The Lady of Royale Street by Thea De Salle – Everyone is back for a reprise but main romance is less than I hoped

Rain and Sol from The King of Bourbon Street are getting married (oops spoilers), and everyone is flying in to be there for the special day, but a week before the wedding the wedding planner dies after leaking all the wedding information. So income Theresa, Rain’s best friend, and Alex, Sol’s brother, to save the day, and maybe develop some feelings along the way.

I’ll be honest, this is my least favourite of the series so far. I wasn’t drawn to either of the characters and I didn’t find their relationship particularly compelling. It’s not a bad book, but it’s not as good as the previous two.

TW for ableism. There was a few parts where Theresa is described as being “crazy” or a “lunatic” which just felt really unnecessary. Other words could’ve been used.

What really helped this book for me was because it focuses around Rain and Sol’s wedding we get to see all the previous characters, whom I adore. We got to see my faves get married and continue to be absolutely wild.

Like I said in my Sanctuary review I’m super sensitive to Scottish descended characters and Theresa was the opposite of what I like in Scottish characters. She just felt super cringey to me, and it felt like the author was just putting it in there constantly. And she used the wrong form of whiskey.

It was just as easy to read as the previous novels from it’s style and you can definitely get through it in one sitting if you’re so inclined. And whilst I definitely had my qualms with this one I still enjoyed it.

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Rebekah Weatherspoon Round Up

Over the past few months I’ve gone on a bit of a Rebekah Weatherspoon marathon, I’ve not read all her books but I’ve read a lot of them and I don’t have enough to say about them all to make a post each so I thought I’d put them all into one. I fell in love with Rebekah’s writing style after reading Haven which was recommended to me by like everyone on twitter. I really love how she brings light bdsm into the plot without it being like super hardcore. And as a black woman she always has good racial representation as well.

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Fit

This book honestly made me slightly uncomfortable at times with the relationship being someone in a position of power, but it wasn’t a huge thing. But I did love the idea of some of the sex scenes in this.

 

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Treasure

I really liked this one. It featured a wlw relationship with a stripper. And I am all about books that portray sex work in a good light. It dealt with outward and inward judgement about both being in an f/f relationship and being with a stripper. Trisha was so unapologetic about herself and her job and I absolutely adored her.

So Sweet and So Right

I haven’t finished this series yet but I don’t know if I will because I’m just not sure if I can be bothered because So Right didn’t really bring anything new to the table for me. However I did really like So Sweet. It was like Sugar Daddy by Sawyer Bennett without the weird murder-y undertone. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t not like So Right but it just was kind of a bit plot-less but hey I’ll probably read the final book just for a light read at some point.

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The Queen of Dauphine Street by Thea De Salle

So this book follows side characters from The King of Bourbon Street, like most romance series seem to do. Maddy is crazy rich, richer than you could imagine but she has a messy past. Darren is a typical Texas boy and is best friends with Maddy’s exes brother but an ex makes an attempt on his life and Maddy is there to save the day and take him away to New Orleans on her boat to protect him.

Whilst I loved Maddy this book did feel like a bit of a downgrade from the first book. But maybe I just loved Sol and Rain so much that anything would feel like that.

It did kind of feel a bit off the wall at times for honest. It was fun but because it’s based around Maddy who leads a ridiculous life things would happen that just don’t actually happen so though this is a contemporary you have to suspend your belief at times.

A lot of this book takes place in New Orleans, of course, so it made me really happy to read about Sol and Rain as their relationship was a little bit further on in time.

The most important thing for me in this book was Maddy. Though she was a bit wacky she was so unapologetic in her sexuality. She was bi, and she never hid it. Whenever speaking about past experiences she never glossed over her sleeping with men and women and she didn’t downplay it. And though I am not bi, pan and bi kind of go along in the same boat in terms of representation in media or lack thereof. So Maddy was a really important character for me.

There are possible triggers in this book for stalking and guns so if that’s something that could set you off be careful with this book.

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Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Thank you to netgalley and for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If you want a steamy summer read with some characters who aren’t your typical romance book types then this is the book for you. Our two main characters are a chubby Grenadian American woman and a bearded mountain man and their chemistry is just so good.

The book kicks off with our MCs meeting when Claudia is on a camping weekend with her brother and her brother gets murdered by a serial killer and Claudia is running away from the same fate and finds Shep who rescues her from the murderer. When Claudia tries to get back to her real life after the horrible events she can’t stop thinking about Shep.

Now obviously based on that synopsis you can tell that there are some triggers with this book. Claudia’s brother is murdered and Claudia herself nearly meets the same fate and is attacked so whilst it isn’t gone into too much detail, if you are triggered by these kind of things I would be weary, especially as it is continuously mentioned throughout the novel as Claudia is still dealing with the trauma. BUT the way the author dealt with that trauma throughout the book was really respectful I thought, and I felt like the way she wrote how Claudia dealt with the grief and trauma was really real and believable.

The erotic parts of this novel, which there were a lot, were so steamy. I had to make sure I read this book when I was in bed as I knew if I read it in public I would get very uncomfortable. There was some exhibitionist aspects in this book which I haven’t read much of in erotica and my god it got me a bit hot and bothered. There’s also a lot of bdsm parts of their relationship, which from what I’ve read Rebekah Weatherspoon includes of lot of her books, which were really good to read, as I find bdsm in books can be really awkward if the writer doesn’t know what they’re doing.

I loved the characters in this book, I need to get myself a Shep because they way I imagined him was just so perfect. And Claudia was just such a good person to read the POV of, I felt like she made a lot of decisions that I would.

So, yeah, get this book because god damn it’s so hot.

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Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Our MC is on the verge of divorce from her husband after he gets to the end of his tether with her putting her job before family and so he goes to visit his family for Christmas leaving her there. She finds a phone that magically allows her to speak to her husband in the past before they were married with kids and this helps her think about where she wants her life to go.

I felt like I couldn’t really relate to the characters because I’ve never been married and they were much older than me. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but at times it felt like I didn’t really get their motives because I’ve never been in any situations like it.

I absolutely adored the idea of this one phone being a gateway into your past. And that whilst in the past it was him who had made a mess and was thinking about what he wanted from the relationship, in the present she was trying to work through her own feelings and how she’d made every thing fall apart. It was like a really nice magical way of having someone think about why they got together with their significant other in the first place.

I did have a few problems with the discourse in this book because at times it did feel like the husband was mad at her for wanting to excel in her job. I completely understand that he wanted her to be around more for the kids because that’s important but it did feel like he was giving her an ultimatum. Like you either need to stop being so involved in work or I leave you. Like why couldn’t he just tell her she really needs to balance everything better. I would’ve liked to get to know present husband more than we did because to me he came off as a bit of a chauvinist compared to the past version of himself who read like an absolute sweetheart. There was a bit of a disjoint.

As with all previous Rowell books I’ve read the writing style was really easy to follow and I read this pretty quickly. Though at times I did find it a little on the slow side.

Overall I feel like the idea was really interesting and the execution was ok for the most part but it could’ve done with a bit more fleshing out in some areas and less in others.

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From the Stars by C.S. Wilde

I was sent this novel by the author in an exchange for an honest review, so thank you C.S.Wilde!

James falls in love with this girl he works with at his office job, Miriam. They start to hang out then she tells him her secret: she’s an alien. Things begin to become complicated between them

I’ll be completely honest and say that this book wasn’t my cup of tea, there was a bit too much romance and not enough sci-fi for me, but that’s just me.

One thing I liked was that the aliens had both human and their alien names, I often find with sci-fi books that they’re either given human names, which isn’t really realistic or they have just alien names and you can’t pronounce it to save yourself.

The book shows a lot of potential, it was fast paced and engaging. I just found it hard to believe at times. I liked James, he was a character that I understood. He was happy to just be friends with Miriam if that’s what needed to happen. Whereas I found myself getting annoyed by Miriam a lot, she felt less like an alien and more like a self-aware robot sometimes.

I would also say it felt quite short, the book itself is short but it could have been fleshed out in places and though the pacing was fast I feel like some of the speed could’ve been sacrificed to add more to immersion and connection with the characters.

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Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher

Thank you to netgalley and Penguin/Michael Joseph for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I would say this was better than the first book. I could definitely tell that Giovanna’s writing has gotten better. Again, this was an easy read and I liked it for the most part, as with the previous book. However it did fall a bit flat compare to other British “chick lit” writers.

I found the characters still a bit annoying. Sophie was so insecure at times that I wanted to jump into the pages and shake her. I couldn’t imagine being in a relationship with her because you wouldn’t be able to do anything without her worrying that you were going to sleep with someone else. Billy was a lot better in this, he didn’t make any stupid decisions like he did in the previous novel.

I liked getting to see more of the Hollywood side of Billy, it kind of felt like that didn’t exist in the first novel. I liked getting to see his life there and his family. Overall I’d say the characters felt a lot more adult in this novel, they actually tried to work through their problems instead of just shoving them under the carpet.

I’ll be honest, if you’ve followed me for a while you’d know that I schedule everything and have a huge backlog of reviews, so I read this in December and I’m writing this in February, it wasn’t very memorable as I’m struggling for words. It wasn’t a terrible book by any means, and the writing was good, it just didn’t feel like anything new. That’s not a problem really, it’s just not what I’m after.

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The One We Fell In Love With by Paige Toon

Someone I work with absolutely adores Paige Toon’s books so I thought I would give her a try.

In short 3 sisters fall for the same guy but it’s more than that.

So basically the writing was really easy to read and it was fairly quick to get through and I will read more Paige Toon stuff in future. It’s not as funny as other British romance novelists I like, but it’s not just romance made to make you cry so it was ok for me.

I found all 3 of the sisters really just not great. I didn’t mind reading them but as I was going along all I could think was “these are terrible people”. Eliza was probably my favourite of the 3 because she was pining for Angus for years and didn’t try to do anything to break up Angus and Phoebe, all she wanted was to live her life the way she wanted and not have to go into a career she didn’t want to be in. Whereas Phoebe came too close to cheating which is never ok. And I don’t want to even talk about Rose reading Eliza’s bloody diary, and how she was obsessed with Angus and thought that meant she could nose her way into things that weren’t her business.

There is a time jump about a quarter of the way through, after Phoebe dies, which isn’t much of a spoiler as it happens quite soon after the beginning. I found the time jump really jarring, you get used to the past and getting to know what was happening just before the death and then suddenly it’s a few years later and I had no idea what was going on.

I knew who was going to be endgame probably from the beginning, it was pretty obvious but it was still good to see their relationship blossoming. And there was some good conflict that didn’t seem thrown in there just to elongate the book, which I find a lot of romance novels suffer from.

Some people may find it a bit silly that 3 girls fall for the same guy and the guy has involvement with all 3 of them but hey sometimes that happens, life can be awkward like that.

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Mini reviews #2

Origin by Jennifer L. Arementrout

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This is what I was longing for 3 books ago honestly.

Everything started kicking off in this which is desperately what I’d been wanting. All the boring same old stuff of the 2nd and 3rd books should’ve been condensed into half a book then put this in with it.

I really enjoyed all the different settings in this and learning the government’s perspective on things.

However I have really got to the point where I find the romance nauseating. They’re just so young and stupid and it really bores me reading their inner monologues about each other.

Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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This was basically a continuation of the 4th book and I feel like both books could have been condensed into one book. There was so many random scenes that were just completely unnecessary.

I had to put down this book so many times because as with the previous book there was so much nauseating romance.

The end of this was what I expected to happen and I was happy with it but of course it was incredibly cliche.

Sugar Bowl series by Sawyer Bennett

I started to read this series because Jill raved about it. The first book was really enjoyable and an incredibly fun read but as the series went on it just kept getting more and more ridiculous.

I liked that it was romance with a twist of intrigue, but it veered off into a weird place in the second book and I just felt really awkward reading it. The third book was just bizarre and not what I expected to get into after reading the first book.

All The King’s Men by Alex Powell 

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Thank you to netgalley and Less Than Three Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I just requested this on a whim because it sounded interesting, but then I found out later that Alex Powell is genderqueer and I’m all about diversity in my reading.

This was an interesting read and whilst it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read it was a change of pace for me as I don’t often read sci fi. I found myself confused occasionally and the romance of it, whilst a kind of side story, felt awkward. I did really like the concept of the book though and I would happily read another book by Powell.

Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop by Jane Linfoot

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Thank you to netgalley and Harper for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was happy enough to return to this series and read about characters I knew but a different group of people at the forefront.

The plot was mostly predictable but still nice to read and of course it was a good read in the run up to Christmas. I liked reading about the relationship between Sera and her sister, not just the romance aspect, though her sister was an unlikeable nightmare, but thankfully she grows towards the end.

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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I went into this trying not to expect too much because I love the TV show and I’m from the Isle of Skye so I was completely wary of it. I know so many people love the book but the TV show has the benefit of research with Gabaldon didn’t have when she first wrote the book so I was preparing myself for this to not be stellar, but I was wrong thankfully.

I’m sure you know what Outlander is about but if you somehow don’t Claire and Frank Randall are on holiday in Inverness trying to reconnect after the second world war. After touching a stone circle Claire is transported back to 1743 and stumbles upon some redcoats. She’s rescued by some Highlanders and taken to their castle so their clan chief can figure out what to do with her.

I never trust books or tv shows or movies set in Scotland because there’s just so many bad ones, so much inaccuracy and romanticisation of the country. But this was fairly accurate, of course there’s a bit of romanticisation but there’s also no glossing over how Scotland was in the 1700s, there’s clan warfare, anger at the English etc etc. On top of that there is some really funny parts of it that were really quite on point when it comes to the Highlands and how things are like here still to this day. We still gossip, we still know everything that’s going on in our community which most people wouldn’t know elsewhere. Things like that I’m amazed she had barely any resources for because that’s not something you know unless you live here. Even the Gaelic wasn’t poor.

I loved reading about Jamie, he’s such a sweetheart. Yeah he makes some mistakes along the way but it was out of ignorance as he is still young and I think people forget that when they criticise him. He’s had not much real experience with women and he gets thrust into a marriage so of course he’s going to listen to the things his married friends say regardless of whether they’re right or not. It’s also a sign of the times, history is gruesome so it’s important for accuracy. But if you’re upset by domestic violence, do not read this book. It only happens once but that’s still not good.

I loved reading Claire go from being a bit stuck up and annoying to caring for all the people she meets in Scotland and how she doesn’t want the Jacobite rising to happen, knowing how much of a bloodbath Culloden was.

As I watched the TV series first I’m quite amazed at how much the show kept with the book.

I was reading this on a train to Inverness and I was so embarrassed about it hahaha. Some American guy started talking to me about it and I was like I’M NOT A TOURIST I’M FROM SKYE. I’ve had customers come into my work saying they’ve come to Scotland after reading Outlander and oh man does it make my eyes roll.

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