5 Romance Novels Featuring Protagonists with Unique Jobs

Are you tired about reading romance novels with business people, professional athletes, rockstars, authors, and other ‘conventional’ jobs for the genre? If so, this post is for you! I’ll highlight 5 romance novels which feature protagonists with unique jobs.

This post is a follow up of a similar post, where I highlighted 5 cozy mysteries featuring protagonists with unique jobs. All blurbs are adapted and paraphrased from their original blurbs on Goodreads

Want by Emma Rider

The Unusual Job: Jade is a professional cuddler. Because of her criminal record, this is the first well-paying job she’s able to find.

The Story: This is a contemporary romance about Jade and MMA fighter Ryland. A motorcycle club threatens Jade’s best friend, so she does everything she can to try and save him while also paying off her debts. To do that, she signs a contract to cuddle Ryland. Ryland wants her and Jade wants him too, but she tries to keep their contact platonic – key word being tries.

The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall

The Unusual Job: Need someone to plan your wedding, pretend to be your friend, and be your bridesmaid? If so, Sophie is the gal for you!

The Story: This is a rom-com, where Sophie is hired by a bride’s mom to plan a major London society wedding. However, the bride is a bridezilla, making Sophie’s job difficult. Plus, she’s attracted to Cordelia’s older brother Tom, who’s definitely off-limits, there’s another big society wedding on the same day as the wedding she’s planning, and the bride isn’t happy with her mom’s decision to hire Sophie… this will be a day to remember!

The Sexorcist by Vivi Andrews

The Unusual Job: Luis exorcises demons for Karmic Consultants. Karmic Consultants is the throughline of the series – it’s a business where mediums help ghosts pass through to the other side.

The Story: Brittany’s never planned a wedding before. But here she is, planning a wedding, and a demon is threatening the event. She calls Karmic Consultants for help and Luis answers the call. They can’t afford to be distracted by a romance if they want the wedding to go well, but

Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Philips

The Unusual Job: Alex is a expert of bull whips. He manages a travelling circus (which is where much of the book is set).

The Story: Daisy has a choice: she can either to go jail, or she can marry a mystery man in an arranged marriage. Alex is that man, but he doesn’t think very highly of Daisy and doesn’t want to spend that much time with her. So, to the traveling circus they both go, where they will learn that there’s more to the other than they thought.

Morning Glory Milking Farm by C.M. Nascosta

The Unusual Job: Violet finds a job milking minotaurs (monster with the body of a man and the head of a bull). And uh… she’s not milking them like you would milk a cow for milk. It’s way more NSFW as the Goodreads reviews will explain.

The Story: Violet is badly in need of a job, so when she sees an opportunity at Morning Glory Milking Farm, she jumps on board. They offer great hours, great benefits, great pay… but she’ll have to milk minotaurs for her pay.

One of her clients begins requesting her for his milking sessions. Crushing on her client definitely isn’t in her plans. But, maybe her crush on this monster isn’t as one sided as she thinks…

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any recommendations for romance novels with unusual professions? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below!

What It’s Like to Not Be Able to Picture Anything When Reading

If I asked you to close your eyes and picture a sunset, what might you see? Maybe you see a vivid picture of the sunset, so vivid it’s like you’re imaging a scene from real life. Maybe you see something blurrier, with the colours of the sunset visible but no clear image.

Me? I see nothing. I know what a sunset looks like and I can describe one to you with words. But when I try to picture a sunset in my head, all I see is black.

The inability to create mental images in your mind is called aphantasia. I’ve read that aphtansia is on a spectrum, as some people with aphantasia can see some hazy images in their minds eye. However, I’m completely aphantasic as I cannot create any mental images.

I love reading (perhaps in spite of my aphantasia?) but I think my aphantasia might lead me to approach reading differently than other people without.

Overly descriptive language doesn’t do much for me

Learning about what a character looks like or what the setting is like does help me understand a story better. For example, I still know what a character with red hair looks like even if I can’t picture it in my head.

But it’s a different story when an author goes on about a character’s hair, or all their physical features, or the map of the city the book is set in, or the exact layout of the room the characters are in.

I’ll still process this information and it might give me some insight about the story itself. I personally find these sections very unhelpful and tend to glaze over sections like this if they start to drag on for too long. I think these sections are meant to help readers picture the story better but I can’t picture anything anyways!

What helps me better picture something is when authors give references to senses that aren’t just visual, like an author describing a plate of food not only by how it looks but also how it tastes and smells. Book illustrations that show a map or how the author pictures the character are also great since they give me a better sense of what everything is supposed to look like.

The way that the words sound, the author’s writing style, and the plot itself are more important for me since the words themselves are my main way of engaging with the book, not the pictures the author creates.

I’m a fast reader

I can’t speak for everyone with aphantasia, but I wonder if there’s a relationship between aphantasia and reading speed. My guess (with a sample size of one) is that people with aphantasia might read faster because they can’t visualize. Or, maybe people with aphantasia read slower because it takes a lot more effort for us to ‘see’ things?

I’ve heard some people say that reading is like a movie in their head and that they slow down to visualize the scenes they’re reading about. But it’s not something that I can do because of my aphantasia, so I never stop to try and do this. I just focus on the words itself and what they’re conveying, if that makes sense. Not stopping to visualize scenes saves me a lot of time when I’m reading.

If I felt like it and I had the time, I could finish a 300+ page book in a day and still remember much of the book afterwards! This was a really useful, but unintentionally developed skill in university. I was an international relations major and had a lot of readings for my classes. The ability to read quickly made it easier to get through what I had and to manage my workload. Though, it did make geography classes a bit tougher since I had a hard time picturing where things were and where places were in relation to one another.

Do you have aphantasia? If so, how does it impact your reading? And for those of you who can visualize, what’s reading while being able to picture things in your head like?

Revisiting Archie Comics as an Adult

I was super excited to learn that there are a bunch of Archie Comics available on Kindle Unlimited. Pages and pages of Archie all included with the cost of my subscription! So, I decided to borrow a comic (Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #322, to be precise) and relive my childhood.

Archie was my special treat when I was younger. A few times a year, I was allowed to purchase a new Archie from the grocery store. I’d read those comics over and over again. Life got even better when I found out that a used book store near me sold Archie Comics for a fraction of the price as the regular store and I got to pick up two comics at a time!

Because of how special Archie was to me as a kid, I expected to feel nostalgic and happy when I read the new comic. Instead, I found myself disliking the book. And I found myself asking:

Did I approach the comic with unrealistic expectations?

The Betty/Veronica/Archie triangle was a thing in the comics when I was reading them all those years ago and it seems to be a perpetual part of the story. Betty, the everyday girl and Veronica, the heiress are friends but also fight over Archie. A lot. I remember the comics I liked having the love triangle but I don’t remember (or don’t notice) it being as prominent as it was in this comic.

The other thing I liked about those comics were that they featured other characters too, outside of Archie and his friends (even though the series is called Archie). Sometimes we saw Cheryl and her friends, Josie and the Pussycats, maybe Sabrina the Teenage Witch. But none of them showed up in the edition I read. Maybe it’s a licensing thing, or a decision by the company to split their stories into different books now?

Ultimately, I do think I approached the read with unrealistic expectations. I expected a lot of the things I liked about Archie all those years ago to show up again and that wasn’t fair of me.

For one, the Archie of today isn’t going to be the same as the Archie I read about ten years ago. #322 is a pretty recent edtion. Comics and the stories they tell change over time, and I shouldn’t expect the comics to be exactly as I remembered them all those years ago.

Also, I’m remembering the Archie comics through very rose-coloured glasses. It could be that the Betty/Veronica/Archie triangle was just as bad, if not worse, in the comics I read, but I just didn’t pick up on it. It could be that the Cheryl/Josie/Sabrina features were infrequent and I just remembered the few I read. I was a kid then and I’m an adult now, so of course my preferences and the things I notice are going to change over time.

I think what hit harder was the realization that I’m growing out of a lot of the things I liked as a kid and Archie is one of the casualties. Did I enjoy reading the comic, yes, but I didn’t feel the same happiness that I used to feel as a kid.

Have you ever revisited a childhood favourite? If so, how did you feel after? Was it an experience like mine or was it something more positive? I’d love to know your thoughts!

What Does It Mean for a Book to Be Political?

Politics in books can be a contentious topic, and I get why some people aren’t interested in reading about it. It’s a contentious topic, it’s not always treated with care in books, and people often want to escape into books and away from the politics of the real world.

And I feel the same way too sometimes, but other times, I really love a political read. Considering that I recently finished four years of an international relations degree where I took a lot of political science classes in the process, politics is often something that’s on my mind.

And one thing I’ve noticed the more time I’ve spent in the bookish community is how narrowly defined ‘politics’ in books can sometimes be.

When books are criticized as being political, it’s often a very specific type of politics that’s being pointed out.

For example, in cozy mysteries, I’ve noticed Goodreads reviewers will sometimes use the criticism of ‘too political’ around issues broadly relating to diversity.

Take the reviews for Candy Slain Murder by Maddy Day for example. Some Goodreads reviewers called it ‘political’ (and also ‘woke’, ‘preachy’, and ‘PC’) because of its discussions of discrimination. In the book, a few background characters face Islamophobia from others in the town. There is also a known white supremacist, KKK member, and all around nasty man who is harshly criticized by other characters.

I usually only see the ‘political’ critique being levelled against books that tackle diversity and discrimination, but never against other books that could be read as having other political themes. I’m not as familiar with critiques against politics in other genres, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re similar to what I see in cozies. Which brings me to my next point:

Political issues often appear in books – even in books that aren’t considered political

There are a lot of different definitions of politics in academics. For example, Harold Lasswell’s definition of politics, which is about “who gets what, when, and how”. Joyce Mitchell says it’s about “the collective decision-making or policy-making common to the whole society”. Max Weber says politics is about “striving for a share of power or for influence on the distribution of power”

I don’t know if I can pinpoint what the best definition of politics and the political is in one blog post, and I’m sure this is a hotly contested issue among some academics. But to me, political issues are more than just diversity and identity politics. It’s more than elections and listening to what politicians have to say on an issue. Politics is all about power, the relationships we have with one another, and how groups of people make decisions.

For example, I’ve never seen a review criticizing a cozy for being political because it criticized police officers and/or the work of the local police station. This is an extremely common theme in cozies! And to me, it’s related to very political topics in many countries: police reform, police misconduct, and the role of the police in communities. This is something I hear a lot in the news, both in relation to Canadian current events but also to policing around the world, yet it isn’t called out as political?

Similarly, I’ve never seen a review criticizing a cozy for being political because characters are trying to save a small town business, a topic that comes up from time to time in cozies. Whether people (or the government) should intervene to support a fading business is – you guessed it – a political issue. So too is the question of how much to support this business and what this support should look like.

It’s important to remember that political issues and the way they’re interpreted change over space and time. An issue that appears political to one person might not be political to another because the issue is understood differently in another community. Still, I do think that politics shows up in literature more than many of us realize.

Maybe there’s even an argument to be made that every book can be considered political in some way. Maybe there’s one or more themes that intersect with politics, or maybe the very publication of that book and what it symbolizes can be politically contentious.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you feel about politics in your books? What kinds of issues do you find are typically labelled as political? And what makes a book political?

Should You Review Self-Published Books Differently than Traditionally Published Books?

Since I’ve started book blogging, I’ve started reading more books by self-published authors. These authors do the writing, editing, publishing, and marketing by themselves – or they hire others to help them with the process.

Because self-published authors have access to different resources than traditionally published authors, I’ve seen some people argue that their books should be reviewed differently. The basic argument is those differences should be taken into account when writing a review and giving a star rating, and ultimately one should be more lenient towards the self-published author because of their situation.

However, I don’t agree with that. I think that self-published books should be reviewed the same as traditionally published books, for a few reasons.

Reviews are for other readers

It’s unfair for me to expect absolute perfection from any book, no matter how they’re published. And it’s true that many self-published authors face challenges because of their decision to self-publish. For example, an author might lack the money to hire an editor or to commission a stunning custom cover.

I do try to keep these limitations in mind when I’m reviewing. However, it doesn’t mean that I’m less honest about the book itself. I can understand why a self-published author might not have an editor, but if I think the book would benefit from editing, I’ll mention that.

Reviews are for readers who are looking for information about a book and I feel like I would be doing readers a disservice if I wasn’t honest about the book. Going too easy (or too hard) on a self-published book makes the review itself less useful.

Reviews aren’t written specifically for authors, but if an author were to read my review, being honest would hopefully help them too. Reviews are a marketing tool for them, and I’d think that having an honest review (whether positive or negative) would be more useful than one that’s dishonest.

Combatting the stigma against self-published books

By being more lenient on self-published books, it can create the impression that leniency is required because self-published books are inherently inferior, or because self-published authors need all the help they can get. Conversely, being tougher on self-published books than their traditionally published counterparts could also reinforce the idea that self-published books are inherently inferior.

Self-published books still face difficulty in getting talked about and purchased because of their self-published nature, and I don’t think that giving them special treatment helps to address this issue.

After all, self-published books are sold right alongside the traditionally published stuff. I think it makes sense to hold both types of books to the same standard – while being aware of the potential limitations that authors in both categories may face. At the end of the day, a book is a book no matter where it comes from.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you review self-published books and if so, what is your approach when reviewing them?

I’m Feeling Frustrated with Cozy Mysteries

Cozies have a special place in my heart. They were my first introduction to adult fiction and the first books I reviewed when I started this blog. Shoutout to Betty Hechtman who wrote the first cozy I ever read! I loved reading about the mysteries, I loved trying to solve them, I loved getting to know the characters, and I loved the coziness.

But lately, I’ve been feeling very frustrated with the genre. I’ve been finding myself reaching more and more for a romance novel instead. And the more I read romance, the more I reflect on my frustrations with cozies. There’s one reason that sticks out to me:

Cozies are starting to feel stale to me

I haven’t seen one commonly accepted definition of a cozy mystery but to me, I’d define it as having no explicit sexual content or violence, little to no swearing, and a ‘cozy’ feeling that invites the reader into the book. The main mystery should be solved by the end of the book and the ending should be happy.

Technically, this is a pretty loose definition and there are a lot of stories that can be told within this framework. However, I’m getting to the point where cozies are starting to feel somewhat repetitive. A lot of cozies stick to the same formula, down to the details.

Almost every single cozy I’ve read is set in the contemporary time in small town USA, featuring a white woman in her 30s or older. She is almost always financially comfortable. She likely owns her own small business, often in the areas of food, arts & crafts, or books. If she doesn’t own a business, there’s a good chance she’ll work in one of those three fields. She often has a pet (usually a dog or cat, maybe both).

She will have a close group of friends and/or family that aren’t too different than herself. If she’s in a romantic relationship, it will be with a man who also works a fairly conventional profession (eg. police officer, chef). She will use some tech but it probably won’t be used to solve the mystery.

As for the mystery itself, it’s almost always a murder. Often the victim is someone the town didn’t like or an outsider, or it’s an insider who the town loved. The suspects are often disliked by the town in some way, perhaps due to their moral dubiousness, while the protagonist is morally good and pretty squeaky clean.

There is always an understandable (but not justified) motive for the crime. The protagonist might make the police mad at first with their involvement but by the end, the police will be at least a little grateful that they solved the case.

I want to be clear: there’s nothing wrong with cozies that are written this way! It’s just that lately, I’ve been hoping for cozies that are a little different than this mold, that tell a cozy story but from a slightly different angle. I’ve been finding more success in millennial cozy mysteries and self-published cozy mysteries but it can be tiring to try and search for the right book that won’t feel stale.

It’s probably because I’m still pretty new to romance, but I’m not feeling burnt out or bored by it (yet). I’m at the point where I’m still reading at least something new in every book I read. I think it helps that romance is a pretty big genre, so there is relatively more to choose from than cozies. I still haven’t hit a wall with that genre yet.

Genres have their formulas for a reason. They’re there to help a book in that genre fit into that genre and they make sure that the reader’s expectations are met. But is it too much to ask for a cozy that plays around with this formula, even just a little bit?

I’m not going to stop reading cozies or reviewing them for this blog, but I do think it’s important to take a step back. I read for fun and it doesn’t make sense to be forcing cozies right now if that’s not what I’m finding fun. Focusing on the cozies that look the most interesting to me instead of reading it just because it’s a cozy is probably a better way to go.

Have you ever read a cozy and if so, how do you feel about the genre? Is there a genre that you’re feeling burnt out on and what are your tips for getting out of that slump?

5 Reasons Why I Won’t Pick Up a Self-Published Book

I read a lot of self-published fiction, especially through Kindle Unlimited. So this isn’t meant to be a knock against self-published books at all! There are plenty of self-published books that are as good as traditionally published books, if not better.

However, there’s also a lot of poorly written, unappealing self-published books that are listed alongside the more outstanding works.

The more I scroll, the more I notice the commonalities among the poorer self-published fiction out there. Here are the 5 reasons why I won’t pick up a self-published book, reasons that I think all self-published authors should be aware of before publication.

The cover looks unprofessional

I understand that self-published authors handle all parts of the publishing process themselves and it costs money to hire a cover artist. However, unless the author is a talented graphic designer with experience making covers, I really think that this is a necessary cost. It signals to the reader that the author is willing to invest time, effort, and money into their book and that the author is interested in creating a professional product for the reader.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but I do think the cover should look like it wasn’t created on Paint or on Microsoft Word. Even an inexpensive pre-made cover or commission off Fiverr will look better than an author trying to do cover art on their own! Because I have seem some truly unfortunate self-published covers…

The blurb has issues

Traditionally published authors can have awful blurbs too, but I notice that the awful blurbs are particularly awful for some self-published books. Perhaps there are spelling and grammar errors in the blurb. Perhaps the author wrote one huge chunk of text but didn’t split it into paragraphs. Perhaps they are incredibly vague about what the book’s about.

One of the first things a reader sees is the blurb and it’s vital to make a good impression. To me, issues with the blurb may indicate that the book itself has similar issues. For example, if an author has spelling errors in the blurb, that may be a sign that their quality control is somewhat lacking and I should expect to find spelling errors throughout the book.

While self-published authors often lack the resources of traditionally published authors, I don’t think it excuses them from a poor blurb. There are many free resources that can help an author craft their own blurb from online guides to sourcing feedback from other authors.

The book doesn’t look like other books from the same genre

When I’m looking at a book, I should be able to tell what genre it’s from – or at least, what genre the book is trying to be. For example, cozy mysteries often have softer and lighter colours on their covers, so a cozy mystery cover with a lot of dark or neon colours could look very out of place.

In my experience, a cover not looking like others in the genre is often a sign that the author doesn’t really know the genre they’re writing for, and that will show in the book. Also, they probably haven’t done their research about the publishing side of the genre.

I often enjoy genre-bending fiction like cozy mystery/thriller combinations or romance/mystery combinations. Still, I feel like authors should be hitting the beats of at least some of the cover beats of one of those genres in their cover. Again, this can be an issue in traditional publishing but I’ve seen some self-published books that are particularly bad.

There are little to no reviews

Getting reviews can be tough for self-published authors, especially if they’re just starting out. But they really do make a difference in catching the reader’s eye – or at least, this reader. If I see that a book has zero reviews or nothing but short 5-star reviews, I often get nervous about picking up the book. And I’d say the same thing about traditionally published books as well.

There are many self-publishing communities where authors can learn more about how to market their books and get reviews. /r/selfpublish for example, has a wiki page with information on a bunch of different methods, some of which are free. In my eyes, being self-published isn’t enough to explain away a lack of reviews.

Do you read self-published fiction? Why or why not? Do you have any particular reasons for not picking up a self-published book or self-published books in general? I’d love to know your thoughts!

My One Year Blogiversary on Mint Loves Books!

I can’t believe it’s been one year since I started blogging. Where does the time go? I certainly didn’t expect to meet so many wonderful people through this hobby but I’m so glad I started because I’ve met all of you!

Thank you to everyone that has made book blogging so incredible. Thank you to everyone that I’ve met, to everyone that’s ever read my blog, to everyone that follows my posts. Thank you to everyone that’s ever given me advice and inspiration. And thank you to authors for making so many wonderful books that inspire my blogging! Just… thank you!

Book blogging has transformed my reading and in such a positive way. I love being part of a community that loves books as much as I do because I don’t have this kind of support in my real life. I also deeply enjoy the act of recording how I feel about books and looking back at these records.

My first year of book blogging in numbers

In the interest of transparency and looking back on where I’ve been as my blog ages, I wanted to share some information about my blog’s stats (all from WordPress stats). Hopefully this information will be useful to newer book bloggers as well!

My blog has:

  • 150 posts
    • Most people find my blog through the WordPress Reader. Far below this number are search engines and Twitter, the next largest sources of traffic.
  • 938 unique visitors from 50 different countries
    • The top three countries traffic-wise are the US, India, and Canada.

My five most popular posts

These are all discussion posts! This is consistent with what I’ve heard from other book bloggers so I wasn’t too surprised but still. I thought there’d be at least one review or list in there.

I do think this number is slightly off though. From what I understand, it only counts views for those who read the individual posts and not those who scroll through my home page.

Thank you everyone for all of your support for the past year. If there’s anything else you’re curious about stats-wise, any questions about blogging in general, let me know and I’ll try my best to answer them.

Why New Adults Isn’t for ‘New Adult’ Readers

As defined by Goodreads, New Adult is supposed to be a bridge genre between YA and adult, usually with protagonists between 18 and 25.

Based on this definition, New Adult should be right up my alley! Yet, I usually don’t make an effort to look for books from this genre.

I think there are a number of problems with the New Adult genre that make it so that the genre isn’t always a great fit for readers in the target audience, and that’s what I want to talk about in today’s discussion post.

Who is New Adult supposed to be for?

The age range of the New Adult target audience is only seven years, but I feel like the life experiences included in that range are very different.

18 year olds might be heading off to college or trade school, or they might be stepping into a full-time career for the first time. On the other hand, 25 year olds might be post-secondary graduates or even graduate school graduates, maybe with quite a few years of workforce experience under their belts.

Of course, you don’t have to be at the same point in your life as someone in a book to like it, but I do think it can be easier to be drawn into a book if you see some similarities between yourself and the book.

And it’s a tough task for New Adult to be able to try and speak to people in these two categories, plus everyone who doesn’t neatly fit into either category.

Books labelled as New Adult are often a better fit for YA or Adult.

The difference between being a teenager or an adult in real life feels kind of vague at times, but I feel that there is a clear distinction between YA and adult in terms of things like themes, tropes, writing style, and more.

New Adult is supposed to be this in-between, but I often find that it ends up leaning more towards one side of the bridge than the other. And because of that, it doesn’t make a very good bridge between YA and adult.

Take The Deal by Elle Kennedy for example. It’s a sports romance novel with two college-aged protagonists. Over 3,000 people labelled it as New Adult on Goodreads, but it looks way more like an adult book to me, with the classic shirtless adult romance cover!

YA can have sexual content, but at least to my knowledge it’s not extremely explicit. The Deal is supposed to have multiple on-page sex scenes according to Romance.io. I feel like the steam level is much closer to Adult romance, and could be quite jarring for someone who’s used to reading low-to-no steam from YA.

Lack of genre variety

Most of the New Adult books I know of, like The Deal or A Court of Thorns and Roses are either romance or romance-adjacent. Which is fantastic if that’s what you’re interested in, but there seems to be a real lack of variety for someone who’s looking for something different.

There’s teen non-fiction and adult non-fiction, but New Adult non-fiction isn’t really a thing (that I know of). I don’t get any hits for New Adult mystery on Google either, even though there is YA mystery and adult mystery.

New Adult can’t be a genre (label?) that speaks to everyone in the 18-25 age range if it only offers a couple of genres within to pick from.

What do you think about New Adult books? Do you read them? Do you think the genre classification is useful?

The DNF Roundup

Do you sometimes hit a stretch of books that don’t work for you, that are all DNFs? These DNFs are all from one of these times.

I don’t give full reviews or star ratings to books I DNF. I will however, include them in round-ups like this one.

Resort at Castaway Bay: Truth or Dare by Kathi Daley

Quick summary

This cozy mystery follows forensic psychologist and FBI agent Sydney Whitmore who moves home to her family’s holiday resort after a case gone wrong. What was supposed to be a vacation turns into a mystery as she’s roped into a missing persons case: ten high school students went camping but only eight came back.

My thoughts

There was a lot of info dumping at the beginning. To some extent, this should be expected in the first book of a cozy mystery series. In this book, the info dumping stood out to me as particularly unnatural and dry. Someone on Goodreads commented that the character voices all sounded very similar no matter who the characters were and I would agree with their assessment.

This series didn’t click with me but I’d be open to checking out another series from this author in case they’re more up my alley.

The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon

Quick summary

In this fantasy romance, fairytales are real. All of them. Camelot tries to keep the bad under control, but who gets to decide what bad means? Guinevere was the queen, but now Arthur’s dead and her daughter is considered to have been born bad. And now the definitely bad Scarecrow is trying to marry her and take over the kingdom. To save her family and the kingdom, Guinevere enters into an arranged marriage with Midas, kingpin of Camelot’s underworld.

My thoughts

I loved how this book remixed fairytales, as this is a Guinevere (from King Arthur) and Midas pairing. It seemed quite original in its approach. It just skewed a little too fantasy from what I was looking for on that day. It also didn’t draw me in at the beginning despite an action-filled scene, particularly because the characters seemed quite chatty.

This is the third book in the series, so maybe I needed to start at the beginning to enjoy this one better?From what I read though, I do think it’d work as a standalone because you can figure out the world-building through context clues.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Darria

Quick summary

Soap opera actress Jasmine Lin Rodriguez has just been cast in a new show! This could be a big opportunity for her. There’s just a few problems. Jasmine’s all over the tabloids after a messy public breakup. And Jasmine is falling for the show’s romantic lead Ashton, an older, popular telenovela actor that’s trying to save his career. This romance is about to be both on and off the silver screen but can it last?

My thoughts

Sigh. I was really excited about this one, as I waited about two months for my hold to clear at the library. It’s a really fun premise for a romance (celebrities! telenovelas! soap operas!) and I’ve heard good things about the Latino representation in this book.

However, the author’s writing style was just not my jam. It was too detailed and clunky for me, with a lot of info dumping in the first few chapters. I also wish I’d read the reviews more carefully before I ran to place a hold on the book because the MMC has a kid and that’s usually not my jam either.

Just because I DNF’ed these books doesn’t mean they’re not worth reading; they just weren’t for me.

Have you DNF’ed anything recently? What books were they and why did you DNF?