A big list of books last week in the end – thank you holiday, extra days off and weekend away from home for work. But in the end it was an easy choice for Book of the Week – because the new Alyssa Cole novella came out and it is wonderful. Really wonderful.
Regina is a geek girl who has just left her “proper” job to take her website – Girls with Glasses – to the next level. Trouble is the stress is giving her insomnia and the only thing that works for getting her to sleep when this happens is the voice of a live streamer called Gus. But his archive has been deleted and so she’s going to have to track him down (virtually, shes not a stalker) and ask him if he can help her by recording talking to send her to sleep. Gus is a puzzle fanatic tasked with creating an escape room based on a popular romance animé for a convention, but trouble is, he’s not quite the superfan that the job requires, but Regina is. Can Gus and Reggie help each other solve their problems?
Doesn’t that just sound ridiculously cute? If it doesn’t, I’m telling it wrong, because this is so much fun. This is a fill-in novella between titles in Cole’s Reluctant Royals series (you may remember I went mad for A Princess in Theory this time last year) and timeline-wise runs parallel to the second book in the series, A Duke By Default, where Reggie’s twin sister Portia is the heroine. My only disappointment was that this was a novella and not a full length book – but given that neither Reggie nor Gus is a royal, I guess it wouldn’t fit the theme of the series!
I mentioned in my post about Princess in Theory that there is great representation in Alyssa Cole’s books – and this is no exception. Reggie is black, Gus is Vietnamese American, both are neurodiverse and Reggie uses a wheelchair. But none of those things are the main plot points about their characters – which is obviously exactly as is should be, but is sadly not always the case. It’s been quite a week in Romancelandia (of which more tomorrow), full of people saying that they “don’t see colour” or “don’t like to read about gangs and violence” as reasons why they don’t read books by black authors. They all need to sit down, shut up and read Alyssa Cole or one of the other wonderful non-white writers who are creating brilliant romance stories at the moment that show a full range of happily ever afters – and not just the ones for white people. I could rant, but this is not the place (come back tomorrow for that).
Anyway, Can’t Escape Love is the nerdy romance that I needed last week and I can’t wait for the third book in the series – A Prince on Paper – to come out at the end of April. I pre-ordered that in November (Kindle/amazon paperback/Kobo). And if that isn’t enough of a recommendation for you, I don’t know what is. Can’t Escape Love is 99p on Kindle and Kobo at the moment as is the previous novella in the series, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy (Kindle/Kobo)which is a second-chance queer love story about the super efficient assistant to the prince in A Princess in Theory and the dating app hook-up who broke her heart.