Binge-reading romance from the library

All my library holds seem to become available at the same time, so I've been speed-reading and not pausing to review each book I finish. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons I fell behind. Recently, I've spent my time:
  • Watching the first five seasons of Smallville, which I'd never watched before, and devoting too much intellectual labor to my doomed OTP, Clark and Alicia. That storyline both leans into the worst and most stigmatizing tropes about mental illness and relationships, and at times shows surprising mercy and insight about loving someone who is coping with mental illness — so I'm forever pissed at that tragic ending and at the potential for this pairing if it had been handled by better writers.
If loving them is wrong, I DON'T WANT TO BE RIGHT.
  • Feeling like a celebrity because my listener feedback has been featured three times on my favorite feminist political podcast, Hellbent
  • Attempting to prepare for my trip to Africa and paying for my procrastination. Turns out insurance doesn't cover typhoid vaccines and that it's winter there, and I have nothing appropriate to wear. Whoops.
  • Panicking about major impending life changes and intensely ruminating.
  • Overhauling major plot points of the novel I'm working on, which feeds into the intense rumination.
But, despite all that, I have been reading a ton, specifically a ton of romance, so here are some rapid fire reviews.

Book: Twist by Kylie Scott

Release date: April 11, 2017

Pages: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Genre: Contemporary romance

Rating: ★★★★

I was getting a tattoo and while I grimaced through an arduous spot, my friend tried to distract me by asking me what I was reading. After I told her the premise of Twist, she said, "So, it's a romance about catfishing." I hadn't thought about it, but yes, and despite that problematic setup, I really enjoyed this. Joe intended to close his brother's online dating account for him. Instead, he starts chatting with one of his brother's matches, Alex — while pretending to be his brother.

Email courtships are one of my Things — seriously, couples wooing each other with tomes gets me all in my squishiest feelings. But while I thought the emails would be the bulk of the story, they're not, and the story is more about the aftermath of Joe's lie and his attempts to win back Alex's trust. Circumstances lead to her having to stick around and spend time with him, and the two try to be "friends" while exploring whether their online chemistry translates IRL.

Release date: November 27, 2012

Pages: 384

Publisher: Gallery Books

Genre: Contemporary romance, romantic comedy

Rating: ★★★★

I'd requested this from the library because the cover and premise always make me laugh when I see it at the bookstore, but I almost skipped it when the loan became available. I'm so happy I made time for it. It was nothing like what I expected.

Caroline loves her new apartment but hates her unseen neighbor and his noisy nocturnal activities with a rotating list of lovers. When she finally confronts him, it sets up an adorable enemies-to-lovers dynamic. The most surprising part of this book was how much of a slow burn the relationship was. There were so many times that I was convinced they were about to finally cross over from flirtatious friendship to a full-on relationship. And then I'd have to wait.

Although the tension was drawn out maybe too long and made the conclusion less satisfying (kind of like the Savitar reveal, for my The Flash fans out there), this book was sweet and so funny. I was cackling multiple times. These characters felt three-dimensional and likable, and while I'm not rushing to read their sequel, I'm keeping it on my radar if the mood strikes.

Release date: January 27, 2015

Pages: 384

Publisher: HQN Books

Genre: Contemporary romance

Rating: ★★★

Feel free to call me Goldilocks, because I'm just so damn particular about the right pacing for a sexy love story. If Wallbanger took its time, then Flirting with Disaster rushed into things a bit too fast for my taste.

Now, I read the two halves of this about a month apart, because I ran out of time on my library loan and had to get back in line to finish it. So maybe that's why it seemed like mysterious artist Isabelle and by-the-book U.S. marshal Tom hooked up before I felt a real connection between them. I wanted to love this more because I was wild about Taking the Heat, Dahl's next installment in this series. And I did love that this one played up the female friendships, which I loved about that book. And as far as conflicts go, legal complications when your boo is a lawman is a pretty compelling one.

Phew. That was a lot. Now I'm off to do way too much while probably accomplishing way too little. Let me know what you're reading and if you have any recommendations for what books will get me through a 16-hour flight!