Reviews by Caroline Russomanno

B
The Royal We

A fictional spin on the courtship of Kate Middleton and Prince William, The Royal We doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable aspects of royal life and has more details and heft than your typical pauper-meets-prince romance. The supporting cast (his brother, her sister) truly shines. However, the l ...

B+
Winning Ruby Heart

Ruby Heart was the Olympian distance runner who lost everything by doping, and Micah Blackwell was the reporter who broke the story. Five years later, Micah (who is paraplegic) spots Ruby at an ultramarathon and wonders if who Ruby has become could be even better for his career - and for himself. Al ...

A-
Night Shift

Night Shift is a collection of three alternate reality/paranormal romances and one fantasy romance, all by established genre authors. The first three stories were solid visits to worlds those authors have written about in other books, which contributes to the generally-strong worldbuilding in the co ...

A
The Love Experiment

When the Chicago Courier’s Jackson Haley, king of hard news, is ordered to help lifestyle reporter Derelie Honeywell recreate an 'intimacy experiment,' he’s not just unamused; he’s downright hostile. But farm girl Derelie can’t bear the thought of running back to her small town a failure, so ...

B+
Defy the Stars

The planet Genesis has tried to secede from Earth’s ring of colony planets in order to create an ethical, environmental and religious utopia, but Earth isn’t letting it go without a fight. Thirty years earlier, a vicious war ended in stalemate, but the conflict has resumed. Noemi Vidal is one of ...

B
Caraval

Scarlett Dragna has dreamed of attending the magical and immersive fantasy adventure called Caraval for nearly as long as she's dreamed of escaping life on her colonial-era island, where her brutal father, the governor, keeps Scarlett and her sister Donatella under lock and key. On the eve of her ar ...

A-
After the Scandal

Elizabeth Essex is the best historical romance author you’re not reading. Fix that! Tanner Evans, the Duke of Fenmore, has led a colorful life. His father, a younger son, was cut off from the family, and when both parents and the uncle died, Tanner and his sister Meggs spent years on the street ...

B-
Breeder

The space slave may not be quite as ubiquitous in SF as the duke in historicals, but she (and it’s nearly always a she) is certainly at “trope” levels. Breeder provides an acceptable execution of this plotline, but delivers neither the depth of worldbuilding I look for in an alternate reality ...

A
Lord of the Abyss

A marvelous stand-alone Beauty-and-the-Beast fantasy (or maybe Beast-and-the-Beauty, or perhaps just Beast-and-Beast?) by an author who really knows her way around the supernatural? Yes, yes, yes! Twenty years ago, the kingdom of Elden fell to the vile Blood Sorcerer. Before dying, the queen cast ...

B-
To Seduce a Stranger

A kindly old duke married Charlotte Blakemore, but his death has left his son refusing to execute a will leaving Charlotte a significant independence. Charlotte runs away and finds herself in the company of Edward Cary, heir to the Earl of Beckley, who himself ran away two decades ago in the hopes o ...