Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz
Coming of age, families, Mexican Americans, friendship, homosexuality, fiction.
There are things that Dante can do but Ari can’t and vice versa. They are very different yet odds bring them together and they bond over a shared love to help each other out whether it be swimming or understanding the universe. Along the way, they are discovering their true selves and finding a place in the world. When one of them gets into an accident this puts their newly found friendship to the test. As well as one of them moving away. When they reunite, they discover some secrets of the universe and one of them was right in front of them.
This was beautifully written about young teens just trying to find meaning in this chaotic world. I remember when I was a teenager trying to figure out the universe myself. Dante and Ari going through the emotions of ether or not they should be friends or become something more made my heart melt. This novel was written with such simplicity yet the character’s emotions and interactions were so complex as their lives that each of them come from. Dante and Ari get glimpses into each other’s lives to see where they came from which was so surreal. I enjoyed reading this book and I found out that there is a sequel. I’m excited to go find a copy to read.
The Heart Principal – Helen Hoang
Romance, autism, cancer, survivors, comedy, fiction.
Anna, a violinist, became famous over a video of her art. Now everyone expects her to be the same level of expertise. She seeks therapy to help understand herself. What hits her is that her boyfriend Julian wants to have an open relationship. She agrees to the terms and decides to download and sign up for dating apps. Quan is recovering from surgery for testicular cancer and his brother tells him that he should go back into the dating world. He reopens his old account and finds Anna. Both want just a one night stand. However, fate had something else planned as Anna’s world began to fall apart and Quan wanted to be there for her in every aspect possible. Love can be unexpected and scary as they both learn.
I’m hooked onto this author’s writing style. This novel I consumed like there was no tomorrow. I absolutely loved this one. Anna finding out that she has autism is a genuine reaction that most women experience since autism in females is very different than in males. It is important to know that finding out as an adult is very tough because coming to the terms of the diagnosis was not easy for Anna but that is a reaction a lot of folks have, especially women. I love that this author addresses these issues with novels and that they are realistic. I love the characters’ interactions, mostly Anna and Quan. I didn’t like her sister who was not being accepting and that’s a very real issue too. Some family members especially within the Asian community aren’t as accepting. They see it as excuses as to not being one’s best that they can be according to their definition. It is with their lifestyle to always be achieving the best and doing the best without complaining. Anna’s sister was like this. Overall, this book or rather this author emotionally destroyed me throughout. I cried and laughed while reading this. I would recommend any of Helen Hoang novels.
Isn’t It Bromantic? – Lyssa Kay Adams
Romance, book clubs, comedy, men, fiction.
Vlad always watches his friends in the Bromance Book Club get their happy endings and yet his own love life is incomplete. He hasn’t told them yet that his marriage with a woman of six years was a marriage of convenience. Something completely straight out of the many books that they have read. When he gets seriously injured they call his wife to come care for him. Elena is shocked beyond belief and rushes over to help. Only to be discouraged and she is torn from staying in America or going to Russia to find her father. This would mean her and Vlad divorcing since she is leaving to go back and she didn’t want to be a burden. Vlad wants to save the marriage despite its rocky beginnings. Elena knows it’s a lost cause but Vlad doesn’t seem to think so when he tells her everything.
This book made me cry and laugh at the same time. I even underlined three passage selections that were completely and utterly relatable. I won’t spoil it but they were really eye openers that were completely unexpected to be inside a novel that a fictional character says. I binge read this novel and I absolutely love the fact that Lyssa Kay Adams gave the Russian Vlad his own book with his own romance. I was absolutely surprised with how she wrote the plot that made more sense as to the creation of the book club he hosts. There are many plot twists that were unexpected and I absolutely loved every single page of this novel. This was absolutely perfect and I definitely couldn’t have wished for a better moment for Vlad and his wife Elena. This was so sweet that his ending was absolutely perfect. Lyssa Kay Adams did it again with her writing and I would have to say she is my favorite romance novelist. She is absolutely the best and I recommend this author with all her works to give a read.
Crazy Stupid Bromance – Lyssa Kay Adams
Comedy, romance, book clubs, men, fiction.
Alexis is successful with her cafe called ToeBeans and running a yoga class for sexual assault survivors such as herself. She had faced the infamous famous chef who had sexually assaulted her with the help of a lawyer. Everything is good except when a woman comes into her cafe with information that flips her world upside down. She finds out that her father needs a kidney and that the woman is her half sister. Noah, her best friend, wants to be there for her but fears pushing his limits with her. He doesn’t want her involved with her supposed family. The Bromance Book Club intervenes when he confesses that he is in love with his best friend but fears of ruining something good. Alexis has feelings for Noah too and tries to deny it because her relationship with him was the healthiest she ever had. The group and their wives intervene on every level ensuring that the couple are together in the end despite the circumstances.
I cried and laughed but mostly cried because this was the most beautiful love story I ever had read. I hardly ever read romances and I now read them more often than I should admit. This really melted my heart. The whole best friends falling in love becoming lovers trope was just so sweet. I couldn’t help but smile throughout while reading. I somehow knew that the whole friendzone that Noah had set wasn’t going to last long. Especially after that first kiss that they shared. I loved the plot and how it moved along perfectly and at a great pace. I couldn’t help but not want to put this book down despite needing to put it down. All of Lyssa Kay Adams’ books have that effect. She is excellent at story writing and creating these characters that really make one remember them for certain. I recommend this series and I heard that her first book will become a movie so I will be looking forward to that.
Boyfriend Material – Alexis Hall
Romance, comedy, LGBTQ+, fiction.
Luc is in need of something that will fix his image and the place he works at suggested for him to get a fake boyfriend so that he doesn’t look too bad. One of his friends recommended Oliver to help clean up the image. Oliver agrees as long as Luc goes with him to events as well. As they are fake dating they begin to fall for each other. This whole fake dating has become real dating rather quickly than they had expected and don’t know what will be the aftermath.
I had seen this everywhere and this was not an easy book to find due to the popularity. TikTok really blows up the authors and their books in a really good sense because adults and young adults are actually going out and getting books. I really enjoyed this novel. I found it so cute and didn’t stop reading it. The characters are really unique and their interactions seem very comedically as well. Fake dating never ends with the two love interests walking away from each other. The writing is phenomenal. I didn’t want this novel to end but unfortunately it had to end. Definitely a good read.
A Pho Love Story – Loan Le
Romance, comedy, rival pho restaurants, Vietnamese-Americans, young adult, fiction.
Linh and Bao’s families are rival pho restaurants. They are always competing against each other to the point where sometimes nasty words are said. Sometimes rumors are spread that are lies. Linh and Bao try to have a relationship and navigate the rough waters of their families’ rivalry. Both vowing to make it work for both of them and their families.
I was curious about this book as I was looking at the new YA section and wanted to read something different so I picked this book and some others. I liked this. I felt that this is a great and better replacement of Romeo and Juliet with a happier ending with more diverse characters. We need more diverse books in the public school curriculum that aren’t just old racist dudes. I’m sure that this is much more enriching than a tale of two people deciding to end it all if they can’t be together. These two people, Linh and Bao, work it out between their families. I can see this happening in real life and love that there is food involved. I never really tried pho but now I want to try it. Besides, I love both characters and feel for them. Go get this book and read it.
The Love Square – Laura Jane Williams
Romance, comedy, LGBTQ+, fiction.
After a string of bad luck with guys, Penny finally finds one guy that isn’t horrible. Later she falls for another guy. Also, another guy she falls in love with her. So far, her count is three incredible guys. All three want to date her. Her heart is torn between the three and she has to decide only one guy to get within the end.
I tried to remain vague when doing this review because there was a lot going on in this book. So much romance and the protagonist trying to fit herself with only one love interest. She felt realistic and so did the love interests. I wanted to date her myself. Lol. The writing is excellently done, and I found that the plot moved at a perfect pace. I didn’t want to finish this book but now after reading this, I want to read more romance novels. I always thought they were smut (there are some that are very smutty) and no plot. Some do have plots like this one. I can’t wait to find any more of this author. I do recommend this book because this is LGBTQ+ friendly and that this was simply perfect.
Conventionally Yours – Annabeth Albert
LGBTQ+, enemies to lovers, romance, comedy, road trips, conventions, fiction.
Conrad needs to win the Odyssey-Con so that he can use the money to find his own place to live at. He works part time multiple jobs due to that when his father found out he was homosexual; his dad did the worst thing by eliminating his son’s chance of a future unless he comes back home to be fixed. Alden’s mothers want Alden to decide on a future of what academic course he must take. Alden wants more time to decide and told them after the Odyssey-Con trip he will give them an answer. Gamer Grandpa, their game leader, becomes injured and sends the two on the cross-country road trip. Alden and Conrad despise and hate each other. They want this to get over and done that way they can be out of each other’s hairs. As the road trip progresses, their true feelings for each other begin to blossom and shed away. This road trip will forever change their relationship.
I’m left speechless as I am writing this. I wasn’t expecting some of what had happened to happen in this novel. The two characters Conrad and Alden are so drastically different and yet somehow, they mesh into what I would consider a cute relationship. I mean they were enemies and now lovers. This was not so cliché cringe as some that I had read before. This was fun to read and there was enough romance throughout the second half of the book. I guess that sometimes road trips really do bring people together in new and weird, exciting ways such as what went on with Alden and Conrad.
A Girl Like You – Cari Scribner
Women’s fiction, comedy, romance, fiction.
Jessica is ending her second marriage that was a failure. She goes through the motions of the divorce and trying to come up with a plan. Her children explain that there are dating websites and to get out there. Jessica decides to not let two failed marriages ruin her outlook on life. So, she decides to get into the dating game.
I love this novel a lot. This was hilarious and wholesome. I hadn’t expected this novel to be so heart warming too. I was expecting for it to be interesting and interesting it was. There was a lot of seriousness hidden behind the comedy that sometimes one must look at the bright side of life and to not be so negative about the bad situation. Jessica grows from page one to the final page with her experiences and realizations. Some of the sensual scenes were raunchy but tasteful. The writing style is interesting, and I love it. I would want to see more from this author. I do recommend this novel because there is a nice balance of romance and comedy. There is stuff that one can simply relate to. I want to find more of this on shelves because there is a demographic that can relate or need this book to help one reflect on if they had endured or went through failed marriages. This book shares that it is not the end of the world. Rather there is no definitive ending but for one to start living his or her own life.
My Favorite Half Night Stand – Christina Lauren
Romance, comedy, social media, dating apps, fiction.
Millie and Reid get incredibly drunk and have a one night stand. After that night, they talk to each other about remaining friends and only friends. Millie doesn’t want to remain friends and neither does Reid. Millie helps set him and their mutual friends up with dating profiles. She makes her own and a fake one. The fake one matched with Reid so she accepted the match. Reid doesn’t know that this Cathrine was really Millie. This goes on for a while until Reid finds out the truth. Millie attempts to fix their friendship that leads to both of them confessing their feelings to each other.
I loved this book. The characters are incredibly lovable and the plot is purely amazing. I was thrilled and intrigued at the idea that Millie was being herself through Catharine and yet Reid was totally oblivious. I binged this book a little fast because I was wanting to know if and when Reid would realize. I have to say that he was sort of a bad friend for not knowing Millie that well as he should have. Either way, I loved this book and I do recommend this novel.