Off to the Races by Elsie Silver (2022)
Vaughn is trying to save his family's ranch after his grandfather's passing and a scandal about fixing horse races. He hires Billie to train the ranch's horses. The two can't stay away from each other, but will Vaughn decide that the ranch or Billie is more important to him? I liked Billie at first - she's feisty and sassy and not afraid to say what's on her mind, however inappropriate. I was a little disappointed that at times she was relegated to stereotypical female character roles - cooking for Vaughn and spending the second half of the story always in tears, despite how strong she seemed earlier. I liked the ranch setting and learning more about horse racing/horse training. I'm not really an animal person, but DD the horse really captured my heart! So, what does it say about the romance when I'm talking more about a horse than the relationship? It was ok, with some spice, but nothing really new or super interesting to me. 3 stars
Anne of Manhattan by Brina Starler (2021)
A modern adaption of Anne of Green Gables, set in New York City as Anne finishes up her master's degree and comes back into contact with Gil Blythe after five years (and a disastrous kiss) apart. I wanted to love this so much - I read the original just a couple years ago, for the first time, and fell thoroughly in love with Anne, plus I love a good retelling. But I don't know, something was missing for me. Maybe it's because she's older, but I didn't feel the same charm from Anne. She seemed bland, almost a side character in her own life. The slow-burn (but not really) romance between her and Gil felt natural; of course you want these two to end up together. However, the third-act events that break them apart for a time had me rolling my eyes a bit. I did enjoy seeing how the author incorporated all the original characters, though. 3 stars
* This post contains affiliate links; I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases, at no cost to you.