I’m so excited to be bringing you reviews where all three books are 2023 releases! Look at me go! I would advise you not to expect this from me because, tbh, I’m so behind in ARC reading and I saw this meme on Ally Bryan’s Instagram that fits me perfectly:
So anyway, that’s not what we’re here for. We are here because it’s time to talk about Midnight Duet by Jen Comfort (a KU/audio read even though I had an e-ARC from Netgalley), Take the Lead by Alexis Daria (a physical read despite the e-ARC from Netgalley), and Alliance with His Stolen Heiress by Lydia San Andres (actually read the e-ARC, astonishing!!). The first two books are out, but Alliance with His Stolen Heiress is forthcoming and so great! I hope you’ll pick it up when it’s out. Anyway, let’s actually get to the reviews, shall we?
Midnight Duet by Jen Comfort
So, to be honest, the first 20% of this book did not work for me and I kept thinking that maybe I should just DNF it. But there were snippets of things that kept me invested enough that paired with the knowledge that B loves it kept me pushing through. And at about 25%, I gave myself fully over to the experience of this book because it is a ride. These characters feel both completely unrealistic and deeply rooted in reality. The character journey that Erika goes on was really, really well done. There were so many quotes in this book that spoke to me. And ultimately, the love Christof showed Erika was really, really lovely. Also, what a conclusion to the book! It was a wild ride from start to finish and one I’m really glad I had to patience to stay on.
Oh, I suppose I should actually address what this book is about, huh? Essentially, Erika experiences a career ending (in her mind anyway) accident as a Broadway singer and moves to Paris, Nevada into an opera house that is literally falling apart. She winds up renting out the performance space to a hair metal band from Germany even though she technically should not and through a whole lot of fun shenanigans winds up falling in love with the band’s lead singer. Each of these characters is full of personality and it’s really fun, but at times stretched the limits of my credulity, but eventually I was able to give myself over to the ride. (How many times will I describe this book as a ride? The limit may not exist.) Anyways, you’ve already had the rest of my thoughts so here, have one of the quotes I loved:
“I wonder, though, if it’s like that for a lot of people. Going through their whole lives oblivious to how miserable they are. Until one day something happens, and it’s like they wake up from this . . . trance. And suddenly, everything about their carefully constructed life feels unbearable. In that moment, running away might feel like the only way to make that feeling stop.”Midnight Duet by Jen Comfort
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria
I have loved Daria’s writing since I read Take the Lead for the first time in February of 2018 and I was so excited when she first announced that St. Martin’s was going to re-publish her debut novel with updates! And if all of y’all would kindly read and rave about this book, I would be so appreciative because Dance with Me is book two in this series and my personal favorite. So I really need St. Martin’s to get with the program and go ahead and agree that they’ll publish it too. (I am begging.)
Essentially, Take the Lead follows Puerto Rican professional dancer Gina who is one of the stars The Dance Off (think DWTS) and her producer is a bit of a nightmare who decides to push a showmance on Gina with her new partner, Stone. Now, Stone is the “strong and silent type” on his family’s show about living off the grid in Alaska. The two of them have an immediate electric connection, but Gina refuses to get slotted into the sexy Latina stereotype so she is extremely resistant to giving into the connection between them. Stone is struggling with his own stuff too about how much he can share about the truth of his life.
What I love about this book is the way Daria describes the dancing and the connection between Stone and Gina. What I struggled with a little bit this time around is that I really, really don’t know how I feel about the third act conflict through to the resolution of this book. And to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with the way the third act of this book is handled, but for my personal preferences, it didn’t work for me as much this time as it did when I was pretty early in my romance reading journey back in 2018. That said, my excitement for the future of this series knows no bounds and I repeat, I am begging St. Martin’s to please, please publish Dance with Me because Natasha and Dimitri are everything. Okay, that is all.
Alliance with His Stolen Heiress
by Lydia San Andres
I was so excited to see Alliance with His Stolen Heiress show up on Netgalley and to the surprise of everyone (okay, really just me), I actually read it pretty promptly after downloading it. *cue the applause*
The thing about Lydia San Andres’ books with Harlequin so far is that you take this plot that already sounds pretty wild and then you go on quite a journey with the characters with twists and turns that are really quite unexpected (in my mind) in a historical romance. Do I dislike that experience? Not even a little bit. But did I keep gasping at my kindle and going, “WHAT?!” Yes, yes, I did. So, I really don’t want to spoil anything for you so I’ll just say that the basic premise is that Amalia arranges her kidnapping and Julian is our kidnapper. They eventually fall in love.
This book is sexy and full of hijinks and deeply emotional for such a short amount of pages. The family dynamics are popping off in all directions and I was incredibly here for it. If you’re looking for something that will keep your attention because it keeps the plot moving, look no further than Alliance with His Stolen Heiress. I genuinely cannot wait to see what San Andres does next. I’m going to be here for every single book she decides to give us.
Too bad I didn’t read a March release to plop in here too or we’d really be in for a good time, huh? Regardless, I did have a lot of fun with these three books and I promise I am trying to get caught up on my ARCs. But in the meantime, I’ll keep randomly popping in with books that have been released for ages and maybe occasionally a book not coming out for another month or so. I hope you got something out of these reviews! Please let me know if you’ve read any of them or if you want to!