Author: Soulfire

To Have and to Hoax

To Have and To Hoax

To Have and to Hoax

By: Martha Waters

Blurb:

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?

With charm, wit, and heart in spades, To Have and to Hoax is a fresh and eminently entertaining romantic comedy—perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory and Julia Quinn.

Review:

Based on the blurb for To Have and to Hoax, I expected a romantic comedy. A wife wants to teach her husband a lesson; he quickly realizes and decides to play along. Instead, it was two spouses acting bitter and childish while constantly thinking about how attractive their spouse was. There wasn’t even a poor attempt at humor. The situations were silly and contrived. I was disappointed.

Violet is supposed to be smart, beautiful, and fiery. She is also incredibly stubborn, though, her husband beats her in that trait. She has spent the last four years, barely talking to her husband because of a misunderstanding he had. There didn’t even seem to be an attempt by her to try and clear things up. Oh well, he thinks this, so I’m not going to try and change his mind. It was ridiculous.

James is stubborn to the point of absolute stupidity. He feels a need to prove to his father that he’s worth something, doesn’t trust anyone, and because of his behavior ends up wasting four years of his marriage. If he had taken any time at all to think about what had happened, but no one in this book has the ability to self-reflect.

One of my least favorite tropes is lack of communication causing issues, and that was the entire conflict of this book. Violet, James, and their various friends were occasionally entertaining, but for the most part, I was annoyed.

2/5

The Proposal (The Wedding Date #2)

The Proposal

The Proposal (The Wedding Date #2)

By: Jasmine Guillory

Blurb:

When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn’t come as a surprise—or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part—they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up—in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…

Review:

I think I mentioned in my review of Party of Two I thought the romance was too much like her first book, and I was concerned about the other books in the series. After reading The Proposal, I’m no longer concerned. There are, of course, similarities, the women are all strong, the men are supportive, and they’re both professionals that love their jobs. Those are all things that I’m okay with reading over and over. (It would be nice to see someone more working class, but I understand there’s a theme with this series)

After the horrific experience of being proposed to on a jumbo Tron, Nik is just looking for a rebound. For whatever reason, Carlos only wanted something that wasn’t serious too. I was truly surprised by that considering how important family was to him. There was an explanation, which I understood, but what got him to that point didn’t seem plausible. Carlos forced Drew, in The Wedding Date, to face his emotions, it was hypocritical of him to do that after what you learn in The Proposal.

Lots of food is eaten. There are heartfelt discussions on deep topics. You see their relationship develop, but because of suppressed emotions, they don’t make things easy on themselves.

It was a good book. I enjoyed it much better than Party for Two and I didn’t dislike Party for Two. I’ll definitely finish out the series.

4/5

The City We Became (Great Cities #1)

The City WE Became

The City We Became (Great Cities #1)

By: N.K. Jemisin

Blurb:

Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

Review:

This was a very interesting concept, and it was incredibly creative. As someone not from New York City, the lead characters seemed to embody the boroughs very well. The evil in the book was so believable it made me sick. I’m interested in seeing the more sci-fi side of the antagonist explored.

The negative for me is I’m tired of New York City and their attitude that they are the best city ever. So much in popular media is set in New York and about New York that even though I’ve only visited once, I could recognize who the characters were supposed to be. I’m not sure if I could do that with any other city. Maybe L.A. It’s annoying, which could have been the point.

3.75/5

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2)

Take a Hint Dani Brown

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2)

By: Talia Hibbert

Blurb:

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

Review:

Dani knows what she wants. She has career goals and fuck buddy goals. Having a real relationship is not something she’s remotely interested in. She’s incredibly confident, except when she isn’t, it was very relatable.

Zaf is a cinnamon roll. He’s a big, burly man, with incredible thighs, who has suffered a tragic loss in his past. I love how surly he is and how much he loves his family. Holy shit, his anxiety is soooo relatable. The way his brain reacts when something as simple as his call isn’t picked up when calling a family member is exactly how mine works. Seeing how he thinks was like looking into my brain.

I loved Dani and Zaf on their own, but together they were a whole other level of adorable. Their conversations were the best part of Take a Hint, Dani Brown. The banter back and forth, getting to see their insecurities while that was happening, it was perfect.

4.5/5

Destiny’s Captive (Destiny #3)

Destinys Captive

Destiny’s Captive (Destiny #3)

By: Beverly Jenkins

Blurb:

Noah Yates fully believes in the joys of a happy family and a good wife. But that’s not the life for him. No, he would much rather sail the wild seas in search of adventure, not tied down. But then the unthinkable happens . . . he finds himself literally tied down. To a bed. By a woman.

And Pilar isn’t just an ordinary woman. She’s descended from pirates. And after giving him one of the worst nights of his life, she steals his ship! Now Noah is on the hunt, and he’ll stop at nothing to find this extraordinary woman . . . and make her his.

Review:

Destiny’s Captive is the last book in the Destiny series and follows the final Yates brother. Pirates, rebels, PTSD, and Cuban history are all included, and it’s, of course, very well done.

Trigger Warning

Noah was shanghaied on his eighteenth birthday and ended up living through hell. He was starved, given a scar on his face, beaten, and raped. He’s never talked about what happened to him and is an entirely different person than who he was growing up. Dark and brooding and never having fun, then he meets Pilar.

Pilar is part of a group of rebels fighting against the Spanish rule of Cuba. She’s a thief and smuggler. She steals Noah’s boat, and naturally, he tracks her down. She immediately intrigues him, and he proposes almost on the spot.

I’m glad Jenkins included the segregation on the train. It was a reminder of what people had to live with at that time. A lot of the book you feel like you’re in a bubble with the characters, so the dash of realism made Destiny’s Captive better.

I could relate to Pilar’s homesickness. I did think that she got over being a rebel very quickly. It had been her life for a decade, more if you count the fact that her father was one as well. She basically grew up in that world. Then she was told she was being hunted and it would be best if she disappeared, so she did. There was no fight. It was the smart thing to do, but she never even struggled with it, which I found odd for her.

This was an excellent climax to the series. We got to see all of the storylines wrapped up. Seeing Alanza get married was perfect. I do wish we could have seen little novellas of a couple of the minor characters, like Naomi and Pilar’s sister, but it doesn’t seem like those were written. I’m am really looking forward to reading more Beverly Jenkins.

4/5