Starla’s February 2021 Recommendations & Reviews

Contemporary Romance

Beneath the Stands
(Sugarlake, #2)

By Emily McIntire

This Sizzling hot sports romance is a beautiful forbidden love story. The second instalment in the Sugarlake series tells Rebecca and Eli’s story. These characters cross paths years after leaving their hometown when Eli’s basketball career takes a turn for the worst. Unable to play pro due to injury, he becomes the new coach at Becca’s university. Not only that, but he becomes her new boss. From enemies to secret lovers, this couple cannot resist the strong attraction pulling them together, but they are both risking a lot to be together: dating a student puts Eli’s job is on the line and Becca feels guilty for seeing her best friend’s brother and lying about it. Yet none of the challenges are more difficult to overcome than their own demons.

If you enjoyed Beneath the Stars, you’ll love this book, but it can also be read standalone. This story is immersive and entertaining, the characters are flawed, but relatable, and the romance is steamy with plenty of tension.

Heat gauge: 5/5 This book does not hold back on the steamy sex scenes.

Perfect for Them Trilogy
By Melissa Adams

Forbidden stepbrother romance and reverse harem? Count me in! This trilogy was seriously hot with plenty of page-turning intrigue to keep me hooked. Adams painted a vivid picture of the Californian sea-side town and filled it with a cast of characters who came alive. I related to Kayla, the heroine, fell in love with her guys, and despised the various villains. One character caught me off guard. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t get specific, but the way the author developed this guy’s arc blew me away. Loved the way his accent came through in dialogue too!

This is one summer-fling turn college-romance trilogy that New Adult and Reverse Harem readers won’t want to miss.

Heat gauge: 5/5 This series will not disappoint reverse harem fans who love reading all the different ways the characters get it on.

7th Circle (Hades, #1)
By Tate James

This is high intensity dark romance with a female alpha. Another why-choose romance (yep, I’ve been digging them a lot lately), although the heroine only has two apparent love interests thus far. I’m excited to see how things develop through the series. To begin with, our gang-leader Hades beds a young male stripper. Was this an attempt to get over or get back at the man who turned her down? A little from column A, a little from column B. And the result? I’ll let you read for yourself. But hot damn, things get interesting, not just in the bedroom either. A ghost from the past comes back to haunt Hades, stirring trouble among the city’s gangs, and leaving her to wonder if her ex really did die when she shot him in the head.

This is a great read for lovers of dark, suspense filled romance. The setting is gritty, the action is violent, and the romance is raw.

Heat gauge: 3/5 The sex is hot, don’t get me wrong, but it is not the dominant force in this gripping novel.

(Blue Blooded Brothers, #1)

By Sofia Aves

While this was not my time reading this author, it was the first of her police procedural stories I have tried, and I was not disappointed. Aves did a great job building suspense and while the plot twist did not blindside me, it was still nail-biting enough to keep me turning the page and dreading the outcome. The chemistry between Cal and Mila was a curious mix of steamy tension and explosive outbursts spurred on by their own insecurities, producing an intriguing romance tale.

There were a few moments in the book that confused me, generally where I was unsure who was saying what because of the way Aves split the dialogue from the action. Other than that, I enjoyed the novel and look forward to reading more of the series. I recommend this one for all lovers of romantic suspense.

Heat gauge: 2/5 There is some great simmering tension but not much actual sex.

Other contemporary romance you might enjoy...

The Drunken Promise
By Max Watson

A best friends to lovers steamy romance novella.

Read more.

Bedside Manner
(The Midas Touch Series, #1)

By Rochelle Summers

A Forbidden Doctor Patient Romance.

Read more.

Puppy Gets a Master
(Billionaire Doms of Crash)
By Amarra Skye

A Pet Play, Age-Gap, Daddy Dom, Age play, DDlb, Kinky, Insta-Love, Billionaire, BDSM, Dom Romance Series.

Read more.

Secret Santa:
A Christmas Romance Collection
By Various Authors

A Limited Edition Christmas Romance Collection featuring over 20 authors.

Read more.

Riding Past Midnight
By Ella Cooper

A Short & Steamy Western Romance.

Read more.

The Innocent Beast
By M.I. Rosegold

A cute, funny, romantic and erotic story.

Read more.

Paranormal Romance

(Feral Souls Trilogy, #2)

By Erica Woods

After reading Hunted, I was keen to sink my teeth into more of this wolf-shifter romance. The first book in this series kept me guessing about the nature of Hope’s “monster” and wondering what would happen when she told her guys the truth. This continued through much of book 2, but to avoid spoilers, I won’t tell you which questions were answered. I loved how Woods explored more of the supernatural world in this instalment, giving more insight into the history of the fae, and introducing us to more lycans. We also get to see Hope’s guys grow as characters, both from back story and through the events that continue to shape them.

I wasn’t a fan of how much time the author devoted to internal monologue and self-doubt in this book, I’ve gotta say. While I enjoyed the story overall, there were times I struggled and even skimmed over bits. I hope (pun intended) that the next book moves at a faster pace with more action and more heat.

If you enjoy shifter-romance, I recommend giving this series a go, just be prepared for the novel-length pity party.

Heat gauge: 3/5 There is more steam and explicit sex scenes in this second book, but it balances well with the romance and action.

Velvet Redemption
(Velvet Chronicles, #5)

By Claire L. Wilkinson

WOW! That was intense. After the climax of Book 4, I wondered how Wilkinson could deliver another story that would not pale in comparison to Velvet Darkness. Velvet Redemption did not disappoint! She may have dialled down the heat a little (I mean come on, how do you compete with all those hot BDSM scenes with the Devil?), but she did ramp up the action to epic proportions. And the cliff-hanger ending? OMG! I don’t think I’ve hated and loved an author so much at the same time for springing one of these on me. Just when I was ready to move on from my book-love affair with a certain someone…

Paranormal romance readers, if you haven’t started this incredible series yet, I highly recommend getting stuck into it. These books are dark, sexy, and tear-jerking.

Heat gauge: 4/5 After the blazing heat of Book 4, I was surprised to see this one cool down with the sex scenes. That said, in true Wilkinson fashion, she did not pull any punches with the graphic details.

Other paranormal romance you might enjoy...

Spell of Summoning
(The Dark Caster Series)
By Anna Abner

Spell of Summoning is the first book in the suspenseful Dark Caster paranormal romance series. If you like sizzling tension, fast-paced action, and electrifying quests, then you’ll adore Anna Abner’s edge-of-your-seat tale.

Read more.

Before the Darkest Hour
(Soulblood Series)
By Brenna Harlow

A Dark Vampire Paranormal Romance Prequel.

*This is a prequel novella to Brenna Harlow’s Vampire Paranormal Romance series, ‘The SoulBlood Series’*

Read more.

Gettin' Lucky
By Ellen Mint

In this steamy novella, Jess finds herself falling harder and harder for this man who her best friend swears is a leprechaun.
Will Jess finally get lucky?

Read more.

Calling the Dragon
(Dragon Hearts Awakening, #1)
By B.E. Brouillard

I don’t love my life right now. Keeping tabs on the finances of my clan is not my idea of fun. I’m stuck in the city, there’s no place to fly, and humans leave me cold. Until a sweet-scented bundle of warm golden woman literally runs into my world and lands on her ass at my feet. Falling for her is not in my plans and the Elders are going to take my wings. But sometimes destiny has other ideas…

Read more.

Bad Blood: A VamPR Nightmare
By Bee Murray & Niobe Marsh

Bad Blood is a paranormal urban fantasy thriller that is perfect for lovers of True Blood, Vampire Diaries, and things that go bump in the night.

Read more.