Listen, I like these books, and they have a lot of great elements. Fun plots, clever writing, GREAT sex scenes. San Francisco. Flappers. But can I mayListen, I like these books, and they have a lot of great elements. Fun plots, clever writing, GREAT sex scenes. San Francisco. Flappers. But can I maybe find someone who writes exactly like this except without the dudes being super-dominant and possessive?
Bo literally says this to Astrid: "You will never get over me. Do you hear me? Never! You will never be free of me, because I won't let you go. I will put a bullet in any man who touches you. I will go to jail for you. I will die for you. My ghost will haunt you from the grave."
And I'm like "Uh... That's creepy, right? Possessive in the extreme? Something a stalker and/or serial killer would say?"
But Astrid is like "Actually, it's kinda hot, and we will now aggressively make out."
I like Bo and Astrid, and I was rooting for them, especially with the whole mixed-race aspect of their relationship. And there is an Actual Lesbian Couple in this book! And pirates! And people masturbating to the dictionary! There were just a few parts where I had to backtrack and go "wait, that was supposed to be sexy, NOT creepy and controlling?" I think I'm reading the wrong sorts of romance novels.
I am going to miss the Magnussons, though. Especially Hadley, she's still my favorite.
Things googled: amaranthine, Dungeness, huli jing, sempiternal, Jack Johnson (boxer), Conservatory of Flowers San Francisco, black and tan club...more
I think I'm glad I read Grim Shadows before I read this one. The writing is just as good, but Winter, the romantic hero of this book, is waaaaay too aI think I'm glad I read Grim Shadows before I read this one. The writing is just as good, but Winter, the romantic hero of this book, is waaaaay too alpha-male for my tastes. He's really large and intimidating, he's overprotective and possessive, he has a temper, he's the boss of everyone, he's arrogant... You know the type. And while I fully accept that Aida likes him the way he is, it's hard for me to get lost in the romance when I know I would not be attracted to this dude AT ALL.
Like, he calls her boss to find out when her night off is, so he can ask her out to dinner. Which is presented as romantic because he likes her so much, but if she didn't like him back, it would be creepy as fuck. Some of the other things he does can be read as controlling rather than romantic. I know this is a common hero type in romance, but it just freaks me out. Give me your shy men, your sensitive men, your non-alphas yearning to breathe free...
Anyway, the book was still a lot of fun, and I'll definitely be reading Grave Phantoms. I like this writer's style quite a bit and her sex scenes are [I tried to put fire emojis here and broke the review, so just imagine some fire emojis, thanks].
So like. What to think of a woman whose anger literally summons dark spirits who wreak havoc?
Like on the one hand, her anger is powerful and you'd betSo like. What to think of a woman whose anger literally summons dark spirits who wreak havoc?
Like on the one hand, her anger is powerful and you'd better not piss her off because she could ACTUALLY kill you. But on the other hand, this means she spends most of the book feeling guilty for and/or trying to suppress her anger, and women should be allowed to get angry! So I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Ultimately, though, I liked this book a lot. The romance was delightful and steamy and full of flirty banter, and while it was a fairly standard romance plot, it was kept interesting by Hadley's fear of being directly touched, and Lowe's attempts to overcome that fear without violating her boundaries. (Not sure I buy that you can "re-train" someone out of a phobia with mints and pie, but w/e.) The scene where Lowe touches Hadley, but only through her clothes, was super hot.
I picked this up because I was going to San Francisco, where this book is set, and I thought it'd be fun to read it on my trip. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it, and I'll definitely be picking up the others in this series....more
I read this while waiting outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre for canceled Hamilton tickets, so I'll probably always have fond memories of it, but itI read this while waiting outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre for canceled Hamilton tickets, so I'll probably always have fond memories of it, but it wasn't great. The whole time I was reading, I wished it was The Lizzie Bennet Diaries instead. Like, there's a way to update P&P for the modern era, and I liked what LBD did much better.
First of all, Wickham is divided into two characters named Wick and Ham, like seriously, really, that's a thing that happened. There are also a couple of black characters that seem shoehorned in for diversity's sake, rather than, say, making one of the main characters black (or, say, Asian, like LBD did). And Mrs. Bennet, who I think of as good-hearted if ridiculous, is just straight-up bigoted in this one. The whole deal with the Lydia "scandal" and her reaction to it just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Mr. Darcy is fine, and Mr. Collins is exactly as gross as he's supposed to be--the oversharing detail about him getting a "BJ" from a prostitute was the laugh-out-loud moment of the book for me. But honestly, just skip reading this and watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It's better....more
This was an adorable little romance. The premise is hilarious in itself, and there are several jokes about lobsters. The sex was hot and mostly focuseThis was an adorable little romance. The premise is hilarious in itself, and there are several jokes about lobsters. The sex was hot and mostly focused on the woman's pleasure, which I appreciate, and the sexual tension was well-done. Recommended for those who like their romance with a sense of humor....more
Read while home sick from work. Meg Cabot is perfect when you want something light and funny and consistently entertaining, and this book is no exceptRead while home sick from work. Meg Cabot is perfect when you want something light and funny and consistently entertaining, and this book is no exception. ...more
Utterly charming. Romantic, delightful, always funny, sometimes sad, and VERY difficult to put down.
A lot of romance stories end when the main charactUtterly charming. Romantic, delightful, always funny, sometimes sad, and VERY difficult to put down.
A lot of romance stories end when the main characters finally admit their love for each other and get together, but that's just Part One of this book. The rest is about actually trying to make the relationship work in the face of all the usual obstacles, but writ large by the fact that we're dealing with royalty. I really appreciate a book that shows the ups and downs of a relationship, where the characters always love each other, but can't always make things work in spite of that.
The characters practically leap off the page. I don't know how similar they are to their real-life counterparts, but it doesn't matter--even if I knew nothing about the real Royal Couple that inspired this book, it'd still be wonderful, which is the mark of a great based-on-a-true-story for me. (I have no idea if Gaz even has a real-life counterpart, but I kind of want to marry him. He makes font puns!) I especially loved Bex's family. And Queen Mum Marta, oh my god.
Spoilery complaints: (view spoiler)[I did feel the ending was a little rushed. I liked the impromptu wedding, but the whole Freddie/Clive/blackmail plot was introduced and then resolved so fast that my head spun a little. I wish Nick and Freddie had had more time to work things out between themselves, time for Nick to be angry and process his anger and realize that he still loves his brother. One day wasn't really enough for that emotional arc to happen.
I also wasn't too fond of Emma's "mysterious mental illness without a diagnosis" thing. It felt very old-fashioned, like we were in a Dickens story where people "go mad" and sometimes spontaneously combust. I get why they took Emma's story in that direction, but maybe they could have found an actual mental illness for her to have, instead of "she just snapped." (hide spoiler)]
But aside from those relatively minor gripes, I loved this book. It reminds me of Meg Cabot, in all the best ways--funny, smart, romantic, relatable. The authors are exactly as hilarious as you'd expect from reading their website, and they've done a wonderful job with this story....more
Man, I don't even care about "A Proper Romance," what I like is a GOOD romance, and Donaldson delivers. Like her leading men, her books are so charminMan, I don't even care about "A Proper Romance," what I like is a GOOD romance, and Donaldson delivers. Like her leading men, her books are so charming that you can't help but be won over by them.
I think I liked Blackmoore slightly better than this one, because that book is about two people who have known each other for a long time falling in love, while this one has the unrealistic (yet ubiquitous) trope of "I just met you, but I already feel a ~deep connection~ with you!" that always makes me roll my eyes slightly. So yes, it contains lots of tropes, and if you've read a romance novel, ever, you pretty much know how this one's going to go. But despite that, the emotional tension between the characters kept me up way past my bedtime finishing the book. And it does have a few unexpected elements--for example, I certainly wasn't expecting a gunfight on page 18 of a regency romance.
I needed a light, refreshing palate cleanser after reading a heavy nonfiction book, and this fit the bill. As for it being a "clean" romance, I don't mind sex scenes in my books, but a good author can make two people's hands touching feel as sexy as any erotica.
Totally pictured Philip as Richard Armitage the whole time, btw....more
Yeah, okay, so this is the Incest Book. That's all I knew about it going in, so I was rather surprised to find that it's also a heartbreakingly accuraYeah, okay, so this is the Incest Book. That's all I knew about it going in, so I was rather surprised to find that it's also a heartbreakingly accurate portrait of a family in crisis. Their dad is long gone, and their mother is an alcoholic who treats them with a level of neglect so profound that it's basically child abuse. So Maya and Lochan, the oldest kids, are put into the position of being parents to their three younger siblings, in addition to going to school and still basically being kids themselves. They live in perpetual fear of social services finding out about their situation, but at times I was like Jesus Christ, I'm pretty sure social services taking over your family would be better than this. Dear parents everywhere: Take some fucking responsibility for your kids, even if you never wanted them.
In contrast to that, Maya and Lochan's love story seems kind of incidental, at least at first. The way their romance is described is typical of YA "forbidden love" romance, with the melodrama and the jealousy and the FEELINGS, so I wasn't all that invested in it for most of the book. I cared way more about what was going to happen to their family than what would happen to their romance. But in the end, both stories came together in a conclusion that actually made me cry. I got the feeling that things weren't going to end happily for our couple—how could they?—but I wasn't expecting actual tears, so, good job, Suzuma.
A couple of notes:
- This is set in the UK, and everything is British, so it really threw me when the characters kept talking about "soccer." Doesn't everyone know by now that there's a difference between American football and rest-of-the-world football? If not, they should learn, not have everything Americanized for them. Grr.
- The book is told in alternating perspectives between Maya and Lochan, and Lochan's voice sounded much more authentic and unique to me. His descriptions of his social anxiety and panic attacks were vivid and detailed. Maya's sections were fine, but there was nothing to really distinguish them as coming from Maya.
- Incest in fiction has never really bothered me. It only bothers me when it seems unrealistic, and I had a bit of trouble grasping why Maya and Lochan were so drawn to each other romantically when most siblings are disgusted at the very thought. But consensual incest does happen, even among siblings who were raised together. It probably happens more often than people think, given that the taboo against incest keeps people from speaking up. Regardless of how often it happens, though, I'm pretty sure consensual incest shouldn't be illegal. There's no justification for making it against the law, except "but it's gross," which is no justification at all.
- Everything about sex in this book is very carefully written. To most readers, it's clear what's going on, but for a younger reader who doesn't know much about sex, there are no explicit terms or "bad words" to spell it out for you. It's a difficult line to walk in YA fiction, but Suzuma does it pretty well.
- I definitely see why people get to the end of this book and immediately hit the five-star rating button, but the rest of the book didn't live up to the ending for me. It just wasn't well-written enough. So, three stars for the book. Four for the ending....more
Like Etienne St. Clair, Cricket Bell charms the reader as well as the main character--I kind of wanJust as sweet and sexy as Anna and the French Kiss.
Like Etienne St. Clair, Cricket Bell charms the reader as well as the main character--I kind of wanted to make out with him myself by the end. I also adored the descriptions of Lola's many outfits. Perkins has a great eye for details that make the characters come to life. Can't wait to read Isla and the Happily Ever After!...more
Going into this, I didn't know it was going to be an epistolary novel, written entirely in emails. I miUtterly charming, like everything Cabot writes.
Going into this, I didn't know it was going to be an epistolary novel, written entirely in emails. I might not have been as interested if I had known, but Meg Cabot pulls it off with style. The email format allows for a lot of hilarious irony, and reading between the lines actually makes the story more fun.
The plot is a romance classic: Boy meets girl. Boy pretends to be someone else. Boy and girl fall in love. Girl finds out boy isn't who he says he is. Hijinks ensue! The heroine, Mel, is the prototypical Meg Cabot character: a Midwestern transplant to New York who's funny, sweet, concerned about others, and kind to animals and old ladies. There are a lot of celebrity-gossip references that are a little dated now, but not too dated. There's also a bit of an attempted-murder mystery going on.
This is the third Meg Cabot series I've read and while Heather Wells is still my favorite, I liked this one a lot. Cabot is comfort reading for me, and this book was no exception....more
Lizzie isn't quite as naive in this one as she was in Queen of Babble, and she no longer says "stiffy" (a vast improvement). There are still a lot ofLizzie isn't quite as naive in this one as she was in Queen of Babble, and she no longer says "stiffy" (a vast improvement). There are still a lot of things that go over her head, though, but when she wises up, she adapts admirably. I still prefer Heather Wells' cynicism, but I can't help but root for Lizzie as she tries to make it in New York on her own.
My favorite parts are actually the restoring-wedding-dresses parts, because there Lizzie is really able to shine and show her competence. Also, fashion nerdery. Lizzie understands the language of fashion, how a garment can say multiple things, and that's never more true than at weddings, when everyone is watching.
I predicted most of the romantic plot twists from a mile away, but Meg Cabot's books are always so much fun that I don't really care. And they're always hilarious. Can't wait to read the next one after that cliffhanger ending!...more
I read this and forgot to record it in Goodreads (gasp)! So I don't remember many details except that (view spoiler)[OF COURSE Lizzie Nichols makes HeI read this and forgot to record it in Goodreads (gasp)! So I don't remember many details except that (view spoiler)[OF COURSE Lizzie Nichols makes Heather Wells' wedding dress (hide spoiler)]. I love these books and I'm kind of sad to say goodbye to Heather, but her story has come to a natural conclusion. I'm going to miss her snark, though....more
Dear Sarah Dessen, HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SO GOOD. NO BUT FOR REAL THOUGH. Sincerely, a fan who read almost all of this book in one sitting and cried likeDear Sarah Dessen, HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SO GOOD. NO BUT FOR REAL THOUGH. Sincerely, a fan who read almost all of this book in one sitting and cried like a baby....more
I spent the first third of this book worrying I was going to hate it. Instead of the delightful snark and mystery-solvingOkay, Meg Cabot, you got me.
I spent the first third of this book worrying I was going to hate it. Instead of the delightful snark and mystery-solving of the Size 12 Is Not Fat series, this one starts with a heroine who is impossibly naive, shallow and insecure, in love with a guy who is obviously a huge asshole, and showing a tendency to embarrass herself at every turn. I hate humor that relies entirely on embarrassment, and I was worried the whole book was going to be like that.
Thankfully, it wasn't. Once Lizzie wised up and dumped the boyfriend, the book got 300% better, and I read the rest of it with a silly grin on my face. This was the book I was hoping for. Delightful romance, believable character growth, and hilarity. I loved Lizzie's fashion Sherlock Scan abilities, and I recommend Google Image-searching the clothes she wears in the book, because they are totally cute.
Lizzie's penchant for saying the first thing that pops into her head is of course why the book is called Queen of Babble, and it gets her into a lot of sticky situations. But, interestingly, it can also get her out of them. Her big mouth is what leads her to the realization that the jerk boyfriend is no good, and at several points it forces the other characters to be more honest and reveal more of their true selves. I really like that Lizzie's gift of gab is presented as a strength as well as a fault.
I'll definitely be reading the other books in this series....more
Like all of my favorite YA books, Sarah Dessen's books make me want to be a teenager again. To have that transformative experience that comes when eveLike all of my favorite YA books, Sarah Dessen's books make me want to be a teenager again. To have that transformative experience that comes when everything in your life is changing, and you can't help but change, too....more
This book is pretty cute. I expected to like Maureen Johnson's story and John Green's story, but I was surprised how much I liked Lauren Myracle's. I'This book is pretty cute. I expected to like Maureen Johnson's story and John Green's story, but I was surprised how much I liked Lauren Myracle's. I'd never read anything by her before.
The whole time I was reading Lauren's story, I kept thinking "these are the kind of girls I would never have been friends with in high school." They're the popular, mainstream girls who are bright and bubbly with lots of girl friends, while I'd rather hang out with John Green's smart, slightly tortured misfits. I don't tend to read about kids without problems. But even though this was a "popular girls" story, I still liked and empathized with the characters, and the story brought a smile to my face.
This book is good romantic fluff, funny and comforting, perfect for the holidays....more