The Complete Reading List by Author

Short Version:

Recommended books are in bold, reviewed books are linked, this is a ruthlessly streamlined recommendations list
So You Want to Read a (Historical) Romanceand here are
Ten Great Romance Novellas to Get You Started

Long Version:

I have some lists  –
Author Commentary & Tallies Shameful 2012 – 2016
Consistent Themes in Authors’ Works.
Things That Occur to Me While Reading Historical Romance Novels
Things That Occur to Me While Reading Contemporary Romance Novels

On reading romance: Emotional Version and Pseudo-Intellectual Version.

I buy everything these writers publish. Click on their name to be taken to a summary of their catalogue: Tessa Dare (on double-secret probation right now, so not an autobuy, but still an autoread)Laura Florand; Lisa Kleypas; Julie Anne Long; Sarah MacLean; Courtney Milan (Milan is The. Very. Best.)

-A-
Alexander, R.G. Ravenous novella (Declan/Trick/Jennifer)
Alexander, Victoria Love with the Proper Husband (Marcus/Gwen)
Alexander, Victoria Lady Amelia’s Secret Lover novella (Robert/Amelia)
Alexander, Victoria The Prince’s Bride (Rand/Jocelyn)
Alexander, Victoria The Importance of Being Wicked (Winfield/Miranda)
Alexander, Victoria Lord Stillwell’s Excellent Engagements novella (Winfield/Felicia&Lucy&Caroline)
Ashe, Katharine In the Arms of a Marquess (Ben)
Ashley, Jennifer The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie (Ian, not surprisingly/Beth) – GENRE OUTLINE
Ashley, Jennifer Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage (Mac/Isabella)
Ashley, Jennifer Many Sins of Lord Cameron (Cameron/Ainsley) – GUILTY PLEASURE
Ashley, Jennifer The Duke’s Perfect Wife (Hart/Eleanor)
Ashley, Jennifer Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift (Ian, Mac, Cam, Hart)
Ashley, Jennifer The Seduction of Elliott McBride (Elliott/Juliana)
Ashley, Jennifer The Untamed Mackenzie novella (Lloyd/Louisa)
Ashley, Jennifer The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Daniel/Violet)
Ashley, Jennifer Scandal and the Duchess novella (Steven/Rose)
Ashley, Jennifer Rules for a Proper Governess (Sinclair/Roberta “Bertie”)
Ashley, Jennifer A Mackenzie Clan Gathering (Ian/Beth)
Ashley, Jennifer Bodyguard (Shifters Unbound) novella (Ronan/Elizabeth)

The list has gotten SO VERY LONG, please click on the jump.

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Author Commentary & Tallies Shameful

Shortcuts:    

My Autobuy List (Links That Will Take You to a Summary of the Author’s Catalogue)

Tessa Dare (on double-secret probation right now, so not an autobuy, but still an autoread)
Laura Florand
Lisa Kleypas
Julie Anne Long
Sarah MacLean
Courtney Milan – The. Very. Best.

2016 READING LISTS:

Recommended books are in bold.

The (Shamefree) Tally 2016

Last year, this list had only one book and it was an Outlander graphic novel. I am proud of that, although I do have two glorious historical costume books to read and review.

The (Shameful) Tally 2016

  1. Ashley, Jennifer A Mackenzie Clan Gathering (Ian/Beth)
  2. Balogh, Mary Only a Kiss (Percy/Imogen)
  3. Blake, Jennifer The Tuscan’s Revenge Wedding (Nico/Amanda)
  4. Bowen, Kelly Duke of My Heart (Max/Ivory)
  5. Bowen, Sarina and Elle Kennedy Us (Wes/Jamie)
  6. Bryce, Megan To Catch a Spinster (Nathaniel/Olivia)
  7. Bryce, Megan To Tame a Dragon (Jameson/Amelia)
  8. Bryce, Megan To Tempt the Saint (George/Honora)
  9. Bryce, Megan  Some Like It Charming (Ethan/Mackenzie)
  10. Charles, K.J. A Seditious Affair (Silas/Dominic)
  11. Chase, Loretta Dukes Prefer Blondes (Oliver “Raven”/Clara)
  12. Dee, Bonnie/Devon, Summer  The Merchant and the Clergyman (James/Declan)
  13. Florand, Laura Chase Me (Chase/Violette)
  14. Heyer, Georgette Venetia (Dameral/Venetia)
  15. Ivy, Alyssa Rose The Hazards of Skinny Dipping (Reed/Juliet)
  16. Kelly, Carla Beau Crusoe (James/Susannah)
  17. Kennedy, Elle The Score (Dean/Allie)
  18. Lauren, Christina Wicked Sexy Liar (Luke/London)
  19. Lauren, Christina A Not-Joe Not-So-Short Short (Not-Joe/Perry)
  20. Lauren, Christina Beautiful Boss (Will/Hanna)
  21. Leigh, Eva Forever Your Earl (Daniel/Eleanor)
  22. Leigh, Eva Scandal Takes the Stage (Cam/Maggie)
  23. Lin, Jeannie My Fair Concubine (Fei Long/Yan Ling)
  24. McQuiston, Jennifer Her Highland Fling (William/Penelope)
  25. Milan, Courtney Her Every Wish (Crash/Daisy)
  26. Novark, Anna Marie The Doctor Wears a Stetson (Cameron/Jessie)
  27. Parker, Lucy Act Like It (Richard/Lainie)
  28. Reid, Penny Ninja at First Sight (Greg/Fiona)
  29. Reid, Penny Happily Ever Ninja (Greg/Fiona)
  30. Richland, Anna His Road Home novella (Rey/Grace)
  31. Roberts, Holly S. Play: New Adult Sports Romance (Killian/Rebecca)
  32. Schurig, Rachel Ransom (Daltrey/Daisy)
  33. Verge, Lisa Ann Heaven in His Arms (Andre/Genevieve)

Reviews of Pre-2016 Reads (More to Come)

  1. Lilley, R.K. In Flight (James/Bianca)
  2. Bryce, Megan To Wed the Widow (George/Elinor)

Name Tally June 27, 2015: Simon (9); Alec/Alex (8); James (8); Michael (8); Sebastian (7); William (7); Robert (6); Daniel (5); Jack (5); Benedict, Charles, Colin, Duncan, Edward, Gareth, Harry, Ian, John (4); Andrew, Blake, Gabriel, Jackson, Julian, Lucien, Marcus, Phillip, Phin/Finn, Rhys, Richard, Stephen, Tristan (3); and only one David.

Author Commentary and Reading Lists for 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 (416 books between February 2012 and January 2, 2016)…

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New Adult Romances

I’m not sure I had heard of the New Adult subsection of the romance genre this time last year, but I have embraced it wholeheartedly.

Based on what constitutes a grown up in different historical periods, this list by default includes only contemporary settings and is somewhat subjective. The novels often feature folks who are in university, have just finished university, or are athletes.

Recommended books are in bold, reviewed books are linked.

Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years Series – Recommended, except where noted.
The Year We Fell Down (Hartley/Corey) – start with this, buy the set
The Year We Hid Away (Bridger/Scarlet)
Blonde Date novella (Andy/Katie) CLASSIC
The Understatement of the Year (Graham/Rikker) – LGBT
The Shameless Hour (Rafe/Bella)
The Fifteenth Minute (DJ/Lianne) -skip this one

Kristen Callihan’s Game On Series:
The Hook Up (Drew/Anna)
The Friend Zone (Gray/Ivy)
The Game Plan (Ethan/Fiona)

Christina Lauren’s Wild Seasons Series:
Sweet Filthy Boy (Ansel/Mia)
Dirty Rowdy Thing (Finn/Harlow)
Dark Wild Night (Oliver/Lola)
Wicked Sexy Liar (Luke/London)
A Not-Joe Not-So-Short Short (Not-Joe/Perry)

Elle Kennedy’s Off Campus Series:
The Deal (Garrett/Hannah)
The Mistake (Logan/Grace)
The Score (Dean/Allie)

Everyone else, series or no:
Banner, Darryl Dog Tags (Brandon/Jesse)
Bowen, Sarina and Elle Kennedy Him (Wes/Jamie) – LGBT
Bowen, Sarina and Elle Kennedy Us (Wes/Jamie) – LGBT
Falkner, Tammy Tall, Tatted, and Tempting (Logan/Kit)
Falkner, Tammy Smart, Sexy, and Secretive (Logan/Emily)
Grace, Aria More Than Friends (Ryan/Zach) – LGBT
Lyons, Kathy Two Week Seduction (John/Alea)
March, Meghan Beneath This Mask (Simon/Charlie)
Milan, Courtney Trade Me (Blake/Tina)
Roberts, Holly S. Play: New Adult Sports Romance (Killian/Rebecca)

LGBT romance recommendations, including New Adults, can be found here.

As always, recommendations are welcome.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

 

LGBT Romances (But Exclusively GB)

These romances feature gay and bisexual men. I have read a lesbian romance, but, for me, it don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that schwing. Unless otherwise noted, everything on this list has a contemporary setting. Reviews are linked, recommended books are in bold.

Banner, Darryl Dog Tags (Brandon/Jesse)

Bettencourt, Rick Marketing Beef (Evan/Dillon)

Bowen, Sarina The Understatement of the Year (Graham/Rikker) – New Adult, part of the fantastic Ivy Years series, it’s great.

Bowen, Sarina and Elle Kennedy Him (Wes/Jamie) – New Adult, it’s steamy AND heartfelt.
Bowen, Sarina and Elle Kennedy Us (Wes/Jamie) – Less-new adults, finding their way.

Calmes, Mary A Piece of Cake novella (Jory/Sam) – Light and fluffy, mid-series novella

Charles, KJ A Seditious Affair: A Society of Gentlemen Novel – (Silas/Dominic) Historical, strong political elements and period details.

Ford, Rhys Sinner’s Gin (Kane/Miki) – Overshadowed for me by the background story and over the top main plot.

Frank, Ella Try (Logan/Tate) – Too much sex? Is that even possible?
Frank, Ella Trust (Logan/Tate) – It’s possible.

Grace, Aria More Than Friends (Ryan/Zach) – New Adult

Hart, Riley Collide (Cooper/Noah) – Decent, I meant to review it, but never bothered.

Jaymes, River Brad’s Bachelor Party (Brad/Cole) – Not good
Jaymes, River The Backup Boyfriend (Alec/Dylan) – Decent
Jaymes, River The Boyfriend Mandate (Memphis/Tyler) – Meh

Kell, Amber Attracting Anthony (Silver/Anthony) – Paranormal, weird daddy/son tone

Kennedy, Sean Tigers and Devils (Simon/Declan) – Charming, a novel with romance more than a romance novel

Klein, K-Lee Lazy Sundays (Devon/Scott) – Very quick read

Merrow, J.L Muscling Through (Al/Larry) – Big and stupid (really stupid) meets small and smart

Milan, Courtney The Suffragette Scandal (Edward/Free) – It’s only a subtle lesbian subplot, but this book is SO GOOD I am including it anyway
Milan, Courtney Her Every Wish (Crash/Daisy) – It’s a M/F historical romance, but the hero identifies as bisexual.

Northcote, Jay First Class Package novella (Jim/Patrick) – quick, light read

York, Sara Pray the Gay Away (A Southern Thing Book 1) (Jack/Andrew)- high school, drama, sweet, the start of a series.

As always, recommendations are welcome.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Play: New Adult Sports Romance (Completion Book 1) by Holly S. Roberts

A New Adult romance about a professional football player and a woman in her last year of university on a track scholarship, Play was an odd read. As happens sometimes with this genre, it felt like the version of romance conjured up by an awkward teen who has never been kissed other than that one time at a 13th birthday party, “but that was on a dare, so it doesn’t count.”

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I have some notes, but the first one is the showstopper:

Opening with an attempted sexual assault when a professional football player forces the heroine to her knees, “The scunt owes me a sblowjob”, she is rescued by the hero who offers to go to the police with her. The assailant’s friends dismiss the behaviour as a product of drunkenness. At the end of the book, the assailant, having apologised for his violent attack, is one of the groomsmen at the hero and heroine’s wedding.

[insert mic drop here]

Other items of note in Killian and Rebecca’s book are below. Direct quotes are in italics:

Scant minutes after a sexual assault and still shaken, Rebecca is overwhelmingly aroused in Killian’s presence and very concerned about how she looks.

There’s a lot of slutshaming both by Rebecca of her sister and by Rebecca of Rebecca. Something needs to be done about the “but those other women who are having sex and aren’t the main character are whores” situation in these books.

Killian and Rebecca find each other physically attractive.  No other reasons, rationalizations, explanations, or elucidations for their emotional connection are provided.

Every time they go somewhere, Killian fastens Rebecca’s seat belt for her.

Killian hadn’t mentioned anything about the hair on my lady bits, but I wanted to do this for him anyway. She gets her privates waxed as a gift for him to make herself more attractive. Is that really a thing?

I’m changing one rule and letting you have a hair tie while you run.” He said to the ELITE ATHLETE! Sidebar: Who says “hair tie”?

In addition to requiring she wear her hair down at all times, Killian has other rules; for example, Rebecca is also supposed to walk around naked whenever they are at home because he finds her so amazingly beautiful.

“Killian, please, I don’t feel comfortable.” Mortification caused tears in my eyes. Many times, the hero makes Rebecca feel this way and she is just supposed to accept that he knows best because he loves her so much and she comes around to agreeing with him.

Killian gets injured and pushes Rebecca away by vilely requesting a sex act.  When he comes to his senses, he stalks her – with the help of his severely disabled brother – until she gives in.

The temporary break up is so painful for Rebecca that it improves her running, so she gets the boy and wins races.

Rebecca wants to get married and have babies which is, of course, totally up to her, but she’s only 21.

The next time I read a romance in which a heroine complains about being thin, my head ass is going to explode.

Play has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

If you want to read a good New Adult romance featuring athletes, I suggest one of the following:

  1. The Off Campus Series by Elle Kennedy: The Deal and The Mistake
  2. Him by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen
  3. The Ivy Years Series by Sarina Bowen
  4. The Game on Series by Kristen Callihan, especially The Game Plan

More New Adult romance recommendations can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

The Worth Saga: Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan

Courtney Milan
Iconoclast

… is what I assume Ms. Milan’s business cards say.

Could she please to stop almost bringing me to tears with her messages of empowerment and self-determination? Why almost? Because I am made of steel. Why tears? Because the truths she writes about touch me deeply.

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Her Every Wish is the first novella in Milan’s new Worth Saga Victorian romance series. In the long-term, it will contain eight books for us to devour, for now there is just one other novel, Once Upon a Marquess, which I don’t recommend. I do suggest you read this one though, most ardently. Do some stretches first. You’ll want to be limber for all the fist pumping you find yourself doing.

Sole supporter of herself and her invalid mother, Daisy Whitlaw “manages” financially with her job at a flower shop and her mother’s occasional tatting work. Even so, like everyone, she dreams of more, so she has entered a charity competition to try to secure 50 pounds and open Daisy’s Emporium, a shop that will cater to working class women by providing affordable clothing and small luxuries. She knows it is virtually impossible that she will win, but, goddamn it, she will try. Derided by most of those present, Daisy is still allowed to move along in the competition. Witnessing her first pitch to the judges is her former inamorato, Crash, and he hatches a plan to help Daisy and himself.

Crash seeks Daisy out to assist in preparing for the final presentation, and to help his odds on the bets he has taken on the outcome of the competition. They were devoted sweethearts in the past, but Daisy is determined not to fall back into Crash’s arms and he is equally sure he doesn’t want her to. Equally aggrieved of each other in their parting, this is to be a business arrangement. At least, that’s what they tell themselves. Crash begins with velocipede riding lessons as he teaches Daisy that the necessary response to (riding) challenges is to go faster.

Clash, no last name, is a bright, charming man with an intractable vision for his own future. Bisexual and of mixed race, he has used his verve and ironclad self-worth to create a life on his own terms in a world that not only doesn’t necessarily welcome him, but goes so far as to question “What are you?” in their quest to lower him. People may find him attractive, but being enticingly exotic is just another pigeon-hole the culture uses to limit him.

The strength and courage to be true to yourself and, more importantly, insist on it when the world tries to slap you down is a theme in all of Milan’s books. Never preachy, never saccharine,  and eliciting some barks of laughter, Her Every Wish has themes of personal strength, identity, and autonomy, reminding readers that the world may try to stand in our way, but that life’s smaller victories, such as those of Crash and Daisy, are what pave the way for those and them that follow (see also: The Suffragette Scandal).

Milan

A complete summary of Courtney Milan’s catalogue and the books in the Worth Saga, with recommendations, can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

The Reluctant Bride Collection: To Catch a Spinster, To Tame a Dragon, To Wed the Widow, and To Tempt the Saint by Megan Bryce

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The four Reluctant Bride Collection novels,  jaunty in tone and virtually chaste, provided a great introduction to Megan Bryce’s work. Connected by theme, but not characters, each of the books in this Regency historical romance series tackles a female stereotype and features an unusual and fiercely independent heroine:

  1. To Catch a Spinster – The Frump
  2. To Tame a Dragon – The Virago
  3. To Wed the Widow – The Maneater
  4. To Tempt the Saint – The Manipulator

What I enjoyed most was that the women did not change over the course of their stories. They may grow emotionally, but their essential nature is not changed. Each one simply meets a man who is her ideal counterpart. Brava!

To Catch A Spinster

Olivia Blakesley is a self-proclaimed spinster and glad of it. Bookish,  disinterested in fashion, and plain, she has a large family, her passion for painting constellations, and leads a full life. She knows marriage would curtail her freedom and wants none of it; however, there is one aspect of that state she wants to experience and she has chosen Nathaniel Jenkins to perform the task. He is an older man, “Tall, but not too tall. Handsome, but not diabolically so,”,  suffering through his mother’s tedious parade of potential mates whose youth makes him uncomfortable. When Olivia proposes her own seduction, he refuses, agrees, and then finds himself desperately trying to convince her to marry him, despite promising her he would not when they planned their “transaction”. What can he offer that is worth her liberty?

To Tame a Dragon

“She swept from the room like a hurricane on a mission.”

This delightful entry was my favourite of the series, though I enjoyed all of them and when I revisited the To Catch A Spinster, I found myself pleased to be torn. Bryce’s writing is just such droll fun.

Jameson Pendrake, Earl of Nighting has, moments before the novel opens, jilted his fiancée. The reader meets him prostrate on a sofa nursing his recently assaulted wedding tackle. His best friend, Robin, is there making sympathetic noises; Robin’s sister, Amelia, is there also, but with  a no-nonsense approach and offering to defray the impending scandal. The trio have known each other virtually their entire lives with Robin and Jameson having been school friends and Amelia insisting on tagging along whenever the boys went on adventures.

Amelia is an emphatically capable woman, deliciously wry and practical in her approach to the world. Jameson is irreverent, fun, and naughty in that way that can be so tempting in a prospective suitor. Not that she has ever allowed herself to think of Jameson that way. He is too good-looking by half and his exuberance leads to a lot of scrapes. Winning and adorable, he’s also got a good head on his shoulders because he comes to the realisation that Amelia is the perfect woman for him, “He shook his head, imagining himself in the role of her husband and she of his wife. The rightness  of it filled him. The peace of it filled him. And what an adventure it would be. The fun of it.” Now all he has to do is convince her of that:

She sighed and took a small step away from him. “There are two problems, and you are both of them.”
“I usually am.”
“You usually are.”

Of course, she capitulates and they get married,  all that’s left is for them to stop quipping at each other long enough to admit their true feelings.

The next two Reluctant Bride books feature men named George Sinclair (sin) and George St. Clair (the saint) respectively. I appreciate this on two levels:

1. as a clever play on words
2. I think it highly likely that there were a lot more men named “George” and a lot fewer men named “Logan” in historical romance than authors like to admit to, so the realism of it pleases me.

To Wed the Widow

As is the way of things, I read these books out-of-order and To Wed the Widow was my first foray into Bryce’s catalogue. The so-called maneater of this collection is someone who has been widowed five times.  To misquote Oscar Wilde, “To lose one husband may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose five looks like carelessness.” No one thinks she murdered the men, but their tendency to parish whilst married to her does give society pause; moreover, she has observed successively, shockingly shorter mourning periods after each husband even though she looks fabulous in black.

Lady Haywood is just too perfectly scandalous and tempting for George Sinclair. The younger brother of an Earl whose marriage has produced four daughters, George has just returned from many happy years in India to do his duty by the familial line of succession. The Earl’s wife, a lovely woman, nearly died when her last child was born and her husband has vowed never to chance a pregnancy again. The Countess is not on board with this plan and seeks Lady Haywood’s help in remedying the situation. Everyone skirmishes their way through the book towards a happy ending in spite of the Earl’s preferences and Lady Haywood’s awful brother who keeps showing up to throw a wrench into the works.

To Tempt the Saint

Bryce maintained the same clever voice as in the preceding books in the series, but To Tempt the Saint had a more serious tone and content overall. Relatively speaking, I found it the least enjoyable of the group, despite the excellent portrayal of complex characters and relationships. To Wed the Widow had a sinner, To Tempt the Saint has the opposite. George St. Clair wants to be left alone to pursue his business interests. His family considers this vulgar and wants him marry a decent woman and go into the Church. It’s what younger sons do, after all.

Precipitated by scandalous events in her youth and working with her aunt and uncle,  Honora makes her living through betrothals. She becomes engaged and then forces the man’s hand into breaking the marriage contract. Suing for damages, as was the way of the era, she then moves on to a new location and another man. Like the con in a heist movie going for one last job, the trio feel they need just one more big score before they can retire. Choosing independence, even through illegal activities, Honora is in a race between getting caught and collapsing under the emotional toll of her own subterfuge.

Attending a lecture on steam power as a potential investment – her ill-gotten gains aren’t going to languish in those famous Regency Five Percents – Honora meets and annoys George St. Clair thus gaining his attention. Falling apart emotionally as a result of her machinations, she remains resolute that if she can tempt George, the reward will set her little family up for life.  He is, naturally, the first man she has set her cap for who sees the real her and this complication propels the story.

As I got the first three Reluctant Bride novels free on Bookbub, I had no objection to paying full price for To Tempt the Saint. I felt that I owed Megan Bryce the money and probably a gratuity.

I have also read a contemporary Megan Bryce novel, Some Like It Charming,  that I will get around to reviewing eventually. It was light, fun, and required slightly more willing suspension of disbelief than I was able to provide.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

 

Romance Authors and Their Themes

The link in the author’s name will take you to either a summary of their catalogue or a relevant review.

Carla Kelly – People are inherently good and their kindness will surprise you.

Caroline Linden – Fortune favours the bold.

Cecilia Grant  – Live life on your own terms and be willing to accept the consequences.

Christina Lauren – Find someone with whom you can be your true self and who calls you on your bullshit.

Courtney Milan – Only you get to decide who you are. Fear is a waste of energy.

Jennifer Ashley – Love heals all wounds.

Julia Quinn – Marry your best friend.

Julie Anne Long – You must be willing to be emotionally vulnerable to find a true partner.

Kresley Cole – Misogynists need love, too, baby. He only hurts you because he loves you so.

Laura Florand – Sincere love gives you the courage and freedom to embrace your true self and someone else’s.

Lisa Kleypas – Make your own life and your own luck. Hard work is rewarded. To find a true partner, you will need to leave your comfort zone.

Lorraine Heath – Damaged people finding strength in each other and themselves to persevere and succeed. B-list author.

Loretta Chase – Find someone who challenges you and life will never be dull.

Mary Balogh – Broken people finding someone to fit their pieces to and moving forward with their lives.

Tessa Dare – Life is an adventure! Be bold.

Suggestions are always welcome.

Links to reviews can also be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

 

 

 

 

Us by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

A follow-up to the

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new adult romance Him, Us follows up five months later with Ryan “Wes” Wesley and Jamie Canning. Living together in Toronto as Wes skates through a stellar NHL rookie season (doomed to failure and disappointment as the Leafs haven’t won the Stanley Cup since the year I was born) and Jamie is establishing his career as a coach. They don’t get to spend enough time together and when they do, they are constrained by the need to mask their relationship. Wes just wants to get through his first season without becoming known as the first out gay man in professional hockey. The burden of Wes’s travel, hiding their relationship, and lack of time together is wearing on the couple.

Many adults try to figure out how to manage new careers and a serious relationship, but Wes and Jamie’s efforts are further complicated by the arrival of the world’s largest plot moppet in the form of Wes’s teammate, Blake. He moves in upstairs and takes to dropping by at inopportune times to interrupt sex and ratchet up “we can’t tell anyone I’m gay and you’re bisexual and we can’t even be ourselves in our own home” tension before proving he has a heart of gold when everything hits the fan.

The guys are still likable and sympathetic, if not especially well fleshed out characters, and their intimate scenes are still hot, but Us, while it does provide some realistic feeling situations, wasn’t really anything surprising. It’s an enjoyable, but not particularly memorable, trip down a familiar road with some nice guys doing the best they can. Honestly, the most notable thing about the story is the unbelievable suggestion that Toronto Maple Leafs ticket holders would give up their seats, even if only for one game:

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Those tickets are worth their weight in gold!

I highly recommend Sarina Bowen’s new adult romance The Ivy Years Series and suggest you buy the box set, including the classic novella Blonde Date, but skip The Fifteenth Minute entirely. She is an author to watch.

Elle Kennedy’s new adult romance Off Campus series consists of The Deal  (great, recommended), The Mistake (good) and The Score (no).

New Adult romance recommendations can be found here.

LGBT romance recommendations can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

 

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