The last romance round up I did was in April and wow that feels so long ago. A lot of it has to do with the fact that my holds weren’t coming in from the library due to such long waits and I started to pull away from romance and just wanted something different. (I started rereading more and making progress through my ARC stack.)
Nonetheless, romances were still read during the past months and are honestly starting to pick up again!
So without further ado!
The Good, the GREAT, and the Less than Satisfactory
Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
Review: I found this book to be very enjoyable and a promising start to a new series following the different love stories of different siblings.
I thought the characters were well-crafted and worked great together and as individuals. Luis had a next-level white-knight complex and while it could get over-bearing at times it was also very sweet. I related a lot to Sarah and her struggles as the youngest sibling chasing the high expectations her older siblings set up and wanting to make her family proud. This book deals with so much, from eating disorders to mental issues and family feuds. I thought that they were all well researched, but I would have liked to linger a bit more on the resolutions between family members. It was all quick and easy towards the end which is my biggest issue with the novel. Oliveras set up some great moments for drama and action to really hit the readers in the feels but the every moment of resolution was far too abrupt and easy. That’s not to say that every problem needed to take three chapters to get fixed, but again I would have liked to linger in the deep end a bit more before catching a life preserver. Another minor issue I had was the integration of Spanish in the text. I am all for integrating different languages into text, but it needs to feel natural. All I really got from this book was the *heavily* repeated use of familia, coño, and the nanny’s old saying. Not to mention the Spanish was italicized so it stuck out even more making the blend of the languages more choppy than fluid.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed the reading experience. The characters were fun and the setting was fabulous! I wish I could get out to a little beach town like Key West! I’m looking forward to reading whatever sibling we get next especially since the minor teasers in this book looked really promising!
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Rating: 4 / 5
Review: You know at first I thought this wasn’t going to be it for me, but I ended up really liking it. It had some Josh & Hazel vibes, but Leon and Tiffy did end up shining on their own. Super sweet. Loved the drama. Loved the notes. I just really liked it 🙂
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Review: Well well well that was certainly delightful!
Dani and Zaf were great and I mean GREAT characters. She was all business and snark and he was also snarky but a hopeless romantic!!!!! We love to see it.
Their banter was great. Their friendship turned fake relationship was great! The scenes were steamy and I was definitely tomato-faced.
I gotta say though plot-wise the fake dating wasn’t all that up front in the end. It eventually took a back seat to other going-ons so I would have liked a bit more of that. But we get Chloe cameos and I love her so I am very happy! And we get more Eve which only makes me more excited to read her book next!
Safe to say Talia Hibbert still gave us a fun, hilarious, flirty, dynamic and all around wonderful story, so read it!
Well Met by Jen Deluca
Rating: 2 / 5 Stars
Recommend: You all said this book was amazing…I don’t know what went wrong, but I feel lied to.
This was not the cutesy, bantery romcom I was expecting. I honestly don’t have any strong feelings towards any part of this book except an extreme meh-ness.
The characters…I didn’t hate but also didn’t particularly like. Emily was so wishy washy, I found nothing substantial about her to pinpoint other than maybe her tendency to overthink everything. Also she complained about the dude being stuck in the past when she literally kept bringing up her own past too! I never warmed to Simon either. The whole point of the book is to find out he is not truly an asshole but here I am keeping that sentiment. Even his pirate persona was too much sometimes and I 10/10 would most likely fall for the pirate. But again I didn’t hate them…they just bored me.
Bringing me to say that their romance was also pretty meh. And the ending….I eye-rolled. I’m sorry. AND I USUALLY SQUEAL AT THOSE ENDINGS!!!
The whole Ren faire thing was exciting I guess…but I still wanted more from that. We were literally stuck at the tavern for the whole summer like she was so like I get it but hey if you’re setting a book in a Ren faire give me Ren faire details.
To cut this short. My feelings about this book are just “it was fine.” Like there was nothing terrible about it, I just didn’t connect to anything. Nothing. Was it funny? Sometimes. Was it romantic? sure. But I just feel nothing strong about it.
But you know what? Imma still give book 2 a try because Stacey is someone I actually liked and not just had mellow feelings towards.
Finally A Hockey Series That Works for Me!
Parental Guidance by Avery Flynn
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
Review: You know what I’m going to appreciate this book because it was the first hockey-ish romance that I didn’t hate. It wasn’t super hockey heavy but it still beats out the other two I tried.
I mean the concept is a bit ridiculous, but I like that by the end the ridiculousness of it is recognized. (Although I’m pretty sure they would have gotten into some legal trouble there)
Regardless it was fun, short and quick read. Characters are a little one-dimensional but still pretty entertaining.
It was a fake dating plot so we (again) appreciate it.
Nothing outstanding but pretty good!
Awk-Weird by Avery Flynn
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Review: You know what? I’m trash for this book.
Is this book hard-hitting literature that made me think really hard about my life decisions? No. (Maybe a little)
But you know what this book is? It’s just plain fun and ridiculousness and it just made me happy.
Like I can’t relate personally to any of the characters (maybe a little about the awkwardness though) and yet I loved these two stubborn fools so much. Rooting for them to both get their acts together was so much fun. It’s a constant back and forth so it might piss some readers off, but I really just enjoyed it. I read this book in two sittings. I stayed up wayyyyy too late to finish it.
It was hilarious, romantic, dramatic and just so so so much fun!
And I’m giving it the five stars even though it is more like a 4.5 just because I’m still really happy about it!
(Although she could’ve toned down the amount of times she used the word “awk-weird” like we get it.)
Young Adult Romances
Heartstopper: Volume One Alice Oseman
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Review: This was too cute for words. Adorable. Just like a gulp of pure joy! Characters were interesting! The illustrations were simplistic but cozy! I felt the love! (A very short review I know!)
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Recommend: I wasn’t able to finish it within the 48hrs of queer Blackathon cuz life got in the way but omg this was a lot of fun.
Claire Kann really knows how to make me laugh and I was super into her writing style. (It had pop culture references I actually got!)
I loved the setting of the small town. I loved the characters! Winnie! I thought she was fabulous. There was never a dull moment with her. Winston was all jokes. Um Dallas fell a little flat and Kara..hmmm..I don’t know how I feel about her just yet, nonetheless she was an interesting character.
Overall, the plot was really fun. I would have liked a little more of the Royal Engagement going-ons. I loved the dynamics on friendship, romance, queerplatonic relationships and polyamory. But in the end the book just made me happy. It was funny from start to finish and I had a smile the whole way through. It deals with some tough content especially when it comes to family and family fall-outs, but I think it leaves room for hope at the end.
Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
Review: I don’t know what to rate this exactly but I’m feeling like a 3 so it’s a 3
Holy moly I have ~thoughts~
1. This book has confirmed what I already know are my flaws. I’m petty, jealous and vengeful in addition to being very very prideful. All this to say is I’m not as forgiving or nice as I think I am.
2. This whole book is so involved in the world of theatre that I am so unfamiliar with. I only touch base with Shakespeare through text, acting and interpreting with body language, set design and intonation is so out of my league that I honestly was intrigued and traumatized. (I could never act in front of people)
3. I WAS SO ANGRY FOR 90% OF THIS BOOK. Going back to my fatal flaws from point 1, I just… This book reminds me that I LOVE drama but it also stresses me the f out.
4. Owen was the smartest character.
5. The whole family dynamic is something I am not familiar with since my parents aren’t divorced and I like to think that this book gave me some much needed perspective on how different kinds of family dynamics are just as messy and wonderful
6. I feel vindicated bc I knew that this character was garbage.
7. I liked the book. I liked it’s focus on sex positivity without the slut shaming and it took a while until I stopped waiting for it to happen as if it were going to sneak in at one point, but I’m glad it didn’t.
8. I can’t say I loved this book and everything it tried to sell me, but it was quite the dramatic ride I was hoping for. (which is a good thing in my books)
Let me know what you think! Have you read any of these? What romance reads have you loved as of late? Anything new you are looking forward to? I’m always on the hunt for recommendations!
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