Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean
The Bareknuckle Bastards #2
July 30, 2019 by Avon
I loved this book. In every way. From the first word until the last had I heart eyes and a big ole smile on my face. My kindle copy has seven million highlights because Hattie and Whit had the most wonderful back and forth banter and I didn’t want to forget a single word. Even the secondary characters are amazing. I think Nora, Hattie’s sister of the heart, ride or die BFF, is one of my most favorite characters ever.
Here’s a little something I highlighted that I thought would perfectly describe our heroine:
Hattie Sedley had learned something else in her twenty-eight years, three hundred and sixty-four days: If a woman has a problem, it was best she solve it herself.
So she does. Hattie is 29, unmarried and has no plans to be, and determines she must claim her future for herself. So she comes up with a five point plan to get what she wants in life and sets out to put it in motion.
But Savoiur Whittington, known in London’s darkest streets as Beast, did not rage; he punished. Quick and devastating and without emotion.
Beast is a product of his upbringing. He has found a home in the underbelly of London and has made a fortune, but once he meets Hattie he really meets his match. He is grunty and grumpy and absolutely smitten with the woman who kissed him and then promptly kicked him out of a carriage on their first meeting. I mean who wouldn’t be smitten?
There is an overreaching plot that began in the first book in the series, Wicked and the Wallflower, involving Whit and Devil’s other brother and one fateful night that carries on in Brazen and the Beast and will conclude in the next book in the series. (I’m assuming). I was so consumed with the romance between Hattie and Whit that I barely noticed that Whit and Devil’s nemesis doesn’t make an appearance until almost the halfway point.
I loved this couple. I suspect you will too. I am more than ready for the next book in the series. I have a feeling Ewan and Grace are going to be explosive.
Final Grade- A
Spellbound by Allie Therin
Magic in Manhattan #1
M/M Paranormal Historical Romance
July 29, 2019 by Carina Press
This book was such a surprise! In all the best ways. As soon as I read the blurb I knew I had to have a copy.
To save Manhattan, they’ll have to save each other first…
Arthur Kenzie’s life’s work is protecting the world from the supernatural relics that could destroy it. When an amulet with the power to control the tides is shipped to New York, he must intercept it before it can be used to devastating effects. This time, in order to succeed, he needs a powerful psychometric…and the only one available has sworn off his abilities altogether.
Rory Brodigan’s gift comes with great risk. To protect himself, he’s become a recluse, redirecting his magic to find counterfeit antiques. But with the city’s fate hanging in the balance, he can’t force himself to say no.
Being with Arthur is dangerous, but Rory’s ever-growing attraction to him begins to make him brave. And as Arthur coaxes him out of seclusion, a magical and emotional bond begins to form. One that proves impossible to break—even when Arthur sacrifices himself to keep Rory safe and Rory must risk everything to save him.
Ms. Therin does a tremendous job of creating a world of supernatural and magic set alongside Prohibition, speakeasys and the politics of 1925. She introduces readers first to Rory, a young man with a angst filled backstory, who works in an appraisal office for antiques. He has but to touch an object to see back in time to read it’s history. And then to Ace, who is looking for just the kind of magical ability Rory has.
Arthur “Ace” Kenzie is a charming, handsome congressman’s son who has surrounded himself with friends with paranormal abilities. His closest two friends are Jade, a telekinetic, and Zhang, an astral walker. They are currently trying to find and obtain magical relics while keeping them out of the bad guys hands. They need someone who can help them figure out just what kind of magic the relics hold and the keys to unlock that magic. Which is where Rory comes in.
Arthur and Rory’s relationship was slow to develop, and there was a lot of mistrust between them. Mostly on Rory’s side as Arthur couldn’t do anything right for the first half of the book. But I liked them together and wanted them to succeed. I was disappointed for a minute when I realized this was a closed door romance, and that isn’t something that usually concerns me. Maybe because I think seeing their trust and intimacy build in those moments would have helped me understand and believe the tender feelings I did see on page.
But that is really my only complaint as everything else really worked for me. The worldbuilding, the diversity of the cast of characters, the pacing and plot. I’m especially excited that it seems we will be following this couple for at least another book, although I would love to see Jade and Zhang have their own love story.
Spellbound was a strong, solid debut and I am very much looking forward to my next adventure with Rory and Ace.
Final Grade- B
What I’m reading this week: