Tidings of Joy by Margaret Daley


Tidings of Joy by Margaret Daley
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Inspirational, Holiday
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

He came to Sweetwater to repay a debt. Chance Taylor didn’t expect to have feelings for his new landlady, Tanya Bolton. He could see newly widowed Tanya had worked hard to put the pieces of her world back together, caring for her wheelchair-bound daughter and taking a job at the local bank.

Chance’s arrival interrupted Tanya’s routine…and brought unexpected happiness to her life.

But the secret obligation he struggled with meant Chance could lose Tanya—and his chance for a fresh start—forever.

A man with baggage, a woman with different baggage, but a pull that’s undeniable. Oh, and it’s Christmas.

I picked this book up because of the dog on the cover. I won’t lie. I like a good black Labrador book. This one didn’t disappoint. It’s cute and sweet. I liked the characters, and I wanted them to have a happy ending. I also wanted to know if the dog got a happy ending, too. Thankfully, everyone did.

I liked the friendship between Tanya and Chance. They hit it off right away, even when they didn’t realize it. It was cute. It also showed that sometimes the best things are worth waiting for. I liked the side story of Tanya’s daughter coming out of her shell and Chance showing them both they weren’t alone.

If you’re looking for a cute holiday read, then this is the one for you.

Their Love Deal by Helen Walton


Their Love Deal by Helen Walton
Billionaires’ Reluctant Brides Book 1
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

What started as a way to keep her mom from nagging her about marriage ended in more…

Recent college graduate Tiffany Herringer never expected to fall in love with her two boyfriends. After three years of loving Dieter Brant and Dex Munroe, she can’t let go of either of them. Everyone seems content with their arrangement, until the graduation party when Tiff discovers they know each other—and they’re friends—friends who talk about her and the things she likes.

When they suggest merging their relationships, Tiff doesn’t think she can be with two men at once. Sure, she dates them both, but together? If she agrees, she’ll never have to choose between Dieter and Dex, but then she’ll never get married. Not that she wants to get married … or does she?

Does she have to choose between the men she loves?

I love a good hot story and this one sizzles. Tiffany has been with and dated Dieter and Dex, both. She likes them both. Heck, she doesn’t want to choose between them. So, what’s a girl to do when she’s confronted with the idea she might not have to?

I loved this story because it burned and sizzled, but it also built slowly. It gave the reader, me, time to get to know the characters and feel their connection. I loved the heat to it, too. It’s a great story. There’s tenderness between the characters and a genuine connection. No lopsided love here!

I liked this trope–friends to lovers–and am glad I read this story. It was so worth the read. Check it out!

His Novice by Arabella Sheen


His Novice by Arabella Sheen
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Nathan Stockman controls his own destiny and answers to no one. But when Summer Jenkin erupts into his life, he finds it hard to resist the temptation to bed her. She’s everything he’s not. She’s classy, she’s young, and she’s … virginal.

Dare he be the man responsible for awakening her to the pleasures of lovemaking, or should he walk away before they become emotionally entangled?

Summer doesn’t care that Nathan is older than she is, and it certainly doesn’t stop her from wanting a night of passion in his arms. Offering to be his novice is no guarantee he will teach her everything he knows about love, but she’s ready and more than willing to learn how to please him … both in and out of bed.

He’s hot for her. She’s hot for him. But are they right for each other?

This is somewhat of a slow burn story, but if you’re looking for heat, then this one will singe. Arabella Sheen has written a hot story, packed with heart. I couldn’t put it down.

Summer needs a bit of education in the bedroom and she’s not afraid to ask Nathan for it. I liked how she wasn’t afraid to be what he wanted. I also liked that she had some backbone. Nathan wants a novice. He’s a bit older, a bit wiser and he’s attracted to her. They don’t fall into the romance part right away and that was refreshing.

This trope – older brother’s best friend and the virginal heroine – has been done before, but this time it’s fresh and hot. I liked it a lot.

If you’re looking for something hot, short, but worth the read, then check this one out.

The Layover by Gale Stanley


The Layover by Gale Stanley
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Inside the cockpit, Captain Paul Miller is always in control. But on the ground, he constantly feels adrift. His marriage is crumbling, and life has become much too complicated.

Jamey Conley has worked hard to make his café in the Frisco airport a successful venture. He loves his work – and especially the airport scenery. He goes gaga over guys in uniform, but when he meets Paul, sparks really fly. Too bad his ideal man is married — and straight.

A bit of taboo, a dash of romance and a layover…this will be hot.

When there’s a story with a pilot involved, I’m there. I love a good flight romance. Now, this one takes place mostly on the ground, but hey, it’s still hot. I love the work of Gale Stanley and I knew I needed to read this book from the moment I picked it up. I’m glad I did.

This story is hot, but’s it’s also sweet. Paul isn’t sure he’s happy in his life. Sure, he’s a hotshot pilot, but he’s in a rocky marriage and knows things aren’t right. I’m not usually one for cheating stories, but the way Paul and James get together is cute. I liked James, in particular, because he’s patient with Paul, even when they’re heating the sheets.

Paul goes on a journey in this story and it has nothing to do with the plane. I liked the way he evolved and hope to see more of him. I want to see him with James, too. Can I have another story with these two? Please? I’m ready! The chemistry was off the charts.

If you’re looking for a hot story that’s got a little bit of taboo in the cheating aspect, then this might be the one for you.

Love by Design by Ava Olsen


Love by Design by Ava Olsen
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Escape to a warm Caribbean Island with two very hot men…

Gabriel Lafleur is a hotelier on the idyllic island of Saint Martin. After a hurricane devastates his business, he reluctantly hires Jackson Yates, an American designer, to complete the renovations. Gabriel is overwhelmed by the gorgeous and charming American who quickly becomes a part of his world.

Jackson loves his job but after years of non-stop work, he desperately needs a break. He agrees to take on the revamp of a boutique hotel in an effort to combine work and much needed pleasure. Soon Jackson is entranced by both the warm Caribbean lifestyle and the very sexy Gabriel.

But Gabriel is leery of travellers who love and leave and Jackson has never felt the need to settle his heart in one place.

Will their love survive the storm that lies ahead?

A hot island getaway and two men hot for each other? Sign me up to read this!

I knew this would be a sultry story when I picked it up. Not only does the story take place on an island, but the flavor of the island shines right through. I felt like I was right there with the characters.

There were times it felt a little too descriptive. Now that’s not a bad thing, but it bogged the story down at times. I wanted to get on with the romance! Honestly, I would’ve liked this story to be longer.

The connection between Gabriel and Jackson happens rather quickly and gets heated even faster. I like a good quick romance with heat and this one delivers. At times it seemed a bit too fast, but that’s not a horrible thing. Gabriel and Jackson can’t keep their hands off each other and it was great to see that blossoming.

If you’re looking for a hot, but short read to sizzle for an afternoon, then this might be the one for you.

The Stolen Sex Bot by James Cox


The Stolen Sex Bot by James Cox
Big Balls and Brass Knuckles Book 3
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Death by plastic pussy…

When a prominent businessman is found murdered, it’s up to Detective Brett Knucks and his inventor partner, Genius, to find the killer. Things get complicated when evidence of a sex bot is found on scene. As theories dissolve, they are left scrambling for suspects. Meanwhile, Genius and Brett are trying to keep their new relationship hidden. If only they can keep their hands off each other.

Genius and Knucks are on the case!

I love this series. It’s quirky, funny and hot. James Cox writes a great little story with plenty of twists and turns, but also heart. I couldn’t put this one down. I’m also eagerly hunting for the rest in this series.

Genius is not only a hunky guy, but he’s a dad. I liked reading about a nerdy single father and his troubles with accepting he wants a romantic partner. I loved his connection to Brett. They’re so cute while trying not to paw each other. They kept me interested in the mystery aspect, for sure.

I love the connection between the characters and the mystery kept my attention, too. Great series and I can’t wait for more.

If you’re looking for a story with mystery, a building relationship and heat, then this one is for you.

Do It for Chappie: The Ray Chapman Tragedy by Rick Swaine


Do It for Chappie: The Ray Chapman Tragedy by Rick Swaine
Publisher: Tucker Bay Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Historical Re-Telling
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

“Do It for Chappie: The Ray Chapman Tragedy” is an authentic account of the Cleveland Indians’ 1920 season and the incredible obstacles they overcame to beat out Babe Ruth’s destiny-favored New York Yankees and Shoeless Joe Jackson’s ill-fated Chicago White Sox for the American League pennant – most notably the devastating loss of their popular team captain and star shortstop, Ray Chapman.

Chapman, one of the most popular players in the game, was fatally beaned by the New York Yankees’ Carl Mays, a reputed head-hunter and one of the league’s most reviled characters, late in the season. Tied with the Yankees for the league lead at the time of the incident, the Indians all but fell out of the pennant race before taking up the battle cry “Do It for Chappie” and storming back to win the American League pennant – and subsequently the World Series.

Ironically, the 1920 season was supposed to be Chapman’s last as a player. The son of a poor miner, he’d married the daughter of a wealthy Cleveland family less than a year earlier following a storybook romance. Though still in his prime, he intended to retire from baseball when it came time to raise a family. He had found out his new bride was pregnant just weeks before he was killed.

No account of the 1920 season would be complete without the story of the infamous “Black Sox Scandal” in which the Chicago White Sox were accused of fixing the previous year’s World Series. The scandal’s exposure during the 1920 season had a direct bearing on the pennant race in which the Sox battled the Indians and Yankees down to the wire.

This book is written in the historical novel style, which allows the story to be told in the present tense through the eyes of the characters involved, portrayed as they are known to history. No documented facts are knowingly misrepresented or omitted. However, plausible dialogue, musings and minor scenarios are constructed to flesh out the characters and impart the rich flavor of baseball as it was played in the formative years of the modern game, just as the turbulent decade of Roaring Twenties was beginning to unfold.

A post-1920 epilogue and profiles of key characters are included.

A man, baseball and a bad accident…

I picked up this book because I’d watched Ken Burns’ Baseball and learned about Ray Chapman. He was beaned by a pitch in the 1920 baseball season. As a result of being brained by the ball, he died. It fascinated me that someone could be hurt that way–although not surprising–and I wanted to know about the player, not just the incident.

This is a historical re-telling, so some liberties are taken with the characters. I won’t lie, it can be a bit jarring because I expected the story to be more factual, not so much a fictionalization. That said, it’s still interesting and I read it over the course of a couple days.

Ray is a sympathetic character because he’s just gotten married, is happy and his wife is now pregnant, but it’s been suggested by his in-laws that he give up baseball. All he wants to do is get through this season and he’s done. Except this is the era of no batting helmets and dirty baseballs roughed up to make them curve, twist and make them nearly invisible when pitched.

I felt so bad for Ray and his wife. They had big plans, and no one came out unscathed. I felt for his team, too. They were shattered, but at least they rallied for their fallen comrade.

If you like a good baseball story, an underdog story and one that will stick with you after the last page, then this one is for you.

Wicked Seas by C Tyler


Wicked Seas by C Tyler
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Historical, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Trust amongst pirates was a delicate, tenuous thing.

Aadhya had dedicated her life to the sea, a pirate queen in her own right. When Charles returns, Addy must do her best to keep from being swept up by his seductive aura until he proves himself worthy of her affections again.

Aadhya and Charles had always been passionate and volatile, the perfect duo that thrived on the chaos they left in their wake, but after Charles betrayed her, he must work hard to regain her trust.

Will she be able to forgive him so they can share in hidden treasure and revenge, or will Charles stick to his selfish ways?

These opposites should attract, but will they?

I’ve never read anything by C Tyler, but I’m glad I gave this one a try. The writing is crisp and kept my attention. The characters were interesting and certainly opposite, despite being a lot alike. It’s a quick read, but there are bursts of fire in the pages.

Addy has seen a lot in her life. She’s a pirate, so she’s going to see things. She’s going to have done things. She’s a bad girl. That’s what I liked about her. She’s cagey and savvy while being wily. I liked the explosivity when she gets with Charles. I rooted for them and their happy ending.

Charles has done Addy wrong, and I liked seeing them work through the trust issues. It’s very relatable, despite being a historical and most people not being pirates.

If you’re looking for something different and hot, then this might be the one for you.

Claiming Macie by Sam Crescent


Claiming Macie by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Wilson Fritz knows the cruelty of the world, and he doesn’t believe in love. Meeting Macie Green changes everything. One chance encounter, and he knows she’ll belong to him forever. He should just walk away, but every time he tries to leave, he goes back for more. Each day that passes, Wilson craves her a little more, and he won’t risk anyone else taking her.

Macie has never been in love, but she realizes Wilson is different. It doesn’t matter that he’s eighteen years older than her. Whenever he’s near, he makes her heart sing.

When an enemy from his past threatens his woman, he has no choice but to seek him out in order to protect Macie. He would do anything for her.

But when he finds out she’s pregnant, will he leave her to fend for herself, or is this the start of their own fairytale?

An adventurous and hot story of two people who need to be together finding their way.

I like the books of Sam Crescent and couldn’t wait to get a hold of this one. I’m glad I did. The writing was up to the author’s usual standard and kept my attention fully. I needed to know what would happen next.

Macie isn’t the average romance heroine. She’s curvy, has some issues and a learning disability, but she’s a happy girl. I liked that. I liked the inclusivity. I rooted for her.

Wilson is a grizzled character. He’s seen stuff and it’s made him hard, but he’s not totally lost. I liked that he wasn’t lost. I liked that he had things about him that drew Macie in. It was cute to see them together.

There’s some adventure and a bit of mystery to this story. It’s well-rounded and worth the read.

If you’re looking for something different, but hot, then this might be the read for you.

Strokes of Pleasure by Anne Rainey


Strokes of Pleasure by Anne Rainey
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Mila Porter’s curvy figure is half the reason Slade River friend-zoned her years ago. Does it matter that she’s had the hots for him for as long as she can remember? Sure, but she’s a realist. So what if she does fantasize about him from time to time? That’s her business. When the annual charity dinner at Mila’s work comes up, Slade offers to be her plus one. An act of kindness, that’s all it is. Or is it?

Slade would be lost without Mila. She’s the most important person in his life. And imagining her naked is a huge no-no. Sex would mess up everything. But when Mila starts talking about a co-worker she’s dating, Slade begins to see his best bud in a whole new light. A sexy, curvy get-his-hands-on-her kind of light. But does he dare risk it all for one night of pleasure?

She wants him, but thinks she can’t have him. He wants her, but things he can’t have her. It’s anyone’s guess what will happen next.

Not really. This is a romance and it’s a pretty good bet someone will be satisfied at the end. That’s why I read the book–for the happy ever after. I’m glad I did because this one was fantastic.

I love the work of Anne Rainey and I’m glad I picked up this short story. The characters were relatable and the storyline plausible. The writing moved along at a great clip and kept me right there with the characters until the end.

I liked the push-pull between Mila and Slade. It felt right and normal. I liked the growing change in the relationship, too. Very satisfying.

If you’re looking for a hot but short book to fill an afternoon and likable characters that will stay with you beyond the last page, then this one is for you.