Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper (Southern Eclectic #1)

Publisher: Gallery Books on November 21, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Beloved author Molly Harper launches a brand-new contemporary romance series, Southern Eclectic, with this story of a big-city party planner who finds true love in a small Georgia town.View Spoiler »

SWEET TEA AND SYMPATHY has the same smart, snappy, and wacky-in-a-good-way feel that made me fall in love with Molly Harper’s paranormal stories, while also delivering more emotional payoff.

After a truly catastrophic incident with some shrimp-crazed flamingos, Chicago event planner Margot Cary is forced to turn tail and accept the only job offer she’s received: join the company run by her estranged father’s family in backwoods Georgia. Oh yeah, and the company in question is a joint funeral home and bait and tackle shop. Margot is a total fish out of water there, but the shakeup in her life gives her the much-needed opportunity to re-evaluate what it is she wants out of life – her family, her career, and yes, romance.

SWEET TEA AND SYMPATHY is a family-centric story, and personally I preferred Margot’s relationships with her two cousins (who I’m seriously hoping will be the heroines of  the sequels) to her relationship with Kyle, the widowed father of two that Margot’s falling for. Kyle is sweet and his daughters are adorable, but for me it’s the family dynamics that make this story special.

The only real complaint is how quickly the story comes together at the end. It felt rushed, which was especially disappointing considering how carefully Margot and Kyle’s relationship was developed throughout the book. Given their respective circumstances, I feel like an HFN might’ve been more appropriate than the HEA we got at the end. Otherwise, I really liked it!

A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole (The Loyal League #2)

Publisher: Kensington on November 28, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

The Civil War has turned neighbor against neighbor–but for one scientist spy and her philosopher soldier, war could bind them together . . . View Spoiler »

Alyssa Cole is one of the most talented and most important voices in romance right now. With A HOPE DIVIDED, she delivers another poignant, emotional story about an interracial couple during the American Civil War.

As a member of the prominent and wealthy Lynch family, Marlie is wealthy, educated, and sheltered. But her heritage (her Black mother and White father) means that Marlie has never truly it in with her family nor has she truly fit in with the staff who work at her family’s home. When Marlie meets Ewan, a Northern POW in a local prison, she doesn’t think it’s possible to find such a keen understanding with him. But the tortured soldier’s hyper-logical mind strikes a chord with Marlie, who is herself a scientist. As they slowly reveal themselves to one another through letters (one of my favourite tropes), you can’t help but feel the earnest connection and searing passion between them.

A HOPE DIVIDED tore my heart out, y’all. Marlie’s slowly developing sense of her own privileged position as a woman from a wealthy family is combined with the realization that no amount of wealth can protect a Black woman in the South to devastating effect. The pervasive racism of the period (that continues even today) is handled really well – it permeates every aspect of Marlie’s life and the lives of other Black characters, but it isn’t the entire story. Marlie and Ewan’s romance is heart-stopping, and their journey will capture your heart. Highly recommended!

The Sumage Solution by G.L. Carriger (San Andreas Shifters #1)

Publisher: Gail Carriger LLC on July 18. 2017

Source: Library

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage? View Spoiler »

THE SUMAGE SOLUTION is Gail Carriger’s first m/m paranormal romance under the name G.L. Carriger. She’s one of my favourite authors, and her characters never fail to capture my heart or make me laugh. So it pains me to say that, for me at least, the magic (as it were) that I’ve come to expect from her other works wasn’t there.

Bryan is a closeted Beta werewolf recently moved to San Francisco, and since he’s drawn the short straw he’s the pack member sent to the supernatural version of the DMZ. Bummer, right? Not in this case, because it’s there that he meets Max, the gorgeous magic-wielding sumage who steals his heart. I was expecting witty banter, heart-fluttering banter, and swoon-worthy romance, but it wasn’t to be, Their banter is entirely dick jokes, their flirting is also dick jokes, and their love is…dick jokes. Personally, their whole vibe felt like it was trying way too hard and Max and Bryan’s romance is immature.

Although THE SUMAGE SOLUTION is a romance, it’s also a paranormal romance so the world building is crucial for the story. There’s a lot of promising stuff here, from multiple types of mages to a myriad of supernatural species with their own unique cultures, but I don’t think it was executed well. Some aspects of the magic that Max was trying to explain to Bryan didn’t even make sense to me. Maybe it would’ve worked better had I read the prequel novella though. Either way, I think Carriger’s work under the name “Gail” is more my speed.

Have you read any of these books? How do you feel when a beloved author strikes out in an entirely new direction? Let me know in the comments!