In the grand scheme of everything that’s been happening lately, the delay of KissCon is a pretty minor blip on the radar. But it’s something I was really looking forward to and I’m pretty bummed it’s been pushed back until August (fingers crossed that’s it can still happen then!). The silver lining, though, is that I have more time to make progress on my KissCon TBR, so I thought it’d be fun to do a quick check-in on that!
My list started with finishing off Tessa Dare’s backlist, and I insisted I would absolutely do that. As it turns out, I didn’t! And I no longer plan to. I absolutely love Tessa Dare’s books, but I started reading Goddess of the Hunt and just was not a fan, so I wound up DNFing it, much as it pains me to say. I don’t remember why I decided to skip the whole trilogy, but I’m perfectly content loving her new releases and not rounding out her backlist. I can’t wait for The Bride Bet to be released in August! It features childhood enemies who somehow make a pact to get married in ten years if they’re still single, and sure enough, the hero turns up ten years later trying to convince the heroine to marry him. It sounds so fun!
After that, I had plans to read a whole slew of Lisa Kleypas books. I did in fact wind up rereading the Wallflower books, but they were dated enough that I wasn’t sure I wanted to prioritize rereading the Hathaways books, so I haven’t picked those up yet. Now that I have more time (and am devouring historicals), I’d like to circle back to them, though! And I absolutely read (and reviewed!) Chasing Cassandra. It’s a perfect read for everything that’s happening right now. It features a ruthless businessman hero who doesn’t want to admit to having feelings but somehow falls in love with the heroine immediately, and it has the most amazing contract negotiation scene ever!
I followed up Lisa Kleypas in my initial list with a bunch of books by a number of different authors, almost all of which I’ve read! As expected, The Prince of Broadway by Joanna Shupe, a Gilded Age historical about a woman who wants to start her own casino and demands the hero teach her everything he knows, was excellent (check out my review here). While I enjoyed so many things about The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa, a contemporary about a woman who is forced to work with her ex-fiance’s brother, for some reason I didn’t love it (more thoughts here).
Sadly, The Legal Affair by Nisha Sharma got pushed back to August and First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn got pushed back to April, but I’m happy to report that I was able to get an arc of the new Julia Quinn book and absolutely adored it! It follows two childhood friends who suddenly realize they more than like each other when the hero offers to marry the heroine in order to save her reputation. It’s got lots of humor and adorableness and is generally pretty low angst, and it’s literally the perfect book to get lost in right now. I’ll have more thoughts in an arc review coming soon, and you can pick up a copy on Tuesday! I also really enjoyed The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine Heath, a secret earl book starring a bookseller heroine. If you’re looking for some great historicals, I highly recommend this one! (My review can be found here.)
Reading for KissCon led me to binge read Scarlett Peckham’s entire backlist. I loved The Earl I Ruined so much that I immediately followed up with The Lord I Left. The Earl I Ruined features a couple in which the heroine accidentally ruins the hero’s reputation, and then offers to marry him to fix it. Only she doesn’t realize that he’s desperately in love with her, he doesn’t realize he’s a jerk to her, and she’s been burying for years how in love she is with him. Basically, there is lots of pining and misunderstanding, and it’s all just SO GOOD. The sequel, The Lord I Left, stars a bit of a villain from the previous book, who is a vicar falling in love with a woman training to work at a sex club. I didn’t love it nearly as much, but it was still excellently written, which is also kind of how I felt about the arc I read of The Rakess, Peckham’s upcoming release featuring a lady rake. I’ll have a more thorough review up soon!
In preparation for KissCon, I also read and loved My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh, a historical featuring two nerdy friends who fall in love and a plot in which the hero agrees to a makeover for science (you can check out my review here). Sadly, I wasn’t as enamored with Scoundrel, written under Leigh’s paranormal pen name, Zoe Archer. I didn’t love the hero and had a hard time getting swept up in the world, and I ultimately wound up DNFing it, unfortunately. And while I didn’t necessarily read this for KissCon, I finally picked up Leigh’s Temptations of a Wallflower, featuring a heroine who writes erotic novels and a hero who has been tasked with unmasking her. It was such a good read, and I really need to check out more of Leigh’s backlist!
Another historical I read and absolutely loved is The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite. Like, I read the digital copy I owned, and then immediately bought a physical copy for my shelves. It’s such a gorgeous book, featuring a lady astronomer who wants to continue with her father’s work and the widow who agrees to fund her. I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it if you somehow haven’t read it yet!
In case you missed it, I wound up skipping Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews—but I binge read the rest of the series instead! I enjoyed this urban fantasy series so much, and they’ve stuck with me more than I anticipated when I finished the series. They’re just so good! I did a whole blog post talking about my experience reading the series here, and while I desperately need them to finish Catalina’s series, I can’t wait to see what they have planned for Hugh and Elara.
I’ll admit, I’ve purposefully been avoiding Spider’s Bite because I didn’t want to get addicted to a series while focusing on the coding bootcamp I completed this spring. I was originally planning to read it sometime this week in anticipation of attending KissCon, but, well, that plan has been derailed in a whole number of ways. But don’t worry! I’ll get to this one soon. And I actually have Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James checked out from the library right now as part of my historical romance binge, so I’ll definitely read that before KissCon if it’s still on in August! I actually just read an arc of her upcoming release, Say Yes to the Duke, and absolutely loved it, so I definitely recommend picking a copy of that up next month. The hero and heroine meet when she overhears him dismissing her as being an adopted member of her family and too shy to be a prospective bride, and so of course he winds up falling in love with her immediately and she won’t give him the time of day. It’s delightful, and another perfect book to read during the pandemic. I’ll have a full review up sometime in the next few weeks!
Those were all of the books I really wanted to commit to reading, and I actually did way better than I realized! Not going to lie, I’m kind of impressed with myself. Of course, I had a whole bunch of other books that I had visions of making it to, and that kind of happened, but mostly didn’t.
I didn’t read any of the Megan Frampton books I had mentioned in my post, but I did read her latest release, Never Kiss a Duke. It had a really fun setup (he finds out he’s actually not a duke and starts working in the heroine’s casino) and did a lot of things I really liked, but for some reason I just wasn’t invested and struggled to keep reading. It was the oddest thing! Alas, I did not make it to more of Maya Rodale’s backlist, nor did I pick anything up by HelenKay Dimon, though I did read Tracey Livesay’s newest release, Sweet Talkin’ Lover. It wasn’t on my original list, but I picked it up partly because I knew she would be at KissCon. The small town romance aspect and the truncated timeline didn’t really work for me, but it was a cute read.
I somehow lost interest in reading Jeanine Frost’s books, I think because I started listening to an audiobook of one of them and just wasn’t in the mood. I really should give her series a try, though! I know her fans tend to enjoy a lot of the series I’ve read and loved, too.
I have Vivienne Lorret’s newest release, Lord Holt Takes a Bride, on hold at my local library, so I’m definitely hoping to read that soon! Though this list is a great reminder that I need to look more at Caroline Linden’s backlist. Plus I haven’t even looked at any books by Lisa Berne, Christy Carlyle, Charis Michaels, or Marie Tremayne and I’ve really been craving historicals lately, so I’ll have to check them out!
Honestly, I’m pretty pleased with myself. I had no idea I’d made such a dent in all of my reading plans for KissCon! Of course, all of the new releases coming out this summer are making my TBR grow even more, but that’s not exactly a new problem, is it?
As far as updated reading plans, I definitely want to try and reread the Hathaways and pick up Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep and Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James. I’m also hoping to read at least one book from Maya Rodale, HelenKay Dimon, Vivienne Lorret, and Caroline Linden. It’d be great to try and pick something up by Jeanine Frost, Lisa Berne, Christy Carlyle, Charis Michaels, and Marie Tremayne, but those aren’t as much of a priority for me.
Some new releases I’m excited for and will absolutely read before KissCon include:
- Chaos Rising by Jessie Mihalik
- Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean
- The Bride Bet by Tessa Dare
- The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe
- Would I Lie to the Duke by Eva Leigh
- The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite
- Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews
- When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
- You Had Me at Hola by Alexia Daria
- The Legal Affair by Nisha Sharma
I am super crazy excited for these titles, so it’ll be nice to be able to read them before KissCon! Though as I said, fingers crossed! I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they have to cancel it, but I have to think happy thoughts or the whole thing gets worse. Worst case, I’m just extra prepared for KissCon 2021!
Anyways, I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe and enjoying some romances!