Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 2-6-24
Adult - Fantasy Romance

Bride- Ali Hazelwood: Misery Lark may be the only daughter of a powerful Vampyre councilman, but she's spent most of her life trying to fly under the radar. She's spent years living amongst the humans, trying to blend in, until she's called upon to help broker peacekeeping ties between the Vampyres and their nemesis, the Weres. Unable to do anything but submit to her father's demands, Misery finds herself married to Lowe Moreland, the Alpha of the Southwest Weres. But Lowe isn't the ruthless, brutal wolf Misery expected. Unlike her father, Lowe rules with fairness, not fear, and despite the lack of trust, neither can deny there's a pull between them. But Misery has her reasons for agreeing to this marriage, and she can't let the growing attraction towards her new husband distract her from her goal of finding out what happened to the only person Misery has ever cared about.

Listen... I'm a fan of Hazelwood's, but what the heck did I just read? When I read the premise, I knew it would be unhinged, but good grief. It was like a bonkers Tumblr Renesmee and Jacob fanfiction. There's barely any world-building, so there's no clear sense of what's going on or why there's such conflict between these supernatural beings. The characters are one-dimensional, at best. The romance was so cringey. We can all agree that Hazelwood's writing can be corny when it comes to the steamy scenes, but I was squirming with how uncomfortable they were here. I thought the plot would save it, but no. It was all over the place and left me going, "WHAT?!" on more than one occasion. It's one of those books where you have to go in not taking it seriously and just give in to the camp factor. I applaud Hazelwood for stepping out of the box, but it didn't work for me.

Rating: 2/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 2-6-24
Adult - Historical Romance

To Woo and to Wed- Martha Waters: Seven years ago, West and Sophie were about to walk down the aisle, but now they can't stand to be in the same room. The pair were giddy in love, but thanks to West's father's meddling and an almost fatal curricle accident, things fizzled out, and Sophie married another. Now, Sophie is widowed and not looking for romance, but when her younger sister mentions a hesitance at getting re-married due to Sophie's situation, Sophie concocts a plan. Sophie knows the only way her sister will go through with a wedding is if she's also settled down, so Sophie enlists West's help to fake an engagement. The only problem? Neither can ignore the real feelings that still simmer between them.

I've been waiting for West and Sophie's story to play out since the first book, and I feel like Waters saved the best for last. West is probably my favorite love interest in the whole series. He comes off a bit dark and broody but has this teasing, dry humor that always gets me. It was so fun watching him and Sophie push each other's buttons. He's also so gone for Sophie, and I love it. I liked the flashbacks and thought they helped give us insight into their relationship. The writing was also brimming with Waters' signature wit and charm. I read the whole thing in almost one sitting because I was so into it. My only complaints were that Sophie was, at times, way too stubborn for my liking, and I thought the plot lost a bit of steam towards the end. Other than that, I thought this was a solid ending to a series, and I can't wait to see what Waters comes out with next.

Rating: 3.5/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 12-5-23
Adult - Historical Romance

The Gentleman's Gambit- Evie Dunmore: In her boisterous group of friends, Catriona Campbell can sometimes get lost. She's more introspective and bookish and would prefer to advocate for women's rights through her pen rather than her voice. With her failing household, writer's block, and a massive change for women on the horizon, Catriona has little time for much else-- especially not romance. Catriona has been burned by love in the past, so she has a hard time believing in a happily ever after. But after an awkward encounter brings Elias Khoury into her life, Catriona starts imagining a different outcome. Elias Khoury has come to Oxford under the pretense of classifying ancient artifacts, but he's really there to return the stolen goods to his homeland. Elias isn't above trying to win Catriona's favor to sway her to his cause, but he soon finds his desire for her may be greater than his mission.

I loved this series when it first came out, but my excitement has waned with each installment. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either. It landed right in the middle of meh. I think it was more of the plot's fault than the characters. I liked Catriona and could relate to her introverted personality. I also liked her relationship with Elias. They're from two different worlds and cultures, but they blend perfectly. Elias was so swoony, and I loved how gentle and understanding he was to Catriona. What couldn't keep my attention was the plot. I always appreciate how Dunmore throws real issues of the time into her stories, but I didn't care about what was happening at all. It felt less like a story and more like a political history lesson. I liked how Dunmore wrapped the series up with the epilogue, but it wasn't my favorite in the series.

Rating: 3/5


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