June was an incredibly busy month! We traveled to the West Coast for almost two weeks for a wedding and to see friends/family, I read 14 books, and we did some local exploration too. June was also pride month, and shockingly—we usually avoid it because I don’t like crowds and it’s usually too damn hot in June—we actually attended pride in Portland, Oregon. See what I did with the rainbow hop and the intro…yeah 😀
Well good news for me, this one took the best parts of Albert’s and Qualls’ writing and put them together. The bad news is that it basically was like and these two characters are crossovers from these three series (Quall’s Heart of the South – yay read it already, and Albert’s Out of Uniform and #Gaymers). Well guess what, On. My. List. Now. BWHAAHAAHAAA.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.