All these posts by Catherine Heloise:
Book Review

Duchess If You Dare by Annabelle Bryant

Duchess If You Dare

I really wanted to like Duchess if You Dare. A historical with a fierce and street-wise heroine who all-too-frequently has to rescue the stuffy duke from his attempts to make things better? Yes, please. Alas, it really didn’t work for me. The relationship between Scarlett and Ambrose made absolutely no emotional sense, and I found the narrative’s treatment of sex workers to be quite distressing and dehumanising. Scarlett is the daughter of a sex worker … Continue reading Duchess If You Dare by Annabelle Bryant

Book Review

The Duke Undone by Joanna Lowell

The Duke Undone

I seem to be on a bit of a roll reading romances between noble dukes and heroines who are impoverished commoners. The Duke Undone took this trope to some clever (and unexpectedly gothic) places. I enjoyed it quite a bit until the last quarter of the book, when the tone shifted substantially. Lucy Coover is a talented and aspiring artist, but as a woman, she is forbidden access to life drawing classes. So when she … Continue reading The Duke Undone by Joanna Lowell

Book Review

Paladin’s Strength by T. Kingfisher

Paladin’s Strength

Content warning: there is a fair bit of violence, some of it quite gory, because the adventure part of the plot involves killer zombie-golems, were-beasts, gladiatorial arenas, kidnappers and more. Quite a few minor characters die. There is, however, absolutely no sexual violence in this book, despite certain aspects of the premise that might suggest it. If someone asked me if I wanted to read a romance that was sweet and comforting and funny and … Continue reading Paladin’s Strength by T. Kingfisher

Lightning Review

Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins

Wild Rain

Content warning: Spring’s backstory contains abuse, including sexual exploitation, and Garrett is a former slave and child soldier. Both characters face racism, and this is a major plot point. Wild Rain is a lovely, tender romance between Spring, a horse-rancher living in Wyoming, and Garrett, a reporter for a Black newspaper who has travelled out West to interview Spring’s brother. Spring is independent, prickly, and extremely competent, and Garrett is charmed by her almost from … Continue reading Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins

Lightning Review

All Consuming by Jaci Burton

All Consuming

All Consuming was the sweet, hot, low-tension romance that I really needed this week. Kal and Hannah were a couple in high school, but broke up when Kal left for college. They reconnect at their ten year school reunion, and find that not only is the spark still there, but that time and experience have made them better able to love each other in the ways they both need. There isn’t a lot of conflict … Continue reading All Consuming by Jaci Burton

Book Review

Love at First by Kate Clayborn

Love at First

Content warning: Grief and loss, neglectful parents Love at First is a contemporary romance about community and healing from grief, and what makes a home and a family. The story centres around a block of apartments in Chicago, and its two newest residents. Nora inherited her apartment from her Nonna about a year ago, but having spent all her summers there as a child, she views it with the affection of a resident of more … Continue reading Love at First by Kate Clayborn

Book Review

(Trust) Falling for You by Charish Reid

(Trust) Falling for You

(Trust) Falling for You is a fun, sweet novella about two college professors with very, very different personal and teaching styles falling for each other on a Team Building retreat in the woods of Wisconsin. This retreat, incidentally, sounds both like an HR nightmare and the sort of thing guaranteed to result in multiple letters to Ask a Manager, and also precisely like something that someone in academic administration would decide was a brilliant thing … Continue reading (Trust) Falling for You by Charish Reid

Book Review

A Lady’s Formula for Love by Elizabeth Everett

A Lady’s Formula for Love

Content warning: Discussion of a trans character who isn’t treated very well by the narrative. A Lady’s Formula for Love is a story about love, politics, science and the frustrations and difficulties of being a woman in 1840s England. It’s also a story about second chances, and reclaiming yourself after years of needing to be – or believing yourself to be – someone else. Perhaps most of all, it’s a story about claiming the right … Continue reading A Lady’s Formula for Love by Elizabeth Everett

Book Review

Much Ado About You by Samantha Young

Much Ado About You

Content warning: Emotional and physical abuse of a child (off-page but discussed by protagonists), alcoholism and resulting neglect of another child (off-page, but discussed by protagonist), character orphaned by the Bali Tsunami Much Ado About You is a contemporary romance in what I can only describe as the wish-fulfilment genre. Evie, fresh off an online dating disappointment, ups sticks and moves from Chicago to the tiny village of Alnster in Northumberland, responding to an ad … Continue reading Much Ado About You by Samantha Young

Book Review

Dearest Josephine by Caroline George

Dearest Josephine

Content warnings: Lots and lots of grief and loss, also death of a secondary character Dearest Josephine is an epistolary novel about grief and coming of age, disguised as a paranormal gothic romance. It is a sweet, clever, beautiful book, and I adored it. In 1820, the recently orphaned Elias Roch meets Josephine DeClare at an inn, and falls instantly and passionately in love. But in the morning, she is gone, and he has no … Continue reading Dearest Josephine by Caroline George

Book Review

The Ex Talk by Rachel Solomon

The Ex Talk

The Ex Talk is an enemies-to-lovers fake relationship romance set in the world of public radio. It is also something of a belated coming of age story. Shay Goldstein has been working at Pacific Public Radio for ten years, beginning as the ‘wunderkind’ intern, and rising to the role of producer of the station’s flagship show, Puget Sounds. She loves public radio for its ability to tell stories that connect personally with listeners, and for … Continue reading The Ex Talk by Rachel Solomon

Lightning Review

Mr. Right Across The Street by Kathryn Freeman

Mr. Right Across the Street

Mr Right Across the Street is a very sweet, very hot, slow-burn romance. Mia Abbott is building a new life in Manchester, where she has moved after her last relationship ended in the kind of unpleasantries that lead to changing cities and phone numbers. For the first time in her life, she is living alone and far from her family, and she is enjoying the opportunity to rediscover herself as an independent woman. She is … Continue reading Mr. Right Across The Street by Kathryn Freeman

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