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ARC Review: Heat Wave by TJ Klune

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Thank you to Tor Teen and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Heat Wave releases July 19, 2022.

"Heat Wave" by TJ Klune (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Genre: LGBTQIAP+ Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary Fantasy
Series: The Extraordinaries #3
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Nick, Seth, Gibby, and Jazz are back in action bringing justice, protection, and disaster energy to the people of Nova City.

An unexpected hero returns to Nova City and crash lands into Nick’s home, upturning his life, his family, and his understanding of what it means to be a hero in the explosive finale of the thrilling and hilarious Extraordinaries trilogy by New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune.

 

REVIEW: Heat Wave was the best possible ending for this trilogy. It wonderfully emphasized the importance of owning yourself and who you are while embracing both your strengths and weaknesses.

Nick really comes into his own in multiple ways in this book, learning what it truly means to be a hero. That not all heroes wear capes and being neurodivergent is its own kind of superpower. I also loved how his relationship with his dad and Seth progressed

It was somewhat difficult to get into the story in the beginning. Ironically, I felt just as confused as the characters because I couldn’t remember past established facts.

I loved the many incredible, adorable, funny, and heartwarming moments between the characters. Literally, family goals, squad goals, friendship goals, relationship goals. Also, Dad Squad is the best and Burrito Jerry is a down-to-earth national treasure, the hero we didn’t know we needed but are forever thankful to have. And everyone deserves a special someone to share their Swinkles Salsagheti with. Simon Burke proves once more how wicked and devious a villain he is. I thought Simon’s story-line and that of those associated with him came to satisfying, logical conclusions.

A few breaks in scenes when characters would start having a side conversation in the middle of something went on for too long in a “do we really have time for this?” kind of way. A mix of short attention span irritation and eager reader needing to know what’s about to happen next.

Looking back, I don’t know if the tensions between police and the black community ever saw a “resolution” of sorts. Are things going to stay the same or is change for the better going to happen? Also, what happened to Rebecca Firestone? Her character elevated in this book in a way I didn’t see coming. Even though she’s Nick’s sworn enemy, there was no mention of her in the conclusion.

Heat Wave was an entertaining read in which love, family, and friendship conquered all.


More by TJ Klune

The Extraordinaries
The Extraordinaries (#1)
Flash Fire (#2)

Tales From Verania
The Lightning-Struck Heart (#1)
A Destiny of Dragons (#2)
The Consumption of Magic (#3)
A Wish Upon the Stars (#4)

Green Creek
Wolfsong (#1)
Ravensong (#2)
Heartsong (#3)
Brothersong (#4)

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Under the Whispering Door


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Book Review: These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

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"These Rebel Waves" by Sara Raasch (cover)
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Stream Raiders #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work.

Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war.

Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre.

As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.

 

REVIEW: These Rebel Waves was surprising, hectic, heartfelt, and oh-so good. Wow! This story took a lot of wild twists and turns, keeping the reader in thrilling suspense.

Lu (Adeluna) the soldier, Vex (Devereux) the pirate and stream raider, and Ben (Benat) the prince who is deemed a heretic, are the main characters telling the story in alternating point of views. They have so much heart and drive to do good even as they feel themselves breaking under the weight of their pasts and future threats. The war took away their innocence, so they have been trying to find a new, honorable sense of self since. They’ve always sought to do good and are passionate, intelligent, and pure-hearted. As the story progresses they come to recognize (or maybe they’ve always known) that the old ways were wrong and never worked and that a new way of life full of love, compassion, and justice is the way.

The odds of preventing war are really stacked against the main characters. Grace Loray was originally an island of refugees and immigrants from several countries until Argrid claimed and colonized it under a fierce religious rule. Poor Ben, I felt bad for him the most because he is so pure of heart and he’s up against the strongest adversity that I predicted would be a lose-lose situation for him. But he still tried to do good and be good and enact change in how his countrymen view magic. Moreso, how do you combat countless years of disunity, hatred, mistrust, elitism, hypocrisy?

I loved how the characters and other aspects were seamlessly interconnected. It’s not just the main characters trying to find or redefine themselves. Everyone is trying to establish and maintain an identity and a decent, livable way of life. But the power struggle will inevitably make things worse before things get better. Many secrets uncovered, betrayals, revelations shocked all of the main characters (and I) to the core, making the story a more gripping read. Consequently, this also makes for a great deal of heartbreaking and rage-inducing moments.

I was pleasantly surprised by how good this turned out to be. Raasch writes such breathtaking and compelling stories. I am very invested in what’s happening and beyond curious about what the state of things will be like once the dust settles. I both loved and hated the cliffhanger because feelings. War is a given. But who will come out on top and can peace at last be achievable remains to be seen. I look forward to finding out in the next book.


More by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes
Snow Like Ashes (#1)
Ice Like Fire (#2)
Frost Like Night (#3)

Set Fire to the Godswith Kristen Simmons
Set Fire to the Gods (#1)


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ARC Review: Batter Royale by Leisl Adams

*delayed arc review*

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Thanks again Amulet Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Batter Royale is OUT NOW!

"Batter Royale" by Leisl Adams (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Rating: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
Recommend to Others?: No

ABOUT: In this fun graphic novel, a talented young chef is selected to participate in a baking reality show and finds herself mixed up in spicy competition, bitter rivalry, and sweet romance.

In Leisl Adams’s debut graphic novel, Batter Royale, an aspiring amateur baker enters the toughest, ugliest, most fearsome fight she’ll ever experience: a baking reality show.

When seventeen-year-old small-town waitress Rose impresses a famous food critic, she and her best friend, Fred, find themselves thrust into the tough world of competitive baking. The contest is an intense ten days of bizarre challenges, and the competition is cutthroat. Some competitors are willing to lie, cheat, and sabotage their way to the top. Rose may be in over her head, but she is determined to show that she can become a top chef.

Batter Royale is a fish-out-of-water style romantic comedy about climbing out of the circumstances you’re in and making your dreams come true.

 

REVIEW: Rose is a passionate baker who just got into the culinary school of her dreams. But with money tight and her parents’ relationship so strained, her dreams may be over before they’ve even begun. When Rose sneaks a dessert she made to a top food critic, she’s invited to be a contestant on a food competition show. Winning could be the answer to her problems.

Batter Royale was a cute story that flowed nicely. I liked the artwork a lot even having to view it all in black and white. Everything came full circle. I expected more and wanted more from the story, so it was a disappointing and okay read. While there was a dash of romance, Battle Royale didn’t really feel like a rom-com. More cutesy and low-key than anything.

Rose has the natural, raw talent to become an excellent baker. I normally love characters who are so passionate about what they love to do. But I had a hard time liking Rose. She’s eager but very impulsive to prove her worth as a baker that it often gets her into trouble. I feel she kind of took advantage of her friendship with Fred by not listening whenever he said when something was a bad idea. Fred’s a nice guy. I wish she’d been more considerate of his feelings.

I’m conflicted about Rose and Fred as a couple. These long-time childhood friends clearly like each other. They had good and bad moments, but were kind of a hot mess together, especially since both want different things at this point in their lives.

As for the competition itself, it’s not one I’d watch myself. I love food competition shows, but this one was a little over the top and the logistics didn’t make much sense even for fiction. Nichole, one of the contestants, made a good adversary. And I liked how helpful and considerate Rose was to the other contestants even when it risked losing the competition.

I think one of the best things about Batter Royale was that it includes several dessert recipes in between sections. Definitely made me hungry for all of it.

I wanted to like Batter Royale, but it just fell flat for me. It’s a cute story with great artwork. And I think some readers will be able to relate to Rose, her passion, and her struggles. I just needed more.


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Book Review: My Rainbow by Trinity and DeShanna Neal, Illustrated by Art Twink

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"My Rainbow" by Trinity and DeShanna Neal, Illustrated by Art Twink (cover)
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Lgbtqiap+ Fiction, Picture Book
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal.

Warm morning sunlight and love fill the Neal home. And on one quiet day, playtime leads to an important realization: Trinity wants long hair like her dolls. She needs it to express who she truly is.

So her family decides to take a trip to the beauty supply store, but none of the wigs is the perfect fit. Determined, Mom leaves with bundles of hair in hand, ready to craft a wig as colorful and vibrant as her daughter is.

With powerful text by Trinity and DeShanna Neal and radiant art by Art Twink, My Rainbow is a celebration of showing up as our full selves with the people who have seen us fully all along.

 

REVIEW: A touching story in which a loving mother goes above and beyond to make her child happy. It’s based on the true story between the mother-daughter authors of My Rainbow.

Trinity is a delightful, young transgender and autistic girl who feels incomplete (not fully herself: a girl) without longer hair like hair doll. It’s extra frustrating for her because she has trouble growing her hair out. I love how patient her mom is, giving Trinity the time she needs to express herself and communicate her thoughts and feelings.

“Trinity’s gender was part of what made her a masterpiece, just like her autism and her Black skin.” It’s such a powerful moment between the mother and daughter. You can practically feel the mother’s anguish at not knowing how to help her daughter be who she truly is. Luckily, Trinity’s brother, Lucien offers the perfect solution: a rainbow colored wig of her own.

The wig the mom sews – which, by the way, she learned to make on the go watching tutorials – how awesome is that?! – is glamorous, beautiful, and so meaningful. I must have one of my own! Trinity was so adorably ecstatic about it.

My Rainbow was wonderfully illustrated and deeply moving. I also loved the bright rainbow of flowers decorating Trinity’s hair on the cover. What a caring and supportive family Trinity has!


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Book Review: All Because You Matter by Tami Charles, Illustrated by Bryan Collier

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"All Because You Matter" by Tami Charles
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: A love letter to Black and brown children everywhere: reminding them how much they matter, that they have always mattered, and they always will.

Tami Charles pens a text that is part love letter, part anthem, assuring readers that they always have, and always will, matter.

 

REVIEW:They say that matter is all things that make up the universe: energy, stars, space…If that’s the case, then you, dear child, matter.

This story is a must-read for everyone. All Because You Matter is an important reminder to black and brown children that they matter in all aspects of life and deserve to be represented in all aspects of life.

The tone is gentle, hopeful, and reassuring. The story details all the ways in which You matter, through successes and failures, through their ancestors who fought so hard for so long and continue to fight so that they (future descendants) would matter too.

The art style is so interesting and I like the petal motif throughout. I wrote down a lot of great quotes from the story and the author’s and illustrator’s notes (see end of post).

All Because You Matter is a helpful conversation starter about past, present, and future racial and social issues. This was a noteworthy read.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “…thinking of you, years ahead. Because to them, you always mattered.”
  • “…and all the moments in your life that would matter…”
  • “…and you wonder if they, or you, will ever matter. But did you know that you do?”
  • “Did you know that you are the earth? That strength, power, and beauty lie within you?”
  • “All because, since the beginning of time…You mattered. They mattered. We matter…and always will.”
  • (Author’s Note) “…to provide parents with a starting point for conversations about the racial climate in our country today…if we are to raise empathetic future leaders.”
  • (Author’s Note) “…to remind all children, especially those from marginalized backgrounds, that no matter where they come from, they matter.”
  • (Illustrator’s Note) “…a wonderful journey of promise and empowerment for our children, one that zooms through time and space.”

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Book Review: The Power of Her Pen by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by John Parra

The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by John Parra

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"The Power of Her Pen" by Lesa Cline-Ransome (cover)
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book, Biography
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Ethel Payne always had an ear for stories. Seeking truth, justice, and equality, Ethel followed stories from her school newspaper in Chicago to Japan during World War II. It even led her to the White House briefing room, where she broke barriers as the only black female journalist. Ethel wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions of presidents, elected officials, or anyone else in charge, earning her the title, “First Lady of the Black Press.” Fearless and determined, Ethel Payne shined a light on the darkest moments in history, and her ear for stories sought answers to the questions that mattered most in the fight for Civil Rights.

 

REVIEW: The Power of Her Pen was a fantastic biography, highlighting the impact and many accomplishments by Ethel L. Payne during the fight for civil rights. “I wish that all the people could understand that we want for our children the same rights as any other human beings.

As you quickly learn, Ethel really did “always ha[ve] an ear for stories.” A way with words that rang true and inspired. Ethel’s loving parents and supportive teachers encouraged her writing.Long past her bedtime, Ethel collected the stories of people who followed a path paved with dreams.

In newspapers, she wrote about the unjust experiences of the black community at home and what black soldiers faced abroad.I was beginning to have the seeds of rebellion churning up in me.” Her stories gradually gained traction, her words having a far reaching effect.Her reporting highlighted their struggle for justice, equal pay, housing, and education…created awareness and activism in the fight for civil rights for people across the globe.

Soon found herself at the White House as one of the first Black press correspondents where she would be dubbed the “First Lady of the Black Press.” Ethel would relentlessly continue to use the power of words as her method to advocate for equal rights and improve the lives of Black people.

It’s an incredible recount of a life spent fighting for equality and justice for all, not just a select few. “I’ve had a box seat on history and that’s a rare thing.” Ethel L. Payne is truly a remarkable person.

I loved how she wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions of presidents and other leaders, even presidents. The author notes, “Her pointed questions to numerous presidents elevated civil rights issues to the national agenda and, in turn, helped to speed along the slow wheels of change by holding elected officials accountable to their black constituents.

I’m so happy to have had a chance to read her story. The Power of Her Pen is a must read!


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Book Review: Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison

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"Hair Love" by Matthew A. Cherry (cover)
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: When mommy is away, it’s up to daddy to do his daughter’s hair in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestseller Vashti Harrison.

Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When mommy does Zuri’s hair, she feels like a superhero. But when mommy is away, it’s up to daddy to step in! And even though daddy has a lot to learn, he LOVES his Zuri. And he’ll do anything to make her—and her hair—happy.

Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair—and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.

 

REVIEW: I have been wanting to read Hair Love for the longest time and it did not disappoint. It was an excellent story of Black joy and black hair love that I wish I had growing up.

Zuri, the main character, loves her hair because it can do anything and let her be anything. She says, “Daddy tells me it is beautiful. That makes me proud. I love that my hair lets me be me!

Zuri loves her daddy so much and wants to do something special for him because he’s always taking care of her. But she needs the perfect hairstyle for the occasion.

I love seeing the close father-daughter relationship as her dad helps Zuri style her hair. There’s so much joy and love radiating from the lovely illustrations. Their smiles made me smile wide. And I loved when Zuri proclaims, “My hair is Mommy, Daddy, and me. It’s hair love!

Hair Love was a delightful, captivating read that is a must-have for personal and classroom libraries.


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ARC Review: The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

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Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Bodyguard releases July 19, 2022.

"The Bodyguard" by Katherine Center (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
Recommend to Others?: No

ABOUT: She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.

He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.

They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.

What could possibly go wrong???
Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

 

REVIEW: A good bodyguard rom-com that lost me at times. But I liked the story’s theme of realizing your self-worth, loving yourself, and taking chances.

Hannah is an Executive Protection Agent, the best of the best. This quirky workaholic with an endearing personality often desires escape when things become too much. Sometimes it was hard to grasp who Hannah was and what she really wanted or feared, lots of back and forth. But it’s clear she’s closed off her heart to love or close relationships given the few she has/had. I like her character though and hated seeing her doubt herself or her worth.

Jack is an uber famous actor who has lived isolated and emotionally distant from everyone and everything due to survivor’s guilt after his younger brother’s death. I liked getting to know the real Jack. Not the Jack Stapleton, renowned, beloved, charming actor extraordinaire that everyone thinks they know. But Jack, a simple, ordinary man who loves his family.

Some of the best moments of the story were during the humorous interactions between Hannah and Jack, especially knowing how much of a hardcore fan Hannah is of Jack’s film career. I liked how as they got to know each other better it put their pasts into perspective enough to reconcile and move forward. Because Jack is so widely famous and liked it’s hard for him to relax or be the real Jack. Hannah makes him laugh, happy, and relaxed. Hannah in turn slowly learns that it’s okay to take a break and enjoy life (something we should all remember to do, especially when it comes to work).

To me, there was more telling than showing as a whole. I didn’t like that there wasn’t much guessing or inferencing for the reader to do as it was continuously indicated when something bad or adverse was about to happen. Lots of “and that’s how this” or “I was going to do this” or “I was doing this when blank happened” or “ when blank entered the room” type of language. You learn pretty much far too early on what happened to Jack’s younger brother, Drew, because it’s very obviously said.

I also didn’t like the last 15% of the story. I’m not sure if we needed that last section of tension and pain, especially for Hannah. Didn’t add much value to the story given the state of Hannah and Jack’s relationship at that point. The story could’ve easily ended there. I will say, there was one line in particular that was too real in a good but heartbreaking way. Otherwise, I wasn’t a fan of this section of the book.

All of Hannah’s coworkers (except for one) I adored. Glenn Schultz is the best, grumpy boss ever. Kelly is a hoot. I also adored Connie, Jack’s mom. Despite being diagnosed with cancer, she still shines so bright with such unwavering strength.

So this was a good, maybe okay read. I had some issues with how it was told. But there were enough lighthearted, enjoyable moments that carried me through to the end.

CW: cancer, survivor’s guilt, gaslighting


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Book Review: The Scandalous Vixen by Tracy Sumner

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"The Scandalous Vixen" by Tracy Sumner (cover)
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Duchess Society #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: In this enemies-to-lovers Regency romance by award-winning author Tracy Sumner, a bold lady and a ruthless duke realize they need to agree to an ardent alliance to get what they want.

He knew at first sight.
She knew at first kiss.

Helena Astley, Lady Hell to the ton, has plans. To control her father’s shipping business, to live her way, by her rules. Her plan is going remarkably well until one ill-advised kiss invites the duke she doesn’t want but cannot resist into her life.

Hardnosed Roan Darlington, Duke of Leighton, cares little for society or finding a duchess. The only person ever to challenge him is the incorrigible, infuriating Helena Astley. The one woman he’s never been able to forget. When they’re caught in a ruinous situation, Roan offers her an alternative. A sham engagement she can break off after Christmas.

As they discover a world of forbidden pleasure, Helena must decide if she can relinquish a heart she vowed to withhold from the only man powerful enough to seize it.

And Roan must decide if falling madly, passionately in love is worth the risk.

 

REVIEW: Another exciting read from Tracy Sumner! An enemy-to-lovers romance was the perfect addition to the The Duchess Society series.

Book two was more toned down than the previous, but still sensual, thrilling, and had lots of pining. You have a reluctant, defiant duke and one helluva businesswoman constantly competing or at each other’s throats while simultaneously longing for the other. How enchanting!

Helena is very independent and a caregiver, proudly living life as she pleases while managing her father’s shipping business. But beneath her steel exterior is a vulnerability that keeps her on the outside looking in.

Roan is a charismatic nerd who loves archaeology. I loved when he would go off on nerdy tangents. He protects his heart by surrounding himself with a chosen family. Being unmarried and on the outside of society suits him just fine. It was love at first sight for this caring, intelligent man. He becomes smitten, a goner, unable to stay away from the firestorm that is Helena Astley.

I loved Roan and Helena together. They have more in common than they think. Both don’t fit in with society’s expectations, leaving them to feel not good enough for society or love. To compensate, they live life on their own terms. Even after a falling out ten years ago they can’t seem to stay away from each other, immensely attracted yet unable to properly show it.

Spending the Christmas holiday together allows their relationship to grow, but also forces them to confront the reasons why they’ve always fiercely guarded their hearts. Then it becomes a question of who they will be and what they’re willing to risk if at all for love.

I liked reuniting with characters from past books who helped elevate this story. Pippa – Roan’s little sister – and Theodosia – Helena’s younger half-sister – were so delightful. And I loved all of Xander’s parts in this story because he’s such a roguish charmer and complex character with a mysterious, deep-seeded hatred of the ton. I’m even more excited to read his story in book three.

I really loved The Scandalous Vixen. It was an entertaining, romantic, and pleasant read.


More by Tracy Sumner

The Duchess Society
The Brazen Bluestocking (#1)


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Book Review: Dark Alpha’s Caress by Donna Grant

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"Dark Alpha's Caress" by Donna Grant
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Reaper #10
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I’m coming for you…

Reborn to serve, I have never once questioned Death’s directives. Until my mission leads me to a Halfling who stirs things within me that I’ve never felt before. Sorcha’s past intrigues me, but not as much as the gorgeous and stubborn Halfling herself. Though the Others are no more, our enemies still lurk around every corner. I can feel it. But for her, I will battle whatever comes my way—be it present dangers or ghosts of the past.

 

REVIEW: Dark Alpha’s Caress is a story of grief, loss, and reconciliation that was a punch in the feels.

Both Sorcha and Cathal loved and lost their family in tragic ways. They’ve carried a high level of grief and guilt for years.

Sorcha has lived in self-isolation for the past ten years and refuses to do magic after losing her mother and sister in a climbing accident that she feels was totally her fault.

Cathal feels responsible for his broken family and the disastrous decisions he made. He is grateful for the second chance at life Death gifted him but has kept his heart closed off. He is perplexed yet curious about Sorcha and how she fits in with new threats emerging.

They fall in love hard and fast. I liked how they learned to trust the other with the heavy burden they’ve been carrying for a long time. How they form a connection with someone who truly understands them. How far they’re willing to go to protect this newfound happiness.

I liked the mystery that encompasses the story. An unusual amount of fae are gathering on Skye. Sorcha is being targeted for reasons linked to her lineage and the father she never knew. This led to great action scenes and suspenseful moments.

The only thing that bothered me was why neither Cathal or Aisling didn’t call for backup to help guard Sorcha or fight the fae when it was clearly needed. Nor did I understand why Sorcha never told her cousin Rhona (who is also the leader of the Skye Druids) what was happening until much much later.

I otherwise enjoyed Dark Alpha’s Caress. I think many will relate to Sorcha and/or Cathal’s struggles. I loved their romance and how they reconciled with their pasts. I look forward to reading the next installment.


More by Donna Grant

Reaper
Dark Alpha’s Awakening (#7)
Dark Alpha’s Redemption (#8)
Dark Alpha’s Temptation (#9)

A Dark Kings Novel
Fever (#16)
Flame (#17)

Heart of Texas
A Cowboy Like You (#4)
Looking For A Cowboy (#5)
A Cowboy Kind of Love (#6)

Home for a Cowboy Christmas

That Cowboy of Mine


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