Mini-reviews of The Court of Miracles, The Henna Wars, Beach Read and What I'm Looking For. So that's a YA alt-historical (not a romance), a YA f/f contemporary and two m/f contemporary romances.
It’s a pretty well known fact that I dig slow burn romances. And while this book definitely qualifies as the slowest of slow burns (the two main characters don’t even share their first passionate kiss until the 77% mark), there are a few things that left me wanting more from this book.
If you're looking for a book in which two people who split up as teens are reunited 13 years later for a week of lots of "no-strings" sex, this is the book for you. As you might expect, the no-strings thing doesn't work. Darn those feelings.
I've been seeking paranormal romance with lighter plots and not so much murder and suspense, so I've gladly sailed through each of Abigail Owen's re-issued Brimstone, Inc. novellas. The first pairs a demigod and a nymph, the second matches up two alpha werewolves and the third hooks up a witch and the warlock/coven official looking for her. Heads-up: all three are connected and I'm not sure they'd work as stand-alones.
Before I start this review, let me just share one thing about myself. I’m not particularly fond of many sports but I have been a dedicated fan of tennis for most of my life. I know the game, I know how to keep score, I know a forehand from a backhand and a dropshot from a volley. A few years ago, when sports romances were all the rage, I was a bit sad about the lack of tennis romances. So, dear reader, you can well imagine my utter joy when one of my favorite authors announced a book featuring a tennis instructor hero.
Ethan Night is a psychically damaged Arrow, walking a knife’s edge, worried about being used as a weapon by those who long abused him, disconnected from the squad that rescued him, unsure that he is safe to be around others and his world so gray he isn’t sure he should even try.
Danny Griffin is a talented artist with a sunny disposition, an uncanny ability to attract trouble and a desire to explore his submissive tendencies. It’s the latter that sends him down a dark street and into the path of three knife wielding attackers. Luckily for Danny, and unluckily for them, St. Louis superhero Blaze is out patrolling and rescues Danny from certain doom. There’s an instant chemistry and attraction between the two and even though Blaze sends Danny safely on his way, he can’t let go and engineers a way to see him again by buying Danny a membership to the kink club he belongs to.
Tourist meets townie in this grumpy one + sunshine one romance. Zoey's on the trip of a lifetime - two weeks in Moose Springs, Alaska. Graham's making his living there off of being the grumpy proprietor of one of those can't-miss tourist stops. If you recall the restaurants where guests are literally paying to be insulted? Think that, but toned down a bit. Sarah Morgenthaler's writing is funny, her characters are likeable and the whole book is as escapist as the vacation Zoey's embarked on.
Queen Move is a stand alone romance connected to Kennedy Ryan’s All The King’s Men duet that was out last year. Kimba, the female MC here, was the best friend and powerful business partner of Lenix from those books. It stands alone well, there’s no need to read the duet to be able to capture all of the nuance in Queen Move.
Kimba and Ezra grew up together and slowly grow to have feelings for each other but never admit this to themselves - or each other. But their families have a falling out and Ezra moves away out of the blue and they never see each other again until they're adults and both powerful in their own ways. It's a big family secret as to the exact reason of why they had to move so suddenly...and of course that comes back to haunt them.
Queen Move hooks the reader in with chapters throughout Ezra and Kimba’s childhood together. I was incredibly drawn in by these as it sets the tone of their friendship, but when they’re basically torn apart (hence, the angst) we fast forward to adulthood where they meet again and their chemistry is palpable.
One of Kennedy Ryan’s many strengths is her obvious research and the care she takes with every topic she deals with in her books. From domestic violence to drug abuse, she always handles each with subtlety and circumspection. In Queen Move she deals with Ezra, the male MC, needing to embrace both sides of his family with being Black and Jewish. There were so many small details sprinkled throughout the book that made it so special and apparent the care Ryan was taking with his faith. The research reminds me of Beverly Jenkins or Sarah MacLean.