Mini Reviews 2021

1. Son of a Beach by Mia Sosa (m/f, black/latina, work rivals to lovers) Beta read of Audible original out in April.  I love Mia’s prickly heroines who are secretly super attracted to their work nemesis!  Short & fun with sequel bait.  (CWs: past parental loss, past betrayal).

2. Until the Sun Falls From the Sky by Kristen Ashley (m/f, white, PNR Saga).  After its promising OTT beginning, this book deeply disappointed. It lost all momentum in the 2nd half and was hugely anti-climactic. I mostly skimmed to the end. (CW: Non-con, dub-con, violence).

3. A lot like Adios by Alexis Daria (beta read, bi, m/f, 2nd chance, former BFFs) Great sexual tension/chemistry between old friends who need to forgive each other and deal with unresolved conflicts before they can see a future.

4. Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs (UF). 

This like most Briggs books is brutal, but totally engrossing.  Charles & Anna are deeply tested but endure. Bran & Leah wow! So much growth. 

(CW: ref to off-page rapes & incest, magical coercion, references to elder abuse, past pet death).

5. Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs. (UF).  2nd audio in as many days!! Mercy absorbs so much trauma, but having read Wild Sign I need to go back and see the Hardisty Witches, Sherwood & Mercy in action as Coyote interferes. CWs: death, gore, violence, betrayals, A is republican.

6. Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs (Uf). I read a book with my eyes!! This book spends as much time in dreamscape as it does in the real world and it is deadly and hard to put Down. I need some short stories where they are happy!  (CW: suicidal ideation, trauma, self-hatred).

7. Shifting Shadows by P. Briggs (UF short stories). There were several stories in this I really loved, especially the outtakes, others not so much. I did like the ghost/vampire reunion romance. Cw: violence, racism, murder, gore, medical procedures, incarceration, SA, harassment

8. How to flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper (PNR-light, m/w)  I’m trying to ride my PNR mood out of my slump and this was funny, a little silly and just what I needed.  Dislike to love with family baggage on both sides. (CWs: attempted SA, violence).

9. Nice Werewolves don’t bite Vampires ( PNR-light) chafing under her controlling packs’s plans to match her when all she wants is a little quiet abs her own space, Tyleene find unexpected community & friendship with Half moon hollow vamps.  CWs: emotionally abusive family.

10. How to Seduce a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper (PNR-light)  romance reading arranged marriage avoiding alpha wolf Maggie falls for bespectacled nerdy hero, searching for proof that werewolves exist.  So absolutely the wrong person but just perfect.  (CWs: stalker, feuds).

11.  How to Run with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper (PNR-light) Abused wife in hiding is back on the run after her secret identity is compromised and she run right into a bounty-hunting werewolf who doesn’t want her to run.(CWs:abuse,violence, abductions).

12. The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper.  (PNR m/w). Still binging light PNR and really liked this one so much more now. I DNFed the first time around due to wrong mood. (CWs: threats of SA, graphic violence, blood, medical procedures).

13. Peace, Blood and Understanding (PNR, m/w, hate to love, found family)Meadow’s HEA includes finally cutting out her harmful family from her life and honestly not enough books do that. CWs: violence, betrayal, past trauma: parental abuse.

14. Beta Read of Latinx Author’s novella.  I love some good Latinx brujeria!

15. A witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses (WF with rom elements, m/w) UGH I didn’t like this one.  The romance was in background for half the book and then rushed in the last half.  And sort of boring. Read it for chronology reason (CWs: violence, family betrayal, secrets).

16. The Dangers of Dating a Rebound vampire By Molly Harper (PNR, m/w, age difference, forbidden) a riff on Twilight needs to be funny & not boring. this book had too much random plot and too little character development, skimmed to the end. Gigi deserved better. (CWs: stalker)

17. Single Undead Mom’s Club by Molly Harper (PNR, found family versus toxic family) 


After a couple that didn’t work for me, this one did again. Over the top antic but grounded by Libby’s desire to be there for her son. (CWs: toxic family, abandonment, violence, stalking).

18. Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper. (WM/WW, PNR, anti-hero, anxiety rep) a book delivery goes terribly wrong. Charming rogue and a bookworm survive the woods & killer shifters.  (CWs: Mental possession)

19. Accidental Sire by Molly Harper (Guatemalan-American  W/WM PNR, worst end to a meet-cute, found family).   I really liked this one, love prickly wounded heroines and Ben gets swoony. (CWs: abductions, non-consensual medical procedures)

20. Fangs for the Memories by Molly Harper (WM/WW, PNR, caretaking rogue) Dick is there when Andrea needs him most (CWs: family estrangement, grief, near-death experience).

21. Big Vamps on Campus  by Molly Harper (WM/WW) Harper actually made me care for the amoral & devious Ophelia as she grows up a little and starts carrying a bit more for those around her. (CWs: violence, blood)

22. Forever Strong by Piper J Drake (BM/AW, Thai American author)  Ying Yue and Zu’s attraction is amped up by the danger that puts them together but as she recovers her agency she also makes choices for their HEA. Fun lots of dogs! CWs: violence, abduction

23. Extreme Honor by Piper J Drake (WM/WW, Thai American author, RS) David is helping to rehabilitate Atlas but also hoping to discover why his handler was killed.  Lyn has the skills but also hidden complications.  CWs: violence, abduction, secret plot, familial baggage.

24. Ultimate Courage by Piper J Drake (Peruvian M/ WW, Thai American author, RS) Elise is on the run but Alex and Kennel guys offer her a place rest, work & security.  Hero always works to give her choices & consent. (CWs: PTSD, stalker, DV, gaslighting, violence)

25. Absolute Trust by Piper J Drake (WM/Korean American W, RS, 2nd chance, friends to lovers).  It takes a bomb to make Brandon see that he could lose Sophie at a moments notice and she wouldn’t know how much he still/always has loved her.  Cw: fun violence, secrets, abandonment

26. Total Bravery by Piper J Drake (WM/ Thai American W, RS, BFF’s little sister) Raul rescues Mali when she needs him & the attraction is undeniable, things get complicated when her sister comes back but she worries sis will break his ♥️ cws: human trafficking, gun violence.

27. Fierce Justice by Piper J Drake (WM/Thai American W, RS, instant connection) Arin stopped Jason in his tracks figuratively and literally and once they connect, they will never be the same, explosive even! (CW: guns, human trafficking, violence)  Series Binge complete!!!

28. Shifters in the Night by Molly Harper. (light-PNR, audio) empathic hind & former hermit Selkie find a way through misunderstandings.  Love this quirky town growing pains and all.  (CWs: stalker, hammer violence).

29. Red by Piper J Drake ( reissue of PNR ) A loner wolf & stubborn woman & an adoptive pack that needs to let Red chose her big bad Wolf. CW: hypoglycemia, violence)

30. One Fine Fae by Molly Harper ( light PNR, audio). A fae midwife falls for a fae-cursed human and must negotiate consent & mutual trust to break his spell ( CWs: magical childbirth, failed BC, office pettiness).

31. Junkyard Cats & 32. Junkyard Bargain by Faith Hunter.  UF audio original novellas m/w. Gritty, busy, violent and somewhat unsatisfying.   Cw: human trafficking, sex work, mentions of past rape/abuse, gun, gore & violence.

32. Charge by Cate C Wells (MC, wm/ww) Vulnerable single mom will do anything to keep her son, finds an unlikely champion. (cw: shitty father/stepmom, family betrayal, mentions of Post-partum depression, lack of family’s support, past trauma: rape, slut-shaming, victim-blaming)

33. Nickel’s Story by Cate C Wells (MC, wm/ww, therapy, stripper/enforcer) Nickel obsesses over Story from the wings, sure he would hurt her if he keys her close. Cw: violence, murder, past trauma: Domestic violence, sexual abuse

DNFed Scrap by Cate C Wells MC rom, he killed the man who hurt her and now he is back for her. (CWs: past sexual assault, murder, severe anxiety)

34.  Plum by Cate C Wells ( MC, wm/ww, stripper-millionaire) Plum does anything she needs to do to pay for her home, Adam knows all about that. He swallowed his pride & more for his place too. (CW: sex work, slut-shaming, violence Past trauma: abandonment, sexual abuse).

35. Wall by Cate C Wells ( wm/ww, marriage in trouble, depression) Wall let his wife and himself down when her post multiple miscarriage depression spirals, he got out but didn’t let go waiting on her.(CWs: past infidelity, multiple miscarriages, addiction, depression, violence).

36. Forty by Cate C Wells (wm/ww, 2nd chance,  depression, ptsd, adhd).   Forty has been angry at Neveah for a long time, but her betrayal 10yrs was not what he thought and he won’t let her be hurt again (CWs: DV, abduction, murder, past trauma: sexual abuse, traumatic accident)

37. Roosevelt by Cate C Wells (LM/ww, age gap).  Theo has wanted Carmen since he was a teen, tried to stand by her when her brother betrayed her, but she can’t face it, not until she almost loses him. (CWs: violence, medical procedures, familial betrayal).

38. The Crossover and 39. Rebound by Kwame Alexander. (novels in verse, MG/YA) How basketball, loss and friendship tie up a black family across generations. Beautiful, funny and moving. (CW: death of fathers, encounters with police, medical procedures).

40. Hitting the Wall by Cate C Wells (m/w, secret baby, contemporary).  The books had great tension and steam and stalled out in the last chapter, telling us rather than showing us the resolution. Like we need the perp walks.  (CWs: undue pressure, abuse of power, neglect).

41. Run Posy Run by Cate C Wells (m/w, morality chain, sooo violent)

Okay this was captivating. Totally horror mind fuck but it totally worked. Posy is vulnerable, brave, stupid, full of contradictions, and it was fascinating to read her journey. (CWs: Murder, violence, abuse)

42. Hidden Impact by Piper J Drake (Brazilian American M, Chinese American W) Bodyguard RS Gabe is just killing time with security details while he recovers enough to go back overseas, but when Maylin is almost killed in front of him, he can’t deny her help. (cw: guns, violence)

43. Deadly Testimony by Piper J Drake (Korean M/WW) Bodyguard RS, As a sniper Lizzie excells at going at it alone,and now she is tied at the hip to the sexiest but must infuriating man alive.  cw: threats to family, violence, guns

44. Contracted Defense by Piper J Drake (Maori M/WW) RS. A shared fight leads to a scorching one-night stand. All is well till they are introduced to each other new partner.  Can they be professional, figure out how to save the client and not burn up in lust?  CWs: violence, guns


45. Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh (WM/WW, contemporary) 2nd time is the charm, sort of. I bounced off this one early when it first came out, but I needed some Singh magic, so I tried again. I didn't love the set up with Isa's mom.  Still meh, but I loved Nayna a lot.


46. Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh (AM/AW, contemporary, arranged?? marriage)  I loved Nayna and Raj as supporting characters in Cherish Hard and seeing their complicated romance bloom & the fact that they are both virgins & working so hard to balance self vs family's traditions.

47. Beta Read for Latinx author (WM/Afro-Latinx W, contemporary)  Tons of fun to return to this series, raucous, raunchy and lot of fun. Can't wait till 2022 when the the rest of you can read it.

48. Last Guard by Nalini Singh (disabled Filipino Man/ neurodivergent Indian Woman, PNR)

Bonded as traumatized children, Canto & Payal rediscover each other and their trust for each other as they dive deep into the foundations of the psy-net.   This book was a joy (PT: abuse)

49. Love Hard by Nalini Singh (Samoan Kiwi M/Samoan Kiwi W, Sports contemporary). This is my favorite of the series, Dislike to love with great found family actions ( CWs: past trauma Neglect,  death).

50. Sexy/Dangerous by Beverly Jenkins (BM/BW, RS, bad first impressions, lust to love) A scientist working on world changing prototype needs protection. Max will protect Adam but she won’t make it easy on him.  Super fun world building. (CWs: past trauma: dog attack).

51. Deadly Sexy by Beverly Jenkins (BM/BW, RS, hidden identity) When JT’s car is sabotaged a fine black trucker comes to her rescue, but there is more to him than that. Sports, drugs & bombs all get in the way till JT claims what is hers.  CWs: past trauma assault, violence, guns

52. Edge of Dawn by Beverly Jenkins (BM/BW, RS) Saint & Narice are drawn together on a deadly high-pressure treasure hunt. Lots of explosions & fast cars and decoding of quilts.  Fun to see what Galen & Hester’s descendants are up to in Detroit!

53. Edge of Midnight by Beverly Jenkins (BM/BW, RS)  Black Detroit Batman/architect with a thing for dragons, who decides to strong arm the most stubborn community activist on the eastside who shot him into a MoC to protect his secret crimefighting. CW: violence, mentions of rape

54. Black Lace by Beverly Jenkins.  A love letter to Detroit and Michigan, featuring a determined environmental official Lacy and His Finess Dr.Drake Randolph as they run down illegal dumpers & study up on love & romance. CWs: guns, mentions of murder, gore.

55. Barely Breathing by Pamela Clare (WM/WW, RS, 2nd chance, quirky small town)  They were inseparable in HS, but she dreamed about getting away from her difficult dad & their small town. 10 yrs later. cw: guns, assault, alcoholism,past trauma: sexual harassment, death of mom

56. Slow Burn  by Pamela Clare (WM/WW, RS, small town/city girl, wedding party shenanigans) Victoria & Eric got off on the wrong foot, but thrown together during Lexi & Austin’s wedding week, they chemistry ignites. CWs: blackmail, sexual assault, non-consensual sex tape.

57. Falling Hard by Pamela Clare (WM/WW, RS, ⭐️widow w/kids & next-door). Stranded & sick w her twins, Jesse step in. He’s watched out for her in secret, scared to get emotionally involved but he can’t stay away Cw: suicidal ideation, PTSD, grief, ptrauma: DV/abuse, war

58. Tempting Fate by Pamela Clare (Lakota M/biracial W, RS, fated mates, found family) Naomi campsite invaded by violent escapees & left for dead where Chaska & his sis Win find & rescue her.  She finds more than love but family. CWs: violence, guns, pt: cult, abuse, abandonment

59. Close to Heaven (WM/WW, secret pining) Joe wants to atone for his family’s exploitation of Scarlet Springs, secretly giving back.  Rain has worked for Joe since she arrived a homeless teen mom. 20 yrs ago, Now or never.  CWs: unplanned pregnancy past trauma, rape, murder.

60. Holding On by Pamela Clare (WM/WW, RS, PTSD) elite Mt.Climber Conrad is still paralyzed  by grief 15 mo. after a tragedy on Everest. A cute dog & an even cuter trainer, motivate him to make progress.  Cw: grief, violence, assault, gore, past trauma: death of parent.

61. Chasing Fire ( ensemble sequel) fire threatens Scarlet Springs and it residents. Lots of action, adventures and tears but everyone gets their HEAs even Shota the wolf.

62. Breaking Free by Pamela Clare (O’odham M/Lakota W, RS, half-sides) Jason is only visiting, bound by promises to go back to his people but he can’t resist loving Winona, also tied to her people & work in Scarlet Springs.  CWs: guns, poachers, animal abuse, medical trauma

63. Soul Deep by Pamela Clare (WM/WW, bad 1st impressions, snowed in, age gap 45/63, RS).Loved this one.  Good thing I’m a sucker for some of PC recurring motifs as I’ve noticed many during this binge! But I loved the chemistry of these two!CWs: violence, guns, medical procedures

64. Breaking Point by Pamela Clare (WM/WW, RS) I now know why Clare categorizes the Scarlet Spring books action adventure while the Iteam books are RS, non-stop danger.  Neat to see origins of characters I already know. CWs: murder, violence, torture, sexual assault.

65. Extreme Exposure (WM/WW, RS) investigative reporter & idealistic politicians get caught up in maze of greedy corruption. CWs: harassment, death threats, assault, violence, guns, abandonment, slut shaming.

66. Hard Evidence by Pamela Clare (WM/WW, RS)when a a teen is gunned down in front of her Tessa, takes it upon her self to learn why and straight into the crosshairs of Undercover agent with a big street cred & the big bad he is after. Cw: sexual assault, human trafficking, guns

67. Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare (WM/WW, RS) Sophie never expected to see Hunt again, and certainly not to kidnap her. Drawn together by his missing sister, they know their relationship is doomed. CW: sexual assaults, imprisonments, ptsd, survivor guilt, addiction, murder

68. Naked Edge by Pamela Clare (WM/Navajo W, RS). Extremely Sexy but emotionally cutoff Gabe keeps finding himself saving tenacious journalist Kat as she unearths a terrible crime on the sacred Mesa Butte CWs:murder, racism, harassment, slut shaming, medical procedures, violence

69. Skin Deep by Pamela Clare (WM/WM, RS, novella) I’ve been waiting for Megan’s story since Marc’s book. So sweet. Cw: scars, attempted SA, rape survivor, drug use, violence, guns.

70. Striking Distance (PR/Cherokee M/WW, RS) although an I-team book it felt pretty distanced from the core group, clearly launching the Cobra Elite series.  PR rep was medio/medio.  CWs: rape, abuse, forced pregnancy, PTSD, racism, murder, terrorism.

71. Seduction Game by Pamela Clare (WM/WW, RS)  really liked this one. The ditzy/horny blonde entertainment reporter who they all love is really CIA.  CWs: abduction, torture, murder, shootings, threats of sexual assault.

72. Deadly Intent by Pamela Clare (Mexican American M, WW, RS) negative first impressions, intense  bonding under fire, sex/salsa dancing, CWs: medical procedures, guns, stalking, violence, past trauma, sexual assault, harassment, bad parents, war,

73. Hard Target by Pamela Clare ( WM/WW, RS, dead bff’s sister, private army, Afghanistan, midwife) Derek & Jenna fall fast and hard in the worst possible time.  Eh.  CWs: war, threats of rape, rape as a tool of war, childbirth, medical procedures, torture, murder, abduction)

74. Hard Asset by Pamela Clare ( WM/Bangladeshi- American W, RS, bodyguard, war criminal prosecutor)  Shanti needs protection while securing evidence against a Burmese War Criminal, can a w of peace love a soldier?CWs: war crimes, threats of rape, genocide, kidnapping, murder,


75. Hard Justice by Pamela Clare (WM Scottish/WW, RS, murder solving vacation.  When Quinn’s BFF is murdered & tarred in the press, Shields flies in to help him & keep him out of Jail CWs: drugs, child sexual abuse, human trafficking, murder, alcoholism, domestic violence.


76. Hard Edge by Pamela Clare. (Puerto Rican M/Venezuelan-American W, RS, hidden identity) almost skipped this one because I’m spoiled by awesome PR rep by PR writers. Did enjoy Gabi and the impact posing as a nun had on her life. CWs: guns, murder, drug dealing, threats of rape

77. Hard Pursuit by Pamela Clare (BM, Chinese-American W, RS, nurse abducted, one-man rescue) Malik & Kristi were meant to be a fling with no strings but when she is kidnapped, Malik drops everything to find her. CWs: rape threats, child soldiers, guns, violence, abduction

78. Hard Line by Pamela Clare ( WM/WW, RS, trapped in Antarctica with a killer) when Sam’s  BFF is killed, she takes her place on a dangerous secret mission  & unexpectedly discovers there is more to life than science. Stoic Thor finally loses his cool CWs: guns, murder, poison

79. Better Homes & Hauntings by Molly Harper (audio, close quarters with ghosts.) I really enjoyed this, with its dual love stories, murder mystery and found family elements. 

CWs: abusive, controlling ex, murder, violence, ghostly encounters

80. Edge of the Woods by Jules Kelly  (WM/WW, bi mc, PNR) New human deputy moves to unknowingly into a Wolf town and falls for the alpha who can’t tell him their secrets.  Promising, but pacing stalled as the secrets were held a bit long CWs: violence, murder, past trauma abuse.

81. Her Viking Wolf (WM/BW, time travel fates mates). Loved the worldbuilding & the heroine. Chloe wants to marry her best friend, She is in deep denial when Viking Wolf king tumbles out of a portal, looking for her. CWs:violence, abandonment, childbirth, mating heat, kidnapping.


82. A Christmas Spark by Diana Biller (WM/WW, kisses only novella, scientists find love) lovely, swoony and delightful as John & Winnifred do science, fail at tea & ice skating and fall in explosive love.  CWs: gender discrimination, family rejection.

83. The Scottish Wolf by Theodora Taylor (WM/BW, PNR, boss/employee, mating fever,cancer, miracle pregnancy, KU) For the first 1/3 of this book her boss is such an asshole and then Taylor flips it all around and it is hilarious and so wrong. (CW: cancer, miracle baby, turning)

84. The Scottish King by Theodora Taylor (WM/BW, PNR, enemies to lovers, mating fever, kidnapping, KU) Continues the drama from the last book and dials it up a notch. So soapy but there is story cliffhanger and no book 3 yet!! (CW: coercive/forced matings, kidnapping),

85. Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle (WM/WW, RS, boss/employee, opposites/attract stalker, KU) Another RS series I can binge!! Lou is chaos sprite & Callum is all about order, but they sizzle, they just have to survive her stalker & solve a murder. CW: murder, terrible family).

86. Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle (WM/WW, friends to lovers, grumpy/sunshine, prepper/MC) Ian is torn between his Fire Co & MC he grew up in until they start targeting the solitary Rory who he has loved for years.CWs: guns, alcoholism, murder, arson, harassment, parental suicide

87. Gone too Deep by Katie Ruggle(WM/WM, city girl/mountain man, virgin hero) Ellie arrives unprepared but ready to track her missing father but she needs George’s help to track him. CWs:threats of SA, murder, guns, violence, parent with mental illness, arson

88. In Safe Hands by Katie Ruggle, (WM/WW, friends to lovers, agoraphobic traumatized MC, cop MC) Daisy watches her neighbors from her fortress-like home, until it brings danger to her door. Found family,  CWs: murder, arson, gaslighting, past trauma, mental illness.

89.After the End by Katie Ruggle (WM/WM, HEA epilogues with weddings, proposals, babies, continued healing & a crate of stolen/rescued puppies. CWs: theft, car accidents.

90. Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle (WM/WW, RS, evil stepmother, kids in peril, kidnapping) Jules does what she must to keep her siblings safe, an then falls for a grumpy cop who chooses to trust her and not as too many questions (CWs: child abuse)

91. On the Chase by Katie Ruggle (WM/WW, RS,  witness hiding) Theo might not as questions but Hugh has dozens for Grace because her story is super squirrelly, but he is not going let anyone get to her. ( CWs: violence, guns)

92. Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle (WM/WW, RS, mob princess escapes) Sarah has been terrorized in that gilded cage for too long, so she jumps at the chance of escape.  Otto will take on anything for her. (CWs: violence, guns, dirty cops, murder, abuse)

93. Heavy by Cate C Wells ( WM/WW, autistic MC, marriage of convenience) Justice, revenge, guilt & a “not-real/too-real wedding in Vegas. When sheltered Dina blackmails Heavy into covering up a planned murder, neither of them expected to fall in love. (CWs: past SA, murder)

94. Dangerous Ground by Rachel Grant (WM/WW, Suspense/thriller with rom elements, 1st in series (no HEA yet, stranded, missing sibling, grief). This book was fantastic and I can’t wait for Bk2 out in January). Loved getting to know the MCs, CWs: violence, murder, fake SA claims).

95. Concrete Evidence by Rachel Grant (WM/WW, RS, political intrigue) Erica is trying to eek out a living, living in fear looking for a way to clear her name, when she is saddled with a lazy intern, who is more than he says he is. (CWs: abuse, abandonment, murder, lies, Past SA).

96. Body of Evidence by Rachel Grant (WM/WW, RS, attorney/witness, enemies to lovers, road trip)

Curt’s ideals are everything to him but Mara makes him want to shred them but he prosecuting her uncle (CWs: smallpox, kidnapping, death sentence, SA, stalker, murder, war crimes)

97. Withholding Evidence by Rachel Grant (WM/WW, RS, bad first impressions) Trina has a job to do and Keith secrets he will never tell anyone but they are just right for each other (CWs: harassment, sexual discrimination, explosions, murder, kidnapping, mentions of genocide)

98. Night Owl by Rachel Grant (WM/WW, no-strings) Jenna & Brad have been circling each other for years, hiding their mutual desire because he plans to leave their small town as soon as he can but when they are finally thrown together, they can’t stay apart. (CWs: threats).

99. Incriminating Evidence by Rachel Grant (WM/WW, enemies to lovers) She is a threat to his company & campaign but she is also the only person he can trust to help him find out the truth. (CWs: kidnapping, torture, stalking, violence, murder).

100. Covert Evidence by Rachel Grant (WM/WW, no trust, kidnapped for your own good) Cressida is in over her head and can't trust anyone while on the run in eastern turkey, especially the hot CIA agent who kidnapped her.  CW: kidnapping, murder, past trauma: abuse, SA, violence.

101. Cold Evidence by Rachel Grant (WM/WW, RS, 2nd chance, hate to love).  Undine needs the help of the last man who would ever help her, the man whose life she wrecked(CWs: betrayal, explosions, fire, false accusations, murder) .

102. Poison Evidence (WM/WW, secret identity, spy, lies) Ivy’s thought her life imploded & then she found out her scummy cheating ex was a terrorist-backing traitors who sold her invention & the govt set her up for a dangerous mission! (CWs: kidnapping, violence, threats of SA)

103. Silent Evidence by Rachel Grant ( BM/WW, IR, RS, about time!) Sean & Hazel have been circling each other for years but the deep secrets of their friendship circle endanger them, it is finally the time for the truth.A crowded book & lots of hot/cold (CWs: racism, murder)

104. Winter Hawk by Rachel Grant (WM/WW, Jewish MC) Nate pick up a fare for his brother’s company and ends up rescuing a computer program, whose whole like is about to be hacked.  (CWs: past sexual harassment, past dead parent, incels, fire, murder).

105. Tainted Evidence by Rachel Grant ( Jewish WM, Bi WW)  Loved Maddie, she is a totally a save herself kind of heroine and Josh who is compulsive caretaker needs her NO BS kind of energy in his life.  (CWs:looted bones,  past miscarriage, doxxing, white supremacists, racists).

106. Tinderbox by Rachel Grant(WM/WW, military RS)An Archeological survey uncovers more than a historic trove of bones…it might change the history of a nation. CWs: war, racism, bombs, threats of SA, guns, colonialism, violence, slavery, kidnapping, human trafficking, toxic dad

107. Catalyst by Rachel Grant (Native M/WW, military RS) Is the a victim or the cause? Enemies to lovers (CWs: toxic family, SA, human trafficking, violence, guns, past: addiction, past trauma: sexual exploitation, attempted genocide)  Easter egg for Evidence series readers.

108. Firestorm by Rachel Grant (BM/WW, IR, Military RS, covert ops, fake relationship, secrets) Cal & Savvy’s long dance of attraction denial combusts in the Congo, ignited by mutual respect. CWs: SA, CIA political  fuckery, Human trafficking, violence, guns, murder, war.

109. Archangel’s Light by Nalini Singh (WM/WM, UF/PNR, friends to lovers, sloooowburn, flashbacks)


Aodhan & Ilium’s lifelong bond is unwound & reforged, negotiating how to love a new way. 


CWs: murder, child abuse, mental illness, PTSD, past trauma: SA, kidnapping, abandonment

110. Broken Falcon by Rachel Grant (WM/WW, RS, MC sex worker, SA survivor MC)  We get Chase’s story at last and it is a twisty story with double hidden identities, lots of mind fucking (of the good & bad kind!).  CWs: SA, harassment, rape threats, murder, human trafficking)

111. Inferno by Rachel Grant (Latinx M/BW , military RS) coda to the Tinderbox series, with its own condensed fake relationship, just one night, terror plot!  Sweet, sexy & intense. Running out of RG books!  ( CWs: rape threats, bombs, kidnapping, betrayal, violence, guns).

112. Grave Danger by Rachel Grant ( WM/WW, cop MC, Archeologist discovers a murder victim at indigenous site and has her credibility systematically destroyed to help hide the murder. Cw: stalker ex was an abusive cop, generational trauma, domestic abuse, racism, murder, stalking

113. Midnight Sun ( WM/WM, Paranormal Mystery)  a stolen indigenous mask that might be haunted throws suspicious museum consultant Sienna and ADA Rhys Vaughn together as they figure out who is stealing artifacts from the tribal corporation & more.  Cw: emotional manipulation

114. Diablo Lake: Awakened by Lauren Dane (BW/WM, witchy PNR) Gentle, slice-of-life small town 2nd chance romance, where nothing much happens beyond sexy courting, setting up a new practice, building a house, family visits and bonding with cute dogs. Cw: racism, secrets.

115. Black Hat, White Witch by Hailey Edwards (PNR/mystery)  loved loved this book. I loved Rue, her determination to keep Colby safe & the rediscovery of the work friends & work she once was so good at.  Very cool small town & magical world building.  Cw: murder, kidnapping

116. Black Arts, White Craft by Hailey Edwards (ww/dae m, PNR, Mystery)  aaah, I love this series and it’s great banter and flirting, just so much found family goodness.  I want to read all of these… but I don’t think they are out yet! Cw: gore, guns, murder, stalking.


117. Bayou Born by Hailey Edwards ( UF, WW lead, cop MC) Double layers of found family as the hard-fought normality of Luce’s life disintegrates a bad she has to fight for her friends & sanity (Cw: slavery, abduction, violence, gore)

118. Bone Driven by Hailey Edwards (m/f, UF with romantic elements) life gets more complicated and painful for Luce. No punches pulled. Cw: violence, murder, coercion)

119. Death Knell by Hailey Edwards (m/f, UF with romantic elements)staying Luce and not Conquest is getting harder and the end game more complicated.  Cw: violence, murder, coercion)

120. Rise Against by Hailey Edwards (m/f, UF with romantic elements) loved the complicated relationships that Luce and her crew are trying to negotiate while saving the world. Cw: violence, murder, coercion)

121. End Game by Hailey Edwards (m/f, UF with romantic elements) lots of twists and turns, and lots tears and double/triple crossing but HEA is right there for everyone. Cw: violence, murder, coercion)

122. Rare Danger by the Great Ms.Beverly Jenkins (BM/BW, m/f, personal librarian MC, Detroit-set RS, fade to black) Stolen rare books, missing hands, a independent romance loving MC and the finest mystery man to research with.  (Cw: violence, abduction and guns)

123. Reckless at Heart by Zoe York (m/f, single dad, just a fling, mutual pining) Kerry’s biological clock is ticking but she is deeply attracted to the grumpy dad of her young patients.  Owen had a plan but feelings, big feelings derailed them.  (Cw: pregnancy (not MCs))

124. Fierce at Heart by Zoe York (m/f, friends to lovers, fake relationship, platonic marriage)  Adam thinks he can’t love, but he jumps at the chance of marrying his old friend so she can buy a bakery for $1!  They vow to be each other cheerleader 💕💕( Cw: abusive stalker ex) 

125. Fated Blades by Ilona Andrews (m/f, SFR, Kinsmen U, enemies to lovers). Betrayed by their spouses and their families in peril, Ramona & Matias must fight & dance together to keep their powerful research safe (Cw: murder, past trauma: witness to massacre, violence) .

126. Love in a Snowstorm by Zoe York (m/f, age gap, bff’s little sister, mutual pining) . Dani and Jake’s timing has never been right, in no small part because he is 5 yrs older & she is the little sister of his best friend.  I loved the complicating wrench played by York.

127. Love on the Outskirts of Town by Zoe York (m/f, single mom, former  players (both MCs), anxiety, trauma & PTSD).  Loved loved Natasha & Matt’s story. Their acceptance of each other, the fierceness of their love. (Cw: abandonment, custody threat, medical procedures)

128. Love on a Summer Night by Zoe York ( m/f, widowed mom, writer mc, “research”, biker bad boy??) Faith has been cocooning since her husband’s unexpected death, until Zander zings into town & steals her heart and reawakens her longing for adventure. (Cw: grief, child in peril).

129. Love on the Run by Zoe York (m/f, singer/bodyguard, terrible ex, anxiety)  Liana is hiding out in her bff's house, but she has to go back to the tour and her life as country music star...but gah big feelings.  Dean is getting a crash course in bodyguarding...but big feelings

130. Love in a Sandstorm by Zoe York (wm/ww, whirlwind, separation, war injuries, disability). Sean and Jenna fall in love but have to fight to stay marry after he is injured and no one knows they are married. (Cw: abandonment, parental neglect, medical procedures, war).

131. Love on the Edge of Reason by Zoe York (wm/ww, secret affair, surprise pregnancy)  secret no strings affair and hidden feelings get complicated quick for gestating Chloe but Tom is set on being the partner she needs, even if she is still scared of commitment. (Labor, birth)

132. Wild at Heart by Zoe York (m/f, nemesis rom, old crushes, grief).  Catie has thrown herself into making Pine Harbor a better place since she moved back.  Will finds her kind of bossy and has been holding a grudge for a perceived slights…but they throw serious 💕sparks!

133. Black Truth, White Lies by Hailey Edwards (UF, m/ww, found family, magic) Rue expands her family and faces some hard truths. Love the slow burn btw her and Asa.  (Cw: animal mutilation, gore, violence, abuse)

134. The Missing Page by Cat Sebastian (WM/WM, cozy mystery, queer found family).  Secrets and unpleasantness dutifully ignored until a will full of strange bequests cracks them open ( Cw: queer phobia, death, grief).

135. Siren’s Calling by Piper J Drake (WM/BW, PNR/Fantasy) Exiled Merwoman teams up with a selkie to save the orcas of Puget from a new predator…and uncovers terrible secrets.  Really enjoyed the “fish-out-water” dynamic of Amae’s Cw: violence, mentions of past genocide.

136. Scales and Sensibilities by Stephanie Burgis (WM/WW, magic) Elinor snaps under her cruel cousins’ tyranny and ends up a caught up in a web of deception of her own Wishing.  Fun & funny, can’t wait for more (Cw: past parental deaths, verbal abuse, threats of prison).

137. Dead in the Water by Hailey Edwards ( WM/WW, UF, shifters/fae, magical serial killer, found family, grief) Cam punishes herself for her sister’s death by investigating magical drownings but stumbles into something even deadlier and more sinister (cw: murder, violence) .

138. Hell or High Water by Hailey Edwards (WM/WW, UF, shifters/fae, serial killer, therapy) Can’t say I loved how the central mystery resolved as it relates to Lori but I did love the deep work Cam has to do to heal emotionally. (Cw: murder, dead of disabled sibling, violence)

139. Fish out of Water by Hailey Edwards (WM/WW, novella, love talker/sort-of-mermaid), trauma recovery)  sweet and gentle romance for Harlow as she heals and update on Bianca’s healing. Cw: mind manipulation, gore, bullying

140. Dog with a Bone by Hailey Edwards (m/w, UF, magic bounty Hunter) bounced off this book when it first came out…just didn’t click. Having read 4 bks in a later series I came back…almost bounced again…it starts in the middle…but this time it clicked. (Cw: violence, murder)










Favorites of 2023


I’ve read 170 books this year! There were some re-reads, tons of  mystery series, lots of  Urban Fantasy & Romantic suspense binges but the books below were my faves of the year.  The ones in bold are the books published this year or in one case next month!

Special shout-out to Graphic Audio for their fantastic dramatization of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels and The Innkeeper Chronicles series for allowing me to revisit some favorites in a fresh way.

I’ve either borrowed from the Library or bought all these books with the exception of the ones marked as ARCs which I received for review purposes.



1.  Magic Tides by Ilona Andrews (UF, KDWY #1)

This sequel series was a delight. It was fabulous to reconnect with Kate and family.  They have new place looking for a new start but you always bring yourself.

CWs: child abductions, violence, gore, murder, past traumas.  ARC 1/17


23. City of the Lost by Kelly Armstrong (Rockton/Casey Duncan #1, WW/WM, Mystery/Thriller series).

Hidden city, hidden agendas & hidden murders.

I loved this whole series and I’m loving the follow up series.  Just loved the unfolding of the mysteries and the development of the relationships.

CWs:  Guns, murder, mutilation, medical procedures, sex work, slut-shaming, kidnapping, rape, beatings, abandonment, drugs, cop MCs. 1/17/17 


48. Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood  (Mystery, Queer & disabled MCs, found family, late 1940’s NYC)

Pentecost & Parker are both super fascinating and the voice is fun despite the dark topics.   I loved each book in this series, especially the way Spotswood explores this time period in queer culture. CWs: murder, blackmail, queer phobia, beating, domestic violence, alcoholism 8/3/21


55. The Verifiers by Jane Pek (Mystery, Taiwanese-American Lesbian MC) Really engaging & engrossing. Loved Claudia and her wry geeky voice & how excited she is to be caught up a in mystery. 

CWs: murder, references to suicide, gaslighting, toxic family dynamics, 2/22/22


58. The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths (WW/WM, Mystery with Rom Elements, final book in series). Whew! As this book barreled to the end I didn’t know where things would land for our central characters, Ruth, Nelson and Cathbad but I’m deeply satisfied.  I read nearly the whole series this year and it was a fantastic rich journey. I still find myself thinking about some of the relationships and dynamics all the time.  Also top-notch big gesture CWs: murder, abduction



66. The Brightest Star in Paris by Diana Biller  (WW/WM, Paris set HR 1878) Biller’s prose is clever, smart, funny & heartbreaking angsty.  I loved how Ben & Amelie have to let go of so much before they can hold on to each other!  CWs: sex work, grief, murder, past trauma: war



77. Chick Magnet by Emma Barry ( WM/WW, contemporary, chicken influencer & vet). I love the craft in Barry’s romances, the balance of lust, awkwardness, vulnerability & silliness.  Just awesome sauce. I have to catch up on her other releases for this year but this is a book I find myself recommending in person al, the time. Cw: grief, depression, bullying, past trauma: gaslighting



83. A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske (Fantasy, WM/WM, magical mystery, 1st in trilogy )

THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING.  So excited to as this author straight into autobuy category!  Beautiful and engrossing! I loved the other two books in the series. Deeply fascinated by the magical world and the way the characters moved through it.

CWs: murder, torture, toxic siblings, toxic parents, bullying)



90. All Systems Red by Martha Wells (SF, Murderbot Diaries #1). Ooooh I love Murderbot already, so sympathetic and confused!  Great audio narration too by Kevin R. Free. This is will be adapted soon and wow I hope some of the magic of these books translate to the screen. I’m so deeply invested into the emotional journey of SecUnit and the impact they make on others. Every single book…worth your time.

CWs: murder, gore, slavery.



92. Wild Life by Opal Wei (eArc: Jan 24, contemporary rom, rom com in the right way!, Taiwanese-Canadian MCs,MMC has anxiety/panic attacks)

I loved Zoey, how grumpy, snarly and vibrant she is.  I fully agree with Davy that she is radiant! This author is long time fave under other pen names and I hope I get read more fun books from her 

Cw: sister had bone cancer, addiction


99. Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q Sutanto (Mystery, AW).

When a terrible man in found dead in her tea shop, Vera is determined to find the killer,  unfortunately she grows quite attached to her suspects. This book I almost read again, immediately after finishing it. Just a warm hug of a book, it the hugger is bony and nags you in a loving way while poking you in the heart.

CW: murder, emotional abuse, ref. to violence.



106. Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn (Thriller/heisty, 60+ assassins). When their retirement cruise turns into kill zone, they need to figure who is gunning for them & take them down! 4 women against the agency that turned on them. This is a book begging for movie adaptation. Cinematic and fun.CW: murder, violence, sexism.


108. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna (AW/WM, UK set, Cozy Fantasy Rom)  Fantastic, funny, surprising & tender book. Great found family, confronting traumas & looking for a way to make things better.  Hoping we get a lot more books from this author. This is how you do secret magical societies. (CW: toxic childhoods, abandonment, loneliness).



139. The Buried Hours by R.S.

Grant (Mystery with Rom, WW/WM, ARC, 12/5/23)

Intense & gripping twisty mystery. Desperate for answers she won't be deterred. Writing as RS Grant, Rachel Grant takes a darker turn while keeping a ton of the things that made me love her previous work.

CWs: murder, abduction, brutal rape, gaslighting, coercion, human trafficking, betrayal, suicidal ideation, violence, PTSD

144. Death Below Stairs (WW/WM, London UK-Set, Victorian Era Mystery series with romantic elements)Mrs H is a very good cook but she might be an even better sleuth! She can’t help but get involved when her assistant is found dead in the pantry!  I flew through the backlist of this series and I’m now caught up and it terrible to have to wait to March to see what is next for Daniel & Kat.

CWs: imperialism, discrimination 2/2/2018


166. Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree (Fantasy with queer found family) This book was sweet, surprising and really enjoyable to listen to as Viv, Cal, Tandry & the crew buildup a cafe and community from scratch.  My only disappointment with the series that the next book is a prequel and not just more of Viv & Tandry! Cws: sexual harassment, extortion,secrets, arson, betrayal


I wish you a fantastic new year of reading!

July in Review

Blue Sea Moodboard Photo collage Greece
92. Wild Life by Opal Wei (eArc: Jan 24, contemporary rom, rom com in the right way!, Taiwanese-Canadian MCs,MMC has anxiety/panic attacks)
Mini-Synopsis:  A cancer researcher bullies her way on to the private island of former C-pop star-aspiring wildlife rescuer after he accidently ends up with a slide crucial to her researcher. Hi-jinks ensue!
I loved Zoey, how grumpy, snarly and vibrant she is.  I fully agree with Davy that she is radiant!
CW: sister had bone cancer, addiction
93. Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells (SF, Murderbot Diaries 3)
Mini-Synopsis:  While trying to find more evidence against the corporation that tried to kill him original team,  Murderbot ends up trying to keep another group of hapless humans and their pet bot from being killed.
Murderbot just can’t help getting involved and saving people! It is so intense and emotional and comforting!
CWs: betrayal, violence.
94. Exit Strategy by Martha Wells (SF, Murderbot #4).
Mini-Synopsis: While returning to Dr. Mensah and the Preservation crew with evidence against the villanous GreyCris corporation Murderbot realizes that Dr. Mensah is missing!
Reunion/rescue mission, more deadly battles! Love it… did I say was going to space them out… CWs: kidnapping, violence, gore.
95. Network Effect by Martha Wells SF, Murderbot Diaries 5).
Mini-Synopisis: Finally on Preservation, Murderbot is trying to figure out themselves and their relationships and what role they can have or should have in Dr. Mensah's life, when an old frenemy needs their help.
I just love all the sulky growth Murderbot continues to experience and how it doesn’t just transform their life but that of all others around them!
96. Capture the Sun by Jessie Mihalik (SFR, bk3, thief/teleporter)
Mini-Synopsis:   Lexi a retrieval expert (thief) is used to working for terrible people but her latest job has lured her back to Valorian space and the betrayals come fast and hard and she has no choice but accept the help of Nilo, who once betrayed her himself.   But things get complicated when they realize the Empress might be about to restart the brutal war they sacrificed so much to end.
I think I was in the wrong mood for this. But the tension seemed weak.
Cw: kidnapping, betrayal past trauma: war
97. A Most Agreeable Murder by Julia Seales (Mystery with Rom elements, AM/WW).
Mini-Synopsis:  When a most eligible and wealthy bachelor is murdered in the midst of a ball, Beatrice Steele has no choice but to attempt to solve the murder especially since the inspector present is all set to blame her sister.
With a light yet satirical tone, a plot bordering on farce, & diverse cast, it’s MCs charm, amuse & detect! CWs: murder, violence, betrayal, abelism & misogyny
98. Resonance Surge by Nalini Singh (SFR/PNR WW/AM, Bear Changeling/ mentally scarred Psy)
Mixed feelings…wasn’t enjoying the book…took a 3 week break & enjoyed the ending? Wrong mood? Hmmm. CWs: murder, child abuse, serial killer, non-conventual medical procedures, ableism.
Cw: abductions, medical procedures, violence, gore.

Mixed Feelings: Resonance Surge by Nalini Singh

98. Resonance Surge by Nalini Singh (SFR/PNR WW/AM, Bear Changeling/ mentally scarred Psy) Mixed feelings…wasn’t enjoying the book…took a 3 week break & enjoyed the ending? Wrong mood? Hmmm. CWs: murder, child abuse, serial killer, non-conventual medical procedures, ableism

Mini-Synopsis:  The tortured and skittish sister of powerful Psy, Theo Marshall, has gaps in her memory and a deep conviction that she is a destructive and dangerous monster. Yakov Stepyrev of the StoneWater bears has been dreaming of a woman who looks just like Theo since his adolescence and while he is mistrustful of anyone from Marshall Group,  he is willing to help Theo figure out how her family was involved with a secret installation where non-compliant Psy were tortured and "rehabilitated" during the Silence era.

A Nalini Singh book is almost always one of my most anticipated books of the year, so anticipated that I am willing to read it in print with my eyes! (I am mostly an audiobook readers now).  As I struggled through reading Resonance Surge I wondered at myself why I was having a hard time. Was it my mood, the format or (gasp!) the text.  I struggled so much that I didn't hesitate to leave the book behind when our departure for vacation was unexpectedly accelerated and I was only a handful of chapters from the climatic conclusion.  The feeling I felt at the time was relief, I could stop trying to love it.

After weeks of ignoring it, yesterday I finally picked up the last few chapters and finished it, and found myself moved and gripped at the ending.  What had changed, I again wondered.  In discussing my mixed feeling with some fellow readers I realized what had changed when I returned and my discomfort reading the book clarified itself.  The secondary storylines had resolved and all I had left to read were the main storyline's resolution.  The book lacked cohesion much like the Psy-Net does.

While I had issues with the swiftness of Theo and Yakov's attachment, when she is so deeply traumatized by the abuse wrecked on her as a child, it is not a new relationship pattern for Singh.  My discomfort with the book was how fractured it was.  There were at least 4 or 5 different threads tangled in this book: the fracturing of Hien and Denu's sibling relationship at the dawn of the age of Silence, the fracturing of the PsyNet and  rising threat of Scarab Syndrome, the brutal serial killings of young women in Moscow,  Pavel and Arwen's deepening relationship and Theo and Yakov's quest to unearth the role of the Marshall family the abuse and experimentation of Psy on Pax's request.  That is a lot of threads for one book, and while some of these threads will I am sure will have payoff in later books, they dragged and distracted.

Nalini Singh is one of the foundational authors in my romance journey.  Reading Slave to Sensation, the first Psy-Changeling book back in 2010 or thereabouts opened up a world of paranormal speculative romance, where SF/Fantasy and romance combined into a deep and heady mix full of intrigue, expansive worldbuilding and swoony romances. Over the years though as my romance reading tastes changed and my self-identity broadened, I became dissatisfied with the erasure of LGBTQIA folks from Singh's future-set world. I welcomed when Singh over the last decade has  not 0nly started featuring visible minorities (not just white-presenting mixed peoples) as main characters has started peppering LGBTQIA characters in supporting roles.

In her second Psy-Changeling  Trinity series,  Pavel and Arwen have been slowly moving from flirtation to committed relationship in the background of several books.  Arwen is an empath and he often referred to as the heart of the Mercant family, a powerful and sometimes ruthless Psy family whose members have featured in nearly all the Trinity series books.  Pavel is key member of the StoneWater Bear clan, one of the central changeling packs in the series.    As I grew invested in Pavel and Arwen, I also grew dissatisfied with their secondary and in this case nearly superfluous role in this book. This is a far cry from how their story is billed in the official synopsis

"A point of irrevocable change. For Pavel . . . for Arwen . . . for Yakov . . . and for another pair of twins whose bond has a far darker history." 

In a series where the central relationships are often tested in dramatic fashion, theirs has been a quiet and placid romance.  I felt shortchanged.  While Pavel and Arwen's story would have made for a sweet novella, it felt disappointing in the midst of this book. I didn't believe the conflict that supposedly kept Arwen from accepting their mating bond.

I know understand my mixed feelings, this book had to many discordant notes smushed in, short-changing the secondary storylines and not hanging together cohesively.  I'll stick around to see where Singh is going next but with less anticipation.









I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher as part of the reviewer program.

June in Review

Brown Geometric My Family Photo Collage
73. Twisted by Laura Griffin (RS, WM/WW, cop/FBI agent, co-workers, age difference, past trauma: parental loss, child abuse)

Allison’s friends actually check on her!
Cw: serial killer, assault, guns, knives, grief, workaholism, mentions of rape, pedophilia, stalking.

74. Scorched by Laura Griffin (RS, WM/WW, SEAL/Bone expert, on-the-run & 2nd chance).

More girlfriends checking in…still weird little things getting dropped like her possessive assistant! Skimmed some of goose chase parts.
Cw: grief, abandonment, murder, terrorism.

75. Exposed by Laura Griffin ( RS, WM/WW, age difference, CSI photographer/FBI agent)

When she inadvertently photographs suspects in an abduction she gets caught up in much larger mystery.
CWs: torture, abduction, grief, workaholics, past trauma: death of child

76. Beyond Limits by Laura Griffin (RS, WM/WW, FBI agent/Navy SEAL)

Terrorist threats on US soil & long simmering attraction that can no longer be denied.
CWs: grief, guns, violence, references to torture, rape, beheading. Past trauma: loss of parent, assault.

77. Chick Magnet by Emma Barry ( WM/WW, contemporary, chicken influencer & vet).

I love the craft in Barry’s romances, the balance of lust, awkwardness, vulnerability & silliness. Just awesome sauce.
Cw: grief, depression, bullying, past trauma: gaslighting

78. Shadow Fall by Laura Griffin (RS, WM/WW, security consultant/ FBI agent, serial killer)

CWs: murder, racism, misogyny, references to child sexual abuse.

79. Deep Dark by Laura Griffin (RS, WM/WW, cop/hacker, age difference, serial killer)

I really liked the dynamic between Reed and Laney, with her push/his immovable object dynamic
CWs: rape, murder, stalking, past trauma: abandonment, infidelity, assault
80. At Close Range by Laura Griffin (RS, WM/WW, cop/ballistics tech, brother's best friend)

Interesting to read all these books back to back in an earlier book there was a set up scene with different LI
CWs: murder, stalking, guns, arson, explosions, infidelity, infertility, pregnancy: former MCs
81. Touch of Red by Laura Griffin ( RS, WM/WW, CSI tech/cop).

Brooke’s motivations made little sense at points but I really liked Sean/Brooke together.
Cw: murder, child endangerment, abuse, alcoholism past trauma: coercion, sexual exploitation.
82. Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin ( RS, WM/WW, anthropologist/cop)

Both need to overcome mistrust and wounds from disastrous past relationships.
CWs: serial killer, misogyny, murder, rape, abduction, references to child abuse.
83. A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske (Fantasy, WM/WM, magical mystery, 1st in trilogy )

THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING. So excited to as this author straight into autobuy category! Beautiful and engrossing!
CWs: murder, torture, toxic siblings, toxic parents, bullying)
84. Her Deadly Secrets by Laura Griffin (RS, WM/WW, bodyguard/PI)

Strong-silent type & chaotic talker collide and solve a series of murders, while he struggles to keep her alive.
CWs: assassins, crime syndicate, murder.
85. Far Gone by Laura Griffin (RS, WM/WW, FBI agent/cop)

Andrea's life is already in a tailspin when she learns her brother might be aiding a terrorist! Tied up to the Tracers
CWs: terrorism, abuse, officer involved shooting, Past trauma: abandonment & death of alcoholic parent.
86. Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood (RS, WM/WW, FBI agent, Priest BFF's sister)

I've enjoyed Garwood's bananapants funny HRs, so I don't know why I waited to read her RS. Awkward/funny seduction, sexual tension up to 10, so much denial.
CWs: Serial Killer, murder, stalking.
87. Mercy by Julie Garwood ( RS, WM/WW, super toxic FATPHOBIA)

Bayou doctor saves burned-out atty & he is in the right place/right time to save her from coverup plot.
CWs: murder, guns, assassins, stalking, grief, references to suicide, past trauma: traumatic birth/maternal death
88. Killjoy by Julie Garwood (RS, WM/WW, virulent fatphobia)

I had to skim most of this book. It was a mess and I’m not sure if I should keep trying these books. 2 out 3 have been meh!
CWs: murder, misogyny, ableist, fatphobic, past trauma: assault, abuse, abandonment
89. A Restless Truth ( WW/WW, fantasy/mystery, 2nd in trilogy, ADHD rep).

Secret objects lost and found & relationships forged. Hints of House Party trope as most of the book is set on a transatlantic cruise ship.
CWs: murder, misogyny, past trauma: assault/abandonment/toxic parents.
90. All Systems Red by Martha Wells (SF, Murderbot Diaries #1).

Ooooh I love Murderbot already, so sympathetic and confused! Great audio narration too by Kevin R. Free.
CWs: murder, gore, slavery.
91. Artificial Condition (SF, Murderbot Diaries).
I just want to squish! This series is just so fantastic, hard-cynical Murderbot keeps getting attached and saving people who need saving, and saving a bit of themselves along the way.
Cw: murder, coercion, abuse of power.



May Reading in Review

Beige Pastel Minimalist Boho Live in the Moment  Photo Collage Instagram Post56. The Body in the Garden by Katharine Schellman (Regency, Mystery,).

Widowed Lady Adler has returned to town, and promptly discovers a body.

CWs: murder, racism, sexual harassment, guns, grief.

57. Ana María and the Fox by Liana De La Rosa (1860’s UK Hrom, Mexican FMC/Black-Scottish MMC)

Loved the sisterly bonding away from their dictatorial father & complex feelings AM has over falling for a UK politician like her father.

CWs: coercion, abduction, violence, harassment

58. The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths (WW/WM, Mystery with Rom Elements, final book in series).

Whew! As this book barreled to the end I didn’t know where things would land for our central characters, Ruth, Nelson and Cathbad but I’m deeply satisfied.

CWs: murder, abduction

59. Deep Tide by Laura Griffin (WM/WW, FBI agent MC, small town)

When her employee is murdered, Leyla gets caught up in an larger investigation that has brought Sean into town.

CWs: murder, abductions, secrets.

60. Hidden by Laura Griffin (WW/WM, investigative reporter/ police detective)

When a story is bigger than she could have imagined the one person she trust is the one that fears trusting her.

(CWs: murder, stalking, secrets).

61. Flight by Laura Griffin (WW/WM, CSI/Detective, trauma, serial killer)

Miranda has left it all behind, looking for a new start but when she find a body, she knows she will always be a CSI, Joel just helps her back to it.

CWs: murder, arson, guns, stalked.

62. Midnight Dunes by Laura Griffin (WM/WW, cop/filmmaker)

She lives in the dead woman’s house 😱. Finally a mc who makes sure to eat! All her MCs are always hangry missing meals.

CWs: murder, abduction, blackmail

63. Last Seen Alone by Laura Griffin (WW/WM, cop/lawyer)

Might need to pause this binge. Skimmed to the end, although I did love how it dealt with revenge p r n

Cw: harassment, stalking, assault, guns, grief.

64. Magic Claims by Ilona Andrews (UF/PNR, arc 6/13)

aaahhhhhh love it. So many threads coming together, excellent antagonist & direction. Love these characters so much. Felt familiar and different!

CWs: death, gore, blood, coercion, enslavement.

65. Vanishing Hour by Laura Griffin (RS, WM/WW, cop/lawyer with SAR dog)

Ava gets caught up in searching for missing women, seeing connections the cops have ignored.

(CWs: murder, abduction, abuse, Alzheimer's, grief -- parental loss to cancer)

66. The Brightest Star in Paris by Diana Biller (WW/WM, Paris set HR 1878)

Biller’s prose is clever, smart, funny & heartbreaking angsty. I loved how Ben & Amelie have to let go of so much before they can hold on to each other! CWs: sex work, grief, murder, past trauma: war

67. Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller (WM/WW, 1870’s Vienna, super competent MC, MMC virgin researches sex!)

I missed the Biller’s usual ghosts but this had so many fun tropes!

CWs: assassinations attempts, guns, blackmail, toxic parents, past trauma: parental abuse, abandonment

68. Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin (WM/WW, bodyguard/lawyer).

The title doesn’t match the book at all but I enjoyed it. FMC has a case she doesn’t want to drop while an escaped serial killer threatens her.

CWs: murder, threats, references to rape, guns, betrayal.

69. Untraceable by Laura Griffin (WM/WW, cop/PI)

Alex helps desperate women disappear but when one returns & goes missing, Alex turns to Nathan for help…but no body & the suspect is another cop!

CWs: guns, arson, murder, misogynistic violence, police corruption, jealousy.

70. Unspeakable by Laura Griffin ( WM/WW, RS, true crime writer/FBI profiler, bad boy/straight arrow)

Troy was classic sequel bait in the last book so I was rooting for him the whole time.

CWs: serial killer, stalking, murder, violence, drug use, assault.

71. Unstoppable by Laura Griffin (RS Novella, WM/WW, SEAL/Archeologist)

A favor for his CO & an assignment that becomes unexpectedly dangerous. Bones, tunnels abd misding grad-students!

CWs: terrorism, grief, guns, bones,

72. Snapped by Laura Griffin (WM/WW, receptionist/detective)

This was undercooked…lots of dropped beats/threads in the romance & odd friendship fails. Toxic dynamics.

(CWs: mass shooting, assault, controlling, past trauma: assault )

April Reading in Review!

Grey Minimalist Photo Collage Polaroid Your Story40. Wild Things by Chloe Neill (UF, 9, WM/WW)

Magical threat to shifters and hidden magical peoples. Shifters are so messy emotionally.

CWs: murder, violence, gore, magical coercion, kidnapping, prejudice

41. Blood Games by Chloe Neill (UF, 10, WM/WW)

Oof, past allegiances & choices are tested as big political changes occur here.

CWs: murder, violence, kidnapping, psychic torture

42. Dark Debt by Chloe Neill (UF, 11, WM/WW)

Loved the care Merit had taken to rebuild her relationship with Mallory and how it comes into play here.

CWs: murder, violence, SA, magical coercion, past trauma: emotional abuse, gaslighting

43. Midnight Marked by Chloe Neill (UF, 12, WM/WW)

Finally the much hinted at proposal. Also the RG gets a much needed kick in the pants.

CWs: murder, violence, threats to family, magical coercion, sex work.

44. Phantom Kiss by Chloe Neill (UF, 12.5, WM/WW)

Loved the return of a side character in this.

CWs: violence, serial killer, prejudice.

45. Blade Bound by Chloe Neill ( UF, WM/WW, 13)

Climatic end to Ethan & Merit’s saga. Big Wedding, honeymoon interrupted and fulfillment of prophecy.

CWs: murder, mental illness, magical coercion, pregnancy

46. Slaying it by Chloe Neill (UF, WM/WW, 13.5)

Jonah and Margot finally break through the heartbreaks to give each other a chance, after dealing with Margot’s abusive ex.

CWs: kidnapping attempt, pregnancy, childbirth, past trauma: intimate partner violence

47. High Stakes by Chloe Neill ( UF, WW/WM, 8.5)

Lindsey faces her past and her commitment phobia

CWs: guns, murder, threats to family.

48. Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood (mystery, Queer & disabled MCs, found family, 1940’s NYC)

Pentecost & Parker are both super fascinating and the voice is fun despite the dark topics.

CWs: murder, blackmail, queer phobia, beating, domestic violence, alcoholism

49. Murder Under her Skin by Stephen Spotswood (Mystery, queer MCs)

Double heartbreaking homecoming that unearth difficult secrets as Parker seeks rescue an old mentor from a murder charge

CWs: drugs, alcoholism, murder, violence, racism, mentions of SA, medical procedures.

50. Payback is a Witch by Lana Harper (Bi WW/WW, Magical PNR, small town, vengeance pact).

I wanted to like this more than I did but the world building was weak & occasionally problematic. MCs sometimes felt YA

CWs: violence, magical possession, past traumas: betrayal, gaslighting, bullying

51. Secrets Typed in Blood by Stephen Spotswood (BI WM MC, Mystery, 1940’s NYC).

Crime fiction, real murders & a suspicious client with deep secrets.

CWs: murder, child in peril, mentions of child death, kidnapping, serial killer, stalking, misogyny, past trauma: parental abuse

52. Alaskan Christmas Escape by Juno Rushdan (BW/WM, CIA fugitive/injured SEAL)

Zee is hiding after her team was framed & disavowed. But they’ve tracked her down & sent her evil ex after her. He won’t let her run alone.

CWs: gun violence, child in peril, past trauma: coercion, DV

53. Disavowed in Wyoming by Juno Rushdan (WW/LM, RS, second chance, CIA)

When Kate gets helps a pregnant woman she uncovers a lot more darkness in her home town.

CWs: murder, forced sex work, childbirth, maternal death, PT: DV, estrangement, grief, Cancer/Alzheimer’s

54. An Operative’s Last Stand by Juno Rushdan (Harlequin Intrigue, WM/WW)

Team Topaz’s last-ditch attempt to clear their name uncovers the true traitors.

CWs: guns, violence, murder, assassination, torture, sexual harassment.

55. The Verifiers by Jane Pek (Mystery, Taiwanese-American Lesbian MC)

Really engaging & engrossing. Loved Claudia and her wry geeky voice & how excited she is to be caught up a in mystery.

CWs: murder, references to suicide, gaslighting, toxic family dynamics.


March Reading in Review.

Thank god for authors with rich backlists and lots and lots of audiobook offerings.  In march I finished the Rockton/Casey Duncan series that I have previously reviewed and then moved on to catch up on the audios of Haley Edwards Black Hat Bureau series.  I read a ton of Haley Edwards last year and I love Rue, Asa and the rest of her motley crew of magical crime fighters/found family.  I also sank deeper into Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampire series.  I always love a heroine that loves the Cubs (see my love-affair with Kitty Pryde), I rode the rollercoaster that is her relationship to Ethan and her complicated relationship with Vampiredom.  I didn't love every book but I loved the series as a whole, especially how Merit has to rebuild her friendship with Mallory and work to define herself and her role as Sentinel of House Cadogan and champion of Chicago.
Minimalist Sweet 2020 Memories Scrapbook Photo Collage  (1)
24. A Darkness Absolute (Rockton #3, WM/AW — Chinese/Filipino heroine Mystery/thriller with Rom Elements) gripping, emotional and invested in this little town. Cw: murder, abduction, rape, torture, guns, violence, harassment.
25. This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong (AW/WM, mystery/thriller with rom elements). So much running around in the woods! CWs: murder, serial killer, betrayal, mentions of molestation, torture.
26. Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong (AW/WM, mystery with rom elements) yay for complicated small town dynamics and lots of theories coming home to roost! Casey’s sister! Cw: murder, toxic parents, past trauma: child death, drug use, medical procedures
27. Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong (AW/WW, mystery with rom elements) HUGE revelations and complications as Casey and Eric try to find the parents of foundling child. CWs: murder, homophobia, racism, medical procedures, kidnapping, brainwashing.
28. Stranger in Town by Kelley Armstrong ( AW/WM, Mystery/Thriller with Rom Elements) a massacre in the woods, big pharma & decades old plot. Finally resolution to one of the big mysteries and the start of the end game. CWs: murder, kidnapping
29. The Deepest of Secrets by Kelley Armstrong (AW/WM, mystery thriller with Rom Elements). With council decided does anything still matter? Of course it does to Casey & Eric and the Rockton crew. CWs: murder, blackmail, alcoholism, betrayals.
30. Murder at Haven’s Rock by Kelley Armstrong ( Mystery/Thriller with rom elements, AW/WW) new town, new residents and a murder! Ooh and the new neighbors will bring complications for sure! CWs: murder, guns, abduction, medical procedures, drug use.
31. Black Wings, Grey Skies by Hailey Edwards (UF/WW/Demon/Elf M, #4) big twists, close calls and Rue & Asa’s fascination intensifies (child murder, gore, betrayal)
32. Gray Witch by Hailey Edwards (UF, #5) sent on a series of troubling murders, Rue and her team set in motion moves that will lead to the final confrontation ( murder, gore, mentions of past sexual assault).
33. Gray Tidings by Hailey Edwards (UF, #6) whoops I thought this was the last book…but it’s not but some heart wrenching confrontations nonetheless! CWs: murder, gore, gaslighting, coercion.
34. Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill (UF #4) I really wonder how I would have felt about some of surprise twists in this book if I hadn’t already read the 2nd series! Because wow! CWs: murder, grief, drug use, coercion, violence.
35. Drink Deep by Chloe Neill (UF, #5) I really enjoyed this book, Merit expanding her trust circle, dealing with her grief and making incredibly hard choices. CWs: grief, violence, magical addiction.
36. Biting Cold by Chloe Neill (UF, #6). The showdown over the magical book spills over and a bigger bad revealed. Questions of forgiveness atonement, restoration. CWs: violence, magical addiction, arson, possession.
37. House Rules by Chloe Neill ( UF, #7) I had to name search this book to see how long the Ethan/Merit would be dealing with mutual jealousy. CWs: serial killer, abduction, demagoguery, violence, murder, jealousy, blackmail, secrets, past trauma: coercion & abuse
38. Biting Bad by Chloe Neill (UF, #8) loved seeing some more worldbuilding re vampire life. CWs: betrayal, arson, hate crimes, medical procedures, demagoguery, violence, murder.
39. Midnight Bites by Chloe Neill (UF, shorts stories) Howling for You: Fallon finally makes her choice. CWs: betrayal, prejudice, family pressure, legacy, sacrifice, references to miscarriage Lucky Break: Ethan/Merit vacation ruined. CWs: grief, murder, feud, infertility.

Kelley Armstrong's Rockton/Casey Duncan Series 1 Review

Genre:  Mystery/Thrillers with Romantic Elements.

Tropes:  found family, small town, new start. 

Main Characters: 

Casey Duncan, Chinese/Filipino/Scottish Canadian, former police detective with a killer secret.

Eric Dalton, White, wilderness-born sheriff of secret small town in the Yukon.

Series CWs: Guns, murder, mutilation, medical procedures, sex work, slut-shaming, kidnapping, rape, beatings, abandonment, drugs, cop MCs, abduction, torture, violence, harassment, serial killer, betrayal, mentions of molestation, toxic parents, past trauma: child death, drug use, homophobia, racism, brainwashing, blackmail, alcoholism. ( and probably more I am missing).

The Set-up: As a young adult Casey Duncan made a series of terrible choices, leading to a traumatic assault and the murder of her former boyfriend.  To spite all those who thought she would never recover, she worked harder than ever to fulfill her childhood dream of being coming a cop, but ten years on, her life is pretty bleak. She lives for her job and has few connections outside her regular hookup (whose last name she hasn't bothered to learn) and her childhood best friend, whose relationship drama and toxic ex, prompt them to escape north to a secret town in the Yukon for a few years of sanctuary.  Rockton is not at all what Casey expected and so much more.  It upends her expectations and transforms her in ways she could have not imagined when she signed up for a sixth month stay.

While Rockton is a small town, the setting is not one of regular small town since everyone there is in hiding, from consequences of past mistakes, from vindictive exes or folks even more dangerous and increasingly a greater share of those residents are also fleeing from the law.  Everyone there has paid a price for this chance to start over, for temporary sanctuary. But there are also two Rocktons, one made up of the temporary residents and the other the council, the off-site group of investors that keep the town going, recruiting and vetting new residents and bankrolling the operation.  While residents might have been promised a safe place to lay low and regroup, the council is not a non-profit and has been increasingly sending less than worthy but high-paying criminals.  Trying to keep the peace in this fragile community is Eric Dalton, the only permanent resident of the town, its sheriff and the only child ever raised in Rockton. He is deeply suspicious of Casey even as he is desperate for someone with her skills as there have been more and more sinister incidents happening in town.


I was totally engrossed and sucked in by this series. I loved the complexities faced by Casey and Eric as they try to solve big and small mysteries, and untangle their feelings for those around them.  Who can they trust, how do you keep people safe, who am I really, who am I responsible for, what are the best choices when you only have bad ones?  There is a lot going on in each book and I loved how Casey and Eric so often have to re-evaluate their choices in light of new information and unearthed connections, and there is always something deeper and truer to uncover.   I am eager to see what Armstrong does in the 2nd series. 


Mini-Reviews from Twitter:

23. City of the Lost by Kelly Armstrong (Rockton/Casey Duncan #1, AW/WM, Mystery/Thriller series). Hidden city, hidden agendas & hidden murders. CWs: Guns, murder, mutilation, medical procedures, sex work, slut-shaming, kidnapping, rape, beatings, abandonment, drugs, cop MCs.

24. A Darkness Absolute (Rockton #3, WM/AW — Chinese/Filipino heroine Mystery/thriller with Rom Elements) gripping, emotional and invested in this little town. Cw: murder, abduction, rape, torture, guns, violence, harassment.

25. This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong (AW/WM, mystery/thriller with rom elements). So much running around in the woods! CWs: murder, serial killer, betrayal, mentions of molestation, torture.

26. Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong (AW/WM, mystery with rom elements) yay for complicated small town dynamics and lots of theories coming home to roost! Casey’s sister! Cw: murder, toxic parents, past trauma: child death, drug use, medical procedures

27. Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong (AW/WW, mystery with rom elements) HUGE revelations and complications as Casey and Eric try to find the parents of foundling child. CWs: murder, homophobia, racism, medical procedures, kidnapping, brainwashing.

28. Stranger in Town by Kelley Armstrong ( AW/WM, Mystery/Thriller with Rom Elements) a massacre in the woods, big pharma & decades old plot. Finally resolution to one of the big mysteries and the start of the end game. CWs: murder, kidnapping.

29. The Deepest of Secrets by Kelley Armstrong (AW/WM, mystery thriller with Rom Elements). With council decided does anything still matter? Of course it does to Casey & Eric and the Rockton crew. CWs: murder, blackmail, alcoholism, betrayals.

Chloe Neill and Chicagoland Vampires mini-reviews

The Heroic Hearts Anthology series reminded me of how engrossing it can be sink my teeth (heh) into a new urban fantasy universe.  Based on the short story I read I wanted to read more.  The short story:


Silverspell by Chloe Neill. A Katana wielding Vampire princess & An Alpha shifter prince team up to track down a coven of witches looking to stop or start the apocalypse. Intrigued CWs: murder, kidnapping, magical coercion.


It featured characters from Neill's second series featuring vampires in Chicago, The Heirs of Chicagoland series.  I quickly read the first two, before wanting to go back and read the original series.  I then proceed to read about the original couple,  Ethan and Merit, who have a hot and cold relationship through the early books.  I am not sure I am going to read all  of the original series, but I know have enough context to really sink into the second series.

Min Reviews for the Heirs of Chicagoland Series:

Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill (UF with Rom elements, WW/WM, Chicago-set) Elisa, the only vampire born not made, returns home to Chicago to grapple with secrets, new love interest and try to keep fairies from derailing peace talks. (CWs: murder, kidnapping, betrayal).

Wicked Hour by Chloe Neill (UF with Rom Elements, WW/WM, Road-trip). Elisa keeps growing into her power, coming to terms with her monster and falling deeper in love with Connor. (CWs: murder, betrayal by leadership ignoring a sexual predator) . Highly enjoyable cast.

Shadowed Steel by Chloe Neill (PNR/UF WM/WW, Heirs of Chicagoland #3). Consequences of choices push Elisa to claim her ground & independence and forge a stronger bond with Connor (CWs: stalking, murder, kidnapping, mentally ill antagonist).

Devouring Darkness by Chloe Neill (Heirs of Chicagoland 4, UF /PNR, WM/WW)I’ve really enjoyed how Neill has had the heirs grow in power, experience & independence from their parents while still loving them! (CWs: prejudice, blood magic, betrayal) .

I really love how Connor and Elise talk through their conflicts and set boundaries with each other and their parents.  A lot of the series focuses on this second generation finding their place and their own identities while trying to keep loving relationships with their powerful parents.  Learning how to ask for help and learning when to go it alone.


Mini Review for Chicagoland Vampires:

Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires 1, UF with Rom WM/WW) Turned without her consent, Merit must overcome her resentment to work with her new Liege to unconver who is targeting and killing women. CWs: violence, murder, toxic parents, HP references.

Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires, UF, WM/WM)  Merit's romantic entanglements prove a flashpoint in her relationship with her best-friend Mallory who is dealing with her own monumental life change.  Neill doesn't hesitate to show Merit make mistakes in dealing with people she loves and care about, including being unfair to Morgan, Mallory and Catcher. CWs: murder, betrayal, violence, HP references.

Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill (UF, WM/WW, Chicagoland Vampires series). Ethan is an ass but he is 400 yr vamp.  Merit and Ethan consummate their attraction but Ethan immediately backtrack when he is unsettled by the strength of his interest. CWs: murder, betrayal, violence, HP references.


I am not a huge fan of hot/cold relationships and unilateral decision making so  I am not sure if I am going to sign on for the rest of this series, but I do enjoy the politics, especially the tensions between groups that public versus those who are closeted.  The major themes revolve around solidarity and mutual aid which have strong queer undertones.


Heroic Hearts Anthology

Heroic heartsLast year when this came out I put it in my mental wish-list...but I just wasn't going to plunk down full price for a collection of short stories where I was only likely to read 2 of the stories.  Thankfully one of the libraries I used finally bought the audio version!

I jumped in and read the last one first,  Patricia Briggs whose story was Asil Moreno, who is one my favorite characters.  It was very much worth the wait, I then read Anne Bishop's story, which I enjoyed while cringing again at the brutality.  To my great surprise, I ended up reading and enjoying almost all the stories and I have gone out already grabbed books by several of the authors (Annie Bellet, Chloe Neill & Jennifer Brozek) whose books I had never read before.

  • Dating Terrors by Patricia Briggs. After reading Asil in Roses in Winter…I remembered that I hadn’t tracked this story down yet! And now I want a dozen stories of Asil, Ruby & her gang of ghost “hunters”. CWs: abuse, abduction, violence

  • The Dark Ship by Anne Bishop. I love the world of the Others but oof there is always so much brutality! Set in the Mediterranean CWs: toxic abusive patents, scarring, threat of SA, fascism, violence, gore.

  • Little Things by Jim Butcher. The narration by James Marsters is what sold me on this story of sprite defending his Knight when all the big people dismiss them. CWs: violence, grief.

  • Comfort Zone by Kelley Armstrong. I liked how complicated all the conflicts in this story are, how nothing is simple but everything is, in that the best thing to do is to talk to each other. CWs: violence, murder, lying, minor in danger.

  • Train to Last Hope by Annie Bellet. Despair drove them apart when their teen daughter disappeared, but one last lead, brings them back together. Cried in the car listening. CWs: grief, murder, violence, kidnapping.

  • Fire Hazard by Kevin Hearne. Extremely goofy story, Oberon, Atticus’ wolfhound relates the story set during the Australian Wildfires. CWs: violence, arson, ass candles.

  • Graves Gambles by RR Virdi. Body jumping (quantum leap-like) monster hunter shuts down luck stealing leprechaun CWs: child abduction, murder, suicide. Ick, not for me.

  • Silverspell by Chloe Neill. A Katana wielding Vampire princess & An Alpha shifter prince team up to track down a coven of witches looking to stop or start the apocalypse. Intrigued CWs: murder, kidnapping, magical coercion.

  • Troll Life by Kerrie L. Hughes. Station Master of a sentient rail line protect young runaways from vampires and wizards. CWs: slavery, kidnapping, abuse, violence.

  • The Return of the Mage by Charlaine Harris. Mercenaries go back for one of their mages 20 years after he went missing, nothing is what one expects. I liked it but it felt like set up. CWs: violence, deaths, toxic rulers.

  • The Vampires Karamazov by Nancy Holder.  Such a snore. Not for me. Cw: murder, cat calling, violence, spiritual elements

  • The Necessity of Pragmatic Magic by Jennifer Brozek.  Old witches avert disaster at a little museum. Loved the interplay between them. Would read more CWs: mental clouding,