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surely supernatural: the protector by abigail owen

book 5 in the fire's edge series continues to propel the intricate story of the dragon clans forward. again focused on the american contingent, the ties between the companion series inferno rising series are there, and for maximum enjoyment i strongly recommend reading the series in publication order .  the protector focuses on lyndi chandall the sole female-born dragon shifter based with the huracan enforcers, and the beta of the team, gold dragon, levi rowtag. it is a well-known fact that female dragons are sterile and therefore can't mate, but in a world where the rules about dragon shifters are falling apart, the connection between levi and lyndi can't be denied.  from the moment they met 200 years ago, levi has known lyndi was his mate. but she mistook his reaction as a rebuff, and they've been at cross-purposes ever since. but as the situation around them grows desperate, levi can't deny the connection anymore. and lyndi can't resist giving into temptatio
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seriously romantic: just like this by cole mccade

the second book in the albin academy series is just as deeply emotional as the first. just like this  features total opposites rian and damon joining forces to help a struggling student. they are from completely different backgrounds and do not expect to find the common ground and connection they discover as they work together. for a category romance, this novel packs in a lot of depth and feels into the shorter format. the slow burn really allows the love story to develop organically, and you really end up feeling the strength of the connection between the characters.  **just like this will publish on november 24, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/carina press (adores) in exchange with my honest review. 

seriously romantic: twelfth knight's bride by e. elizabeth watson

the thing i enjoy about watson's stories is that they take place outside of the usual historical time periods, this sixteenth century highland tale is a delight. i'm a sucker for an enemies-to-lovers story, and twelfth knight's bride  is just the thing.  set over christmas, james and aileana have to come to terms with their marriage and each other, seriously these two have chemistry in spades. overall this story is sweet and lovely with just the perfect amount of spark.  **twelfth knight's bride will publish on november 17, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scandalous) in exchange for an honest review.

seriously romantic: the truth about dukes by grace burrowes

the truth about dukes  is the latest installment in the rogues to riches series, and while it stands alone, it really is best read in concert with previous books in the series. our hero, robert rothmere, has epilepsy, or the falling sickness as it was known at the time. institutionalized by his father and forced to undergo so many inhumane treatments, when he is found to be alive by his brother he is brought back to society to take his rightful place as duke of rothhaven. because he is at constant risk of being declared incompetent, he decides he needs to marry a paragon for a wife, and he is drawn to constance wentworth. little does he know that her veneer of placidity hides the fact that they met as teens in the very asylum he was sent to, she was avoiding unpleasant family circumstances. she also harbors a scandalous secret. anyway, they overcome all odds, and it's a romance so everyone lives happily ever after. this lacked some real sparks for me, it's a quiet romance and a

solely mysterious: a lady's guide to mischief and mayhem

so while a lady's guide to mischief and mayhem is not solely a mystery, it's more mystery than romance. but in a way that really works for this victorian set novel. the blurb comps it to evie dunmore, but i think this is closer in feel and appeal to the veronica speedwell novels by deanna raybourn. it almost feels like these two main characters could continue to headline the series, though in that regard these books will follow the romance model and focus on a different set of characters for subsequent stories in the series. the main characters here, katherine bascomb and andrew eversham are at odds as a journalist and detective respectively. a series of murders has captured kate's interest and she feels it is her moral duty to warn others, especially women, of the crimes. but in the strait-laced society she inhabits, it is frowned upon for a woman to discuss unpleasant things.  eversham sees her more as a nuisance getting in the way of his investigation, he's not enti

strictly literary: instant karma by marissa meyer (audiobook version narrated by rebecca soler)

i'm used to marissa meyer writing more on the science fiction/fantasy spectrum, so i was intrigued by this contemporary story. but instant karma  does have a touch of fantasy. i'm just not sure the concept was executed successfully. one big issue is that the story appropriates indian/hindu culture, going so far as to have an illustrated cover that implies the main characters are persons of color when they're actually as white as can be.  i know there is debate about #ownvoices, but when a white author repeatedly uses diverse perspectives that do not reflect her own experience for her characters' voices that starts to feel exploitative. and maybe if the main character weren't so judgmental and more sympathetic this would all be less problematic, but plotwise it's where the book falls down.  that being said, the narration here is spot on. rebecca soler does a fantastic job voicing a diverse group of characters and does a great job of distinguishing their voices wi

seriously romantic: looking for a cowboy by donna grant

this latest entry into the heart of texas series is just as good as the ones that came before it. looking for a cowboy  finds quintessential good guy cooper owens finding love with tough-as-nails private investigator marlee. there's a connection there from the moment they meet, but marlee's suspicious of cooper's friends, so until they resolve that bit of misunderstanding, they can't move forward.  marlee's reasons for being suspicious are valid, but if she knew the harpers she'd know how off-base they were, because the family in these stories are just good, upstanding people. and once they realize what is going on and what she's looking to stop, they're all-in on helping her out.  the suspense and mystery here all unfold at a great pace, and the romance that blooms between the two characters is well done.  **looking for a cowboy will publish on october 27, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange f

seriously romantic: feel the fire by annabeth albert

ever since i read the sneak peek chapter in   high heat , i’ve been waiting for   feel the fire . usually, i’m not one for second-chance romances, but there was something about the crackle of chemistry and resentment the characters had in the opening pages that made this one hard to resist.  one thing i loved is that the resentment piece isn’t long and drawn out. what blossoms between the characters isn’t a slow burn, in part because they did all that slow-burning off-page. tucker is a demisexual, but the deep, emotional connection he needs is already there with luis. it was always there, even though his life took him on an unintended path.  seeing the two characters figure out how to compromise and build a life they both want together made every moment worth it. it was nice to check in on earlier characters from the series, but luis and tucker are just perfection together and i loved every second of this read.  **feel the fire will publish on october 26, 2020. I received an advance re

surely supernatural: bane's choice by alyssa day

i wasn't entirely sold on the concept for bane's choice , since i'm not really one for motorcycle club stories, but it also didn't feel like your usual motorcycle club romance rife with misogyny, so i decided to take a chance.  the vampire stuff i found interesting, the motorcycle club stuff felt extraneous but didn't bother me, but oh man did i dislike this heroine. like i'm all for standing up for yourself and being able to protect yourself from danger. but this dimwit was like oh there's a newly turned vampire who will be crazed with bloodlust and none of that matters because he is my patient. he's dead. he's a paranormal being who's vitals actually don't matter and he's going to kill you because you are food to him.  like there's being a badass and there's being stupid. and i thought ryan was totally stupid. she was so stupid that i just couldn't bring myself to care about anything related to her, which killed the romance

seriously romantic: take a number by amy daws

amy daws is back in the wait with me world, this time with a two career-driven people who find that maybe there is time in their lives for romance when a fake date evolves into real love.  over the course of the series we've had multiple opportunities to interact with dean. he's a little bit douchey, a little bit a hipster metrosexual type, but still somehow charming. and if the guy's best friends are lyndsey and kate, you know that there's got to be something special there. well take a number  pulls back the metaphorical curtain. and dean is a delight.  he finds his perfect counterpoint in norah. the uptight, obsessive-compulsive croinut baker who is intent on getting her donut shops out across the country.  together they make a perfect team, and their mutual fear of commitment and intimacy is challenged by how in sync they are with one another.  **take a number will publish on october 15, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of amy daws. keep reading for m