It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover
Romance, contemporary, relationships, fiction.
Lily throughout her life is a hard worker and came from her hometown to start a flower business in Boston. After her father’s funeral, she is on the rooftop just trying to relax when a man comes up smoking a joint telling her what to do. He thinks she is going to jump but she isn’t. He tells her that his name is Ryle and he’s a neurosurgeon. Each shares bits and pieces of their lives and he warns her about himself. She warns him of herself. They depart and life goes on as usual until their paths cross again. This time he doesn’t take the warning too seriously and dares to ask her out. With time, they slowly become more and more involved but also someone from her past, Atlas, appears in her life. This causes her to be torn between Ryle and Atlas.
I had heard of this author on TikTok and this book was on the BookTok table at my local Barnes and Nobles. I didn’t really like this novel because it was too fast-paced. I was able to read it in one sitting and this book left me saddened and the plot felt like something was missing from the story. The way the book ended was not satisfying at all. The writing was great, don’t get me wrong, it’s just the way Hoover wrote the plot could have been more satisfying at the end. The characters, such as Atlas and Lily, should have gotten together instead of Lily going with Ryle. Lily should have listened to Atlas and left Ryle the moment Ryle hit her. No man should be allowed a second chance after he hits a woman who he claims he loves. I thought that was where the novel was going to take the reader/audience but it disappointed me. I appreciate reading this novel and maybe I should find another Colleen Hoover book to read to understand more of the hype of the author. I do know that she has a bunch out that are on Booktok.
Fly Me to the Moon: Volume 8 – Story and Art by Kenjiro Hata
Romance, contemporary, married life, manga, fiction.
Nasa and Tsukasa decide to go on a honeymoon at a hot springs resort. Nasa tries to make plans for the two of them to spend time together and do more couple-like things. Every time there is a chance for the two of them to get close and intimate, these two are simply too shy for their own good. After the little honeymoon, they return home to continue their little life together.
I had found this manga and immediately grabbed it. I ship Nasa and Tsukasa so much. They’re a cute and awkward couple that I really love. This manga is really sweet with some perverted stuff but it’s mostly warm hearting cuteness. The hot tub scene got me laughing and going aww with. Overall the author and artist did a really great job with this manga series and I’m hooked on this series.
Black Girls Must Die Exhausted – Jayne Allen
Infertility issues, black women. Family, interpersonal relationships, fiction.
Tabitha finds out that she has an infertility issue that she has to address sooner rather than later. Not only that but she finds out her boyfriend, Marc, isn’t ready for any family life nor marriage. He breaks up with her. Tabitha goes to her friends and family to help her. She gets the dream promotion at her work. She comes to terms that she will die exhausted but she will live her life to the fullest.
I enjoyed the writing of this novel. The flow was so perfectly done. The plot and narrative felt surreal. I’m glad that this book covered a very heavy subject with some lightness and comedy. There was a great balance. Not a lot of books cover infertility issues because it is so stigmatized. We should unstigmatized sexual wellness. There was another topic that was covered here and it is racism. There is a lot of systematic and institutionalized racism in this country that has made people of color scared of the police. When Tabitha got pulled over by the cop and was very afraid for her life, I nearly cried because police are supposed to make everyone feel safe. However, with the rising numbers of police brutality against people of color, police have become even more feared more now than ever. With that said, please contact local representatives and tell them that we need police reform. I’ve done my part by calling daily and I want my followers to do the same. My website is a hate-free zone. This is a peace zone.
Once There Were Wolves – Charlotte McConaghy
Wolves, contemporary, survival, fiction.
Inti and her sister Maggie go to Scotland to help bring back the wolf population. She knows that there will be a lot of opposing ideas towards it but this is to save the environment. As she is helping to integrate the wolves into the environment a farmer is found dead. All fingers are pointing at her. She has to come to terms with her trauma and deal with what’s going on around her.
This was sort of hard to read but really good. The main character has this condition that she doesn’t name throughout the novel other than she can see emotions through touch. There were scenes that were very interestingly graphic and vivid. I was slightly disappointed with the size of this novel. I had expected a bit more but that’s fine. This was a one sitting read and I do appreciate the one sitting type reads.
The Bride Test – Helen Hoang
Contemporary, romance, fiction.
Khai’s mother wants her son to settle down with a wife. However, that isn’t simple since Khai has a hard time displaying emotions or even expressing emotions. His mother goes out of her way to go to Vietnam to find him a bride. She interviews potential wives and picks out Esme who wants out of poverty to care for her baby girl. Khai’s mother worked out a deal where Esme had until August eighth to decide whether or not Esme would marry her son. She would be given a visa for the time being. As soon as Esme meets Khai, trying to seduce and make Khai love her to the point he proposes is going to be tough. Khai doesn’t like sudden change and at first doesn’t mind the subtle changes. However, as they were living together in close proximity he soon learns that love and romance is messy.
I had read another Helen Hoang novel and loved the other one. I decided to read this one because I wanted to see what the hype was. I now know after binge reading this novel. I enjoyed reading this novel as much as the other and can’t wait to read another Helen Hoang novel. Hoang’s main character, Khai, displays autism and this comes from experience from the author’s background. She doesn’t have the same but she writes from a background where she thoroughly did her research that is evident with Khai’s character. Esme displays how some people aren’t fully able to understand because they themselves do not have experience or had interactions with individuals who have autism. Each person has different aspects and autism isn’t a cut and paste format for everyone. She begins to learn after he tells her and how his family tells her about how he has a hard time with emotions and doesn’t like change. He was used to certain placement of items and living a certain way.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel. The writing was genuine. The characters felt realistic with their personalities and interactions. I have to say I need to read more of the author’s books because I love her unique writing and the characters she creates. I do recommend either this one or The Kiss Quotient. Both are phenomenal. I can’t wait to see what else Helen Hoang comes out with.
The People We Meet On Vacation – Emily Henry
Contemporary, romance, fiction, comedy.
Poppy and Alex are each other’s opposites. Both enjoy different things and oftentimes their opinions tend to clash against each other. He is a teacher and she is a vacation blogger. Something happened that caused them to drift nearly away from their friendship and this summer she intends on fixing their friendship. She asks him to go on vacation with her without her company. He agrees. As they vacation together, she learns more of what happened when they weren’t chatting anymore. More is unveiled as a broken AC unit brings them even closer =. Not only that but she finds that she has feelings for him and is going to regret it if she doesn’t express herself to him. Before it’s too late.
I cried and laughed throughout this book. I loved romance and comedy. The two are definitely total and complete opposites but somehow perfect for each other. The novel has flashbacks that help understand their relationship even more. This book overall is excellently written and can be read in one sitting or slowly enjoyed. The characters’ interactions with each other are witty and entertaining. I loved that the plot was simple and not too complex either. Sometimes I just want a nice read. This was a great read and definitely a summer romance that is unforgettable. Also great to read in the summer.
Skye Falling – Mia McKenzie
Queer, families, race, communities, activism, contemporary, fiction.
Skye opts to donate one of her eggs to her best friend who isn’t able to conceive through normal means. Skye doesn’t think much of it until twelve years later a twelve year old girl named Vicky comes knocking on her door telling her that she is Skye’s egg. Skye learns more about her egg that she donated and the woman’s life after that point. Vicky is just like her in every way. As she and Vicky are getting to know each other, Skye realizes that there is a community that she was missing out on and decides to be there for not only Vicky’s sake but her own sake.
I cried when I read this book. I felt so many emotions that one can’t even describe easily. This book was on my TBR pile for a while and I was hesitant to read but I am glad that today I got a chance to read it. I finished it in one sitting because it was just that good. There are themes that can be relatable to current political affairs such as police brutality and LGBTQ+ rights. This book explores the idea of egg donations and whether or not it’s a good idea. I think if one wants to donate an egg to a couple that can’t naturally conceive they should be able to. This book is another type of book that will make you laugh and cry for the characters. Each character feels like someone I personally know in my personal life and I can see this happening in a modern day moment.
The Rescue – Nicholas Sparks
Contemporary, romance, fiction.
A single mother and her child are traveling through a storm when disaster hits. When she comes to and is rescued, she wonders where her son is. A search party to look for her son. She introduces herself as Denise and her son’s name is Kyle. The search wasn’t easy since her son was not fully capable of speaking. The firefighter that saved her tells her he will do all that he can to find her child. Taylor, the firefighter, always rescues women and once they want more from him, such as a committed relationship, he ghosts them. However, something about Denise makes him rethink that maybe he can fall in love. He grew close with Denise and her son. A romance slowly blossoms between them.
I saw this on the shelf of many bookstores and always read the back but never added it to my cart. I have read only so few of Sparks books and I’m glad I decided to read this one. I needed a slow burn romance read that is uplifting and light. This novel brought just that with this narrative between Denise and Taylor. Sparks always finds a way to make these characters feel so alive and real with their interactions and dialogues. The writing was phenomenal and I actually was able to read this novel in one sitting. Overall this novel made me cry and laugh because of how these two characters interacted along with her son. As soon as Taylor began playing baseball with Kyle I knew that Taylor was going to be even more involved in Denise’s life. I definitely recommend this novel because it does melt hearts in good ways.
It Had to Be You – Georgia Clark
Romance, fiction, contemporary, LGBTQ+.
Liv faces the death of her husband and father of their only child. She finds out Elliot, her husband, decided to change the will to include this young woman who shows up. This young woman introduces herself as Savannah. She was his fling that he was apparently having the past couple of months. Ralph gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to go get his play on Broadway but his partner, Henry, proposes the idea of getting married. That means a closed relationship and he has to be fully committed which scares him. Darlene needs money and Zach needs to prove to his parents that he can settle down so he offers Darlene an offer she can’t refuse. Funding for her next album. Zia and Clay begin dating in secrecy. Liv is trying to work with Savannah as a partner as well as uncover the mystery of why her late dead husband cheated on her as well as naming this woman in his will. Each couple learns the hard way that love is never easy and finding love is even harder.
I grabbed this from my local Target because there was not only a sale but the title caught my attention. I hesitated reading it and I regret it because this was extremely good. One of my new favorites so far. I cried so much throughout this book as well as laughed and sighed. By the time I finished this novel my heart melted into a puddle of feels. This definitely felt like Love Actually but more diverse and more heart felt. I hardly read contemporary romances because they typically are boring to me and there isn’t enough for the plot to be interesting enough for me to continue to read. This had me feeling for the characters and wanting to get to know their love stories and what they were going through. There are a lot of characters going on but this is all one giant story happening in New York. I didn’t rush to finish this book but rather read it in segments and slowly enjoyed the romances that were blossoming.
The writing was phenomenal. I loved how the chapters were alternating with the different couples and their love stories unfolding. The main focus is Liv and Savannah but there are other characters who are involved with the main characters that their lives also are intertwined with. All of this is happening because of one wedding reception in the beginning and ends the same. In other words, it comes full circle. This was brilliantly written and again the characters are diverse without it being too much or forced. The author is incredible and believe it or not but as I was reading the acknowledgements this book was inspired by the author’s wedding which makes the novel even more special. I definitely recommend going to get this book to read.
The Golem and The Jinni – Helene Wrecker
Contemporary, fiction, historical, Yiddish folklore, middle eastern folklore, golems, jinni.
The Golem woman was made on a ship heading to America to be her master’s partner. Unfortunately he didn’t make it through alive but she is born and alive. She decides to continue the journey and go to America. She tries to adjust with the help of a widowed Rabbi who took her in. Jinni was released from his bottle and is unfamiliar with the new time that he is in. The person who unleashed him gets him work. Both the Golem and Jinni are working so hard to fit into this new society they are involved in. At one point their paths are crossed, both baffled by each other’s existence. The Golem introduces herself as Chava and he introduces himself as Ahmad. Both spend time together and their friendship blossoms.
I found that this was an exceptionally beautiful book and the way it was written was so well. Both the Yiddish and Middle Eastern lore are together and woven in such a way that this felt so natural. Two different worlds colliding in an interesting way. The time that this novel takes place was perfect for the plot. Coming to America is truly a life changing event and Wrecker just captures that aspect perfectly with this. I had tried to read this in the past but never got to fully appreciate it until I read it this time fully. This had diversity in a way that was respecting the cultures involved and the peoples as well. I simply loved Chava and her perspective. I found that I was liking her a bit more than Ahmad. I did like him too because his character was intriguing. She was simple and was very caring. I loved her big heart throughout the book. Honestly this book was the best book I have read so far that really made me feel a lot of emotions. I definitely would recommend this to be on one’s bookshelf for sure.
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