Can you believe it’s already the last Tuesday in April? After March was approximately a decade, it’s hard to believe how quickly April flew by. There were a lot of great books released this month and if you’ve missed them, you can find reviews for Girl Gone Viral, Seduced by a Steele, Island Affair, and Flying Gold already on the blog. Today I’m bringing you three more ARC reviews, two of which came out today (The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham and Starbreaker by Amanda Bouchet) and one of which that came out earlier this month, Not That Kind of Guy by Andie J. Christopher. As per usual, thanks to the publishers (Avon, Sourcebooks Casablanca, and Berkley) and Netgalley and this time Edelweiss for the early copies.
The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham
Scarlett Peckham writes really angst-filled historical romances and I absolutely fell in love with The Duke I Tempted last year, which is why The Rakess was one of my most anticipated books and why it merited a pre-order. So, while this IS an ARC review, I actually read the last half in my finished physical copy because my local Indie went ahead and gave it to me when I picked up Girl Gone Viral. Anyway, this book is no exception. It is very angsty and covers a lot of topics that you may need content warnings for. I’m linking to my Goodreads review here because I put them under spoiler tags. Usually I don’t do that, but I did feel like here the way the plot unfolds, they might be slightly spoilery. Also! This book actually includes content warnings in the beginning pages. It was really nice to have that list going into the book. Okay, now I’m actually going to talk about The Rakess, I promise.
Peckham takes “The Rake” and gender flips it in The Rakess and really does the work to dig in to what that would look like. We’ve lived in a society for ages, and still do, where men who have sex often are applauded and women who have sex often are denigrated. So in The Rakess Peckham gives us a woman who likes to keep sex casual and whom society treats most often with scorn and intense repudiation. Meanwhile the man who ruined her? He’s cruising along totally fine in life because for him, sex was permitted to not be a big deal.
When I say this book is angsty, what I mean is that Seraphina didn’t stumble into the rakess lifestyle without a few bumps and bruises along the way and she’s back in the town she grew up in to exorcise those demons to pour her heart out into writing her memoir. She feels it is best to do this with plenty of alcohol on her side. And then we have Adam, our widowed hero whose wife died in childbirth for their third child. Adam is an architect and is discovering there’s an expectation that he will play politics, which makes Seraphina not really a safe choice for a companion.
To quote Fated Mates, Scarlett Peckham is hunting big game in this book and I think she nails it from an intellectual standpoint, but if you remove the scholarly type goggles and look at how this book works on a purely emotional level? For me, it slightly missed the mark. I can’t say though that it was the book’s fault because *gestures vaguely at the world*. I enjoyed this book, but I do think it was a little too angsty. I look forward to reading this book again when the world is slightly less of a disaster because I’m confident I’ll enjoy it more then. In the meantime, if you HAVE read this book and want to chat with me about the big game it was hunting and your thoughts, please do that! Either in the comments here or find me on Twitter and talk to me about it there.
Starbreaker by Amanda Bouchet
Starbreaker by Amanda Bouchet picks up more or less right where Nightchaser left off, with us following the adventures of the Endeavor and the remaining crew members, as well as the romance between Tess and Shade. If you’ve not read Nightchaser probably don’t read this review because I’ll try not to spoil anything, but I have some specific thoughts that will give you some clues about how Nightchaser ends.
It’s hard for me to review this book, because it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t really what I wanted it to be. Bouchet writes a series with a good amount of action, but they’re still romance and the romance plays a huge role. The problem for me as a reader is that because Tess and Shade got back together at the end of Nightchaser, I didn’t want them to keep circling back to the same problems regarding Shade’s deception. As a person who doesn’t like deception plots in the first place, I can understand WHY Tess was still frustrated, but that doesn’t make it enjoyable to read about. I wish that instead of focusing on Tess and Shade again, the series had been reworked to be about a different couple in each book. And I know that’s difficult where you have Tess playing such an important role in terms of the overarching plot, but it just didn’t quite work for me. I felt that the beginning dragged and really up until the 50% mark, I could have sat the book down and walked away without really thinking twice about it.
The second half of the book squeezed in a whole lot of plot and it definitely made the book more interesting and left off on a cliff-hanger that has me saying I’ll definitely read book three, but the truth is, I’m afraid it’s going to be like The Kingmaker Chronicles where I wait years to return to it and then am disappointed by the ending. I hope not though. If you’ve read this, please talk to me about it!
Tl;dr the book is still a fun sci-fi romp, it’s just not exactly what I wanted from it.
Not That Kind of Guy by Andie J. Christopher
And finally, we come to Not That Kind of Girl. Before I dive in, let me preface this by saying that if you really like prickly heroines, you will like this book more than me. There was a lot that I liked about this book, but a decent amount that I wanted more from or just didn’t love. I’m going to try and explain that a bit here. But first, let me tell you a little about the plot and characters.
Bridget is a badass attorney who handles sexual assault cases in Cook County. That is, obviously, a difficult and time consuming job. She has been broken up with Chris, whom she decided she would marry at four, for a while and has sworn off dating completely. To call her prickly is putting it mildly and I both liked her prickliness and at some point was like, “Honey, it’s okay to be vulnerable occasionally!” But anyway, she gets stuck with the surprise rich kid, Matt Kido, who has bailed on his law firm summer internship in favor for slumming it at the prosecutor’s office because he caught his ex-girlfriend cheating on him. In his bed. And he didn’t want to work with her. They are both immediately attracted to one another, but obviously that’s a line you do not cross. Until… Vegas.
I don’t want to spoil the way this book unfolds, but I will say a few things to ease any concerns you may have that have prevented you from picking up the book like it did me, until I remembered that I trust AJC. 1) He is not her intern at the time of the marriage. 2) I actually had no consent issues in my reading of this book.
As far as the characters go, like I mentioned above, I thought Bridget was a little too mean, sometimes, and I didn’t 100% understand how her job went from being so consuming to a non-existent part of the book by the end of it, other than to hand wave and say romance reasons. I thought Matt was a great hero, but also, he’s kind of just rich with no real sense of purpose, it seemed. I did not love that about him, though I did find it realistic given he’s like 25. I really like Sasha and Father Dooley (the next book, I think is their story, maybe?) and I liked seeing Jack and Hannah some more. I wish that we had gotten some more with Matt’s family because I’m really curious to know how they’re going to make their relationship work given Matt’s family and their antics.
I feel like I just threw out a whole bunch of things that weren’t quite perfect for me, so let me just say that I enjoyed my time with this book. I think Christopher is really funny and that her humor typically comes across through her writing well. I really liked Matt and I liked the overall direction of the story. I wish we’d gotten just a little more time in various spots, but I’m happy to have read this book.
And there you have it! Three more ARC reviews. Are these posts too long? Is there a way I can make them more useful? Feel free to leave any thoughts on the books or on those questions down below. Until Saturday, my friends.