GENRE: Romance, General Fiction
TROPE: Forced proximity, Hot neighbour, Starting Over
I want to start off by saying, for a fluffy romance novel this book has so much more going for it. From needing to start over (with a baby no less), needing to move back in with your mom, start your career from the bottom… there was more than just a fluffy romance in these pages.
This book made me laugh, it made me cry. It touched on complicated Mother-Daughter relationships, single parenthood, and ultimately pick yourself up and repairing post-chaos life has thrown at you.
*** I received this book as a gift from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***
RATING : 5/5
GENRE: ROMANCE, SAPPHIC, LGBTQ+
I am a big fan of Ashley Herring Blake and this series. Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date is the third book in the series, preceded by Delilah Green Doesn’t Care and Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail. Just like the first two books in the series, I devoured this one. It was so much fun and easy to read. It’s one of those books that you read when you’ve just been in a slump and want something fun and quick paced to read. Just as the previous novels, Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date is a sapphic romance between just-for-a-good-time Iris Kelly and extremely-shy-and-vomit-anxious Stevie. The two have a “Meet-Cute” turned awkward before being thrown together being co-romantic-leads in a play. This book has hits so many checkboxes for me. Fake dating? Check. LGBTQ+ rep? Check. Bi-sexual trauma? Check. And even the added drama of Ex-Lovers to Friends being thrown in. It kept me intrigued throughout the entire book, not wanting to put the book down AND THERE WAS SPICE! Not a huge amount, but it definitely like a step up from the first two books in the series. I also want to mention, that it wasn’t just a fluff novel, and there were some very moving and deep moments regarding self-worth and how one’s sexuality can be so overly sexualized that it dehumanizes
This was a wonderful book and so glad it was my first book of 2024 because I really started the year on a great foot.
GENRE: Holiday, Romance
TROPES: Childhood Friends-to-Lovers, Forced Proximity, Enemies-to-Lovers
Usually I do a book review per book, but in this case, I am going to do a review of the series. The Mistletoe Romance series by Codi Hall, overall is a 5-Star holiday read for me. I do want to mention that this really only surrounds Christmas, and while I do not identify as Christian, it was still a lot of fun to read. As a Canadian, I really love romances set in the winter and unfortunately, that is quire rare without the element of Christmas added in. So, if that isn’t something you can get behind, you can skip this series but if you’re looking for romance with that winter aesthetic, these were great reads. I read all three within about a week.
The tropes were super well handled, especially in books 2 + 3. I also really enjoyed the fact that the women in the novel had very distinct personalities and opinions, while still being close. Most of the time, in series, we will find similar characters in slightly different fonts. With the exception of Noel (briefly) in the first novel being irrational and kind of annoying, the story is really great and she makes up for it, so I allow it.
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, 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.
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: 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, Grumpy X Sunshine
This was a really fun read. Honestly lots of fun and very “Hallmark” but it also really touches on some really great topics. For instance, ageing in the time of social media and how that can affect ones confidence and psyche. The narration was great and the character was super relatable (I am a slow ageing millennial who also makes content on the internet). If you are looking for a solid read this summer that isn’t too heavy check this out.
***I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***