Cherish Hard (Nalini Singh)

Cherish Hard is the first novel in the Hard Play series by Nalini Singh.
Finished on: 11.4.2021
[Here’s my review of Rock Hard that is the last of this series, but also second of her Rock Kiss series.]

Plot:
Ísa dreams of having the kind of stable family she never had growing up. But for that she first needs to find a partner who is just as ready to settle down as she is. The hot gardener working at her school, Sailor, does not fit that bill. Running his own business with ambitious plans for his future and a few years younger than her, he is certainly not the kind of guy she is looking for. And yet, Ísa can’t keep her eyes off him. When fate, or rather Ísa’s CEO mother, forces them to work together, it’s the possibility for Sailor to convince Ísa that he is in it for the long haul – because he is head over heels for her.

Cherish Hard is a fun read, but not one of Singh’s best novels, I’d say. I liked both Ísa and Sailor, but I wasn’t as invested in their story as I would have liked – or even expected to be.

The book cover showing a shirtless man with a shovel in his hand.
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A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas (Jackie Lau)

A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas is the second novel(la) in the Holiday with the Wongs series by Jackie Lau.
Finished on: 29.3.2021
[Here’s my review of the first book.]

Plot:
When his mother tells Greg that she has arranged everything for Greg to give his ex-girlfriend Tasha a ride back home from Toronto for the holidays, Greg is dismayed. Not just because he likes to have his peace while driving, but also because he knows it’s an attempt from his mother to get them back together. But there is no backing out now. And then, of course, Greg and Tasha have to stop overnight to wait out a snowstorm. Just maybe Greg’s mother was on to something, though.

A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas is another sweet and fun read that I found very enjoyable, although I didn’t completely love it.

The book cover showing a car with presents on the roof in front of a house with a pine tree next to it.
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The Governess Affair (Courtney Milan)

The Governess Affair is a prequel novella of the Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan.
Finished on: 28.3.2021

Content Note: rape

Plot:
Three months ago, Serena Barton was kicked out from her position as a governess in the Duke of Clermont’s household. But she is unwilling to let that dismissal stand. She seeks reparations from the Duke. The Duke asked is right-hand man Hugo Marshall, nicknamed the Wolf of Clermont for his bargaining techniques, to make sure that Serena goes away without a fuss. But Hugo finds that Serena is a tougher opponent than he suspected at first.

The Governess Affair is a sweet story that had me smiling, and also fanning myself. I really enjoyed it and would have liked it to be longer.

The book cover showing a woman in a yellow ball gown.
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A Match Made for Thanksgiving (Jackie Lau)

A Match Made for Thanksgiving is the first novel(la) in the Holidays with the Wongs series by Jackie Lau.
Finished on: 7.3.2021

Plot:
Nick Wong loves the big city life in Toronto, especially being able to meet new women all the time and taking them back to his penthouse. One of these women is Lily Tseng who just got out of a relationship and is trying to not take things so seriously for now. But after Nick and Lily part in the morning, they are both still thinking about each other – without knowing that the other is in the same position. When Nick returns home for Thanksgiving, he finds that his parents have set him and his siblings up on blind dates for the night. And Lily is one of those dates – meant for his brother Greg. But having Lily walk into his life for a second time, Nick is not willing to let her go again.

A Match Made for Thanksgiving was a quick, sweet read that knows what tropes are for and uses them well. A word of warning, though: do not read it while hungry.

The book cover showing a table full of classic thanksgiving food, but also ramen.
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Angelfall (L. Penelope)

Angelfall is the second novel in the Eternal Flame series by L. Penelope.
Finished on: 21.02.2021
[Here’s my review of the first novel.]

Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism

Plot:
Lyrix is the first angel to emerge in a thousand years. This means that she is still closest to the angels’ power source and should become a Seraph – one of the four angel leaders – relieving the fifth youngest angel. But Lyrix feels that she needs to explore the world a little more. That includes spending time with Wren. He is angelborn – his mother is an angel, his father human – and thus at the very bottom of the angel hierarchy. He, too, feels pulled towards Lyrix. But there is no room for their relationship in their world – so they hope that maybe in the human world, they are allowed some freedom.

Angelfall is a nice, quick and very enjoyable read but I also have to admit that I’m not too sad that there aren’t any more novels in the series. Though if Penelope ever continues writing it, I might pick it up anyway.

The book cover showing a woman from the nose down in a ripped shirt, below her a cityscape.
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Newt’s Emerald (Garth Nix)

Newt’s Emerald is a novel by Garth Nix.
Finished on: 30.5.2019

Content Note: misogyny

Plot:
When Lady Truthful Newtington, called Newt by everyone, turns 18, she is set to inherit the Newtington Emerald that gives magical powers to its owner. But in a conjured storm, the emerald is stolen and Newt decides that she has to set out herself to get it back. Only that isn’t easily accomplished as a woman traveling alone. So, instead she dresses up as a man. In her disguise, she meets Major Hartnett who offers to accompany her on her quest. Despite his rough manners, Newt accepts his help and the two set off.

Newt’s Emerald is a quick, fun read that proves that regency romances and fantasy are a really good combination (in case you needed proof of that). But I was a little unhappy with the love story.

The book cover showing the silhouette of a city as well as several items (a sword, a tophat, a glove, an emerald heart).
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