Book Review – Hot Lips by Tara Lain

The Hot Cannolis #4
Publisher: Tara Lain Books
Pages: 326
Characters: Tito/Ari
POV: 1st
Genre: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Series

Sometimes there are too many closets to come out of.

For two years, Tito’s been hiding from his past in the midst of his uncle and aunt’s big, crazy, compound full of relatives in a tiny town in California.

Now his past’s come to get him – and threatens not only Tito’s life, but to reveal the secret that will get Tito kicked out of the family he loves.

Time to fight back!

Ari Cohen, a tough cop on the hate crimes task force, knows about hiding and fighting, since he spends his life undercover searching out bad guys.

Ari’s got a big secret too that perfectly matches Tito’s –both in and out of bed.

But don’t play hearts and flowers yet.

The price they have to pay for the match may send them running back to their closets – if Tito can stay alive long enough to get there.

HOT LIPS is a M/M romantic suspense mystery, packed with sexy secrets, danger, family love, and a crazy, one-eyed cat.

Buy Link


I loved this story, and once I picked it up, I didn’t want to put it down. I enjoyed catching up with Tito’s extended family again. The family theme of this series and the support and love they have for each other is one of its strengths.

Tito and Ari fit together so well. They’re both good at undercover work and although opposites at first glance have a lot more in common than I initially expected. I guessed Tito’s secret before the reveal but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the plot. I thought the author did a great job in sprinkling red herrings to make me doubt my theory. I love how they fall for each other.

Moshe is wonderful. I love how he bonds with Tito, and is fiercely protective of him. And how Ari does too.

I liked the mystery/suspense part of the story, and how that progressed then came to a head in an exciting showdown. Tito totally rocks, especially considering what he’s been through, and I liked the role he has in taking back his life.

I loved that Mike, Shane, and Ricky played a good-sized role in this story, and I liked the drag queens who are very strong characters. I liked the sense of community, and how everyone rallies around. Ari and Tito’s HEA is perfect, especially with its focus on family. I loved how well Ari and Tito’s families get on, especially Lucille and Ari’s mother.

I’m sad to see the end of this series, although, as I came in part way, I luckily still have some catching up to do.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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