Friday, June 3, 2022

On the Shelf: May 2022

May was my ARC-wheedling month. I shamelessly slid into Eva Leigh's DMs for an advanced of her next Last Chance Scoundrels book, and I'm not even sorry about it. I'll probably do it again when the final book, a second-chance romance full of groveling, is ready. What's the point of being an author if you can't hit people up for early copies? 😆 Further to that, I got Tracey Livesay's American Royalty from my friend Elizabeth, and it honestly restored my faith in the steamy contemporary romance. I'm not shading the "rom-com boom," (at least not today! lol) but I've been missing romance books that aren't women's fiction-adjacent. And this opposites-attract-but-they're-not-really-opposites love story between a rapper and a prince was just what I needed! I loved watching Dani and Jay fall hard within a framework that was a little bit Meghan-and-Harry, a little Serena-and-Alexis, and all Tracey Livesay wit and heat!

Alexis Hall's A Lady For a Duke and Charlie's Pack of Lies rounded out my ARC haul, and both were time incredibly well-spent. There's a reason those two writers are fan faves. Readers are in for such treats this summer and fall! There is so much good stuff headed your way. I also indulged in some excellent new releases, like Mia Sosa's and Sonali Dev's. I think Vansh and Naina's book might be my favorite of Sonali's Rajes series, especially since there's a lovely secondary romance. And I'm a little sad the series is over! Now let's get to the lists...

The Reading Rundown
Pack of Lies by Charlie Adhara (out 8/30, paranormal romance, romantic suspense)
The Emma Project by Sonali Dev (contemporary romance, Jane Austen retelling)
A Lady For a Duke by Alexis Hall (historical LGBTQ+ romance, trans romance)
How the Wallflower Was Won by Eva Leigh (out 9/27, historical romance)
American Royalty by Tracey Livesay (out 6/28, contemporary romance)
A Lady of Rooksgrove Manor by Kathryn Moon (erotic romance, paranormal romance, erotica)
The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa (contemporary romance)

Backlists and Rereads: Before I got my grubby hands on Eva Leigh's next book, I went back and reread her Temptations of a Wallflower. I also checked out Trials of Artemis, the charming first Haberdashers book, by Sue London. Then I got a hankering for yet more historical romance and reread Lorraine Heath's Waking Up With the Duke. I also had some horror rereads, like The Witching Hour by Anne Rice and Usher's Passing by Robert R. McCammon. Southern gothic witches are apparently my jam. lol. As are backlist BDSM romances, like How Not to Fall by Emily Foster. I still have to read the second title in Foster's duology!

Random Movie Rec: 1985's Murphy's Romance, starring James Garner and Sally Field. This is such a classic small-town romance between a gruff older man and a younger down-on-her-luck single mom. It's slow-burn, friends-to-lovers, age-gap, pining, allll of the things. Garner's titular Murphy is the town pharmacist—and a "bleeding-heart liberal," per the script. He helps his customers screwed over by the healthcare system, has a "Re-forest America" sticker on his car, has no problem with gay people, and is just about the sweetest, most non-toxic, guy in town. And that is exactly what Emma Moriarty, exhausted and overwhelmed and just trying to carve out her own life, needs. She needs a friend, she needs kindness. And aside from shenanigans with her ex-husband at a town dance, Murphy never pressures her for more. Until she's ready. This movie is like a Diana Palmer book if the hero was actually nice. It's definitely going into my comfort-watch rotation.

On the TBR/wish list
Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher (7/12)
The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri (8/16)
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

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