AoC

A
Work For It

Talia Hibbert’s A Girl Like Her was one of my favorite books in 2018.  I initially doubted the story could or would appeal to me - as I mentioned in my review, it featured a heroine alternately described as rude, awkward, and, according to everyone in town, bad news.  But I was completely won ov ...

B
Permanent Record

Mary H.K. Choi’s Permanent Record is a uniquely told, dazzling experience about sudden gifts of serendipity and happenstance as well as the workaday grinding world that surrounds us.  The beautiful character work and realistic portrait of New York enchant, but with a heroine who feels more like a ...

B
Rules of a Rebound

Natalie Winters divorced the man she thought would be her happily-ever-after hero when she found out he was cheating, and to add insult to injury, she had to buy him off to win even shared custody of Betsy, the beagle he gave her. So she attends the Breakup Bash party at a nightclub, where Rome Coll ...

A
Work for It

A smile and a tear – that’s what you’ll produce as Talia Hibbert scores another win with Work for It, the angsty but deeply romantic story of two men who fall in love in spite of their emotional scars. Olu Keynes is a tart-tongued but handsome man who has been numbed emotionally thanks to a ...

A-
Grading Curves

Professor Nikki Barber is starting over with a new job after drawing a firm boundary with her mother, and a tattoo feels like the right way to mark this new chapter in her life. Dean Shaw, six years her junior, offers to stay late at the tattoo parlor to work on her. But the tattooing process takes ...

B+
The Right Swipe

Alisha Rai modernizes the classic one-night-stand-to-HEA trope in her latest novel The Right Swipe. Diverse characters, a feminist approach to sexuality and cutting edge dating technology breathe fresh life into this familiar format and gives us a candid look at love in the twenty-first century. ...

A
Inevitable Conclusions

Sometimes you finish a book and all you can do is sit collapsed in your chair until your brain and body return from the place where the author transported you. Kora Oliver, Tony-winning actress turned director, and Tariq Evans, NFL star turned financial advisor, have known each other for over two ...

A-
Flashed

Flashed is a delicious, slow-burning wish fulfillment slice of romance of the highest order. Beauty and the Beast with a skosh of Cinderella, it’s comfortable yet spicy, heartbreaking yet gladdening.  It will be a delicious bit of catnip for anyone who’s willing to be enchanted by its embrace. ...

B+
Flashed

Zoey Castile draws on literary and film inspirations of Beauty and the Beast (and a dash o’ Cinderella) to retell the ‘tale as old as time’ as a steamy contemporary romance. Flashed (Happy Endings, #3) combines sweet romance with hot sex to portray a deeply emotional connection between a beaut ...

C-
The Bewildered Bride

A lot of elements go into a book, and some of the hardest books to review are ones where one element is terrific and the rest are borderline gibberish. That’s The Bewildered Bride, which has an exceptional rendition of a heroine with a sight disability and trauma-induced panic/anxiety, but plot th ...