I am starting to pick up the pace on this project, especially now that I'm not reading quite so many erotic romances for my other project. Having a week-long vacation didn't hurt, either. However, no matter how many books I read, I seem to add three to take their place. When this project started, my TBR list was at 355 books. It is now at a hopeless 459, despite my earnest attempts to reduce it. I've created a Book Hydra.
My next three picks are:
Noble Falling, Sara Gaines
Duchess Aleana Melora of Eniva, future queen of Halvaria, is resigned to the gilded cage of her life, facing a loveless marriage to Tallak, the prospective king, and struggling under the pressure to carry on the family name despite her wish to find a woman to love.
When her convoy is attacked on the journey to Tallak's palace, Aleana is saved by her guard, Ori, only to discover her people have turned against her and joined forces with the kingdom of Dakmor, Halvaria's greatest enemy. Her only hope is to reach Tallak, but she and Ori don’t make it far before another attack and an unlikely rescue by Kahira, a Dakmoran woman banished from her kingdom for reasons she is hesitant to share.
Though Kahira is marked as a criminal, Aleana’s heart makes itself known. Aleana is facing danger and betrayal at every turn, and she fears giving in to her desires will mean she will enter her marriage knowing exactly the kind of passion she will never have as the Halvarian Queen—if she survives long enough to be crowned.
I'm pretty sure this ended up on my list because of Danika's Lesbrary review. It wasn't available through any of my usual library sources, so I spent the $6.99 on the ebook, buying it directly from the publisher, who has it listed as a YA book.
A Broken Vessel, Kate Ross
No detection team was ever more mismatched: Julian Kestrel, the debonair and elegant Regency dandy, and Sally Stokes, a bold and bewitching Cockney prostitute and thief. But one night Fate throws them together, giving them the only clue that can unmask a diabolical killer. It all starts in London's notorious Haymarket district, where Sally picks up three men one after the other and nicknames them Bristles, Blue Eyes, and Blinkers. From each of them Sally steals a handkerchief - and from one she mistakenly steals a letter that contains an urgent appeal for help as well. But which man did she get the letter from? Who is the distraught young woman who wrote it? And where is she being held against her will? These questions take on a new urgency when Sally finds the writer of the letter - dead. Luckily, Sally's brother is none other than Dipper, reformed pickpocket and now valet to gifted amateur sleuth Julian Kestrel. The authorities dismiss the girl's death as suicide, but to Kestrel it looks more like murder. To prove it, he must track down Bristles, Blue Eyes, and Blinkers, and find out which of them had the dead girl's letter. Sally uses all her ingenuity and daring to help Kestrel solve this case. But she is out to solve another mystery as well: Is there a man of flesh and blood under Kestrel's impeccable clothes?
This is the second in Ross's series, added to my TBR this year after I finished Cut to the Quick for this project on the recommendation of my friend Margaret. The wonder of random selection!
Revealed, Kate Noble
Phillippa Benning is the unrivaled beauty of the Season. But when another lady challenges her for a marquis's attentions, Phillippa entices him to a secret rendezvous - only to stumble upon The Blue Raven, England's most famous spy, lurking at the site of her planned tryst.
The Blue Raven has uncovered an enemy plot directed at upcoming society functions, but he's unable to infiltrate London society. Phillippa makes an offer: in exchange for entrée among the ton, he agrees to have his true identity revealed at the Benning Ball - guaranteeing her unrivaled notoriety. As the danger draws closer, the mysterious spy and Phillippa give in to mutual desire. But when the game turns deadly, betrayal waits around the corner, and Phillippa must decide once and for all - is it the myth that captured her heart, or the man?
The random pick was actually the third book in this series, Follow My Lead, but I loathe reading series out of order, so I am going to read the first book instead. No doubt this attitude is part of the reason my TBR list keeps ballooning. I think this might be Margaret's recommendation as well. There is only one paper copy in my library system, but it's also available in ebook format--score!
Why am I doing this?