other hand…dang. An incredible book, to be sure!

  • That’s a shame about the DNF. The last one sounds cool though. Nothing beats a love story in dangerous circumstances!

    • There’s always a few disappointing reads a year, I guess! Oh yeah, An Extraordinary Union was amazing. My heart was beating so quickly while I read it because Elle and Malcolm were constantly in so much danger.

  • I read Walk of Shame today (as soon as it was delivered to my Kindle, ha), and I loved it. Yeah, the ending was a bit rushed and I wanted more Andrew. And was it weird for you that we got Georgie in 1st person present POV and Andrew in 3rd person past?

    I saw The Extraordinary Union on Smart Bitches – but haven’t decided to pick it up yet. Should I? 🙂

    • It was so much fun! I finally see what all the fuss is about with Lauren Layne now, too. YES I thought that was so odd, but I wasn’t sure if the first/third person POV was a hallmark of hers or if it was unique to this book. I take it she doesn’t usually do that?

      Hell yes! An Extraordinary Union is incredible. I will say that there’s a fair bit in there about the American Civil War that went over my head (we don’t get much American history here in Canada) but I still loved it.

  • An extraordinary union sounds brilliant! And Elle is a spy, which is all sorts of awesome! Walk of Shame sounds like a no-stress, smile as you read book, and everyone needs that from time to time!

    • It absolutely was! Elle is honestly such a badass, in a feisty, intellectual way. She charmed me instantly. Walk of Shame was definitely a smile as you read book, the perfect brain candy. 🙂

  • The second and third books you featured are new to me, but I’ve definitely heard of Walk of Shame. I might make it my first Lauren Layne read because it sounds great, and I’ve seen so many positive reviews from blogger friends. Plus, I love a good hate-to-love romance. 😉 Great reviews, Danya!

    Have a fabulous week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Wow, another romance reader who hasn’t read Lauren Layne! I truly thought I was one of the last holdouts, haha. I think you’d quite like it based on your love of banter and gruff heroes. And the hate to love you trope certainly doesn’t hurt either! 😉

      Thanks Alyssa, you too!

  • I hadn’t had much luck with two
    first books in Love
    Unexpectedly series, so I’ve almost give up on it. Thanks to you I
    actually want to pick up this story. It looks like it has Lauren Layne
    trademark banter, humor and full of chemistry romance is back here. Can’t wait
    to witness their hateship. Lol. Was it your first book by Layne?

    I haven’t heard about Wanted and
    Wired before. I agree “two broken characters instantly falling in
    love and healing each other” is a common trope in Romance. One I’m personally
    shy away nowadays, though I used to enjoy such books. I guess when you have
    several romances under your belt you begin to crave originality or comfortable
    predictability. This trope satisfies none. And your comment about characters
    constantly thinking about sex is spot on, it’s so ridiculous.

    I don’t read a lot of Historical
    Romance, and I haven’t heard about An
    Extraordinary Union before. Thanks for putting this book on my
    radar, if not for your review I would totally miss it. I find romances with
    power imbalance fascinating and forbidden romance is my favorite trope. I added
    this book to my tbr-list.

    Lovely reviews, Danya! I always
    look forward to your Romance Review Roundups.

    • I actually didn’t realize that Walk of Shame was in the middle of a series until after I requested it, but thankfully I didn’t have any issues following along. Their hateship was adorable, hahaha! Yes, this is my first Lauren Layne and it’s certainly not going to be the last. I had a blast with it!

      Ugh yeah, that’s probably my least favourite romance trope. You see it a lot in angsty NA romances, which is a big reason why I normally avoid them. That’s a great way to put it Ksenia, comfortable predictability can be really nice in a romance! Characters who constantly think about sex are just too frustrating. It didn’t even make sense in the context of the story!

      Hooray! I hope you get a chance to read An Extraordinary Union soon Ksenia – who knows, it may change your mind about historical romance novels. 😉 Thanks so much, I always have a ton of fun putting them together! 🙂

  • Lynn Williams

    I do like the sound of An Extraordinary Union.
    Lynn 😀

  • Sam Kozbial

    I loved Blurred Lines. The second book was not as good, but it was still fun and cute and left me feeling happy. Looking forward to reading Layne’s new book.
    Sam @ WLABB

    • Ooh, I’ll have to check out Blurred Lines then! I always have a tough time narrowing down where to begin when an author has an extensive backlist. Thanks for the rec, Sam!

  • 😲 you’ve read romance I haven’t! I don’t know what to say! I do really want to read Lauren Layne’s Walk of SHame because of Nick (obviously) and it sounds adorable. I want to read it so bad but I’m trying to read more of what i have before I buy which at the moment just ends in a lot of rereading while my preorders pile up but whatever. I do love a good hate to love though and so this sounds perfect.

    And An Extraordinary Union has been on my radar for a while and yes! I need it in my life ASAP after your review and you’ve not even had chance to say a lot about it. To be honest I’ve been wanting to read it for an age and I don’t know why I’ve not bought it. Why haven’t I bought it? Whatever the reason that needs to be remedied.

    • I know, who have I become?! A full-fledged romance reader, it seems. Hahaha. I hear you on the whole “read your own damn books” thing, I’ve been trying to do it too but I just get so distracted by new and shiny titles. Right now I’m trying to read three books from my shelves per month, and one from my Kindle library. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

      An Extraordinary Unions is SO good! I saw the ladies at Smart Bitches raving about it, and they even selected it as their book club pick, so I knew I needed to read it. Totally lived up to my expectations and now I’m dying to read the second book. Can’t wait to hear your take on it!

      • See, that sounds like it’s totally a smart way of conquering some unread books. I’m trying to do an ARC a week to clear my backlog and everything else is just me happy to be reading.

        I still haven’t bought An Extraordinary Union and the price has gone back up! This always happens. I’ll be waiting 10 years for it to go down again now. Maybe if I wait long enough the second book will be out. I’ll go with that plan.

  • I’d seen a lot of hype about An Extraordinary Union but hadn’t read too much about it… 5 stars!! Going to add it to my wishlist immediately. 🙂

    • It was SO GOOD! Honestly, I have never read a romance novel quite like it (and I’ve read a lot of them, hahaha). Alyssa Cole does an amazing job blending romance, historical fiction, and social politics into the story without bogging it down or becoming preachy. That’s skill! 🙂

      • That’s fantastic. I’d heard a lot of good things about her other series too… but I think that was post-apoc? Sounds like she’s a jack of all trades. 🙂

  • Karen

    I’e heard so many good things about An Extraordinary Union. I can’t wait to read it.

    For What It’s Worth

    • I absolutely loved it! My first book by Alyssa Cole and definitely not the last. 🙂

  • Alyssa Cole always writes such lovely books! And I can’t believe I still haven’t read any Lauren Layne yet, need to fix that soon! That’s too bad about Wanted and Wired, it sounded like it had a lot of potential. Great reviews Danya!

    • I can’t believe I’d never read anything by Cole before! And Walk of Shame was my first Lauren Layne, and based on how fun it was I totally recommend her books. Wanted and Wired was a disappointment for me to be sure, but I bet some other people would like it.

      Thanks, Cyn! 🙂