A spirited and compulsively readable paranormal-romance series entry.

THE RAKE IS TAKEN

From the League of Lords series , Vol. 2

A fantasy romance featuring two superpowered lovers in Victorian-era England.

This new installment in Sumner’s League of Lords series takes a secondary character from its predecessor, The Lady Is Trouble (2020), and puts him center stage. In 1855, Finn Alexander, the adopted son of a viscount, has the paranormal ability to read people’s minds, and he’s set up a gambling den that’s become wildly popular among the well-to-do. But his special talent comes with a price, as his mind is constantly filled with the background noise of others’ thoughts. This, in part, leads to his deep interest in the engaged Lady Victoria Hamilton, whose own powers allow her to erase people’s short-term memories and block others’ powers from working. He experiences the latter power firsthand, and the experience is a first for him: “Added to the bizarre circumstance of not being able to read her, being close to her obscured his ability to read others, like she’d dimmed the flame on the gaslamp of his mind, leaving only his thoughts to contend with.” Finn finds himself truly intrigued by her on multiple levels, and he soon introduces her to a clandestine group of similarly superpowered men and women. As in the previous volume, Sumner seamlessly blends gaslight-era fantasy and conventional historical romance. She also perfectly incorporates detailed supernatural elements into her well-researched setting. Her two central characters are compelling and believably damaged; each comes from a radically different segment of society, and each finds themselves in a relationship that they weren’t expecting. Finn, in particular, is a highly rewarding fictional creation—a well-drawn combination of roguery and vulnerability. Readers may be initially drawn to the book for its exciting paranormal aspects, but they’ll stay for the electric dialogue between Finn and Victoria, which includes plenty of comic banter. (Those expecting X-Men–style superheroics, though, won’t find it here.) Overall, it’s a sparkling addition to this promising series.

A spirited and compulsively readable paranormal-romance series entry.

Pub Date: May 23, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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The Hunger Games intersects with Greek lore in this male-female-male erotic romance.

WICKED BEAUTY

Three aspirants to power in Olympus clash on a mock battlefield—and in the bedroom.

Achilles, second-in-command in Athena’s special forces, wants to become the new Ares in this third volume of Robert’s Dark Olympus series, a modern twist on the classical Greek pantheon. He’s taking Patroclus, his best friend and lover, with him into the competition for the title, but neither counted on spoiled rich girl Helen entering the fray. Helen is tired of being treated reductively by her poisonous ex, Paris, and as a pawn by her family, headed by the newly ascended Zeus. Winning the title of Ares, commander of Olympus’ army, is her path to independence. But then, surprising even her, a couple she’s competing against makes her want to trust them. Patroclus has always loved Achilles, his impulsive warrior partner, but seeing Helen stirs memories of a childhood friendship that’s turning into adult longing. Can these two wary overthinkers win their hearts’ desires while forming a throuple with the impulsive Achilles? As they all jostle to protect themselves while winning these brutal Olympics, their sexual and emotional needs could bind them into a fulfilling alliance or, if their ambitions get in the way, rip them apart. For readers who want a sexy updated mythology that’s mindful of current conversations about consensual play in a ménage à trois or those who enjoy romance novels with a Survivor motif, such as Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series, this could be just the thing. The first-person narrative revolves among the three protagonists, and the intensive navel-gazing might detract from the sex scenes (featuring both couples and threesomes) for some readers.

The Hunger Games intersects with Greek lore in this male-female-male erotic romance.

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-179-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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A funny but uneven take on love at the end of the world.

NOT YOUR AVERAGE HOT GUY

It’s the end of the world as she knows it, but the Prince of Hell is fine.

Callie, a recent college graduate living back at home with her mother, is admittedly “flailing a bit” at adulthood. With no idea what to do with her history degree, she's helping to run The Great Escape, the family’s successful escape room business. But on Callie's first weekend taking the reins while her mom is away, all hell breaks loose—literally. A satanic cult headed by the blackhearted Solomon Elerion has been drawn to the occult-inspired escape room for a prop book of spells that turns out to be very real, hoping to summon a high-level demon. Their plan? To bargain for the location of The Holy Lance, which they will use to bring about the apocalypse. Luke Morningstar, Prince of Hell, is also finding adulthood harder than he imagined. He has yet to receive his wings and is under strict orders from his father to start harvesting souls for the underworld. When his supervisor, Lucifuge Rofocale, is summoned by Elerion, Luke goes in his stead with grand plans to accomplish this task and get his dad off his back. What he doesn’t plan for is Callie, their immediate attraction, or how much he wants to help her save the world. The author successfully creates a tongue-in-cheek supernatural adventure held up by witty banter and a ragtag team of heroic underdogs, including Callie's nonbinary best friend, the artistic and stylish Mag. But the lackluster instalove romance between a stereotypically bookish heroine and a demon who's supposed to be hot as hellfire but lacks any sinister devilishness, pacing that's off, and ham-fisted pop-culture references drag the novel down.

A funny but uneven take on love at the end of the world.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2507-7174-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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