Reviews by Caroline Russomanno

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 ...

A
Rust in the Root

Rust in the Root does not take place in the same universe as Justina Ireland’s paranormal historical duology Dread Nation/Deathless Divide, which both earned DIKs here. This book can’t possibly be as good as those, right? Surprise! It’s even better.In a magic-infused alternate history, the ...

C
Barbarian Mine

If mediocre Clan of the Cave Bear fanfic is a brand that calls your name, Ruby Dixon’s Barbarian Mine is the read for you! (This is book two of twenty-two in Dixon's long running Ice Planet Barbarians series.)Harlow was saved in two ways when the ship transporting her and other humans crashed ...

A
What You Need

What You Need by Lorelei James kicks off the Need You series about the wealthy offspring of the Lund family of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Lund Industries Chief Financial Officer Brady Lund is everything Lennox Greene isn’t: wealthy, blue-blooded, well-educated, and secure in his employment. But Lennox ...