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Alyssa Cole

Author of When No One Is Watching

28+ Works 4,292 Members 272 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

Alyssa Cole is a science editor and romance junkie who lives in the Caribbean. She founded the Jefferson Market Library Romance Book Club and has contributed romance-related articles to publications including RT Book Reviews, Heroes and Heartbreakers, Romance at Random, and The Toast. (Bowker show more Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: Alyssa Cole


Works by Alyssa Cole

When No One Is Watching (2020) 1,234 copies
A Princess in Theory (2018) 538 copies
An Extraordinary Union (2017) 472 copies
A Duke by Default (2018) 323 copies
A Prince on Paper (2019) 213 copies
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy (2019) 179 copies
A Hope Divided (2017) 171 copies
Can't Escape Love (2019) 165 copies
How to Catch a Queen (2020) 153 copies
How to Find a Princess (2021) 140 copies
An Unconditional Freedom (2019) 124 copies
The A.I. Who Loved Me (2019) 108 copies
Radio Silence (2015) 101 copies
Let It Shine (2016) 78 copies
Let Us Dream (2016) 54 copies

Associated Works

Marple: Twelve New Stories (2022) — Contributor — 421 copies
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances (2017) — Contributor — 98 copies
Bingo Love Volume 1: Jackpot Edition (2018) — Contributor — 87 copies
Fit for the Gods: Greek Mythology Reimagined (2023) — Contributor — 22 copies
Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 4 (2018) — Contributor, some editions — 18 copies


2018 (44) 2019 (52) adult (36) Africa (37) African American (66) America (36) American (51) American Civil War (41) anthology (40) audio (33) audiobook (36) Civil War (56) contemporary (84) contemporary romance (100) diverse (34) ebook (217) espionage (33) fiction (452) gentrification (34) historical (74) historical fiction (129) historical romance (114) Kindle (129) library (48) mystery (67) New York (36) New York City (33) novella (62) own (35) read (76) read in 2018 (50) read in 2019 (43) romance (802) science fiction (40) series (65) short stories (37) spy (37) thriller (73) to-read (597) unread (33)

Common Knowledge

Places of residence
New York, New York, USA
Martinique, France
Lucienne Diver



Very good book. But this woman (the author) has to seriously reconsider her POV on White people. Trust me, she is a racist -no doubt. She essentially blames White people for anything bad that happens to her or her neighborhood - even blackouts "we shutdown so the richer (read "White") can stay cool." Sorry, ah, no. Like I said, a good book by an author with a chip on her soldier and a racist attitude to boot.
BenM2023 | 59 other reviews | Nov 22, 2023 |
Once again, Cole gives readers a crystal clear picture of the American Civil War and an unflinching look at the reality of slavery. This time, instead of looking at things from the perspective of a slave, Cole looks at the complex dynamic of being a black woman with mixed heritage in Marlie, a young woman with a white father and a black mother trying to navigate a world where she's not accepted and only barely tolerated. It's a poignant story full of great, complex characters. My major gripe with it is the same as the previous book in the series: it's not much of a romance.

Like Elle from the previous novel in the series, Marlie is brilliant, resourceful, capable, and hardworking. However, what sets her apart is she's a little more naive as to how the world works. While she recognizes there isn't really a niche for her in her present society, she also doesn't realize how close to the precipice she is until the curtain is lifted. Her story of her growing up with a medicine woman (almost shaman-like) mother then rejecting that knowledge in favor of a more scientific approach only for her to revert back to it shows great growth. If the story was just about Marlie, this would've been a fantastic novel.

However, there was also Ewan to contend with. Ewan is the little brother of the hero from the previous book. While readers know his backstory from reading about Malcolm, there still feels like there are unexplored depths with Ewan. Unfortunately, Cole doesn't really examine Ewan's past traumas or idiosyncrasies. They're just kind of there. I will also state, for the record, that hero-recovering-from-illness is one of my least favorite romance tropes. There's nothing dashing about a man hiding in an attic crawlspace and recovering from a sprained ankle for a majority of the book. The passage of time was odd in this book. It wasn't clear how long Marlie harbored Ewan, but by the climax, his ankle was both still not healed and yet miraculously not bothering him as they fled the sadistic and evil Cahill.

I will admit, despite my apathy towards Ewan, this book was headed towards 4 stars for me until we got to the ending. I found it so unsatisfying, and it felt like the characters hadn't grown at all. The fact that Ewan doesn't kill Cahill is just ludicrous to me. Yes, the author was trying to make a point that Ewan wasn't the cold-hearted killer he thought he was, but the decision ran counter to the story. Namely, none of the conflict would've happened if Ewan had killed Cahill initially. It's also reasonable to deduce that leaving Cahill alive will only enable him to do more even more evil unto others. Killing him is a mercy to his future victims, and the fact that this was just glossed over felt very counterproductive to me. Besides, this is a novel! I want catharsis!

Similar to An Extraordinary Union, A Hope Divided would've made a very strong historical fiction novel. Unfortunately, as a romance, it falls a little flat for me. And because the romance took up as much space as it did, the historical plot wasn't as strong as it could've been, in my opinion.
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readerbug2 | 12 other reviews | Nov 16, 2023 |
Us Americans have been taught about the Civil War since we were children. My school district growing up required teachers to teach about slavery and its impact. However, none of those lessons ever got to the nitty gritty of living with slavery every day and the types of people who endured, perpetuated it, or fought it. Here, in the first book of Cole's Loyal League series, we see a brilliant heroine inspired by history take slavery head on all in the name of Freedom for her people.

An Extraordinary Union is an inspirational story. The world is alive in all its horror, and Cole does not shrink from showcasing the horrors of slavery (though they're relatively tame in this book compared to the later books in the series). All of her characters are nuanced, from spoiled Susie to Tom the cook who stays behind for his own reasons while everyone else is making a run for it. The plot is suspenseful and has good pacing. I will say it felt a little thin at times. I think it would've been stronger if Cole had written a straight historical fiction novel. It almost felt like she wanted to go that route, but the romance kept getting in the way.

I rated this book 3 stars because I had a hard time buying the romance. Malcolm McCall was just kind of there. His actions rarely moved the plot forward. For someone who is supposed to be one of the most brilliant detectives Pinkerton's employs, he had a tendency to misread a lot of people and situations that put both him and Elle in danger. Most of the time, he functioned as a sort of self-insert for the non-black reader when Elle would lecture him about racism. Her points were valid and accurate. They just felt a bit pedantic to me, probably because Malcolm's response was almost always to apologize but rarely followed it up with anything more substantial. Yet, he was also the only character driving the romance forward. Due to the danger of Elle's situation, she rarely initiated romantic advances with Malcolm. She mostly just accepted them. This is why I think the book would've worked better as regular historical fiction rather than romance. The little romance there was would have sufficed, but the espionage plot could've been fleshed out more, making the story stronger overall.

Because this book was filled with lots of insta-love, a lackluster hero who's sole purpose was to receive lessons in racism and moon over the heroine, it didn't really hit the mark for me as a romance. It's still an engaging novel, and I'll definitely finish the series, but this didn't match my expectations, unfortunately.
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readerbug2 | 34 other reviews | Nov 16, 2023 |
After two novels between inter-racial detectives where the heroine is brilliant and the hero is Scottish, Cole takes a different approach for the final book in her Loyal League series. An Unconditional Freedom follows Daniel, a black man born free who was then tricked into slavery and Janeta, a Cuban girl of mixed heritage who is a wannabe mole in the Loyal League. Compared to the previous novels, the leads here were on a more equal footing as they navigated the harsh realities of slavery and the American Civil War. Both of them were compelling characters, and I liked them as a couple. The plot didn't make sense at times, but if you like Cole's unfiltered look at history, then you'll still enjoy this book.

Daniel is one of the most complex heroes we've seen in this series yet. There's a lot of trauma and general emotions he needs to work through before he's ready for love. His journey to self-acceptance is a moving one. I will say the romance between him and Janeta seems to come out of nowhere. Cole gives readers glimpses of his attraction to her, but he's too busy with his own issues to really pay much attention to her until the end.

Janeta is another fascinating character. She's very similar to Marlie from the previous novel: the daughter of a white slave owner and one of his slaves. The difference is Janeta is both more worldly than Marlie but also more naive. Janeta's mother taught her how precarious her position was and how to read people in order to maintain her privileges. However, Janeta also starts out believing slavery is a good thing. Her journey to self-actualization is very abrupt compared to Daniel's. It doesn't take much for her to drop her scheme to helping her lover sabotage the Loyal League from within. Despite her newness to the agency, she quickly proves herself to be capable and quick-thinking. I liked her character a lot, and I wish there were more pages dedicated to her growing into herself.

With such compelling characters, I was disappointed the plot seemed so thin. The device meant to throw them together is pretty much unimportant. Janeta's deception is also a non-issue for some reason, and I don't think Cole does a great job of setting it up, personally. Overall, it never felt like these characters had a reason to be thrown together beyond "because the author said so".

If you like mild romances without much spice, emotional journeys, and a heavy dose of history, then this is the story for you. It's a meaningful story but just not quite my cup of tea.
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readerbug2 | 10 other reviews | Nov 16, 2023 |



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Associated Authors

Karen Chilton Narrator, Reader
Stacey Agdern Contributor
Lena Hart Contributor
Kate McMurray Contributor
Nadine Badalaty Cover designer
Jay Aaseng Narrator
Laura Cherkas Copyeditor
Susan Dalian Narrator
Jeanie Lee Production editor
Kris Noble Cover designer
Mindy Kaling Narrator


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