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.
Spotlight On Poppy
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.
The Plus One
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.
Getting His Game Back
GENRE: Romance, Contemporary
This novel started off strong, and I want to precise STARTED because sadly it did not end on a high note. I am not sure what it is about the last few books I’ve read, they start off strong but fizzle out and eventually leave me annoyed.
Let me start off with the aspects of this book I thoroughly enjoyed. This romance is between Khalil and Vanessa. It is an interracial relationship. Khalil is a white man of Algerian decent and Vanessa is a black woman building a multimillion dollar company (she’s amazing, I love her). The biggest GREEN FLAG for this story is that Khalil is actually impressive. I read a book last year (I don’t want to slander but I’m sure you can find the review on my blog) where the white male love interest was bland and boring and just unremarkable and the main focus/interest is that he was white. In this case, Khalil has a big heart, owns his own business, helps out in the community and deals with very real issues. Vanessa is beautiful, intelligent and caring, and I really like that she approaches her relationship with Khalil with caution. There are culture differences, and different values when two people of different backgrounds come together and it doesn’t just “magically” work.
Now lets get to the stuff that annoyed me and here is the gentle spoiler warning. I love that the book wanted to touch on mental health. What I did not enjoy is how Khalil handles his mental health. I am tired of men who close themselves off when there are issues (in fiction and in my real life). I really hate when men leave relationships because they cant bare to open up to their partners because its “me-strong-man-you-sensitive-weak-woman.” Like the fact that the entire conflict in the relationship is him shutting her out because “he’s supposed to be strong” is realistic but not what I wanted to read in a romantic novel. Also, the OTHER men in the novel are so passive… like Khalil’s twin doesn’t even tell him what’s going on, and how is life is going to shit until it implodes… Khalil’s bestie AND business partner KNOWS there’s something wrong with Khalil and doesn’t take any action whatsoever until Vanessa reaches out to him and takes on the bulk of the emotional labor? This whole thing about men not wanting to be taken care of emotionally but are totally fine with the physical/having maids is annoying.
I know these are my personal icks and if they don’t bother you, then this may be a book you enjoy more than I did. The writing style and structure of the novel was super on point. It had a great pace.
GENRE: Romance, Fiction
This novel by Tessa Bailey started off really strong for me, especially after the intense disappointment of “My Killer Vacation”, which I found to have sloppy and inconsistent writing. This novel was definitely a step up from the previous one I read in terms of writing. I was really loving Hallie and Julien’s story, it grappled me from the beginning and maybe I missed it due to listening on an audiobook vs reading… but the older virgin girl trope that Bailey seems to frequently gravitate to really bugs me. Its a trope that just needs to die. The virgin girl and the sexually experienced man. BARF. Once, twice, its enough.
The stakes in this novel were also just bland and unrealistic. The whole concept of the “Secret admirer” was really cute and promising, but it would have been more appropriate for like a post-college storyline… Not for people in their 30s. Like she is worried that he’s going to reject her for being his secret admirer when the chapter before he full on said he was not going back to his job at Stanford to be with her basically. She wrote him like a total of 3 love letters… like c’mon. It was too much… She was missing and like he thought she was dead or kidnapped? like I get he panicked but what a selfish dumb thing to then disappear on her for 17 days and not even answer her phone calls? Nah, I hate it so much. Like I would have given this a solid 3-stars had that not even the resolution conflict at the end of the book. Honestly, this is the 3rd Tessa Bailey novel I’ve read that I absolutely hated. I am so disappointed. I may need to cross her off my list of authors to look out for.
How To Kill Men & Get Away With It
GENRE: Thriller, Fiction, Contemporary
RELEASE DATE: April 11, 2023
Wow this book was just wow.
I just finished reading it but I have to say, this book grips you from the first sentence until the end of the book. I was on the edge the entire time.
“Before all this started, I’d thought that squeezing the life out of someone would be easy. The right amount of pressure on their windpipe and they’d just go limp, like when a kitten suddenly falls asleep. It’s actually nothing like that.”
So the novel really is what it says it is. Kitty is an Instagram influencer who gets a taste for killing men. This book had me in so many conflicting feelings… There were moments where I loved Kitty and routed for her, moments when I was angry with her, moments when I felt so bad for her…. This is a 5 star read. Keeping me gripped into the story and the writing is just phenomenal. I really hate writing reviews for books I absolutely adore, because I really do not want to give anything away because it is just so phenomenal and surprising me at every turn. This book has everything. Murder. Friendship. Love. Feminism. Empowering.
*Note: Please check your triggers before reading this novel because there are A LOT of dark subjects other than murder.*
**Note: I received this novel for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Take The Lead
GENRE: Romance, Contemporary,
RELEASE DATE: February 14, 2023
This was a fun and sexy read. Honestly, I do not want to give more away than that, but the premise of the novel is that Gina and Stone are partnered together on The Dance Off. Basically this is like “Dancing with the Stars”. So if you’re looking for something sexy, and you are a big fan of that show, this novel is definitely for you. Also, Stone? He is a sexy Alaskan, wood chopping reality star. Now I don’t know about you, but I really love those wood chopping videos on Tiktok. Reading this novel, honestly made me feel like I would absolutely love to meet Stone in real life because… damn that is hot.
Here is a quote from the novel I simply CANNOT get out of my mind.
She'd danced the tango countless times, with countless partners. It had never, never been like this.
This was foreplay. He was showing her his intensity, what he was capable of, and what he'd do to her - for her, with her - if she let him.
I loved this book. On February 14, 2023 do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy.
**I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Let's Not Be Friends
GENRE: Contemporary, Female Lead, Romance
I really loved reading this book. The premise of the novel, is Sophie, who had left her life in London behind to live with her husband, on his family’s farm. Sophie’s simple farm life comes to a complete halt when she catches him cheating on her with one of his employees. I really loved reading this novel because Sophie was so real and relatable. Firstly, (don’t worry not really a spoiler) her first instinct is to try and make her marriage work. Sometimes when reading stories, the character’s take this “holier-than-though” approach and will be depicted as leaving the cheater, no looking back kinda thing. Which I will admit is bad ass, but very difficult to do in real life. I am super happy that MacLeod decided to talk that approach and have Sophie try and work things out. When they didn’t, Sophie goes back to her parents and tries to rebuild her life. This I also found to be super relatable and wonderful storytelling. There is nothing embarrassing about looking back and going to family for help in time of need. Especially post-pandemic, this is a sentiment I think many can relate to as well. While there is a lot of luck with Sophie’s story, mainly the amount of wealth her parents have and their ability to loan her money, and get her on her feet. I think it is important that Phoebe MacLeod included that aspect in Sophie’s life. While Sophie’s emotions and situation are relatable, the ability to pull oneself together is severely limited without the finances she had access to. With that being said, this was a solid 4-star read, and I recommend to all who may have recently been in a situation where a partner cheated or even a hard break up. This novel is really about finding oneself before being in a relationship, and finding hope and moving forward.
**I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
I Fear My Pain Interests You
GENRE: Contemporary, French, Moody
So this book is the shortest novel, that has taken me the longest to read ever. This should have been an afternoon but I couldn’t get through it. It was so hard to read. Growing up in Quebec, the education system here has always been super forced and intolerant. So when I started reading this, it really reminded me of those books. The dialogue isn’t clear, and the progression of the store is anything but linear. It explores many themes, like familial drama, growing up, trauma, relationships, which is not the vibe I was looking for, but that is my fault. Like the novel is called “ I Think My Pain Interests You” - what did I expect? Although… I thought it was going to be a sad breakup book but again, I sometime pick up books without reading the synopsis because I liked to be surprised.
This book is objectively good. Like I know it is. I know the style is good, and it is imaginative and interesting. I know not all stories need to be told in linear ways. I know dialogue doesn’t need to be completed. I know that this is a good novel. I just did not like it.
2023 Reading Challenge
Antigoni has read 1 book toward her goal of 30 books.