Another month has come and gone, and now it’s time for some reflection!
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What we read
The Faerie Queen
I only read a few pure romance books this month, though I’m including some of the romance + genre books I read as well.
As for straight romance, I read Trouble with Gold by Melinda Dozier, Elements of Mischief and Elements of Ruin by C.M. Stunich and Tate James, Withering Hope by Layla Hagen, and His Outback Nanny by Annie Seaton. Of these, my favourite was Withering Hope, which I listened to addictively on audiobook. I think I have an unexplored love of survival stories.
Other books I read that were romance but also genre-y were The DUFF by Kody Keplinger (YA contemporary), Lions and Tigers and Boys by Tawny Stokes (YA paranormal), and Charcoal Tears and Watercolour Smile by Jane Washington (YA/NA paranormal suspense). While I loved and could relate to The DUFF so much, I have to say that Jane Washington’s Seraph Black books have been like crack to me, and I’m quickly making my way through the four-book series!
This was such a good reading month for me! I read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, Geekerella by Ashley Poston, Leveled by Cathryn Fox, Wilde in Love by Eloisa James, Glutton for Pleasure by Alisha Rai, The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai, and Emma by Jane Austen.
The Hating Game was definitely my favourite. I loved the workplace romance, the enemies-to-lovers trope, and the sexual tension that was so palpable throughout the novel. I couldn’t put it down!
What we put down
The Faerie Queen
I tried and I tried, but I had to put the reverse harem anthology Snow & Seduction down. I only made it through 6 stories before I decided I couldn’t take any more. It’s incredibly difficult to write a good short story, as you have less time to establish the plot, setting, and characters, and this is made more difficult when you have multiple characters that all have to develop a believable relationship with each other. While a couple of the stories were ok, most of them were 1-2 stars, and I could tell I was wasting my time. On top of that, this anthology was not edited. There were too many mistakes for there to have been a proofreader involved. The whole thing seemed rushed and lazy, and instead of endearing me to any of the authors, I actually now have a mental list of authors to avoid.
I had to put down No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes. I found the conversation very stilted and I just couldn’t get into the book, so I DNF’d it. Oh well.
What we reviewed
- [8 Jan] The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev ★★★½
- [15 Jan] Wilde in Love by Eloisa James ★★★
- [22 Jan] Glutton for Pleasure by Alisha Rai ★★★★
- [24 Jan] Elements of Mischief by Tate James, C.M. Stunich ★★★★
- [25 Jan] Trouble With Gold by Melinda Dozier ★★★
- [29 Jan] A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase
What we learned
If it weren’t for this month’s theme, I probably wouldn’t have read any reverse harem romances this year. My favourite romances are the ones that really focus on the development of the connection between the two characters, and I didn’t think it would be as easy for authors to develop those connections with more than two lovers, but I was wrong! I’m definitely going to keep exploring this sub-genre.
The Faerie Queen
The GingerSnap covers a lot of what I want to say. But I also want to add that I’ve learned that there can be a lot of variety in reverse harem, as is the case for a lot of romance. I expected all the books I tried to be high on the steamy side and low on the emotional development side, but this isn’t the case.
The two series that stood out for me and that capture the extremes of this range are C.M. Stunich and Tate James’ Hijinks Harem and Jane Washington’s Seraph Black. The former is a very over-the-top, crass but fun, sex-filled series, while the latter has yet to include any sex (as of book 2) but focuses heavily on the suspenseful plot and connections between the heroine and her soulmates. Both series involve fated soulmates, so if that’s not your thing, avoid them, but I can say that both have been very addictive for me to read, so clearly, I have a thing for reverse harem series. (Might explain how I latched on to Laurell K. Hamilton‘s books so easily in high school…)
What we’re looking forward to
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I also plan on reviewing all four books from Harlequin’s new DARE imprint! The four new releases are: Off Limits by Clare Connelly, Ruled by Anne Marsh, A Week to be Wild by JC Harroway, and Legal Seduction by Lisa Childs.
But I’m sure there’ll be more…
I can’t wait to read The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand. I read the first book in her Amour et Chocolat series last year and loved it, so I can’t wait to read what happens in this second installment in the series. I’m always excited to explore more of Christina Lauren’s work, so I’ve queued up Wicked Sexy Liar. I’m also planning to read No Groom at the Inn by Megan Frampton, and A Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon.
How was your month? Did you read any great romance novels that we should try? Let us know in the comments!