Reviews by Dabney Grinnan

C
The Love Hypothesis

Apparently The Love Hypothesis started out as a Rey/Kylo Ren Star Wars fanfiction.  Mercifully, the reader can’t really tell; the romance is bantery and spicy, but the hero tends too much toward the arrogant alphahole end of the spectrum and feels thinly drawn, and Our Heroine is that ‘feisty ...

B
The Missing Hours

Claudia Castro is rich, young and famous – but her life is a mess made worse by the evils of another person. Her parents are divorcing, her appearance on the reality show Rich Kids of the Hamptons has proven to be an ugly and humiliating mistake, and people tend to think of her in negative terms b ...

B
Not Even for a Duke

Not Even For a Duke is a story about a widow determined not to be taken in by love again, only to unexpectedly meet her match. Aurora Sherborne has everything she needs, and as the Dowager Countess of Radcliff, she is in control of her destiny. Her first marriage was a living hell, and Aurora is ...

D+
The Footman and I

Valerie Bowman’s The Footman and I is the first in a series where a group of friends - a duke, a marquess, an earl, you get the picture - pretend to be servants. I thought this was an unusual premise that had the potential to be either very good or very bad. Well. It was not very good. Lucas ...

B-
Playing it Safe

I haven’t read anything by Amy Andrews before, but the blurb for Playing it Safe - her first m/m romance and the seventh book in her Sydney Smoke series set in the world of Australian Rugby Union – caught my eye.  It’s an enjoyable, well-written and steamy read, and although it’s nothing I ...

A
Beyond Duty

a Retro Review originally published on August 31, 2013 Peterson fans should be delighted with her newest couple, two career Marines who are on the verge of retiring just as the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is about to be revoked in 2011. Of all the writers of gay romance who have a handle on wha ...

B
The Royals Next Door

The Royals Next Door is sweet and funny, but it also has body and substance.  It starts out as extremely fluffy and lighthearted – very much a beach-read – but then it hits you with some surprising depth and truth.  You might have to adjust your expectations with this one, but it’s worth the ...

B
Death of a Red-Hot Rancher

Death of a Red Hot Rancher has a lot of fun with contemporary romance tropes. It’s the kind of cozy mystery that’s directly intended to appeal to romance fans, while anyone who doesn’t have a bit of familiarity with the genre will probably also get a huge hoot out of it.  But the book is just ...

C+
The Magic of Found Objects

There’s a note of hippie magic to The Magic of Found Objects, and not the least bit of a wink to the 1987 film Moonstruck. Maddie Dawson tries to mill much quirkiness from her unusual heroine, but grounds her in a formula that makes for some disappointing plot twists and very dull, rote format cho ...

B+
The Heart Principle

Fans of angsty romance will be delighted with The Heart Principle, the third book in Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient series.  While this book – and therefore this review – does contain spoilers for the first two novels, you do not have to read those to enjoy this story. Quan Diep, older br ...