Reading Roundup #48: Beefcake & Fairy Tales

Another week, another bunch of books that are all over the place! There were even more I read this week that were… *ahem* out there… but I decided to just include the ones I had something to say about/particularly enjoyed. And with fairy stories (beg pardon — goblin stories), murder mysteries, and romance across the spectrum of steam, I think we still have enough to choose from. Let’s jump in, and I’ll show you this week’s treasures!

The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London #1) by Mimi Matthews: This was the uncontested star of the week! You’ve probably been hearing lots of buzz for The Siren of Sussex lately, and that’s because… well, it deserves it. I’m doing a full review next week, but I couldn’t pass up another chance to promote this excellent Victorian romance. The story is fun, and the characters are… well, they’re simply wonderful. Do check it out. Many thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing an e-ARC for an honest review.

Murder on Cold Street (Lady Sherlock #5) by Sherry Thomas: Another excellent entry in the series. I always think a mystery is best when it hits close to home, and the trouble with the Treadles family did a great job drawing all sorts of conflict and emotional turmoil into the light. The slow burn romance also continues nicely, and Lord Ingram’s new “I love you, and I know you love me, too, even if you don’t admit it” attitude is incredibly sexy and entertaining. And here I’d always thought Holmes had the upper hand in that relationship.

The Princess and the Goblin (Princess Irene & Curdie #1) by George MacDonald: I feel like I talk about this all the time… and that’s with good reason. I don’t know how many times I’ve reread The Princess and the Goblin at this point, but I do know it’s always fun. This time, I found myself really enjoying Curdie’s cleverness again. If ever goblins are after me, he’s the boy I want on my side.

Rebecca of Sunnybroook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin: I haven’t read this since middle school and decided it was time for a revisit! Honestly, it’s about as I remembered it — sweet and entertaining but not destined to be a frequent reread. The plot is also even closer to Anne of Green Gables than I recalled, and while that might make me side-eye L.M. Montgomery (whose book came later)… it doesn’t because, I like her version better. Oops! 😅 But you always knew I was an Anne girl, so that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

I also decided to revisit two of Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove novellas this week, Beauty and the Blacksmith and Lord Dashwood Missed Out. I enjoy the whole series, but these stood out as favorites for being such quick, fun reads. Sometimes a girl just wants to read about people falling in love (or finally acknowledging their love) and living happily ever after, without too many pages of conflict or extra plot. These were exactly the kind of sweet, sexy fun I needed over Christmas!

Beefcake & Snowflakes (Beefcake, Inc #4) by Judi Fennell: This is my second foray in Fennell’s romance series about male exotic dancers and the women who can’t help falling for them, and… y’all, it’s actually really cute. The plots are light as feathers, and the characterization a little rocky (especially during the introduction phase), but once you get into it, it’s just sexy fun. Lots of shenanigans. Great for when your brain needs a break.

—b

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