Reviews by Caroline Russomanno

B+
The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

An undertaker and a zombie hunter in a steampunk/western fantasy realm is probably the least expected way to adapt The Shop Around The Corner (which is more famous in another adaptation, You’ve Got Mail). At times, the story forces itself to adhere too closely to the source material, and these str ...

C
Exes and O's

In Amy Lea’s Exes and O’s, Tara Chen is a romance book influencer when she isn’t a NICU nurse. When she interviews her grandmother about Grandma’s own trope-style second-chance romance, Tara becomes enamored of the idea of dating her own list of exes. Surely one of them could be her romantic ...

B
The One You Want

Opposites attract in political romances is a dicey proposition, but Emma Barry threads the needle in The One You Want by making her opposites an idealist and a cynic on the same (Democratic) side of the aisle.Millie Frank is an organizer for a construction union, while Parker Beckett is a senior ...

A
Ocean's Echo

My deepest thanks to the commenters who recommended Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell in some of our Best of 2022 posts. Thanks to you, I not only got a great read, but I got to it in time for my own Best of list!Tennalhin Halkana (Tennal) lives at the mercy of his own brain. A powerful reader, ...

C
Snowbound in Her Boss's Bed

Marcella Bell’s Snowbound in her Boss’s Bed makes the same mistake I’ve seen in a few books lately - focusing on the wrong part of the story.Miriam Howard, event planner, is the daughter of a Black pastor and hasn’t fit in with her family since she converted to Judaism. Temporarily hired ...

B-
The Companion

E.E. Ottoman’s The Companion is the most ‘no plot, just vibes’ book I’ve read lately. I loved the vibes, but the lack of plot really holds the book back.Madeline Slaughter has given up on being accepted by the New York literary establishment. Burned out, she travels upstate, where the be ...

A-
Sweetheart

Sarah Mayberry’s Sweetheart is the first in a spinoff series based on the coffee shop The Busy Bean, which was originated by Sarina Bowen in her True North books. The True North World comprises three series - The Busy Bean, Moo U and Vino and Veritas - all written by different authors.  Being som ...

A
Bass-Ackwards

Eris Adderly’s Bass-Ackwards is the sweetest book you’ll ever read that starts with the hero committing egregious workplace sexual harassment. A standout working-class erotic romance that starts out pushing consent boundaries and gradually works its way backwards to heartwarming, Bass-Ackwards i ...

B
A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

In Laura Taylor Namey’s A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, heroine Lila Reyes finds herself quite literally out of her comfort zone - Miami - as her family, concerned for her mental and physical well-being after a series of life crises, sends her to stay with a family friend in a small En ...

B+
Extra Credit

A standout read of my recent Sarina Bowen binge was the delightful novella Blonde Date, which used to be available by itself but is now only available in the Extra Credit anthology.Blonde Date Grade: A               Sensuality: Warm If you’ve kept up with The Ivy Years series, you ...