Category Archives: Romance

Review: All That Remains (Sheri Lewis Wohl)

It pains me to do this, but two stars out of five.

I normally reserve that for the end of the review, but I thought I should just get it out of the way.

All that Remains is billed as a paranormal romance with a mystery at its heart, which I don’t normally read. I thought I’d take a chance on it, since it’s billed as a romance/mystery. I’d see if it is, and if this one would break out from the pack of those I’ve read before, all of which I’ve not liked.

It is not, and it did not.

First, the story: a killer on the loose who gnaws on the bones of his victims after he has killed them. OK, so here’s our mystery. Who is he and why does he do this. Well, he’s a werewolf. Literally, a werewolf. And the mystery is torpedoed less than 20% into the story by switching to him and his POV. Then it just becomes a catch me if you can story between the POVS that I just didn’t like because there’s no story there. He’s a psychopath with zero redeeming features, no tragic backstory, and leaves clues all over the place. So much for being smarter than the rest of the pack.

If the mystery had been a real mystery, even with paranormal elements that didn’t come to light until toward the end of the book, that would have been better, with o without the romance tied in.

Second, the romance: if the author had made the book primarily about the romance between the two female leads and developed that aspect more, tamping down the “mystery” into something else, the book would have been much improved. As it is, their romance just isn’t there in the sense of what the romance genre expects.

Thanks to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for the reading copy.

Review: Her Countess to Cherish (Jane Walsh)

I learned, after reading this, that there’s a book before this one that introduces us to at least Beatrice. Or, shall I say, Lady Beatrice Sinclair now, after dragging her family out of poverty by marrying Lord Sinclair and having him pay off her father’s debts. He’s cold and sneering toward her, since she threw herself at him and she and her family apparently ran off the woman he was supposed to marry. Bea isn’t really excited about Sinclair, and the day after their wedding and her first night providing wifely duties, she flees to the country to stay with a friend for awhile.

Said friend is living with a friend of her own – who just happens to be the woman Bea shoved aside in order to marry Sinclair. While she and Bea are a little frosty to start, it turns out Bea did her a favor, because now she gets to live with the woman she loves instead of the man she doesn’t.

We then meet Georgina Smith, who is also staying, and Bea takes an immediate dislike to her. To me, it seemed that Bea was projecting, because I found Bea to bea not a terribly nice person: she was snobbish, selfish, sour, and unthinking. What Georgina saw in her was a mystery to me, but I know, instalove.

Speaking of instalove, Bea was charmed by George Smith, Georgina’s cousin and someone she met at her wedding. Such Bea’s luck that George is also staying at this house in the country, too! She hopes to run into him there (spoiler: she does, mainly in the library).

I think what amazed me most about this book is just how many LGBTQI+ people are in this tiny town. It seemed like you couldn’t swing a dead cat around without hitting someone that fit somewhere in that group.

One thing I can give this book is that the principals don’t immediately fall into bed with one another. It’s more of a slow burn of a romance, although I still wasn’t a fan of Bea along the way.

Bea finds out she’s pregnant, and decides she will divorce Sinclair and marry George instead, without bothering to talk to George about it, which leads to some rockiness. Eventually, she disposes of that idea, and admits to Sinclair she is pregnant but shock of all shocks, he’s suddenly turned into an ultra caring, forgiving, and entirely other person in the three months she’s been gone. They come up with a solution, and everyone’s story wraps up like a nice little gift.

It’s always nice to see books with gay+ main characters, but this really struck me as something written as a message book, with long discussions that would be more suitable to 2021 than 1800 England. I’m not opposed to message books per se; my problem comes when virtually every piece of the book is a message the reader is hit over the head with time and again. The ending was rather forced and tidy, but at least there were no loose ends.

I’m going with three stars out of five.

Thanks to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for the reading copy.

Review: Bulletproof (Maggie Cummings)

This is the second book by Maggie Cummings I’ve read (Brooklyn Summer is the other). this popped up as recommended for me since I read boatloads of mystery/crime/police procedural/thriller novel. This is a romance with police procedural elements. If that is not your thing, this is not the book for you.

If you’re looking for romance and sexytimes, the story of Dylan Prescott, NYPD detective, and Briana long, US District Attorney will be a good read. The two meet (sort of) on the basketball court, as Briana watches two teams play from the stands with her friend and roommate Stef. They meet for real at a bar, later. There is, of course, the instant attraction. The fire starts to burn, they exchange some innuendo, and they part for the night after telling one another they were not looking for anything serious,.

Neither of them told the other what they do for a living, but they find out the next day at the office, where Dylan’s team is tracking a drug operation, and Brianna is the USDA assigned to the case.

This flirting in the office and at the bars continues, and we get scenes from Dylan’s side and Brianna’s side until finally the two get together in bed. If you are not a fan of explicit sex scenes, this is not the book for you, unless you want to skim past those pages – if you do, you’ll be skimming a number of pages here. If you don’t know what packing is…well, you’ll figure it out.

There isn’t a ton of character development going on here, but to be fair, that isn’t really why people read these sorts of books, and most lesrom revolves around jealousy anyhow – which is exactly what happens here, when Brianna leaves the Fed for a job with a well known defense attorney with whom Dylan has some history.

The book does have police work in it – probably enough to justify classifying it as a police procedural and having readers of the genre (like me) pick it up. That portion of the book is fine, and is actually one of the handful off books in the genre that show the more tedious side of police work. It isn’t all car chases and busting down doors. Still, that part of the book is thin, story-wise, and the two main characters could have been in any profession, and the story wouldn’t be harmed by it.

Overall, a solid three out of five stars.

Thanks to Bold Stroke Books and Netgalley for the review copy.