Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on Splash Me by Laura Lovely (2019)
Fairytale Remixes #1
So here’s the thing. I agree with everything Ingrid wrote about this short story—but also, Ingrid’s review does not capture how simultaneously weird and charming this story is.
First, the weird. The bulk of this story is about April and Kevin reenacting April’s Splash fantasies, which are incredibly specific and involve the bathtub scene.
I am not trying to kink-shame here—especially because a Google image search of “Splash movie bathtub” come up with a LOT of pictures of people recreating that scene in their own bathtubs. But the mechanics of faux-mermaid tail bathtub sex are kinda weird and not obviously sexy…and it’s also weird how well it works. I certainly was feeling some kind of way about what was happening, and it was a weird experience for me.
Which brings me to point number two (which is the bigger one): how utterly charming this story is. I had the biggest smile on my face at the end of it, which is WILD for an erotic short-story with an HFN. But, as Ingrid notes, the care that Kevin takes in making April’s fantasies reality is really wonderful, and I was so happy that these two nerds found each other.
Here’s Ingrid’s full review:Continue reading “Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on Splash Me by Laura Lovely (2019)”
Saturday Smutty Six: Holly’s Reading Roundup
Books I’ve read this spring that I thought were fun or interesting—but writing a full review is too much.
Fire Magic and Ice Cream by Lauren Connolly
File this one under: super-fun concept! Quinn is a fire elemental whose power gets activated when she is aroused. Like, her skin is covered in flames and her clothes burn off. As you might imagine, it makes dating extremely challenging when good sex *literally* lights the bed on fire. Enter August, an ice elemental whose powers are also activated by arousal. Once Quinn and August figure out their unique sexual compatibility, this book morphs into a low-angst contemporary romance, as our protagonists figure out their relationship.
One Last Time by Roxie Noir
This is the last book in the Loveless brothers series, and it’s a banger. (We’ve talked about other books in this truly top-notch series here: Book 1, Book 2, Book 3) I will say that Delilah was a difficult heroine for me: she’s rich and spoiled, and also, her reasons for being mad at Seth are completely unreasonable. BUT. Even with my frustration with Delilah in the first half of the novel, this is an exceptional second-chance romance that really sells the idea that our protagonists weren’t ready to be together forever their first (and second, and third, and fourth) time around. Bonus points for the parallel grand gestures and the Varmint Palace.
The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff
Not exactly a romance, though there is a love interest and a happy ending. I found this book about a group of women in rural India who start murdering husbands vastly entertaining to read. (Thanks to my sister for the recommendation!)
The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson
Though this book has a fascinating setting, I ultimately found it disappointing. First, while I am all about reading books with a feminist message, in this case, I thought it felt shoehorned in—and was heavy-handed to boot. Second, I didn’t find the romance particularly satisfying. While the romance was not the central story arc (which is fine!), it drives enough of the plot, particularly in the second half, that I wanted it to be a bit more fleshed out. And finally, I thought it was too darn long.
Bound to the Battle God by Ruby Dixon
Ok, so speaking of books that are too darn long, this book clocks in at 656 pages…but I read it in two days. It’s an epic fantasy romance with fabulous worldbuilding, a great single POV sassy heroine who is in over her head, and one damn adventure after another. Plus the romance—between a human woman and the god of battle and storms who has been exiled to the mortal realm (and is arrogance personified)—is excellent. What I didn’t love? Well, the adventures could have been shortened a bit. The tone sometimes gets a little slut-shamey (our heroine witnesses not one, but two orgies and does NOT approve). And I hated the epilogue, though the content is very on-brand for Dixon.
Think of England by K.J. Charles
It’s a House Party Mystery! Archie Curtis, wounded war veteran accepts an invitation to a house party in order to investigate his host. While there, he meets Daniel da Silva, who is aggressively flamboyant—and, it turns out, also investigating their host. They reluctantly join forces, which leads to some performative hanky-panky, which leads to some non-performative hanky-panky, as Curtis realizes that maybe he actually likes men *that* way. A few reader notes: there are quite a few period-appropriate slurs from the other good ole boys at the house party, and a very grim resolution to the mystery.
Bonus Movie Recommendation: Polite Society
This movie is utterly delightful. Think over-the-top martial arts fight scenes, except every single character is a woman and sometimes they throw down while dressed for a very fancy Pakistani-British wedding. Also, I dare you to not stan Nimra Bucha.
Review: Game Misconduct by Ari Baran (2023)
Penalty Box, Book #1
Heat Factor: So, um, these guys have some stuff to work out, and pain is part of that whole situation
Character Chemistry: For two guys who are absolutely mean to each other, they are shockingly tender
Plot: Two defensemen, one at the beginning of his career and the other at the end, fight their way into a very intense relationship
Overall: If you like unlikeable heroes and super-dee-duper messy characters, do I have a book for you!
May 2023 Wrap Up
Here’s everything we got up to on the blog this month!
Our Favorite Reads…
Holly’s Choice: Alliance with His Stolen Heiress by Lydia San Andres
This book is utterly bonkers and full of shenanigans—perfect for when you want a category-length read with a ton of plot.
Erin’s Choice: The Problem with Perfect by Philip William Stover
Recommended for those who like romance that really centers on the growth arc of one of the protagonists.
More from the Blog…
- We believe that high school students should have access to romance novels
- TBR Challenge: the theme was freebie
- Holly put together (another) list of (even more) romance blogs she reads
- 80s Category Romance Time! This month, our theme was “Stranger Danger.” What we learned? That strangers are not sexy.
- Holly talked about Twitter algorithms
Notes from Romancelandia…
Nothing to report this month, though Holly will keep an eye on all the blogs she reads for good content.
As always, we’ll be reading a mix of new and older titles—and stay tuned for a full week of himbo content (complete with a new episode of the podcast!).
Review: An Island Princess Starts a Scandal by Adriana Herrera (2023)
Las Leonas, Book #2
Heat Factor: It seems like there’s gonna be hanky-panky starting at the halfway point
Character Chemistry: Instant connection
Plot: Manuela wants to have fun. Cora wants Manuela’s land. Manuela will sell it, if Cora shows her some fun first. What’s a little bribery between lovers?
Overall: I could not get into it