Most Anticipated 2021 Releases (April-June)

Here’s a non-comprehensive list of some books that I’m excited about, that are coming out in April through June:

April 6th

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To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

The author of the “hilarious…joyful, elegant” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) To Have and to Hoax returns with an effervescent, charming, and swoon-worthy novel about a man and woman who never agree on anything—until they agree to a no-strings-attached affair in this Regency-era romp.

The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.

With Martha Waters’s signature “cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit” (Booklist, starred review), To Love and to Loathe is another clever and delightful historical rom-com that is perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Evie Dunmore.

April 13th

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Malice by Heather Walter! I got an ARC of this and I really recommend checking it out. I’ll be re-posting my review closer to the release date.

Synopsis: from Goodreads

A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more than a simple fairy tale.

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.

You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.

Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again.

Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—

I am the villain.

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Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

From the USA Today  bestselling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.

Distraction (n): an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.

Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.

Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.

Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.

Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a façade.

April 15th

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Sistersong by Lucy Holland!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

535 AD. In the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia, King Cador’s children inherit a fragmented land abandoned by the Romans.

Riva, scarred in a terrible fire, fears she will never heal.
Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, when born a daughter.
And Sinne, the spoiled youngest girl, yearns for romance.

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold – a last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. But change comes on the day ash falls from the sky, bringing Myrddhin, meddler and magician, and Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear the siblings apart. Riva, Keyne and Sinne must take fate into their own hands, or risk being tangled in a story they could never have imagined; one of treachery, love and ultimately, murder. It’s a story that will shape the destiny of Britain.

April 20th

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Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

Divided by their castes. United by their vengeance.

Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom—and vengeance.

Jazmyne is the queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.

Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain—except the lengths they will go to win this game.

Deadly, fierce, magnetically addictive: this Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut is a thrilling journey where dangerous magic reigns supreme and betrayal lurks beneath every word.

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These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

Three Dark Crowns meets Wicked Saints in this queer #ownvoices retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.

When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

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She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

High school nemeses fall in love in this queer YA rom com perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Casey McQuisten.

After losing spectacularly to her ex-girlfriend in their first game since their break up, Scottie Zajac gets into a fender bender with the worst possible person: her nemesis, the incredibly beautiful and incredibly mean Irene Abraham. Things only get worse when their nosey, do-gooder moms get involved and the girls are forced to carpool together until Irene’s car gets out of the shop.

Their bumpy start only gets bumpier the more time they spend together. But when an opportunity presents itself for Scottie to get back at her toxic ex (and climb her school’s social ladder at the same time), she bribes Irene into playing along. Hijinks, heartbreak, and gay fake-dating scheme for the ages. From author Kelly Quindlen comes a new laugh-out-loud romp through the ups and downs of teen romance.

April 27th

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The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin! I have an ARC of this one so expect a review sometime around the release date.

Synopsis: from Goodreads

A heartwarming debut novel for readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, following three lonely strangers in a rural Oregon town, each working through grief and life’s curveballs, who are brought together by happenstance on a local honeybee farm where they find surprising friendship, healing–and maybe even a second chance–just when they least expect it.


Forty-four-year-old Alice Holtzman is stuck in a dead-end job, bereft of family, and now reeling from the unexpected death of her husband. Alice has begun having panic attacks whenever she thinks about how her life hasn’t turned out the way she dreamed. Even the beloved honeybees she raises in her spare time aren’t helping her feel better these days.

In the grip of a panic attack, she nearly collides with Jake–a troubled, paraplegic teenager with the tallest mohawk in Hood River County–while carrying 120,000 honeybees in the back of her pickup truck. Charmed by Jake’s sincere interest in her bees and seeking to rescue him from his toxic home life, Alice surprises herself by inviting Jake to her farm.

And then there’s Harry, a twenty-four-year-old with debilitating social anxiety who is desperate for work. When he applies to Alice’s ad for part-time farm help, he’s shocked to find himself hired. As an unexpected friendship blossoms among Alice, Jake, and Harry, a nefarious pesticide company moves to town, threatening the local honeybee population and illuminating deep-seated corruption in the community. The unlikely trio must unite for the sake of the bees–and in the process, they just might forge a new future for themselves.

Beautifully moving, warm, and uplifting, The Music of Bees is about the power of friendship, compassion in the face of loss, and finding the courage to start over (at any age) when things don’t turn out the way you expect.

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Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

A hilariously quirky novel that is equal parts murder mystery, rom-com, and a celebration of mothers and daughters as well as a deep dive into Chinese-Indonesian culture, by debut author Jesse Q. Sutanto.

1 (accidental) murder
2 thousand wedding guests
3 (maybe) cursed generations
4 meddling Asian aunties to the rescue!

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

May 4th

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Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli in this swoon-worthy, heartfelt rom-com about how a transgender teen’s first love challenges his ideas about perfect relationships.

Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.

When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.

In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.

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Ariadne by Jennifer Saint!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

A mesmerising retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Perfect for fans of CIRCE, A SONG OF ACHILLES, and THE SILENCE OF THE GIRLS.

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.

May 18th

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The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents—who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno—Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: this Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.

May 25th

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The Ivies by Alexa Donne!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

Everyone knows the Ivies: the most coveted universities in the United States. Far more important are the Ivies. The Ivies at Claflin Academy, that is. Five girls with the same mission: to get into the Ivy League by any means necessary. I would know. I’m one of them. We disrupt class ranks, club leaderships, and academic competitions…among other things. We improve our own odds by decreasing the fortunes of others. Because hyper-elite competitive college admissions is serious business. And in some cases, it’s deadly.

Alexa Donne delivers a nail-biting and timely thriller about teens who will stop at nothing to get into the college of their dreams. Too bad no one told them murder isn’t an extracurricular.

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Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

Everyone likes Humaira “Hani” Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita “Ishu” Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. But Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl.

Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But relationships are complicated, and some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.

June 1st

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ONE LAST STOP BY CASEY MCQUISTON (I would do a lot of things for an ARC of this book!!! This is probably my most anticipated book of 2021!!)

Synopsis: from Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks…

Dreamy, other worldly, smart, swoony, thoughtful, hilarious – all in all, exactly what you’d expect from Casey McQuiston! – Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal and
Party for Two

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.



But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

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The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo!

Synopsis: from Goodreads

Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society―she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

Are you as excited about One Last Stop as me (or any of the others)? Let me know in the comments!

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Star rating: 4 ⭐ / 5 ⭐

Synopsis: from StoryGraph

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

General information: This book was published in May 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s.

My thoughts:

Okay, I get the Rhysand hype now.

Am I on that hype train? Unfortunately, yes. I know, I know! I’m as surprised as everyone else. I was so prepared to be disgusted by the romance with Rhysand but I actually, genuinely like his character. Sue me.

I really loved the found family part of this book with the Court of Dreams. All the characters were interesting and I liked learning more about their relationships and personalities.

I also really liked all the focus on trauma and what it can do to a person- I was prepared to complain about the sudden reversal of Tamlin into a villain but it felt believable to me. Stuff happens, people change, especially when they’re put through everything that happened at the end of the first book. I thought the focus on Feyre’s poor mental health (and poor physical health, at some points) was realistic and I liked seeing her come out of that.

I was a little confused by the plot, at points- sometimes it felt a tad meandering, and Maas is given to infodumps at times that I tend to want to skip over. I thought this book was a good sequel though, as it expanded on the consequences of the ending of the first book in a way that I liked a lot.

This is also way (wayyyy) longer than most of the books that I read, but I still managed to finish it in about 3 days, so kudos to the author for keeping me engaged the whole time! I was totally immersed in the world and characters. A series hasn’t gripped me like this in a long, long time.

Overall, I’m starting to begrudgingly recommend this series! I think this book was much better-written than the first and I could hardly put it down.

Content warnings: Trauma, discussions of past traumatic events (violence, death, etc), mentions of sexual assault, sexual content in general (skip chapter 55 if you’re not into sex scenes), emotional abuse/toxic relationship, mental illness, violence, death, and more (check out the StoryGraph page linked above for a more detailed listing!)

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Star rating: 3.5 ⭐ / 5 ⭐

Synopsis: from StoryGraph

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

General information: This book was published in September 2018 by Gallery Books.

My thoughts:

I think I’m slowly turning into a Christina Lauren fan! This book had a lot to live up to, though, because The Unhoneymooners was one of my favorite books that I read in 2020 and In a Holidaze was another 5-star read for me.

I really enjoyed Josh and Hazel’s friendship-turned-romance. It was very sweet and I loved how Josh just accepted Hazel as she was. Hazel was a character who kind of grated on me at first, but grew on me as I kept reading. It seems like that may have been intentional, though.

I actually really came to love Hazel’s character. She’s the typically klutzy and messy heroine, but she’s not expected to change or be anyone other than herself. I loved their chemistry, too. I was really rooting for them by the end, even though they had the typical just-talk-to-each-other miscommunication issues.

I did have a couple of quibbles with the book, though. There’s this whole minor plot point around how Hazel can’t (either can’t or won’t) say Josh’s Korean name correctly and that kind of got on my nerves. It should just be common courtesy to make an effort to say someone’s name correctly.

I also had an issue with the way that one character’s alcohol problem was depicted. It seemed to be used for comedic value which I didn’t like. I guess I just don’t find alcoholism to be a source of humor.

I still enjoyed the book, don’t get me wrong! Those two things just bothered me. They aren’t major facets of the book, so I didn’t take off more stars for them, but they were problems for me nonetheless.

Overall, this was a cute and steamy romance that I’d recommend if that’s what you’re looking for! I got it from my library but I don’t plan on buying my own copy just yet.

Content warnings: Sexual content, infidelity, alcoholism, blood

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Star rating: 3 ⭐ / 5 ⭐

Synopsis: from StoryGraph

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

General information: This book was published in May 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens.

My thoughts:

Okay, I can see where the hype comes from now.

I legitimately enjoyed this book when I thought I wouldn’t! Before I started, I thought I was going to DNF but no, something kept me reading all 415 pages (longer than most books I read these days). I even finished it in about two days! So why the three stars, then?

Well, I’ve heard before that this is young adult fantasy and also that it was meant to be for adults. I can see the arguments both ways- there were some incredibly dark, adult parts, but the writing style felt more geared towards YA. It felt… undecided. Like the book wasn’t sure which category it wanted to be in, either.

There were also some incredibly info-dumpy parts- there’s one part where the entirety of the curse is explained to Feyre over the course of a few pages, using dialogue from a minor character. I found myself skimming those parts and wishing there had been a better way to work the information into the plot. I’ve heard that the later books do this as well so I’m not entirely surprised.

Also, I’ve been spoiled on the love interest for the later books, which made reading this one… rage-inducing, to say the least. This guy tortures the main character, but later on in the series, they’re supposed to fall in love? I was reading the last 100 pages with a “WTF” look on my face the whole time.

It kept me turning pages, though. I wanted to know what would happen. Like I said, I genuinely enjoyed this book, despite its flaws. I can see why it’s so hyped! I really enjoyed most of the characters, especially Lucien, who really stuck out to me for some reason.

I wouldn’t say this book was objectively good but damn if I didn’t like it. Would I recommend this to someone? Probably not. Will I still get the entire series from the library and read them? Yup.

Content warnings: Death, torture, sexual content, violence, toxic relationship, blood/gore, slavery, and probably more that I’m missing. There’s some really dark stuff in this book so skip it if that’s not your thing.

Have you read this series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Review: Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Star rating: 5 ⭐ / 5 ⭐

Synopsis: from Storygraph

Talia Hibbert returns with another charming romantic comedy about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him “rescuing” her from their office building goes viral…

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

General information: This book was published in June 2020 by Avon.

My thoughts:

If you like romcoms, this series should be required reading!

(Totally kidding. …Or am I?)

In all seriousness, this book was really good. I loved the main characters, Dani and Zaf, and their interactions. They were adorable and funny and everything that’s good in a romcom. I was really rooting for them throughout the book and when I got to the ending I had to put the book down for a minute to process my emotions.

I know that it’s kind of the point of romcoms that people overcome their personal flaws to be together, but I felt like this book did that especially well. I really felt the character growth, especially on Dani’s side, and that was something I was really rooting for too.

I also adored the discussions of mental health and self-worth. As someone who struggles with both, this book felt very relevant to me, personally, and it’s much cheaper than a therapy session. (Again, totally kidding!! Please go to a therapist if you can afford it).

Also? Incredibly steamy. Like… hoo boy. I almost couldn’t read this book in public sometimes because I didn’t want anyone to look over my shoulder at the page. So if that’s not your thing, maybe take a pass on this series.

Overall, I love this series so far and can’t wait for the third book to come out! (And would also do things for an ARC, if anyone important is listening). I highly recommend this series to fans of romcoms, especially diverse romcoms with discussions of serious topics. I definitely plan on reading these books again!

Content warnings: Mentions of anxiety/mental illness, panic attacks, mentions of death/grief, sexual content, mentions of past toxic relationship

Have you read this series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Review: Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Star rating: 5 ⭐/ 5 ⭐

Synopsis: from StoryGraph

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out. Ride a motorcycle. Go camping. Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex. Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage. And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

General information: This book was published in November 2019 by Avon.

My thoughts:

Holy crap, I loved this book so much! It was funny, emotional, hopeful, and incredibly, incredibly steamy.

It was a solid 5-star romcom for me! I’ve heard great things about this series and I can completely see why now.

I loved Chloe’s character. Her struggles were so relatable, and I thought it was interesting that Hibbert gave her a chronic illness. You so rarely see disabled people as protagonists in fiction, especially romcoms. It was really refreshing! I learned a lot about chronic pain from this book, as well, which I liked.

And Red! Ugh, my heart. He was adorable and lovely and the perfect romcom hero. His struggles were also extremely relatable and realistic. I just wanted to hug him and make him a cup of tea.

I loved the plotline and felt it was perfect for Chloe’s character. Both of them grew so much over the course of this novel, and I love a romcom with good character development.

And did I mention it was steamy? Holy hell. I was reading this book in public at one point and had to put it down before I started blushing! If you like some steam in your romances, I highly recommend it! If you’re the clean romance type, well… this may not be for you.

This is going to be a short review because honestly, I don’t know what to say other than that I loved it! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

Content warnings: Chronic illness, mentions of past abusive relationships, sexual content

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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This cover is just so gorgeous! I want a copy now!

Star rating: 5 ⭐ / 5 ⭐

Synopsis: from StoryGraph

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

General information: This book was published in February 2015 by Tor Books.

My thoughts:

UGH I just love Lila so much-

Oh wait, is that not how you’re supposed to start off a review? Whoops.

Anyway, I think I’ve discovered a love for V.E. Schwab! Between this and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, I’m hooked.

Much like Addie LaRue, I had to take my time with this book to really enjoy the writing. It wasn’t a fast read for me- it took me about a week to finish- but I really loved it and plan on getting the series now (the copy I read was from the library).

I loved the main characters! Kell, Lila, and Rhy were all so well-done and vivid, especially Lila. A cross-dressing, violent, shit-talking thief? Yes please.

The plot was easy to follow, which was nice, because there was a lot of worldbuilding to learn. The plot didn’t really get started until a quarter of the way into the book, though, which might be a turnoff for some. I enjoyed the way she developed the world and characters first before diving into the adventure. I felt really invested in everything that was going on.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the nascent romance plot, though. I don’t know how that gets dealt with in the later books so I can’t speak to that aspect, but I felt it was a little underdeveloped in this book. I wasn’t particularly rooting for them as a couple, more as a pair of friends.

As far as the worldbuilding went, though, I loved the different Londons and the magic system! However, I felt that I still didn’t really understand the magic system at the end of the book, but there are two other books in the series so I don’t really mind. That just means there’s more mysteries to be answered in later books.

This book might have brought me out of my fantasy slump, that’s how much I loved it. I plan on reading the next two books in the series- and soon! I highly recommend this for anyone who hasn’t picked up the series yet.

Content warnings: Death, violence, torture- there are some pretty dark themes in this book so if that’s not your thing then beware.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Review: Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

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Star rating: 4.5 ⭐ / 5

Synopsis: from Goodreads

With nods to Bridget Jones and Pride and Prejudice, a charming #ownvoices queer rom-com debut about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary until New Year’s Eve—with results not even the stars could predict!

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.

Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.

When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship.

But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?

General information: This book was published in November 2020 by Avon Books.

My thoughts:

Ugh, this was so cute!!

God, I loved this book. I listened to the audiobook version and may or may not have taken the long way home after lunch to finish listening to it.

Sapphic fake dating loosely based on Pride and Prejudice? It’s like someone word-vomited all of my favorite things into one book.

The main characters- all of the characters, really- felt so real and vivid. I was totally sucked in by their internal thoughts and struggles. I loved getting both love interest’s points of view, I felt that it rounded the book out really well.

This was such an easy listen- though the steamy scenes were a bit awkward to listen to while I was cooking. Though that’s not the book’s fault, that’s my fault, really. I really enjoyed the narrator and how she did the character’s voices.

My only gripe is that this uses the “opposites attract” trope, which isn’t always my thing. I felt like Darcy and Elle didn’t have much going for them other than their initial attraction and begrudging respect for each other. Of course, real life relationships have been built on less, so I won’t fault the book for it.

The romance was pretty slow-burn and I felt that it was written very well. I fully believed that they had gone from dislike to mutual respect to friendship to more, which is more than I can say for some enemies-to-lovers stories I’ve read before.

My only real gripe is that I felt like the book needed more of a resolution. The ending felt a bit quick; I could have used a few more sappy pages to resolve everything.

Also, someone mentioned this on Goodreads, but this would make a perfect sapphic holiday romcom movie. If you’re out there, Netflix, I would watch the hell out of this.

Anyway, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good WLW romance! I also recommend the audiobook, I really enjoyed it. I will probably end up buying a physical copy of this book and reading it again at some point- maybe next holiday season.

Written in the Stars is definitely worth a read for romcom fans!

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Review: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Star rating: 3 ⭐ / 5 ⭐

Synopsis: from StoryGraph

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

General information: This book was published in December 2020 by Delacorte Press.

My thoughts:

This book was definitely twisty and kept me guessing.

I say all the time that I’m not usually a fan of YA, but I think I’m slowly changing my mind on that. I really enjoyed the main characters of this book and their individual character arcs, especially Aubrey, who was probably my favorite character.

However, I was a little underwhelmed by this book. I enjoyed it, but I predicted some of the big plot twists early on and that kind of dampened my enthusiasm for the rest of the book. While I might have predicted one or two of the twists, though, there were a couple that I never would have guessed.

One of which felt a little… unrealistic. So much so that I really, really never would have guessed it. It mostly just left me wondering logistics of how things worked. If you’ve read this, you’ll probably know which twist I’m talking about.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the romance arc. It felt a little… forced, and I wasn’t particularly rooting for them to stay together. It also felt a little weird, especially with the way it started off. Again, if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. No spoilers here, though.

It also felt like nothing much happened in the book until a chance discovery 75% through, and then everything happened at once. I mostly kept listening to the audiobook instead of DNF’ing because I wanted to know the solution to the big mystery. And then the solution was confusing at first, then left me like “…really? That’s seriously what happened?” which, I’m assuming, is not the reaction the author was aiming for.

However, the last 25% of the book kept me riveted- I sat there and finished it in one sitting, more or less, because I wanted to know what happened.

Also, this is a minor gripe, but I could never get the uncles straight because they all had names that started with “A.” I’m still not totally sure who was who.

Overall, I wasn’t hugely impressed and I don’t plan on reading this again. If you really enjoy books with big splashy plot twists, then I might recommend it, but with the caveat that you could be disappointed. I enjoyed listening to this, but in retrospect I don’t think I would recommend it.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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Star rating: 3.5 ⭐ / 5 ⭐

Synopsis: from Goodreads

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

General information: This was published in January 2015 by Riverhead Books.

My thoughts:

This was my second ever thriller! And my second ever ‘meh’ thriller.

Don’t get me wrong, it was tense and twisty in all the best ways. But in other ways, it was meandering and a tad predictable.

The writing itself was good. It kept me engaged, but not quite as engaged as I expected- I didn’t want to stay up late reading or anything, so it didn’t quite grip me like I wanted it to. Maybe that was just personal preference, I don’t know.

I felt like the characters were done well- everyone was extremely unlikeable but fleshed out, with maybe one or two notable exceptions at the end. No spoilers, but I felt like by the end, certain characters were relegated to stereotypes in ways I didn’t enjoy.

I did enjoy the journey of the main character and the depiction of her drinking problem. This book comes with a lot of trigger warnings that I’ll put at the bottom of this review. I liked where she ended up as a person and I felt her growth was done well.

However, the plot felt a tad meandering at some points. It was mostly Rachel trying to figure out what happened with varying levels of success. It was also mostly just Rachel putting herself in various bad situations. It would have been different if it was a mystery-style book where she was actually investigating the problem, but she just kept inserting herself in these people’s lives for no good reason.

The main twist at the end- the whodunit, so to speak- also fell flat for me. By halfway through the book, it felt a little predictable. The first half of the book, I read because it kept me guessing, but through the second half, I read because I wanted to confirm my theory.

Now getting into content warning/spoiler territory.

There were depictions of gaslighting that I felt were done really well, so I appreciated that. However, it felt like all of the female characters were defined by their status as a mother and nurturer- whether they wanted to be pregnant, didn’t want to be pregnant, were mothers, etc. I definitely didn’t appreciate that part. It would be one thing if I felt like the book investigated what it meant to be a mother, or to want to be a mother, but it didn’t feel that way to me.

Overall, I enjoyed this read so I’m still giving it 3 and a half stars. I don’t think I would read it again, though, and I’m not totally sure if I recommend it.

Content warnings:

Alcoholism, domestic abuse, abusive relationships, death, child death, violence, grief, mental illness, fatphobia

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!