Thumbs up for The Proposition by Judith Ivory. Historical romance.
Gender-swapped Pygmalion with a genial ratcatcher as a hero and an anxious, not-traditionally-attractive spinster linguist as a heroine. Extremely well-written and unique; the characters are difficult and imperfect in ways that make them feel like real people. Five stars, with a three-fourths of a star docked for the eyeroll-inducing ending and the rest of the star gone for the (unfortunately necessary) pain of trying to convey dialect in text.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater. Fantasy historical romance.
In Regency England, a young lady with only half a soul is drawn into faerie magic as well a romance with the ill-tempered Lord Sorcier. Witty, surprisingly thoughtful, a little bit dark (as books with proper fairies in them have to be), and delightfully clever. I read it in one delicious sitting.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews. Historical romance.
The ostensible one-line description: A young lady with severe social anxiety and a military hero with a secret enter into a marriage of convenience. The thing is, though, this book is not just better than most other historical romances, it is better than most other books regardless of genre.… >> Read more
Thumbs down for A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows. Fantasy romance.
I enjoy high-fantasy romance and, particularly, political fantasy, and I was pleased to see that Tor was coming out with one. So I had such high hopes! And I did immediately enjoy the prose; the author has a way with words. However. It didn’t take long before I started wondering if I should quit (despite how easily the pages flowed by), because I noticed that one of the main characters was just Decent Guy and the other one was just Traumatized Guy, and neither of those things is an actual personality.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros. Historical fantasy.
I have read a lot of excellent books this year but this one is in the Top 3. Alter Rosen, a young Jew in Chicago, 1893, is trying to keep his head down and raise enough money to bring his mother and sisters over from Romania. But boys from his community are disappearing—and the next one is his roommate (and crush).… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Stolen Threadwitch Bride by Clare Sager. Fantasy romance.
Magical seamstress with anxiety is kidnapped by sexy cinnamon-roll Fae prince who wants her to make him a suit of invisibility. Much steam, though it’s closed-door. This is part of a series called “Stolen Brides of the Fae,” and my reading of it owes to my attempt to understand contemporary fantasy romance.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Lava Red, Feather Blue by Molly Ringle. Romantic fantasy.
This book was billed as “Sleeping Beauty, but make it gay,” which meant that I kept putting off reading it because I almost always hate fairytale retellings. I shouldn’t have worried. Yes, Prince Larkin is awakened after two hundred years of magical sleep, but that’s just where this book starts.… >> Read more