This wasn't a bad book, per se, but it had a lot of weird moments.
The Good: - I really liked Tessa a lot, she's an introvert who's working on getter beThis wasn't a bad book, per se, but it had a lot of weird moments.
The Good: - I really liked Tessa a lot, she's an introvert who's working on getter better in social situations but she also is really ambitious about where she wants to be in her career, especially as a woman working in a heavily male-dominated field. I love that she succeeds and is recognized for her abilities! - I liked that the relationship was one of friendship and mutual respect that evolves nicely into romance.
The Bad: - I was kind of weirded by Adam's hang up over having a relationship with a woman who is very career-conscious. Which is to say, maybe grow up instead of trying to find a woman who solely exists to fulfill your needs! He gets better but yeah. - The impetus for the couple's first kiss was just so ridiculously contrived that I had to stop reading out of bafflement. - The constant reference to popular internet fandoms and weird-ass representation of (white) fandom culture that weirded me out so much. The main character even refers to herself as a Superwholock in a professional setting, you guys. It was very "sounds fake, but ok". I think the book fared better when it was talking about the fake show Mystics than when it was talking about real shows/fandoms that will terribly date this book in the future. Half the time, I was just like "Dear God, Tessa, get better taste" lol. - There's a sweeping romantic moment in the book that references Benedict Cumberbatch in his role as Sherlock Holmes and, frankly, that is the last thing to engender romantic feelings, I'm sorry. I actually had to look up "the most perfect Sherlock hair-ruffle" because I had no clue what it meant and those are five horrifying seconds that I will never get back. ...more
This was such a cute story!!!! Ah Lee, a young teenage vampire in a house full of vampire grandmas and aunts, navigates the trials and tribulations ofThis was such a cute story!!!! Ah Lee, a young teenage vampire in a house full of vampire grandmas and aunts, navigates the trials and tribulations of eternal teenagerhood, including a chance at young love. Her aunts, more than a little overbearing at times, want her to forget men (regaling her with stories of horrible men in their lives) and concentrate on her studies so she can achieve an almost normal life. But the charm of the story is certainly vampire girl protag dealing with the mundane things like homework, disguising entrails as chicken nuggets in the school cafeteria, and following in love with the new boy in school. SUPER CUTE!...more
This book was honestly a very interesting mix of ideas. A steampunk (gunpowderpunk?) alternative history of the Opium Wars, it follows a young woman nThis book was honestly a very interesting mix of ideas. A steampunk (gunpowderpunk?) alternative history of the Opium Wars, it follows a young woman named Soling, whose father was one of the Chief Engineers to the Emperor who was executed for failing to provide adequate technology against the British naval forces. Years later, Soling has grown up in poverty and is recruited to infiltrate rebels against the Emperor in order to restore her family's name and honor. Helping her is now young man she had been betrothed to as a child, Chang-wei, one of her father's bright protegés who had vanished after her father's death.
The steampunk aspect of the book is actually kept to a minimum with a lot of emphasis on the effect of opium addiction on individuals, the political landscape of China vs. the Western powers, and the changes in the empire itself. I really liked Soling, who's trained as a physician and I loved how her skills managed to complement Chang-wei's in the plot! They're actually a very cute couple and, while there wasn't enough romance for me, I thought Jeannie Lin did a great job of giving these brief but great intimate moments in lieu of sexytimes. There was lots of Fake Marrieds with a few healthy dollops of "oh no we have to stay the night and the inn only has one bed so we have to share it aLAS" and "btw let's help each other get dressed and be hyperaware of our proximity to each other after not seeing each other for years and having wondered so much about the other". Soling's relationship with her family was interesting although I would have loved to see more (her mom's backstory as a crossdressing mathematician in the Imperial Academy was so cool!).
I wish the ending wasn't so abrupt though, it's a bit of a cliffhanger. I'll look forward to checking out the next book!...more
I liked this for the most part! It's a romance taking place during the aftermath of a widespread technology blackout where two of the main characters,I liked this for the most part! It's a romance taking place during the aftermath of a widespread technology blackout where two of the main characters, Arden and roommate/best friend John Seong, trek from Rochester, NY to John's family cabin near the Canadian border. There, Arden meets John's brother who, at first, doesn't like Arden for compromising John's safety during their trip. Gabriel and John also have a young teenage sister, Maggie, who loves One Direction and worries about the fate of her internet boyfriend.
Arden and Gabriel do quickly develop a better mutual understanding and appreciation alongside their attraction for each other. The romance does progress quickly but, to be fair, it employs the "snowed in a cabin" trope (or as I call it, the "Hana Yori Dango situation") and their romance is even helped along by matchmaking by John and Maggie.
As for the writing, I admit a lot of the banter and Arden's monologue seem a bit weird at times but I thought the relationships and character motivations of everyone were well-written. They don't always talk like real people but they do feel real. Arden's personal regrets with regard to her parents particularly hit close to home for me as I'm going through similar issues.
Beyond the backstory relayed by Arden, there's not much worldbuilding about why all technology had suddenly failed; the book is more focused on how the Seong family (including Arden) stays safe while working without technology. However, the book had an excerpt from the next novel in the series, where John is gay for an astrophysicist-turned-vegetable thief and it seems fun to read from John's perspective so I'll be checking it out!
In terms of content warnings, the book begins with a scene describing physical assault and there's an allusion to gendered violence in the backstory. there's also some violent racism and use of anti-Asian slurs near the end of the book....more
Man, I really enjoyed so much of this book, but it was not entirely satisfying.
Usually the plot/setup aspects of romance novels are the flimsiest, buMan, I really enjoyed so much of this book, but it was not entirely satisfying.
Usually the plot/setup aspects of romance novels are the flimsiest, but, here, it was the most entertaining and interesting part. After the death of their gross and miserly protector Mr. North, the main character, Millicent, decides to impersonate him to access his funds and save her mother and sisters from poverty. Reading about how she takes control of these new money and properties, and crafts an image of an idiosyncratic and comedic society man was so much fun! Millicent uses her new access to societal privilege to help her family as well as other women while befriending a duke, Schoffer. She quickly develops a friendship with Shoffer and his sister but ends up super attracted to him, with the book having a lot of pining moments. Shoffer, on his part, cares a lot about his new friend and his sense of humor but is super oblivious of the way Mr. North stares at his naked body when they have to share quarters lmao.
The actual romance parts were sometimes fun (this is a couple that has conversations together and appreciates humor even in the bedroom and that's kind of refreshing and sweet) but also sometimes boring and generally very awkward because of some bad sex-related euphemisms in there lol. It was kind of a let down because the plot was really great and I was hoping the reveals and romance would be on par but I ended the book feeling less impressed about the romance. ...more