RECENT READS #12

Hi everyone, I hope you are all well and having an amazing day. Today I will be doing the next in a series on my blog called Recent Reads. As I’ve been reading 20+ books each month, it would be really hard for me to incorporate that into a standard wrap up format. Doing a list of my recent reads that I want to do mini-reviews on is the best way for me to keep track of everything I’ve been reading!

Hunting Prince Dracula

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine… and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

While I read stalking Jack the Ripper earlier this month and enjoyed it, it didn’t completely blow me away. I was so surprised with how much better this sequel was! The pacing was absolutely perfect, and similarly to the first book we were led on so many twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting. It was also really atmospheric! Set in the winter in Romania I really got those cold vibes. It’s not an area I knew particularly much about so I really enjoyed having the different setting!

I loved Audrey-Rose a lot more in this book, she didn’t harp on about not being like other girls as much which I really appreciated. My favourite thing about this series is her relationship development with Thomas – I would classify it as a slow burn but things really kicked off in the second half of this book and you can just tell that they love each other so much! I also really liked that we got to see more of Thomas and that we were also introduced to his sister Daci too. There were so many iconic scenes in this book, and I loved all of the sequences in the tunnels. The finale was also incredible. All in all, I cannot wait to see where things go in the sequels, I’m hoping to pick them up later this month, but I can’t wait to see what America has in store for Audrey-Rose and Thomas!

Shortcake

Things Emelia Anderson would rather do than share a house with Benjamin Crawford:
1) Get strapped to a chair in a restaurant full of loud-chewers.
2) Parachute into the Australian Outback armed with only a blowdart.
3) Live her best life as an ice road trucker in the Alaskan Tundra.

Benjamin Crawford thinks Emelia conned his dying grandmother into leaving her half of an estate worth millions, so let’s just say he’s not her biggest fan either. Not even close.

Now they have to live together for the next thirty days while renovating the family home. Or the estate will transfer to the one person Ben hates more than Emelia, and she’ll have to move back to the one place she wants to forget more than Ben.

Did I mention Ben look likes man-candy and smells like testosterone? Not that Emelia notices. She spends a lot of time not noticing things about Ben. 

This was another one of the books I picked up in my immortal quest to find any stories similar to The Hating Game. Wow guys; this book was tropey but I mean that in the best way. We had so many of my favourite tropes in here it would be spoilers to list them all, but I didn’t think it was possible to fit all of them in! I absolutely loved the premise and I literally love anything with fixing old houses up so knew I would love this too. The hate-to-love relationship between Emelia and Ben was so strong as well! I really felt their antagonism towards each other while they still had such strong chemistry too.

I was surprised to like the characters as much as I did – I could really relate to Emelia in a lot of ways in terms of her awkwardness and personality. Ben was one of the broodiest love interests I’ve ever read and I enjoyed every second of it. I also really enjoyed Ben’s friendship group as well; they were really well defined characters and I would love to have seen more of them. I was also surprised that the story had more of an emotional weight to it too – the circumstances that led Emelia and Ben together made me more sad that I thought. While I would definitely class this as a romcom, I appreciated the heavier themes of anxiety/drug abuse amongst others as I felt that this really fleshed out our characters. I would’ve liked to have seen this explored a bit more though, especially in Ben’s past as a marine and the relationship with his family.

As well as this, I think the story could’ve benefited more from some more discussion between the two love interests as they went a bit deeper and got to know each other more. This was definitely a slow burn romance on the longer side (500+ pages) but I feel like while the slow burn was really good, and it physically read really quickly, the ending wrapped up soooo fast which I docked a few points for. I really wish that we had more than 20/30 pages or an epilogue as I just sort of blinked and it was over! The writing overall was good, I liked the descriptions of the characters and the setting and could really easily picture them in my head. I also liked all the pop culture references too – there are quite a few but I understood them all! I think it added to the reasons why I found Emelia so relatable.

Daughter of the Pirate King

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

This is another book that has been on my radar forever and that I’m only just getting around to picking up. This book was so much fun! I absolutely loved it. I loved our main character Alosa, she was so headstrong and confident and stayed really true to herself throughout the book. I also really liked Riden, and I also liked that we didn’t get to find out more of his secrets as they’ll probably be revealed in the second book. I also really liked them both as love interests – their back and forth was really good and although Alosa is in denial about her feelings I feel like she S definitely going to have to confront them in book 2. Alosa’s relationship with her father is something that I think we’ll see more of – although it seems like she loves him, it doesn’t appear to be returned so I imagine that’ll cause some conflict in the second book too.

In terms of the plot, I thought it was so much fun – I loved the setting at sea, and it really did give me all of the Pirates of the Caribbean vibes. There were a couple of twists that I definitely didn’t see coming and although it was a shorter book, the pacing was perfect – it completely held my attention throughout. This book is the perfect reread for me – I know that if I ever want a pirate adventure with a strong plot this will be the one to pick up! I’m really intrigued to see where things will be going in the sequel – both in terms of the plot and how our characters will develop!

The Ippos King

The demonic horde that threatened to devour the world has been defeated, but at great cost.

Plagued by guilt and nightmares, Serovek Pangion sets out to deliver the soulless body of the monk Megiddo to the heretical Jeden Order for safekeeping. Accompanying him is sha-Anhuset, the Kai woman he admires and desires most–a woman barely tolerant of him.

Devoted to her regent, Anhuset reluctantly agrees to act as a Kai ambassador on the trip, even though the bold margrave known as the Beladine Stallion gets under her skin like no other, and Anhuset fears he’ll worm his way into her armored heart as well.

But guilt and unwelcome attraction are the least of their problems. The demons thought vanquished are stirring again, and a warlord with blood-soaked ambition turns a journey of compassion into a fight for survival. When the Beladine king brands Serovek a traitor, Anhuset must choose between sacrificing the life of a man she’s grown to love and abandoning lifelong fealty to the Kai people.

I just adored the first two books in this series (Radiance and Eidolon) and when I found out this book was not going to be on our main characters, I must admit I was a little worried. I had nothing to worry about though, because I loved this book! It was a lot longer than the first two, but there was definitely more of a plot in this one, and the relationship was much more of a slow burn. The pacing was really good, we were never in one place for too long, and I liked all of the different obstacles our characters encountered while they were trying to complete their overarching tasks. I also liked how things were left – it’s sort of a cliffhanger, enough to warrant another book, but I am satisfied with how things ended for our characters.

The reason I love this series so much is because of what Grace Graven does with her characters. She executes characterisation and character development perfectly. I can really see the development in writing Serovek and Anhuset from Brishen and Ildiko in the first two books (absolutely no shade to them though, they are still my babies). As I was reading, I felt like I knew these two characters so well. It was so good to finally be in heir heads as they were side characters in books 1 and 2. Their relationship development was so good, it was a very slow burn but it definitely suited the characters and their journey.

Crazy Stupid Bromance

Alexis Carlisle and her cat café, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan.

Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush.

Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.

If you’ve been around on my blog for a while,you’l know that I absolutely love the Bromance Book Club series. This is the newly released 3rd book, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. I found the plot to be the most interesting in the series so far, and I liked that there were multiple threads happening at the same time – it really kept things interesting. not only that, I have to talk about how funny this book was. These are some of the funniest books I’ve read, but this was the best so far. It gives me the same feelings that 90s rom-coms do!

I really liked our characters Alexis and Noah. While I’ve never been really into the friends-to-lovers trope, I really bought it here. You can tell they’ve always liked each other but are both going through different things that have made it impossible. That sort of helped speed things up as their chemistry and relationship was described from the outset. The other characters in the Bromance Book Club I obviously adore – I love how much they challenge toxic masculinity and help lift each other up and not tear each other down – it honestly makes me so, so happy to see. I think the reason I found this book so funny is because we had quite a lot of ‘the Russian’ content. I am so excited for his story – I’ve been wanting this once since I read the first – and I have no idea how I’m going to wait until June!

Have you checked out of these books? If you have, what did you think of them? I’d love to know your favourites in the comments below!

Happy reading,
Lucy

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