A fantasy romance prequel novella, an M/M/F erotic romance, and a contemporary romance with a scientist lottery-winner heroine. We contain multitudes.
Rating refresher! Categories are based on whether or not we recommend them to fellow readers - DNF (Did Not Finish), Pass, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary), Read it Eventually, Read it Soon.
Spellswept, by Stephanie Burgis
Eva says: YMMV
The thing about prequel-novellas is that despite being set before the events of the series I rarely find them a good introduction to the series. And Spellswept was no exception to that rule. It tells the story of Amy and Jonathan (who are background characters in The Harwood Spellbook series) and how they got engaged. And that’s already one of my issues: the meeting and the falling in love have already happened before. We learn some bits and pieces about how at first Amy thought he was the uncaring idiot everybody said he was but that she quickly realized how that wasn’t the case after she met and spent time with him. But that are just a few paragraphs between all the other things that are happening.
We also get to know the world the books are set in: a magical world where woman have all the political power (and yet the designated evil other suitor goes full-on condescending ‘don’t worry your pretty little head about men-problems’ to Amy and could easily have come from a story set in our world). We also meet Jonathan’s sister (who is the main character of the Harwood Spellbook series) and learn about her big problem. And then there’s a major magical catastrophe our protagonists must stop.
That’s a lot for a rather short novella. There wasn’t really the time to go in-depth into any of the many things that were happening. As a result, I didn’t really get invested in any of the things that were going on. That might have been different if I had already read the main series and wanted to know more about the backstories of the characters from it. But as an introduction to the series it just didn’t work for me.
Eva received a copy of this book from the author for review.
Three Way Split, by Elia Winters
Suzanne says: Read it Eventually (with a toy or a partner)
Once upon a time, I asked a fellow reviewer (Jen @ Romance Novel News) to please read Three Way Split and tell me if I ought to read it or not. She did. So I did.
I paid the full $3.99 for this book and it was worth every penny. It's tagged in some places as erotica, but it's definitely erotic romance. It's also a polyamorous romance, wherein two men who've been living together and hooking up for years get together with a local woman for a town festival AND for sexytimes. Winters balances the kinky stuff with discussions about how healthy triads work, and the whole thing is just very well done. The heroine ends up sort of being the catalyst for the two men to realize that they're not just friends who hook up. There are scenes for each hero with the heroine, plus the heroes together. One hero has some concerns about being left out and the other two pretend for a while that they don't want to have "a relationship." It's all worked out and they find a way to move forward together. It's surprisingly sweet for such a dirty book.
So, you wanted to know about the sex? Well, the heroine owns a sex toy shop. There are toys and power plays and more than one shower scene. And a swing.
Suzanne purchased this book.
Beginner's Luck, by Kate Clayborn
Suzanne Says: Read it Soon
After months of reading other reviews of this book and never reading my own copy, it was finally out on audio and I pre-ordered the heck out of it. Good call, past Suzanne.
The series follows three best friends who won the lottery together. Kit is a materials scientist (lab tech, in name only) who grew up in an unstable home and is using part of her winnings to buy a fixer-upper house and put down permanent roots. Ben is a recruiter for a corporation that develops things like weapons and equipment and so on. Kit works for a university and doesn't want to leave. Ben needs to recruit her so he can get out of a non-compete clause and set up his own recruiting firm with his BFF.
Sorry, you two. Time to fall in love!
I adored this book. Excellent banter, Clayborn curses more than you expect, and the chemistry (lol, science jokes) between the two of them is excellent. I absolutely bought into their relationship, their conflicts, and the Black Moment. I cannot wait to read the next two.
Suzanne purchased this audiobook. And purchased the ebook beforehand. She has bought it twice. *sigh*