Spoiler Free Review: Two Wrongs Make A Right by Chloe Liese

Title: Two Wrongs Make A Right

Author: Chloe Liese

Pub. Date: November 22nd 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eARC

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages: 326

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆

*•.¸♡ “𝙸 𝚗𝚎𝚟𝚎𝚛 𝚝𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑𝚝 𝙸 𝚌𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚕𝚘𝚟𝚎 𝚜𝚘𝚖𝚎𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚜𝚘 𝚞𝚗𝚕𝚒𝚔𝚎 𝚖𝚎. 𝚃𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚋𝚎𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚜𝚘 𝚍𝚒𝚏𝚏𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚗𝚝 𝚏𝚛𝚘𝚖 𝚜𝚘𝚖𝚎𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚌𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚖𝚊𝚔𝚎 𝚖𝚎 𝚏𝚎𝚎𝚕 𝚛𝚒𝚐𝚑𝚝 𝚊𝚝 𝚑𝚘𝚖𝚎 𝚛𝚊𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚗 𝚎𝚟𝚎𝚛𝚢 𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚠𝚛𝚘𝚗𝚐.” ♡¸.•*

 I love a good opposites attract romance but up until now I haven’t read anything that really gets the magnetic pull and irresistibility you feel when you meet your polar opposite. Bea is an artist who creates sensual cards for a stationary shop, she’s Pansexual, a twin, prone to accidents, a junk food lover, and an astrology loving Cancer. Jamie is a pediatrician, cat lover, health conscious, and non-astrology loving Capricorn. They’ve had a few run-ins that didn’t end so well but their meddling friends seem to think they’re perfect for each other. Bea and Jamie zone in on their schemes to make them date & are peeved by the intrusion. They hatch a plan to fake-date that includes a big break-up in hopes that it will dissuade their friends from ever playing cupid again. The thing is, they do connect in all the ways that matter. Bea is on the spectrum and Jamie has severe anxiety, they pick up on each other’s wants and needs very quickly. There’s a magnetic attraction and a desire to protect each other and create a safe space where they can speak their thoughts. Their dates are fun and different, from Chess matches to Sip & Paints they begin to fall hard. Soon it’s made very clear to them both that they’re not just pretending to like one another, they’re actually enjoying their dates.

I’ve heard the name Chloe Liese mentioned on every bookish platform I’m in and it’s always been high praise for delivering romance with neurodivergent rep. Having loved Helen Hoang’s Kiss Quotient series, I was on the hunt for more romance books with this representation. I kid you not my fellow book lovers, it was 1am and I had startled everyone in my home with my laughter within the first chapter of reading this book. The laugh out loud scenes were sudden and unexpected and as a fellow Capricorn I’d say it was the dry humor Jamie dished out lol. Jamie and Bea could square off any day and I’d grab a front row seat! the snark was on point. These characters are well fleshed out, it honestly felt like we’re getting to know them as they’re digging deep. There were times I wondered to myself why things were handled a certain way but understood the reasons as Bea and Jamie started to let each other in.

I LOVE Jamie, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t find flaws that contradicted the picture I had of him for the majority of the story. Without spoiling anything, I started to not love some of Jamie’s reactions or lack there-of to how a major side character was being treated, this is why I docked it half a star. Why only half a star? well because it could be argued that Jamie didn’t know the extent of how terrible a certain character was acting. Jamie is honestly the sweetest most thoughtful male MC I’ve read, he tunes into Bea’s love language very quickly. Bea on the other hand I instantly fell in love with! she’s quirky and artistic but also fiercely protective of her healing journey. Our girl went through some things and she is not about being rushed into anything, I loved seeing this on the page! Bea keeps the cutest little hedgehog in her room that I dare you not to make heart eyes over. We’re here for non-traditional pets haha! there are also a handful of side characters that really bring the friend circle to life. I’m anticipating Juliet’s story arc, she is Bea’s twin but also came across as three-dimensional and had me invested in her side-line story. In the meantime, I think I’ll join the Chloe Liese lovers & pick up the Bergman Brothers series 😉


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Spoiler Free Review: Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco

Title: Silver Under Nightfall

Author: Rin Chupeco

Pub. Date: September 13 2022

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Format: eARC

Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press

Pages: 512

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

➶➶➶➶➶ 𝕊𝕥𝕒𝕪 𝕒𝕝𝕚𝕧𝕖, 𝕣𝕦𝕟 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕠𝕡𝕡𝕠𝕟𝕖𝕟𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕣𝕠𝕦𝕘𝕙, 𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕗𝕚𝕣𝕞 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕪 𝕨𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕕𝕖𝕒𝕕, 𝕜𝕖𝕖𝕡 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕞 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕨𝕒𝕪. 𝔹𝕦𝕥 𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖, 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕔𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕 𝕤𝕦𝕗𝕗𝕖𝕣 𝕒 𝕥𝕙𝕠𝕦𝕤𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕔𝕦𝕥𝕤 𝕗𝕣𝕠𝕞 𝕒 𝕕𝕠𝕨𝕒𝕘𝕖𝕣 𝕞𝕒𝕥𝕣𝕠𝕟 𝕒𝕣𝕞𝕖𝕕 𝕨𝕚𝕥𝕙 𝕟𝕠𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕓𝕦𝕥 𝕒 𝕡𝕒𝕡𝕖𝕣 𝕗𝕒𝕟 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕚𝕞𝕡𝕖𝕔𝕔𝕒𝕓𝕝𝕖 𝕘𝕖𝕟𝕖𝕒𝕝𝕠𝕘𝕪, 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕪 𝕨𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕 𝕔𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕚𝕥 𝕒 𝕓𝕝𝕠𝕠𝕕𝕓𝕒𝕥𝕙. ➷➷➷➷➷

It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up a paranormal vampire book and an even longer time since I read anything with Polyamory. In part that’s because I often was left feeling like it wasn’t done well. Rin Chupeco however has brought back broody (some more playful) sexy vampires but also made it queer and Poly in the most satisfying of reads. Our MC Remy is a rogue Vampire Hunter who is an outcast among fellow Reapers. Remmy’s mother was the source of scandal for their family having eloped with a vampire. Many think Remy is a half vampire and his own father has used that to shape him to be a lethal weapon. There is a peace treaty between humans and vampires that is tenuous at best. When a new breed of vampires starts killing, he sets out to find answers and meets vampire heiress Xiaodan Song. She is warm and caring, all of the things he’s been taught vampires are not. Her fiance Lord Zidan Malekh has studied the new mutation and may have the answers to defeat them. That he infuriates the hell out of Remy and adds sexual tension just sweetens the journey. I loved this trio so much!

Silver Under Nightfall is so different than The Bone Witch trilogy and I still LOVED it so much! I’ve never watch Castlevania but I’ve heard this marketed for fans of that video game/show. It reads adult and has many gruesome battle scenes that are balanced out with many tender moments and good humor sprinkled throughout. In many ways it feels like even though Remy is tasked with killing vampires, he is still this sweet cinnamon roll everyone wants to protect. When paired with two powerful royal vampires, it does seem like he needs their protection but make no mistake he has also lived a hard life and can hold his own. The relationship between him and his father is toxic as hell, there’s talk of his father having him use his body when he was 13 years old to acquire info from the wealthy women in the aristocracy. Both Malekh and Xiaodan make sure he knows he’s worthy of love without having to give anything in exchange. Redefining intimacy and consent are huge themes in this book. All of our characters check in with one another and genuinely care about each others needs and wants. For those inquiring minds, the spice meter was broken with this one and I was here for it all! I should’ve known I was going to love Rin Chupeco’s adult Paranormal, I’m now left eagerly anticipating the next book in this duology.


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Spoiler Free Review: On The Hustle by Adriana Herrera

Title: On The Hustle

Author: Adriana Herrera

Pub. Date: October 11th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Latinx

Format: eARC

Publisher: Carina Press

Pages: 352

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

𝗢𝗡 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗛𝗨𝗦𝗧𝗟𝗘 is the second book in the Dating In Dallas series by Latinx author Adriana Herrera and hands down my FAVORITE of Herrera’s books! Alba Duarte is a Dominican bisexual woman living in NYC, hard working and owner of a start-up she is passionate about. The only thing getting in her way is the 9 to 5 job she needs to walk away from, especially because working for the Olympian swimmer Theo Ganas is working her last nerve. The Dominican Greek adonis is particular about his coffee and his assistant. Alba doesn’t quite understand why she hasn’t walked away from her position, it’s not like Theo even acknowledges her existence other than when she’s late. On the side she has turned her love of books & fandoms into a business where she designs bedrooms inspired by them. When a visit to her BFF in Dallas Texas presents her with an opportunity to give her business some visibility & recognition, Alba knows it’s time to make some tough decisions. Life in NYC is tied to her family, the ones who depend on her almost like a crutch. Stepping out on her own could potentially lead to better helping them and a fresh new start that’ll put some much needed space between them. When a two week notice turns into an abrupt goodbye, a very determined Theo Ganas hops on a plane to Dallas to find Alba with an offer of his own.

When I say the HEAT was at an ALL time high! it’s because it consumed me! This book had it all and then some. The Dallas Crew who we met in Here To Stay is back and they’re dying for Alba to stay in Dallas, I LOVE this circle of friends and how supportive they are with one another. I really enjoyed hearing about their individual careers and how they give back to other communities in need. Theo acknowledging that his life is more than just gaining his father’s approval and then looking for ways to find his soul purpose was cool to see. Just like Alba not settling or watering down her vision/dream just for a dollar made me love her even more. Now as for the romance itself? Herrera gives us a grumpy/sunshine, forced proximity, workplace romance that is off the charts…Theo Ganas brought the heat! Alba didn’t stay behind making sure Theo knew that he was on her time. Both characters are well fleshed out making this romance easy to get behind and cheer on. One recurring thought I had all throughout was that this man sure does know how to love up on his woman! Adriana Hererra is an author to look out for if you’re looking for quality romance with queer representation. It’s easy for a New Yorker such as myself to look at Alba and see themselves, chances are if you’re a career woman living in any city…you are tired and a massage is in order! 😉


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Spoiler Free Review: Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese

Title: Hester

Author:Laurie Lico Albanese

Pub. Date: October 4th 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction/Feminist Retelling

Format: eARC

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 336

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

╰☆☆ “𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐀 𝐢𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐝,” 𝐈 𝐬𝐚𝐲. “𝐑𝐞𝐝 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐥𝐞?” 𝐇𝐞 𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤. “𝐍𝐨,” 𝐈 𝐬𝐚𝐲. “𝐀 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐞𝐭 𝐥𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫.” ☆☆╮
 
The last book I read in October was less of a retelling and more of an origin story for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. A slow paced Historical Fiction set in Salem right after the Salem Witch Trials, this one is more character driven and atmospheric. We follow Isobel Gamble, a young seamstress who leaves Scotland due to her husband Edward succumbing to Opium. Edward is an Apothecary who has indebted them to the point of disgrace so much so that setting sail for Salem could be their only hope of rebuilding. Shortly after arriving in Salem, Edward joins another sailing ship and leaves Isobel without any money to fend for herself. With her needle & stitch work, Isobel begins to grow a customer base. Her stitch work is different and instantly garners the attention of all the women in town and abroad. Different in Salem ALWAYS spells trouble. Different gets you accused of witchcraft. Different can get you hung for your sins. Isobel quickly learns that being a woman makes you susceptible to accusations by the townsfolk, especially a woman whose husband trails a bad reputation and has just left her alone. Not all townsfolk are eager to ostracize her, Isobel finds good people who impart wise advice. Isobel inadvertently discovers the very beginnings of the Underground Railroad and becomes an ally when things hit close to home.
This was a hybrid read for me once I found out that the audiobook narrator really had given a stellar performance. I found the audiobook highly enjoyable, our main character has a brogue accent to represent her Scottish origins. This in and of itself plays an important role in the story, Isobel is met with prejudice as soon as she arrives in Salem due to her accent. She’s a woman with a lot of secrets and she’s come to live in a place where any personality quirks can get you accused of witchcraft. Isobel happens to hear and read words in colors, a secret passed on down the line of women in her family. During the time this book is set in the 1800’s, there wasn’t a name for what Isobel and her family could do. The author does give some info at the beginning of the story on Synesthesia, a blending of the senses or better described as experiencing one of your senses through another. I’d recommend Hester to anyone who has read The Scarlet Letter or readers who enjoy Historical Fiction set in Salem during the 1800’s. Character driven and atmospheric, this is one Feminist “re-telling” perfect for this time of year! 

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Spoiler Free Review: Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: Carrie Soto Is Back

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pub. Date: August 30th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Format: eARC

Publisher: Balantine Books

Pages: 384

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

Carrie Soto the winner of 20 Grand Slams titles who has since retired is watching a game at the 1994 U.S. Open where a younger Nicki Chan is about to break her record. The Battle-Axe has built a career in tennis as a fiercely driven, competitive and grant no mercy icon. She lives, breathes, and dreams tennis alongside her father Javier a former champion himself who has dedicated his life to training her. Carrie may not have the charisma the fans look for or the likeability factor in her favor but she’s well respected as one of the greats. When she announces her return from retirement for the sake of reclaiming her record/title, the sports casters are ruthless. They voice their disapproval and break down all of the reasons (age & stamina) she should just stay in retirement and let the younger tennis players have their day.  Carrie could care less about anyone’s opinion, she knows she’s taking on a task many have already counted her out of but it only serves to further motivate her. This book is heavy on the tennis talk, it can never be said that TJR doesn’t research her subjects thoroughly. We see Carrie both on and off the court with her dad Javier running plays and really pushing her body to the limits day and night. It is a story about a father/daughter relationship that is nurtured through tennis. It is a story about grief, that of loved ones and that which we experience when certain chapters come to a close. 

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s signature style story-telling has delivered some of the most memorable female protagonists. Carrie Soto is an archetype she writes well and will remind readers who’ve read TJR’s previous books of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones, and Nina Riva. In similar fashion TJR throws out some easter eggs with mentions of characters we’ve met in her previous books. Readers should also know that there are bits of Spanish sprinkled throughout the book (translation guide not included) yet that does not make this a Latine book. We are made aware that these are Argentinean characters but that’s about as deep as it gets with regards to their ethnicity and culture. I went in knowing this and did not pick it up for Latine representation since TJR is not a Latine author. My pull towards this book was the father/daughter relationship that was mentioned in the synopsis since these types of stories are my Achilles heel for personal reasons. Yes, the tennis was well researched and engaging. Yes, Carrie herself is intriguing and complex. Yes, the sportscaster commentary mixed in made for a more realistic play by play of the matches. The father/daughter relationship however was the real highlight of this book and Javier in my opinion is the real star of the show. Javier has a special place  in my heart and will be quite difficult to forget.


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Spoiler Free review: Love In The Time Of Serial Killers by Alicia Thomspon

Title: Love In The Time Of Serial Killers

Author: Alicia Thompson

Pub. Date: August 16th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eARC

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

Pages: 336

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

Characters: 7/10   Atmosphere: 0/10  Writing Style: 7/10  Plot: 5/10  Intrigue: 5/10  Logic/Relationships: 7/10  Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 38/5.4 =  ☆☆ 3 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

Fellow Cappies Rejoice we’ve got ourselves our very own Capricorn female MC and I dare you not to draw parallels as you take a trip inside the mind of Pheobe Walsh. Obsessed with True Crime and working on her dissertation analyzing the genre leaves Pheebs with very little time to even think of dating. Her father has recently passed away and she is now back in Florida trying to get her childhood home in order to sell. Having had a tough relationship with her dad that resulted in leaving with her mom after they divorced, she also has her brother Jeremy to reconnect with. The brother who stayed with their curmudgeon dad and is very sweet natured is also worried his sister’s obsession with true crime has reached new levels. Pheeb’s swears the hot and mysterious neighbor Sam MUST be a serial killer and she’s gone as far as logging in his coming & goings. There’s only one problem with this theory & that’s that with every interaction they have she has to admit Sam is just a great guy but this doesn’t mean she’s going to make it easy for him.

Our main character Pheobe puts the grump in grumpy sunshine and her dark sense of humor isn’t for everyone. Some readers may even find her to be unlikeable because we get a heavy dose of her paranoia with many mentions pop culture references of serial killers. For other readers who may listen/read true crime, the research in the genre may actually be a bonus and the dissertation process to have been detailed nicely. The romance takes off a bit later in the story with the steamy scenes falling short and I know that’s probably going to hurt the overall ratings for this book. I feel this one is going to land with those who don’t mind their female protagonist to be a bit unlikeable, perhaps even pessimistic and cynical. Sam the love interest is hard not to love, he’s a music teacher who can’t help but want to assist Pheobe with moving furniture or any project really as long as he’s getting to spend time with her. I almost wish this had been dual POV to give us a break from Pheeb’s thought process while also giving us a chance to get to know Sam. Taking all of this into account… this is my personal opinion but I feel male grumpy protagonists are ALWAYS preferred over a female grump 😂 yet they DO exist and deserve to be loved just as much! haha! To be honest I loved so many of the other themes in this book like the sibling dynamics, second chance friendships and unresolved grief of a parent being addressed. I feel these did compensate for some of the other things that needed more developing. 

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗱:

💓Plus size representation
🕵🏻True Crime genre explored
😒Grumpy/Sunshine trope🤗
🐈‍⬛Stray cat claiming squatters rights
👫Sibling relationship explored
👭🏻Second chance friendships
📚The Library as a secondary setting


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Spoiler Free Review: After Hours on Milagro Street by Angelina M. Lopez

Title: After Hours on Milagro Street

Author: Angelina M. Lopez

Pub. Date: July 26th 2022

Genre: Romance/Latinx

Format: eARC

Publisher: Carina Trade

Pages: 400

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

Characters: 10/10   Atmosphere: 10/10  Writing Style: 10/10  Plot: 8/10  Intrigue: 8/10  Logic/Relationships: 10/10  Enjoyment: 10/10

Rating: 66/9.4 =  ☆☆ 5 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

*•.¸♡ 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞. 𝐋𝐞𝐭 𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮. 𝐖𝐞’𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫. ♡¸.•*

This book kept me up last night as I was determined to finish it and those final few lines gave me goosebumps!! After Hours on Milagros Street is a romance with mystery, paranormal, and historical fiction aspects sprinkled throughout. I love my romance to be complex and the story line to have some depth, this was just that. We meet Alex Torres as she makes her appearance back in her hometown of Kansas. She’s an Alpha plus size Mexican-American female who has made a name for herself as an in demand bartender. Alex has been summoned by her sisters with hopes of convincing their matriarch of a grandmother to sell them her bar so that she may retire comfortably. The problem is that many in the Torres clan view her as a bit louder than the rest of them and a bit of a loose canon. For Alex, her image is something she plays up for the white people she bartends for. “The world expected an angry black woman, and Alex had let it pay her rent” She plans to use what she’s learned as well as her social media presence to put Kansas/Milagro Street back on the map. The town that for many years has been home to Mexican-American working families is struggling to keep the lights on. Jeremiah Post is renting a room at the bar, he is a white college professor whose own backstory is a mystery to all and he’d rather keep it that way. He loves the Torres clan, grandmother Loretta treats him like one of her own and the many aunts, uncles, and cousins who congregate at the bar daily see him as family too. Alex & Jeremiah’s first encounter is 10/10 spicy and hot. Alex knows exactly what she wants and isn’t afraid to go for it, she absolutely DOES get consent even as she’s going through the motions. I LOVED IT!

Full transparency, it took me a few days to finish this book but I didn’t see it as a negative. The pace is a bit slower than most romance books because of the historical fiction/mystery aspects but the latter half really picks up the pace. I appreciated the character development we see with Alex who goes from wanting to change everything about the bar to wanting to preserve some of what makes it feel like home to many of Freedom’s residents. Also, Jeremiah’s work as an ally helping preserve the Mexican-American immigrant history of the town and the fact that Alex makes sure that he knows she’s not down with the white savior roles perpetuated by many. Jeremiah’s respectful stance in making sure that he remains an ally in the background, his respect towards her family and the towns roots make him a new fave! This book has a whole lot of heart and the characters quickly come to life including our older generations. Last but not least, the supernatural aspects the author introduced to highlight the racism and bigotry surrounding Mexican-Americans bumped this book to a five star read for me. Consider reading if you enjoy romance wrapped in a bit of a mystery, found families that just so happen to be LARGE families, and angry ghosts.

𝗧ropes: close proximity, opposites attract, hate-to-love, grumpy sunshine

Content Warnings: mention of alcoholism, racism, bigotry, microagressions


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Spoiler Free Review: The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Title: The Daughter Of Doctor Moreau

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Pub. Date: July 19th 2022

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Format: eARC

Publisher: Del Rey

Pages: 320

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

Characters: 10/10   Atmosphere: 10/10  Writing Style: 10/10  Plot: 8/10  Intrigue: 9/10  Logic/Relationships: 10/10  Enjoyment: 10/10

Rating: 67/9.6 =  ☆☆ 5 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

The genre blending Silvia Moreno-Garcia is back with another hit and this one has managed to dethrone Mexican Gothic for me! didn’t think it was possible, foolish me. This time we’re transported to 19th century Mexico in a reimagining of H.G. Wells The Island of Doctor Moreau. Carlota Moreau is growing up in a lavish estate alongside her father who’s genius mind pushes boundaries and defies ethics, a madman who was exiled from his birth country in Europe. Moreau’s work is centered on creating human-animal hybrids, his experiments have led to the creation of many that are deformed and suffering from the pain of their limbs/bone structure. The benefactor of the estate is beginning to apply pressure on results and has threatened to cut off funding. The Hybrids come to life, some with endearing personalities and others with a whole lot of heart and desire for something more than a life in hiding. Some have heard the rumors of a Mayan rebel leader who is fighting back against colonization out in the Yucatan Peninsula. They dream of escaping by joining his rebel groups and want Carlota to leave with them. When the benefactor’s son Eduardo Lizalde arrives at the Hacienda, it’s love at first sight and Carlota’s dad who is desperate for continued funding is overjoyed with their romance. The only person who stands in their way is the new Mayordomo in the Hacienda, Montgomery Laughton. 

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Friends, to say that I hated Eduardo is an understatement. A sleaze ball who sees Carlota more as a trophy he must win. In the other corner we have Montgomery Laughton who is the second POV we get in this story. Yes, he does have a LOT of demons and Yes I still ended up enjoying his broody drunk character. There’s an age gap between him and Carlota but he isn’t pressed to try and win her over even though he acknowledges the fact that he loves her. SMG gives us Gothic vibes in a historical backdrop where we have themes of colonization, human exploitation/experimentation and the ethics bound to it, racism towards the Mayans, abuse of power, and a feminist MC who could EASILY have become a better scientist than her father if she weren’t expected to conform to societal expectations. That being said, seeing Carolta’s evolution was satisfying on a whole other level! This is one not to be missed especially if you were on the fence over Mexican Gothic. I’d say give this one a go but be prepared to see yourself become over protective of Cachito, my favorite of the hybrids! ❤


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Spoiler Free Review: The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett

Title: The Romance Recipe

Author: Ruby Barrett

Pub. Date: July 12th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Queer

Format: eARC

Publisher: Carina Adores

Pages: 304

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

Characters: 6/10   Atmosphere: 10/10  Writing Style: 5/10  Plot: 5/10  Intrigue: 0/10  Logic/Relationships: 5/10  Enjoyment: 5/10

Rating: 36/5.1 =  ☆☆ 3 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

Amy Chambers is a restaurant owner, micro-manager, control freak who is having a tough time keeping the doors open. Employing a predominantly queer staff, Amy really cares about creating a space for them where they feel safe and can make a decent living with benefits. She’s just not drawing in a big enough crowd to pay the overhead costs or rent. She offers the Chef position to Sophie Brunet, a former reality-tv show finalist who can hopefully reignite interest in her restaurant Amy and May. Sophie grump in the kitchen/sunshine in the streets, took thirty years to figure out she was queer” she doesn’t really want to post every single dish she cooks on instagram for the likes. Sophie just wants to cook and explore new dishes, she’s a real chemist in the kitchen. Her new attraction to Amy aka her Boss proves challenging when an opportunity for a tv show that could put the restaurant back on the map comes around. First there’s the issue of whether Sophie even cares to go back on tv with a hobby that brings her a lot of comfort and joy in private. Then there’s the fact that she has just left one relationship to better understand her bisexuality all while managing her career. If you love a foodie romance, this one gives you plenty of time in the kitchen with recipe experimentation! 

╰☆☆ 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐬𝐚𝐲 𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐳𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐡𝐨𝐛𝐛𝐲 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐧𝐞𝐰 𝐡𝐨𝐛𝐛𝐲. 𝐅𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐨 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧, 𝐦𝐚𝐲𝐛𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐚 𝐡𝐨𝐛𝐛𝐲, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐈 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐈 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐭. 𝐍𝐨𝐰 𝐈 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐲 𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐮𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐈’𝐦 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞. ☆☆

There’s a lot to love in this queer book about two lesbian/bisexual chefs, especially if you love a good foodie romance. I love a well fleshed out dual POV, however I had a hard time distinguishing between Amy and Sophie’s chapters. Although their back stories are clearly defined up-front, their voices sounded very much the same. I felt their romance was rushed especially for Sophie who had just left one long term relationship and was feeling comfortable finally looking at girls with open interest. I appreciated Amy expressing that Sophie should give herself time to date whomever and not feel the need to settle down so quickly. This however came across to Sophie as if Amy was trying to make decisions for her and I guess I could see both sides of that argument. Even with these concerns being vocalized between the two, I felt that the pacing was off and the ending felt rushed. I enjoyed the reality tv show aspects/celebrity chef however just when this takes off at the end, it cuts off and we don’t really get to see that aspect develop. It is expressed in the book that tv ultimately isn’t where Sophie’s heart is at but the majority of the plot is also banking on this show being a success. It would’ve been nice to see more of that since ultimately it was Amy who chose to pursue the tv opportunity. As for the smut/steam, that is where this book really gets all the brownie points. Those sex scenes were give and take and just all around sexy! It gets all the chili 🌶 for simply being all one could hope for, teasing and all! *chefs kiss* 


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Spoiler Free Review: A Caribbean Heiress in Paris by Adriana Herrera

Title: A Caribbean Heiress in Paris (Las Léonas #1)

Author:Adriana Herrera

Pub. Date: May 31st 2022

Genre: Historical Romance/Latinx

Format: eARC

Publisher: HQN

Pages: 368

 

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

Characters: 10/10   Atmosphere: 7/10  Writing Style: 10/10  Plot: 10/10  Intrigue: 7/10  Logic/Relationships: 10/10  Enjoyment: 10/10

Rating: 64/9.1 =  ☆☆ 5 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

☆☆ 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐚𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐋𝐮𝐳 𝐀𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐚 𝐇𝐞𝐢𝐭𝐡-𝐁𝐞𝐧𝐳𝐚𝐧 𝐚 𝐟𝐞𝐰 𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬. 𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭, 𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐥. 𝐒𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐝, 𝐚 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐦𝐚𝐧’𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐫𝐝, 𝐚 𝐟 𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐤 𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐫𝐮𝐦 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐩𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐥 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐥𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐲. ☆☆╮

A Caribbean Heiress in Paris is Historical Romance with flavor, heart and heat! Our Dominican Scottish MC is traveling to The Exposition Universelle from Santo Domingo with three hundred casks of her family made rum Caña Brava. Unfortunately she has also lost her father and their family owned Rum business is not quite fully under her control. The only way to regain it is by marrying and having her husband then release ownership of it to her. Evan Sinclair is in a similar boat, only he has a toxic father in control of the inheritance his mother has left him as a future wedding gift. Luz is business savvy, knows what she wants and speaks her truths. She can spot a business opportunity like the best of them, and a marriage of convenience with a hot Scott? Why not?

Luz Alana has her work cut out for her, she’s now her little sister’s care taker as well as the oldest living heir to the family owned buisness in a misogynistic world. She’s looking to continue growing her brand but those who are in the business of selling spirits (white privileged men) aren’t inclined to make it easier for her. We see Luz challenge micro-agressions with wit and a spitfire personality. We see her love interest Evan attempt to handle any who step out of line but it’s not really necessary, Luz can hold her own and makes sure Evan knows it. Still, it is nice knowing he is willing to go to bat for her if need be. 

This is only the second Historical Romance I’ve picked up, the first being Sarah Maclean’s Bombshell which also featured a feminist heroine who is fiercely independent. I’m convinced now that I’ve read Luz Alana’s story arc that so long as the heroine is a no-nonsense call it like she sees it type, I will love the story! Luz addresses the fact that the generational wealth from which Evan will benefit comes from the slave trade. Evan in turn quickly acknowledges that to be a disgraceful truth.

“You are correct, yours is a legacy to be proud of. Mine, on the other hand, only warrants being razed to the ground.”

What I loved most is the way Luz and Evan’s relationship developed. Sure he was smitten from the moment he laid eyes on her but first and foremost he gave her props and admired the business woman in her. They also had grade A communication and thankfully the miscommunication trope does not rear it’s ugly head. There are some things that aren’t immediately disclosed since there is a revenge subplot but it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be explained and worked through. I absolutely LOVED this book and cannot wait to read stories from Luz’s girlfriends aka The Leonas who both piqued my curiosity. 


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