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April Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

illustrated cover of a white couple on a bus, he's napping and manspreading and she's kind of embarrassed but smilingSeatmate by Cara Bastone, narrated by Amanda Ronconi, Zachary Webber, Josh Hurley, Carol Monda, Corey Allen, Allyson Johnson, Eric Yves Garcia, Dina Pearlman & Tanya Eby – C I enjoyed the first two audio novellas in the Love Lines series – Call Me Maybe  and Sweet Talk – so I was keen to listen to book 3, Seatmate. Unfortunately I didn’t find it as charming or engaging as the earlier two novellas which both were about the B+ range for me. Seatmate is a different story altogether. Rather than most of the relationship being on the phone as is the case with the earlier two books, this time, most of the plot takes place over about 5-ish hours during a journey between Boston and New York – first by bus and then by other means of transport. This time there is also a full cast rather than just the dual narration of the first two novellas. Seatmate was an almost real-time novella, whereas the other books take place over a greater period. For me, this meant that the boring bits were skipped in the first two books but not so much in the third one.

REVIEW: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

Torso and upper legs of a muscular white bare-chested barbarian wearing leather and furs against a black backgroundWhy I read it:  My friend Brie recommended it to me.

CW: Extreme violence and gore, rape, torture, abuse (mostly – but not all – off page).

What it’s about: (from Goodreads) A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil – until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…

What worked for me (and what didn’t): When I think of words to describe my reading experience, ones like “epic”, “sweeping”  and “magnificent” come to mind. In ‘old skool’ romance this often means that the main characters spend a lot of time apart however and that’s so not my jam. A Heart of Blood and Ashes has the advantage of being epic and sweeping but Maddek and Yvenne are together for most of the book so it is way better than my experience of most old skool sagas.

April Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

shirtless hot Black man with tattoos, one hand in his jeans front pocket, one to the side/back of his neckAdonis Line by Dakota Gray – B- I adored Perv when it first came out and have the other two books in the Filth series on my TBR but haven’t managed to read them yet. Filth, the second book, is a retelling of Perv from the heroine’s POV so I know I didn’t miss anything truly important there, but I’m not sure how much of an impact having read Hardcore, the third book, before Adonis Line would have had on me. I think the books stand alone fairly well?

Tarek Hunter is the last in the trio of friends to find his HEA. He’s a personal training and hiking enthusiast who takes folks out for wilderness treks on the side. Nina Williams wants to pursue a photography career but her preparation hasn’t yet met luck. She wants to change that and plans to enter a photography competition, the prize for which is $20,000 – enough to fund rental on a photography studio and get her up and running. The only problem is that the photographs are of California wilderness at various waypoints. She’s a city girl and needs a guide. Enter Tarek.

Nina has a history of domestic abuse and violence and is understandably wary of putting herself in the control of a strange man for two weeks and so does her research before even asking Tarek to help her. While I thought the DV aspect of the story was sensitively handled it may be triggering for some readers and caution is therefore advised.

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