A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

When emails from an African prince show up in Naledi’s inbox, she dismisses them as a scam. Little does she know—not only are the emails are genuine, but she is Prince Thabiso’s long-lost fiancée.

At first, Prince Thabiso isn’t impressed that the woman he has been engaged to since childhood doesn’t recognize him, but he quickly sees the potential benefits. Everybody always fawns over him because he’s a prince, but Ledi treats him like a regular guy.

So he decides not to tell her that he’s a prince. Or that they’re engaged.

But the truth always comes out eventually.

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Spectred Isle by KJ Charles

Saul Lazenby lost all his credibility during the Great War, and now works for a wealthy eccentric gentleman who sends him to various sites on “hunches” about magic. At each of these places, he encounters the same man, and then something strange happens.

Randolph Glyde has every reason to suspect Saul of sinister intentions. After all, he’s an arcanist, and he knows that magic is real.

It makes sense for them to trust each other, but that isn’t a virtue that has ever come easily to either of them, but they’re going to have to team up because, as I mentioned, magic is real, and there’s something evil afoot.

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A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the Veronica Speedwell series of Victorian-era mysteries, but then I fell behind, and am only now getting around to catching up.

In this installment, Veronica and her friend Stoker are tasked with finding a missing diadem, the crown jewel (pun intended) in an archaeological expedition’s astounding discovery of Egyptian goods.

Not only is the diadem missing, but the leader is also missing. One might assume the two elements are connected, but that’s not the only connection: the missing man is Stoker’s former expedition partner.

As would be expected, rumors of an ancient curse abound, but despite evidence of malfeasance, that’s just superstition, right?

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Pansies by Alexis Hall

I first discovered Alexis Hall’s books in December 2018, and spent the next month reading his entire back catalog, including Pansies. A couple of months ago, the audiobook for Pansies came out, so I dove right back into the story.

Alfie grew up as a local lad in South Shields, but left his hometown for university and a high-powered financial career in London. He also realized that he was gay during this interim, something that surprised his family and friends since he had always been such a stereotypical lad.

Don’t worry: we’ll begin to address the culture of toxic masculinity later, as it plays a prevalent theme in the book.

Anyway, Alfie is back in town for a wedding, and meets Fen at a pub. After they hook up, Fen reveals that they went to high school together, and Alfie used to bully him, and he’s appalled that Alfie didn’t even recognize him.

And that’s when Alfie realizes that he feels a genuine connection with Fen, and he needs to make amends for all the things he did as a boy, and prove to Fen that he’s not the same person that he was in high school.

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Again Again by e. lockhart

Adelaide Buchwald is a “fac brat” (child of a faculty member) at a boarding school. She has just broken up with her boyfriend and is spending the summer walking dogs, and she is going to spend her summer walking dogs. On her third day at the park, she meets a boy.

The narrative splits into three different possibilities (accentuated by bold text) of how the conversation could proceed, before the real possibility plays out.

To say much more would be delving into spoiler territory, but needless to say, this is a summer where anything can happen. This book is so much more than the classic tale of “girl meets boy”.

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Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert

 

 

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Conrad and Alden are both part of the same Odyssey gaming group, but they have never gotten along, but that’s okay because they have separate lives and don’t have to interact outside the group.

And then they end up on a road trip together, with nothing but time to get to know each other. Read more

A Dark and Stormy Knight by Kerrigan Byrne

Sir Carlton Morley has been a fixture in the Victorian Rebels series, most often as the antagonist. Now it’s finally time for him to tell his own story and receive a HEA.

By day, Carlton is a respected police detective. By night, he roams the streets of London, dishing out vigilante justice—kind of like Batman.  

Pru doesn’t want to marry her fiancé after she finds out that he sleeps around and has multiple illegitimate children. Her father refuses to allow her to break the engagement, and insists that it’s perfectly normal for the aristocracy.

So Pru goes to an exclusive brothel for one night of passion because she knows it’s her only chance in what will be a loveless marriage.

Guess who she meets there? Carlton! He’s skulking around on a case, and she mistakes him for one of the workers, and he doesn’t correct her.

They both think that this is the only time they’ll ever see each other, but they were wrong, of course.

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If We Were Us by K.L. Walther

Sage Morgan is starting her senior year at the The Bexley School, along with her best friends Charlie and Nick Carmichael. Everyone thinks that Sage and Charlie would be perfect together, but Charlie is a serial dater and they’re strictly friends. Besides, Sage secretly kissed Nick at a summer bonfire on Martha’s Vineyard.

There’s also a new student at Bexley: Luke Morrison, a PG (post-graduate). He and Charlie form a connection almost immediately, but Charlie has always dated girls and he’s worried about what people will think if he starts dating Luke.

This book takes place over the course of the school year and unfolds from Sage and Charlie’s dual perspectives. The pace is a little slow at times, but this is exactly what boarding school is like in real life. There’s a whole lot of status quo, punctuated by moments of high drama. Needless to say, friendships are tested and the characters have to figure out who they are and what they want out of life.  

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