I am SO FAR BEHIND ON REVIEWS but this week is Spring Break for my grad school! So I have a little time to waste and I will waste it by writing very short reviews for books I read this month.
Here’s what I read from February 28th to March 5th!
Circuit Theory by Kirby Crow & Reya Stark ★★ is an unsual novella that’s nominally a scifi romance but reads more like Sims fanfiction. It wasn’t entirely my thing– too short, too overdramatic, and reading about avatars getting it on wasn’t hot.
Next was a reread: Fever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan ★★★★½, the second in the Love Lessons series. And I just realized I never reviewed it the first time I read it! It stars two freshman, both kinda dumb but also adorable, and they’re both really into music and each other. It’s got drama out the wazoo and it’s super fun and a good companion to Love Lessons.
Then I felt like delving deep into a fantasy romance, and so I read Champion of the Scarlet Wolf Book 1 by Ginn Hale ★★★★. A sequel to Lord of the White Hell, this one stars the grumpy-homicidal friend of the protags. It’s been three years since the last book, and Elezar has grown as a person and no longer wants to be the grumpy-homicidally jealous character. He gets entangled in a conspiracy, is sent to another country to deal with it, and meets the other hero: a cheerful rogue with heaps of magic and fantastic hair. Superb worldbuilding, wonderful characters, slow-burn romance, and it did NOT end on a cliffhanger, thank goodness, though it was still very obviously the ending of the first arc of the story.
Took a breather between books 1 and 2 and read His Hearth by Mary Calmes ★½, a paranormal romance that really, really stunk. The first 60-75% is straight-up contemporary romance, with the sort of typical Mary Calmes characters I’ve seen elsewhere (most recently Frog). There’s the kind-hearted handsome dude who doesn’t know how amazing he is, his doting boyfriend desperate to retain his affections, the terrible ex-boyfriend who inexplicably butts his way into a few scenes, and the supportive secondary characters. All fine! And then suddenly a whole mess of paranormal stuff showed up and it was ridiculous. Like, I know the protag knows nothing of the paranormal stuff and thus there wouldn’t necessarily be any hints to it existing before it exploded, but I think the way it was presented RIGHT at the end, with a bunch of info dumping, didn’t help anything. Pacing problems!
So that was a dud. Champion of the Scarlet Wolf Book 2 ★★★★½, however, was ridiculously GOOD! At this point I was massively in love with Skellan and Elezar was growing on me, especially since he wasn’t denying any of his attraction to Skellan, just worrying about what it meant for the future (as he has to inherit stuff in another country and whatnot). The build up to the final battle took forever, but I had such a wonderful time hanging out with the characters and seeing them deal with little problems before tackling the big one that I almost didn’t mind.
Next up was Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding ★★★★½. The cover makes it look like a Western, and there ARE cowboys in it, but actually it’s a more just a contemporary romance set in a Western-ish setting (with cowboys). It’s about two people with tragic histories and major trust issues trying to make a relationship work, and I just wanna give everyone a hug because they’re so tragic and cute.
I read The Queen’s Librarian by Carole Cummings ★★★½ solely because of the title, and it wasn’t a terrible decision! It’s humorous and fluffy book, kind of like a Georgette Heyer fantasy, except the main couple got together in a previous book. I did feel a little like I missed half the backstory, maybe because there wasn’t the “new relationship” story? Or because the narration just felt like half the book was missing? Idk.
My last book is a picture book: Luka’s Quilt by Georgia Guback ★★★½, about a Hawaiian girl and her grandmother and a quilt they make together despite a big misunderstanding. The art is rough-yet-charming cut-paper collages, which was interesting.