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

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

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

American Royals by Katharine McGee

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American Royals is the first book in Katharine McGee’s new YA alternative history series. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because the premise sounded very interesting.

The book begins with the following premise: after the American Revolution, George Washington became the new nation’s first king, and ever since then, his descendants have sat on the throne. An aristocratic class also developed, with titles like the Duke of Boston, but most of society is exactly the same.

The story begins with Beatrice, the king’s oldest child and heir, being tasked with finding a future spouse at the upcoming royal ball. From there, the story unfolds from four unique perspectives: Read more

Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

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Top Secret is a contemporary m/m romance novel by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. I was looking forward to reading this book because I enjoyed reading their previous collaboration, the m/m hockey duology Him and Us. I was even more excited when I found out that this book was a new release; it hadn’t been on my radar, so finding it as a new release was an awesome surprise!

Keaton is a junior at a prestigious college. He comes from a wealthy family, and he has his whole life mapped out for him. Well, his father has his whole life mapped out for him, but Keaton has other ambitions he’d rather follow. Keaton has been dating the same girl for years, and she’s asked him to plan a threesome with another guy for her birthday. So, Keaton logs onto a hookup app.

Luke is a student at the same university. He’s also in the same fraternity as Keaton, but that’s where their similarities end. Luke is a “townie” going to school on scholarship, and he works at a strip club to pay for the expenses that his scholarship doesn’t cover. When he sees the couple’s profile on the app looking for a third person, he’s more than happy to oblige. Read more

Hold My Hand by Michael Barakiva

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I came across Hold My Hand by Michael Barakiva when I was browsing Netgalley, and the blurb piqued my interest. My request was accepted, and so I added the book to my reading queue.

Alek is an Armenian-American high school student. He has been dating Ethan for almost six months. Things are getting pretty serious, but Alek has reservations. He loves kissing Ethan, but he’s not sure if he’s ready for things to go further physically. Alek measures his life in terms of Before Ethan and After Ethan; he’s changed so much for the better because of this relationship, and he can’t imagine what would happen if it ended. Read more

American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera

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When I saw American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera on Netgalley, I sent a request right away. I was very excited when I was approved, and I decided to start with American Dreamer, the first book in the Dreamers series. It was already in my TBR queue, but I bumped it to the top. After reading American Dreamer, I was even MORE excited to read American Fairytale.

Camilo is a social worker, and as the story begins, he has just received an invitation to attend a posh benefit/fundraiser. Camilo is a hard worker, but he’s looking forward to having a good time. He does not intend to hook up with a handsome stranger, but such things aren’t usually planned in advance. He doesn’t think he’ll ever see the guy again, and that’s okay, because Milo isn’t really looking for a relationship because he’s too busy with work and taking care of his mother.

So, imagine his surprise when the handsome hookup is the major donor for the domestic violence shelter that Milo has been hoping to build for years. Read more

American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

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I bought American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera on its release day because all my friends were talking about it. I didn’t get a chance to read it right away, but then I received the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the second book, so I bumped American Dreamer to the top of my reading queue.

Nesto Vasquez has lived in NYC for his whole life, but he’s leaving the city to move upstate with his food truck. He doesn’t know how Ithaca is going to respond to his Caribbean fusion cuisine, but he’s got to shoot his shot. He’s here to focus on building his business, so he certainly not looking for romance.

And then Nesto meets Jude Fuller, a shy librarian. Jude’s not looking for romance either, because it hasn’t worked out so well in the past. Nesto and Jude hit it off right away, and everything seems to be going well, but can their happiness last? Read more

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

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I was excited when I found Unmarriageable at my town library. Adaptations of Pride and Prejudice are one of my favorite tropes, and Soniah Kamal’s offering was already on my radar.

But then real life interfered, and even after renewing the book, I wasn’t able to read it before the due date.   Not returning the book wasn’t an option because I didn’t want to rack up library fines- nor did I want to hoard the book and keep other people from reading it.

So I bought the Kindle edition- and I added the Audible edition as well.

In Unmarriageable, Kamal brings Pride and Prejudice to Pakistan at the turn of the 21st century. Alys Binat lives with her family in Dilipabad, a small town in Pakistan. She and her older sister Jena teach English at the British School, and their three younger sisters are still students at the school. While Mrs. Binat has Big Plans for all five of her daughters, Alys is perfectly content with her life, and does not intend to get married just for the sake of getting married. Read more

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg

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I found The Music of What Happens at my town library. I’ve read some of Bill Konigsberg’s other books, so finding this on the new release shelf was a nice surprise.

When Max steps up to a food truck to place an order, he doesn’t expect to see Jordan, a kid from his school. Max certainly doesn’t expect to walk away with a job offer, but there you have it.

Jordan’s dad died a few years ago, and Jordan and his mom have been living off of the life insurance money. They’ve exhausted their savings, and they’re now a few months behind with the mortgage. Revitalizing the food truck that Jordan’s dad used to run is their final hope; if they don’t earn enough money to pay off the accumulated debt, they’ll lose the house.

Max and Jordan might go to the same school, but they aren’t friends. Things are awkward at first, but they quickly realize that they are going to need to communicate with each other if they want their endeavors to be successful. Read more