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Jaya

Jaya

Joined October 2016

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read~Groucho
review
Jaya
A Brush of Darkness | Allison Pang
Mehso-so

Had potential but the protagonist seems clueless and mean by turns, and the author‘s pointed attempts to insist that her work is so much better than romance fiction is tiresome

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Jaya
Magic Triumphs | Ilona Andrews
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Going in ⚔️ 🤛 🥋

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Jaya
Cherish Hard | Nalini Singh
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Reading came to a screeching halt when the heroine‘s Indian friend declares herself a Hindu who believes in reincarnation and karma. Idea that 1 is reborn into a terrible life form because of sins in a past one is the caste system. By this logic, people labeled dirty and untouchable are told it‘s because of their past life sins. Do better, Nalini and other Indian writers.Don‘t savarna -wash Indian culture while earning brownie #ownvoices points 😡

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Jaya
Clean Sweep | Ilona Andrews
Pickpick

Love everything they write. This series start (about an inn keeper who hosts inter galactic travelers) has the trademark fight scenes, vivid imaginative gamer style and strong female lead that the writers do so well. Dinah Demille is a great combo of powerful protagonist with vulnerabilities and kindness.

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Jaya
Bucket List To Love | C. P. Santi
Pickpick

Adorable NA Romance. Fillipina protagonist is dumped by long-term boyfriend, goes on a study abroad year to Tokyo, gets involved with a student tutor, they do cute things together. Interspersed with local lingo and cultural referents. Super refreshing after reading the same West-set novels, contemporary or historical (which almost always means a Regency now 😴) #romantsy

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Jaya
On These Silken Sheets | Sabrina Darby
Panpan

Soooo boring. Lots of people having sex in an illicit club, only to suddenly fall in love with the current partner. Feels like a bad literotica writer making a grab for romance readers and doing both genres badly. Darby should get a refund for the MFA she has. #notromantsy

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Jaya
Dr. Strange Beard | Penny Reid
Pickpick

The youngest Winston brother gets an HEA with his childhood sweetheart after years of silent separation. More drama involving his estranged father‘s motorcycle club criminal activities and pointed lessons on how to be a white ally against racism. ❤️ #romantsy

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Jaya
Iron and Magic | Ilona Andrews
Pickpick

I had no interest in the redemption arc of a mass murderer from the Kate Daniels series. I really like Ilona Andrews‘s imagination though, so I did finally get the book. It‘s as entertaining as their other work—as long as I can forgive that the protagonist has killed thousands without remorse. What is with this romanticizing of such characters?

5 likes1 stack add
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Jaya
One and Only | Jenny Holiday
Pickpick

Lovely—funny, with finely detailed characters and a most determined pitch for Canadian tourism. Recommended!

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Jaya

Heard so much praise for this series but finding it rough going. Maybe Dare just isn‘t my cup of 🍵 If the style isn‘t distinctive, even an interesting innovation of the standard romance plot doesn‘t keep my interest 🤷🏽‍♀️

review
Jaya
Mehso-so

👍🏼 N. Zealand setting,but 👎🏻 most of this NA novel, esp. its dude heroine. She was traumatized by an accident that killed her father & hurt her motor skills as an artist.Is this why she slept w/ the hero while in Canada,invited him on a road trip when he flew to NZ,had loud sex in their van with her dbag BF for days,dumped him, started sleeping with the hero,then broke up w/ him,then followed him to Canada to say she loved him?🤦🏽‍♀️#romantsy

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Jaya
Lunatic in My Head | Anjum Hasan
Pickpick

Funny and meticulous look at the minutiae of people‘s lives in north east India, an area often brutalized by the state and overlooked by the literati. Characters span the range from tribals/First Nations to Anglo-Indians to transplants from South and East Asia, in a superb documenting of India‘s diversity (something that Indian writers who gain fame in the West conveniently overlook or package in Bollywoodesque bites) & its colonial hangover

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Jaya
The Kiss Quotient | Helen Hoang
Pickpick

Suddenly, I‘ve read 2 novels within a week whose female leads are on the autism spectrum (3 if I count a re-read of Neanderthal Meets Human). Both hire men to help them seem “normal” but while Convenience Store Woman questions the romance narrative of pair bonding, Hoang‘s heroine embraces it.It‘s almost as if neuroatypicality is a useful metaphor for the social anxiety straight women experience over het couplehood (or its diminishing feasibility)

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Jaya
Convenience Store Woman | Sayaka Murata
Pickpick

Laugh out loud funny in parts but a critique of the norms of capitalist heteropatriarchy. Protagonist is on the autism spectrum & copes with the pressure of expectations about behavior & emotional affect by sticking to the employee manual of the convenience store she‘s worked at for 18 yrs.When a disgruntled Men‘s Rights Activism believer gets hired & fired, Keiko‘s life takes a further detour in catering to people‘s expectations of what‘s“normal”

Pruzy In my opinion the guy was seriously mentally ill rather than your run of the mill men‘s rights chauvinist 1y
Jaya @Pruzy that‘s a distinction without a difference. I wouldn‘t ascribe sound mental health to the MRA community so perhaps that‘s a communal mental health issue 1y
Pruzy @Jaya True! 1y
7 likes3 comments
blurb
Jaya
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Looking forward to chatting about A Princess in Theory and Neanderthal Seeks Human over the next two Sundays #romantsy #wordbookstores

5 likes1 stack add
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Jaya
Make Me Love You | Johanna Lindsey
Mehso-so

Haven‘t read JL in years but thought I‘d give this a try and it wasn‘t bad. Uses the old trope of two men in a feud and the women whose “honor” they are caught up in destroying/defending. Some depth for the heroine & lively banter is reminiscent of the glory days of Lindsey‘s work but a far-fetched premise, a silly detour to allow the obligatory sex scene, an expected reveal, & hasty redemption arcs show that her old deftness is gone. #romantsy

EloisaJames Her early books are genius 1y
5 likes1 comment
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Jaya
Shelter in Place | Nora Roberts
Pickpick

Romantic suspense involving one of the grim realities of contemporary United States life—mass shootings. The main protagonists survive the trauma that takes the lives of friends as teens and when they meet as adults, they‘re in the crosshairs of the serial killer who set up the original shooting #romantsy

6 likes1 stack add
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Jaya
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Pickpick

I‘m leading a #romantsy class in Brooklyn this summer. We‘re reading Sherry Thomas, Penny Reid, and Alyssa Cole in the coming weeks.

EloisaJames Fun!!! 1y
5 likes1 comment
review
Jaya
Pickpick

A broke backpacking millennial is stranded in Positano & grabs an opportunity to tutor 2 kids in Capri.Their brooding guardian slowly opens up to her about the family‘s recent tragedies. Halle is good at writing young women finding love in beautiful places, & in this case, with a sexy Italian motorbike racer. Lots of local color (especially enjoyable if you‘ve been to Capri, Anacapri, and Naples). A late crisis occurs but leads to HEA #romantsy

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Jaya
Heat Wave | Karina Halle
Pickpick

Hawaii-set hotel romance. 2nd-chance love (protagonists were once related through his previous marriage(to her sister) but only because he ignored his attraction to the right sibling).Tricky premise but Halle has enough backstory & adds enough sexual tension & compatibility in their present day interactions to get you rooting for the HEA that they let slip away the 1s time.Dramatic Jane-Eyreish fleeing near end before all is made right #romantsy

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Jaya
Falling | Simona Ahrnstedt
Pickpick

Great 2nd book in the High Stakes series by a Swede.A doctor who volunteers with Medecins Sans Frontier is drawn to rich playboy (brother of the first book‘s heroine).B story is his brother (still dealing with a crime he committed) & a medical student who is a Somali immigrant. Ahrnstedt fuses theme of misogyny with sensitive handling of race, kink, sexual assault, and love. These strengths make it easy to forgive some plot weaknesses #romantsy

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Jaya
Falling | Simona Ahrnstedt

This book might be the kinky antidote to #50shades that we all needed

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Jaya
All In | Simona Ahrnstedt
Pickpick

Sweden-set financial industry-themed romance. Countess and banker heroine, wrong side of tracks venture capitalist hero. Like an expanded Harlequin, with more detailed characters and more robust scenes. Lots of sex, angst, and exploration of misogyny. #romantsy

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Jaya
Behind the Moon | Hsu-Ming Teo

Just started this tale of three friends growing up in Sydney and grappling with their multiracial identities. Absorbing.

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Jaya
Saving Francesca | Melina Marchetta
Pickpick

Another great Sydney set novel. Francesca is trying to adjust to life at a new high school, which involves making new friends and fitting in among the farting, sports-loving boys of the former boys-only parochial school. Then her mother falls into a deep depression and her loving family starts to splinter. Can Francesca keep it all together? And what about the cute Will who‘s a yes/no/maybe?A good mix of teenage ridiculousness & adult complexity.

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Jaya
The Varlet and the Voyeur | Penny Reid, L.H. Cosway
Pickpick

When gentlemanly William gets caught in a sex scandal,his rugby team PR decides he needs a companion to watch him.Enter the goofy friend of a friend,Josey, who needs a place to live.An anxious, socially clumsy, bug-faced woman, Josey captures William‘s heart with her frank guilelessness.A roommates-to-friends with benefits-to lovers plot.Some typical “X loves Y but thinks Y doesn‘t love back” angst mixed with funny banter & sexy times. #romantsy

EloisaJames I didn‘t get past the voyeur part (with the married couple)—does he continue with that (entirely acceptable but not my fantasy) behavior? 1y
Jaya @EloisaJames yeah, I don‘t know how common that fantasy is, so it‘s interesting that Reid chose it. He does stop, which was better for me as a romance reader, but problematic because it undermined all the previous insistence that it is acceptable when practiced consensually and outside of exploitative pornographic practices. 1y
EloisaJames @Jaya it struck me as a Catch-22. She used it as something fresh, but if she stuck to it, it broke a central romance contract. 1y
3 likes3 comments
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Jaya
Looking for Alibrandi | Melina Marchetta
Pickpick

Great YA read. An Australian Catholic schoolgirl travels the road to adulthood in Sydney while dealing with her Italian heritage, boys, exams, and a newly found father. Captures all the tumult of youth amidst Australia‘s conversation about multiculturalism in the early 90s.

Jaya @Jokila I think you‘re a YA reader so you might like this one. 1y
6 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Jaya
Looking for Alibrandi | Melina Marchetta

Really enjoying this Sydney-set YA .

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Jaya
Silver Silence | Nalini Singh

Only a third through, and while I like it, Singh‘s style is starting to be mechanical, and devices such as cute infants of various species feel more like cheesy ads meant for emotional manipulation. The management of familiar tropes is a delicate balancing act in #romantsy

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Jaya
Hunted | Meagan Spooner
Pickpick

Lovely retelling of the Persephone/Beauty and the Beast story, using the medium of Russian folktales. YA , with hero‘s journey structure. Very little kissing but #romantsy

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Jaya
One | Jewel E Ann
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Pickpick

Lake, an accident survivor, amputee, sister of a hero from the Jack and Jill series, and prosthesis-tester, finally reconnects with another character from that series, Minnesota qb Cage. They fall in love quickly and the book, which is long, is about them working through their old losses and current work schedules. Often sweet, but could have used a stronger editorial hand. #romantsy

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Jaya
Dawn of Forever | Jewel E Ann
Panpan

Last in a pretty weird romance/suspense/family melodrama/torture mashup trilogy. Sometimes writers just need to get some story out, I guess, but I‘m hoping her other work is more like Look the Part than the Jack and Jill series.

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Jaya
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Pickpick

A Christmas-like epilogue that is meant to hold us over till the other characters get their stories. Tamlin is still a mess, Nesta is still mad, Rhys and Feyre are in a honeymoon period. Pleasant interlude. #romantsy

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Jaya
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Pickpick

Starting this on a Sunday night might be a bad idea #romantsy

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Jaya
Middle of Knight | Jewel E Ann
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Mehso-so

2nd in the Jack & Jill series.Takes up where the 1st one left off—heroine‘s new lover has a terminal diagnosis & she hasn‘t even gotten over her first love.This book not only flips back & forth between past & present, we also get her brother‘s instalove affair with a domestic abuse survivor, which develops immediate speed bumps. Old &new ties inevitably conflict & more drama follows, just in case u didn‘t think there was enough. Not #romantsy

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Jaya
End of Day | Jewel E Ann
Mehso-so

Like the first Outlander,minus the time travel. A woman forced to leave her old life behind struggles to forget her old love while falling for a new one. Add in a twin who people think is her husband, a witness-protection-like backstory, and an older trauma that has resulted in a specific kink, and you have a pretty weird protagonist and a story that ends on a cliffhanger. Not quite #romantsy

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Jaya
Pickpick

Harris recently renewed her pre-Sookie fame series with a new installment & I‘m glad there was a long break.I was pretty annoyed with the direction in which she took the romance (just like Sookie‘s) and now that those previous details have blurred,I was able to not resent Roe‘s new partner.The mystery is done with Harris‘s trademark mix of the mundane and the vicious.She just has a unique sense of non flashy crime delivered with down homey tones.

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Jaya
New York, Actually | Sarah Morgan
Pickpick

Linked to the Puffin Island series. Pop therapist fleeing a rough childhood and a scandalous incident in adulthood meets a divorce lawyer who promises not to fall in love with her. With two cute dogs as a bonus. #romantsy

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Jaya
First Time in Forever | Sarah Morgan
Pickpick

Sweet romance reminiscent of 1990s Nora Roberts. The heroine has fled to New England with a newly orphaned niece to get away from paparazzi. The hero reassures her that good people can help her with her new life. Lots of beach and local color scenes, with some drama thrown in, and hints of the next couples to pair up in future novels. Recommended for readers looking for a low-key, comfort read #romantsy

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Jaya
Pickpick

Bittersweet to see the last of the Knitting in the City series. Kat and Dan the Security Man finally get hitched after years of misunderstandings, rescuing each other from their hang ups and demons. The rest of the gang make several appearances, like the close of a good sitcom. The issue of Dan‘s scalawag half brother is a tantalizing loose end. And maybe we‘ll hear tidbits about everyone in the Winston brothers series... #romantsy

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Jaya
Look the Part | Jewel E Ann
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Pickpick

Funny and a bit of a tear-jerker. Two people with tough pasts and a lot of responsibilities that come with adulthood fall madly in love. There are pet rats, parents interrupting adult children during sex, highly emotional reminiscences, very comic scenes. Heading out to find the author‘s backlist. #romantsy

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Jaya
A Study in Death | Anna Lee Huber
Pickpick

Newly engaged to Sebastian, Lady D is still skittish & unsure that marriage is a good choice. It doesn‘t help that her once devoted BIL has emotionally abandoned her pregnant sister, the latest death might be a result of domestic abuse, & Sebastian keeps being secretive & deferring to his snobby dad. The mystery plot is 👍🏼 but the relationship hiccups are tiresome. Can‘t the 2 just live together? Or is Huber plotting a new partner for Lady D?

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Jaya
Look the Part | Jewel E Ann
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Pickpick

Just started and enjoying it so far! #romantsy

Shaila This sounds adorable! 😃 2y
7 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Jaya
Difference Between Us | Rachel Higginson
Mehso-so

I enjoyed Opposite of You but this one felt long & somewhat tedious. Molly was well conceived—an artist who‘s doing commercial design to appease her practical mother. Ezra, who in the earlier book reminded me of Linda Howard‘s Grey Rouilliard, is revealed to be a hurt-by-bad-women workaholic who is emotionally available.Their chemistry was unconvincing & eclipsed by the disgust & anger evoked by her boss‘s escalating sexual harassment. #romantsy

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Jaya
Year One | Nora Roberts
Mehso-so

Skimmed coz I‘m not into apocalyptic stories. NR‘s been writing this in many of her paranormal trilogies,so it‘s not as much of a break from her other work as she‘s said it would be. Good magic vs bad. The first 1/3 had diff groups‘ individual stories that merged into one in the middle but the last 1/3 broke off from the ensemble story & became a combo of cabin-in-the-woods romance meets the Savior‘s story, complete with a visiting wise man. Huh.

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Jaya
Pickpick

Anna and Charles are home without Bran when an old wolf sends a call for help. Who is after their elderly, isolated fellows? Over several skirmishes, the pack starts to understand an enemy who might be in their midst, even while it amassed resources outside. Magic, memories, modern weapons, and betrayal make this latest Omega novel a fast-paced read in a longer arc in the series. Not particularly memorable but entertaining nevertheless.

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Jaya
Lake Silence | Anne Bishop
Pickpick

New town & new characters, though still the world of the “terra indigene”. Character tropes get repeated (good human cop, abused woman protagonist, calm vampire ally, cruel humans, pragmatic shapeshifters, natural elements that take human shapes, people with ESP) but help sort out the confusingly long cast. Bishop‘s final conflict is always eye-rolling, with a woman in danger somehow left alone to deal with baddies, but the rest is entertaining.

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Jaya
Pickpick

Feels like the most metatextual of her novels: Eve tracks a serial killer, a former fan of a popular best-selling series of murder mysteries, who is recreating them after becoming disgruntled with the author. Lots of passages about how some readers can‘t maintain boundaries, invest too much in the fictional universe, & try to bully authors. Cozy scenes with Roarke, no one in the inner circle is in personal danger, & Bella makes a cute appearance.

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Jaya
Pickpick

The most thriller-like of K‘s work as the secret service hero tells the doctor heroine early that he‘s going to risk his life to expose a Deep State.The climax occurs midway (like Devil in Winter) & Garrett‘s medical grit is portrayed vividly.The 2nd half builds the fledgling romance.Ethan‘s tie to Devon & West is revealed. Feminist,but cliched references to the Kama Sutra & learning martial arts from a nameless Indian “guru” are uncool #romantsy

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Jaya
Roomies | Christina Lauren
Mehso-so

A 25-year old lives on her gay uncles‘ largesse in Manhattan & moons over a busker in the subway. She finds out he‘s an illegal immigrant who‘s perfect for her uncle‘s Broadway hit so she proposes marriage. They become lovers & just as quickly fall out over the secrets they‘ve been keeping. Many lost opportunities to heighten the stakes—of all the people for whom deportation would mean horrifying things, for ex., Lauren picks an Irishman #romantsy

Jokila Skipped it for that very reason. With all that‘s going on in the US with regards to deportations and anti-immigrant racism, it felt like the EXTREMELY wrong time for this story 😬 no thx 2y
Jaya @Jokila one of the bookclub members kept trying to tell me that Irish people can and were deported recently, and I was like, err, I‘m not contesting that... 2y
4 likes2 comments