I had a list of ten books I was super highly anticipating that released from December through February and I thought it would be fun to check in and see if I’m good at predicting books I’m going to love and actually, you know, pick up. Of course, the tenth book was supposed to be Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure, but that actually wound up getting pushed back into Spring. So instead, I bumped up Crashing Into Her by Mia Sosa, which was one of my honorable mentions.
1. Dance All Nightby Alexis Daria
Brief Synopsis: Jess and Nik hit it off at a NYE party and share a steamy kiss and then go their separate ways for nearly a year. Nik is back in LA and convinces Jess to give him a shot, three dates and if she kisses him at midnight on NYE, he’ll know she’s in.
I absolutely adored this novella that came out in December, which I also actually read in December. Wow. Look at me! Anyway, I really, really loved it because I felt like Jess’s apprehension about whether or not Nik could really settle down and commit was super relatable and well done in such a tiny amount of space. Plus it was fun to have Nik so into Christmas and Jess kind of… well, not. I really, really liked this one.
2. Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
Brief Synopsis: Likotsi, aka Thabiso’s assistant, had a quick love affair in NYC during A Princess in Theory that ended when Fabiola ghosted her. Likotsi is back in NYC and on a quest to rid her memories of Fabiola, but, uh, guess who is on the same Subway as her?
Alyssa Cole can truly do no wrong, although I do wish we could have had just a little bit more. But Likotsi and Fab are absolutely darling together and seeing them, even briefly, in A Prince on Paper gave me such joy. I definitely feel like the romance was well-developed, I just… I’m always going to want more of Alyssa Cole’s writing because I’m selfish in that way.
3. In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
Brief Synopsis: This is book four in the Wayward Children’s series but, it’s a prequel so I think I can give a synopsis without spoiling you really? Basically this one is the story of a girl who enters a Logic World (with a Goblin Market type situation happening) and can basically come and go until she’s forced to make a choice at like… 18?
I absolutely adore the concept of these novellas, but dang it, I want to know more about what happens. Like, there is an event in here that has major impact on the main character and we just… we don’t see it? I think that’s so frustrating, even though I do love that these novellas aren’t so much about how the WORLD affects the character, but how having to return to Earth affects them. If that makes sense…
4. Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen
Brief Synopsis: Rich girl, Heidi Jo, gets kicked out by her dad after she decides to pursue her position with the Brooklyn Bruisers instead of returning to college. When Castro realizes she’s about to move into this horrendously awful place, he (and his roommate) offer to let her crash at their place, just until she figures things out. In the meantime, he tries and fails to fight his attraction to her.
I really just love Sarina Bowen’s books. This series is usually lighter than her True North series, but there’s definitely a lot of emotional depth happening here. Castro is still living in the past, grieving his first girlfriend who died, and dealing with that by being the life of the party and not really letting people get too close. Heidi Jo doesn’t really seem to notice the walls that he puts up and he finds himself falling for her even while telling himself all the reasons he shouldn’t be. Meanwhile Heidi Jo is just trying to figure out her life and enjoying Castro. I really loved this dynamic with both of the characters falling for one another, without really seeming to recognize what they were doing.
5. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Whoops. I totally failed to read this one. But I own it!
6. 99 Percent Mineby Sally Thorne
Brief Synopsis: Darcy is in love with her brother’s best friend, Tom, and now she and Tom are in close quarters because Tom is renovating her grandmother’s home so they can sell it. Darcy and her twin brother, Jamie, are fighting and also Darcy has a heart condition. Also, also, she thinks Tom is still with his fiancé.
This book was not for me. Like. At all In my opinion, the romance was all over the place and even though I originally gave it 3 stars, I think I was being generous. The pacing of this book was absolutely baffling and I still don’t understand why Tom and Darcy weren’t together the whole time. None of the reasons that kept them apart made very much sense? Idk. Not for me.
7. On the Come Upby Angie Thomas
Someone explain why I haven’t read this yet. I really need to. I even want to!
8. Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas
Brief Synopsis: Phoebe is a widow and hasn’t really come out of mourning in full. Her first social event is her brother’s wedding and who does she come across but West Ravenel, aka the childhood tormentor of her husband. The problem is that West is nothing like Henry (Harry?) described and he’s so good with her kids and with her. She can’t help being pulled to him. Nor can he, but he’s convinced he’s not good enough for her.
I absolutely adored this one. What I didn’t mention in the synopsis is that Phoebe is the daughter of Sebastian and Evie so we get a ton of Sebastian! Less Evie, which is sad, but still a fantastic time. In addition, I really, really love West. He’s such a good hero. He’s soft in so many ways and just trying to make up for his past. And Phoebe is trying so hard to do what’s best for her sons, but she really wasn’t prepared to run an estate. Yeah, I just loved this one and think it’s wonderful.
9. An Unconditional Freedomby Alyssa Cole
Brief Synopsis: Daniel gets assigned to supervise Juanita on her first mission for the Loyal League, but Juanita is actually a spy for the Confederacy because her white father is in a Union prison. But as they journey to somewhere that I forget, tbh, things start to change for them both rather slowly.
This book was perfect because Alyssa is a masterclass wordsmith and she is great in every way. What I loved so much about this one is that the characters really care about one another. Daniel starts out so gruff and like… not happy to really be alive, but as time goes on and Juanita just kind of likes him as he is, he starts to come actually alive again. And even though he kind of has a reason to be a bit rude to her, he’s really rather patient and good to her. (He’s not perfect, mind you.)
10. Crashing Into Herby Mia Sosa
Brief Synopsis: Eva moves across the country to LA to be a fitness instructor at her best friend, Tori’s gym. She also hooked up with Tori’s cousin who absolutely does not do relationships, Anthony, at Tori’s wedding not too long ago. The two of them are, not unsurprisingly, in one another’s company, especially after Eva decides to train to be a stuntwoman for extra money and her presence really tests Anthony’s commitment to the no relationship life.
First of all, Mia Sosa is absolutely hilarious and I loved her so much at KissCon. That honestly just makes it more disappointing that this book didn’t wow me the way I was hoping it would. That said, I think it will absolutely work for 99% of people. I’m just not one of them. There’s something I cannot pinpoint for the life of me that doesn’t work for me with the way Mia paces her books and this one had some editing issues that really, really bothered me. That said, this book has some absolutely excellent characters and, in general, I really liked the romance. (So why didn’t I love it????? *cries forever*)
So all things considered, I think what I’m really learning is that no matter how much I think I want to read a YA title, it’s really difficult to get myself to actually pick it up at the moment. For the most part though, I really liked all of these books. An Unconditional Freedom was one of my favorite books of the quarter, but my favorite release of the quarter was Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik.
How well do you think you know your own tastes? What was your favorite release from December-February?