Hello, my darlings! I hope the first month of 2023 was kind to you and brought you many excellent books to read. I started my year with some favorite rereads in audio and also read some wonderful new to me books:
A Restless Truth by Freya Marske: (F/F historical fantasy romance) A Restless Truth is the second book in the Last Binding Trilogy and definitely doesn't stand alone, so read A Marvelous Light first. I adored the first book—it was one of my favorite reads last year, and this book will probably be one of my favorites this year. This second book takes us out of Edwardian England and onto a ship making the journey from the US to England. Maude, sister of Robin from book one, is at the heart of this story, and she is a delight. The story itself is a romp aboard ship as Maude searches for a magical artifact with the allies she's drawn to her and tries to evade the people looking for it, who will do anything—including murder—to get their hands on it. The romance between Maude and Violet felt like a good beginning for them and I would classify it in an unresolved HFN place. My only disappointment is the lack of Robin and Edwin from the first book, though I did love the glimpses of them we got.
The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling: (M/F paranormal romance) I'm going to say right out that my favorite character was Sir Purrcival the talking cat. He was adorable and made me laugh, and I would like more scenes with him. That said, the rest of the book was great fun as well. This is the sequel to The Ex Hex (which was pitched as Hocus Pocus but they fuck and this continues in that vein), and probably should be read after that one. The Kiss Curse brings us back to Graves Glen for more witchy small town shenanigans. I loved the romance between Gwyn and Wells with their enemies to lovers vibe and excellent banter. The book is funny and sexy, and there's an intriguing, mysterious plot to draw you in as well.
Back in a Spell by Lana Harper: (F/NB paranormal romance) Another witchy book in another series I've been loving. Back in a Spell is the third book in the Witches of Thistle Grove series. I adore the setting of these books—this magical little town inhabited by witch families and a lot of regular people who have no idea. This book brings us Nina and Morty as main characters. It took me a little while to warm up to Nina, not necessarily because of her, but because her family has been set up as the antagonists since the beginning of the series. But I did warm up to Nina and even enjoyed seeing her older brother begin to redeem himself. Morty was a delight from the very beginning (actually from his brief scene in the first book). He and Nina match on a dating app, and Nina's friend convinces her to go out with him. Their first date does not go well, but Morty suddenly begins developing magic, something he never had or knew existed before. Their romance from there is lovely, and so is Nina's growth as she figures out the origins of all the weird magical stuff happening in town.
Perfectly Imperfect Pixie by MJ May: (M/M paranormal romance) This was a quick cute read. Phil is a home and hearth pixie, but while he has the colorful hair and fluttering wings of other pixies, he's also six feet tall, much larger than normally petite pixies. As such, no one will give him a chance and he hasn't found a home and family to bond to and care for. Until he's hired by a wolf shifter to care for his home and the two children he recently received guardianship of, mostly to make him seem a better bet in the custody battle with the children's horrible grandfather. What follows is a sweet slow burn romance between pixie Phil and shifter Sedrick and a lovely story of building a family. The book could've used a better edit and proofread, but it was still good read.
A Fake Girlfriend for Chinese New Year by Jackie Lau: (M/F contemporary romance) This is the third novella in the Holidays with the Wongs series. After his parents and grandparents set up him and his siblings on blind dates at Thanksgiving (to mostly disastrous results), Zach has decided he needs to bring a fake girlfriend to Chinese New Year to make sure that doesn't happen again. He asks his friend Jo to fake date him leading up to the holiday and attend the family celebration with him. When she agrees, he has no idea that she's already fallen for him. The novella is a cute, funny friends to lovers, fake dating to real love story. A quick, fun read for any time of year, but especially seasonal around Chinese New Year.
What have you read and loved lately?