Review

Review: Reputation by Lex Croucher (2022)

Heat Factor: It gets pretty steamy, but not remotely with the romantic couple.

Character Chemistry: They end up kind of being a balm for the rest of the very difficult to like cast of characters

Plot: It’s an Emma/Mean Girls mashup, essentially. Georgiana is the impoverished new girl in town, who catches the interest of wild child Frances and her rich group of friends. On the periphery of the friend group, Georgiana meets Mr. Hawksley, who is actually a good person, etc.

Overall: I almost DNF’d it three times. I struggled with this one because it was good but it was really uncomfortable to read and if that makes me a goody-two-shoes nerd, then so be it.

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Recommended Read, Review Revisited

Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant (2014)

Hey you! Yeah, you! 

Are you feeling Grinchy right about now? 

Would you like your heart to grow three sizes?

Yes? 

Then please go read A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong immediately. It might be the perfect Christmas romance. It’s utterly charming and includes just enough of the obligatory “let’s do Christmas cheer” activities without being twee. It features two protagonists for whom *everything* goes wrong (#relatable, what’s up 2021!), but things end up just right in the end (and my heart goes pitter-pat).

I agree with everything Erin wrote about the characterizations in her review. What she doesn’t discuss is how crisp the writing is. Not just on the level of plot and characterization—because the way Grant builds up the tension between these two crazy lovebirds is masterful—but also on the level of word choice. 

Here are the first two paragraphs:

The trouble, Andrew Blackshear would later reflect, might have all been avoided if he’d simply kept to the main road. His first glimpse of the girl would then have been indoors, seated, with her hair bound tidily back, and their first dialogue would have been an inquisition so tedious as to temper the allure of those great swooping clean-edged curves that made up her prodigal mouth.

But with no way of knowing what lay in store, he hadn’t any reason to avoid the detour. The clouds broke above him, he turned down a lane whose towering yews promised a bit of shelter, and trouble found him, in torrents that put the winter squall to shame.

“Trouble found him, in torrents that put the winter squall to shame.” Just sit and savor that clause. I am egregiously bad at text analysis, so I can’t explain how amazing it is, but I can feel it, in my guts.

Look, both Erin and I thought this book was really really wonderful. You should probably just trust us. (Read on for Erin’s thoughts on the characters, plus general squeeing.)

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Review

Review: The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu (2021)

Heat Factor: There’s a closed door scene that I’m not totally sure added anything

Character Chemistry: If not getting along most of the time is your love language then yes, there’s chemistry

Plot: Jasmine is in her early 20s and her life’s a mess

Overall: Women’s fiction marketed as romance strikes again!

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Review

Review: Memento Mori by Jane Morris (2021)

Heat Factor: It’s hot and a bit gritty.

Character Chemistry: It’s very much like the sleeve of cookies in my cupboard at 9:30pm–we know better, we know it’s not going to feel good tonight, and we know we’ll regret it tomorrow, but do we eat the cookies anyway? We do.

Plot: Jane and Gabriel meet at a museum and are instantly and deeply aflame–even though Jane stubbornly leads Gabriel on a teasing chase. Gabriel insists they are lovers who have connected and failed to secure their future together over and over throughout the years, and it’s hard to tell if they’ll manage to end up together this time around.

Overall: This was a DNF for complicated reasons that I will happily elaborate on below.

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Review

Review: Ink and Claw by Ellen Mint (2021)

Coven of Desire, Book # .5 & 1

Heat Factor: There’s definitely a lot of horniness. A lot. A lot, a lot, a lot.

Character Chemistry: There’s an insouciant horny demon who’s present for sex and not emotions, and there’s a werewolf who’s…complicated

Plot: Layla is a witch, and she’s got an incubus attached to her soul, and also she has a crush on a werewolf who (might be but probably isn’t) murdering women

Overall: Didn’t work for me but if you like totally horny, totally bonkers witchy fantasy, it might work for you?

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