GENRE: Romance, Bad Boy x Good Girl, BiPoc
I absolutely loved Roommates by Ola Tundun. It did not follow conventional American style romances. Honestly, it was so refreshing. Ariella leaves her childhood best friend-turned fiancé one day without warning. Just packs up and leaves him without explanation; leaving the picture perfect life we are all told as women to aspire to. She had it; but there was something not quite right. She moves in with Caleb, the fuck-boy at her office who happens to have a room available.
When I read the synopsis of this book, and began reading it, I thought I knew how the story would progress; how the characters would act, and maybe all the circumstances that brought them together. This was not the case and I was not only extremely surprised but pleased. This novel exhibited complex human emotions, like loving someone deeply but knowing that love is not enough to move a relationship forward, and complicated familial ties. When most authors write romances where the characters begin “as friends” we never really see the foundations of the friendship actually being built. Often characters are “friends first” but within the narration you see that someone is usually already pinning for the other. In this case, you can truly see the characters feelings gradually change and blossom. They actually challenge each other in meaningful ways.
Romance, love, family… none of these things are perfect and while we often see them come together in that perfect idealistic way, Tundun has written a story where these things come together in a realistic way. The emotions, the characters, they all felt so real.
If you aren’t afraid of a slow budding romance, so slow that even the characters themselves almost don’t realize that they are falling, I highly recommend you pick up this book. Roommates by Ola Tundun is officially in the running for one of my favourite books of 2023!
*** I received this book as a gift from 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.
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: Romance, Contemporary Fiction
This was such a let down for an Emily Henry book. I know shocking coming from me, especially considering I gave this book 4-stars. I want you to know, that I am giving this 4-stars as if it wasn’t written by Emily Henry; if I were to compare this book to her other works, it would probably fall closer to 3-stars. Independently, this is a 4-star read.
Let’s begin with the expectation. This novel is presented as exes falling back together. This is not the case. The premise of the book is more along the lines of two people who have been together so goddamn long and should know each other very well miscommunicated and end a relationship and decide not to tell their friends for MONTHS. Then due to unforeseen circumstances they need to pretend they are still together in front of their friends that they have also not been communicating with. This whole book is just a miscommunication trope. If those don’t annoy you then please pick up this book, if they do, then do yourself a favour and (re)read Book Lovers instead.
slight spoilers below
Now, I do not want to sound like a hater, so let me tell you the things I did enjoy about this book. Firstly I did enjoy the motif of back and forth between reality and their “happy place”. The concept of a Happy Place being moments in the past was beautiful. Emily Henry has a phenomenal style of writing, so this was obviously beautifully written. I also liked that towards the end of the novel, not only are the miscommunication issues addressed in the romance but with the friendships and familial relationships. That whole depth of the novel really beautiful. I also quite enjoyed this idea that you are always able to change your mind. Harriette (our main) is supposed to be a surgeon finishing up her residency but it really is a profession that doesn’t suit her from the get-go. Her being able to just drop everything and try something with less prestige and less stability because it is something she would actually love - chef’s kiss. Honestly, had the book been more focused on the friendships/family stuff I think this would have been a much better book.
Let’s hope Emily Henry switches back to her older style, because this made me sad.
GENRE: Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
This was a solid read, but a bit of a let down in comparison to “A Highlander for Hannah”, which I absolutely loved. Warren has great writing, and is super funny and relatable. I absolutely loved that there’s this little nod to the show Friends (from a popular Tiktok trend) at the beginning of the novel: “Poppy was happy for her best friend. Yes, Happy and not at all jealous.” Of the bat, this novel has me gripped and laughing. With the exception of my personal icks (I fucking hate when men call women ‘Princess’) my only hang up with this the absence of certain scenes.
For instance, we know that Poppy and Josh are in a play together where the two kiss, but in the novel we are never given a glimpse of Poppy and Joshes feelings when they share the stage kiss. I really feel like people who have feelings for each other would feel a spark or even have emotions even from something like a stage kiss. So that kind of bothered me that it wasn’t really addressed. Another example would be when Josh fights that guy from Broadway. We get a quick summary of the moment Josh punches him after the fact. We don’t get a real glimpse at what happened, what exactly was said and what brought that douchebag and Josh together to even have that interaction.
I know it seems like this is a negative review for something I gave 4-stars too, but it is because I know this is a novel many people will enjoy, and preventing people from picking up this book because of my own personal icks, that likely wouldn’t bother anyone else, seems like too much of a shame. The writing is good, the characters are believable and relatable. I love the closeness of the town, and the logistics of Poppy having to deal with a lot of her feelings on her own (Hannah is on her honeymoon!!).
Great book for someone ready for a touch of magic in their romance, some wonderful plus-size representation and all-in-all good fun.
GENRE: Romantic Comedy
SUB-GENRES: Fake dating, Enemies to Lovers, Mental Health
RELEASE DATE: APRIL 4, 2023
"I'm not here to fix you! I'm here to love you!"
I could not put this book down. It is my second 5-star book of the year, and it was so unexpected and wonderful. "The Plus One" by Mazey Eddings is a romance novel that tells the story of two childhood enemies, Jude and Indira. Despite their initial hatred for each other, they end up fake dating, and their relationship grows into something more.
One of the standout aspects of the book is the witty banter between the two characters and how Eddings expertly weaves in emotional moments that tug at the heartstrings. The book tackles deeper issues such as sensory overload and therapy, which adds an extra layer of complexity to the characters. Eddings explores these issues in a sensitive and nuanced way that is both relatable and thought-provoking.
Additionally, Eddings' writing style is engaging and easy to follow, making it a quick and enjoyable read. The characters are well-developed and their chemistry is palpable. Their relationship is not without its challenges, but it's heartwarming to see them work through their issues and grow closer.
Honestly, "The Plus One" is a must-read for me. If you love humor, heart, and spice with well-developed characters and emotional depth. Mazey Eddings has crafted a beautiful love story that will leave readers feeling satisfied and swooning for Jude and Indira. Pick it up at your local bookshop when it comes out April 4th. You won't regret it.
Please note: I received this ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is my first 5-star read of 2023 and it could not have come sooner! I mean we are 3 months in! Before getting into heavy details let me just name a few elements to entice you: Canadian and Desi representation, Muslim representation, Fake Engagement, a love of bread and Foot Fetish (and surprisingly not in a weird way, who would have thought)
This book was laugh out loud funny and I cannot even describe how much I enjoyed reading this. All I know is having a story set somewhere other than the USA or London was a breath of fresh air, especially with all the Canada references. Also the fact that Reena is almost 30, living in Toronto and the only reason she can afford rent is because her parents own the building she’s living in… and god that's too real. Heron’s book also navigates mental health and immigrant families, which was so relatable, being from an immigrant family myself, living in Montreal. If you have the opportunity to pick up this book; PLEASE DO! You will not regret it.