adult · enemies to lovers · LGBTQ+ rep · romance

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Rating: 4 out of 5.

First and foremost, I’d like to say this:

This book is most certainly not a beach read.

This novel is a “I-will-tear-your-heart-out-with-my-subtle-darkness-and-charming-humour” kind of read. It is intriguing and mellow, definitely not the light read I was expecting, but rather gloomy in some parts and poignant in others, nonetheless, it definitely harboured my attention.

I couldn’t stop reading. I was fully immersed in January’s story and her journey through life. The banter in this book reminded me much of To Have and to Hoax as this too was charming and witty, but Beach Read had the tendency of treading through darker themes and more thoroughly explored the possibility of “love” and what this concept meant to the characters individually.

I found myself highly amused by the banter between the characters, they felt very real and fleshed out, and I loved seeing how they changed throughout the story. And even when faced with many challenges, they still found the time to make the others’ life insufferable, truly romantic.

In conclusion, the cover and blurb may suggest a light, beach read, but this is far from that. It is a moving tale about a woman’s journey navigating what she once assumed was her “perfect” life. It’s raw, amusing, and shall bury you in a rollercoaster ride of emotions and musings, it is enjoyable and worth a read.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a review copy. All opinions are my own.

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adult · historical · romance

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Diana sagged. “Morals,” she said simply. “So tiresome.”

To Have and to Hoax is witty, smart and charming as a whole, filled to the brim with revenge schemes and intriguing characters that made this a page-turner for me. The premise is intriguing, it’s about a married couple who are plagued by misunderstandings, which eventually leads to a cruel (and hilarious) game that threatens to tear them apart.

This book is filled with wonderful writing that flows perfectly, and characters that feel so real it’s marvellous. I loved the witty banter in this book, I found myself laughing and smiling a whole lot while reading this. I find that most books that brand themselves as romantic comedies usually come off as forced, but certainly not with this book. It was genuinely funny and I highlighted an unhealthy amount of passages while reading (some that may have been a page-long or so).

The characters that graced the pages were just so wonderful and I haven’t felt this amused by dialogue alone since reading The Raven Boys. The characters felt very real and I loved learning more about them and their backgrounds.

Overall, I highly reccomend this novel. It’s engaging, funny, and delivers a punch. I’m hoping the author may bless me with a sequel including any one of the side characters.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for providing me with a review copy. All opinions are my own.

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new adult · romance · vampires

The Cardinalis Code by Avery Sterling

The Cardinalis Code by Avery Sterling

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is a hidden gem.

When I started reading this, I was surprised at how clean and well the writing flowed. There were barley any grammatical mistakes, which is rare in e-books. I didn’t expect much from the novel since the past couple of e-books I’ve been reading have been in the 2-3 star range, but this definitely exceeded my expectations.

I requested this as soon as I read the premise of the novel on LibraryThing. It was much shorter than the Goodreads synopsis, but it captured my attention. The story is about a girl who works in a nightclub to pay off her tuition, and one night she meets a handsome stranger there while trying to escape a man who keeps following her around. Yes, I know how that sounds: cliché, overdone, boring. That’s what I thought too, but as I continued on with the book, it got so much better.

Not only were the characters crafted and written well, but broke molds and stereotypes. This book was really good and engaging as well. I COULDN’T stop reading, which is always a good sign, except when it’s 12 in the morning and you’re left staring at your screen, wishing for a sequel, which was literally me after finishing this book.

I did have some problems with the novel, the mc’s first encounter with Michael left a sour taste in my mouth. But I literally have nothing else to complain about, WHAT HAS THIS BOOK DONE TO ME? The concept of this story was really good, and even though I’ve read books like this in the past, this is by far the best.

Also, a guy from Italy whose actually written like a normal human being (well, technically as normal as Cardinalis get) and not mafioso? WHAT EVEN, THANK YOU AUTHOR. I feel like every book with Italians in it always depicts them as mafiosi and it really bothers me as a fellow Toscana.

I really can’t comprehend why this isn’t more popular? It’s probably one of the best romance novels I’ve read so far, and this book deserves so much more love. I definitely reccomend checking this out if you’re looking for a romance novel with fleshed-out characters, vampires (or rather, Cardinalis), engaging plot, and a potential new book boyfriend.

Thank you to LibraryThing for my free copy. This is no way affected my opinion of the book.

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contemporary · young adult

Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner

Jack Kerouac Is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I liked how it felt to be out of control, a moth on a carnival ride, ready to be swept off by the wind, every tenuous hair, every fibre, every quivering speck of me, lit up, on end, and electrified.

This book made me feel so many emotions all at once.

It left me conflicted, hurt, betrayed, and wanting more. This novel is a raw and gritty portrayal of a teen’s life, and the struggles they have to face each day. The conflicts that arose in this book left me feeling inexplicably sad, and questioning everything.

I honestly can’t find the words to explain my fascination with this book. Some topics that were mentioned and issues portrayed hit me like a train, and gave me nostalgia and left a bad taste in my mouth.

I found myself relating to the protagonist a lot, who I thought was a realistic portal of a teen, confused and conflicted. I loved this story. It truly made me sit down and think. It impacted me in a million ways and I questioned everyone in this novel.

I love books that rip my heart out and ruin my state of mind. And I never thought i’d find that in a YA novel that I assumed would be a sweet romance/coming of age or something along those lines. There’s nothing wrong with those books either, but this was so much more than that.

It dealt with real issues. It showed life through a teen’s lens, and never hid the dark bits that lurk beneath everyone’s story. I think that’s what I truly loved about this novel, it didn’t sugar-coat anything. Everything was left out in the open to judge. Mistakes were made. Battles were lost. Memories were re-lived. And love tied them all together.

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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