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***
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.
RATING: -1000000 / 5
GENRE: Erotic Fiction, Science Fiction, Dinosaur Erotica????
I absolutely hated this book. I am so open to reading really weird books, including weird sex books. I am book reviewer, it is what I do! And other than not promoting or sharing content about problematic authors, I try to read everything I can (within reason).
For the most part, if the story is good, I can accept the writing to be lacking. Some storytellers aren’t the best at writing, but that is a skill that improves and honestly I love a good story. When it comes to this monstrosity, not only is the story HORRENDOUS but the writing is so bad, that if you were looking to hate read something this summer this could be a great contender.
I wasn’t in the mood for a HATE-READ session… So this was not it for me, and likely I will never revisit this author or this book.
**I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***
WATCH MY REVIEW BELOW:
GENRE: Science Fiction, LGBTQ+, Dystopian
“What am I supposed to do?”
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao was an great read. I normally do not read YA anymore, but let’s be real, this book is more New Adult with its very dark tones and subject matter. I had such a great time participating in the Tandem Collective’s Read-a-Long for this novel, being able to participate in discussions with other Canadian readers, reading the same book with me was just so much fun and a wonderful experience.
Now back to my review! I just want to say, I really think Iron Widow is what Suzanne Collins wishes The Hunger Games was. Not to bash The Hunger Games, that is not the point, it is just that this novel surpasses it incredibly with its nuance and darkness. For a novel that was labeled YA, the subject matter was incredibly diverse and created fruitful discussion. I particularly enjoyed the female anger depicted in the story, in contrast to the MC’s (Zetian) lack of bigger picture view. Without giving spoilers, while Zetian knows she has been wronged and mistreated for being a girl, she doesn’t notice that her mother also suffered in that system, and feels anger towards her. She notices that her family is only pretending to care about her now that she will be the one to bring money home, but doesn’t make the connection that perhaps that is the only reason they gave her elder sister any attention before. Zetian as a narrator isn’t perfect and I absolutely loved it!
I also want to mention Xiran Hay Zhao’s writing style, I personally do not tend to enjoy first person novels, especially in this genre and without a mixed perspective being present, but their writing is so well done, and paced so well, that in moments of anger, or anxiety, I felt that way along with Zetian.
I for one, cannot wait to pick up the second novel, and continue on with this SAGA. There are other aspects of the novel such as the presence of a poly relationship which I was so pleasantly surprised to find considering the genre!
GENRE: LGBTQ+, Monster, Retelling
Queer Little Nightmares is an anthology of monstrous fiction and poetry written by various authors. The stories and poems in this collection explore the experiences of creatures of myth and folklore seeking belonging and intimate connection, cryptids challenging their outcast status, and classic movie monsters coming into queerness. The characters in these works push against tropes that have historically been used to demonize them and instead ask what it means to be (and to love) a monster.
While I enjoyed the content of this anthology, I had a hard time with it because I received it as an audiobook. I often found myself getting lost in the narrator's voice, which I found lacking. If you are able to pick this up as a physical book or an ebook, I recommend you do.
Please note: I received this ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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
When I started reading this book (full disclosure I was listening to the audiobook) , from the get go I was lulled into the story with funny and well written narration. I thought this was going to be a very funny book, but that was not the case. I had to DNF this book about 15% in. There were quite few icks that just left me feeling annoyed and frustrated. Like when the terms “looked like a womanly woman” was used. Which means what exactly? If you don’t have boobs or butt your woman body isn’t as womanly? And maybe I am taking this too far but like… are you less of a woman in this case if you’ve had a double mastectomy? or are have had implants put in? Like its saying nothing while also telling me a lot about the person writing it. There are many instance like this where I found myself wondering WHO exactly wrote this book.
As I mentioned, I DNF’d this book within the very beginning of the novel, and the AMOUNT OF TIMES other characters told the two best friends that THERE MUST BE SOMETHING BETWEEN THEM made me want to throw my phone to the wall. If I were to guess who wrote this book, I would say a 14-16 year old girl whose target audience is Boomers. It was just a whole NOPE for me. I have never had nothing good to say about a book without having read more of the story. Sorry but -1 star.
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.
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.