Dueling Review

Dueling Review: Beauty and the Blacksmith by Tessa Dare (2013)

This month, our theme week—inspired by SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge—was the Blue Collar archetype. What could be better than a cross-class blacksmith romance?

Spindle Cove, #3.5

Holly’s Take

Heat Factor: He gets her all dirty

Character Chemistry: They’ve been pining from afar for a while and are finally ready to admit their feelings

Plot: Let’s try this courtship thang!

Overall: There are a couple of really standout scenes

Ingrid’s Take

Heat Factor: I mean, it opens with her admiring the size of his………………wrists. And it ends with zero doubt some dirty stuff went down. 

Character Chemistry: There’s heavy longing suggested, but things get cooking right away, which is nice for us.

Plot: They want each other, but can they HAVE each other?

Overall: It’s really cute and I can tell this is one that will stick in my memory if not just because there are some very memorable (and unique!) moments.

Erin’s Take

Heat Factor: It’s a novella, so there’s a lot of desiring from afar but only the one fateful night 

Character Chemistry: There are some undercurrents between Diana and Aaron earlier in the series, so this book involves a good deal of pining followed by taking action

Plot: Diana and Aaron finally decide to stop dancing around each other and see if their feelings can overcome their class divide

Overall: I enjoyed it more the first time I read it years ago, but it’s still well-constructed and charming if you don’t mind some dated ideas

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Threefold Tie by Aster Glenn Gray (2020)

Heat Factor: Scenes as couples are closed door, but they have one interlude at the end

Character Chemistry: I felt all their feelings very intensely

Plot: Three people who have all loved each other for some time are shocked into re-examining their relationship

Overall: What a great feelings book

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Review

Review: Enemies to Lovers by Aster Glenn Grey (2021)

Heat Factor: It’s short and steamy!

Character Chemistry: It’s a pretty sweet and average meet-cute at first, until everything clicks and you realize THEY’RE ONLINE ENEMIES!! Then it’s full steam ahead…

Plot: Megan is a fanfic writer who meets a fellow fan (who is also literally her other half, interests-wise) only to discover that Sarah is her harshest critic online. When she goes to confront her in their writer’s group, they end up stuck together and sparks fly.

Overall: This is short, sweet, witty, and funny—but yes, it does have a lot of niche-specific language that can be kind of confusing if you’re not into online fanfic.

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Dueling Review, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: I Think I Might Need You by Christina C. Jones (2019)

Love Sisters, Book #2

Holly’s Take

Heat Factor: She climbs him like a tree

Character Chemistry: He wants to show her that this time around, he’s all in

Plot: Joia discovers she’s pregnant and has some processing to do

Overall: Everything about being an influencer sounds friggin awful, but this was an interesting romance

Erin’s Take

Heat Factor: He’s very enthusiastic with his mouth, and she’s very into it

Character Chemistry: They’ve got great repartee

Plot: Joia figures out how to be true to herself and find her best happiness when caught by a surprise pregnancy revelation

Overall: I had so much fun reading this book!

Ingrid’s Take

Heat Factor: There’s a stripping scene involving “Pony” by Ginuwine

Character Chemistry: They have that best friends banter with that one night stand heat

Plot: Joia discovers she pregnant–like, REALLY pregnant–and has to decide what she really wants her life to look like

Overall: I fell surprisingly hard into the ins and outs of being an influencer and what that must be like (very well written) and yes, it sounded like my worst nightmare but also the book was pretty sweet.

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Flamingo’s Fated Mate by Elva Birch (2022)

Heat Factor: One open-door sex scene without a ton of detail

Character Chemistry: The fate is right there in the title.

Plot: Baker and billionaire / artist / flamingo shifter trapped in creepy banquet hall during a snowstorm.

Overall: Short, sweet, and fun

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