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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Sanctuary by Rebekah Weatherspoon – There’s 5 Dogs That’s All You Need to Know

Thank you Rebekah Weatherspoon for sending me a copy of this book! CW for violence, death, and bdsm sex scenes.

So if you haven’t read a Rebekah Weatherspoon book by now or at least added one to your TBR what the heck are you playing at? Her books are incredible.

After being attacked by a former client Liz needs to go into hiding for fear of her life. So she goes to upstate New York to stay on a farm with her coworkers brother, Silas, who is a huge grump. But he has 5 dogs, so it’s not all bad.

So the romance is so good. If you like hate to love/fake dating this is 100% for you, especially if you like some really heavy sex scenes. Liz is a dominant which is just great, it’s not often you find female doms in books. There’s so much discussion about it as well between the pair of them, like their comfort levels and how far they want to go. I just was so happy reading it because it’s so good to see on page discussion of kinks and stuff. It fills my heart with joy.

One thing that I was really so happy about is that Silas is half Scottish and Rebekah actually seemed to do her research for Scottish stuff. Like she used the correct form of whisky. If a whisky is made in Scotland it doesn’t have an e in it. And it drives me absolutely mad when people write it with the e. The other half of Silas’ heritage is polynesian, which was super cool to read. Liz is black as well so it’s just got some good representation all around. There’s some on the page talk of what it’s like to deal with assault as a black woman, versus how it would be if she was white.

There’s some inputs from Liz’s friends, who are all such sweet women and I’m SO HERE for positive female friendships. One of Liz’s friends is our heroine from the last Beards & Bondage novel and it was nice to read about them.

I’m really excited to read whatever Rebekah comes out with next because I’m always going to jump at the chance to read it and so should you!

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Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell – Hot romance with a side of good representation

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

Gavin has been suspended from the NFL and put on house arrest for attacking someone on camera. He needs a PA to do stuff for him whilst he’s stuck in his house. He chooses Noah despite Noah’s obvious disdain for Gavin and his career. Eventually the tension turns into sexual tension.

I’ve really fallen down the Santino Hassell hole. I can’t stop reading what he’s written. Eventually I’ll read the Five Bouroughs series, I just don’t have the money for it.

I adore the hate to love trope so this was exactly what the doctor ordered when I was in the mood for some erotic romance.

I loved that it had bisexual sports star rep. Kind of reminded me of the story I wrote a few years ago where a rugby star came out, but lets not talk about that. It also tackles a lot of the issues in the sports world with prejudice.

I flew through this and I think that speaks for the quality of it. the characters, though sometimes weren’t very likeable, were all very well developed and I can’t wait to read some more of them in the rest of the series.

Overall this was a fun, fast, raunchy read that I think everyone should read when they’re in the mood. It also helps that this is a m/m book written by a guy, which is super important as a lot of the biggest m/m books are written by women and that’s sad.

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The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Kasie West and was really excited to read a book by her.

Caymen works in her mothers doll shop and they are struggling pretty hard with money. In walks Xander who Caymen instantly knows is rich and she wants nothing to do with him. But Xander just wants to get to know Caymen.

I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t hugely into this book. It felt very white. Like the characters had such white troubles. Which sounds like a weird complaint but all the problems just felt so over complicated and pointless. It was pretty predictable as well.

I did however like Xander, the love interest. He was a sweetie and it often felt like Caymen was being horrible to him just because he’s rich and like he can’t help that. I also enjoyed that a lot of the novel was set in the doll shop that Caymen’s mum owned. Though it did make the book slightly creepier than it needed to be.

The pacing was really good, I sped through the book. Apart from the problems I had with it I did enjoy reading it. I just wanted more from it.

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Cyclone series by Courtney Milan

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Trade Me

So this has fake relationship in it and talks about what it is to be privileged. It also discusses addiction, eating disorders and stress.

Our MC is a Chinese American girl with a background of human rights issues in China as her parents fleed China to get way from incarceration which is true for many Chinese people who immigrated to America and the like. She deals with a lot of poverty and I really loved reading that because hey it’s good to read that in novels its good not to have the perfect life for the MC, obviously it’s not good that the character is in that position but it’s life. She made most of her decisions based on her background and the poverty she was in.

A character in this novel deals with a restrictive eating disorder and as I was super close to developing one a few years ago this was really important to me to read as it’s one of the lesser known EDs. But of course I’m going to say that if you have an ED trigger be careful with this book.

 

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Hold Me

First things first, this book has a trans girl MC, which is few and far between in any genre, especially in romance. As well as that it has the hate to love trope which I always adore.

Now I can’t say whether it was accurate trans rep and I tried to see if I could find some reviews by the trans reviewing community but couldn’t find any, if you have written one or aware of any please let me know!

He’s Chinese Thai with a buddhist parent and Muslim parent and he’s bi and that isn’t glossed over he talks about past affairs with both men and women. She’s latinx and into science which you know I love my STEM girls as one myself.

Some people didn’t like how childish the main characters were with each other in the beginning but I loved it and found it hilarious. And if you’re really up for some diverse romance I recommend both novels in this series. You don’t need to read Trade Me first if you’re more interested in this one but it sets the scene.

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Cheer by Mia Archer

Cheer follows a girl, Alex, as she realises that she might not be straight. She decides to join her best friend in becoming a cheerleader and falls for her but all the while another girl in her grade has it out for her as she seems to think that Alex is after her boyfriend. TW: slut shaming, casual homophobia, casual ableism.

I got this on a whim from a bookbub email so I honestly hadnt planned to read it any time soon. But then I got into a romance kick and I wanted to read a wlw relationship so this one was the one I spotted in my kindle library so went with it not expecting much.

I was pleasantly surprised though. Yes the writing could use some work and it’s your classic WLW romance in that a person comes out in the process of the story but it was honestly just super cute at times.

I loved reading the parts where the MC was struggling over her feelings towards a woman because I’ve been there I know what it’s like trying to convince yourself that you’re not feeling that way for someone of the same gender because sadly some people still find it taboo and thought things aren’t as bad as they used to be it’s still a possible struggle.

There were random moments where feminist ideas were brought in about both sexuality and gender and it was so good to read in a YA novel. I say this every time I read a YA novel with feminist parts but it just makes me happy to think of teenagers growing up in a world where feminism is more “mainstream” as it wasn’t when I was a teen and I was so misinformed and it was awful.

I might get around to reading more of Archer’s books as she’s now on my radar and honestly I love wlw stories and I can’t get enough of soft girls.

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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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Cyberlove Series by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Ok so you need to read this series. If you like gay romance this is for you. If you’re new to my blog you should be made aware that I love when books involve technology and the internet so this series is perfect for me. Strong Signal features a twitch streamer, Fast Connection has grindr, Hard Wired involved conventions and Mature Content is about youtubers.

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Strong Signal

This is the first book of the series and isn’t the best but I think that’s because Megtino hadn’t quite got into their stride yet, however that doesn’t mean it’s not good. It’s still damn good.

This book has anxiety rep, Kai who is the twitch streamer and one of the main characters has really bad anxiety. He has anxiety to the point where he doesn’t really go outside of his apartment and for me I found this so important as whilst I do go outside and go to uni, there are days where I really feel like it would just be so much easier to just stay in bed. And it was also just really good to see someone in a book with anxiety doing something like streaming whilst not being able to go out because so often people don’t understand the idea of having anxiety but being able to do stuff online. It shows you the idea of safe spaces and I just loved reading it. I loved reading something like anxiety in an erotic romance novel.

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Fast Connection

Fast connection features grindr and I’m all about the de-stigmatising of dating apps. As someone who uses Tinder and OK Cupid I’m so glad that it’s so much more common now because it means there’s more people on the apps and it means people don’t think you’re “sad” for going on them. So I love reading books that feature dating apps because it means more and more people find it normal.

If you like age gaps this book is definitely for you because our 2 MCs have a ~15 year age gap or something like that. Luke has kids and one of them is the same age as Dominic’s sister and it brings some interesting and funny situations.

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Hard Wired

Hard Wired features some characters we meet in the first 2 books who are the moderators on Kai’s twitch channel. They go to a convention and hook up but then some secrets get in the way. I’m a bit funny about books that feature miscommunication but I enjoyed this one, though at times I did find the characters just really irritating. However the characters deal with a lot of their own personal struggles, which again I loved reading in a romance novel.

Jesse, our main character who is a surfer living in California realises he’s not straight in this novel and I felt like it was dealt with really well. The little bits of discussion of sexuality being fluid and how it’s ok to realise you’re not straight later on in life were something I just enjoyed reading because so often it’s just expected that once you’re past adolescence you should know exactly who you are and what you’re into, which is more often than not not the case.

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Mature Content

Mature Content is my favourite of the series and I’m really excited to read the next book whatever it is because I feel like Megtino are really hitting their stride. I really loved the hate to love trope in this. I loved the drama of fighting youtubers. It kind of felt like a bit of a call out to certain youtubers at times which made me laugh a lot.

At times this book felt less heavy than the previous books but then you get hit with the characters being super self diminishing and it was so relatable. The pair definitely have more ups and downs than the others which I think was really good because otherwise I think Beau could’ve been a bit boring but bringing Zane into his life made him fun to read.

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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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Frostbite by Richelle Mead

I’ll be honest: in writing this post I can’t really remember what I thought of this book so I’ve had to look up other reviews to remind myself as I didn’t even take any notes.

So after what happened in the previous books all the Moroi are on edge as the Strigoi seem to ramping up their efforts to kill them. What else should they do but send all their heirs to a ski trip together, because that makes sense?

Rose and Dmitri’s tension only furthers in this novel as Rose tries to put her attention into another boy and Dmitri, of course, is conflicted about the whole situation. What I have to say is I’m just glad Dmitri was still trying to keep his distance, it shows that he’s aware that he has power over her due to their age gap. Rose generally annoyed me in this context as she really couldn’t wrap her head around Dmitri telling her he’s not comfortable with the age gap.

The ending was super rushed, there was so much waffle of them in the ski resort and then the ending was so sudden and it very much felt like “wait, what? Is that it?”

Lissa was also just super annoying in this book, but when is she not? She seems to only ever have eyes for her boyfriend and fails to notice that some really bad things are happening to Rose. And all the rest of the characters were quite irritating, but not inhuman. They definitely read like the teenagers they were.

All in all I’d say the character development was pretty good in this, and it felt nice to read something from this series that was new to me as the film whilst bad followed the plot pretty well of the first book so it did feel like I’d already read it. I’m actually quite intrigued to see what happens now as I feel like things are going to actually get interesting.

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