This is a multi POV mystery thriller that takes place over a hen weekend aka bachelorette party in the Greek Islands. Lexie brought her best friends from school: Robyn and Bella (who don’t get along anymore); Ana, her newer friend from Yoga, Fen (Bella’s gf) and Eleanor, her future sister in law. From the get go, it is clear each of the friends have their own secret/reasons to why they are joining the trip. One does not make it out of the island alive, and it is a roller coaster all the way to the end to find out what happens.
At first with all the characters, it is hard to keep up with who is who. I loathed the character Bella, but she is supposed to be immensely unlikeable. There are so many different twists and turns that leave you guessing until the end and I was surprised at who the victim was. This was an easy read and I liked it fine, but didn’t love it.
Tropes & Triggers: mentions of rape, assault
Thank you to Putnam books for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!
Not sure how I ended up here after a few Katee Robert books. I love the vintage romance clinch covers, so I loved these covers for Katee Robert’s romance “A Deal with a Demon” series. Escaping the clutches of an abusive husband, Briar Rose makes a deal with a demon to spare 7 years of her life to provide services. Then she would be free. Services would mean being auctioned to a dragon-like creature named Sol, who essentially needs to breed with a human to strengthen the bloodlines of his kingdom. So, what if some of the plot doesn’t make sense? The world building is thin, but the spice makes up for it. I mean, two penises? Come on!
It’s a quick read and the cover alone is interesting enough for you to want to pick it up. I am intrigued enough to read the next one, but was expecting more!
Tropes & Triggers:taboo, paranormal romance, monster romance, 18+
This is a quick novella from the “A Touch of Taboo” series by Katee Robert. In a nutshell, Lily’s fiance was caught cheating on her and she is seeking revenge with his dad aka her ex-future father in law. That’s the plot. Plus smut. A lot of it. And I’m here for it. It was probably the dirtiest thing I’ve ever read and it was perfect for a quick steamy read.
Tropes & Triggers: age gap, taboo, revenge, daddykink, 18+
This is a multi POV story essentially about obsessive love and how it can endanger and hurt those that you care about. Shifting between two different timelines, Molly meets lead singer Jake Danner at a concert in the 2010s while he is performing and they fall in love quickly and they both ride the wave of his rising fame and success. He even penned “Molly’s Song” for her – their biggest hit to date. Skipping to present day, Molly is living in the suburbs married to someone else, finding it difficult to fit in and meet new friends until she meets yoga student and newcomer Sabrina. It is clear early on that Sabrina has other motives and many secrets that link to Molly and Jake’s past.
This seems like different books at some times. I expected this to be a thriller, but it is really more of a soap opera/ drama. I enjoyed the love story of Molly and Jake – and there is so much drama with Sabrina and her secrets. Also Sabrina’s story was promising and I was curious to what all the fuss was about over Jake. I was disappointed with the lackluster ending. There was so much more potential to Sabrina and even Liz’s storyline! It is a quick read and pretty easy to follow throughout.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!
This is a Dual POV fantasy romance novel about Dianna, a woman who exchanged her freedom for her sister’s life a thousand years ago. Now she is a killing machine (with a mortal heart) under Kaden’s rule. Think precursor to the modern day vampire abilities. She is a monster and the only thing keeping her rooted to her humanity is her younger sister, Gabby. Samkiel, known as the “World Ender” and leader to the Celestials and son of a God himself, is considered forever immortal. After the events of the Gods’ war, he retreated to isolate himself from being a leader, until the death of a member of his Hand. After unexpected events, Dianna and Samkiel are forced to work together, even though they are eternal enemies.
The world building is excellent. It’s a big book at 800+ pages but it flows really well. The pace keeps you constantly intrigued and entertained while also feeding you tons of information that is not too overwhelming. Usually with these bigger books, it feels like they are way too long, but this was actually perfect. The love scenes were steamy, but more of a tease to what is coming in future books. The ending left me with such a cliffhanger and I cannot wait for book 2!
Thank you to Rose & Star Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!
Tropes: enemies to lovers, overprotective, one bed, forbidden love, slow burn, morally gray heroes
This multi POV 4th installment takes place directly after the horrific events of the 3rd book, Gleam. Auren is healing and confronting her past trauma under King Midas’ rule and imprisonment while also trying to be in the future with Slade. Unfortunately, the other Kingdoms in the realm are not willing to let the death of two monarchs go unpunished (from the last book) – and are halting shipments to starve the people of the Fourth until Auren faces judgment. Naturally Slade is not having it. Meanwhile, the other Queens /Monarchs are trying to acquire more and more power.
These books just keep getting better and better. It was so important to showcase real emotion and ramifications that Auren was going through after a lifetime of being imprisoned and after essentially being tortured by Midas. The steamy scenes was chef’s kiss – the perfect amount while also moving the story along. It was great to learn more about Slade’s past and his own people in the Fourth, and more about his family. My new favorite part of the series is the new blooming possible romance between Osrik and Rissa. I nearly screamed out loud when the ending came about – and I can’t wait to see more about these two. The other POVs of the other Queens kept me curious about what could possibly come next and I was still shocked at the end. My only disappointment is waiting another year for the next (and last) installment to this series!
Nora Hamilton’s husband Ben left her and her kids high and dry. As a romance screenwriter for the Romance Network, she poured her heart out in the script for “The Teahouse”. It ends up getting the big screen treatment, even filming scenes at her own home in Laurel Ridge. The famous actor Leo Vance, who will be playing the part of her husband, is standoffish and cold at first, but he mysteriously stays after the crew leaves to get a little R&R. Nora needs the money and he is not bad to look at – so she agrees to let him stay for a week. After watching early morning sunrises together everyday, she finds out why he has been seeking a simpler life and perhaps he fits in better in her life than even her own ex-husband did.
I love the trope of the movie star/hometown heroine, but I did not believe their relationship. It went from one page where he really was indifferent to all of a sudden “in love” with her. I had to skim back to make sure I didn’t miss a few chapters where their relationship suddenly shifted. There were parts that were charming: the grocery shopping, the sunrise watching, their little texts but my biggest pet peeve trope: miscommunication! They wasted so much time because of a simple thing – it still bothers me writing about it. This is a cute-sy rom com/beach read, expect little to no spice though. Overall, I liked it enough until I found out they can’t even talk to each other.
Thank you to Putnam books and netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
A contemporary romance about a woman named Millie Ward who is fired from her job for speaking her mind. To lift her mood, her best friend Quincy invites her to California to visit and reassess what she wants to do next. Millie’s other friends sent her their joint black dress (that they all share for big events). Millie hopes this might also help her get closer to Quincy’s brother, Pete.
This reminds me so much of the Sisterhood of Traveling Pants series/movies. The title is a bit confusing as it mentioned the other ways to wear the dress but it doesn’t go into the history of the dress with the other friends. It’s a romance, so I expect that Millie will be very evident as the narrator how much she wants Pete but it was very repetitive to the point of annoyance. The spice is OK, but it doesn’t get into gear until the end really, and it doesn’t make up for the thin storyline as it is. I enjoyed some parts of this including the inclusion of her ADHD and her internal struggle with it and the location of the book. The writing story was not for me though unfortunately.
Thank you to Sourcebooks and netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Tropes: small town/coastal, brother of the best friend
This is the 3rd installment to Katee Robert’s Neon Gods series. It’s a modern retelling of the ancient story of Helen of Troy, Patroclus, and Achilles. Similar to the first books, the ancient Greek mythology ends there, in name only. Helen covets the title of Ares, but her brother Zeus (Perseus) doesn’t agree. Instead there will be a competition amongst warriors to earn the title, and also win Helen’s hand in marriage. Helen also enters the competition to win her own hand and get the title for herself despite the dismay of her family and friends. On the other hand, Achilles (mostly) and Patroclus also vy for the title but they both seem to not keep their hands off Helen. Despite all the steaminess, Helen has to figure out if they both mean to be with her if she is Ares, or if it was just a scheme to get her to lower her guard.
This one is definitely much better than the first one, Neon Gods. Katee Robert is a master at the steamy scenes, and they all have insatiable chemistry. I didn’t read the 2nd book Electric Idols, and found that I still had no problem catching up. The competition reminds me of Hunger Games meets Harry Potter’s triwizard tournament – minus the fun clues. The story is predictable, but that’s not why you are reading this. The dialogue is lacking and slightly cheesy, and I wished there was more to their names than just that. Also, the timeline really irks me when they go from hating each other to being madly in love.
Thank you to Sourcebooks and netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Tropes: enemies to lovers; lbgtq+romance; poly, forced proximity
This is a YA (bordering on New Adult) fantasy novel set in the same world of the beloved Cursebreaker series by Brigid Kemmerer. It’s been a few years since Grey ascended to the throne of Syhl Shallow with Lia Mara, allying with Emberfall after years of turmoil and war between both lands. However, the people of Syhl Shallow are still hesitant and afraid of embracing magic in their lands and suspicious of their new king’s real motives. Jax, a blacksmith and his best friend Callyn, a baker, in Briarlock have exorbitant high balances with the tax collector. They are offered a chance to make quick money by helping to hold and pass secret messages by a rebellious anti-magic group. Lord Tycho, a royal courier, stumbles upon the small village, and makes Jax really grapple with his choices that border on treason.
I liked the first book from the Cursebreaker series, but was lukewarm with the overall series ending. Although there are appearances from the original series which makes connecting the dots pretty easy, I quickly fell in love with these new characters: Jax, Callyn, and Alec. Younger Tycho was in the original series, but I enjoyed reading more about his history. Tycho and Jax – love them! Their relationship is so sweet and real. Also loved Alec and Callyn, which took me by surprise.I was relieved there was not a love triangle in this one. Some parts were really slow and took me a while to get immersed in this, but overall I really enjoyed this even more than the Cursebreaker series.
Thank you to Bloomsbury and netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Tropes: enemies to lovers (a little); lbgtq+romance