Read The Duke Makes Me Feel…

Read The Duke Makes Me Feel…

Her newfound success has her little apothecary teeming with ill-mannered aristocrats. But as tiresome as they are, she needs the business. When the unflappable Duke of Linley storms into her shop and makes her an offer she’d be a fool to refuse, Marena soon finds herself on the adventure of a lifetime with a man who is as infuriating as he is intriguing.

Very instalove but cute fluff. It would have been nice to get a novel instead of a novella so he could get a little more play. The plot didn’t make a whole lot of sense but it didn’t bother me.

History Romance

Re-read A Hope Divided

Read A Hope Divided (The Loyal League, #2) by Alyssa Cole

For three years of the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has helped the cause in peace: with coded letters about anti-Rebel uprisings in her Carolina woods, tisanes and poultices for Union prisoners, and silent aid to fleeing slave and Freeman alike. Her formerly enslaved mother’s traditions and the name of a white father she never knew have protected her–until the vicious Confederate Home Guard claims Marlie’s home for their new base of operations in the guerilla war against Southern resistors of the Rebel cause.

Unbeknowst to those under her roof, escaped prisoner Ewan McCall is sheltering in her laboratory. Seemingly a quiet philosopher, Ewan has his own history with the cruel captain of the Home Guard, and a thoughtful but unbending strength Marlie finds irresistible.

When the revelation of a stunning family secret places Marlie’s freedom on the line, she and Ewan have to run for their lives into the hostile Carolina night. Following the path of the Underground Railroad, they find themselves caught up in a vicious battle that could dash their hopes of love–and freedom–before they ever cross state lines.

Fourth time reading, first time since 2019, still loved it! Ugh, that cover is gorgeous.

I’d still guess the hero to be autistic, but potentially also have ADHD, which are often co-occurring. He mentions his inability to stop moving several times, his constant nervous energy.

This year provides an interesting context to re-read this story — the hero and heroine are trapped together in a small room, not for quarantine, but for both of their safety from Confederates. Added another layer to my read of their confinement.

Fantasy Romance

Re-read Mating the Huntress

Read Mating the Huntress (Monsters and Mates, #1)

Chastity Adofo knows a monster when she sees one. As soon as Luke Anthony wanders into her family’s coffee shop, she recognises the evil lurking beneath his charming smile and fantastic arse. The handsome werewolf is determined to have her—but she’s determined to cut out his heart.

Little does she know, Luke’s plans for her are far more pleasurable than murder. And when the full moon rises, all bets are off…

Re-read this for Halloween. Funnier than I remembered! The werewolf is so desperate to convince his mate to be with him that he thinks it’s cute when she stabs him in the chest and tries to kill him for being a monster. It’s a little much that she would try to kill someone who’s clearly a person, but I guess she’s been indoctrinated by her family all of her life. At the climax, the way she showed him she accepted him as who he was, not in spite of being a werewolf, is clever and fun. There’s a weird reveal at the end that her older siblings have been stalking her to make sure she’s safe at the end, but I’ll headcannon that out.


Read Act Your Age, Eve Brown

Read Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters, #3)

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.

Fun and charming, loved that both main characters were autistic and finally felt free to be themselves. Didn’t love the misunderstanding at the end but it was resolved quickly.

This is the second book I’ve read this week that involves hitting the love interest with their car as a plot device (the other was Don’t Hex and Drive), which IMO is not a good start to a relationship and pretty damn bad. He is injured pretty substantially — concussion, broken arm — and she doen’t suffer any repercussions for her dangerous driving besides being kind of a joke that someone else should drive.


Read How to Find a Princess

Read How to Find a Princess (Runaway Royals, #2) by Alyssa Cole

Makeda Hicks has lost her job and her girlfriend in one fell swoop. The last thing she’s in the mood for is to rehash the story of her grandmother’s infamous summer fling with a runaway prince from Ibarania, or the investigator from the World Federation of Monarchies tasked with searching for Ibarania’s missing heir.

Yet when Beznaria Chetchevaliere crashes into her life, the sleek and sexy investigator exudes exactly the kind of chaos that organized and efficient Makeda finds irresistible, even if Bez is determined to drag her into a world of royal duty Makeda wants nothing to do with.

I had been really looking forward to this after loving Bez in the previous book in the series, but unfortunately was disappointed. It felt insubstantial, rushed, especially the ending. They spent most of the book on a boat, which I have not great associations with so was a little offputting. Apparently it’s an Anastasia re-imagining which I didn’t pick up on while reading.

The story behind the cover photo is fun, since it was taken during the pandemic – they found two besties who were in a bubble together who were willing to pose.


Read The Devil Comes Courting

Read The Devil Comes Courting (The Worth Saga #3) by Courtney Milan

Captain Grayson Hunter knows the battle to complete the first worldwide telegraphic network will be fierce, and he intends to win it by any means necessary. When he hears about a reclusive genius who has figured out how to slash the cost of telegraphic transmissions, he vows to do whatever it takes to get the man in his employ.

Except the reclusive genius is not a man, and she’s not looking for employment.

Non-traditional and amazing. So much emotional richness to this story – lots of growing and revelations from both characters. I love love loved seeing Amelia grow into her confidence after escaping from an emotionally abusive living situation. Devoured it in one go.


Read Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Read Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

This was delightful. A light story without heavy plot but lots of character growth as they both confront their hangups and hurts from past relationships. Both characters have serious challenges to overcome in learning to be together, but both are in earnest about not hurting the other. They’re adults who recognize when they screw up and apologize and try to resolve the issue.


Read The Right Swipe

Read The Right Swipe (Modern Love, #1) by Alisha Rai

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…

I actively disliked Rhi for the first quarter of the book at least, but decided to stick it out. I think understanding her history earlier would have made her reactions seem less bitchy and more trauma-triggered.

The storyline was fun though it took a turn I wasn’t expecting two thirds in, and there was something I felt the plot promised that didn’t happen, but the ending was fine if a little quick and easy.


Read How to Fail at Flirting

Read How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams

One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down. When her flailing department land…

This one’s got some intense backstory! The Heroine’s past abusive relationship is a strong element through the story. As she progresses in her new relationship, she gains confidence and starts to realize how strongly her past abusive relationship affected her – though of course that’s never something you recover from instantly and she acts poorly, prompting their splitup.

My relationship started as a long distance are we or aren’t we thing so I enjoyed seeing how that was handled.

I disliked one element of the ending in how they recovered from their big argument. It used what I consider an outdated trope and didn’t love finding it here.

The heroine was pretty stubborn about refusing help and playing her cards close to the chest. It was realistic for her character and backstory but as a book published after #metoo I would have liked to see more support for a woman treated poorly in a relationship and see her listen to her friends.

Romance Science Fiction

Read Starlight Desire

Read Starlight Desire by Christine Ragland

When it comes to mating, Star Officer Rashan Grove doesn’t trust alphas. He’s repressed his omega nature for years, choosing instead to focus on his career as an elite fighter pilot. Now that he’s experiencing his first heat in a decade, he turns to the alpha who has always been by his side for help.

An interesting future for humanity, mixing in alien genes that lead people to have a secondary gender of alpha, beta or omega. One hero is an alpha and the other an omega. The practical effect of this secondary gender is either heat or ruts, basically getting really horny for several days, and the ability to form mating bonds.

This gender is reflected throughout the worldbuilding, with cultural mores reflecting these biologists needs. Interestingly, the omega hero has been on a suppressant for ten years that eliminates all sexual arousal, but his doctor refuses to refill his prescription and he’s finally forced to confront his sexuality.

The author has clearly made efforts to create a world reflective of the diversity in real life. People of all races, a disabled squad leader, a trans commander, gay and straight pairings, and diversity spread throughout all roles. I especially liked pointing out that the character who uses a wheelchair in gravity has equal mobility to non-disabled characters in low G. The society appears free of homophobia.

The omega hero has a secret backstory that’s left him with a lot of emotional baggage that he has to confront. He struggles with accepting his sexuality and it makes him a little wishy washy. It’s understandable but I also feel for his best friend getting yanked back and forth.