LGTBQI+ · Romance

Review: Boyfriend Material

Title: Boyfriend Material
Author: Alexis Hall
Page Count: 432
Publication: July 2020
Series: Boyfriend Material #1

[Amazon | Indie Bound | BN | Find at your local library]

(Other reviews: Publisher’s Weekly, EW)

Reviewed by Natalie

The premise is a little thin: Luc “needs” a boyfriend to get back donations for his company’s big annual event. It’s a bit silly, BUT the rest of the story?

GLORIOUS!

Luc is a mess; he’s beyond a mess. His only stability are his friends (who he neglects very badly) and his mom. He has no belief in himself at all and trusts no one. Then there’s Oliver. Oliver is a straight-laced barrister. Luc’s complete opposite. They agree to fake date for Luc’s event and for Oliver’s parent’s upcoming anniversary party. We all know how fake dating works in this type of book: real feelings start to grow. There is so much about this book to like: Oliver’s amazing friends, the witty banter between Luc and Oliver, and of course, the romance. You root for these two through the entire book. They are perfect for each other; they just don’t know it! I found myself laughing out loud at some of the banter between the two heroes.

This is one of those books that fills you with happiness for days after reading it. I highly recommend it!

 

LGTBQI+ · Paranormal · Romance

Review: Payback’s a Witch

Title: Payback’s a Witch
Author: Lana Harper
Page Count: 352
Publication: October 2021
Series: Thistle Grover Witches #1

[Amazon | IndieBound | BN | Find it at your local library]

(Other reviews: Library Journal, BookPage, and Kirkus)

I continue on with my witchy books! It’s the spoopy season so shoot me.

Full of sass, sexy, and humour, Payback’s a Witch tickled me from both ends and I mean that in a very good way. The writing was slow at first and after the rush of The Ex Hex, that could be understandable. The Ex Hex throws you headlong into the story and there are no actions spared

Not so much with Payback’s a Witch and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We meet Emmy Harlow as she comes back to town for once in a generation tournament between the four witch families in Thistle Grove after a self-imposed exile in Chicago. In Chicago, she has not only become what she believes is herself but also her magic has waned and doesn’t fuck with her life like it does in Thistle Grove. But once she finds out that the man-boy who broke her heart has also broken the heart of two other witchy friends, hell is about to get loose.

But I must discuss what most reviews seem to want to not discuss: the hot sex, slow, and steamy build of a sexy relationship between Emmy and Talia. Harper builds this delicious slow and sexy world between Emmy and Talia that you can feel the spark from the page. You want to be either Emmy or Talia (it doesn’t matter much who) and be a part of that coupling. You do, you really do.

I’m not sure why the queer romance between Emmy and Talia is rarely mentioned in reviews as the book has gotten starred reviews around the publishing world. It’s not gratuitous. Emmy doesn’t come back to Thistle Grove “OH HOO I IZ A LESBIAN” and Talia isn’t stereotyped either. They are just hot (and fall in love) with each other and that’s what most important. I’m so, so thrilled that while we’re not given much of Emmy’s past relationships and that falling for a girl was just as natural as drinking coffee. Representation is important.

I also really liked how the world felt real. The witchy behaviour and the paranormal lives didn’t feel artificial or over the top. That’s always a concern for me when I read paranormal books that the world isn’t believable. Does magic exist? Sure, why not. There is no real reason why it can’t exist. There is so much about our world we have yet to understand or seems magical so that if people can cast spells and make inanimate things talk, why not?

From Bad to Cursed, book #2 in the Thistle Grove Witches series, comes out in May 2022 and I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty impatient. I read the first chapter and I was like, “Goddammit!” when the sample ended. I hope to god the ARC shows up on Netgalley or there will be hell to pay.

The tl;dr: Read it. Read it for the fun. Read it for the HEA (which Harper dangles at first in front of us). Read it for the romance. Just read it.