Here’s what I read from March 6th to March 12th! Super short reviews, because I haven’t blogged in almost a month. (School, work, life, you know. Stuff happens.)
Shadows & Dreams by Alexis Hall ★★★ is the second in the Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator urban fantasy mystery series and it is almost as good as the first one. I liked the mystery and the wacky paranormal stuff1, plus the humor! And I love love love Elise, the statue-come-to-life! But the other characters didn’t feel as emotionally vibrant in this as they did in the first book. Even the sexytime scenes with Kate’s girlfriend didn’t seem to have the same emotional depth. Hm. Still enjoyed the mystery and the worldbuilding, though!
Love Rising by Piper Vaughn ★★ is a historical fantasy short story romance between a merman and a man on the run (kinda). It was okay! Not so fond of the writing style, but I liked the worldbuilding.
Run with the Moon by Diana DeRicci ★★★ is a slow burn hurt-comfort paranormal romance with werewolves! It’s kind of ridiculously full of drama, but in a weirdly cozy sort of way because you can just sit back and watch the stuff happen, secure in the knowledge that it’s for sure going to end in happiness, as it’s a romance.
Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan ★★★★½ has gotten lots of awards and accolades lately, and for good reason! It’s so good!! It’s a contemporary new adult romance between an autistic man and a man deep into depression. Both protags are completely adorable and their romance is lovely and I really enjoyed reading this. (Perhaps it’s a little too explanatory on how autism works (for some people) and what depression means in a person’s life, a little on the edge of a “very special episode,” but the characters pulled it together for me.)
Housekeeping by Kim Fielding ★★★ is a contemporary romance novella between an out-of-work chef and a slobbish business guy. It’s cute, but ultimately forgettable and not my favorite KF book.
Dead Ringer by Heidi Belleau ★★★★ is a contemporary romance somewhere along the same lines as For Real, so if you liked that one you’d probably like this. It’s got a celebrity look-alike who starts working at a celebrity look-alike escort service. He’s hired by the second protag, a chronically ill fellow basically held prisoner in his mansion by his terrible nurse. Theirs is not an easy romance, and their story is full of struggle (maybe a little OTT on the terrible nurse front), but it was enthralling to read. And I loved the secondary characters!
Stay With Me by S.E. Harmon ★★★ is a mystery-romance with a super slow burn. There’s some downers– like the super trope-y evil bisexual ex– and I didn’t entirely trust the romantic interest because he was kind of slow to come out of the closet, but it wasn’t terrible and I’d read the second book, too.
Blue-Eyed Stranger by Alex Beecroft ★★★½ is a contemporary romance, the first I’ve read from this author (who usually does historicals). It’s VERY good! The protags are both into historical recreations: one does morris dancing, and the other does Viking stuff at Ren faires. One’s in the closet, recently fired from his job as a school teacher, and the sole person of color in a group of Viking wannabes. The other is super socially awkward and suffers from depression, which makes it hard for him to make friends, date people, etc. I very much enjoyed watching them start their romance, find new places for themselves and each other in their lives, and work towards their happy ending.
Convincing Arthur by Ava March ★★★½ is the first in her London Legal series of historical romances. It’s basically what it says on the tin: a story about one dude trying to convince the other one that he’s Serious and wants to Commit, despite a hellacious reputation as a rake and party-lover and so on. Arthur’s a little bit of a prude, but that can be forgiven as it turns out he’d been in love with a terrible person for, like, 10 years. I do so love books where one romantic partner tries to convince the other of their affections, and slowly wins them over.
Following the success of the previous Ava March book, I next read Thief ★★★★, the first in her Brook Street trilogy. It’s also a historical romance, this time between a, yes, thief, and an aristocratic fellow. It’s got some wonderful subplots about class and jobs and family, and I really liked both the protags. Wonderful!
- heavy parody of fluffy Twilight-esque vampires ↩