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From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata Review!

  From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata 3 Stars!

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

Review

I am always so excited when a new Mariana Zapata book comes out and this one with its deep dive into figure skating has arrived just in time of the Olympics.

We get a great deal of what we love about Zapata’s romances in this tale: slow burn, banter, excellence, friends to lovers (in this case after enemies).

Jasmine’s internal struggles to have a more balanced life as a professional athlete and the steady reveal of Ivan as a hero are wonderfully done as is the relationships with the larger cast.

We really see Jasmine fall in love though it seems our hero has been in love for a long time.

There are lots of great details from surprise pets, complex relationships with parents, a look at bullying that make this novel really good.

However, this is the kind of romance I read and think this was good but it could have been excellent.

I needed much more after the I love you. I needed to see Ivan talk openly about his feelings and where his head was at all these years because the book is told from Jasmine’s perspective.

There is a lot of talk about Jasmine’s body and think there needs to be a reckoning with the hero as body issues are so rampant in the sport. It felt false not to confront this aspect of the novel which is only skimmed here and hinted at there while the hero calls her Meatball. Now, the why of their “banter” is discussed but not at all to the complexity which would have made this a great book nor is the “one year only” aspect of the contact. These elements of the book felt sloppy. There is only one sex scene which I don’t mind but there is a moment in there where it hurts and she doesn’t tell him and then that again is the only erotic intimacy we get… so, yeah.

However!

I have a mad craving for James’ and Jonathan’s romance (please!) Tali’s should get one as well. And I would love to see how Ben and and Jas’s mom feel in love. This would make a great novella collection.

A Rational Arrangement (Arranging Paradise Book 1) in by L. Rowyn Review

  A Rational Arrangement (Arranging Paradise Book 1) by L. Rowyn

But these are vital aspects of marriage. If one cannot discuss them, what’s the use in meeting at all? It’s like trying to decide what you’ll have for dinner without mentioning food.”

Wisteria Vasilver does wish to marry. Truly. But though she lives in Paradise, arranging a match is full of traps and pitfalls for the unwary … or perhaps just for her.

Nikola Striker, Lord of Fireholt, expects he’ll wed — someday. But not now, and never to a rich icicle of a woman like Miss Vasilver. No matter how much his parents might want the match, or his house might need her dowry. Besides, he has his own problems — most of them people who need his help as a mind-healer.

Lord Justin Comfrey, Viscount of Comfrey, would be more than happy to help Striker with his financial troubles, and not just to ensure that Miss Vasilver’s dowry doesn’t tempt Striker into marriage. If only he could find some way to make his proud, stubborn friend accept the money!

Can three people of such different temperaments ever find their way to a more perfect Paradise?

 

Review 

This book is such a pleasure of a romance. In a Regency flavored culture set after the fall of another world in a new “Paradise,”  Rowyn meticulously builds cultures, history, religions,  a wider world, and a magic systems with as much beauty as the plot, characters, and love story.

I stayed up all night reading.

The heroine, Wisteria, is going right on my favorite heroines list. Wisteria brave, kind, moral, and with the keenest of minds. She falters and is big hearted.  She is somewhere on the  autism spectrum and thus able to see past cultural norms and mores and be baffled by them. Thus, she is socially awkward and misread as cold.  The hero/s come to adore her because of who she is and this romance explores the range of what is “normal” on so many levels and compellingly.

The hero, Nik, is burdened with responsibilities and in love with someone else that he can’t have publicly and thinks doesn’t really want him out of the bedroom.   Nik is a Blessed with gift of mind healing.  As he sees Wisteria more clearly, he comes to see himself more fully as well.  Their love story is one of honesty and have a safe place. It is sexy as all get out as well.

Our third lead is Justin. He is a charmer who really has to learn to trust, risk and talk to get his HEA with both the heroine and the hero and release old ideas about himself as well as the world.  He is loyal and brave.

This is a polyamorous romance that does a wonderful job thinking about the cultural aspects of marriage and sex and human nature. The writer makes you believe in the Happily Ever After because she doesn’t pretend it isn’t complicated.

The book takes on sex, religion, faith, ability gender roles, and marriage  from a global anthropological point of view as well as a biological one (though magic based as Nik can see minds). Wisteria’s analytical nature, Justin’s realism and Nik’s humanitarianism  all come together in a moving exploration of all these topics.

All all the while, we have sexy times, conflicts of all kinds, sexual tension, banter, carriage and Great Cats who talk!

Excellent.

I so hope there are more books in this world.

Idol (VIP, #1) by Kristen Callihan Review

4 Stars

Libby

I found Killian drunk and sprawled out on my lawn like some lost prince. With the face of a god and the arrogance to match, the pest won’t leave. Sexy, charming, and just a little bit dirty, he’s slowly wearing me down, making me crave more.

He could be mine if I dare to claim him. Problem is, the world thinks he’s theirs. How do you keep an idol when everyone is intent on taking him away?

Killian

As lead singer for the biggest rock band in the world, I lived a life of dreams. It all fell apart with one fateful decision. Now everything is in shambles.

Until Liberty. She’s grouchy, a recluse —and kind of cute. Scratch that. When I get my hands on her, she is scorching hot and more addictive than all the fans who’ve screamed my name.

The world is clamoring for me to get back on stage, but I’m not willing to leave her. I’ve got to find a way to coax the hermit from her shell and keep her with me. Because, with Libby, everything has changed. Everything.

Review

This is a lovely, sexy, adult romance with love story with music at the center of the story as much as romance between the couple.

There is the sweet grief of all kinds and the wonder of really being seen which carry this book forward with lyrical prose.

All the characters matter in this book and the interactions, friction, and unity of all of the cast create a compelling plot.

This is a great Rock Star Romance.