grief

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young Review

    On Dublin Street by Samantha Young 4 Stars! 

Review

I have been meaning to read this book forever and since I apparently refuse to leave modern day Scotland this week, I finally did!

Och! So the hero is super hot and super jerky. I would start setting up things to fall on his head if he kept coming into my apartment without asking but whatever, Romanceland.

I love that the heroine goes to therapy. Thank the goddess.

The chemistry is smoking and the setting grand. The writer stuff is fun.

His super richness and serial mono stuff is a bit over the top as is some of the drama but other aspects of the book really work well and the secondary characters are great.

The writing is lovely too.

Good fantasy romance stuff.

Rising Tides: Chesapeake Bay Saga Review

   Rising Tides by Nora Roberts 3.5 Stars! 

Ethan Quinn is a waterman. He wasn’t born to the tradition but has embraced it. He’s a quiet man whose heart runs as deep as the waters he loves. And now, with his father gone, Ethan is determined to make the family boatbuilding business a success. But amidst his achievements lie the most important challenges of his life…

There’s a young boy who needs him, and a woman and child he loves but never believed he could have. To shape his life around them, Ethan must face his own dark past—and accept not only who he is but what he hopes to become.

Review

I am often amazed when I read a Nora Roberts book. The opening of this book is just so lovely in terms of place, feeling, and character. How does she do this so prolifically?

I love that Ethan is a working class hero and so devoted to his family. The loved forever theme is a fun one and Grace is great as well.

Roberts writing shines but I am kept from falling in love with this book because I want to send Ethan to therapy and want what happens at the end of the book to occur in the middle of the book so that we get a love story of acknowledged equals rather than 95% of the story with Ethan doing what he thinks is best instead of evolving.

Quit by Viola Grace (Terran Times Second Wave, #36) by Viola Grace Review

Review:

Quit (Terran Times Second Wave Book 36) - Viola Grace

 

When Minny’s life changes, a career as a recruiter isn’t half as tempting as the new ambassador to Earth.

Minerva has been acting as Recruiter Norz for years. Her mind can split into eight different directions and propel the bot bodies in areas where the alien might be in danger.

When her daughter was taken from her too soon, she had to split her off time between taking care of herself and monitoring her child growing in the tank. In the battle between her and her child, she was losing herself.

Imbolt has been on his way to Terra for some time. His genetic match had produced a daughter, and five months from now, she would be out in the world. Unfortunately, the woman he had been matched with would not make it if he didn’t take matters into his hands and out of hers.

Review

 

 

This is a very good ending to a very long series.

 

The series is an interesting one in that the enjoyment of the books is a cumulative one. Each short story is rather underdeveloped but as the books grow and grow the narrative becomes rich and engrossing.

 

The series is an expensive habit though. I try to borrow as well as purchase the books because the cost per book length is often not well balanced. However, I like supporting a writer’s livelihood and knowing that the price off the books allows her to write.

 

A few books in this long running series feel route and like a money making machine rather than fiction which also makes money.

 

This book is not one of those. We get a full fleshed love story that explores grief and leaning into each other.

 

This is a very good way to close out this world of which the author was clearly weary but this book doesn’t show it.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1462311/quit-by-viola-grace-quit-terran-times-second-wave-36-by-viola-grace-review

Tell Me It’s Real (At First Sight, #1) by T.J. Klune Review

   Tell Me It’s Real  by T.J. Klune 4.5 Stars! 

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Paul Auster doesn’t. Paul doesn’t believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother’s homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.

Enter Vince Taylor.

Vince is everything Paul isn’t: sexy, confident, and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. And for some reason, Vince pursues Paul relentlessly. Vince must be messing with him, because there is no way Vince could want someone like Paul.

But when Paul hits Vince with his car—in a completely unintentional if-he-died-it’d-only-be-manslaughter kind of way—he’s forced to see Vince in a whole new light. The only thing stopping Paul from believing in Vince is himself—and that is one obstacle Paul can’t quite seem to overcome. But when tragedy strikes Vince’s family, Paul must put aside any notions he has about himself and stand next to the man who thinks he’s perfect the way he is.


Review

TJ Klune is taking all my money but its okay. I will have his books to reread when I don’t have any food,

This is a funny treasure of a book that I will reread again and again. So, even though I wish the price was a little lower, it is a great investment.

I love me a plain and chubby hero. Seriously. I do and they are so hard to find. I also love when a world is a known one so for romances with gay characters I prefer the leads to already be out.

This book is silly in the best way. It is a romp and very self aware with the best jokes, situations, and dialogue.

I read passages out loud to my husband and giggled and so did he.

The setting and the secondary characters are amazing. Kooky and zany everywhere and yet real.

Paul is wonderful. Vince is wonderful.

There is a tender exploration of imperfections. I love that neither intellectual or body perfection trump the quality of character in this book. So good!

It is a slow burn that is sexy as hell.

Bye! I am off to buy more Klune books!

For Real by Alexis Hall 5 Star Review!

 For Real by Alexis Hall  5 Stars!!!

Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have — no matter how right it feels — can’t last. It can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.

 

Review

Sigh. So good.

I don’t really love romances that contain BDSM aa a rule and the lean in on the SM part even less so but I do read them because despite by preferences there is some damn fine storytelling to be found in this troupe.

This book. This book might be the best I have ever read with a romance where the couples sexual needs are met through BDSM and the if BDSM were not in the story the character would be less of who they are and the plot of the book would suffer.

This love story is about integration of the self and love.

The age difference and being in very different life stages is exquisitely handled. And not just by the older hero but even more so by the younger hero. I love that Toby has acne. I love it so much. It is pitch perfect in terms of not being “grown” and yet being a full person. Laurie’s non caring about it is also such a wonderful thing because as we age the body’s imperfection tend to matter very little and our love comes from the person who inhabits the body. There is a lot of things that ages lets us let go that Laurie represents.

The other aspect of the age difference that Toby can’t be accepted for who he is (a Dom) because of age. He has other struggles of a 19 year old which drive the plot beautiful but never in the oh god grow up way but in the wow remember so human way.

Laurie is heartbroken which is a common theme in Hall’s books. Oh, and there is poetry and the love story that comes from finding equality and acceptance.

Excellent writing as usual and really gorgeous romance.

How To Be A Normal Person by T.J. Klune Review

  How to Be a Normal Person by T.J. Klune 4.5 Stars!!!

Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

 

Review

 So, it looks like TJ Klune will just be getting all my money. I love discovering a new to me writer that is this good. My bank account has other feelings.

The comic pacing and imagination of this book amazes. There is such much fun and detail.

If you don’t like quirky characters, don’t read this. Every character in the book is quirky turned to 11 even the albino ferret. I delight in zane and oddball and here me roar so I was clapping with glee but they are all very strange, bright, and complexly human. Love me an old lady Vespa gang.

But under all the silly, quirk, and randomness is a very tender love story about friendship, grieving a partner, and being odd and human.

The fact that one of our heroes is asexual is thoughtfully explored and the other hero’s relationship with his beloved father is everything.

I did wish for just a bit more in terms of getting an epilogue or just more HEA but really this is the most endearing book and I can’t wait to reread it.

Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers, #3) by Sarina Bowen Review

     Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen   3 Stars! 

 

Review

This is a good book. I don’t think Sarina Bowen can write a bad book.

What I don’t love about this book is all me. I hate flashbacks. This is a second chance romance and we get flashbacks to the hero and heroines previous relationship. Those flashbacks are also emotionially painful as the hero hurts the heroine with his choices.

Also, I just never get over the dumb choice the hero makes and end of resenting Bowen for not telling me right away like she did this to me. See, she is a good writer, I totally care and am involved I am just …gah.

Because I never get over what he did and why he did, I can’t be all in for the romance. And don’t get me wrong Mike is wonderful. He is all in and great. I just side eye him the whole time.

The heroine was a fierce and grumpy in the other books and that is explained here and soften but I kind of liked her mean. lol

Enjoyable but not a reread for me.

So, I am super excited for Nate’s romance! Love me a nerd!

Someone Else’s Love Story (Shandi Pierce #1) by Joshilyn Jackson Review

  Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson 4 Stars! 

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn’t define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

Review

There is a so much to love about this b0ok. The lyrical writing, amazing characters, details of place and time.

This isn’t a romance really (exactly) as the actual couples (there are two) spend most of the book apart but we do get Happily Ever Afters that are well earned,

Our hero is a brilliant neurodivergent and utterly wrecked with grief and rage. We get his love story in flashback. He is the king of romantic gestures and has an amazing bestie.

The heroine is much younger (and not his heroine it will turn out. Not a spoiler! The title gives this away). You have to read the book to get her story (cause that would be a spoiler) but the writer has a very interesting exploration of a pile of topics with her. You may or may not like it but it will make you think.

I wish her love story had been given more page time and after time. I am a romance reader and I want my romance. lol

It is a great book with a lovely ending.

Her Pregnancy Bombshell (Summer at Villa Rosa #1) by Liz Fielding Review

 Her Pregnancy Bombshell (Summer at Villa Rosa)  by Liz Fielding  2.5 Stars

Expecting her boss’s baby! 

Pilot Miranda Marlowe is too sick to fly her plane, and she must face the truth: she’s pregnant! She knows well enough that her boss, Cleve Finch, is still grieving for his late wife, so to think, she heads to her sister’s new inheritance, Villa Rosa.

Despite the spiders and dust, the Mediterranean palazzo is as gorgeous as ever. Until Cleve turns up with a dramatic offer: a convenient marriage as soon as it can be arranged! It may be the sensible answer…but is it enough for Miranda?

 

Review

I was enjoying this romance with its look at grief and comfort between two pilots.

The heroine has been in love with the hero since she was 18. He married another. The book opens with him in deep grief and the heroine comforting him physically.

She gets pregnant. I like very much what a respected pilot and airplane designer the heroine is. I like the setting of the the crumbling Italian Villa the heroine flees to (and the hero follows) to sort out what do to with her life now.

Then, for me the book goes south. The secondary characters don’t work well for me and worse the mystery of why the hero and heroine weren’t together misses the details I want and the details I get make me dislike almost everyone in the book.

Well written but it lost me. I was given this book for my honest review. So, there you have it.

A Seal Upon Your Heart by Pepper Pace Review

  A Seal Upon Your Heart  by Pepper Pace 4.5 Stars!!

Jane used to have a different name, a different life—but that was before she was rescued from the refugee camp after the Rwandan genocide and brought to the convent to be raised. Now she is being dismissed, told to go out into the world. But how does she do that when all she knows is the convent?
Sometimes she wants to scream, I am a child of Africa! And sometimes she wants to dream about a love that will save her from her loneliness…but mostly she wants to fit in.

Tim Singleton lost his wife to breast cancer less than a year ago and yet the pain and anger is still fresh in his mind. He hates the sympathetic looks from his colleagues and tolerates the invitations from friends with their good intentions. When Corrine died, so did Tim’s faith…so when he received the call from the convent that his wife had focused her charitable endeavors, Tim isn’t quite sure why he agreed to help the young African girl with a job.

She didn’t quite fit in with the others at the law firm that wore thousand dollar Chanel suits while her clothes were picked with care from the donation bin at the church. At nearly six feet tall, the shy girl tried to become invisible in the hectic world around her. But if her ill-fitting clothes didn’t draw attention to her, then it was a beauty that couldn’t be hidden so easily.

Soon Jane sees Tim as not only her benefactor, but her one true love. But can Tim finally open up and allow someone else to touch his heart? Can he forget their difference in race and age? And more importantly, would being with him mean the loss of her innocence?

Review

This is the kind of book that lingers with you long after you have put it down.

It starts with seemingly trite themes that one might find in an old Mills and Boon: a much older man (a grieving widower) and a his new personal assistant (naive and convent raised).

Then, the layers build. We are in Ohio. She is black and he is white. She is a Catholic and devout and he is non religious He drinks from grief. She has PTSD. She survived the Rwandan genocide as a young child and witnessed its horrors.

It is a powerful book and a powerful romance where they don’t heal each other but themselves.

The heroine isn’t perfect. She is young and struggles to find her full and complex self. The power issues bsased on age, money, race, gender and class are sometimes so intersting handled and sometimes clumsy.  She resilient and kind.

The hero too falters and errs and then becomes more. He contradicts himself and  doesn’t always do what he knows he should

There are no cookie cutter characters here and nothing is simple. The heroine is smart and so is the hero in terms of common sense, knowledge of profession, and emotionial intelligence.  Its glorious.

Racism and sexism are a large part of this tale.

I wish the sexism of the law firm and the hero’s privilege in it (he is never the issue but while he takes on a role protector and punisher, he doesn’t attack the issue at the systematic level that would be much more satisfying) had been more closely examined.

This romance is moving and a wonderful piece of writing as usual from Pepper Pace.