Another month has come and gone, and now it’s time for some reflection!
What we read
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My month began with an Audible binge of the Room Mates series by Kendall Ryan, as you can get all four of the main books for one credit! (I have since managed to arrange an Audible Romance package even though I’m in the UK…shhhh.) I really enjoyed all of them, although the second made me feel a bit icky. I also read the second book in the Hijinks Harem series by Tate James and C.M. Stunich, but it was a bit too much of the same for me, so I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series.
I had two winners in The Bastard’s Bargain by Katee Robert and Ball Peen Hammer by Lauren Rowe, followed by a definite no for me with Seared by Suleikha Snyder (who accidentally found the review and gave us a big spike in views when she shared it around!). Delicious by Susan Mallery was a much better food romance in comparison. And, in sync with going to a romance convention, I listened to Level Me Up by Lauren Helms, an incredibly sweet story about a bookworm and a professional gamer who meet at ComicCon!
This month, audiOMG! launched, and I have since listened to My Week With the Bad Boy by Kennedy Fox and Where Good Girls Go to Die by Holly Renee, two of their three free offerings in their launch giveaway. Both were good, though not amazing, but I have high hopes for some of their upcoming releases! Harlequin DARE also launched, and I really enjoyed A Week to Be Wild by J.C. Harroway, though Ruled by Anne Marsh was a completely different story.
Saving the best for last… Emily is very happy with me at the moment, as I really fell in love with a historical romance for the first time ever thanks to The Trouble With True Love by Laura Lee Guhrke. Swoon.
I started Christina Lauren’s Wild Seasons series this month and I am IN LOVE. The books are so addictive and I love reading about all the relationships in the friendship group. Romance series that follow multiple couples are some of my catnip. I also read Alyssa Cole’s new book and couldn’t put it down. It’s perfect.
What we put down
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I didn’t quite DNF any books, but I took a look at an ARC I received and some of its reviews, and I just knew it wasn’t for me.
No DNF’s for me this month!
What we reviewed
- [5 Feb] North to You by Tif Marcelo ★★★★½
- [6 Feb] The Bastard's Bargain by Katee Robert ★★★★½
- [10 Feb] Seared by Suleikha Snyder ★½
- [12 Feb] The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand ★★
- [14 Feb] A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole ★★★★★
- [17 Feb] The Trouble with True Love by Laura Lee Guhrke ★★★★★
- [19 Feb] His Outback Nanny by Annie Seaton ★★★½
- [21 Feb] Ball Peen Hammer by Lauren Rowe ★★★★½
- [26 Feb] Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility by Hillary Manton Lodge ★★★★
- [27 Feb] Off Limits by Clare Connelly
- [27 Feb] Ruled by Anne Marsh
- [27 Feb] Legal Seduction by Lisa Childs
- [27 Feb] A Week to Be Wild by J.C. Harroway ★★★★
What we learned
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I’m super jealous of Emily, as she had better luck this month with food romances. While we each read two food romances and only enjoyed one each, she at least got recipes. I GOT NO SUCH THING. Not fair. That being said, Delicious did entice me with a few food ideas.
I think the biggest thing I learned wasn’t anything new: I really like sassy heroines. It’s just that chefs seem to make really sassy heroines. On the other hand, I hate jerks. Again, no surprise.
I loved this month. I’m a major foodie, so getting to read romances that appealed to that side of me was really enjoyable. Prior to reading Jane of Austin, I had no idea what Texas Sheet Cake was, and Laura Florand’s Chocolate Touch inspired me to start savouring a few squares of chocolate while I read at night. It’s my new favourite way to wind down after work.
Jane of Austin caused ALL THE CRAVINGS. I’m planning on experimenting with some of the scone recipes from the book, and I desperately want to get my hands on some Fritos so I can make Frito Pie (also a recipe included in the book).
We went to RARE18 London!
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AND IT WAS AWESOME. I’ve been to many author events before, ranging from the smaller talks to YALC three years running, but this was my first romance event. And, of course, I started with the biggest one. Luckily, it was in the same place as YALC is, so I didn’t have to worry about how I would get there, and what the layout of the venue would be.
Because I seem to frequently forget that I’m both an introvert and can get panic attacks in crowds, I grabbed tickets for all of the events. That means pre-party, main event, after-party, AND the private screening of Fifty Shades Freed. I don’t regret it, though, as it was all a blast. (The film was particularly amusing because I’m not a fan but I was surrounded by superfans. That level of excitement is contagious.) Oh, and then I got invited to a tea party with Sarah MacLean, Tessa Dare, and Christina Lauren. It was a full but fantastic weekend!
I learned about the event quite late, and it was a very impromptu decision to go. There wasn’t really enough time to prepare, but luckily I knew a few of the authors already. I was so excited to meet Mariana Zapata (I almost didn’t!), and I was in awe when I did. I also fangirled big time over Jane Washington. Thanks to a stroke of luck, I made a new book buddy who also introduced me to a lot of authors, including Natasha Boyd and Brenna Aubrey. You guys can look forward to book and swag giveaways from these incredible authors soon!
Of course, the best part of the trip was meeting Emily in person for the first time. And we clicked, guys. We’re already planning double-dates with our poor boyfriends. They have no choice but to be friends.
The three authors I really wanted to meet were: Sarah MacLean, Tessa Dare, and Christina Lauren (Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings). They were all amazing. I’d already met Sarah MacLean and she was just as wonderful this time. She might’ve made me tear up with how supportive she was about my writing. I also discovered London Miller, Maria Zapata, S.M. Lumetta, and Sara Ney. Obviously the best part about the trip was meeting Dani in person and getting to catch up on all our favourite books and generally just hang out because, in case everyone hasn’t noticed, she’s pretty great.
What we’re looking forward to
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I love sports romances! And I’m not even sporty myself! But I have sooo many options here. I’m definitely going to listen to the Rugby series by Penny Reid and L.H. Conway, especially after meeting both at RARE18 London. I’ve got another couple rugby romances on my TBR: Undefeated by Jane Harvey-Berrick and Stuart Reardon (a former rugby player himself and the cover model!) and Just Say (Hell) No by Rosalind James. And, naturally, I have to indulge in my original sports romance obsession, ice hockey, even though I’ve never watched a game in my life. I’ll be reading Virgin Territory by Lia Riley. Guys, I am sooo looking forward to this.
As for non-sports romances? I’ve got a few books lined up, but I’m most excited about Make Me Want by Katee Robert and A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole! Especially after Emily’s glowing review of the latter…
I’m really excited to read See Jane Score for our sports romance theme. I loved hockey in high school, and a contemporary romance with a hunky hockey player sounds right up my street. I’m also hoping to finish the Wild Seasons series and work my way through Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series as well as some of the other book recommendations I got at RARE18 last weekend.
How was your month? Did you read any great romance novels that we should try?