I have been extremely blessed by the ARC gods and I’m grateful for that. I also bought myself finished copies of both of these books, but who is really surprised? You can pick up Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins today! I stopped by Barnes & Noble today and bought my copy, even though it should not have been on the shelves yet. Oh well. Anyway, it’s out from Avon so thanks to them and Netgalley for my advanced e-copy! I am also reviewing for you Love at First by Kate Clayborn, which is out on February 23rd and is definitely worth a preorder (which I did before I read it because I love Kate Clayborn). Thanks to Kensington and Netgalley for my advanced e-copy!
Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins
When I read Tempest I was (a) annoyed with Colt literally the entire time and (b) obsessed with Spring. So I’ve been anxiously awaiting Wild Rain for quite some time and I’m delighted to inform you that Spring remains absolutely fantastic. And Garrett is probably my favorite hero of Ms. Bev’s I’ve read. He’s her first cinnamon roll and he was… delightful. Spring mentions that it’s nice waking up to someone cooking her breakfast and, like, yes, could I have that please?
Spring comes across Garrett in a blizzard after he’s fallen off his horse and hurt his knee. Garrett has come from Washington D.C. to interview Colt for his father’s Sundown Paper, a term that was new to me. Spring is prickly and also not like other women in a way that isn’t like, “I’m not like other girls,” but just Spring having found that the things that were and are coded as feminine didn’t serve her in her quest for independence after a really traumatic coming of age. I don’t want to spoil her background if you’re unfamiliar with Spring, but you should know that there are some potential trigger warnings for sexual… manipulation, I guess, maybe is the best way to say it. That’s in Spring’s past, but as someone from that time in her life has reappeared, it comes up a good bit.
I love Spring and enjoyed seeing Regan again and Garrett was great. Odell also makes many appearances and I adore him. I also loved seeing Dottie again. What I still didn’t like is Ben. And there’s this whole segment where Colt encourages Spring to forgive him and while I know that at the time Colt didn’t know the full story, I still found it absolutely infuriating. Ultimately, this is the element of the story that I really struggled with. I’m the type of person who is very good at holding a grudge and ultimately, I just couldn’t quite come around to this thing with Ben. And then the end of the book resolves a conflict and the situation with Ben in a way that just didn’t feel quite… satisfying for me. But all that to say, I still really enjoyed this one.
Love at First by Kate Clayborn
My reading journey with Love at First was a bit convoluted in that it took me a while to really settle in. I know this about Kate Clayborn, that her books are sort of slow and require me to use my brain, to pay attention to the gorgeous prose and the characters that I’ll swoon over. When I first picked this up, pandemic brain was like, absolutely not, but I kept pushing. Fortunately, my brain kicked fully into gear just before the halfway mark and my heart went soaring with this sick bed scene. Honestly, if you’re at all familiar with Kate Clayborn and the things she loves in romance novels because she’s pretty vocal about them on Twitter, you will see so many things that make you grin in this book. There’s leaning and forearm content, there’s the sick bed scene (!!), and so many emotions. Anyway, let me tell you what this is actually about.
Will has inherited a unit in an apartment building that has tenants that are all very close. Nora is outraged at the idea that Will is planning to fix up his unit to rent out to short term renters and enlists the help of the other tenants to change Will’s mind. Both Nora and Will are sort of dealing with grief in their own ways. Nora owns the unit she’s in because her grandma passed away. Will’s uncle who he met exactly once is who passed away and left him his unit. The tenants are sort of Nora’s extended family because she spent nearly all of her summer’s there growing up and so she has a lot of nostalgia about the building, but also feels like she can’t allow things to change.
I absolutely adored the side characters, all of whom grew on me over time. I can’t say that I can fully tell each tenant apart, but I do think I have a great understanding of who each of them are at the same time. I think Kate Clayborn does an absolutely magnificent job carrying the through line of both Will and Nora’s personal baggage through while we watch them do home improvement and go to fun places in Chicago. I don’t know that any of my words are really adequate to explain how swept away I was in Nora and Will by the end of this book, but know that I was.
Also, total aside, but Will’s boss?? I love him SO MUCH. I had no idea what to think of him at first, but WHAT a journey we went on. I adore him. I think he’s my favorite character and I wish him the absolute best.
Have you read either of these books? If so, what did you think? If not, do you want to? Let me know!