Iron & Velvet (Kate Kane #1) by Alexis Hall

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Iron & Velvet is the first book in Alexis Hall’s Kate Kane: Paranormal Investigator series of contemporary queer fantasy novels. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I adore Hall’s books, and this was a series I hadn’t had a chance to explore yet. Speaking of which, it should be noted that the Kate Kane books are from Hall’s back catalog, but they are being republished by Carina Press.

As the series title suggests, Kate investigates paranormal crimes, like the death of a werewolf outside of a vampire-owned nightclub. Over the course of the book, Kate encounters a wide variety of otherworldly creatures; some help her, and some hinder her, and then things get all twisty before a huge confrontation with the source of the trouble. Read more

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Goalie Interference by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

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Goalie Interference is the second book in Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn’s Hat Trick series of contemporary m/m hockey novels. I enjoyed reading the Him/Us duology (by writing team Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy) and I was excited about the opportunity to read another hockey romance.

Emmitt gets called up from the minor leagues to be the Atlanta Venom’s newest goalie. This is a dream come true, but there’s one obstacle in his way- Ryu has been the Venom’s goalie, and he’s none too thrilled about this new hotshot interloper. Read more

No Good Men by Thea McAlistair

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No Good Men is a historical mystery novel written by Thea McAlistair. This book piqued my interest because it’s set in the 1930s and features gangsters and a m/m romantic subplot.

Alex is in his early 20s, and working alongside his mentor Donnie as a bodyguard for the mayor. They’re at a nightclub one night, and while Alex is talking to a man at the bar during his break, the mayor and Donnie are both shot and killed.

It turns out that Sev, the man Alex was taking to, is the nightclub’s manager, and he has mob ties. The mayor’s death might also be linked to organized crime, and so Alex begins asking questions, although it is more for his mentor’s sake than for the mayor.

And of course, the mayor’s murder wasn’t an accident, or even one disgruntled citizen. As more people connected to the case are killed, it’s clear that Alex is in the middle of a dangerous situation. Read more

American Love Story by Adriana Herrera

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American Love Story is the third book in Adriana Herrera’s Dreamers series of contemporary m/m romance novels. I was so excited about the opportunity to read this book because I absolutely loved the first two books in the series about a group of guys from NYC who all have Caribbean heritage; they’ve been friends since middle/high school, and now one by one, they’re finding their happily ever afters. I’ve been waiting to see how Patrice and Easton’s story was going to play out ever since Herrera dropped hints about them in American Dreamer. So, needless to say, I was ridiculously excited to finally get to read their story.

Patrice has just started a job as a professor at Cornell economics professor, and returning to Ithaca brings him back in contact with Easton, a local lawyer. Patrice and Easton had a short-term attachment about a year ago, when Patrice was helping his friend Nesto get his food truck up and running in Ithaca. Patrice and Easton’s chemistry was off the charts hot, but things dissolved when Patrice returned to the City.

So can they just pick up where they left off? Read more

Arctic Heat by Annabeth Albert

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Arctic Heat is the third book in Annabeth Albert’s Frozen Hearts series of contemporary m/m romance novels. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series- or any of Albert’s other books- but the blurb piqued my interest.

Owen is a cancer survivor, and this polarizing incident has led him to reevaluate everything about his life. As the story begins, he has set aside his career as an investment banker, and arrived in Alaska in search of adventure as a national park volunteer.

Quill has spent his entire career as a park ranger. He’s quiet, he keeps to himself, and he thrives on predictability. The last thing he needs is to be partnered with someone gregarious like Owen- who looks completely unprepared for the harsh Alaskan winter. Read more

Murder at Kensington Palace by Andrea Penrose

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Murder at Kensington Palace is the third book in Andrea Penrose’s Wrexford & Sloane series of Regency-era historical mystery novels. I’ve read the other books in the series, so I was interested to see how the unlikely duo was going to handle their newest investigation.

This time, the victim is Cedric, a young man who recently inherited a barony. The prime suspect is Nicholas, the victim’s twin brother- the two were overheard arguing about the inheritance and the unfairness of Cedric receiving everything simply because he had the good fortune to be born a few minutes earlier. Read more

Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

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Devil in Spring is the third book in Lisa Kleypas’ Ravenels series of Victorian-era historical romance novels. It came out a couple of years ago, but like all aspects of my life, my reading list is woefully behind. I ended up going between the Kindle edition and the Audible over the summer as I deep-cleaned my oldest daughter’s room when she was away at summer camp.

Pandora Ravenel has never wanted to be part of aristocratic society. She would much rather stay at home and work on designing a board game. Unfortunately for her, she has familial obligations, and ends up at a ball. Even worse, she ends up in a compromising position with a notorious rake- completely by accident. Read more

Permanent Record by Mary H. K. Choi

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Permanent Record is a YA novel written by Mary H. K. Choi. Even though I’m one of those jaded xennials and moving farther away from the target demographic every year, I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because the premise sounded interesting.

Pablo dropped out of college, and now spends his nights working in a NYC deli, and he’s quick to inform the reader that even though it’s open 24 hours, it’s not a bodega because it sells all sorts of fancy rich-people-food.

One night, a girl comes into the not-bodega, and Pablo recognizes her- she’s Leanna Smart- a child star who grew up into an international pop sensation. They strike up a conversation, and Leanna is impressed that Pablo doesn’t recognize her right away. This is, perhaps, why she invites Pablo into her inner circle. Read more

Guarding the Countess by Jess Michaels

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Guarding the Countess is the fifth book in Jess Michaels’ The Scandal Sheet series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I haven’t read any of The Scandal Series books, but I’ve read (and enjoyed) several of the books in Michaels’ 1797 Club series.

Naomi’s most recent husband has recently died, and since she finds the circumstances to be suspicious, she hires Marcus (a captain) and Everett (a marquis) to investigate. They agree to help, but then someone attempts to shoot Naomi in front of their house, they decide that she needs their protection in addition to their sleuthing skills. Read more

How to Belong with a Billionaire by Alexis Hall

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How to Belong with a Billionaire is the third book in Alexis Hall’s Arden St. Ives series of queer romance novels. I tore through the first two books in a matter of days last December, so I was extremely grateful that I was able to read this book a little early.

Quite a few of the books I read/review are part of a series, and I will blithely say that the book functions well enough as a standalone, etc.

That is NOT the case with this book. Readers really ought to read the first two books in this series before tackling this one. I would imagine it would be very difficult for a reader to appreciate the narrative as a whole if they jump in at the last third.

So, if you haven’t read this series, but your interest is piqued by a queer response to Fifty Shades of Grey that is loads better than the original, AND manages to be both cheeky and introspective, then I suggest you start with How to Bang a Billionaire.    Read more