Books

Book 623: Danced Close (Portland Heat #6) – Annabeth Albert

Of the six books in this series, this one is toward the bottom of my rankings. I’m not sure if there is anything specific about this book (full disclosure it could be my biases), but I think it has more to do with this being the sixth MM Romance I read by the same author in a very short time.

For me, this one felt like Albert had a checklist of what all haven’t I included in one of my MM Romance novels in this series yet? And when she looked at her list she realized she hadn’t written a HIV positive character or non-binary character and voila Danced Close.

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Books

Book 622: Wrapped Together (Portland Heat #5) – Annabeth Albert

I think this is my favorite in the series. I’m not sure if it’s because of life-long friends becoming lovers, the twins marrying twins aspect, or the sheer adorkableness of snarky Hollis or the unsure cockiness of Sawyer.

This one falls into the same formulaic routine as the others (not a bad thing, just an observation), but because it’s Christmas themed and the two main characters have technically known each other for decades a lot of the get-to-know-you stuff happened off the page.

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Books

Book 621: Knit Tight (Portland Heat #4) – Annabeth Albert

And now I’m FINALLY to the book that started this binge and it was worth the wait. I was going to use “weight” for yarn weight but thought it might work so you get this awkward follow up.

Albert takes her characters even further away from your standard white male could be mistaken for straight romcom lead. We have Brady, the bisexual barista taking care of his four siblings after his parents untimely deaths, and Ev, the yarn store owner’s dedicated nephew who has come back to Portland because she’s dying of cancer who was originally sent from his home in Turkey because he was caught making out with a male friend.

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Books

Book 620: Delivered Fast (Portland Heat #3) – Annabeth Albert

Flew through this one like the first two, basically reading one a day (on my commute to/from work) and maybe 20-30 minutes before bed. I started to see some of Albert’s tropes that she depends on/works into every story, but I’ll get to that.

Albert continues to diversify her characters and their relationships. In this novel we have Chris, the aging disgruntled restaurateur (the same restaurant that the others visit or supply bread for), and Lance, the young undergrad delivery boy from Vic’s bakery and the development of their relationship. It’s not a crazy amount of age difference (12 years), but Chris has a major hang up on it.

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Books

Book 619: Baked Fresh (Portland Heat #2) – Annabeth Albert

In book two of Annabeth Albert’s Portland Heat series we meet Vic, a baker, and Robin, a trust fund kid with a big heart. Their road to romance is of course paved with misunderstandings, stubborn personalities, and steamy sex scenes. That’s all good romances right?

Vic and Robin meet at the local homeless shelter that caters to addicts and teens. We find out midway through the story that Robin got his fresh start/second chance thanks to the shelter and has very high expectations for what he can do there to help others going through similar experiences. This novel wasn’t as specifically diverse as Served Hot or Knit Tight (they’re both white men as far as I can read), but it does have characters that I’ve never read before.

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Books

Book 618: Served Hot (Portland Heat #1) – Annabeth Albert

After I finished reading The Book on Rental Property Investing, I knew I wanted to read something lighter and more fun before I jumped into another nonfiction work. That story is a tangent so skip to the end if you want to read about how I ended up on this series (damn overly available libraries :-D).

Now, as I’m writing this six days after I read this and four books into the series, I have a feeling this summer is going to be full of smutty romance novels. I’d apologize in advance, but I’m not sharing the sexy bits (mostly) and well we all need a mental break sometimes. Plus, they’re just so quick and entertaining!

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Books

Book 613: A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) – V.E. Schwab

Disappointment doesn’t even begin to cover my thoughts on this. Did it end the series well enough? Yes. Did it inspire me to read more of Schwab’s writing? No. Am I even more concerned that she is being compared to Diana Wynn Jones? YES.

A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light aren’t so much book two and book three of the Shades of Magic trilogy as they are part one and part two of book two of the Shades of Magic duology. All three of the books in the “trilogy” take place in incredibly short amounts of time with a four month gap between one and two/three.

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