12 Tropes of 2020 – The Winter Prince by R. Cooper

Ice King/Queen from
12 Tropes of 2020

The Ice Queen is aloof and, well, frigid. She may not want to get emotionally close to anyone, or it may just be men she disdains. There are a few different ways her icy qualities can manifest themselves, ranging from slinging nasty remarks at anyone who crosses her to simply coming across as emotionless and “cold”. In romance, the hero strives to “defrost” her and win her over so they can embark on a relationship. 

Taken from Thea Landen 

The Winter Prince by R. Cooper

At seventeen, the noble Prince Arrow had his heart stolen by a powerful pari’s magic, which earned him the name Kişin Bey, the Prince-in-Winter, as his veins slowly filled with ice without a heart to keep him warm. Three years have passed since then, and Kişin is not expected to survive another winter. In a last, desperate attempt to save his life, Razin, the court wizard and Kişin’s childhood best friend, convinces him to travel in search of the pari, to ask for the return of his heart. What Razin doesn’t know is that Kişin’s heart was never stolen; he gave it away to the pari to escape the pain of an impossible love—his love for Razin.

Smart and stubborn, Razin has never accepted Kişin’s fate, continuing to address him by his childhood name of Arrow and doing everything he can to keep Kişin warm despite the distance Kişin has put between them. Bitter and sharp of tongue, he is nonetheless determined to ensure Kişin’s survival. The prince needs him, Razin insists, not knowing the truth of his own words, or how painful it is for Kişin to be near him. Kişin agrees to the desperate quest, out of duty and a need to protect Razin, but it isn’t long before Razin realizes saving his prince will require more than simply getting his heart back. Razin will have to convince him to want it

Taken from book blurb

My thoughts

In The Winter Prince we are presented with as cold and emotionless character, Kişin Bey. Having had his heart stolen not only is Kisin not expected to live past next winter but he has become an emotionless and hard person to be around. Across the story, one of our romantic leads set out to return Kisin’s heart and save him from an early grave.

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12 Tropes of 2020 – The Only Option by Megan Derr

Marriage of Convenience from
12 Tropes of 2020

A marriage of convenience is a mutually beneficial agreement, with both parties profiting from the binding – it may even involve a contract – but not always. Sometimes, only one of the partners may be in it for something other than love.

Taken from TV Tropes.

The Only Option by Megan Derr

A desperate dragon. A lonely necromancer. A marriage neither wants.

When he is summoned to the royal castle, Rochus anticipates nothing more than a particularly difficult assignment. The bothersome journey is almost made worthwhile when he is propositioned by a young, beautiful dragon, Tilo, who seems untroubled by the fact that Rochus is a necromancer.

When Rochus arrives at the castle he is ordered to marry the very same dragon he spent the night with. Though Rochus would rather sign papers and return home, he is helpless against Tilo’s pleas for help, even if it means spending more time around a man he is desperately drawn to but who doesn’t seem to want him.

Taken from book blurb

My thoughts

Megan Derr is a master at crafting in-depth fantastical locations and lore – in The Only Option were are introduced to a necromancer who is quite different from other magical users. Rochus, said grumpy necromancer, has pearly white skin, so black its blue hair, black teeth, and an appetite for blood. Due to his different and off-putting appearance and diet, Rochus is ostracised and feared by people.

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12 Tropes of 2020 – Two Dukes and a Lady by Lorna James

Love Triangle from
12 Tropes of 2020

When two people both love a third person, and that third often loves them both. The object of their love may be conflicted as to whom he/she wants.

Taken from Urban Dictionary.

A state of affairs in which one person is romantically or sexually involved with two others (one or both of whom may not be aware of or complicit in the situation).

Taken from Lexico.

Two Dukes and a Lady
by Lorna James (aka Jamie K. Schmidt)

Charles Ashdown, Duke of Densmore, and his closest friend William Kenwood, Duke of Tennison, love gambling and womanising too much to ever be ensnared by a debutante. Certainly, no decent wife would allow the debauchery they enjoy. But the only woman they’ve ever loved has returned. Unfortunately, Society, and likely darling Lily, will never accept the sharing relationship they’d like to propose.

Lillian Drew returns to England after her husband’s mysterious death and finds solace with her girlhood crushes, Charles and William. Sure, they’re as unapologetically crass and self-centered as always, but she loves them both. When her dead husband’s creditors come after her, she has no choice but to remarry, though she can’t make up her mind which duke she’ll propose to. With a toss of one of the few coins she has left to her name, she hopes the loser will understand.

Taken from blurb

My thoughts

Full disclosure, I am a bleeding heart and couldn’t stomach the typical ‘love triangle’ trope. So instead of the usual V pattern of a relationship where one person is ultimately chosen, I went with a book where both romantic options are chosen 😋 Yes, yes I am aware that this is a menage or polyamorous trope but I couldn’t handle the angst of someone being rejected 😥

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Read and Rated: September

I was quite productive and read a fair amount this September. So here is a quick rundown of the books I finished during the month of September.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Who’s that Earl by Susanna Craig

Who’s That Earl is the first book of Susanna Criag’s I have read and I quite enjoyed it. The characters of the historical romance were very nuanced and I not only did I like them as individuals but I really liked them together. First in the Love and Let Spy Series, I will deifnelty be looking out for the next in store.

Also I do love the cover of this book, it is so striking and different. However every time I look at it I can’t help but think that there is something wrong with her arms? Maybe it is the style of the dress that is throwing me off? I’m not sure, what do you think?

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12 Tropes of 2020 – The Alpha’s Warlock by Eliot Grayson

Enemies-to-Lovers from
12 Tropes of 2020

The two characters often have a long history of conflict with each other. They may be on opposite sides of a struggle, or may have just met under unfortunate circumstances and their personalities clashed.

Taken from Fanlore.

The Alpa’s Warlock
by Eliot Grayson

Cursed, mated, and in for the fight of their lives…

Warlock Nate Hawthorne just wants a cup of coffee. Is that too much to ask? Apparently. Because instead of precious caffeine, all he gets is cursed by a pack of werewolves who want to use him for his magic. Now the only way to fix the damage is a mate bond to a grumpy and oh-so-sexy alpha in the rival pack, who happens to hate him. This is so not how he wanted to start his day.

Ian Armitage never intended to take Nate as his mate. The Hawthorne family can’t be trusted. Ian knows that better than anyone. The fact that he’s lusted after the way-too-gorgeous man for years? Totally irrelevant. Ian’s just doing what is necessary to protect his pack. This whole mating arrangement has nothing to do with love and never will. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

Nate and Ian will have to work together if they have any hope of staving off the pack’s enemies and averting disaster. That’s assuming they can stop arguing (and keep their hands off each other) long enough to save the day…

The Alpha’s Warlock is an explicit M/M paranormal romance featuring a snarky warlock, a brooding alpha werewolf, knotting, enchanted socks (long story), and a guaranteed happily ever after.

Taken from book blurb

My thoughts

I tend to steer away from books with ‘Alpha’ in the title but the blurb on this book was too good to pass up. From the first chapter to the end I was enamoured with the two characters Nate and Ian.

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12 Tropes of 2020 – Hearts of Darkness by Andrea Speed

Superheroes from
12 Tropes of 2020

Adventures, personalities and ethics of costumed crime fighters known as superheroes, who often possess superhuman powers and battle similarly powered criminals known as supervillains.

Taken from Wikipedia

Hearts of Darkness
by Andrea Speed

Kaede Hiyashi is sick and tired of living in the shadow of his father, supervillain Doctor Terror. Brilliant but crazy, Doctor Terror sends his son to Corwyn, California, for reasons Kaede can’t imagine. Sent to accompany and protect him is Ash, a genetically modified supersoldier raised and trained by an infamous death cult.

Corwyn is lousy with superheroes, led by the obnoxious Dark Justice. Kaede finds himself dancing around Dark Justice as he digs into his father’s mysterious business and teaches his socially awkward—but physically lethal—bodyguard to acclimate to “normal” life. Can these two wacky supervillains figure out what Doctor Terror wants them to do, solve the riddle of the villain known as Black Hand, and keep Dark Justice from raining on their bloody parade? The course of love—and world domination—never did run smooth.

Blurb taken from book blurb

My thoughts

I really enjoy reading queer superhero romance novels – there is just something so satisfying about being able to see these larger than life characters not only occupy the ‘hero’ archetype but to see them love freely is what that I love reading. Sadly there are not that many published queer superhero romance novels – don’t get me wrong they are out there but they can be hard to find 😅

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12 Tropes of 2020 – Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Wallflower from
12 Tropes of 2020

A person who has no one to dance with or who feels shy, awkward, or excluded at a party.

Taken from Lexico

She might be on the shelf, but love doesn’t pass her by in the end. These are romances where the heroine is a spinster, is on the shelf, or is considered an old maid by society (even if it’s by choice).

Taken from Best Romances With Spinsters, Wallflowers, Or Old Maids reading list on Goodreads.


Brazen and the Beast
by Sarah MacLean

The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly… until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure… on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires… for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power… and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything… including their hearts.

Blurb taken from book blurb

My thoughts

The second book in The Bareknuckle Bastards series, Brazen and the Beast was an enjoyable and refreshing read. The book did not suffer from second book syndrome and was just as enjoyable as the first. As with her first book in the series, Wicked and the Wallflower, Brazen and the Beast follows one of the notorious ‘Bareknuckle Bastards’ as they are brought to their knees by powerful women of the time ladies .

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Romance Recommendation: Tit for Tat by R. Cooper

Tit for Tat

by R. Cooper

Tat never expected a future. A lower-caste Luudi who left her planet and made a new home with a group of idealistic humans, she spends her time looking out for new family and working in secret to rescue refugees from a neighbouring country. She is content with what she has, if sometimes lonely.

Then a Pros arrives their tense little border town. Although mostly human, the Pros were genetically engineered to look perfect and to offer pleasure, both physically and psychically. Beautiful, sophisticated Cin is no exception, which is why when she approaches Tat, Tat knows it can’t be personal. Luudi are big, strong, purple, and impervious to psychic influence—making Tat the safest outlet for someone like Cin. Tat says yes with no expectation that Cin would ever want more, while convinced the danger will eventually drive Cin away.

But the Pros can take care of themselves, as well as any quietly heroic Luudi who catches their eye—if only that Luudi would let them. Tat has spent so long helping others find a future, it doesn’t occur to her to seek out her own even when her silence might cost her the one she wants.

Taken from book blurb

Length: 114 pages.

Series: Stand alone.

Genre: F/F Romance. QUILTBAG. Sci-Fi.

Read as an: eBook.


My Thoughts

Tit for Tat is an emotional yet action packed sci-fi romance. The book focuses on a rag tag group of people who work together to help refugees escape from a fascist country that looks down on keent – an allegorical take on all of the worlds ‘non-normal’ individuals.

While the book is not focused on these actions and missions to help people escape to better lives, they are still present. While not being overtly homophobic or including any discriminatory language, the book does tackle the feelings of people fleeing from terrible treatment. While certainly the majority of the content is romantic in nature – the book packs no less of an emotional punch for it’s content.

I absolutely adored the characters of Tat and Cin – the way that they initially interact and then painfully circle each other was so heartwarming and yet equal parts heartbreaking. As with most of R Coopers work, I found myself falling in LOVE with all of the characters.

Everyone was so just so nuanced and beautiful!

Also I am SO glad that there was an extra short, Into the Net, featuring Fiya and Rhiel. When I reached the two words, The End, I was so sad that I had missed the seeing the culmination of these two and their relationship. Thank goodness for this additional story where we see these two get their shit together. Or as much as you can without giving them a whole novel (like I would love).


Enjoyment Level

Put simply – I adored this book. It took me a few attempts to get into the story (I blame not being a Sci-Fi reader) but once I was in, I was hooked! I am so glad that I read Tit for Tat on a day off because it meant I was able to devour it in almost one sitting.

I know that R. Cooper has another sci-fi book that they have just released, Taji from Beyond the Rings, and now I am looking at devoting a whole day off to it as well!


Recommendation

If you are looking for a story that features a f/f love story between an alien and a not-so-human, then look no further because Tit for Tat is the book for you. Not only does it features Lesbians in Space* but it features a heartwarming story full of communication issues and fighting fascist regimes.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an entertaining and emotional romance read!

*Okay, so while no one explicitly identifies as lesbian, it was too fun not to include 😋

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Romance Recommendation: Hottie Scotty and Mr. Porter by R. Cooper

Hottie Scotty and Mr. Porter

by R. Cooper

To help out his sister, Scott moved to the small town of Montgomery, where there isn’t much to do and no one for him to date. Well, there’s one other openly gay man in town—Henry ‘Cole’ Porter, a widower who runs the school library, but after one drunken night together, Cole has kept his distance. Scott is used to that. He spends a lot of time working out, and from the slow way he talks and the frat house atmosphere at the fire station where he works, it’s easy to assume he’s stupid. Most people are happy to admire his body and assume that’s all he wants from them, and deep down, Scott is too afraid to try asking for more.

Which is why Scott has been secretly pining after Cole for months when some of the town’s nosier residents decide Cole has been single long enough. They have a plan to throw every professional gay man in a thirty-mile radius Cole’s way, whether he likes it or not. Their list of candidates doesn’t include Scott, and Scott’s insecurities prevent him from stepping forward—even when it seems as though Cole is asking him to.

Cole is everything Scott isn’t; highly educated, stylish, with refined tastes. He’s also stubborn and sarcastic, and not nearly as smart about the workings of his own heart as people might think. It might take a lot of the wrong men for him to realize the right one has been in front of him all along.

Taken from book clurb

Length: 112 pages.

Series: Stand alone.

Genre: Romance. QUILTBAG. M/M Romance.

Read as an: eBook.


My Thoughts

The first time I read Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter, I was five books into my R. Cooper binge. However this book left the biggest impression. The characters and the emotions the story evoked in me were so very powerful; I laughed, I cried, I hugged a pillow while silently sobbing for Scotty’s sense of self worth.

Evoking emotional and somewhat angst filled moments of bittersweet joy, are what R. Cooper excels at. Throughout her books there is a common theme of hurt feelings and the deeply resonating emotional turmoil misunderstandings can create. Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter tackles self worth and explores this in such a subtle and beautiful way. Scotty’s feelings are not discussed, rather characters pick up on behaviours and defence mechanisms, and work around them.

The romance in Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter is hard won and worthwhile. I loved seeing the two romantic leads together as they each figured themselves and each other out.


Enjoyment Level

I loved this book so much, I couldn’t wait more than 3 months before reading it again. Last year I became a fan of R. Cooper and so far in my journey reading her back catalogue, Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter is my favourite.

I am no doubt going to read Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter for a third time, and may throw in a re-read of For Better or Worse which tells the story of two firefighters who work with Scotty in Montgomery.


Recommendation

If you are looking for a beautiful QUILTBAG romance that has just enough emotional angst to tug on your heart strings, then I would 100% recommend Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an entertaining and emotional romance read!

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Long Lost Review: The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie

Long Lost Reviews Icon

The Perfect Rake

Anne Gracie.

She ran from a brute…

Fleeing violent tyranny, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters’ chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke…But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.

...into the arms of a rake

Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence’s game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry… 

Taken from book blurb

I class this book as a long lost review as I have literally lost the book.

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