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February 7, 2022

Celebrate Love with These Romance Novels

by MK French


We are in the month of love with Valentine's Day just around the corner. If you prefer to celebrate with a new book boyfriend or romantic tale, then check out some of the romance books out this month.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher

Not the Witch You Wed
February 2022; Griffin; 978-1250807991
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); romantic comedy

Violet Maxwell doesn't have magic and wants nothing to do with the wolf shifter Lincoln Thorne. He broke her heart when they were teens, and feelings had never really gone away. However, the Supernatural Laws declare that they must find mates, so the two decide to fake date to stave off the laws. Those old feelings resurface, as does Violet's magic. Can old secrets derail their relationship again, or will they find a happily ever after?

Not the Witch You Wed is the first volume of the Supernatural Singles series. This is a world where witches, shifters, vampires, angels, and succubi now live openly throughout the world, but laws dating back hundreds of years exist in order to control their power so that normal people wouldn't get harmed by the supernatural. Part of that is controlling the magic of witches by bonding them to another supernatural creature, particularly that of the Prima, or the witch with the most Magic; if it goes out of control, it can become something akin to a nuclear bomb, flattening everything around the witch. Obviously a bad thing. By the same token, Alphas of shifter packs must also be bonded so that their animal side doesn't go on a rampage.

While sexuality and supernatural ability are openly accepted, those in roles of power still are expected to adhere to old rules. Lincoln, having gotten control of the North American Pack from his father, who had been ruthless and bloodthirsty in his quest for power, wants to change those rules. Violet, having grown up without magic or the expectation of being Prima despite being the oldest of the triplets, retreated from that society. Which of course means that they're thrown back together for mutual benefit. On top of the fake dating trope, we also have a second chance romance; they had been teenagers when Lincoln was forced to walk away from Violet, which she had seen as being ghosted. Of course, they bring out the best and worst in each other and must work together to save the supernatural society from being overrun by those that would keep it as the secretive and bloodthirsty oligarchy it had been, rather than change to a meritocracy.

This is a straight up rom-com with mention of shifting and magic, so it's not the same as other shifter romances on the market. We get traces of those tropes, but the Alpha is a title, not an excuse for toxic masculinity to reduce the heroine into a damsel in distress. She does a good bit of saving herself, and I love how Violet is with her friends as sisters as well as with Lincoln. She's a smart-alecky bartender, and I really felt for her and the pressures she was under throughout the book. I'm not sure if the next in the series will feature her sisters, her friends, or Lincoln's second in command, but either way, it's going to be fun. This is a great start to a new series.

Buy Not the Witch You Wed at Amazon

All the Right Reasons by Bethany Mangle

All the Right Reasons
February 2022; Margaret K. McElderry Books;
978-1534499034; ebook, print (304 pages); YA rom-com

Cara Hawn's father cheated on her mother then married a woman she can't stand. Her online rant went viral, catching the attention of a dating show producer. Cara and her mother are swept up by the show, but clash on the suitors worth keeping around. In doging the producers and paparazzi, Cara can't help but get close to Connor, the son of a contestant. She still has to help her mother pick a bachelor while avoiding her growing feelings and the media, or her family will be fractured even further.

Billed as The Bachelor meets The Gilmore Girls, All the Right Reasons definitely makes me feel for Cara. Her father is intent on making her mother miserable, and the two simply cannot get along. Of course, the show producers are interested in drama on their show and fuel the conflicts between the children and try to influence Julia's decisions. The conflicts spur most of the situations that bring Connor and Cara closer, as well as drive a wedge between Julia and Cara. Isolating all of the contestants from friends and family to produce the show creates a fishbowl effect that only increases drama and emotion.

The impossible situation of being in a dating show with a parent isn't something kids will have experience with, but many will know how it feels to be disappointed, feel abandoned, or not listened to. The dating show aspect puts a deadline on the drama, but still manages to come across as fun to read as well as a source of tension for the characters. I hated Cara's father and the way some of the bachelors acted, so the epilog especially was a great way to wrap up the story. I loved reading the book, and teens will, too.

Buy All the Right Reasons at Amazon

Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher

Full Flight
February 2022; Wednesday Books; 978-1250779786
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); YA romance

While fall is known as football season in their small Texas town, the marching band sees it as contest season. Anna is the new saxophonist and determined to show how good she is. She's assigned a duet with troublemaker Weston, and the two gradually grow closer. When her parents find out, they try to put a stop to the relationship. The marching band contest is approaching, and then the unthinkable happens.

There's no real reason for the town to call Weston weird, other than he doesn't go with their flow, wears a leather jacket, and then has the back luck for his parents to get divorced. Everyone assumed the worst of him, and no one bothered to get past those rumors before Anna. She takes on so much stress all the time, wondering if she would deserve attention if she wasn't good enough to earn it. The two balance each other out well so that the duet they share is a good way of explaining a relationship. It's a call and answer piece, one with pauses and responses, melodies blending together to become something beautiful once each person plays their part. Goody-goody Anna lies and hides her relationship, but it's practically impossible for that plan to succeed in such a small town.

The final portion of the book, with the "unthinkable," is bittersweet. The numb response, pulling away, and grieving all feel too real, as does Anna's anger at the entire situation. Nothing is described in any kind of detail, so it hopefully won't trigger anyone. Instead, it's the reality that grief is difficult and takes time to move through. The book definitely feels like it takes place in a small town, with nosy band kids that know everything about each other gossiping and talking about each other. It's a great book, one that perhaps a lot of teens will be able to identify with.

Buy Full Flight at Amazon


Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.



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