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, 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***
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: 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.**
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.
GENRE: Contemporary, Romance, Female Lead
*Note this book was gifted to me by NetGalley in exchange for a honest review*
This was really hard to read if I am being quite honest, and if this hadn’t been a novel I was gifted on NetGalley, I would have surely stopped reading this book 20% in. There were a lot of aspects of this novel that I didn’t enjoy, and not enough that I did.
Firstly, Kate, Julia and Ben are all in their 40s and seem to just be surrounded by single people and are looking to settle down (well our protagonist Kate is). I am 27 years old and i am already feeling the pressure of needing to find someone and settled down since so many of my friends are married and having kids and I am just debating if now is the time to move out of my parents house with a looming recession… How is this 43 year old not surrounded by these things? Other than the wedding mentioned at the beginning of the novel, there are no people around who she interacts with who aren’t single. Everyone is single and that really feels like someone’s early 20s rather than their early 40s. Where is the outside pressure? Your mom or auntie asking you when you’re going to “settle down” and “find someone” and “start a family” … It also feels so unrealistic and just… meh.
Secondly, the novel is set in Saskatchewan which I thought would be dope to see, as someone who is from Montreal, Quebec, I was excited to maybe get a peak of what life is there, since you rarely see novels set in that part of Canada. But honestly it really felt like this could have been set anywhere, I wish that we got more of a glimpse of what living in Saskatchewan was like and maybe mentioning specific places that one may even see when visiting.
Another issue I had, was while the characters were in their 40s, they all acted and spoke like they were in their late 20s and early 30s… it was just out of place to me. Like Kate has a mini crush on her barista, Jesse, and she makes comments about how he’s too young for her, because he’s 13 years younger than her… That would mean she’s 43 and he’s 30! You mean the biggest issue for you is his age, rather than the fact that he is a barista and doesn’t seem to be working towards anything of substance at that age? Like seriously I would understand if she was 33, and he was 20… but the novel doesn’t make sense this way… It really feels like this novel was originally made with 33 in mind and someone pushed the author to make it 43. I think the whole book would have been more tolerable if those were the ages. Especially because the novel was well written.
I also dislike that we have Ben’s perspective included at all in the novel. WE KNOW HE LIKES KATE even just from her perspective even though she is obviously oblivious… But i have to say… it is already frustrating that Kate is already so oblivious but like by 50% into the novel and we haven’t had even like a smidge of sexual tension or like “almost” moments between Ben and Kate… its just… this was such a let down.
I am giving this novel a 2/5 solely because if the novel had been written with a different age in mind I would have rated it higher. (Probably a 3/5). If you read this, please comment and tell me what you think? Perhaps I am too harsh, maybe you can open my eyes to a different perspective.