Thanks to the publisher for the complimentary book. All opinions provided are my own.
I’ve tried to start this review for Between Us by Mhairi McFarlane over & over again. Maybe this one will take ;).
But basically this book is so interesting to me! On its own the romantic arc isn’t super convincing but since this book is mainly about Roison, & I would characterize it as women’s fiction, I accepted it as icing on a very well written cake.
This book is about so much—the ending to a 9 year old relationship & also the beginning to something else, as Roisin says.
She & Joe have been together forever. While watching the first episode of a show he’s written, she feels betrayed in how he’s incorporated her past without consent & worries that he has a secret real life, that of a philanderer, which has served as inspo for his writing.
Roison unpacks a lot in this book & I love how that journey is written. She is a lead that I really rooted for: I love her self-awareness & her willingness to see where she has messed up. Her growth is substantial.
I’ve heard great things about Mhairi McFarlane’s books & I can definitely see why. Definitely looking forward to reading more!
Have you read this author? What should I read next?
4.5⭐️. Out now!
CWs: Reference to suspected sexual assault. Cheating. Exile from family. References to swinger parents.
Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary e-ARC and the publisher for the complimentary hard copy. All opinions provided are my own.
Not only does A Rulebook for Restless Rogues by Jess Everlee have a great alliterative title, it’s also a nuanced & loving & steamy story of best friends (who have been oblivious about their deeper feelings for years, so good ) turned lovers.
David Forester and Noah Clarke were best friends at school who have since dropped any physical entanglements & remain BFFs.
But when tavern proprietor David’s business/refuge he offers for LGBTQIA people is facing a raid & permanent closure, David & Noah are brought together in ways they hadn’t anticipated.
Everlee’s settings & characters are always so intriguing. The Curious Fox—the tavern David manages—is more than just a place where a person can get a drink, it’s a place where LGBTQIA people can relax, have fun, dress & act in ways outside society doesn’t allow, and seek pleasure.
It’s also a bit of a burden on David, this protective role he’s taken on, & Everlee explores that well, in addition to how Noah’s own seemingly very supportive family hasn’t always been/isn’t always totally supportive.
The story, the characters, & the relationship all feel thoughtfully developed, & Noah’s gesture at the end brought me so much joy.
If you’re looking for queer historical romance, definitely check out this author!
4.5⭐️. Out 07/11.
CWs: threat of violence, emotional manipulation, reference to past insurance fraud that David’s father perpetrated & that led to people dying.
Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary e-ARC and the publisher for the complimentary galley. All opinions provided are my own.
Cat Sebastian is a master at wrenching emotions out of some poor unsuspecting reader’s heart (joking) & it can be from romantic declarations but also little acts.
From the first pages of We Could Be So Good I thought *swoon.* That’s when we meet news reporter Nick Russo who—against his very best efforts—immediately has feelings for Andy Fleming, the son of the publisher & a new employee at the paper.
Nick wants to take care of Andy. He wants to keep him safe & smooth his way. He wants him to be happy.
Friends & then best friends & then roommates & then lovers, the journey between these two is wonderful & a bit angstier than I’m used to from Cat Sebastian. It’s actually marketed as a rom dram on the back of the galley.
There are external obstacles & a minute or two of miscommunication & this book very much deals with homophobia & police corruption & the dangers Queer people faced (/face) & how that fits with falling in love & choosing love in the face of it all.
There’s a beautiful message here & one that I think will resonate with many readers who have been scared/are scared to love in a tumultuous world, particularly one where certain demographics continue to be discriminated against & targeted.
Romantic & true & sad & soft & hopeful, this book is another Cat Sebastian hit for me.
5⭐️. Out 06/06.
CWs: Homophobia; Nick’s previous arrest for “vagrancy”; blackmail attempt; fear & lingering trauma.
Thanks to the author & Netgalley for the complimentary e-ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
I can’t even imagine how awkward I would be on a reality tv show (let’s just say very awkward) but it’s something the drama- & spectacle-loving part of me loves from a tv or book distance.
Courtney Kae’s In the Case of Heartbreak has a relatively peripheral reality tv situation with bakery owner Ben Parrish on a baking show trying to win the prize with his family’s cinnamon roll recipe.
But on the initial reality tv filming day, the man he’s had feelings for forever, his friend Adam, seems to firmly establish them as “just friends” in front of thousands of viewers.
Visiting family & planning his beloved grandma’s bday bash seems like a good way to get away, & then Adam shows up there, Ben learns things in his family aren’t quite what he thought, & he’s dealing with his narcissistic dad.
This small town romance has leads who are open & vulnerable with each other, slowly looking toward each other as confidants for their greatest fears & insecurities.
There’s a lot of beauty in the kind of vulnerability that Ben in particular offers, in the relatable fears he shares about failure & being the person someone gives up their career aspirations for & the responsibilities he feels weighing him down.
Therapy & meds are part of the storyline & though the starts & stops in the initial part of their storyline annoyed me a bit, on the whole the leads’ open-ish communication is something I love to see represented in romance.
This romance is for all the lovers of soft stories, lots of emotion, loving families (as well as some family baggage), & positive mental health rep.
4⭐️. Out 07/25.
CWs: Ben was a former missing child & has trauma surrounding media attention regarding that incident. His dad left the family. Narcissism & emotional abuse exhibited by dad. Financial stresses. Adam has a recovering alcoholic father; he was abandoned by his mom.
Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary e-ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Jackie Lau’s Not Your Valentine delivered on the best of Valentine’s Day with so much of the good stuff: a grumpy heroine, a nice guy hero; some forearms lusting; a friends to lovers arc; steam that had me thinking in blush emojis.
I ate this novella up!
It’s fun & easy to jump into, even on a night when I didn’t feel like I could concentrate that well.
There’s so much work an author has to do to make a convincing romance novella but Lau made it possible for me to how leads Helen & Taylor might change their relationship so quickly because of how she writes the care they have for one another as friends.
There are some unexpected details thrown in too that I loved & might be new to me in a romance, including some labia insecurity and a 5’5” hero.
Check this one out—it’s really great.
5⭐️. Out now!
CWs: references to racism; reference to parental abandonment.
Give me that HEA, please.
Join my mailing list.
Want to receive a weekly email with links to my latest blog posts? Sign up below!