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Forever Your Earl, by Eva Leigh

18 Jan
A blonde white woman wearing a royal blue gown, her shoulders and back bare, looks back over her shoulder at the reader, holding a masquerade mask with tall pink plumes. The background and overall color palette indicates the interior of a grand British mansion at night.

I have had a signed copy of this book waiting on the TBR for a long time–I think I may have gotten it at RWA 2017, which was held in Orlando that year, but honestly, my memory can’t be trusted on this, it may have been even longer than that. As it’s the first in a series and the first the author wrote under this name, it feels very appropriate for SuperWendy’s January TBR Challenge theme: starting over. (see footnote 1)

Eva Leigh is one of Zoë Archer‘s pseudonyms; like Amanda Quick before her, this author has reinvented herself as inspiration and the market have intersected, generally with great success with readers.

Reader beware: a secondary character suffers from severe PTSD (no episodes on page), explicit sex on page.

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Ten Things I Hate About the Duke, by Loretta Chase

2 Jan
A white redheaded woman, with long hear loose, wearing a fuchsia gown with ruffles and a ribbon futtlering behind her, as she runs up some stone steps towards a white stone mansion far in the distance. She's caught stealing a glance over her shoulders, towards the viewer.

Last week I said that I would wait before reading the next Difficult Dukes book.

What do you know, I was kidding myself. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered whether Ms Chase would make Ashmont, drunkard extraordinaire, work for me.

Reader beware: backstory of maternal death in childbirth and paternal neglect (and a bit of a spoiler for A Duke in Shining Armor in the review).

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A Duke in Shining Armor, by Loretta Chase

30 Dec
A white woman with loose long hair, wearing a long white gown and holding a bouquet of white flowers, running over a manicured lawn towards an English mansion/palace in the distance.

Well, this was a disappointment, though I’m well aware this is a case of my expectations rather than what the book is.

I expected substance, and what is there is all fluff, and so my reviewing this year ends with a whimper.

Allow me to explain.

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Anger is a Gift, by Mark Oshiro

26 Oct
Illustrated cover for _Anger is a Gift_, with a young Black man facing away from the viewer and into the streets and buildings and smoggy pavements of a city. The seal of the Schneider Family Book Award is off to the side, and below that, "A beautiful and brutal debut" quote by Adam Sivera (author of, _They both die at the end_)

I bought this book on release, intending to read it soon after, and then life (and the world) got in the way.

Reader beware: this is a very hard book to read, because the line between fiction and reality is blurred. The cover quote that calls it “beautiful and brutal” is on the money. It is a story of love and loss and survival, of systemic racism and the routine police violence that kills hundreds of Black and Brown people in the U.S. every year.

Hundreds. Every year.

To say nothing of the many more people they wound every year, often leaving them disabled for life.

All with impunity.

Also, the protagonist is a gay teenage boy, with queer friends of all flavors, so if you have a problem with young people who do not fit a cis hetero binary, don’t bother reading further.

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