Five Most Recent Reads | February 4th

I’m here to finally talk about my first reads of the year! If you saw my post the other day, I talked about the break from posting I took in Jan and now that I’m back, I’m finally ready to share these. I still have a secret project ongoing, but that’ll all be revealed soon and I’m excited to finally talk about those. But for today, we’ve got a nice little group of some different romance sub-genres and one cosy historical mystery, let’s get into it.

Dead of Spring by Colette Rhodes

After ending 2022 with a very disappointing read, I had a lot of trouble deciding what I wanted my first read of the year to be. I felt like it had to be good, something to pull me out of the slump Malibu Rising had started to put me in. I’d started a few things before deciding I’d just read a chapter of this which I knew I wanted to pick up in January. A few hours later and I’d finished my first book of the year. I’m hesitant going into Hades & Persephone retellings these days—after a few it feels like everything has been done, but I really liked this one. This sticks pretty closely to the original myth, at least the basics of it, but with decidedly more smut. I love the whole tough Persephone, big softie Hades dynamic going on in this one—that’s one of my favourite tropes to see in Hades/Persephone retellings. The whole thing was just a lot of fun to read and I can see Colette Rhodes being one of those authors I have to read everything from. But for now, it was just an excellent start to the year.

Overlord (Galatic Kings #1) by Anna Hackett

A lot of my reading in January was taken up with reading books from authors due to attend RARE—a romance event I’m going to in April so that I could decide who I want to meet and etc. Anna Hackett was one of the ones who sounded really interesting to me, and well, here we are. I haven’t ventured into alien romance beyond the first three books in the Ice Planet Barbarians series (which I really enjoyed), so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. It’s really hard to not compare it to IPB, but I found that Overlord had more of an SFF feel alongside the smutty romance parts. I really liked it—I thought it was a really interesting world, and I liked how things were already being set up for the rest of the series. If you like a little more plot to your alien romance, then this is definitely worth a try. I didn’t realise beforehand that there was a companion series set before this one, but I still haven’t read that, and this made perfect sense on its own. I’ll probably finish off this series and then swing back around to that one. As much as I enjoyed this one, I think some of the characters/tropes in the later books might be even better so I’m excited to get around to those after RARE.

Playing With Hellfire (Sin Demons #1) by Mila Young and Harper A. Brooks

Sticking with RARE, I decided it was finally time to pick which Mila Young books I wanted from this event. I picked this one up at a different romance event in October 2022 and really just wanted to decide if I wanted to continue the series. I really enjoyed how this one started—I’ve been reading a lot of paranormal romance lately, and they can start to feel a little too similar, so I just really enjoyed seeing something start differently. It definitely follows a lot of the same tropes, but on the whole, I did have a lot of fun reading this. It was one of those books I could just sit down and breeze through, and it just felt really good to do that. I really like both Dorian and Cain in this one, so I’m excited to see where the four leads are going to go from here. It’s also still very mysterious around Aria and her history, which has got me really excited to read book two, again once I have it in my hands after RARE. This really has nothing to do with the book, but I’m absolutely stoked that Harper will be at a later event and that I’ll be able to have the books signed by both authors!

Death Wears A Mask (Amory Ames #2) by Ashley Weaver

I picked up the first book in this series at the end of December and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I pretty much immediately put this one on hold at the library and ended up reading it mid-January. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first one—this one starts off being about a jewel thief and there’s a masked ball element to it. I just didn’t find that as interesting as the whole seaside resort thing from the first book. In fact, the mystery didn’t really grab me at any point in the book. However, I really enjoy reading about Amory—I don’t know what it is, but there’s something charming about her. I feel the same way about Rowland Sinclair from Sulari Gentill’s series, so maybe it’s something about the genre. Whatever it is, I’m enjoying the series for her character and the easy way the whole thing is written. I’m a little worried about the trajectory of the Amory/Milo storyline—I was hoping for a little bit of development in this one but it feels a little like they ended up in the same place they were at the end of the first book. I’ve got a little bit of a wait on my hold for book three, but I’m excited to pick that one up when I can.

Loathe To Love You (The STEMinist Novellas #1-3) by Ali Hazelwood

I think Ali Hazelwood is a bit of a polarising romance author. The Love Hypothesis gets a lot of love and a lot of hate online. I honestly enjoyed it and Love on the Brain, so I was really excited for these. For me, the first story, Under One Roof, was the strongest of the three. I enjoyed all of the characters, but Liam and Mara felt the most fleshed-out to me. I don’t really have much to say about Stuck With You (story number two), it was fine. I was actually kind of disappointed with the final story, Below Zero. I was so excited for the Norway setting and some kind of ‘oh no, it’s freezing, and we have to conserve our body heat ;)’ situation, but there was none of that, and honestly, I feel robbed. That story could’ve been fantastic, but I felt like it skipped over all the interesting parts. So maybe this wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but I did still have fun reading this, which is more than I can say for some of the other (secret) books I’ve been reading lately.

And that’s it for today. Have you read any of these? What were your first reads of 2023?


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