Cross-Atlantic relations

Red, White & Royal BlueRed, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“‘Archnemesis’ implies he’s actually a rival to me on any level and not, you know, a stuck-up product of inbreeding who probably jerks off to photos of himself.”

Soooo, we don‘t like each other. I can see where this is going…

Unfortunately we are going in the third person present tense. Not my favourite in a novel. It‘s weird. But I got over it. Because this is a very good romance novel. It has a thinking hat on, with a pigeon on top…

“The woman in front of him is wearing a hat with an entire taxidermied pigeon on it. High school lacrosse did not prepare him for this kind of sporting event.“

Pretty entertaining! I read into the wee hours of the morning twice. Just a shame that the sex scenes are so PG-rated…

Good sense of humour, believable and not cringe-worthy amounts of drama and angst, blessed lack of the most stupid romance tropes.

Wow, I am actually impressed and will definitely look up more books by the author. Recommended.

PS: Just for the record, old German dudes don‘t regularly wear lederhosen… 😉

View all my reviews

Birds of New Zealand

Made for You (Love and Family, #2)Made for You by Anyta Sunday
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First person present tense, alternating between two POVs. Not my favourite.

Weird Fanta fixation (the bubbly yellow stuff).

Ben comes across as very immature. On purpose, I am sure. But how much can you really fail at life at that age, with a job and a child to look after? He gets a little better eventually, thanks to Jack…

Friends to lovers, family. Very, very slow burn. No drama, minimal angst, mostly fluff.

Easy to read, although the alternating POV was a little distracting and I had trouble at times to tell the boys apart. I learned a lot about the birdlife of New Zealand!

Low brain power, simple plot, nothing taxing. Comfortable. I would read more by the author.

3.5 stars, rounded up.

View all my reviews

Hidden flames

Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy, #4)Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New trilogy in the Hidden Legacy universe. Set three years after the first trilogy, told from the POV of Nevada‘s sister Catalina.

While it is probably intended as a stand-alone, there is very little explanation of what has happened so far or in terms of world building. For newcomers I think it would be best to start with the first trilogy, for a better grasp of this world.

Catalina sounds very much like Nevada, almost interchangeable besides their differing kinds of magic. Alessandro is pretty one-dimensional at first, but gets a bit more interesting in the course of the book. The romance is barely there though. I guess that part will get more intense in the next two books.

Nevada only appears in a few brief phone calls, Rogan is absent and the rest of the family is pretty much in the sidelines.

As always, good action sequences. Good tension, entertaining, rarely a dull moment. A must-read for fans. Made me think of the Edge series.

5 stars? Or just 4 stars? Can‘t make up my mind… the story in the first book of the series was more interesting…

And now the long wait for the next book.

View all my reviews

Magical almost-steampunk

Witchmark (The Kingston Cycle, #1)Witchmark by C.L. Polk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This made me think of World War I, Pat Barker‘s Regeneration Trilogy (on a much shallower level), Sherlock Holmes (blond), Steampunk (with aether instead of steam engines) and the M M Romance of KJ Charles (without the hanky-panky).

It took me a little to warm up to the main character, it was not love a first sight. The bad guy was a bit one-dimensional. A deeper look at him would have been nice. I hope that some of my favourite side characters from this will show up in the second book. And I really, really wanted to see Grace burn in a fire for a long time.

Good world-building, nice plot, not terribly complex. Overall I liked the story, but wasn‘t glued to the page. I could have done with a trickier mystery and a little more suspense. The bicycle chase was fun. I loved the reveal at the end—I had my suspicions, but guessed wrong and had a wow-moment.

I am pretty sure that I will pick up the sequel at some point.

View all my reviews

Royal romance

A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals, #3)A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Picked this up because some of my goodreads buddies read it together and I was looking for a light palate cleanser. I had a hard time liking this and almost dropped it about a hundred pages in. Maybe I should have started with the first of the series.

Too many things rubbed me the wrong way. I found Nya to be annoying and whiny (yes, I am missing her backstory, because I didn‘t start with the first book…). Johan‘s made-up fantasy language was very, very weird. One of the main characters being the Duke of Edinburgh was just plain odd. I kept imagining the 90-odd-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II and that really did not work.

However, a synopsis somewhere mentioned a fake engagement—my favourite romance trope—and there were the odd funny moments, so I decided on ignoring odd stuff and to pretend this is a fantasy novel set on an imaginary planet.

The inevitable drama and misunderstanding between the main characters was ok, they were even somewhat adult in their reasoning. Nya definitely became more likable over the course of the book. Lukas‘s crisis felt very stuck-on at the last minute, as if the author wanted to include a popular topic in fiction and didn‘t manage to mesh it well with the rest.

I finished the book, but I am not sold on the series or the author. I did not truly enjoy this, although it had its (rare) moments. If my romance reading buddies hadn‘t liked this so much, I would probably have DNFd this. ★★¾☆☆

View all my reviews

Convenient motorcyle mechanic…

The Backup Boyfriend (The Boyfriend Chronicles, #1)The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

„Dylan hoped the good Dr. Johnson excelled at his work, cuz he sucked at starting motorcycles and picking up the pieces after a failed relationship.“

My favourite romance trope, a pretend-relationship/marriage of convenience/friends-to-lovers set-up. Alec Johnson is invited to an awards ceremony. So is his ex with the new boyfriend. And his motorcycle mechanic Dylan volunters to go along as his pretend boyfriend, because the ex pissed him off. Say hello to a lot of complications of the emotional kind.

I went into this with very low expectations. Based on that it was very entertaining, with a minimal amount of annoying drama. Even the usual romance predicament of sane grown-ups not talking to each other was at a bearable level. Lots of pretty explicit sex—a bit much at times, actually. The usual HFN ending. But all in all I liked this and might even get the next one in this series of loosely related m-m romances. Which seems to involve the ex…

View all my reviews

Not burning

Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire, #1)Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

DNF at 46%, 184 pages. I read Part One, then proceeded to very heavy skimming of Part Two, discovering nothing interesting.
I really liked all the previous book I read by Grace Draven, but this book did nothing for me. I did not particularly like either of the main characters, the plot was predictable and lacked tension. The story offered nothing exciting or fresh and was kinda pointless. Did she return to Beroe? If she did, I missed it in my skimming frenzy.

View all my reviews