The Tutor by Bonnie Dee

I’ve had The Tutor on my list for a long time, and I finally listened to the Audible edition a couple of months ago. Once again, I am woefully behind with my non-ARC reviews, so I only now getting around to writing down my thoughts.

Graham has scammed his way into a tutoring job at a manor house, and he can tell that something is “off” from the moment he arrives. His two pupils, twin boys, run wild, and one of them doesn’t speak anymore.

Graham certainly has his work cut out for himself, and then there’s the issue of the enigmatic Sir Richard, the boy’s father, who is haunted by the past and reluctant to let anyone get close to him, especially not another man.

And what would a good gothic romance be without a ghost?

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Seven Summer Nights by Harper Fox

A couple of months ago, I ended doing a joint reading of Seven Summer Nights with my Twitter friend Vicky because the book was on both of our TBR lists.

Rufus was once a promising archaeologist, but he has returned to England in relative disgrace, and is obligated to take a commission examining a church in Droyton Parva, a small village in Sussex.

Archie is the local vicar, and he’s surprised to see such a prominent archaeologist assigned to his little project, but he’s even more surprised by Rufus.

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Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian

I have been waiting for this book ever since hints were dropped at the end of A Gentleman Never Keeps Score almost two years, but I can assure you that it was 100% worth the wait.

Will Sedgwick and Martin Easterbrook have been friends for their entire lives. Their paths diverged at some point, but as the story begins, Will has essentially kidnapped Martin and brought him to recuperate in an abandoned gamekeeper’s cottage. At first, Martin is quite ill, but Will manages to bring him back to good—well, decent—health.

So, there they are, living together in a small cottage. There is plenty of time to reacquaint themselves with the men they have become, and of course, to acknowledge the feelings that have always been there.

Did I mention that there’s only one bed?

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Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

I have always loved watching Olympic gymnastics, so I was excited about this book. It’s a little bittersweet, in that the Tokyo Olympics actually take place in 2020 as scheduled, but with the way publishing works, I’m sure this isn’t the only book set in 2020 that makes no mention of the pandemic and/or the postponement of the Games.

Avery Abrams spent most of her life training to be an Olympic gymnast, but a poor showing at the 2012 Trials ended that goal. The next decade was a series of ups and downs that ends with her football player boyfriend (think TB12 circa 2004) dumping her.

Avery moves back to her small town in Massachusetts and gets a job at her hometown gym, working alongside Ryan Nicholson, who she totally had a crush on back in the day. They’re both training Hallie, a sixteen year old gymnast who has Olympic dreams of her own.

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Her Lady’s Honor by Renée Dahlia

Lady Eleanor “Nell” St. George has returned to England from France after The Great War, but before she returns home, she needs to stop in Wales to return Tommy—her captain’s horse—to his home. She does not receive the warm welcome she expected; the competent captain she worked alongside in her veterinary duties has become callous and bitter. Nell intended to drop Tommy off and return to her own home, but she feels compelled to stay.

Beatrice Hughes is the captain’s oldest daughter, and her family has experienced unspeakable tragedy—their three oldest sons died during the war, and while the family patriarch has always been harsh, he is even worse now that he has come home. Bea is drawn to the elegant Nell, and doesn’t understand why she insists on staying at the farm now that Tommy has been returned.

The romance, however, is shadowed by another tragedy: the disappearance of Bea’s mother. I thought this mystery part was very well done, and while the resolution was not unexpected, it still came as a shock when the details finally fell into place.  

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Learn to Draw (Almost) Anything in Six Steps by Rich Davis

I found this drawing book after reviewing the Mini Chibi Art Class. My kids seemed interested, so we decided to check it out.

As the title suggests, this book contains step-by-step for a variety of…nouns. You know, people, places, and things. Since you don’t have the book in front of you, it’s worth noting that the drawings are all more of a cartoonish style than realistic renderings. The book is divided into categories:

  • Animals
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Architecture
  • Transportation
  • Garden
  • Great Outdoors
  • People
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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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