So, if you’re not already aware, I love The Swoon Awards. And despite my best efforts, I am never ever caught up on my ARCs. So I decided to take this opportunity to combine two things, Swoonie Nominees and ARCs I’m very delayed on and review them for you! Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai was a nominee in the romantic suspense category and Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade was a nominee in the contemporary romance category (as well as favorite cover, I think). Both of these are published through Avon and both of these are books I received as ARCs and yet read a purchased copy that I paid for. The Hellion and the Hero by Emily Sullivan is out from Forever and was nominated for the historical romance category. And then When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord is out from Wednesday books and was nominated in the Young Adult category. Unfortunately, I did DNF that one… So let’s talk about these books, shall we?
Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai
Alisha Rai is an author that I love so much as a person(ality), but I haven’t loved her books as much since she left behind the angst filled Forbidden Hearts series. That said, Partners in Crime was a really fun listen that I would recommend if you want a high external stakes book that feels relatively light despite the dysfunctional family trauma being processed at the same time. Now that I write it down, I’m having a hard time figuring out how this book did feel more light and amusing than it did serious and angsty because when you think about the plot and the issues between Mira and Naveen, it really doesn’t sound like a fun time…
Speaking of the plot, essentially Mira’s aunt died a little bit ago and Naveen’s law office handled her will. The two of them have a history that didn’t end well so things are a little awkward between them when Mira shows up at his office and neither realize they’re going to be encountering their ex. But then Mira and Naveen are kidnapped and then a whole lot of while shenanigans ensue.
So again, a good time, but just not something that I fell in love with the way I was hoping to. But all in all, a good read.
Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade
Speaking of authors I love, I adore Olivia Dade. I really can’t tell you why I put off reading Ship Wrecked because I knew I was going to love it. And I did love it! How could I not? Peter and Maria are so… I don’t even really know how to explain their character development. It’s just so, so well done. Maria is so strong and confident and sure of herself. And Peter is so rigid and really believes that there is one path forward and has an abundance of respect (fear?) for authority figures. Their dynamic together is dynamite and I really, really loved it. If I had one criticism, it would be that at times it almost felt like the book was paced too slowly and I hated the third act conflict (when do I not these days?), but all in all, this book was marvelous and I’m so delighted by my pre-order cover edition that I just want to hug it and squeal all the time.
Essentially, the plot of this book is that Peter and Maria have a one-night stand together and then Maria slips away before Peter wakes up. But then Peter and Maria are cast as opposites on a Game of Thrones inspired show. The two of them are to act opposite one another for potentially years and it takes a bit for them to get over the past meeting, but it is so so good when it finally happens. I love them. Oh, and did I mention they’re both fat? I loved that. I really cannot wait to see what Olivia Dade is doing next. Should I know that already? If so, someone remind me because I don’t remember.
The Hellion and the Hero
by Emily Sullivan
Historical romance and I go back and forth on whether or not we’re friends and this book was interesting because I flew through it, but ultimately am not entirely convinced by a couple of the plot points. That said, because I enjoyed my reading experience so much, I’m still definitely landing on four stars. If pressed to identify the plot issues I had, I think it’s more just that the book dragged a bit for me in the middle section of the book. But overall, there was angst and suspense and some really lovely friendship moments so I really enjoyed it!
As for the plot of this book, basically, Lady Georgiana is a widow (her husband was a terrible human) and she’s also making waves by running the two fabric factories left to her by herself and by paying her employees a living wage and making sure their jobs are as safe as possible. So she starts receiving some threats and her brother is like, “Excuse me, no,” so he goes off to Captain Henry who is returned from this thing that the government has called him a hero for and now he’s a PI. Anyway, turns out Lady G and Captain H have a past together and now Captain H has to protect/investigate Lady G’s situation and lots and lots of things happen.
I don’t really want to spoil the plot for you because despite my quibbles about pacing a couple of times, the plot feels like reading a really great Lorraine Heath novel where you go in and you’re getting one thing and then suddenly, you’re off to the races with a totally different plot than you were expecting. So anyway, I highly recommend this series and I look forward to trying whatever is next for Emily Sullivan!
When You Get the Chance
by Emma Lord
I am confident that this book is wonderful. I am also confident after starting it twice that this is just not the book for me. I love Mamma Mia, but somehow I never felt like Mamma Mia was an invasion of privacy (probably because we zoom right past that in the movie/play) and in book format I absolutely could not get past that. And, in all fairness, this was less invasive than actually reading a parent’s diary… The hypocrisy in me is definitely a thing. But anyway, this just didn’t work for me. I was way too concerned about her dad’s feelings because parenting seems really freaking hard and he was trying so hard to look out for his daughter and she was being impetuous.
In other words, I would have loved this book as a teenager. You know, the audience this book is intended for. But for me? A 31 year old lady? Nope. Not for me. Highly recommend for y’all though! I bought myself a physical and audio copy of this book and I’m hoping someone will get a lot of joy out of finding the physical copy at my local bookstore (that sells used books).
I absolutely 100% support Ship Wrecked being in the top three! (I do not, however, agree with y’all that Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey should be second. It’s not even as good as It Happened One Summer, but I’ll let my saltiness go, I suppose.) I should also mention that I’m not sure I can even pick a top three anymore now that I’ve read even more of the books that were nominated. I’m happy for Partners in Crime receiving second place in the romantic suspense category, though I’ll admit I hadn’t even read enough of that category in the first place. The other two didn’t make the actual finalists and I haven’t read the ones that did to have a real opinion about that. But please share if you have your own thoughts!! Anyway, I hope y’all enjoyed this themed ARC post and forgive me for not having posted these in an even remotely timely fashion.
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