Well, y’all, in this time of Quarantine stress, I am alternatively reading a lot and reading nothing. So… That’s a fun time. I hope your reading is going alright, but if it’s not, we’re living through a pandemic so it’s 100% okay. You do you in whatever form that takes, even if that’s staring into space for three hours. I feel you. One of the best thing about books is that they are there for you whenever you want them and you don’t have to read them at a particular time if you don’t feel like it. Anyway, let’s talk about what I did read in the first fifteen days of April.
Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
Love and Other Words is Christina Lauren’s first foray into women’s fiction and is also a second chance romance. As an aside, this made me wish that their marketing for Twice in a Blue Moon had been more clear because for the record, that should have also been classified as women’s fiction. Also, actually, both of these books have flashbacks to when the character’s were younger, but it worked for me so well in Love and Other Words because it was told in alternating past/present chapters. I really liked the format of this book and I liked the characters. I also thought it was beautifully written. I think as long as you go in with your expectations set to women’s fiction and you like Christina Lauren’s writing style, you’ll really enjoy this one.
The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre
I didn’t know much of anything about this book going in so it was really interesting to see how the world and the relationships unfolded without that prior knowledge. If you want that experience the tl;dr is that I didn’t fully buy into the romance between our two leads, but I really loved the world Aguirre has created and I’m excited to continue in the series and I’m extremely excited for the book set to come out this year. Now, for the plot synopsis: Pru is a latent, which means she can’t shift, and she’s in love with the Second who has been standing in as Alpha while their real Alpha grieves the loss of his wife. Well, the Second is a bit of a jerk and doesn’t think that Pru is a suitable wife and also decides she’s expendable so he sends her off to bring Dominic back home. Dom’s wife was Pru’s best friend and there’s a lot that unfolds once Pru is at the cabin and after. It’s a really fascinating and intricate world that I don’t fully understand, but that’s alright with me. I look forward to continuing the series.
Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue
Bailey is a teacher and Jake is the single father of one of her students. He’s also pretty notorious around the school for dating one person consistently for six months and then moving on. Bailey has some preconceived opinions of Jake, but absolutely adores his son, which winds up bringing them together. This novella is sweet and sexy and I really enjoyed it.
Seduced by a Steele by Brenda Jackson ARC Review
There was a lot to like about this book, which is about a wealthy sports agent who tracks down the woman driving his stolen car and gets reluctantly roped into helping her put her life back together. It’s also about said woman, whose parents have cut off all access to her funds and are just generally engaging in really devious behavior, trying to start over.
What I Liked: The Steele’s family dynamics.
What I Didn’t Like: Billionaires. Idk, I’m just struggling with billionaires right now. This likely won’t bother anyone else. I also didn’t really get the romance. I am still not sure what Sloan likes about Mercury because he was kind of just a jerk for a lot of this. A jerk who wanted to help take care of her, admittedly, but still a jerk.
I think this one is very much a YMMV kind of book, but if billionaire’s don’t bother you, I say, go for it!
Thank you to Netgalley and HQN for the advanced copy!
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Y’all. I was not expecting to fall head over heels for this book, but I fell hard and fast for this. First of all, I took to Twitter to tweet about it when I’d only read 100 pages. Secondly, I texted Chels and made her get a book of the month subscription because I can’t wait for next month when this book officially releases for her to read it. Third, I sent texts to two of my coworkers raving about this book because I’m literally obsessed with it. Okay, so let me tell you why. (1) Taylor Swift references that are subtle and cool and FANTASTIC. (2) I’m pretty sure January and I might be the same person, which was terrifying and amazing. (3) The EMOTIONS. (4) It literally made me laugh out loud a whole bunch. (5) I cried. Signs of a perfect book, tbh. I guess I should also tell you what it’s about: January’s father died and turns out he had a whole other woman and house, which she found out about at his funeral. Great timing. For romance novelist and hopeless romantic January, this throws her whole life into a bit of a tailspin. Her next door neighbor turns out to be Augustus Everett, also known as her college rival, who is dealing with his own writer’s block and the two set up a wager to write the other’s genre for the summer. It is. SO. Good. A favorite of the year, for sure.
Tempest by Beverly Jenkins
Tempest more or less opens with Regan, a mail order bride, shooting her husband to be in the shoulder and the beginning of this book fully embraces that premise and is a wild ride and a fun and funny time. Dr. Lee is a stuffy, buttoned up man who thought the wife he was ordering was a good and proper lady and is shocked to find a woman who is like, real. I really didn’t like the way this book dealt with sex, but I loved Spring, Regan, and Anna. So I landed on a three star and also immense excitement for Ms. Bev’s 2020 release, Wild Rain, which is out on July 28, 2020.
Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman
This is a short, sapphic novella that was a little too short for my taste. It was however really delightful while I was reading it. It’s about an artist in paint and an Indie yarn dyer who team up for a collaboration and also fall in love. It’s short and sweet and Jewish and sapphic, but I really wanted more. Something sad happens to the artist one and we get no resolution of that because of the length. I think even twenty five more pages would have made this feel more complete.
Shadow Rider by Christine Feehan
So, this is the first book in the Shadow Riders series and it was about a hundred pages too long for me. I was intrigued enough by the book and I liked the characters, but I didn’t feel like the romance worked very well within the overarching context of the story. I’m also mad because the romance I most want based on the sequel bait in this story is still not out. Lol. But that said, I was also incredibly intrigued with the sequel bait thrown out for the book that IS coming out very soon. So will I continue? I don’t know yet. Oh, yeah, the plot. Um… This book is about a very rich man who has a special ability that allows him to use shadows to travel. There are not many women with this ability. So when he sees our heroine (shivering because despite being poor af, she gave her winter coat to a homeless woman) he is IN it. She’s definitely going to be his. She’s on the run from a bad guy who is awful and the police were useless and it’s all just really upsetting. Anyway, the plot drags on for much too long in this one, but it’s fun enough.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
This book is such a wild ride and it is just so much fun. The beginning of this book is my favorite part though because I just think it’s so funny. As I was listening to the audiobook (thank you, Dani!!) while walking around the lake (aka IN PUBLIC), I kept bursting into laughter because something about the humor for this book is just a perfect match for me. It’s an over the top book full of drama about Bex, a college student doing an exchange at Oxford, meeting and falling in love with the actual prince. The book ends in a way that screams for a sequel, so thank the good lord that FIVE YEARS LATER, we’re actually getting one. Did I mention this was a reread? It was. Also, if you missed it, my joyful flailing about the sequel on twitter when I found out that it was (a) available for request and (b) I was approved was quite a trip. I have loved The Royal We for five years and I am so glad I live in this timeline where we finally get a sequel. I am less glad about living in this timeline where the authors (The Fug Girls) can refer to pre-March as Outside Times. Anyway, YMMV with this one quite a bit (Dani did not like it), which has a little to do with the OTT and the fact that all of the characters are… difficult. But if you loved Gossip Girl, The OC, and One Tree Hill when you were younger, I think you should love it.
Whiteout by Adriana Anders
I read this for my Charms prompt for the OWLs. I have kind of mixed feelings about this book. It’s about Dr. Ford Cooper, a researcher who lives in Antartica full time except for like a month’s vacation stateside, and Angel Smith, a cook who worked in this Antartica research station for the summer. When some bad guys go a little wild and start killing people over a virus (yeah…), Angel and Ford wind up stranded and they have to trek 300 miles across Antarctica. That is obviously not easy. Also the bad guys are coming after them. It’s a trip, y’all. I found the book extremely readable because I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but at the same time, I felt very removed from Angel and Ford. I don’t think that was intentional considering it was a romance. I gave it four stars and am desperate for the sequel, which does not appear to have been formally announced yet sadly.
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Let’s begin by noting that this is the book I read for my Arithmancy OWL, aka a book outside of my comfort zone. I want to begin there so we can clearly establish that this book was really not meant for me. It’s a literary fiction book that I was interested in because it’s an immigration story about a 15 year old girl who immigrated to America from the Dominican Republic in 1965. I like reading immigrant stories because I think they are important. But here’s the deal. I don’t like sad books. I don’t like books about domestic violence where I’m not guaranteed an HEA at the end. I just don’t want that in my life right now. Also, this book didn’t use quotation marks and I really want to know why. It also contained anti-Black and anti-Jewish messages that I know and recognize weren’t in there being condoned, but it made me uncomfortable that those attitudes weren’t explicitly questioned. Also, the man Ana marries is 32 when she marries him and she is 15. So I don’t know if that sex scene after they get married was intended to… Actually, I have no idea. But I didn’t like that the most. Anyway, all of this to say that I highly recommend you check out Own Voices reviews (like this one) because my opinion is so far from being important here. And secondly, if you also don’t like sad books, but like immigration stories, just read the Dreamers series by Adriana Herrera. That series is absolutely brilliant; here is my series review.
Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveres
And this was my OWLs read for Defense Against the Dark Arts! So I’m halfway through all twelve subjects and I have six of eight read for my personal goals. Island Affair is a fake dating trope set in Key West (please let me go there right now and escape my house, pretty sure if I had a boat, I would just stay on it) between social media influencer, Sara, and gorgeous firefighter, Luis Navarro. First of all, Luis’ last name made me want to watch Cheer on Netflix again, but I resisted the temptation. Secondly, I enjoyed this tory pretty well the whole way through and then it ended as soon as they got back together after the dark moment. I honestly thought that hating when books did that must just be a me thing, but my tweet about it garnered way too much attention and now I have no idea how people whose tweets actually go viral deal with it. So, anyway, you’ll see a more thorough and comprehensive review of this book on Tuesday and I just can’t quite get my thoughts together right now, so please check the April ARC Round Up, Part One on Tuesday so you can decide if this book is right for you or not.
Alright, that is all from me for today! So far, my favorite read was Beach Read by Emily Henry and it’s currently in the top spot for my favorite book of the year. So if you have not gotten it yet, it’s officially out next month on May 19th or, I think, you can still get a Book of the Month box with it! Here’s my link if you’d like to try that option. From what I understand, you get your box for only $5.00 if you choose this option and I get a book credit. Absolutely no pressure on you, I just want everyone to read this right now. Lol. What was your favorite book that you are desperate to shove onto everyone you know?