I know there are still a few days left of April, but I am STUCK, slumped, stymied, and cannot read anything else, so here we have the mini reviews of what I have read this month.
The range of genres here is truly hilarious to me and I hope y’all enjoy it too. It’s like I can see myself getting progressively unhinged during the month in terms of what my brain needs. I’m not judging myself at all, just observing, with much amusement.
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
Legends & Lattes is a cozy, high fantasy novel that left me with all the warm feels. Viv, a retired orc barbarian, decides she wants to live a quiet life and sets up a coffee shop in a small town. She is introduced to a wonderful cast of characters who help make her dream shop come to life, but old frenemies and the town’s shady “boss” might keep it from flourishing. The blending of high fantasy characters (orcs, gnomes, succubi, hobgoblins, etc.) and the cozy genre really surprised me in the best way. I had no idea fantasy could be like this. Anyone who likes the cozy mystery subgenre should definitely give this novel a read.
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Verity is a romantic thriller that completely blew my mind and me repeatedly saying “I am not okay.” Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer who gets hired to ghost write Verity Crawford’s, a prolific mystery writer, final books. She stays at the Crawford house with a bed ridden Verity, her ridiculously handsome husband (who hired her), and their remaining child. This book takes the aspects of a book within a book, a writer’s life, and psychological distress and mashes them all together so perfectly that I just still can’t process it all. Anyone who wants disturbing, fast paced, and a tension filled novel should pick this one up ASAP. (Please, please check trigger warnings.)
A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova
A Deal with the Elf King is a stand alone fantasy romance with Hades and Persephone + Beauty and the Beast vibes. Luella is her town’s healer and has everything she wants in life, unfortunately for her she is about to be taken by the Elf King to a magic world where she doesn’t quite fit in and is thrown into a role she doesn’t want. The magical worldbuilding, the political drama, the complex relationship dynamics of Forced/Arranged Marriage, and the ever present question “what do I really want” is what brings this book to a new favorite. Anyone looking for a fantasy romance with well deserved angst and a happy ending should most definitely get this book.
Not So Innocent (The Real Thing #2) by Emma Lyon
Not So Innocent is the second book in a contemporary romance series that can be read in any order. I am a sucker for bodyguard/security falling for a client/client’s family member and this one delivered. Holden is a ex-Navy member who is back stateside for his estranged parents funeral and decides to take a job protecting a senator’s family as a distraction. Ethan is a lovely, younger distraction, one that Holden doesn’t need, but very much wants. This book is full of sexual tension, medium stakes in terms of the security job, and overall a fast read. If you like the taboo relationship of a security person and a client’s son, slight age gap (7 years), and a happily ever after, this is a good one.
Not So Perfect (The Real Thing #4) by Emma Lyon
Not So Perfect is the fourth book in a contemporary romance series that can be read in any order. Quinn is a lawyer/partner of a big firm in the city, who lives to work and wishes someone who just take control. He had that once and then ran away. Shane, the one who got away, is going after a client who refuses to pay for the job Shane was hired for on shoddy grounds. Of course, Quinn is the go to lawyer. I adored this one. Second chance romance, a hot lawyer, sexy construction business owner. Ugh. So much tension. Anyone who also enjoys those things should read this one too.
A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw
A History of Wild Places is a beautifully written, magical realism thriller, full of the beautiful darkness that is that is the wilderness and the human psyche. Told from the POVs of Theo, his wife Calla, and Calla’s sister Bee, this book is a gorgeous suspense filled story of a community called Pastoral. A community that stays within it’s borders to protect themselves. I truly don’t have the words for how utterly amazing this book is, how it builds and builds a world that leaves you speechless and confused and desperate. If you like suspense within pockets of a wild forest, characters who you want to wrap up and stick in your pocket, a threat that becomes more and more unclear, then please read this damn book.
Creature Café novella series by Clio Evans
I read all currently published novellas in the Creature Cafe series and loved them! Before going into this series, please read the content warnings for each. I was originally going to only read the ones I was interested in from the synopsis, but there is a connecting thread that I wanted to know about so I ended up reading them all. There are seven books out with ten planned! I can’t wait to read the rest. If you like dark erotica, monster and human romance, tons of spice and kink, I highly recommend this series.
Have you read any of these? Or have any you want to read?
What did y’all read this month? Let me know! Even though I am putting myself on a book buying ban for May, I can still make wishlists.