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.
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 Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang
Romance, Aspergers, autism, fiction.
Stella needs help and advice in dating and sex. She can’t go through another horrible failed match her mother makes for her. She only has a month to become better at sex and relationships despite them making her uncomfortable. She uses an escort service and is introduced to Michael, the man who would teach her and educate her. Michael needs money and escorting helped pay the medical bills. This job seemed easy but both slowly became more and more involved. Love can be messy and unorganized and that is what Stella learns.
I hardly read romance novels at all. I’ve been slowly reading more and more of them as of late. I read this synopsis and was intrigued that there was a healthy representation of Aspergers syndrome. There needs to be more books about those with different abilities in fiction and I thought this was perfect. The character Stella felt really real as an actual person and her interactions felt natural. I did tear up a few times because I was rooting for the love to happen with the two. There was a lot of erotic parts that were a bit much but they were important for the plot. I wished that there was one less sexual scene or two but it is what it is. The writing is incredible and this can be read in one sitting for sure.
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.
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.
Blood & Honey – Shelby Mahurin
Young adult, witches, witch hunters, romance, fantasy, fiction.
After being reunited, Lou and Reid make a plan. They must stop Lou’s mother from enacting her devious plan. Not only that but the two are being hunted by all in the land. One of the important things they need to do is make and form alliances which isn’t an easy thing given that they are in a dangerous game. Reid is still trying to accept magic into his life for the sake of his wife and to follow his marital duties to stay by Lou’s side. The battle for peace and for love has just begun.
I was waiting a long time for this novel to come out. I had been enthralled by the first book and couldn’t help but wonder about the sequel. This was phenomenally written just like the first book where I was taken on a roller coaster of feelings. I couldn’t help but to try to read this in one sitting because of the way the narrative was written I didn’t want to set this book down not once. I feel for Reid because he was taught to hate witches and magic but he loves this woman who became his wife. I just don’t like some choices that Lou had made that were deeply questionable in this book and I fear for the third book that is coming out later this year. I simply hate the fact that TikTok made me buy the first book and I got so invested in this because the whole trope of witch and witch hunter/ enemies to lovers romance story never got me interested before having read this book. I definitely recommend this series. It is a whole trip and a roller coaster of feels.
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.
Like You Love Me – Adriana Locke
Holden is in need of a wife to look like he is starting a family for a job position he wants. Sophie needs 5k to save her Bed and Breakfast. When the two cross paths, he proposes an idea. Both of them get married for convenience for each other. He can pay the taxes for the B&B and she can be his wife. She agrees to the terms as long as he agrees to her terms as well. They immediately get married and the interviewer comes into town. He offers Holden a higher-up spot in the company. However, the mere thought of that breaks his heart because that would mean leaving Sophie. He has to make a decision to go with what his heart wants or what is right for him to do.
This was utterly adorable and so cute to read. I was hooked from the first to the last page. I loved the writing and the whole plot. The way that events unfolded was perfectly paced and there were a lot of raw emotions that I felt as I was reading this. I rooted for Holden and Sophie because they were perfect together. I hated that they were like not seeing the bigger picture and had to learn the hard way. I found myself smiling throughout reading this novel. Love happens in the most unusual and unexpected ways. I highly recommend this novel. Like go and find this book and read it.