Book Reviews

The Secret Ingredient by KD Fisher

The Secret Ingredient

The Secret Ingredient’s premise appealed to me because it has two chefs falling in love in a small town. I expected a fun comfort read and was pleasantly surprised when it delivered more than that, especially through one of the leads, Adah. Adah Campbell’s excited for a fresh start with her son, Pete, in South Bay, Maine. After working her way up from greasy spoons to fine dining restaurants in Chicago over the last decade, … Continue reading The Secret Ingredient by KD Fisher

My Last Duchess by Eloisa James

My Last Duchess

My Last Duchess is pure, frothy, Georgian-era historical escapism. Reading it felt like being wrapped up in a warm blanket while watching a picturesque snowfall outside. I can’t say it was particularly substantial or thought-provoking, but for the most part, it was a pleasure. This book is a prequel to Eloisa James’ ongoing Wildes of Lindow Castle series about the numerous Wilde offspring and their exploits. My Last Duchess tells the tale of how the … Continue reading My Last Duchess by Eloisa James

The Virgin who Ruined Lord Gray by Anna Bradley

The Virgin Who Ruined Lord Gray

I picked this ARC up for the title, which delighted me, and for the setting, which centres around a charity school for Wayward Girls in Georgian England that is in fact a secret training ground for young women on a mission to bring justice to corrupt aristocrats. The Virgin who Ruined Lord Gray straddles the line between traditional historical romance and romantic suspense, and I found it an enjoyable, but flawed read. This story centres … Continue reading The Virgin who Ruined Lord Gray by Anna Bradley

Jane in Love by Rachel Givney

Jane in Love

Well reader, I was wrong. I read this book up to the 31% mark and figured it was a DNF due to an over-reliance on clichés. However, I started skimming the middle of the book and had to back up and read the whole thing. Jane in Love is a wildly uneven book which I expect will be a love it or hate it book for readers. I enjoyed Jane Austen as a curious and insightful … Continue reading Jane in Love by Rachel Givney

A Stitch In Time by Kelley Armstrong

A Stitch in Time

With its brooding hero, numerous ghosts, a charming-yet-haunted old house, multiple historical murder mysteries, and the beautiful but dangerous moors of England, A Stitch in Time was a fun and engaging book to start out my spooky season reading. Was it somewhat derivative and convoluted? Yes. But it was also delightfully atmospheric and endearingly quirky in its delivery of a number of gothic and paranormal romance tropes. It sort of reminded me of Crimson Peak … Continue reading A Stitch In Time by Kelley Armstrong

Shit, Actually by Lindy West

Shit, Actually

Every year around the holiday season, I see people squee about Love, Actually and I’m reminded all over again how much I hate half of it and how meh I feel about the rest of it. But then I remember Lindy West’s infamous takedown of it and I don’t feel alone. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when I heard about Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema. Its recap-style … Continue reading Shit, Actually by Lindy West

The Big Tow by Ann McMan

The Big Tow

Vera “Nick” Nicholson is an underpaid and overworked lawyer. After nearly seven years, she’s still at the bottom of the ladder at Turner, Witherspoon, Anders, and Tyler, PA. (*slow clap* for the initialism of her employer’s name, which is the first sign that this romcom often has its tongue planted firmly in its cheek.) One day, Nick is given a weird job: tracking down a missing Mercedes-Maybach S560 belonging to one of the firm’s top … Continue reading The Big Tow by Ann McMan

A Princess For Christmas by Jenny Holiday

A Princess for Christmas

A Princess for Christmas is the literary equivalent of a cozy sweater, a warm hug, and a rich cup of cocoa. It is funny, sweet, and comforting without being overly cutesy. I was almost ridiculously charmed by this book which brought me so much joy in mid-pandemic meltdown. It’s December in New York City, where Leo Ricci is the superintendent of the apartment building where he lives with his eleven-year-old sister, Gabby. He’s been taking … Continue reading A Princess For Christmas by Jenny Holiday

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

The Once and Future Witches

I adored this book so much, but it’s not a light or easy read. This historical fantasy about three sisters in 1893 does not permit them to take an easy route on their journey towards a decent life. There are two romances, but they are not central to the book, which keeps its focus on the sisters as they struggle for autonomy and power for women in a ferociously patriarchal world. Here’s the plot description … Continue reading The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

The Midnight Bargain

The Midnight Bargain reminded me why I love fantasy novels, and then wrecked me with its social commentary about a Regency-inspired world. This is a story about women feeling trapped by social constraints, scrambling to escape, and discovering along the way that transforming a society is more satisfying than just saving oneself. I loved the book’s drawing room politics, djinn-inspired magic, chosen family, and the way the story didn’t shy away from the heroine’s ambition, … Continue reading The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

Fame Adjacent by Sarah Skilton

Fame Adjacent

Fame Adjacent is, for the most part, a good book, but not a very good romance. This story addresses the addictive nature of the internet and the toxic effects of fame through the narration of Holly Danner, who finds love on a road trip with Thom, a fellow internet addict. The story is more rom-com than romance novel, but even by the standards of rom-com the romance part of the book is pretty weak. Back … Continue reading Fame Adjacent by Sarah Skilton

Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash

One of my recent joys has been discovering Malinda Lo’s fantasy YA books. In her novel, Ash, Lo creates a beautiful Queer re-imagining of the Cinderella fairytale, complete with a complex main character, a fresh take on the plot, and gorgeous use of language, description, and world-building. Huntress is sort of a prequel to Ash, but it was written after Ash was published; you don’t have to have read it to read Ash. Here is … Continue reading Ash by Malinda Lo