Built to Last, by Erin Hahn

17 Oct
Illustrated cover for Built to Last; it shows a house with two open windows; in one, there's a dark haired white man with a beard, in the other a blonde white woman. They're both leaning slightly out the windows to look at each other. There's a ladder outside, leaning against the siding, with an open can of paint.

I asked for an ARC of this back in May, because I saw the cover on twitter, and the blurb said it has the kind of second chance at love I can enjoy: they were friends and more as kids and teens, now they’re in their late 20s. There’s enough time and distance for them to have grown from the people who screwed up their chances to grown adults who can make a relationship work.

Reader beware: there’s graphic sex on the page, and some cursing; there’s the tropetastic narcissistic stage mom, and a bastard ex whose motivations are…he’s an asshole? Also, all white, all the time.

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The Socialite’s Guide to Murder, by S.K. Golden

12 Oct
Cover for The Socialite's Guide to Murder; on a black background, there's a front elevation of an art deco hotel, rendered in golden/cream. Some of the windows appear to be 'open' and through them we see figures doing suspicious things. The moon peeks from behind the roof, and some clouds move overhead.

This is marketed as a debut (unless S.K. Golden is a pseudonym, of course), as well as the first book in a series, and I have to say that it shows.

Reader beware: wealthy white debutante, with attendant problematic behavior and perspective; closeted gay best friend (see: period setting); agoraphobia and PTSD; car accident; parental neglect; closed door sex.

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On Borrowed Crime, by Kate Young

10 Oct
Watercolor-like illustration of a library, with bookcases and a large window in the background, and a desk with books, an old fashioned desk lamp, a magnifying glass, files, books, a mini recorder, and anonymous threatening notes scattered over the blotter on the desk in the foreground.

I had originally planned to read Ms Young’s Crime for the Books, the most recent title in this series; however, I realized that I have ARCs for the first two books, and since I have a thing about reading order, here we are.

Once again, I had not realized this series is narrated in first person past tense; I have a feeling a lot of the cozy mysteries in my TBR ARCs are going to be like this, and I should work to make my peace with it.

Reader beware: some graphic gruesomeness; whiteness (maybe one PoC character, though their race is not specified); old drunkard being a creepy lecher; a whole lot of class privilege; whiffs of domestic and/or intimate partner violence.

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Christmas Wolf Surprise, by Terry Spear

7 Oct
A handsome, fairly muscular white man with dark hair wearing a longsleeve thermal-type of shirt and jeans; in the background, a small town street with Christmas lights, falling  snow and pine trees, and a worlf walking down the street.

I am trying to do something about the ungodly number of digital ARCs in my TBR, and as this book releases next week, I decided to try a timely review.

Spoiler: it did not go well; I tried, but I gave up at 52%, after skimming the last chapter, to see if there was something there that would make it worth it to continue.

Reader, beware: the world building is not well thought out; there’s sex on the page; and the disregard for informed consent (on becoming a wolf shifter, not sex) is appalling.

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