Kisses & Rogues: Four Regency Stories by Anthea Lawson
My Overall Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Passion flared in his eyes, and he took her mouth again in a kiss that seared her to her soul. In a moment, they must pull apart, their two bodies un-melding, but for now she savored every second.
I breezed through this anthology because the stories were exactly what I needed at the time: short, lighthearted romances with a touch of historical ambiance and a guaranteed HEA. Without going into too much detail on such short stories, I’m just going to sum up a couple key points about each one.
Five Wicked Kisses: 2 of 5 stars – I kept getting really distracted (and upset) by the coercion in this story, which wasn’t long enough to dive into such morally fraught waters.
Maid for Scandal: 3.5 of 5 stars – While totally unbelievable, this story was hilarious. It would have had a slightly higher rating if I hadn’t been so annoyed at the heroine’s naivete, but I suppose that was also part of the story’s charm.
The Piano Tutor: 4 of 5 stars – This was definitely my favorite of the bunch, and I think it was because the heroine was more mature. The plot also worked excellently as a short story.
To Wed the Earl: 3 of 5 stars – Of all the stories, this was the one I most wanted to see developed into a full-length novel. I kept finding myself wanting to know more about the characters, the financial mystery, and the side relationships.
As someone who doesn’t often read historical romance, I was happy with how this one turned out. I have had Passionate on my TBR for about a year now, so maybe it’s time to give that one a try.
For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to that book’s Goodreads page.)
Today’s Theme: Ten Books Set Outside the United States
After taking several months off, it’s so nice to do a Top Ten Tuesday post! Many of these have a fantasy element, but I only included those that are still modeled after our world.
From my TBR:
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – Throughout time in Europe and the US (a little cheaty…)
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – Nigeria
Every Breath by Ellie Marney – Australia
Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey – France
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows – Historical England
Some of My Favorites:
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Historical Persia
Daugther of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor – Czech Republic
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – France
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – England
Die for Me by Amy Plum – France
Which books made your list this week? I’d especially love to find more books set outside of the US AND Europe. Link your own Top Ten Tuesday in the comments!
Note: This review is for the first three books in the series (spoiler-free)!
Portland Heat by Annabeth Albert
Served Hot: 3 of 5 stars
Baked Fresh: 3 of 5 stars
Delivered Fast: 4 of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Since David had come into my life I’d learned a lot more about hope. It looks like ivory sheets and stacks of paint cans and two pairs of shoes next to the bed. It sounds like rustling bedcovers and murmured endearments. Hope tastes like skin and soap and victory and coffee. And I can say now with absolute certainty that hope does come in a paper cup and smells an awful lot like a vanilla latte to go. – Served Hot
This series is full of quick, sweet contemporary M/M romance novellas. Each installment features its own main couple, with their own romance, and while the other characters make an appearance, it’s only in passing. One upside of this is that the stories can basically be read in any order, and there’s no need for recap between them.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series so far. It helps that stories like this are candy for my brain – I’m a serious sucker for romance, the novellas are short enough that they progress quickly with a limited amount of drama, and they require very little mental focus on my part. I’ll definitely keep reading more from Annabeth Albert when I’m in need of a guilty pleasure read.
Recommendation: Read this if you are a fan of lighthearted M/M romance with lots of sexy times, or if you’re a pacific-northwesterner looking for a delightfully familiar setting.
Servants of the Fate by Sarah Fine
Marked: 4 of 5 stars
Claimed: 4 of 5 stars
Fated: 5 of 5 stars
Series Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
She laid her cool palms over the backs of his hands. “You’re making this so hard.”
“Good. We’re almost there, then.” He ducked his head until they were nose to nose. “My plan is to make it impossible.”
Servants of the Fate is an adult paranormal/urban fantasy trilogy, with a hefty dose of Greek mythology thrown in. Each book follows a Ferry sibling, a long-living descendant of a family that ferries souls into the afterlife after they die. The setting is post-apocalyptic Boston, and due to environmental disasters, it has been transformed into a dangerous network of canals (think Venice). The world is a fascinating blend of dystopian/urban dangers, the surviving modern technology, and mythological beings – namely ferrymen, Keres, Moros, and the Fates.
Each novel features its own main couple, with their own romance, but the overarching trilogy plot is also compelling, and everything comes together excitingly in Fated.
I really enjoyed this series! It has a blend of both YA and Adult themes that add up to a winning combination for me. As with Fine’s Guards of the Shadowlands trilogy, I was hooked within the first couple of chapters, and I raced through the whole series in less than a week. It helps that I had a great time reading them, and I was always dying to know what would happen next, even without cliffhangers.
Recommendation: Read this if you are a fan of YA urban fantasy with some sexy times thrown in, especially if you’re intrigued by Greek mythology!
Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge (The Dowser, Book 1)
My Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
I quickly fell into the peaceful rhythm of baking, my hands moving and mixing while my mind and eyes were on the next ingredient. I was a particular fan of icing, sometimes piling it high enough to double the height of the cupcake. My grandmother often dropped in when I was baking–as I still did five out of seven days a week. She said watching me bake was like watching an adept witch work a spell. Flattery will get you treats from me every time.
I don’t think I would have picked this one up if it hadn’t been one of my February book club picks, but I’m glad that I did. While I wouldn’t call it a new favorite, the story was quick, some of the characters were intriguing, and it gave me a MASSIVE craving for cupcakes (which I immediately satisfied by making a batch all for myself). While the story was pretty simplistic, I think more depth comes in the later books.
Recommendation: Read this if you enjoy lighthearted urban fantasy, devil-may-care heroines that are still growing into their boots, or stories in which food wins the award for best supporting character.
The most important recommendation of all: READ THIS WITH CUPCAKES ON HAND!
The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice, and the participation rules couldn’t be simpler. You just pick any book you want, flip to page 56 (or 56% for e-readers), and choose a non-spoilery sentence or two to share with the world.
The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan (Memoir by Lady Trent, Book 2)
From page 56:
“I have not kidnapped her, my lord,” I said, covering my nervousness with irritation.
Do you have your own Friday 56? Let me know in the comments!
Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti (The Scorpius Syndrome, Book 1)
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
“If there are bullets, I’m between you and them. If you get taken, I’m hunting you down till my last breath. And if you end up in hell, I’ll storm the f*cking place until the fires go out.”
Mercury Striking was a whirlwind read for me, because every time I picked it up, I couldn’t seem to put it down without knowing what was coming next. It was a little more “alpha” than my usual read, but the overarching plot was intriguing and I’m curious to see what direction book 2 will take.
Recommendation: Read this if you love action-packed, post-apocalyptic romances full of alpha heroes and heroes-to-be. I also recommend this to romance readers who like comprehensive series plot despite each book focusing on a different main couple.
(This ARC was generously provided through Net Galley for an honest review.)