Masked Hearts by Evelyn Aster

Happy Halloween! Does everybody have their costumes picked out yet? Well dear God I hope so. Otherwise it’s a little late to put something together. I’m gonna be a slutty panda! Why, you ask? Well, I’ve never done the whole slutty costume thing before, and I figured that if I was ever going to do it I might as well do so while I’m young and foolish. I also love pandas, so…yeah. Now on with the review!masked hearts

I love, love, LOVED this book! Did I mention I loved it? Because I did. What we have here is the absolute perfect sweet yet sexy romance novel, all of which is centered around Halloween. I’ll admit, at first I was a little wary about how sexy this book could actually be. After all, our female lead character is a kindergarten teacher who sings in the church choir on Sundays. But once she started debating the merits of having a f*%k buddy versus using her vibrator I was like, “Holy Hell, we’ve got a live one here!”

Sienna is a kindergarten teacher whose fiancé broke up with her at their rehearsal dinner (prick), and Mark is the divorced father of one of her students. The two happen to meet outside of class-time one afternoon at the Holiday Café, and are immediately smitten with one another while drinking some Toil and Trouble lattes. What follows is an addicting story-line wherein Mark has to convince Sienna to take a chance on their relationship, even if she’s scared of being hurt again. They also have some amazing sex, which is so yummy, yet slightly dirty and sweaty. Toil and Trouble indeed!

I’d like to start off by saying that Mark is probably one of the most ideal book boyfriends ever, even if he does come with some baggage of having two kids and a crazy alcoholic of an ex-wife. He never gives up on Sienna though, and is always fighting in her corner. He’s also an amazing father. I feel like sometimes romance novels have difficulty properly incorporating children into the mix. Normally, whenever we have a single parent or divorced parent involved in a budding relationship, their kids are always off doing something else with their ex-partner. Basically, they are never in the picture, which gives dad the perfect opportunity, not to mention time,  to woo a young lass into bed. However, in this book there is the perfect balance of Mark finding the time to be a really cool dad, but also to sweep Sienna off her feet…and against a wall, if you catch my drift. I also love his name. Mark. It’s so sexy and manly. Not like Jace, or Logan, or heaven forbid, Trick. Still can’t get over that one.

At times, this book did make me a bit fidgety. Let me explain. There were moments where so many forces were coming against Sienna and Mark, that I was so anxious and worried that she’d either get fired from her job, or they’d break up. We’ve got an ass of an ex-fiancé, Mark’s bitch of an ex-wife, a lusting teacher who is incompetent at her job, and an annoying principal who refuses to listen to reason. That’s what we call a clusterf*%k ladies and gentlemen. However, even though this book did make me nervous at times, it just goes to show that there was more to the story than hot lovin’. It felt more real, like everything isn’t dancing faeries and butterflies.

I’ve also gotta give it to Sienna, that chica has some ridiculous willpower. She may have made some questionable decisions at times in regards to the return of her ex-fiancé and Mark, but when it came to her teaching and dealing with conniving, backstabbing coworkers, she always remained professional. I’m telling ya, if it were me, I would’ve had a convasation with some people. It’s like a conversation, but you know it’s serious. I also would have taught people the meaning of the phrase bitch-slap, because I would have been slapping some bitches. But alas, Sienna was classy throughout. You go girl!

Overall, this book was nearly perfect. I did find it a little ridiculous that the whole book spans a total of 2 weeks, during which Mark and Sienna decide they will spend the rest of their lives together. You know, there’s nothing wrong with dating for a few months. Maybe try living together, see if he hogs the sheets, drinks milk from the carton, that kind of thing. But you know what, I didn’t even really notice that their relationship was so short because I just loved the rest of the book. It’s funny, sexy, and frustrating at times, but in a good way. Halloween and the Holiday Café are also constant features throughout the book, so if you’re looking for something festive to read this weekend, or a way to entertain yourself while you pass out candy to trick-or-treaters, then go here to get yourself a copy of this fun read.

*An ARC of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Holiday Café series, book 1. I can’t wait to read more from this series. I want as many holiday romances as I can get: Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, hell I’ll even take a Columbus Day romance if it takes place at the Holiday Café!

Should you read it? Just do it already!

Smut Level: Don’t let the kindergarten teacher and perfect father bit throw you. There are some deliciously descriptive sex scenes in here, and one even employs the use of neck-ties.

Dirty Trick by Christine Bell

The Halloween season is upon us! Although, can you really call it a season? I was gonna say Holiday, but that didn’t seem right either. Festivities? Anyway, it’s almost Halloween, so to celebrate I decided to dedicate my posts for the week to romance novels featured around the creepy day. After all, nothing screams romance like costumes and trick-or-treating. To kick things off, here’s Dirty Trick!

Oh my, dirty indeed. The “dirty trick” referred to in this title actually has two dirty trickmeanings. The first is our male lead, whose name is Patrick, but he goes by Trick for short, and he has a dirty little mind, that rascal. Ok, I’d like to take a time out here and point out that Trick has got to be one of the douchiest nicknames I’ve ever heard. If I met a guy and he said, “Hey, my name is Patrick, but you can call me Trick”, I’d be like, “Ok, bro, sounds good, I’ll check ya on the flip side, know what I’m saying? Now get the hell outta my way.” Alright, rant finished. The second meaning of the title is that Trick (ugh, what a dumbass name) plays a dirty trick on his best friend Grace, who he’s had a major crush on for ages. She thinks they should just be friends, so he comes up with the plan to wear a costume at a Halloween party which will conceal his identity, and show her that they have a sexual chemistry which goes beyond the lines of friendship. See, he’s a dirty little rascal.

This book was published by Entangled:Brazen, and I have found that whenever you’re in the mood for a quick sexy romance, you are almost guaranteed to find a good one here. Now, this romance definitely had it’s flaws, which I will proceed to outline below, but you’ve got friends who are neighbors that decide to begin a sexual relationship full of dirty talk. What’s not to like? And holy monkeys can these two talk dirty. Well, he can anyway. She has some trouble getting the hang of it in the beginning. Unless of course you find it sexy for a woman to ask her lover to put his cockadoodle in her lady business area. No joke, that’s a direct quote.

My main problems with this book were the logistics of it. Firstly, Trick dons an intricate Halloween mask to appear before Grace as a stranger, so that they can flirt with each other and go a few rounds of hanky panky before eventually revealing his true identity. The guy is your best friend, who also happens to live next door to you, and you have no idea that he’s the one behind the mask? It’s sort of like a superhero scenario. He even adopts a Batman-like voice to try and fool her, but come on already! Wake up and smell the hummus! Mmm, hummus. Now, I can sort of understand how she might not know it was him if they were in a crowded party, it was dark, he had his mask, etc. But eventually they go to a well-lit secluded area to be alone, and she even meets him on another day to do things in a movie theater that you aren’t supposed to do there, and she still has no idea it’s him. The author did try to describe her as a very trusting person, so there was an attempt to make the situation seem more plausible, but I’m still not buying it.

And now for the more concerning issue: when Grace meets this sexy “stranger” at the Halloween party, after only about 5 minutes of chatting they wander off to a secluded sauna (you know, because they are in a mansion that has a sauna) and proceed to have hot, sweaty sex while he’s still wearing his mask. At one point she even tried to take the mask off, but he insisted on keeping it on. Honey, there are only two reasons a guy wouldn’t want to take off his mask during sex 1) he’s terribly scarred, or 2) he wants to make sure you would never be able to identify him in a police lineup! Again, if it was just the one foray into the unknown with a stranger I might be able to understand it, but when they meet for a second time at the movie theater he is wearing a hoodie which hides his face in shadow, and he won’t take it off. GAH! This girl is so trusting she would probably follow a serial killer with a knife into the woods because he said he saw Bambi.

Logistical flaws aside, I actually really liked the story-line. You know me, I’m a sucker for a romance about two friends who become more. Grace had always been attracted to Trick, but always thought of him as a player. Granted, his dirty trick sort of reinforces that assumption, but he just wanted to show her that they belonged together. So cute! Sure, Grace is pissed when she finally discovers the truth, but we all know they’ll get together eventually. I mean, he’s her best friend 🙂 He’s also a member of a SWAT team, which is just so freakin’ sexy.

Series: Perfectly Matched series, book 1. I must say I am intrigued for the second book, as it involves Grace’s colleague who always seems to speak her mind.

Should you read it? I finished it in a day, so it’s a quick read, and it might even put you in the Halloween spirit. Maybe even inspire you to play a dirty trick of your own 😉

Smut Level: We’ve got sauna sex, dirty talk, movie theater shenanigans, more dirty talk, and some sweet sweet lovin. Like I said, it just screams Halloween.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here