GENRE: Romance, Paranormal
This novel was tough to rate if i am being quite honest. It started off really solid. I liked Jillian a lot. She was nerdy and she was a writer and she was falling for a ghost (Danny). Really cool premise. There were quite a few issues with this novel, and are the reason I will not be recommending this read. Firstly, there is sort of this allusion to her being plus size. She’s always talking about herself being curvy and honestly even the way she talks about herself, you think… maybe just maybe I am getting some representation here… but that is not the case. Even on the cover she is thin, not even curvy one bit and the novel never really gives a direct answer but more a few hints. That in itself was not a good enough reason for me to give the novel such a poor rating - i know, but just wait.
Jillian is also VERY two dimensional… all she talks about is Star Trek. Seriously, I am a Star Wars, Disney and Marvel girly (including tattoos) and I have OTHER INTERESTS TOO! She was way too simple. I am honestly just baffled that this was published… Also… She refers to herself as a “Trekker” when most people call themselves “Trekkie”. It really pulled me out of the book as someone who grew up in the comic book/sci-fi universe. This is me being nitpicky because this book got on my nerves already.
Before I really get into the hate rant, I did want to mention something I really liked about this novel before I hate on it. I absolutely loved the storyline about Jillian and Michael. It was probably the most real and the most beautiful part of the novel. Jillian looses her best friend Michael to suicide… and how this has affected her is just wow. That aspect was so beautifully written it almost feels like this should have been the primary story of the novel. Not the ghost romance. The emotions were raw and real and relatable. I really felt and understood Jillian here… but only in that instance.
So at first they think that Daniel is dead. Which makes a lot of sense because he is a ghost. Then when Daniel’s ghost disappears and Jillian sees him IRL she thinks maybe its him dying in the future and his ghost coming into the past? So here is where they start to loose me. Now science wise suuuuure maybe but even in how the dialogue is presented between Jillian and her Science bestie it is soooo farfetched (even for a paranormal type story) its like they didn’t even try to make it make sense. Now at this point Daniel doesn’t recognize Jillian or the times they spent together (or the ghost sex because… yeah there was ghost sex) because it technically hasn’t happened yet (?). So, like the rational person she is because she “knows him” and “loves him” she starts disrespecting his boundaries and STALKING him like that is a totally normal and justifiable thing because “she fell for him when he was a ghost”.
Oh not part of the main plot or anything, but two co-workers who have never dated, kissed or fucked get married on a whim at the end of the novel and it really just made the whole dumpster fire of a novel so goddamn worst.
Avoid this book. You’re welcome.
RECEIVED THIS BOOK FOR FREE ON NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW
GENRE: Romance, Enemies-to-Lovers, Forced Proximity
I absolutely loved this. I read this in basically two days and COULD NOT stop. The writing was great. I am adding Bethany Turner to my list of good writers. It starts off with Brynn fucking up royally on live TV and having to go back to her home town to fix up her image. There she meets Sebastian, an ex-journalist who moved to this small town to start his life over. Needless to say, they DO NOT get along. But throughout the week, they begin to see each other for who they are and… swoooon. I am a sucker for enemies to lovers and forced proximity tropes.
This is a well paced book and even has some really interesting commentary on daughters with bad relationships with their moms, which I very much appreciated. The writing is very current with a lot of pop-culture references too. There are also moments of vulnerability, which were so relatable because I have been there… wondering if you said something that it ruined everything, even a slight movement…
This was such a fun read with great banter. I recommend you pick it up ASAP! (well not this second because it's only out September 1st)
RECEIVED THIS BOOK FOR FREE ON NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW
GENRE: Romance, Plus Size
RATING: DNF'd at 75%
This was supposed to be a good book! I was so excited to love this! Its an Olivia Dade novel. Its got plus size rep and romance. Rose Owens is a teacher, she is in her 40s and has been divorced. She is not some the woman who never was seen as attractive and finally some man looks at her. It has all the elements I love in a book. Even Martin Krause, our love interest, he in theory was supposed to be swoon worthy. He is a single dad, a teacher and he uprooted his life in order to teach at the school his daughter attended in order to be close to her. Rose experiences sexism in the workplace (being pushed aside for a man) which is relatable and I absolutely LOVED that she asked him out first and made that confident move… but god was this book boring and oh my god I felt like a zombie reading it… You know when you’re reading the words but its so numbingly boring that nothing is really registering? Yeah… anyways really disappointed.
RATING: DNF’d at 70%
GENRE: Paranormal, Witchy, Romance
I did not enjoy this book at all. The premise was simple, woman in her 30s down in the dumps inherits a house from a distant aunt. BUT when I picked up with book, I had JUST finished “Back in the Burbs” by Tracy Wolff and I assumed that since this series was paranormal and witchy, that it would be way more entertaining with a magical twist. It was not. How can a similar premise with magic be worst than the one without? I don’t know, but this book manages to do it.
It was boring and the magic was mundane. An overall YAWN fest.
I RECEIVED THIS BOOK FOR FREE ON NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW
GENRE: Romance, Self-Love, Women's Fiction
“Back in the Burbs” was a pleasant surprise. The premise was quite simple, newly divorced Mallory inherits a house from her great-aunt Maggie, the hoarder. She is in her 30s, needing to start her life again after her husband cheats on her with a younger woman. While I have to say Mallory’s inner dialogue and thoughts were very annoying and bordering unlikeable there were so many instances where I found myself relating to her. Firstly, the fact that she had given up her career and aspirations to help her husband run a successful business; is a story that MANY women can relate to. Learning to defend yourself, speak up for yourself at a later age is really hard, and not a small feat. I was really happy to see this within the novel. I also found it so relatable that in the instance where Mallory is the victim in the situation (her ex cheated on HER) her mother basically BLAMES HER for HIS CHEATING. She uses the same old boomer talking points like not having enough sex or not wearing enough make up and I literally had my arms up in anger for Mallory. Like how could her mother… HER MOTHER say that to her.
Now I don’t want to give spoilers, but there is a romance in the novel.. I like to call it a slow burn without the tension, but I found myself really not in it for the romance at all. I really just enjoyed Mallory’s journey of self discovery, self love and figuring out her life independent of a man; as well as letting (the right) people into her life. There are even a couple of surprise twists I didn’t see coming!
If you’re looking for something lighthearted but with surprise depth to it, I’d give this a read.
GENRE: Romance, Spicy
*TW: SA mention*
I had given this book a higher rating but in retrospect, I think I am going to lower it. (for those of you wondering… yes I did). There are a few things I did enjoy about this book. Firstly, that it was a easy read, perfect to have by the beach or by the pool. This was the mindset I had when starting the novel. I knew it wasn’t going to be something super deep. It was going to be a fun fluff romance with some spice. I enjoyed it at first, it was giving “Pretty Woman” meets “Fake Fiance” (that movie with Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence) with the added forced proximity trope.
Then there were things that really bugged me and I couldn’t ignore them. MC’s sister was CONSTANTLY defending her rich-af-fake-fiance’s behaviour and it really felt like “its fine because he’s rich.” which nope not for me. Another issue is with the spice in the novel. While normally, I would give it a 3/5 because there was a significant amount of spice in the novel… I want to give it a huge ICK/5 and that’s because it glorified SA. There is a scene in the novel where MC initiates sex with her Fake-Fiance WHILE HE IS ASLEEP!!!!! And while his character does say afterwards how much he enjoyed that… it really grossed me out. I think that those are things you and a partner have to discuss beforehand and they absolutely DID NOT in the book. I didn’t like this in 50 Shades of Grey when Christian Grey did it; I do not like it here. I don’t think we should be upholding these toxic types of double standards.
So while I do have another Meghan Quinn book on my TBR (because well I already spent the $) unless it really has a different tune on the SA front, Meghan Quinn will be going on my NEVER authors list.
GENRE: Romance, Fantasy, Plus Size
“Lexi Let’s Go” is the latest addition to Mary Warren’s Mystic Falls series. Warren’s series has hands down been one of my favourite series’ in the last year, not only because they are in the romance genre (my fave) but because of their positive plus size representation. As Warren says on her FatGirlsInFiction page, big girls deserve love too.
In this novel, Lexi meets Liam James a pop superstar, who is not only talented and down to earth but super sexy. As with the other two books by Mary Warren, with some divine intervention, the two find themselves. While I don’t think this is who Warren was actually describing, I did find myself picturing a romance between Lexi and Lewis Capaldi (who I have a major crush on). I absolutely loved it.
I also just want to mention… the ice cream scene… OMG gave such Duke from Bridgerton vibes! I loved it so much.
As per usual, if you’re looking for well-written romances featuring plus size babes, Mary Warren should be at the top of your go-to list!
* RECEVIED AS AN ARC FOR AN HONEST REVIEW*
GENRE: Summer, Romance, Spice
So, I want to start off by saying that I came into this book very negatively. By this I mean, I already had a preconceived notion of my opinions of Elle Kennedy’s writing because I absolutely LOATHED “The Deal” - specifically how the novel addresses SA and being supper abrasive with the language. Someone who has experienced SA would not be so BLANTANT in the language and would not forget to add a trigger warning at the beginning of the novel… that being said… THE SUMMER GIRL was an amazing read. It really changed my opinion of Kennedy as a writer and I am now going to be more open to her works in the future.
While there were a few ICKs at the beginning of the novel (namely Cassie basically admitting to excusing Tate’s repulsive/pervy behaviour because he is attractive).
SIDE NOTE: This book comes out tomorrow (JULY 18, 2023) and I think that it may have been a better option not to use the name TATE for our love interest… no matter what happened all I could picture was Andrew Tate (barf!) As the novel progresses, you forget the unfortunate fact of his name, and his shitty behaviour at the beginning of the novel because Tate becomes overall a very great and fun love interest.
Without giving spoilers here are some aspects of the novel I loved:
If you need something fun and romantic and quick to read this summer, you should definitely pick up THE SUMMER GIRL by ELLE KENNEDY.
***I RECEIVED THIS BOOK FOR FREE ON NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***
GENRE: Retelling, Greek Myth, Female Lead
This is a very solid Greek myth retelling. If you are someone who enjoyed Circe and Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, then Atalanta is definitely a great pick for you. I have to say, as far as placing this novel, I would say I preferred it over Circe but it did not hit the same way Song of Achilles did for me. All three have very similar writing styles and tones (which is expected in Greek myth retelling). The reason that Atalanta is just so exceptional compared to Circe, is that she is very relatable. She realizes through her story that she does not need to fit the definition of “HERO” that is attributed to men. She learns that she can fight and find challenges in her name rather than “the name of others”. It would be fair to call this a feminist or female empowering retelling of Atalanta.
*** I RECEIVED THIS NOVEL FROM NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***
GENRE: Romance, LGBTQ+, YA, Plus-Size
I absolutely loved this book. It was so well written and it was really perfect in regards to representation. THE DOs & DONUTS of LOVE has plus-size representation, LGBTQ+ representation and POC representation. Not only that, but this issues around fatphobia and racism in a way that doesn’t preach or pull out from the story. I could not put this one down.
The novel address how food is so important and culturally significant. It touches on the idea that not eating food that was prepared for you was an insult but on the other hand being demonized and ridiculed and shamed for then for existing in a bigger body. How do you want me to eat but also be thin? I do love the fact that Shireen’s (MC) parents aren’t like that and love her regardless of her body; but it doesn’t change the fact that she experiences fatphobia.
This novel also addresses a lot of racial issues without it being preachy or out of place in the story. Sometimes, when authors want to address racism in a novel, they have these monologues or parts of the story that do not really fit the rest of the tone or the story, just to say that they included discourse on race (this may not be the case but it can feel this way at times). Within the context of the characters and the novel, the discourse meshes in perfectly. It is great if you are someone who wants to lean about the discourse.
If you love “British Bake Off”, Love Triangles, puns and donuts, I recommend you picking up this book
***I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***