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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Dueling Review

Dueling Review: Dragon’s Instinct by Elva Birch (2022)

Daycare for Shifters, #2

Ingrid’s review of Daycare for Shifters, #1

Holly’s Take

Heat Factor: There’s an epic sexathon without a ton of details

Character Chemistry: “My dragon says that you’re the one!” But also they’re really cute together.

Plot: Single dad dealing with some stuff + neighbor who is really good with kids + the American West is on fire

Overall: A cute read

Ingrid’s Take

Heat Factor: So many puns about fire and heat factor and so little time. They have many encounters and entanglements. 

Character Chemistry: It’s a lot of cute, eager yearning and then it’s off to the races.

Plot: Olivia is not a shifter, but she’s hoping to shift gears and start over in a new town. Ian is a single dad with a massively challenging home life going on, and he’s immediately drawn to his new neighbor.

Overall: Very tender and entertaining.

Erin’s Take

Heat Factor: I don’t think I’ve ever read an Elva Birch book with this much descriptive sex. (They go through a whole box of condoms in one weekend!)

Character Chemistry: Is it fated mates or are they just really into each other?

Plot: She’s running from her past, he’s running himself ragged with a shifter toddler, and there are some worrisome things happening around town

Overall: It’s light-hearted and sweet

**Our discussion contains spoilers**

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: Next of Kin by Hannah Bonam-Young (2022)

Heat Factor: It’s CLOSE to a slow burn but it didn’t feel too slow.

Character Chemistry: Their first meeting had a lot of sparks but not in a good way. Luckily they turned that around pretty fast.

Plot: Chloe’s life takes a massive turn when she takes custody of her newborn sister, who is in pretty rough shape. In order to gain custody, she has to team up with another young foster parent, Warren, who has fought to gain custody of his teen brother. Living together means they have to figure out how to make things work with the added pressure of parenting. Oof.

Overall: Totally smitten with this book in so many ways.

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: You & Me by Tal Bauer (2022)

Heat Factor: Planning ahead never felt so good

Character Chemistry: Y’all. On the narrator side it’s a slow bi awakening this-new-friend-is-a-lifeline to oh-damn-I’m-actually-in-love-with-him while on the other end it’s CLEARLY an unrequited crush. I did a little happy dance.

Plot: Luke’s teen son won’t talk to him, his estranged wife is tragically dead, and his emotional state is terrible. Luckily he meets Landon, his son’s best friend’s dad, who encourages him to join the football booster club to repair his relationship with his son. Unluckily, he’s just realized he’s actually in love with his new best friend.

Overall: What is all this wetness on my face?

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Review

Review: Dragon Prince’s Secret by Elva Birch (2022)

Royal Dragons of Alaska, Book #4

Reviews of the rest of the Royal Dragons of Alaska series: Book #1, Book #2, Book #3

Heat Factor: There’s really just one scene (not long) and everything else is off page

Character Chemistry: He can feel the mating bond, but she can’t!

Plot: The mysterious Kenth appears in the castle bellowing about his kidnapped daughter. His family is shocked to see him, but he’s shocked to see that the stranger in their midst is his mate.

Overall: I wasn’t as invested in Mackenzie and Kenth as I have been in other brothers’ stories, but the growth of the overarching series plot was really interesting.

Continue reading “Review: Dragon Prince’s Secret by Elva Birch (2022)”