Review

Review: Ghosting: A Love Story by Tash Skilton (2020)

Heat Factor: Almost but not quite fade to black

Character Chemistry: They actually had pretty good sparring partners chemistry

Plot: You’ve Got Mail meets Cyrano de Bergerac plus other stuff going on

Overall: Fun-with-a-lot-of-caveats

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Review

Review: Twist of Fate by Susan Craig (2019)

Cedar Hill, Book 3

Review of Cedar Hill Book 1; Cedar Hill Book 2

Heat Factor: You can’t really tell sometimes if the heat is from the characters or getting all worked up about DANIEL, THAT STINKER

Character Chemistry: They’re drawn to each other from the start but they are in for a bumpy ride.

Plot: Daniel is deeply messed up because of the trauma his philandering father committed. Tammy is deeply messed up because she was seriously wounded by a disgusting troll of a famous conductor who blacklisted her from her career as a musician. They find each other working in the Veterinarian’s office together in good old Cedar Hill, but if you think this is one of those “they THINK he’s a cad but really he’s got a heart of gold!” you are SO mistaken. It’s going to string you along, friends.

Overall: I was on the edge of my seat with this one the whole time because I did not believe any author could pull this kind of hero off, but duh, Susan Craig wrote it.

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Let's Talk Tropes

Trope Rant: Deception and the Heroine’s Meltdown

Here’s the situation: 

I was reading a book one evening (as I do), and the primary trope involved a dishonest beginnings scenario in which the hero was perpetrating the lie and the heroine was deceived. Shocking, I know. I knew this going in, but I always hope for the best when reading. 

Anyway, I was about 60% of the way through this book when everything started hitting the fan (per usual), and I naturally turned to my partners in crime to ask: 

Can you think of a deception plot (false identity or some other intentional secret, not just protagonists being dumb) in which the MAN was the one deceived, subsequently lost his shit, and refused to communicate? And of course, he also assumed that because one thing was a lie, EVERYTHING was a lie? Or is that just a heroine problem?

Because I can’t think of one hero like that.

I feel this trope goes a little something like:

  1. Hero assumes false identity for Noble(ish) Reasons, 
  2. Hero meets heroine, 
  3. Hero thinks maybe this deception was actually NOT the best idea, 
  4. Heroine finds out before hero can confess, 
  5. Heroine assumes that EVERYTHING WAS A LIE AND WHAT CAN I EVEN BELIEVE,
  6. Heroine refuses to talk to hero because he’s a LYING LIAR,
  7. Then, about 100 pages later when they finally actually TALK, hero admits that his reasons were sound(ish), and he really wanted to confess, and 
  8. Heroine realizes that maybe she should have thought there could be literally one single other explanation to the story before losing her damn mind.

It’s like: “I actually don’t trust you at all! Wait. I was wrong? OMG WE’RE MFEO, SO LET’S GET MARRIED AND HAVE BABIES!”

Holly noted during our text chat that this was exactly the plot of How to Marry a Marquis, and I thought that MAYBE someone could have come up with a fresh take on this trope in the intervening 20+ years since that book was released. Like, maybe the heroine could be, I don’t know, rational and communicative? Especially if she’s supposed to be in love with the hero? Isn’t trust an essential component of that loving relationship? I don’t get it. Mad – sure. Hurt – sure. Rethinking things – very possibly. Quitting the relationship without even talking to the person you’re so in love with?

Alternatively, I would accept a hero who completely loses his shit and behaves with the maturity of a larva. But I’m thinking there’s a reason we don’t see that too much. 

The reason is: that behavior’s not cute.

What do you think of this trope? Love it? Hate it? Ruthlessly impartial toward it? Please let us know of any you can think of one in which the hero was the deceived party. I’d love to read it.

Rant, Review

Review: Hickville Crossroads by Mary Karlik (2020)

Hickville High, Book #4

Heat Factor: Innocent little high school kisses

Character Chemistry: This person looks into my eyes and I get all the tingles. I am not doing relationships right now. But the tingles…

Plot: Scottish actor embeds in rural Texas high school to understand his next role better, accidentally falls for local girl

Overall: It’s YA, so I shouldn’t, but I want to rant.

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Review

Review: The Demon’s in the Details by Jeanne Oates Estridge (2019)

Touched by a Demon, Book 2

Review of Touched by a Demon, Book 1

Heat Factor: What can I say? It gets hot in hell. 

Character Chemistry: Very sweet

Plot: Satan’s master plan is sadly convoluted

Overall: Great world building, but I want a demon who needs redemption!

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Review

Review: Rulebreaker by Cathy Pegau (2011)

Heat Factor: One extremely sexy F/F encounter

Character Chemistry: Slow to start, but they have their moments

Plot: Con artist infiltrates mining corporation in search of incriminating data, falls for boss

Overall: This is an excellent heist book and a middling romance

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Review

Review: Etched in Stone by Liv Arnold (2020)

Invested in You, Book #1

Heat Factor:

Character Chemistry: The meet cute was a great setup, but it didn’t pull through for the story.

Plot: Overblown

Overall: I was constantly cringing.

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