Payback’s a Witch – Lana Harper
Witches, sorcerers, magic, competition, LGBTQ+, romance, fiction.
Emmy ran away from Thistle Grove and the witch part of her to find her path and to run away from the heartbreak that had happened. This is all the fault of Gareth who broke her heart and she put a self-exile away from home. However, there is a tournament where she has to be a part of that is tradition. She runs into a familiar face, Talia, who just got her heartbroken. Talia tells Emmy it was Gareth’s fault. The next day she runs into her best friend who’s also got heartbroken by Gareth. Talia proposes an idea to get revenge, the three women that Gareth dated, together with getting revenge. Each of them goes with that idea. As time progresses, Emmy learns that her being away has caused some emotional wreckage with not only her family but with those who loved and cared for her. She also begins to fall for Talia during the tournament. Emmy has to choose her destiny, stay here or leave town again.
I got this book strictly because of booktok. I was curious because of the way that booktok was advertising this book as a witchy queer romance comedy. Let me tell you that booktok was not wrong. This was fun and sweet and insane to read. This had some elements of a slow-burn romance which is good for this type of novel. I loved how all three women ganged up against this one dude which was funny. The author did a great job with the witch lore and some world-building that was like breadcrumbs in the story. Harper wanted the audience to focus on the revenge and the romance part. The lore was simply helping the plot along and it wasn’t too distracting. Each character had and served a purpose for the plot. Highly recommend getting this novel to read. It was fun and romantic to read.
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.
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 Girls I’ve Been – Tess Sharpe
Swindlers, swindlings, hostages, bi-sexuality, LGBTQ+, young adult, fiction.
Nora finds herself going to the bank with her girlfriend and running into her ex-boyfriend. Fate makes things more awkward is that the bank is being robbed thus making them forced into a small space. Nora comes up with a plan with having known the art of conning; she plans to con the robbers. She gathers information and some tools then makes herself a valuable person to these con artists. What they don’t know is that she was trained to be the best con artist and she is going to pull the biggest con.
I was so intrigued by the synopsis and wanted to see how this would end up. This book was not easy to find that wasn’t an e-book format. I wanted the physical hardback because the art on the spine was so pretty and my bird brain was like… I want this. LOL. Anyways, I loved the diverse characters. The pacing was great and organization was splendid. I loved the writing and excellent storytelling. However I felt that some passages were too short and not as descriptive as others. I loved how the first half of the book was written and the second half I felt it was alright.
Malice – Heather Walter
LGBTQ+, retellings, Sapphic, Sleeping Beauty, fiction.
Alyce is known as the Dark Grace. Her blood is green and more deadlier than her fellow Graces. However, she is made harmless as she can’t use magic to cause harm as it is illegal. Her ancestors cursed the Briar’s women. The women unless they kiss their true love they die at the ripe age of 21. Aurora, the last surviving heir, is almost turning 21 and she must find her true love so that she can rule and change the rules. She meets Alyce and both combined alliances work towards making the world fairer towards Graces. Alyce finds her father and he reveals that Alyce is not only half Grace but half Shifter. He slowly teaches her about her untapped potential. There are darker forces at hand that do not want change for the better but rather for the worst. The one who breaks the Aurora’s curse is one twist that no one in the Kingdom would expect.
I had heard and seen this book everywhere. I don’t really love Sleeping Beauty but I don’t hate her. She is an alright princess. However, this book was hyped and I understand why. This was so well written and kept me hooked from page one to the last page. I finished this within a day which is hard because some days are busier than others for me. I just was like thrown into this world I didn’t want to leave. Another book caused me to have a book hangover. The whole idea that Maleficent and Aurora together really was something I wasn’t expecting. I highly recommend this book. It is so good and I can’t wait for the sequel. I’m anticipating the sequel since this was marked as the first in a duology.
Simon vs The Homo Sapien Agenda – Becky Albertalli
LGBTQ+, high school, young adult, fiction.
Simon loves everything in the drama department and for drama to stay there. He prefers to keep his sexual identity to himself and his email conversations to Blue a secret. He accidentally leaves the email account open, someone finds it and blackmails him into helping him get a girl. Later Simon decides to come out into the open after he was exposed. He wonders who Blue is and only gives so many clues as to who he is. That is when it hits him and he hunts down his Blue.
This was a cute one sitting high school romance story I had read so far. I loved how this was short and perfect. Coming out to parents or friends is never easy and the responses are always different. Some parents are good with it while others not so much. I would recommend this novel for anyone looking for something heartwarming like this. I loved this book and I would reread it again. There was not any weird trope and there was enough background information fleshed out about the characters. I know that there is a movie but I’m more of a book type person. Maybe I might watch the movie but I do have to say get the book and read it.
Something to Talk About – Meryl Wilsner
LGBTQ+, Hollywood, romance, fiction.
Jo takes her assistant, Emma, to a red carpet event that leads to a scandal that Jo has a relationship with her assistant. This causes some issues for both Jo and Emma. Jo manages to resolve the issue and things go back to normal. Almost normal then they share a kiss. Both are awkward about it and neither talk for a few days. Jo is deeply in love with Emma and Emma is in love with Jo. Neither wants to acknowledge until one day, the truth breaks free as they both confront their feelings for one another.
I thought this was utterly sweet and cute. I liked that this was more on the fluff side than smut until the very end of the book. I appreciated all the fluff between Jo and Emma. This was more on the contemporary side but I loved it. This was told in two different perspectives of how the characters interact and perceive each other. The author’s writing was magnificent and there was a lot of comedy with the seriousness of this sort of industry that is Hollywood. I wished this was slightly longer or with hopes of a sequel, but just as I loved this novel.
If I was Your Girl – Meredith Russo
LGBTQ+, young adult, contemporary, fiction.
Beginning at a new high school, Amanda just wants to make friends and survive high school. She meets Grant and falls head over heels for him but she fears that if she told him about who she was before, that he wouldn’t be as accepting. They grow close together and she finds out that she has to give others the benefit of the doubt. As well as learning more about herself.
I had to read this book again because I read this years ago and this book never got the recognition that the book should have had. I feel that this book is appropriate for everyone to read because this gives insight of what it is like to be a transwoman in this society. Transwomen are real women just as transmen are real men. I cried throughout this book because I have had a transwoman at my community college assaulted for going to the ‘wrong bathroom’ and thinking of all the teens out there who just want to feel comfortable with their own bodies. This author does paint a happy ending but sometimes in reality there are no happy endings for teens who come out as trans. This author did a good job of writing the plot with the characters. I do have to say go read this book. I liked it a lot. This book needs way more hype and more attention to this novel.
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.