Review

Review: His Christmas Guardian by Cindy Dees (2022)

Runaway Ranch, Book #4

Heat Factor: An extremely slow and unusually chaste burn

Character Chemistry: That “enemies” to “in love” switch flipped pretty fast

Plot: Government assassins put the Christ back in Christmas romance

Overall: Well…this was a thing I read

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Dueling Review, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Big Bad Cowboy by Carly Bloom (2018)

Once Upon a Time in Texas, Book #1

Holly’s Take

Heat Factor: I found the sexting shockingly effective

Character Chemistry: Maggie is in lust with the Big Bad Wolf, and moving from animosity to friendship to love with Travis. Except they’re the same man—and she doesn’t know it.

Plot: Maggie and Travis have mindblowing, slightly kinky sex as anonymous strangers at a costume party. And then Travis discovers that they’re neighbors slash she thinks he’s destroying her business. Too bad the sexting is so fun.

Overall: There were a few rough patches at the beginning, but I ended up really enjoying it.

Ingrid’s Take

Heat Factor: I’d definitely say it borders on a slow burn IF you don’t take the sexting into consideration.

Character Chemistry: There are a lot of relationships going on and they all had pretty good chemistry. Maggie and Travis seemed to sync really well.

Plot: Maggie and Travis hook up in disguise at a costume party—Travis knows Maggie’s identity, but Maggie is in the dark. When they end up at odds as neighbors and work competitors, they end up finding a deeper connection.

Overall: It was a cute cowboy-to-be book that felt realistically small-town.

Erin’s Take

Heat Factor: It starts early and doesn’t really slow down if you count all the sexting, but I wanted the story to get on with it because all the character interactions were more fun

Character Chemistry: I was more invested in the all the dynamics of the small town characters than in the romantic relationship between Maggie and Travis

Plot: business competitors, antagonistic anonymous neighbors, anonymous hookup, forced to work the same contract, sexting deception, custody battles, and liens

Overall: If we hadn’t agreed to buddy read it, I probably would have DNFed by 25% simply for all the gender essentialism, BUT I think it was maybe Trying To Do Something, and, as Holly said, it turned out pretty cute in the end.

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Review

Review: Dance with the Devil by Kit Rocha (2022)

Mercenary Librarians, Book #3

Reviews of Mercenary Librarians, Book #1 and Book #2

Heat Factor: Hot enough

Character Chemistry: Dani and Rafe have had electric, elemental chemistry from the beginning of the series

Plot: Overthrowing an evil corporation and reinstating democracy, no big deal

Overall: I was honestly more invested in the dystopia plot than the romance

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Larks Still Bravely Singing by Aster Glenn Gray (2021)

Heat Factor: Gentle, encouraging, exploratory, emotional

Character Chemistry: They have big hug energy to offer each other, even though they both think they shouldn’t ask for it themselves

Plot: Boarding school besties Robert and David both come out of WWI with scars both physical and mental, and find their way back to themselves with each other

Overall: My heart is so full and so wrecked

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale (2010)

Heat Factor: The time they have sex when they’re seventeen is a little too real

Character Chemistry: It’s obvious to everyone but her that he’s head over heels

Plot: First love reunited

Overall: This book is ridiculous

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