Review of “Chasing Wild Horses” by Mila Nicks

Nicks, Mila. Chasing Wild Horses. [United States]: Mila Nicks, 2020.

ASIN: B089NBTN1H | $3.99 USD | 334 pages | Comtemporary Romance

Blurb

A slow-burn romance between two outsiders from opposite worlds:

He’s the biggest outcast in town…

Chase Collins has never met a horse he didn’t like. Too bad he can’t say the same for people. In his hometown Lutton, his poor reputation follows him like a dark shadow. It’s best for everyone if he sticks to where he belongs. At least on Wild Horse Ranch, he’s safe from judgment. Then one day a familiar face from 10 years ago shows up out of the blue.

She’s a wanderer who comes and goes…

Samara Grant is a nomad at heart. She doesn’t like staying put for too long. But when her Grandma Bunny passes away, she has to put her carefree lifestyle on hold to handle her affairs. She might have spent childhood summers in Lutton, Texas, but it’s no place to live. She wants to get in and out as fast as possible. Little does she know life has other plans.

Together, they form an unbreakable bond…

When Samara feels like she’s losing control of her life, she decides to take it back. She asks Chase to teach her how to ride. Neither expect to find common ground—and a fiery attraction—when Chase agrees. But their blossoming relationship isn’t celebrated by everyone. The closer Chase and Samara get, the more an unforeseen enemy seeks to tear them apart… 

Review

4 stars

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Chasing Wild Horses is the first in a new series from Mila Nicks, and I’m intrigued at the direction it’s going in so far, exploring the modern day relationship between Chase and Samara and its parallels to Bucky and Bunny’s forbidden love in the 1960s.

I was a bit unsure what I was getting into at first, in spite of having read Nicks before, because this is such an extreme slow burn, taking its time to establish who the characters are before delving into their relationships with one another. But it ultimately pays off when it picks up. Chase and Samara’s relationship develops in a convincing way, and I rooted for them as they faced issues that echoed the ones Bunny and Bucky faced. 

The one minor issue I had was that it ended abruptly, but a quick glance at the excerpt of book two shows that both storylines continue there. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

This is a wonderfully original contemporary romance, and one I’d recommend to romance fans, especially those who love slow burn. 

Author Bio

Mila Nicks has a thing for romance. Chick lit, chick flicks, you name it, she’s there. She’s all about basking in a quality, well-told love story. It’s why she’s decided to use her passion for writing to pen love stories featuring women of color.

When she’s not engrossed in all things romance, she’s probably out shopping, sampling food off of someone else’s plate, or hanging with her feisty and dangerous pet chihuahua, Zayden.

For more on Mila, including upcoming releases and story freebies, check out her website and subscribe to her newsletter: https://www.milanickswrites.com/ 

Buy on Amazon 

 

Review of “Court of Lions” by Somaiya Daud

Daud, Somaiya. Court of Lions. New York: Flatiron Books, 2020. 

ISBN-13: 978-1250126450 | $18.99 USD | 320 pages | YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Blurb

Two identical girls, one a princess, the other a rebel. Who will rule the empire?

After being swept up into the brutal Vathek court, Amani, the ordinary girl forced to serve as the half-Vathek princess’s body double, has been forced into complete isolation. The cruel but complex princess, Maram, with whom Amani had cultivated a tenuous friendship, discovered Amani’s connection to the rebellion and has forced her into silence, and if Amani crosses Maram once more, her identity – and her betrayal – will be revealed to everyone in the court.

Amani is desperate to continue helping the rebellion, to fight for her people’s freedom. But she must make a devastating decision: will she step aside, and watch her people suffer, or continue to aid them, and put herself and her family in mortal danger? And whatever she chooses, can she bear to remain separated, forever, from Maram’s fiancé, Idris? 

In the series

#1 Mirage 

Review 

4 stars 

I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

This is a wonderful second book in the series. I loved seeing both Amani and Maram come into their own, and both find happiness in spite of what was expected of them.

Let’s start with Maram: I liked what was done with her this time around, particularly that she’s queer. Her relationship with Aghraas was one of the best parts of this book. I didn’t always think much of Maram, dismissing her as another spoiled princess at times, but it was cool to see her have these tender moments. And I also liked seeing her grappling with her mixed heritage, and trying to figure out if she’s the right person for the role of ruler…the internal growth on her part was splendid, as was the development of her relationship with Amani, given it originally started off in a horrible place.

And Amani and Idris’ arc started off with a bit more “will-they-won’t-they” angst for my taste this time, but I was won over by them as a couple as the story went on. 

I enjoyed this book overall, and look forward to what Somaiya Daud releases next. If you’re looking for a  rich, immersive Moroccan inspired fantasy, I recommend this series highly. 

Author Bio

Somaiya Daud was born in a Midwestern city, and spent a large part of her childhood and adolescence moving around. Like most writers, she started when she was young and never really stopped. Her love of all things books propelled her to get a degree in English literature (specializing in the medieval and early modern), and while she worked on her Master’s degree she doubled as a bookseller at Politics and Prose in their children’s department. Determined to remain in school for as long as possible, she packed her bags in 2014 and moved the west coast to pursue a doctoral degree in English literature. Now she’s preparing to write a dissertation on Victorians, rocks, race, and the environment.

Buy links

Bookshop (affiliate link)

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble 

Kobo

Google Play

Apple Books

Review of “You Had Me at Hola” by Alexis Daria

Daria, Alexis. You Had Me at Hola. New York: Avon Books, 2020.

ISBN-13: 978-0062959928 | $15.99 USD | 320 pages | Contemporary Romance

Blurb

“I could not get enough of Jasmine and Ashton! I adored Jasmine–her ambition, her confidence, her attacks of self-doubt, and especially her hilarious, snarky, and loving cousins. She and Ashton have such a steamy, swoony, love story that I didn’t want the book to end!”–Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author

RITA® Award Winning author Alexis Daria brings readers an unforgettable, hilarious rom-com set in the drama-filled world of telenovelas—perfect for fans of Jane the Virgin and The Kiss Quotient.

Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers.

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. 

Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy

After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. 

Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars. 

With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

Review 

4 stars

I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I didn’t entirely know what to expect from You Had Me at Hola, but the cover is on fire, and the blurb piqued my interest, particularly the telenovela setup. And, ultimately, I really enjoyed this one.

Jasmine and Ashton are both relatable, in spite of being celebrities. I could understand Ashton wanting to keep certain aspects of his life out of the public eye, and inadvertently delaying telling Jasmine about it, in spite of them bonding outside of work. I also related to Jasmine’s humiliation at some of the headlines about her love life, and felt Daria managed to replicate how it feels in a way someone who hasn’t been through that experience could understand. 

And while the occasional shifts to scenes from the show they’re filming can be a little jarring, I like how it provides insight into the show, while also providing that contrast to show where the actors’ minds are at in terms of their real life relationship while filming the scene through subtle textual cues. 

I also loved the role friends and family played in this book, presenting lots of angles for potential spinoffs, whether it be further installments surrounding the telenovela world, or a plethora of family and friends. 

On the whole, this is a solid book and definitely has me excited to read more from her, both in terms of  backlist and future titles. If you love steamy contemporary romance, especially one focused on television drama on- and off-camera, then you’ll love this one. 

Author Bio

Alexis Daria is a native New Yorker and award-winning author writing stories about successful Latinx characters and their (occasionally messy) familias. Her debut Take the Lead won the 2018 RITA® Award for “Best First Book” and was one of the “Best Romance Novels of 2017” in The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly. Her super powers include spotting celebrities in NYC, winning Broadway ticket lotteries, and live-tweeting.

Buy links 

Register Your Preorder, Receive Exclusive Web Comic

Love’s Sweet Arrow (signed copies and bonus gifts)

Target Diverse Book Club Edition (signed)

Bookshop (affiliate link)

The Ripped Bodice

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble 

Kobo

Google Play

Apple Books

Review of “Unmasked Heart” (Challenge of the Soul #1) by Vanessa Riley

Riley, Vanessa. Unmasked Heart. Mableton, GA: Gallium Optronics, LLC, 2015. 

ASIN: B00WDR6C7S | $4.99 USD | 412 pages | Regency Romance

Blurb

Shy, nearsighted caregiver, Gaia Telfair always wondered why her father treated her a little differently from her siblings, but she never guessed she couldn’t claim his love because of a family secret, her illicit birth. With everything she knows to be true evaporating before her spectacles, can the mulatto passing for white survive being exposed and shunned by a powerful duke who has taken an interest in her?

Ex-warrior, William St. Landon, the Duke of Cheshire, will do anything to protect his mute daughter from his late wife’s scandals. With a blackmailer at large, hiding in a small village near the cliffs of Devonshire seems the best option, particularly since he can gain help from the talented Miss Telfair, who has the ability to help children speak. If only he could do a better job at shielding his heart from the young lady, whose honest hazel eyes see through his jests as her tender lips challenge his desire to remain a single man.

Review

4 stars

Unmasked Heart is another gem from Vanessa Riley. I love the Cinderella archetype, and I like the twist on it exploring a biracial woman and her treatment by her white family. 

Riley depicts the marginalizations that Gaia faces due to being mixed-race with incredible sensitivity. The sordid nature of her conception and the associated assumptions were painful to read, but made the revelation of the truth much more rewarding.

William is an interesting hero, given he has some secrets of his own. I admired the depiction of him as a father of a child with a disability, and it felt realistic and not stereotypical or sensationalized. 

I did have some issues with the editing, which others have noted. This resulted in some issues with clarity in the text. 

That aside, this is a fairly solid book, and one I recommend for anyone looking for more diverse historical romance.

Author Bio

Vanessa Riley writes Regency and Historical Romances of dazzling multi-culture communities with powerful persons of color. Vanessa writes for historical romance readers who admire and acquire books that showcase women who find joy in sweeping kisses and strong sisterhoods. Even in the darkness, she promises to give you laughs and to show you how light always prevails and how love always, always wins.

Vanessa holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a master’s in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University. She also earned BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. She has been a radio anchorwoman and church announcer. She is President-Elect of The Beau Monde, a specialty History Chapter. She is also a member of Georgia Romance Writers, NINC, and Historical Novel Society. She is on the Board of Directors of Christian Book Lovers Retreat where readers escape for a weekend of fun, faith, and connection to the author community.

Vanessa loves cooking her Trinidadian grandma’s cake recipes and collecting Irish crochet lace.

I am represented by Sarah Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

Buy links

Bookshop (affiliate link)

The Ripped Bodice

Amazon 

Review of “Inheritors” by Asako Serizawa

Serizawa, Asako. Inheritors. New York: Doubleday, 2020.

ISBN-13: 978-0385545372 | $26.95 USD | 288 pages | Historical Fiction

Blurb

“This splendid story collection is a sword through the heart.”–Ben Fountain

From the O. Henry Prize-winning author comes a heartbreakingly beautiful and brutal exploration of lives fragmented by the Pacific side of World War II.

Spanning more than 150 years, and set in multiple locations in colonial and postcolonial Asia and the United States, Inheritors paints a kaleidoscopic portrait of its characters as they grapple with the legacies of loss, imperialism, and war.

Written from myriad perspectives and in a wide range of styles, each of these interconnected stories is designed to speak to the others, contesting assumptions and illuminating the complicated ways we experience, interpret, and pass on our personal and shared histories. A retired doctor, for example, is forced to confront the horrific moral consequences of his wartime actions. An elderly woman subjects herself to an interview, gradually revealing a fifty-year old murder and its shattering aftermath. And in the last days of a doomed war, a prodigal son who enlisted against his parents’ wishes survives the American invasion of his island outpost, only to be asked for a sacrifice more daunting than any he imagined.

Serizawa’s characters walk the line between the devastating realities of war and the banal needs of everyday life as they struggle to reconcile their experiences with the changing world. A breathtaking meditation on suppressed histories and the relationship between history, memory, and storytelling, Inheritors stands in the company of Lisa Ko, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Min Jin Lee.

Review

4 stars

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Inheritors caught my interest due to the blurb, and despite being a bit more literary than I typically go for, I found this an interesting read, highlighting the stories of a family across the generations in both Japan and the US through all the hardships they experienced. I feel like it’s not something that was taught enough in school, apart from the late 19th century immigration and World War II.

And while it’s not a linear narrative, and thus it did feel a little jarring, even with the guide at the beginning, I enjoyed how each section felt distinct due to the different styles, and how these vignettes (as that’s what it reminded me of) delved into such impactful topics, despite the fact that there wasn’t a ton of page time for every person’s story. I especially liked the interview that unveils a long-hidden murder, and how poignantly that was conveyed. 

I enjoyed this book, and liked trying something a bit outside my comfort zone. If you love family-oriented stories, then I think this is worth giving a try. 

Author Bio

ASAKO SERIZAWA was born in Japan and grew up in Singapore, Jakarta, and Tokyo. A graduate of Tufts University, Brown University, and Emerson College, she has received two O. Henry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. A recent fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she currently lives in Boston. Inheritors is her first book.

Buy links

Amazon (affiliate link)

Bookshop (affiliate link)

Barnes & Noble 

Kobo

Google Play

Apple Books  

Review of “Unveiling Love: The Complete Regency Suspense Tale” by Vanessa Riley

Riley, Vanessa. Unveiling Love: The Complete Regency Suspense Tale. Mableton, GA: Gallium Optronics, 2016. 

ASIN: B01H0K1C61 | $5.99 USD | 573 pages | Regency Romance

Blurb

Winning in the courts, vanquishing England’s foes on the battlefield, Barrington Norton has used these winner-take-all rules to script his life, but is London’s most distinguished mulatto barrister prepared to win the ultimate fight, restoring his wife’s love?

Amora Norton is running out of time. The shadows in her Egyptian mind, which threaten her sanity and alienate Barrington’s love, have returned. How many others will die if she can’t piece together her shattered memories? Can she trust that Barrington’s new found care is about saving their marriage rather than winning the trial of the century?

This is the complete novel with all four episodes. Enjoy this romantic suspense and meet old friends, William and Gaia, from Unmasked Heart. The love and drama continues.

Review

5 stars

Having enjoyed Vanessa Riley’s other episodic romance, The Bargain, I decided to pick up Unveiling Love. And while I’m still not a fan of the format, I do like how Riley uses it here to tackle a multi-faceted story with both a larger over-arching arc and smaller sub-plots. 

Vanessa Riley’s books are always such a treat, because they are chock-full or research into the lives of black and mixed-race people during the Regency, and her characters, and this book is no different, with its intricacies in the character relationships. 

I rooted for Barrington and Amora to work through the issues haunting their marriage, especially since Amora was plagued by trauma and fragmented memories, which have seen her imprisoned in an asylum. 

I loved this book, and I can’t wait to read more from Vanessa Riley. If you’re looking for a more diverse take on the Regency era, then I recommend this book (well, collection) highly. 

Author Bio

Buy links

Amazon (affiliate link)

The Ripped Bodice

Review of “One Year of Ugly” by Caroline Mackenzie

Mackenzie, Caroline. One Year of Ugly. New York: 37 Ink, 2020.

ISBN-13: 978-1982128937 | $26.00 USD | 400 pages | Contemporary 

Blurb

A fun, fresh, timely debut novel about the uproarious adventures that befall the Palacio family during their disastrous illegal residence in Trinidad that poignantly captures the complexities of dysfunctional families and passionate (but sometimes messy) romance.

After fleeing crumbling, volatile Venezuela, Yola Palacio wants nothing more than to settle into a peaceful new life in Trinidad with her family. And who cares if they’re there illegally—aren’t most of the people on the island? But life for the Palacios is far from quiet—and when Yola’s Aunt Celia dies, the family once again find their lives turned upside down. For Celia had been keeping a very big secret—she owed a LOT of money to a local criminal called Ugly. And without the funds to pay him off, Ugly has the entire family do his bidding until Celia’s debt is settled. What Ugly says, the Palacios do, otherwise the circumstances are too dreadful to imagine.

To say that the year that follows is tumultuous for the Palacios is an understatement. But in the midst of the turmoil appears Roman—Ugly’s distractingly gorgeous right-hand man. And although she knows it’s terrible and quite possibly dangerous, Yola just can’t help but give in to the attraction. Where, though, do Roman’s loyalties lie? And could this wildly inappropriate romance just be the antidote to a terrible year of Ugly?

Combining the spark of Imbolo Mbue with the irresistible wit of Maria Semple, One Year of Ugly brilliantly explores cross-cultural struggles and assimilation from a unique immigrant perspective and introduces us to an extraordinary new voice in contemporary fiction.

Review

3-ish stars

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

I was intrigued by the concept of One Year of Ugly, following the drama of a family of illegal Venezuelan immigrants in Trinidad, and the way they are indebted to the criminal Ugly. 

However, I feel like this book was a bit too ambitious, in trying to work with realistic issues, while also trying to present an overall light tone, with the editor (in her accompanying introductory letter) drawing comparisons to Crazy Rich Asians and Where’d You Go Bernadette. The family relationships  do feel reminiscent of CRA, and that aspect was one of my favorite parts of the book. 

However, I felt, juxtaposed against the more serious issues, it felt a bit tonally unbalanced. I didn’t expect a completely depressing read, but I did feel like the story was more absurd than I preferred. 

This book was a bit of a mismatch for me, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. If you are looking for a comedy that also touches on tough topics, then I think you should give this book a try. 

Author Bio

Caroline Mackenzie is a Trinidadian writer whose short fiction has appeared in publications around the world. In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and she won first prize for fiction in the 2018 Small Axe Literary Competition. Her debut novel ONE YEAR OF UGLY is currently available in e-book format (UK edition) and the hardcover and US e-book and audio book will be available in July 2020. Available for pre-order now.

Caroline currently lives in Trinidad and is cracking away at novel #2. You can follow her on Instagram at @carolinemackenziewrites.

Buy links

Amazon (affiliate link)

Bookshop (affiliate link)

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Google Play

Apple Books

Review of “Unravel the Dusk”(The Blood of Stars #2) by Elizabeth Lim

Lim, Elizabeth. Unravel the Dusk. New York: Alfred A. Knopf BFYR, 2020.

ISBN-13: 978-0525647034 | $18.99 USD | 368 pages | YA Fantasy

Blurb

Maia Tamarin proved her skill as a tailor when she wove the dresses of the sun, the moon, and the stars, but it will take more than a beautiful gown to hide the darkness rising up within her. . . . The stakes are higher than ever in this breathtaking sequel to Spin the Dawn, perfect for fans of Six of Crows.

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon, and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. Edan, the boy she loves, is gone–perhaps forever–and no sooner does she set foot in the Autumn Palace than she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace. When the emperor’s rivals learn of her deception, there is hell to pay, but the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red; losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, and in the meantime she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

In the series

#1 Spin the Dawn 

Review

5 stars

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

I enjoyed the first book, so I was really looking forward to Unravel the Dusk (although I actually was approved for UtD prior to finishing Spin the Dawn). And this is one of those sequels that impressed me and did fairly well following up on the potential built in book one, something that can be hard to do. 

Once again, the cultural influences remain a high point. I loved the Chinese-inspired politics and mythology, and I enjoyed how it was fleshed out further in this one.

I also appreciated the greater focus on Maia’s personal journey, especially as the effects of the demon attack begin manifesting. There was a genuine question of whether she would sacrifice herself for the good of others. 

As a result of this personal journey, the romance was less pronounced in this one, which I preferred, because I didn’t absolutely adore the romance between Maia and Edan in book one. But I think, even if you love the couple, you’ll still like the way their pairing manifests in this book. I liked that Edan is also a bit weakened, so he’s on a journey that parallels Maia’s to an extent, although he is characterized as more passive here, amplifying Maia’s strength. 

This is a fabulous sequel, and it has me curious to read more from Elizabeth Lim. If you are looking for a culturally rich Chinese-inspired fantasy, I recommend this one.

Author Bio

Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.

Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.

Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.

Buy links

Amazon (affiliate link)

Bookshop (affiliate link)

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Google Play

Apple Books  

Review of “Heart and Hand” (Gold Sky #1) by Rebel Carter

Carter, Rebel. Heart and Hand. London: Violet Gaze Press, 2019. 

ASIN: B07RDLX28B | $3.99 USD | 272 pages | Historical Romance

Blurb

Can a Mail Order bride find love with two husbands?

 It doesn’t take long for Julie Baptiste to realize she yearns for more than the non-stop engagements and niceties dictated by New York high society. So, she decides to do something bold and answers an advertisement for a mail-order bride in Gold Sky, Montana.

Ex-Union soldiers Forrest Wickes and William Barnes have been inseparable since the War. They share everything, including the desire to find a wife. A woman who is willing to marry them both and provide the isolated town with a much needed teacher.

When Julie arrives in Montana the three of them must figure out how to navigate the boundaries of their new lives. Can Forrest and Will come together to provide what Julie needs and protect the heart of the woman who’s made her way intimately into theirs?

And how will a debutante-turned-teacher manage frontier life with two husbands?

Heart and Hand is a romantic and passionate MFM romance and Book 1 in the Golden Sky Series.

Review

4 stars

I had heard a lot of good things about Rebel Carter, but I wasn’t sure about Heart and Hand in particular, as I’ve heard that MFM can sometimes be biphobic. However, while I’ve still come to prefer when “everyone is into everyone” and look forward to one of the later books where that is the case, I love that this is still a book where the relationship between Forrest and Will is just as deep as each of their relationships with Julie, even if it is purely a deep platonic relationship instead of a romantic one. 

While some aspects of the hurdles the three face are a little ridiculous and a bit overdramatic, like “the other woman” stuff, I did like how they worked through their issues together, or the others would try to encourage the third to give the relationship another shot. 

It’s also refreshing, given both the fact that Julie is mixed-race and this is a poly romance, that this story doesn’t dwell too much on the angst over whether something is unorthodox or even illegal in the context of the time period…in Gold Sky, it’s accepted, a theme I expect will carry over the course of the series. 

This is a delightfully original historical romance, and one I’d recommend to anyone looking for a fun new take on the genre. 

Author Bio

Rebel Carter loves love. So much in fact that she decided to write the love stories she desperately wanted to read. A book by Rebel means diverse characters, sexy banter, a real big helping of steamy scenes, and, of course, a whole lotta heart.

Rebel lives in Colorado, makes a mean espresso, and is hell-bent on filling your bookcase with as many romance stories as humanly possible!

Buy on Amazon (affiliate link) or read free with KU subscription

Review of “Destination Wedding” by Diksha Basu

Basu, Diksha. Destination Wedding. New York: Ballantine Books, 2020.

ISBN-13: 978-0525577126 | $27.00 USD | 320 pages | Women’s Fiction

Blurb

From the internationally bestselling author of The Windfall. . . . What could go wrong at a lavish Indian wedding with your best friend and your entire family?

“A witty and romantic novel perfect for all readers.”—Terry McMillan, author of It’s Not All Downhill From Here

When Tina Das finds herself at a crossroads both professionally and personally, she wonders if a weeklong trip to Delhi for her cousin’s lavish wedding might be just the right kind of escape. Maybe a little time away from New York will help get her mind straight about her stalled career, her recent breakup, and her nagging suspicion that she’ll never feel as at home in America as she does in India. Tina hopes this destination wedding, taking place at Delhi’s poshest country club, Colebrookes, will be the perfect way to reflect and unwind. 

But with the entire Das family in attendance, a relaxing vacation is decidedly not in the cards. Her amicably divorced parents are each using the occasion to explore new love interests—for her mother, a white American boyfriend, for her father, an Indian widow arranged by an online matchmaker—and Tina’s squarely in the middle. A former fling is unexpectedly on the guest list, a work opportunity is blurring the lines of propriety on several fronts, and her best friend Marianne’s terrible penchant for international playboys is poised to cause all sorts of chaos back home. The accommodations are swanky, the alcohol is top-shelf, but this family wedding may be more drama than Tina can bear and could finally force her to make the choices she’s spent much of her life avoiding.

Infused with warmth and charm, Destination Wedding grapples with the nuances of family, careers, belonging, and how we find the people who make a place feel like home.

Review

3.5 stars

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Destination Wedding caught my attention thanks to the colorful cover, and the blurb sounded interesting as well. And while I have mixed feelings on it, I still feel like it’s a pretty solid book. 

The writing is compelling and even funny at times, making this a fun, quick read that was easy to get into and kept me turning pages. I also felt India as a setting was well drawn, especially when the characters were talking about the changes occurring around them. 

However, there’s a lot of emphasis put on the relationships between these different characters attending the extravagant Indian wedding, and I found some of their drama a little petty, particularly Tina’s indolent approach to her work and Marianne’s gold digging tendencies. The only redeemable characters were Tina’s divorced parents, because of their enduring friendship and sort-of partnership. 

If anything, this book is full of desi family drama, so I think it’s worth taking the good with the bad. If that sounds like your sort of thing, then I recommend picking this one up. 

Author Bio

Diksha Basu is a writer and occasional actor.

Originally from New Delhi, India, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and now divides her time between New York City and Mumbai.

Buy links

Amazon (affiliate link)

Bookshop (affiliate link)

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Google Play

Apple Books