Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

defy the night by brigid kemmerer
defy the night by brigid kemmerer

Thank you to Bloomsbury YA for the gifted copy of Defy the Night

During the pandemic one of the genres I’ve begun to read more and more is young adult fantasy – when I found out that Brigid Kemmerer had a new series coming out, I slid straight into Bloomsbury’s DMs (thank you for the ARC!). Defy the Night has it all: Robin Hood style bandits, a mysterious plague (relatable), and a strong-willed heroine. 

The kingdom of Kandala is on the brink of disaster. Rifts between sectors have only worsened since a sickness began ravaging the land, and within the Royal Palace, the king holds a tenuous peace with a ruthless hand.

King Harristan was thrust into power after his parents’ shocking assassination, leaving the younger Prince Corrick to take on the brutal role of the King’s Justice. The brothers have learned to react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion–it’s the only way to maintain order when the sickness can strike anywhere, and the only known cure, an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals, is severely limited.

Out in the Wilds, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her neighbors die, their suffering ignored by the unyielding royals. Every night, she and her best friend Wes risk their lives to steal Moonflower petals and distribute the elixir to those who need it most–but it’s still not enough.

As rumors spread that the cure no longer works and sparks of rebellion begin to flare, a particularly cruel act from the King’s Justice makes Tessa desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds upon her arrival makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix Kandala without destroying it first.

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A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria

A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria
A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria

Thank you to Avon for the gifted copy of A Lot Like Adios.

Earlier this year I read, and adored, You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria – and as soon as I finished it, I needed more of Alexis Daria’s lovely writing. I was lucky enough to snag an early copy of her follow up novel, A Lot Like Adiós. Second chance romance, cowriting fanfiction, and fake dating (oh my!) – A Lot Like Adiós has it all. Also look at that cover – stunning (Bo Feng Lin killed it). 

Hi Mich. It’s Gabe.

After burning out in her corporate marketing career, Michelle Amato has built a thriving freelance business as a graphic designer. So what if her love life is nonexistent? She’s perfectly fine being the black sheep of her marriage-obsessed Puerto Rican-Italian family. Besides, the only guy who ever made her want happily-ever-after disappeared thirteen years ago.

It’s been a long time.

Gabriel Aguilar left the Bronx at eighteen to escape his parents’ demanding expectations, but it also meant saying goodbye to Michelle, his best friend and longtime crush. Now, he’s the successful co-owner of LA’s hottest celebrity gym, with an investor who insists on opening a New York City location. It’s the last place Gabe wants to go, but when Michelle is unexpectedly brought on board to spearhead the new marketing campaign, everything Gabe’s been running from catches up with him.

I’ve missed you.

Michelle is torn between holding Gabe at arm’s length or picking up right where they left off—in her bed. As they work on the campaign, old feelings resurface, and their reunion takes a sexy turn. Facing mounting pressure from their families—who think they’re dating—and growing uncertainty about their futures, can they resolve their past mistakes, or is it only a matter of time before Gabe says adiós again?

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The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy of The Charm Offensive

If you’ve been around my page for a minute, you know I love The Bachelor and all things Bachelor adjacent – especially Bachelor inspired books. When I was offered a copy of The Charm Offensive, I was thrilled – it was a new kind of Bachelor inspired book – an LGBTQ+ story focusing on the lead of the show falling for his producer.

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

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The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle

the royals next door
the royals next door

Thank you to Berkley Romance for the gifted copy of The Royals Next Door

As a Canadian, I grew up hearing about the royal family a lot – I watched the modern royal weddings, saw the Queen’s holiday addresses every year and saw the Queen’s face on my money every day. Naturally, I’ve always really enjoyed stories featuring royalty – so I was very, very excited to read The Royals Next Door.

Piper Evans: elementary school teacher by day–avid romance reader and anonymous podcaster by night. She lives a quiet, reclusive life, taking care of her mother, who struggles with mental illness, avoiding her regrettable ex, who bartends in town, and trying to make inroads in the tight-knit island community that still sees her, five years in, as an outsider.

And she’s happy with how things are–really–until British royals rent the property next to hers and their brooding bodyguard decides she’s a security threat. Piper quickly realizes that one person’s fairy tale is an ordinary woman’s nightmare as a media frenzy takes over the island and each run-in with Harrison Cole is hotter and more confusing than the last. But beneath Harrison’s no-nonsense exterior lies a soft heart, one that could tempt a woman who’s sworn off attachments into believing in white knights.

But when Piper finds herself smack in the middle of a royal scandal that rocks the island she’ll need more than Harrison’s strong arms to shield her–she’ll have to do a little rescuing herself. With careers, hearts, and friendships on the line, Piper and Harrison will have to decide what they’re willing to give up for a chance at their own happily ever after.

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How To Train Your Earl by Amelia Grey

how to train your earl by amelia grey
how to train your earl by amelia grey

Thank you to St Martins Press for the gifted copy of How to Train Your Earl

This year I’ve been dipping my toes more and more into the world of historical romance novels (thanks, Bridgerton). When I read the description for How To Train Your Earl, it sounded different to all the historical romances I had read – it featured a widow, which I expected would create more emotional complexity. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

A roguish earl must fight using his honor and not his sword to win his lady’s hand in How To Train Your Earl, the third book in the First Comes Love trilogy from bestseller Amelia Grey.

Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true?

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