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.
A Merry Little Meet Cute
GENRE: RomCom, Plus Size, Holiday
SPICE: 4/5 - lots of sex but nothing k*nky
Heaven, Hell or Vermont?
So prior to writing my own review, after excitedly finishing this book, I mistakenly decided to go through Goodreads and see what others had said about this novel. This book, like every book, is not for everyone. If you watch Dumplin’ on Netflix and didn’t relate, understand or appreciate the film, you quite likely will not love this book as much as I did… which to be clear I ABSOLUTELY loved. I am really stingy on what books get 5 stars, and maybe because December is a happy month and my last 3 books have been 5-stars, maybe I am wrong… but I quite doubt it.
Conceptually this novel is amazing. The premise is original and hilarious. How would you feel if your favourite boy-band hunk you’ve been crushing on since your teens is now your co-star on a Hallmark-esk film set? How would you feel if that crush had been subscribed to your “Only Fans” (its got another name in the book) for the last 6 years and has a crush on you? That you mistakenly get selected to be the lead in this wholesome Christmas movie and have to hide that you have a very successful film career already! A porn film career that is! This novel really straddled the line between unrealistic Hallmark-wholesome and realistic and down to earth, which is very hard to do.
Let’s talk about the characters. Firstly, Nolan, our hunky ex-boyband now turned new-wholesome-film-star was a great character filled with depth and understanding. One of my primary issues when reading novels with male perspectives is that sometimes men don’t feel like men. What I mean by this is, that the women writing the novels are writing what women want without really keeping in mind generally how men are. What I mean by this is, at times, considering the men I have in my life and the things they say, the thoughts they share, etc. it will at times feel like something this character wouldn’t REALLY say but rather what the reader/author would WANT them to say. I am not sure if that makes sense, but I will carry on. I do see some criticism about how Nolan’s character describes his love interest Bee, and his sexual thoughts. I think all criticism is fair but I love when my partner and I talk to each other and “objectify” one and other. In Nolan’s context, it isn’t creepy but just a man looking out for the woman he is enamored with.
Bree’s character was perfect. No notes. We love a bisexual, plus size, babe who loves her body and knows what she wants in life and doesn’t take “NO” for an answer. There is a moment in the novel, where Bree is given a big choice, be with the man of her dreams in private or not at all. As a big girl, this is something I have experienced and struggled with before. Often I have found myself in situations where I am told I am beautiful, funny and amazing; that all they want to do is spend time with me, but the moment when it’s time to let people outside of our bubble know… The bubble pops. Gone. And then I am left alone once again, picking up the pieces of myself. This scene in the novel… BROKE ME. I do not want to give anymore away, so I’ll leave it there.
Let’s talk about SPICE baby… So I gave this a 4/5 stars, because while YES Bee is a porn star and there is a significant amount of sex in the novel… There was nothing kinky or triggering about it to give it a 5 star rating. So if you’re ok with mostly vanilla sex and it happening frequently through the novel, there is no need to shy away from this novel. Granted… chapter 13 is… HOT and also… there is a sex scene in a church so if that is something “problematic” for you… you have been warned.
I am not usually someone who reads holiday novels. I actually tried last Christmas to read one, and it remains dust-covered on my TBR, but if you are looking for a nice holiday read to pick up before you’re snowed in for the holidays, I recommend picking up this book.
Not Your Ex's Hexes
GENRE: Plus-Size, Witchy, Romance
RELEASE DATE : February 7, 2023
In the second novel featuring the Maxwell sisters, we are focused on Rose, the former Prima now witch-trying-to-find-herself-in-this-really-weird-world, a feeling man of us I think can relate to. If you loved April Asher’s first installment of this series, then you will absolutely adore this one. Especially since it features Damian, the sexy grump veterinarian half-demon. He is so dreamy. I thought I couldn’t like a male lead more than I liked Lincoln in “Not the Witch You Wed” but Damian really ups the ante. He is tough with a big heart running an animal sanctuary. Rose and Damian have such amazing chemistry, it’s almost hard to believe I was reading a book and not watching a film! I would pay my good well-earned money to see these books as a TV series or film series.
Asher does it again with this witchy romance, that not only leaves you utterly satisfied, but wanting more. It is witty, funny and filled with pop-culture and witch references that makes Asher a “instant-read” author for me.
**Note: I received this novel for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Not The Witch You Wed
GENRE: Romance, Enemies-to-Lovers, Plus Size
This novel falls into one of my favourite genres as of late (also perfect for anyone reading for Spooky Season). The series follows three magic witch sisters (The Magic Triad) although this novel specifically focuses on the eldest sister Violet (Points for me already being the eldest sister). She is known throughout the community as the “Magicless Dud”, which is super heartbreaking and sadly why I related to Vi quite a bit. She is the underestimated, overlooked eldest sister. She and ex-Lincoln - the sexy Alpha wolf-shifter - are thrown together to pretend they are dating in order to save them both.
The banter between Linc and Vi is just so well written, that it reads as if one is peering into someone’s real life. I could not get enough of their interactions. If someone were to ask me of an example of my favour type of man to read about, I would point to this novel and excitedly yell Lincoln Throne.
One thing about this novel, that does not necessarily pertain to the story, but rather to April Asher’s writing is the pop culture references that were made throughout the book. From Hocus Pocus to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Sam and Dean on Supernatural. All references that really tied to my own teenage/adult years; all things that I absolutely loved.
This is a fun read, with a complete and captivating story beyond the romance coupled with a beautiful plus size main character. The perfect read to end your spooky season on a high note. Or honestly, if you love supernatural romances, its a perfect read for any time of the year.
A Highlander for Hannah
GENRE: Romance, Ennemis-to-Lovers, Plus Size
I absolutely loved every second of reading this novel. Mary Warren’s A Highlander for Hannah is hands down one of my favorite novels of 2022. This is the third book this year I am giving 5 stars too, alongside Book Lovers and Dating Dr. Dil. While these books were all near perfect, AHFH is the only one to have the fat representation I have been craving for. This novel hits all the marks, its fat without trying too hard. It is effortless, real and relatable.
There were so many moments where I literally had to stop reading and hold my chest because my heart felt like it was going to implode. I wish I could comment more, but I really do not want to give anything away…
At one point in the novel, Hannah’s mother is shocked that sexy Graham is dating her and as a fat girl, I’ve had these same issues. I had such beautiful skinny friends dating mediocre men and I’ve dated Nigerian footballers, a 6”4’ boxer, and most recently a sexy-Tarzan looking real-estate broker and EVERY TIME there are people who are super shocked at how hot my boyfriends are and it’s annoying. Granted the long term friends have gotten used to it at this point, they know my boyfriends are always hot AF… but anyways there are so many instances where I found myself reading Hannah’s story and looking back at my own life and feeling seen, and understood.
And not to say this book is only for fat girls, I am sure that Hannah’s words could be relatable to any woman growing up in this society but being the love interest… the leading lady as it were, is something I have never seen myself as and it was so refreshing to read Hannah’s story. This is also an amazing read if you’re a fan of Outlander. When this releases in September… get your hands on it. ASAP.
The Accidental Pinup
RATING: 1/5 Stars
GENRE: Romance, Plus Size
I wanted to love this book so much because it checked all the boxes for me!
- Plus size rep + commentary on the fashion industry CHECK
- Plus size character as the romantic interest CHECK
- Black woman running her business and kicking ass at it CHECK.
Sadly, this book is giving "We love white boys who do the bare minimum energy" I cannot stand Reid's character, he is so fucking basic compared to Cassie. She is so cool and awesome and other than her swooning over Reid, she was fucking awesome.
Had to DNF this at 50% complete because I really just could not.
Also not sure if this is a "spoiler" so continue reading at your own digression...
So Reid and Cassie like full on start kissing at the "Friendsgiving party" she throws at her company. ALL HER EMPLOYEES + some friends are there. I have ZERO idea how she started kissing this dude openly at this party when they had never defined their relationship and then to boot... ITS A WORK FUNCTION? maybe I am just a little much right now but omg I would absolutely never. My workplace has ZERO idea of my romantic life and it really should not have been put out there... especially when it had just been starting...
Anyways, as I said.... super sad I didn't like this... I really wanted to.
2023 Reading Challenge
Antigoni has read 1 book toward her goal of 30 books.