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Nobody’s Princess by Erica Ridley
I adore the Wild Wynchester series, so I was so excited to finally read the third novel featuring eldest brother and now de facto leader of the Wynchesters, Graham. When the male main character is a royal-obsessed information gatherer who does parkour, you know it’s going to be an exciting read. However, a Wild Wynchester novel isn’t complete without a worthy leading lady, and Kuni is definitely Graham’s match. Smart, brave, and determined to not only blaze her own trail but also blaze one for the other women in her country, Kuni is exactly what Graham (and the other Wynchesters) need. Full of intel-gathering, daring rescues, and a bit of spice, Nobody’s Princess is an excellent addition to the Wild Wynchester lineup.
The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black
I had the pleasure of buddy reading Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air Trilogy with my youngest daughter in April, and I couldn’t have been happier I did it. It was one of the most fun I’ve had buddy reading with anyone. We shipped the same couples, equally hated the villains, and we chatted about the twists and turns of the story. This enemy-to-lover fantasy trilogy was filled with fairie land politics, drama, betrayals, and a splash of romance; a delightful read. If you like Kristen White’s The Conqueror’s Saga, Nora Roberts’ Chronicles of The One trilogy, or Sarah J. Maas’s Court of Thorns and Roses Series, you will love this gem.
One for All by Lillie Lainoff
I kept hearing about Lillie Lainoff’s novel One for All on social media, and I’m so so happy I took the time to read it. It’s a powerful young adult historical fiction debut, complete with themes of female empowerment, found family, and many layers of political intrigue. It’s also a beautiful example of positive disability representation that’s needed in books today. If a gender-bent version of a classic tale (The Three Musketeers) sounds like something you would enjoy, then go pick up the book and join the Sisterhood of the Stab Stab today!
Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross
If you are looking for a great standalone YA fantasy romance, then I highly recommend Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross.
Set in the fantastical world of Azenor, Dreams Lie Beneath follows Clem, an apprentice magician whose job it is to protect her town from nightmares alongside her father. When the two of them are beaten in a magical competition and forced to leave their home Clem vows revenge. But Clem finds that having a heart of stone is harder than it sounds when her enemy keeps setting it a flutter.
Always Practice Safe Hex by Juliette Cross
available on kindle unlimited
I have been a huge fan of this series and loved every couple. But I was waiting for the grims to make an impact and boy did they ever! I can’t begin to tell you how intense Gareth is. Not just in the bedroom either, although boy *fans self* was this one the hottest book in the series or what!? Just getting to know more about the grims, their powers, their background and their struggles. Each has been through so much as well, Gareth is who we get to know more in this book and my heart was breaking for him. I love how Livvy was that perfect soothing complement for him. She matched him in every way but also felt like she was the healing balm he needed. And the fact that we got that while still managing one of the hottest matches this series has to offer. Can’t recommend it enough.
The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa
Lately it feels really hard to find romantic comedies that actually make me laugh out loud. The Wedding Crasher succeeded though. We get a chance to be re-immersed in the Brazilian-American culture and super-involved family that we met in The Worst Best Man and get to see Solange and Dean fall in love. But first they have to pretend to date to both avoid some awkward conversations. Her free-spirit approach to life and his must-always-follow-the-plan strategy obviously result in some major clashes, but they are also so supportive of one another. If you’re in the mood for a fun (and funny) fake dating story, I definitely recommend this one.
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore
I used to read a lot of nonfiction, but then stopped during college and grad school. Over the last couple of years, I’ve started to slowly pick up more nonfiction again. I love reading about history of science and related topics, so I knew The Radium Girls was right up my alley. This is definitely not a light-hearted read; it’s so hard to hear about these women basically wasting away as the radium destroys their bodies. It was also very inspiring to read about how they fought for themselves and future generations to make sure that corporations couldn’t take advantage of people in the same way again. They managed to make so many changes in labor and safety laws in the United States all while struggling to do even basic tasks on their own due to their health. This book is definitely worth a read if you want to learn anything about the history of industry or science.
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Mary-Jane are basically forgotten by history as “just prostitutes” killed by Jack the Ripper. But they were actual people with complex histories (most of whom weren’t even prostitutes) and reasons for being on the streets. The Five gives us back their names and who they were as real people, and make them more than just how they died. This book captured me right from the beginning. I love to read about real people in history, especially people who were often overlooked because of who they were or when they lived. We got a very interesting picture of the experiences of homeless people, particularly homeless women, lived during the Victorian Era. Perhaps most importantly, we get a chance to reflect on society and the ways that we still perpetuate the false statement that Jack the Ripper killed prostitutes and that their social status somehow made his behavior acceptable. I definitely recommend this book if you enjoy history and/or social commentary. It’s a quick but impactful read I’m still thinking about weeks later.
Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau
Lindsay is an amazing baker known for her specialty donuts. She meets famous actor Ryan when he knocks over 1 dozen of those confections. After many apologies, he ends up asking her to help him learn to bake before he goes on a celebrity episode of Baking Fail. As they spend more time together, obviously sparks fly. I love any foodie romance, so I was definitely excited for this book. It was so cute and I loved seeing discussions about being an Asian-Canadian mixed into this fun, flirty story. Definitely read this one! But maybe find a tasty treat first.
The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer
Finally a Hanukkah romance that isn’t about finding your roots or hiding your Jewish identity! In this book, Rachel is secretly a Christmas romance novelist, but her publisher insists she writes a Hanukkah romance this year. Despite being Jewish, she doesn’t really feel the spirit of the season. But after joining in on the preparations for the Matzah Ball, and meeting Jacob, she maybe starts to get some inspiration. As someone raised in a household celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah, I can really relate to Rachel’s feelings that Christmas just has more holiday spirit. It’s fun to experience how Hannukah can be just as magical though. There are some parts of this book that are a bit hard to read, since Rachel has myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome), but I really appreciated that representation in the story and seeing how she can really still make her life what she wants, as long as she listens to her body. Rachel and Jacob are also so cute together, even if they don’t always see it. Even though this is a holiday romance, I feel like you can read it at any time to get in that holiday spirit.
Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
It took only one novel for me to become a huge fan of Ali Hazelwood and her second novel, Love on the Brain, only confirmed it. I am still not sure if I liked it more than The Love Hypothesis, but it left me in a reading slump I am still not entirely out of. The protagonist, Bee, is funny and smart, a Marie Curie fan girl who lands the job of her dreams at NASA only to find out that she has to collaborate with her grad school nemesis, broody and handsome, Levi Ward. Things will be complicated, intriguing, hilarious, sexy, and steamy. I loved everything about this book: the author’s addictive writing, the adorable and geeky protagonists, and the wonderful and compelling story.
The Love You Deserve by Jen Morris
available on kindle unlimited
This spicy, big city romance may be the fourth book in the Love in the City series, but Josie and Cory’s story can definitely be read as a standalone as well. Morris perfectly combines some of my favorite tropes – forced proximity, age gap, boss/employee, unrequited love, and a very grumpy hero – against a backdrop of NYC with scene setting that will make you feel like you’re there. Throw in an adorable dog named Pretzel, and I was sold from the first chapter. Not only does Morris write some great spice, but she also creates such wonderfully realistic characters. I loved Josie and Cory for all their life experiences that made them who they were, and they stole my heart with their flaws and their willingness to work through their issues in order to be at each other’s side. If big city romance is your thing, definitely check out The Love You Deserve (and the rest of Morris’ Love in the City series).
Night & Day by Enni Amanda
available on kindle unlimited
A swoony romance to inspire wanderlust, Night & Day by Enni Amanda checked all my boxes. During her last stop in Auckland on her solo trip around the world, Mia was robbed of all her belongings. Now alone in New Zealand with no passport and no way back to Finland, Mia calls on the only Kiwi she knows: the musician Izzy. What I loved most about this book was how well done these main characters were. Mia had absolutely nothing left to lose except her heart, and the chemistry with Izzy and connection on the page will make readers want Mia to lose her heart as well. Izzy may be a tall and quiet grump with some pretty hard tragedy in his past, but it’s clear early on that these two are meant to have the ultimate slow-burn romance. Mia and Izzy’s story was sweet and a little spicy and will add a little wanderlust to your happily ever after.
Funny Feelings by Tarah DeWitt
available on kindle unlimited
For a book that’s based around a comedienne at the precipice of making it big and her manager, a former successful comedian turned hot single dad, this book made me feel ALL the things, but happy and sad. It was sweet and sexy and heartbreaking and swoony. Farley’s character is hilarious, but also broken and so relatable. She is in your face and refuses to make herself smaller or quieter or less than exactly who she is to make anyone else more comfortable. Meyer is grumpy and subdued, with a special needs daughter who is the light of his life, and hilarious in her own right. He’s quietly sexy, but the perfect steadfast foil to Farley’s chaos. And when these two come together? Fireworks. What starts out as a fake dating PR stunt turns into more than Farley and Meyer could’ve ever bargained for. An easy five star recommendation for this sophomore novel from Tarah DeWitt.
Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
This is exactly how I love Colleen’s stories. This isn’t a romance but it does have a romantic story and an HEA. But go into this expecting lots of twisty turns that will have you thinking about your own moral choices. While there wasn’t anything that came out of nowhere and it’s pretty much all laid out early on, it was still a story that tested my limits and I liked that about it.
It was my first book of 2022 and it started out with a bang as I gave it 4.5 Stars. You know I haven’t rated much that high lately. ;)
The Other Half of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
I had read the first few chapters Ms. Frost had released for this on her website. Loved it then. At the same time, I didn’t realize that I needed it. But, as the good rabid fan that I am, when this came out I couldn’t help myself and had to dive in. What a pleasant surprise to find out that one of my all time favorite heroes, and one I thought I knew so well after reading so many books, managed to show me things I didn’t know. And I loved him all the more for it. THE OTHER HALF OF THE GRAVE is a must read for fans of the series. It’s a nostalgic journey back in time and at the same time like reading this for the first time. I would recommend reading this after finishing the series so it fills in the gaps.
What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli
What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli is quite literally the definition of queer joy. This book follows two protagonists, Arthur and Ben, who meet at a post office in New York City. When they get separated by a proposal flash mob, they try to figure out how to meet again in a city of millions. The love story of Ben and Arthur is one of the best I’ve ever read. Ben and Arthur are incredibly relatable, especially because they are experiencing first love. I know I can remember my first love and Albertalli and Silvera capture that feeling so beautifully. This book had me squealing with joy and never wanting to put it down. It’s the perfect book to read during Pride Month. So if you’re looking for a book to add to your Pride Month book list, look no further!