The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken (arc)

Descending from a great line of female blacksmith’s, all Keeley wanted when she grew up was to follow in her mother’s footsteps but when a prophecy pertaining the coronation of her sister reaches the corners of the kingdom and beyond, it’s the start of a series of events that will put a wrench in Keeleys dreams.

Oh how I’ve missed this world and the writing of G.A. Aiken. She always has these hilariously outrageous and dramatic characters in her books, always making me smile. Aiken writes the most funny dysfunctional but endearing characters and relationships. I love how she has these stereotypical alpha males and turn their worlds upside down by introducing them to strong quirky females, often with some unhinged qualities like problems with rage and/or happy go lucky attitudes. Often with personality traits that should be opposites, making for some weird but funny scenes. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it works like magic. I loved that Aiken centered this story around a big crazy family again, emotions running high and so many strong unique characters. Some more insane than others. The dynamics and plotlines were so much fun to follow, and I can’t wait to read the next installment! As always, this was a fast paced adventure and if you don’t mind some strong verbal abuse with a big dose of humor, this one is for you! Be ready for silly emotional outbursts, screaming and name calling!

Release date: 27 August 2019

Publisher: Kensington Books

Rating: 4 stars

The Love Solution by Ashley Croft (arc)

Oh, how I wish I could give this one a higher rating, because I enjoyed the writing style very much. In fact, that’s why this book gets 2.5 instead of 1.5 stars in the end. I can’t ignore that the storytelling was very smooth, but unfortunately I can’t ignore that this book has a problematic plot element either. One akin to drugging and emotional abuse. It doesn’t matter that one of the two main characters has a legitimate reason to be desperate and not thinking clearly, but it’s a long way from thinking to actually trying to achieve the means to do it. And the other main character has no excuse, other than being a sister and there’s a lot I would do for my siblings, but there are limits. I mean, I understand that there are individuals in the real world that lack this filter, that actually do horrible stuff to other people, but these two main characters just didn’t read that way at first. There are so many ways the author could have spun this plot element without crossing the line. It’s weird really, I can read about murder, psychopaths and violence without much trouble, but this plot element, in this type of book, made me pause. Maybe it’s because I didn’t expect it, wrong context or something, it’s supposed to be a contemporary romance right? A bit of heart ache and drama is expected, but planning on taking away another’s will? Akin to drugging them? It made me question if they were good at all and whether they deserved their happily ever afters. Not what you usually feel in a romance novel, even if a character misbehaves and make mistakes. Like I said, it could have been a really cute addition in the story, maybe a joke throughout the book or something. And maybe I’m reading to much into this, but that’s how I felt and in the end this book wasn’t for me.
The above aside, I did like the writing style enough that I won’t hesitate to pick up another book by the same author.

Release date: 15 August 2019

Publisher: Avon Books UK

Rating: 2.5 stars