Review: A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2) by Alyssa Cole

Duke by DefaultSaying that I didn’t like this book as much as the previous in the series does a disservice to this book, because I still enjoyed it thoroughly. This is completely subjective reasoning on my part, because I did not connect with this heroine as much.  She’s a rich trust fund kid, even though she struggles with previously unaddressed behavioral and mental health issues. I wish that had been more of a plot point, rather than something mentioned and not delved into because more time needed to be spent on the relationship arc. But this is a romance novel, after all. Continue reading

Review: The Horse Mistress: Book 1 (Eburosi Chronicles #1) by R.A. Steffan

Horse Mistress 1The downside to growing as a reader is realizing how much epic fantasy is problematic in terms of representation. Therefore, I thoroughly enjoyed discovering this series, which features queer characters, including a gender-fluid character. Carivel is a delight to read, and her relationship(s) with Andoc and Senovo are just the right mix of emotional and sexy.

This book can be read as a stand-alone, but the relationship arc doesn’t quick work by itself. Carivel falls into Andoc and Senovo’s arms without much conflict, as if it was inevitable once everyone’s secrets were revealed. Continue reading

Review: A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) by Alyssa Cole

Princess in TheoryI picked up the first book in this series because a later installment features a woman in a wheelchair on the cover, and I am all about supporting representation in books. The fact that this book has two characters of color on the cover, which is a rarity for a romance novel by a major publisher not shuffled off to some “ethnic” imprint, sealed the deal for my interest in supporting this series. And I’m so glad that I did, because I ADORED this book. Continue reading

Review: Maelstrom (Whyborne & Griffin #7) by Jordan L. Hawk

MaelstromFamily has been a running theme in this series, and things come to a head in this installment of the Whyborne & Griffin books. Whyborne’s father has had a major shift in attitude, which causes Whyborne to be suspicious of the man’s motives.

In the grander scheme of things, Whyborne’s own position in the town of Widdershins appears to be changing, which affects the external plot of this book. As usual, magic and creepy cults play a role, but the twists at the end are particularly enjoyable since the story occurs so close to home. Continue reading

Review: Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6) by James S.A. Corey

Babylon's AshesWe’ve reached the point in this series where it’s okay for the authors to throw a bunch of points of view at the reader. By now, the world-building is solid and the political landscape is pretty clear. The downside to this is that the only POVs I really want are Holden, Naomi, and the others from the Rocinante. However, this method also allows us to peek in on some old friends in such a way that gives us a perspective of what’s going on across the system. Continue reading

Review: Elle by Night (Dommes by Night #2) by Rachell Nichole

elle by nightDisclaimer: The author is a friend of mine; however, I purchased this ebook for full price.

The premise of this book immediately hooked me. Two dominants sparring with each other, even by telephone? Yes, please. However, Jo and Spencer immediately proved themselves to be amazing and three-dimensional characters. That 3D part is key in a sub-genre not always known for its subtlety. Continue reading

Review: Hoarfrost (Whyborne & Griffin #6) by Jordan L. Hawk

hoarfrostSomething different about this book is immediate from the first page — scenes from Griffin’s point of view! This made me nervous at first, but Hawk obviously has a great handle on his character. Switching between two first-person POVs is never difficult, because Griffin’s voice is so distinctive from Whyborne’s.

The need for scenes to be from Griffin’s perspective is not just a change of pace on the writer’s part. His viewpoint is necessary for the plot and conflicts to have the full impact on the reader. Continue reading