Another season of Bingo is officially wrapped up and I somehow managed to finish it even though I gave myself silly rules like only one book from any given author and it had to be above a three star in order to count. Now, admittedly, I broke the only one book from any given author twice, but you know, it is what it is. Anyway, I’m really excited to briefly share with you some information about the books that I wound up reading!
Map/Diagram: Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
I will say that I struggled with the world in this book and getting a grasp of it, but that could be for any number of reasons. Once I got into the book though, I wound up finding the characters incredibly compelling and I was really invested in their well-being and the romance.
Secrets: Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath
This book more or less started a full on deep dive into Lorraine Heath for me as I pretty much devoured the entire Sins for All Seasons series after reading this one. This is the first in the series and the family by choice element of the plot really resonated for me and I loved Mick and Aslyn.
Spring Cleaning: Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
As y’all may know, I am in love with Wesley and he is the best and most soft hero and I love him. If you would like thoughts beyond “Wesley is the best” and I love him, might I direct you to my ARC Review?
Set in Continental Europe: A Rogue to Remember by Emily Sullivan
This estranged friends to lovers sort of second chance romance was remarkably fun and I loved it tremendously. I’m very much looking forward to a sequel.
Makes You Laugh: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
I mean… Talia is everything?? The Brown Sisters are the best? I have loved all three of these books so much, as you can see in my series review. I would highly, HIGHLY recommend.
Pact: To Love and To Loathe by Martha Waters
I had qualms with this book that stand out more to me as time goes by, but overall, Martha Waters writes fun historical romantic comedies and I look forward to when she really hits her stride. My ARC Review can be found here if you would like some more information.
Out of My Comfort Zone: The Initiation by Nikki Sloane
Between the love triangle, the sort of dark romance lite vibe, and the three books to get an HEA, this book was definitely out of my comfort zone. However, I devoured all three books in this initial trilogy in the span of one evening while I was away for training and I have zero regrets in joining the Bad Decisions Book Club.
Black Love: Careless Whispers by Synithia Williams
I really liked Elaina but WOW did her family get on my nerves. The family drama in this particular book felt ratcheted up particularly high and I really needed everyone to go to a lot more therapy. But I also really liked it because Synithia Williams knows how to deliver drama for me.
MC has an Unusual Scent: When We First Met by Cara Bastone
This book contains the line, “He smelled like a snow leopard stalking through a stand of icy pines,” which for a contemporary romance is REALLY weird. Like, what does that even smell like? I have a lot of questions. But that aside, I loved this short novella.
Sophomore Novel: The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan
I really loved Ethan and Naomi. I think this book is receiving mixed reviews and while I get where the negative reviews are coming from, I thought this book was great. There’s a lot packed in here so I think there are things I would have loved to see explored more, but I wouldn’t have wanted to sacrifice anything else to make that happen. For an actual clear review, my ARC Review can be found here.
Clinch Cover: Taking on the Billionaire by Robin Covington
I have a review of this category, but in general, I’m just still impressed by how much I enjoyed it given that it has a trope I hate in it. Plus, how cool to have an actual own voices Native American main character (Cherokee, specifically)?? I love it. I really need to pick up book two. I own it but haven’t gotten to it yet.
Social Media Recommendation: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
I really should be better by now about picking up books Aarya recommends to me sooner than I do. But I dragged my feet for a good long time on this one and then I, unsurprisingly, LOVED it. I love a good You’ve Got Mail retelling and also this one involved grilled cheese. It was fantastic.
HEA: His to Protect by Sharon C. Cooper
I really enjoyed almost all of His to Protect and am looking forward to reading more from her in the future. I do have an ARC review if you’re interested in more full thoughts. My main takeaway though is that this romantic suspense was really engaging and I didn’t want to put it down, which is incredibly high praise right now.
Term of Endearment: Make It Sweet by Kristen Callihan
One of the things I’ve noticed about my pandemic reading is that I am really here for grumpy but actually super sweet heroes and Lucian is no exception. This book was so engaging and wonderful and I loved it with my whole heart and soul.
Favorite Trope: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
It took me ages to decide what my favorite trope is and I think the reality is that I just have a lot. But this book combines dislike to love with fake dating and there’s literally nothing better than that. Although it also throws in single parent too and apparently I’m a huge sucker for that too? Who knew?
Competition or Reality TV:
Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Another YA contemporary that I absolutely loved and a huge reason I went to Seattle once the CDC said vaccinated people are free to do things and my mental health said if you don’t take a break soon, we’re done. Anyway, I adored this book. It’s so fun and if you’re sad and feeling cooped up because of the panorama, it’s either really going to help or it’s going to make it worse. You know what’s best for you! Also the academic rivals vibes are immaculate. It was really important when I was in high school to not care about your grades while succeeding tremendously and it was honestly kind of nice to read about a girl just so ambitious about achieving her dreams. Also sex positivity in a YA book is always a plus.
Growl: Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand
I love Laura Florand and my precious growly Matt was just… I loved it.
Flowers: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh
I read plenty of books with flowers in them through the course of this challenge, but honestly, I love the use of flowers in Rock Hard. Mostly because Charlotte is petty af about ordering flowers for Gabriel’s dates and I love a petty queen. Huge CW for domestic violence where the ex gets screen time.
Spring Break/Vacation: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Once I got over the fact that I wasn’t just re-reading Beach Read and settled in with People We Meet on Vacation, I adored it. It’s told entirely from Poppy’s perspective, but I felt like we got plenty of Alex in the way Poppy is so attuned to him. I’m a sucker for friends to lovers and mutual pining and also disaster millenials so this book was destined to work for me. I think other people have struggled with the way the book is structured and I definitely get that. I have a review posted here.
Queer Historical: The Hellion’s Waltz by Olivia Waite
An ARC review is still on it’s way at the time that I’m writing this post, but let me tell you, this book was an excellent companion on my flight home. It was thoroughly engaging and let me really get sucked into the past and in planning a heist to take down a corrupt business man. I’m always here for a heist story like that and the romance worked for me too.
Big City Romance: Ante Up by Christina C. Jones
This is one of the first books I read for this challenge and I really enjoyed it! It’s different from most of the CCJ books I’d read up to this point, but it has me excited to follow CCJ down her slightly darker romances than the ones I’ve read from her so far. (I wouldn’t say it’s a dark romance necessarily because I don’t actually know what a dark romance IS, but it is definitely not light and fluffy the way a lot of her books that I’ve read have been.)
PNR/SFF by an Author of Color: Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh
My favorite Psy-Changeling book and one of the only age gap romances that really works for me because I forget every time that Sienna is so young compared to Hawke. I wish I knew how Nalini’s magic works but honestly, I don’t know. She just writes books that work for me.
Folklore: Work for It by Talia Hibbert
The folklore vibes in this book are immaculate with strong “This is Me Trying” vies, which I adore. It turns out I’m a sucker for books where the person is really trying to get a handle on their mental health and the fact that they’re struggling has them in a place where they have to work from not really getting that they’re worth it, to knowing that they are. Is this a healthy thing? Maybe not.
Mental Health Representation: Nickel’s Story by Cate C. Wells
Speaking of people who are trying!!! I never thought I would be reading motorcycle club romance again, really, but lo and behold, twitter said follow me and I obliged. Anyway, then this book has an enforcer with anger problems who goes to therapy and I was like, “This is a magical series,” and went on quite the tear.
Forearms: Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur
I love Brendon so much as you can tell from my ARC Review, if you’re interested. This is the other book I read that had me booking that flight to Seattle and I have no regrets. A little sad I didn’t have Brendon showing me around, but you know. Anyway, this book was excellent and I’m so looking forward to Margot’s book!
And there you have it! My #SpringIntoLoveBingo board is complete! I hope y’all had so much fun participating, if you did, and we’ll (probably) see you in the Fall!