Once again, I come to you with books that have been out for months, but I am so excited to talk to you about them, I hope you will forgive me for my lateness. First up, we have Wreckless by Katie Golding, which is out from Sourcebooks Casablanca, so shout out to them for that e-ARC via Netgalley. (I actually read the book via audio from the Hoopla app through my library and I would most highly recommend that audio performance.) Then we have Serving Sin by Angelina M. Lopez, out from Carina Press, so thanks to them for the e-ARC via Netgalley. (I also listened to this one via Hoopla.) Finally, we have Sandcastle Beach by Jenny Holiday, which I also listened to partially on Hoopla, despite receiving an ARC from Netgalley and Forever. (I do not recommend this audiobook.) Anyway, let’s talk about them!
Wreckless by Katie Golding
I finished this book a couple days ago and I initially gave it a four star rating, but I literally have not stopped thinking about it since I finished it. The audiobook really made this book for me because of the accent, I think, for the narrator for Massimo. I just… I love him. I love Lorelei. This book was such a well done rivals to lovers with real hate to love vibes, but underneath the hate to love was simmering sexual tension and the fact that actually Massimo had been in love with Lorelei forever.
I guess I should actually mention what this book is about. Essentially Massimo and Lorelei race moto pro, which basically means that they race motorcycles, which seems absurdly dangerous for little reward, but what do I know? Anyway, they’ve been long time rivals since they came up together and they go hard on the track. Lorelei gets injured pretty badly during one of the races and that’s when things start to change between them.
I would classify this book as a slow burn, but in such a way where the tension is pretty high the entire time because you know what they feel for one another and you just want them to get there. This book involves keeping secrets in such a way that got a little aggravating at some points, but also fit with the characters and who they were. I also really liked how this book sort of deals with trauma, but I do wish it had leaned in a little more and maybe Lorelei could have gone to a sports psychologist or something. Nevertheless, I thought this book and the Italian were so delightful, I would definitely recommend! I will say there is a lot of gear shifting talk that fits with the characters and there is a lot of racing stuff, so this is a sports romance that leans into the sports part, but if that doesn’t sound completely awful to you, I would definitely recommend!
Serving Sin by Angelina M. Lopez
Serving Sin is my favorite book of the Filthy Rich series, which is saying something because I really enjoyed the other two books too. But Cenobia is probably one of my favorite characters I’ve read this year. She’s written in a way that feels so nuanced and I just love how she channeled her trauma and her passions into her life. (Because of that trauma though, this book has content warnings associated with kidnapping and sexual assault. And actually, intimate partner violence.) I also really enjoyed her relationship with Roman, who is so stoic and buttoned up, but also falls SO hard for Cen that it’s just wonderful. His internal conflict at the end? Marvelous.
I guess I’ve said a lot without saying much at this point. Oops. Basically Cenobia and Roman know one another because over a decade ago Roman saved Cenobia after she had been kidnapped. They haven’t spoken or seen one another since, until Cenobia shows up in the Monte and it’s revealed that Cenobia and not her father was the person behind the financial loan and advice that Roman had been receiving on behalf of the kingdom for the past several years. Also, Cen needs help. She’s receiving weird, threatening messages and she isn’t sure who to turn to, so Roman heads off to Mexico.
There the story really becomes a bit of a romantic suspense/contemporary romance crossover and stays that way in a more intense way than the way Lopez has straddled that line in the past. And between the suspense and the high heat of the will they/won’t they between Cen and Roman, the book really became compulsively readable. Both Cen and Roman have done so much work on themselves to overcome a lot of the baggage they carry, but both acknowledge that they’ll always have these emotional scars too. Some of the emotional scars are very evident, like Roman’s continual uncertainty that he can have and deserves happiness. Roman is a former soldier and a childhood that was… interesting. And the secondary characters in this book are top notch. Everyone has so much character development and I loved it so very much. I would not recommend this being the first book in the series you pick up though because it very much builds on the first two books in the series.
Sandcastle Beach by Jenny Holiday
Generally speaking, I enjoy Holiday’s writing. I think she usually writes really engaging stories with great characters. Unfortunately… I couldn’t push through my complete lack of interest to finish this book so I could give you a solid review. I mean, sure, I could have pushed this post out for another six months and maybe at some point I would be compelled to read the last half of the book (I literally made it to the 50% mark) just so I can know what happens, but… Somehow this book with a hate to love premise just is not working for me at all. I don’t mind petty characters, but honestly, the stakes here are just… Both nonexistent and too big simultaneously. The love interests are competing for this grant and our lady lead’s business is going to literally go under if she doesn’t get some cashflow ASAP while the man’s business would just be expanding. Anyway, I just hit a block and I couldn’t finish the book so my apologies. If you read this book, I hope you like it more than I did!
And there you have my thoughts on these books! Sorry all of my reviews are late anymore but c’est la vie. Have you read any of these? What did you think?