Review

Review: Intelligence Check by Katherine McIntyre (2022)

Dungeons and Dating, #3

Reviews Dungeons and Dating, Book #1 & Book #2

Heat Factor: Three detailed encounters in the last chunk of the book—they have a lot of pining to get through first

Character Chemistry: “I think this person is so great, but there’s no way they like me”

Plot: Mason and Hunter start carpooling to work together, and that push is just what they need to open up to each other

Overall: There’s a lot to like

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: Honeytrap by Aster Glenn Gray (2020)

Heat Factor: The moments when they connect are really special, but it doesn’t happen often

Character Chemistry: Gennady’s a bit of a cynic, and Daniel just can’t help falling in love

Plot: Wise Spies – they both know very well the games their governments are playing, and that connection forges unexpectedly deep trusts that carry through years and separations

Overall: Oof. Wow. How can I read another book now?

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Review

Review: Going Public by Hudson Lin (2022)

Jade Harbour Capital, Book #2

Heat Factor: Gentle and affirming

Character Chemistry: The buildup was great, but maybe there was a little too much of a jump into the recognition and acknowledgement of feelings

Plot: Elvin is Ray’s long-time EA at a financial investment company, Ray is tasked with auditing an asset, everything personal goes well while everything else goes sideways

Overall: Decisions were made here. They’re good decisions, but are they romantic decisions?

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: Proper Scoundrels by Allie Therin (2021)

Heat Factor: Well hello, on page sex, I did not expect to see you here

Character Chemistry: Uh, grumpy cynic is soft for tortured cinnamon roll. YES PLEASE

Plot: The relics are BACK! With an aura-sucking vampire paranormal, a rude English Viscount who finds himself in the middle of a situation he knows nothing about, and a Puerto Rican nullification magic paranormal who has an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and a tragic past

Overall: I am so delighted I might go back and read Magic in Manhattan all over again so I can get some more vibes

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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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