Romance Review Roundup: Vol. 11

Making Up by Lucy Parker (London Celebrities #3)

Publisher: Carina Press on May 28, 2018

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around.

Although Trix Lane left her emotionally abusive ex months ago, the wounds from that relationship haven’t yet healed. A talented and daring aerial performer, Trix was once a shining star on the London scene, surely headed for greatness. But now her confidence is shot and she struggles to pull off tricks that she’s had mastered for years. When she finally gets her chance to be in the spotlight, will the arrival of her former friend turned enemy Leo Magasiva harm her chances…or bring her to new heights?

Leo is a giant teddy bear, emphasis on the word giant. As a former athlete who’s head and shoulders taller than most people, Leo’s quite self-conscious about how intimidating he can be, especially towards women. He comes across as a bit of a grump but really the guy’s got a gooey center, especially when it comes to Trix. This odd couple has a history, but it’s revealed slowly so I won’t spoil it except to say that it just makes their romance even sweeter. And shout out to the first PoC main character in the London Celebrities series! I’m hoping to see more of them as it continues.

I think MAKING UP is one of Parker’s most romantic, sensitive books to date. Leo’s insecurities about his size and the way it often intimidates people was really well handled, and Parker’s portrayal of Trix’s anxiety and panic attacks is also beautifully done. I really appreciate that falling in love with Leo doesn’t auto-cure Trix. Instead, the pair discuss her anxiety and work to manage it together. That’s what real romance is all about to me.

Lucy Parker is one of the most talented, consistent, and underrated contemporary romance authors in the game right now. If you’re looking for lovable characters, amazing banter, and nuanced relationships, then you need to read her books!


The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (The Kiss Quotient #1)

Publisher: Berkley on June 5, 2018

Source: Gifted ARC (thanks, Nick!)

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane is a brilliant econometrician, but she’s not exactly stellar in the romance and sex department. That’s why she decides to hire an escort, one Michael Phan, to give her lessons in intimacy. Stella’s not looking for a relationship and Michael knows better than to fall for a client, but as they get closer, the two find they have a lot more in common than they would’ve guessed. The only way this adventure won’t go terribly wrong is if it goes perfectly right…

And reader, it does. Helen Hoang has a total hit on her hands with THE KISS QUOTIENT, a sweet, tender, hot romance about two people who’ve always struggled to fit in. Hoang writes about Stella’s aspergers and Michael’s sex work with sensitivity, frankness, and clear eyes. No stereotyping or sensationalism here!

Michael Phan is legitimately the sexiest, most swoon-worthy dude I’ve read about in recent memory. The patience, understanding, and kindness that he shows Stella — and everyone around him — is too rare in romance heroes. He’s gorgeous and charismatic, but his smooth confidence hides some deep-seated insecurities about whether anyone would want him for more than his body. Throw in his creative side (the guy makes custom suits and gowns, for god’s sake!) and he is irresistible.

Stella certainly thinks so. Sex, trying new things, public displays of affection…all the things she normally hates about dating are great when she does them with Michael, a great guy who likes her for who she is. Go figure, right? As much as I adore Michael, Stella is the star of the show for me. She’s vulnerable, brilliant, and tough in her own way. Her passion for econometrics shines through in this story, so much so that she almost made me like math. Me. Like math. Y’all. Do yourself a favour and buy THE KISS QUOTIENT as soon as you can!


Ocean Light by Nalini Singh (Psy-Changeling Trinity #2)

Publisher: Berkley on June 12, 2018

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love…

I’m sorry to say it, but OCEAN LIGHT was kind of a disappointing read for me. After adoring the first book in this Psy-Changeling spin-off/continuation series, SILVER SILENCE, I was sure I’d love this one too. But the change in tone, character archetypes, and tropes meant that this story didn’t work for me nearly as well as the previous one.

After the assassination attempt that left him fatally wounded, human security expert Bowen Knight is airlifted to the BlackSea changeling base to undergo experimental cardiac and neurosurgeries. Helping him despite her fear and distrust of humans is Kaia Luna, BlackSea Changeling and scientist-turned-cook. Bo’s taken with the beautiful and enigmatic woman immediately, trying everything he can think of to prove that not all humans are dangerous to Changelings. If the experiment doesn’t take, the chip in Bowen’s brain that prevents telepathic manipulation by the Psy will kill him before he has the chance…

Although I liked Kaia and Bowen as characters, their romance fell flat for me. There’s some serious insta-love going on, and I confess that I found myself rolling my eyes quite a bit at just how quickly they fall for each other and the grandiose declarations they made. I get that Kaia’s a Changeling so mate bonding is a thing, but I thought Singh handled it way better in SILVER SILENCE than she did here. Bo and Kaia’s love for one another was sweet but rather abrupt for my liking.

I am enjoying the overarching plot of the series so far. Who’s the shadowy group know as the Consortium, and why are they trying to sabotage the Trinity of Psy, Changeling, and human efforts? If you’ve been keen to try Singh’s Psy-Changeling series but you’re intimidated by its length, I recommend giving this series a try. If you’ve not read the original series, some major plot elements will be spoiled, but that hasn’t impacted my excitement to go back and read the first Psy-Changeling books!

Have you read any of these books? How do you feel about insta-love in romance? Let me know in the comments below!

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