Hi friends! I’m the only chatty one of the bunch I think >.> so I do the intros … (purple text is Limecello, just as a refresher. Also, you can always tell who the full post content is from by who the “author” is at the bottom of the post.). But anyway, Sailorstkwrning sent over her list because I asked the review crew for them, and here you go! I’m sure she’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about them in the comments. Or discuss them, because we all love discussing books! (😅 In fact, I’ve already asked my questions in emails…)
So without further ado, Sailorstkwrning!)
Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher | Grade A+
Three years later, Stephen is a broken paladin, living only for the chance to be useful before he dies. But all that changes when he encounters a fugitive named Grace in an alley and witnesses an assassination attempt gone wrong. Now the pair must navigate a web of treachery, beset on all sides by spies and poisoners, while a cryptic killer stalks one step behind…
From the Hugo and Nebula Award winning author of Swordheart and The Twisted Ones comes a saga of murder, magic, and love on the far side of despair.
When Amelia Allenby escaped a stifling London ballroom for the quiet solitude of the Derbyshire countryside, the very last thing she wanted was an extremely large, if—she grudgingly admits—passably attractive man disturbing her daily walks. Lecturing the surveyor about property rights doesn’t work and, somehow, he has soon charmed his way into lemon cakes, long walks, and dangerously heady kisses.
The very last place Sydney wished to be was in the shadow of the ruins of Pelham Hall, the inherited property that stole everything from him. But as he awaits his old friend, the Duke of Hereford, he finds himself increasingly captivated by the maddeningly lovely and exceptionally odd Amelia. He quickly finds that keeping his ownership of Pelham Hall a secret is as impossible as keeping himself from falling in love with her.
But when the Duke of Hereford arrives, Sydney’s ruse is revealed and what started out as a delicate deception has become a love too powerful to ignore. Will they let a lifetime of hurt come between them or can these two lost souls find love and peace in each other?
Lady’s maid Molly Wilkins is done with thieving—and cheating and stabbing and all the rest of it. She’s determined to keep her hands to herself, so she really shouldn’t be tempted to seduce her employer’s prim and proper companion, Alice. But how can she resist when Alice can’t seem to keep her eyes off Molly?
Finds her own heart
For the first time in her life, Alice Stapleton has absolutely nothing to do. The only thing that seems to occupy her thoughts is a lady’s maid with a sharp tongue and a beautiful mouth. Her determination to know Molly’s secrets has her behaving in ways she never imagined as she begins to fall for the impertinent woman.
Has been stolen
When an unwelcome specter from Alice’s past shows up unexpectedly at a house party, Molly volunteers to help the only way she knows how: with a little bit of mischief.
The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings by Lily Morton | B
Levi Black is at a crossroads. After suffering a loss and breaking up a long-term relationship, he’s looking for a change. When he receives the news he’s inherited a house in York, he seizes the opportunity to begin a new chapter in his life.
However, when he gets there, he finds a house that has never kept its occupants for very long. Either through death or disinclination, no one stays there, and after a few days of living in the place, Levi can understand why. Strange noises can be heard at all hours of the day and night, and disturbing and scary things begin to happen to him. He never believed in ghosts before, but when events take a sinister turn, he knows he must look for help. He finds it in the unlikely form of the blue-haired leader of a ghost tour.
Blue Billings is edgy, beautiful, and lost. Utterly lost. He conceals so many secrets that some days it’s a miracle he remembers his own name. He knows that he should ignore Levi because he threatens the tenuous grip Blue has on survival. But there’s something about the kind-eyed man that draws Blue to him. Something that demands he stay and fight for him when he would normally run in the opposite direction.
As the two men investigate the shocking truth behind Levi’s house, they also discover a deep connection that defies the short length of time they’ve known each other. But when events escalate and his life is on the line, Levi has to wonder if it was wise to trust the Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings.
An Unusual Courtship by Katherine Marlowe | B
Percival Valentine is delighted by the arrival of new neighbours in the sleepy provincial town of Linston. Swiftly befriending the fashionable trio of Londoners, Percival sets out to court the elegant Miss Bolton, but soon comes to realise that he is being courted instead by the charming but secretive Mr. Everett. As Percival begins to uncover the circumstances behind his new friends’ arrival in Linston, he is drawn inextricably closer to Mr. Everett and his secrets.
The Merchant of Reeves Square by Adella J. Harris | C
Sir Arthur Holden was lonely. That had to be why he found the private inquiry agent, Henry Parker, so intriguing. Simple loneliness after he’d gotten his two best friends arrested in a raid on a molly house he’d recommended. Now they’re both out of prison, but William is living in Cornwall and Thomas is hiding in Yorkshire. And the intriguing Mr. Parker says he has a way to help Thomas come out of hiding. That would be the only reason to hire him. Nothing at all to do with wanting to see him again.
Two Rogues Make a Right: Seducing the Sedgewicks by Cat Sebastian | A
Will Sedgwick can’t believe that after months of searching for his oldest friend, Martin Easterbrook is found hiding in an attic like a gothic nightmare. Intent on nursing Martin back to health, Will kindly kidnaps him and takes him to the countryside to recover, well away from the world.
Martin doesn’t much care where he is or even how he got there. He’s much more concerned that the man he’s loved his entire life is currently waiting on him hand and foot, feeding him soup and making him tea. Martin knows he’s a lost cause, one he doesn’t want Will to waste his life on.
As a lifetime of love transforms into a tender passion both men always desired but neither expected, can they envision a life free from the restrictions of the past, a life with each other?
Slippery Creatures by KJ Charles | A
Will Darling came back from the Great War with a few scars, a lot of medals, and no idea what to do next. Inheriting his uncle’s chaotic second-hand bookshop is a blessing…until strange visitors start making threats. First a criminal gang, then the War Office, both telling Will to give them the information they want, or else.
Will has no idea what that information is, and nobody to turn to, until Kim Secretan—charming, cultured, oddly attractive—steps in to offer help. As Kim and Will try to find answers and outrun trouble, mutual desire grows along with the danger.
And then Will discovers the truth about Kim. His identity, his past, his real intentions. Enraged and betrayed, Will never wants to see him again.
But Will possesses knowledge that could cost thousands of lives. Enemies are closing in on him from all sides—and Kim is the only man who can help.
Ink and Ice by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese | B+
Growing up on an isolated island in the middle of Lake Erie, Aaron Sheftall learned to skate as a young child when extreme weather would cut off his small community — and its legends about a lost colony of seals — from the rest of the world. Now an elite figure skater, Aaron dreams of getting to the Olympics. Yet competition is fierce and in a sport filled with injuries and drama, careers are short. But when a fluke accident changes the stakes for the entire U.S. team, Aaron sees his chance.
Zack Kelly used to be a war reporter. But a successful book about his time covering global conflicts, an unsuccessful marriage, and a dose of PTSD have sidelined him from the journalism game. When an old friend calls up him with a long-form assignment about competitive figure skating, Zack has no idea what he’s getting into. He also doesn’t care — it’s a change of scenery and a paycheck.
Thrown together under circumstances neither of them are initially enthused about, Aaron and Zack ultimately embark on an unlikely — and ill-advised — romance about trust, myth, and what it really means to be comfortable in your own skin.
The Scottish Boy by Alex de Campi | A+++
1333. Edward III is at war with Scotland. Nineteen-year-old Sir Harry de Lyon yearns to prove himself, and jumps at the chance when a powerful English baron, William Montagu, invites him on a secret mission with a dozen elite knights. They ride north, to a crumbling Scottish keep, capturing the feral, half-starved boy within and putting the other inhabitants to the sword.
But nobody knows why the flower of English knighthood snuck over the border to capture a savage, dirty teenage boy. Montagu gives the boy to Harry as his squire, with only two rules: don’t let him escape, and convert him to the English cause.
At first, it’s hopeless. The Scottish boy is surly and violent, and eats anything that isn’t nailed down. Then Harry begins to notice things: that, as well as Gaelic, the boy speaks flawless French, with an accent much different from Harry’s Norman one. That he can read Latin too. And when Harry finally convinces the boy – Iain mac Maíl Coluim – to cut his filthy curtain of hair, the face revealed is the most beautiful thing Harry has ever seen.
With Iain as his squire, Harry wins tournament after tournament and becomes a favourite of the King. But underneath the pageantry smoulder twin secrets: Harry and Iain’s growing passion for each other, and Iain’s mysterious heritage. As England hurtles towards war once again, these secrets will destroy everything Harry holds dear.
The Sugared Game by KJ Charles | A
It’s been two months since Will Darling saw Kim Secretan, and he doesn’t expect to see him again. What do a rough and ready soldier-turned-bookseller and a disgraced, shady aristocrat have to do with each other anyway?
But when Will encounters a face from the past in a disreputable nightclub, Kim turns up, as shifty, unreliable, and irresistible as ever. And before Will knows it, he’s been dragged back into Kim’s shadowy world of secrets, criminal conspiracies, and underhand dealings.
This time, though, things are underhanded even by Kim standards. This time, the danger is too close to home. And if Will and Kim can’t find common ground against unseen enemies, they risk losing everything.
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh | A
There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.
When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.
*The kindle book is currently on super sale for $1.99 at the time of this post.
Drowned Country by Emily Tesh | A
Drowned Country is the stunning sequel to Silver in the Wood, Emily Tesh’s lush, folkloric debut. This second volume of the Greenhollow duology once again invites readers to lose themselves in the story of Henry and Tobias, and the magic of a myth they’ve always known.
Even the Wild Man of Greenhollow can’t ignore a summons from his mother, when that mother is the indomitable Adela Silver, practical folklorist. Henry Silver does not relish what he’ll find in the grimy seaside town of Rothport, where once the ancient wood extended before it was drowned beneath the sea—a missing girl, a monster on the loose, or, worst of all, Tobias Finch, who loves him.
*I believe the kindle copy is on sale at $3.99 right now.
Division Bells by Iona Datt Sharma | A
It’s a bitterly cold winter in London and Jules Elwin has no idea what he’s doing. As the newest special adviser to a government minister, he’s drowning in arcane procedures and party politics, and the civil servant who’s supposed to be helping him is doing nothing of the sort. Ari is sarcastic, intolerant and has no time for a special adviser who’s only there because his father is a peer of the realm.
Jules is only one of Ari’s many problems. As well as nursemaiding a special adviser, he’s got to get a Bill through Parliament, keep his irrepressible minister happy and stop his esteemed colleagues from hiding alcohol in their filing cabinets. And there’s something else, too: a deep, unspoken grief, that’s consuming him like frost.
But despite everything, Ari sees the world around him clearly––and Jules has been waiting all of his life to be seen.
The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan | B-
Miss Chloe Fong has plans for her life, lists for her days, and absolutely no time for nonsense. Three years ago, she told her childhood sweetheart that he could talk to her once he planned to be serious. He disappeared that very night.
Except now he’s back. Jeremy Wentworth, the Duke of Lansing, has returned to the tiny village he once visited with the hope of wooing Chloe. In his defense, it took him years of attempting to be serious to realize that the endeavor was incompatible with his personality.
All he has to do is convince Chloe to make room for a mischievous trickster in her life, then disclose that in all the years they’ve known each other, he’s failed to mention his real name, his title… and the minor fact that he owns her entire village.
Only one thing can go wrong: Everything.
Binding Shadows by Jasmine Silvera | A
Hunting lost books is more than a job; it’s a way for Barbara to hide her powers in the mundane world of the university library. One misstep and she risks exposure to ruthless necromancers willing to destroy anything supernatural they cannot control. But the prickly new professor in charge of her latest assignment proves more than he seems, and rules are no match for her growing fascination.
After years of battling to cage the beast within him, Tobias returns to Prague and the safety of his pack of brothers. But keeping his family safe means never revealing his dual nature, not even to the irresistible research assistant with a nose for rare books.
When an enchanted book triggers unpredictable surges in Barbara’s magic, unleashing his beast may be their only defense against the malevolent spell buried in its pages. Now, a 400-year-old witch’s revenge threatens to reveal everything they’ve concealed. Trapped between a witch and a necromancer, Barbara and Tobias must choose: embrace the powers that could expose them or allow their secrets to destroy them.
His Secret Illuminations by Scarlett Gale | A+
By day, Lucían brews potions and illuminates manuscripts in service to the monastery that took him in as a child, wielding magic based in his faith and his purity. By night, he dreams of the world outside the cloister–a world he knows only in books and scrolls…
A Mysterious Warrior
A mercenary known as the She-Wolf hunts for a shipment of stolen manuscripts. When she needs a mage to track them down, she chooses Lucían for both his adorable blushes and his magic. She purchases his contract, hurling him headfirst into an adventure that will test both his skills and his self-control…
A Sacred Vow
Inexorably drawn to the She-Wolf’s strength, surprising kindness, and heated touches, Lucían fights temptation at every turn. His holy magic is both vital to their mission and dependent upon his purity. How can he serve both her and the Lord if he gives in to his desire? As intrigue and danger forces them closer, how can he possibly resist?
Non-Romance books read in 2020:
Mid-Century Recipes from Cocktails to Comfort Food by M. Lynne Squires | B
Cooking is Terrible by Misha Fletcher | A
Prince Eddy: The King Britain Never Had by Andrew Cook | C- *The kindle copy is currently on sale for $2.99.
False Value (Rivers of London, Book 8) by Ben Aaronovitch |B+
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir | A+
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey | A *The kindle copy is only $2.99 right now.
The Night Raven by Sarah Painter | A
The Silver Mark by Sarah Painter | A
The Fox’s Curse by Sarah Painter | A
The Pearl King by Sarah Painter | A
Sex and Vanity: A novel by Kevin Kwan | C-
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher | A+
Of Dragons, Feasts and Murder, a Dominion of the Fallen Story by Aliette de Bodard | A
The Order of the Pure Moon, Reflected in Water by Zen Cho | A
The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard | A
The House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard | A
The House of Sundering Flames by Aliette de Bodard | A
Tales from the Folly: A Rivers of London Short Story Collection by Ben Aaronovitch | A
A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (And Some Bears, by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling | B+
Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner | A+
You can read Sailorstkwrning’s review of Two Rogues Make a Right here.