Spoiler Free Review: Set On You by Amy Lea

Title: Set On You

Author:ย Amy Lea

Pub. Date: May 10th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format:ย eARC

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages:ย 384 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | LIBROFM

๐Ÿ–คARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review๐Ÿ–ค

Fitstagrammer Crystal Chen has built her platform by breaking gym stereotypes and throwing positivity at the haters who can’t help but troll her posts. She’s just experienced a break-up that’s left her feeling like setting some boundaries. Tired of having surface level flings and craving a deeper connection, Crystal is on high alert for any guy with red flags. To top it off she finds herself in squat wars with the new guy at the gym who she’s dubbed The Squat Rack Thief. This guy doesn’t follow any of the gyms unspoken rules leaving Crystal both appalled and determined to beat him to the squat rack each night. Soon a tit-for-tat type relationship develops and with it, a whole dose of sexual chemistry.ย 

Hopefully Dear Reader, you haven’t read the Goodreads synopsis for this book since I feel it gives away a bit too much and I’m glad I went in with very minimal info. For starters, we don’t get Squat Rack Thief’s name right away and I felt this added a fun mystery and led to a surprising reveal. These characters face a couple of challenges before their romance takes off but nothing they couldn’t get through, it was more of a battle of wills playing out. Crystal isn’t trying to become anyone’s rebound (again) and she’s also fiercely and proudly protective of her followers. She dedicates her time to working privately with clients and posting motivational videos/captions that we get to read in the book. We also get to see both the positive & negative comments she gets daily and how she handles having a large platform as a plus size Chinese American Fitstagrammer. Squat Rack Thief is described as looking like Chris Evans and having killer abs but he also deals with some stereotypes and Crystal brings those to the surface.ย 

All images originate from Pinterest

CW (some of which are mentioned in the author’s note): Cheating, Cancer, death of a loved one mentioned, cyberbullying, fatphobia, references to racism, fitness/diet culture

At its core this book carries such a strong message on what exactly “body positivity” really is on an individual basis and what confidence and self-worth really looks like on the daily. Any book that can make me self reflect is one I’ll recommend and this is one I feel did that and more. Personally, my fitness journey like crystals stemmed from wanting to find my way back to a more confident ME. It’s not tied to a number on the scale but rather a feeling of happiness and comfort in my own skin. There’s also the fact that Crystal doesn’t have a traditional job or career, she has built a strong following and with it acquired some endorsements. Her loving traditional self-made father struggles with her choices and that too was interesting to see play out. All in all, we have a independent woman who has worked hard to achieve success, confidence and up her self worth but that doesn’t mean every day is a good day.

“I don’t think confidence and self-worth is something you magically attain. And you don’t simply hold onto it forever like a tangible object. It’s fluid. You can be confident in every aspect except one. Or something could happen and all your confidence can be shattered in an instant.”

The journey Crystal is on is hella relatable down to setting healthy boundaries with the male love interest. Yes there were moments where they bent the rules & gave into their cravings but there was also a clear line of communication. I really would’ve loved for this to have been multiple POV cause I was dying to know what Squat Rack Thief was thinking. Especially during the last 15% where that communication they maintained all throughout was put on pause. Otherwise this was a laugh-out-loud funny, sexy, empowering, and at times five chili peppers steamy read. There’s a strong cast of supporting characters made up of family members and friends, each of them well fleshed out with tons of personality. Something to look forward to? possibly? well, Crystal’s sister is introduced as a Bookstagrammer/Nurse and I’m more than READY for her story! One can hope amiright?!? Set on You by Amy Lea hits shelves May 10th!

๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks

The Story Graph: LairOfBooks

Librofm Referral Code

Spoiler Free Review: Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma

Title: Dating Dr. Dil

Author:ย Nisha Sharma

Pub. Date:ย March 15th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format:ย eARC

Publisher: Avonย 

Pages:ย 352

ย 

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | LIBROFM

โ˜†โ˜†ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Characters: 10/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 7/10ย  Writing Style: 10/10ย  Plot: 8/10ย  Intrigue: 0/10ย ย Logic/Relationships: 8/10ย  Enjoyment: 10/10

Rating: 53/7.5 =ย ย โ˜†โ˜† 4ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

*โ€ข.ยธโ™ก ๐˜ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ, ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ตโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ญ. ๐˜ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ธ ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜š๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ด. ๐˜“๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ฅ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ต. ๐˜๐˜ตโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ.โ€ โ™กยธ.โ€ข*

ย Kareena Mann dreams of having a love marriage like her parents had but sheโ€™s considered to be a difficult catch for having what some consider to be idealistic views on love. Her interests mainly lie in restoring her moms classic car, remodeling her childhood home, reading romance novels and swiping right on dating apps. When her dad announces heโ€™s selling their home, Kareena makes a last minute ditch effort/deal with him. If she gets engaged within four months he will gift her the house she grew up in.ย  Things get complicated when she has a very public argument with beloved Dr. Prem Dil on national TV. Neither believes they can possibly have anything in common because of their opposing views on love but quickly see that there is one thing they can do for one another that is sort of mutually beneficial. While Kareena is trying to buy her childhood home, Prem is trying to open up a medical practice to help the South Asian community. Both need money and are of the age where their families are pushing for marriage. What you can expect: Fake dating/Enemies-to-lovers trope, funny meddlesome families, dating scene highs/lows, great sex scenes, and yea some annoying nicknames ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚

Too often I pick up a “rom-com” paperback thinking of all the classic movies that made me fall in love with them in the first place like The Proposal and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This doesn’t often lead to the discovery of a new favorite because they rarely ever have that perfect balance of romance + comedy. I requested the eGalley of Dating Dr. Dil on Netgalley when I heard the male love interest was a Cardiologist who doesn’t believe in love or rather fallingย in love cause doesn’t that make for an interesting set-up? Why Yes! yes it totally does! I don’t remember the last time I had so much fun reading a book and it honestly got me out of a slump. The Auntie network made up of Kareena’s well meaning aunties alone had me giggling and SMH into the night. We get to know both their families through Whatsapp messages and If like myself you love a big family meddling in love affairs then this is a MUST read!ย 

The topic of arranged marriages vs. love marriages was explored in a positive light with instances where both have worked out in a successful pairing. Although the deal Kareena and Prem decide on would get them each what they’re looking for, I appreciated the emphasis on how Kareena would be viewed differently just for being a woman than Prem. A fake dating arrangement that can both help and harm Kareena in her dating life post situationship. I LOVED how Kareena did NOT stop dating just because of this arrangement, she stayed true to her character wanting to find true love. We do get to see her go on some of these dates which were frankly VERY close to what is actually out there in the dating pool *nightmares for days*ย but also added plenty of comedic moments. What I wasn’t expecting was for the spice to be at peak levels but Nisha Sharma delivered ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ I’ve seen many low reviews given simply because of the nickname Prem gives his manhood but I was not bothered at all by that and it didnโ€™t lessen my enjoyment of the book.ย  I do believe there are more stories to be told since we do get introduced to Prem’s BFFs who are fellow single Desi boys. Kareena has some single friends as well and I would absolutely read the next book in this seriesโ€ฆas long as we get more from the Aunties network ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ


๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBooks

The Story Graph:ย LairOfBooks

Librofm Referral Code

Review: I’m So Not Over You by Kosoko Jackson

Title: I’m So Not Over You

Author:Kosoko Jackson

Pub. Date:ย February 22nd 2022

Genre:ย Contemporary Romance/LGBTQIA+

Format:ย eARC

Publisher:ย Berkley Romanceย 

Pages:ย 368

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | LIBROFM

โ˜†โ˜†ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Characters: 7/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 5/10ย  Writing Style: 7/10ย ย Plot: 5/10ย  Intrigue: 0/10ย ย Logic/Relationships: 5/10ย ย Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 36/5.1 =ย ย โ˜†โ˜†ย 3ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

What would you do if your ex sent you an urgent text to meet him at a cafรฉ post break up? Kian Andrews has had many thoughts and emotions since last seeing his ex Hudson Rivers. Could he possibly be having second thoughts about their break-up? or an apology? What he wasnโ€™t expecting was for Hudson to ask a huge favor, to fake date him for the sake of getting his wealthy parents off his back. Hudson hasnโ€™t given into his familyโ€™s wishes of joining their business, instead heโ€™s chosen to carve his own career path. His relationship with Kian was something his parents not only accepted but praised him for. ๐—œโ€™๐—บ ๐—ฆ๐—ผ ๐—ก๐—ผ๐˜ ๐—ข๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚ is a queer second chance romance paired with some fake dating that is set between New York City and Georgia. Our MCโ€™s are from very different socioeconomic backgrounds and are night and day in personalities making a strong case for opposites attract. We follow this couple as they revisit old wounds and decide whether or no their relationship deserves another go around.

This is one romance I wish had been more fleshed out since it featured the second chance trope. I really wanted to know why Kian and Hudson broke up in the first place…was it differences in socioeconomic class? Kian’s constant commentary on these differences? or was it something entirely different? I still feel the reason was needed before plunging into the fake dating negotiations that took place. ๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—œ ๐—Ÿ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ? I enjoyed Kianโ€™s sarcasm and dry humor when met with Hudsonโ€™s southern charm, their on the page chemistry that made for *chefs kiss* steamy scenes, a supportive friend group, the presence of strong sibling bonds, and female side characters who are driven and fiercely independent. There was enough witty banter and intriguing side characters in this book to guarantee I pick up whatever Kosoko Jackson writes next ๐Ÿ–ค


๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks

The Story Graph: LairOfBooks

Librofm Referral Code

Spoiler Free Review: Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake

Title: Delilah Green Doesn’t Care

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Pub. Date: February 22nd 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance/LGBTQIA+

Format: eARC

Publisher: Berkley Romance 

Pages: 384

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | LIBROFM | AMAZON

*ARC received in exchange for an honest review*

Twelve years have passed since Delilah Green turned her back on Bright Falls and started a new chapter of her life in New York City. The small town holds a lot of memories, many of them sad and painful. After the loss of her mother, Delilah’s father re-married and that came with a step-sister she never quite felt comfortable around. When her estranged step-sister Astrid comes looking to hire her as a photographer for her wedding, Delilah is torn between ignoring the request or returning to a place she had sworn away. Life as a waitress/wedding photographer sustains her real dream which is art through a lens that focuses on queer people. She can’t really pass up the chance to make some real money from Astrids gig so she decides to go with no real plans to stick around. That all changes when she crosses paths with Astrid’s “stuck-up” BFF Claire Sutherland and decides to place a bet with her step-sister who is super protective of her besties. 

Claire Sutherland is a single mom raising a an 11 year old girl who also runs the towns local bookshop. In between dealing with her ex and his unreliability, she hasn’t had much time for dating and she doesn’t do random hook-ups. Her relationship with her child’s father has left her with some trust/abandonment issues. She most certainly doesn’t think someone like Delilah Green who is flighty & into casual sex, is a good idea to start something up with. Wedding preparations along with some sideline hijinks to stop Astrid from marrying the absolute biggest chauvinistic jerk on the planet, force these two to work together. It’s definitely a case of instant sparks flying paired with undeniable chemistry that WORKED! 

*Images respectively from Pinterest & IMDB

CW: Cancer, death of a parent(s), grief, cheating, misogyny, abandonment

I’ve never been one to fan cast while reading any book but these characters were so well fleshed out that only Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) & Laura Prepon (OITNB) came to mind. From the vintage pin-up style Claire so flawlessly executes to Delilah’s more wild devil-may-care attitude, these two had chemistry that jumped off the page. I LOVED them both and got so invested in their lives and the baggage they each were carrying. At its core we have a story about acceptance and learning how to allow yourself to be loved both romantically and platonically. The female friendships go back for these women to their childhood days and tied to that are feelings of being excluded and made out to feel like an outcast. Some of these characters (including supporting cast) are working through grief, co-parenting relationships, toxic relationships, feeling like they have to seek validation, and abandonment issues. Yes it’s absolutely a full on romance but it also has a huge emphasis on friendship which made it all the more sweeter. When I was in the book I didn’t want to put it down & when I was away from it, all I thought about was my next free moment to jump back in. I’m 100% the type of bookworm who loves character driven books but I was pleasantly surprised by the subplot and how much fun it added to the main storyline. Also! I can’t not mention this. The love shown to a woman’s body post having had a child was SUPER appreciated by this bookworm and just downright beautiful to see on the page. This is my first read from Ashley Herring Blake and I can already tell I may have found a new favorite author. There’s an excerpt to the next book in this series which follows one of the characters in this book and even that was *Chefs Kiss* enough to keep me holding on haha! 

Things to look forward to on February 22nd…

๐Ÿ“šAn Idyllic small town with a cute Bookstore
๐Ÿ“ธSingle Mom finding love
๐Ÿ“šBookworm MCโ€™s
๐Ÿ“ธA tight knit female friend group
๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆSapphic main characters
๐Ÿ“ธPhotography explored
๐Ÿ“šCo-Parenting ups/downs
๐Ÿ“ธComplex sibling relationship
๐Ÿ“šCampsite Pranks
๐ŸŒถSteamy AF sex scenes


๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks

The Story Graph: LairOfBooks

Librofm Referral Code

Spoiler Free Review: Ramรณn and Julieta by Alana Quintana Albertson

Title: Ramรณn and Julieta

Author:Alana Quintana Albertson

Pub. Date:ย February 1st 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Latinx

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages:ย 304 pages

GOODREADSย |ย BARNES & NOBLEย |ย LIBROFMย |ย AMAZONย 

โ˜†โ˜†ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest reviewโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Characters: 7/10ย  ย Atmosphere: 10/10ย  Writing Style: 7/10ย ย Plot: 10/10ย  Intrigue: 0/10ย ย Logic/Relationships: 5/10ย  Enjoyment: 7/10

Rating: 46/6.5 =ย ย โ˜†โ˜†ย 3ย Starsโ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Rating system created byย The Book Roastย 

โ•ฐโ˜†โ˜† ๐–๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐Ÿ๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐š๐œ๐จ๐ฌ ๐›๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐‘๐š๐ฆ๐จฬ๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐‰๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ข๐ž๐ญ๐š ๐ญ๐จ๐ ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ƒ๐š๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ƒ๐ž๐š๐, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ซ-๐œ๐ซ๐จ๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ž๐ ๐ฉ๐š๐ข๐ซ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฆ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐š ๐œ๐ก๐จ๐ข๐œ๐ž: ๐š๐œ๐œ๐ž๐ฉ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ข๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐จ๐ ๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐š๐ฅ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐š๐ฉ๐š๐ซ๐ญ ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐จ ๐š ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ. โ˜†โ˜†โ•ฎ

Iโ€™ve been waiting what seems all my life for a taco lovers romance so it was without a doubt a must read when I saw this title make its rounds. We have our modern day Latinx Romeo and Juliet who are literally from opposite sides of the bridge in San Diego, specifically Barrio Logan. A community that has for a very long time been home to many Mexican-Americans who try to preserve the rich culture. Thereโ€™s so much to appreciate and love in this book, from the respect given to Dia De Los Muertos to the emphasis placed on discussing Gentefication (not to be confused with Gentrification) and its trickle down effects. The neighborhood comes to life with mom and pop shop owners who take great pride in their Cultura and watching over one another. Ramon comes from the other side, born and raised wealthy he is a business man who works alongside his dad for a large chain of taco shops. Julieta owns a small fish taco shop alongside her mom where she is the chef and prides herself In authentic Mexican cuisine. This is a predominantly plot driven Contemporary Romance that delivers thought provoking social commentary from a Latinx perspective. Readers who enjoy their romance storylines with some external layers as contributing factors in the romance would enjoy this. What’s to love? taco wars, cheesy over the top declarations of love that in turn induce cheesy smiling, Latinx small business owners protecting their turf, BIG families with lots of siblings, aunties, and cousins and a backdrop filled with so much culture that you feel like you’re walking down Barrio Logan.ย 

I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not the biggest fan of insta-love so it was rather early on that I started to struggle a bit with the romance aspect of this book. That being said, there’s SO much to love that made this a book I wanted to finish. I got invested in Barrio Logan so deeply that I was rooting for the shop owners to rally up and find a way to stay where they’ve worked so hard to grow roots. Gentefication, a term that was new to me up until I read this book, is the gentrification of neighborhoods by the very same people who live in it. Our love interest Ramรณn would be considered a Gentefier as a Mexican-American from across the bridge who has interest in Barrio Logan. Our characters are from two very different socioeconomic classes and it does prove challenging in their story arc. I kind of hoped to see more gradual character development but overall the pacing for this and the romance was what I struggled with. If the romance had been a bit better developed, I wouldn’t have minded what felt like over the top cheesy moments heaped with terms of endearment too early on. What I loved about their romance? the scenes we got with Ramon genuinely taking interest in the community and Julieta’s life.ย I loved seeing two MCโ€™s who are very passionate and invested in what they do. Scenes at the taco shop where they’re both cooking were some of my favorite. Latinx stories with large families are my bread & butter, Julietaโ€™s mom and many aunts were fun to meet on the page. I was actually hoping that we’d get more from Julieta’s mom and Ramรณn’s father since there is a back story there. We also got some page time with Ramรณn’s brothers who I see potentially getting their own story arcs. I’m very curious to see if there are more stories with these characters and if so, who the next couple would be! So, count me in for this author’s next book ๐Ÿ˜‰


*โ€ข.โ™กFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSโ™ก.โ€ข*

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBooks

The Story Graph:ย LairOfBooks

Librofm Referral Code

February 2022 Anticipated New Releases

What a curious month it has turned out to be with book releases. I had been hearing that it would be a slow month with not much to really get excited for but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. I started digging months ago but my list kept growing and yet there are still many titles out there, too many to list in this post. These are just the titles that caught my attention, some of which I was lucky to have been granted access to a eGalley copy of for review. Which titles are you excited for? If there are any you’re looking forward to that are not listed here, drop those titles down below no matter the genre <3’s!

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross 2/15/22

House of Earth and Bloodย meetsย The Witch’s Heart in Rebecca Rossโ€™s brilliant first adult fantasy, set on the magical isle of Cadence where two childhood enemies must team up to discover why girls are going missing from their clan – Goodreads This one is said to be a Scottish Fantasy that will mark the authors debut in the adult fantasy genre. If I had a list of books I’m predicting will be 5 or 6 star reads, this would make the cut since it checks off so many of my boxes.ย 

House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2) by SJ Maas 2/15/22

I’m but one of many many book lovers that are eagerly counting down the days until the release of this book. I cannot wait to be back with Bryce, Hunt and other cast favorites. I can’t go into details since this is a sequel but here’s my review for House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #2)

Scorpica (The Five Queendoms #1) by Greer Macallister 2/22/22

What first caught my interest for the book? I heard it described as the “Female Game of Thrones” ๐Ÿ˜ต and that is all I needed to hear Book Lovers! haha! 500 years of peace shatters between five queendoms in this matriarchal society when girls inexplicably just stop being born. “Uniting the stories of women from across the queendoms, this propulsive, gripping epic fantasy follows a warrior queen who must rise from childbirth bed to fight for her life and her throne, a healer in hiding desperate to protect the secret of her daughterโ€™s explosive power, a queen whose desperation to retain control leads her to risk using the darkest magic, a near-immortal sorcerer demigod powerful enough to remake the world for her own endsโ€”and the generation of lastborn girls, the ones born just before the Drought, who must bear the hopes and traditions of their nations if the queendoms are to survive.”

The Justice of Kings (Empire of The Wolf #1) by Richard Swan 2/22/22

The Justice of Kings, the first in a new epic fantasy trilogy, follows the tale of Sir Konrad Vonvalt, an Emperorโ€™s Justice โ€“ a detective, judge and executioner all in one. As he unravels a web of secrets and lies, Vonvalt discovers a plot that might destroy his order once and for all โ€“ and bring down the entire Empire – Goodreads

This book has already received positive feedback from some of the top fantasy reviewers across all bookish platforms. The fact that the MC is the MOST hated character and therefore great at his job as executioner, intrigues me smh. I may just pick this one up this weekend while on the road.

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson 2/2/22

I just found out there was a signed copy with sprayed edges of this book and a part of me is sobbing over this missed opportunity. Black Cake was a January Book Of The Month pick, based on a traditional black cake, a voice recording and a story left behind by Eleanor Bennett for her two children. From the Caribbean to London and Cali, we follow this story and family lineage uncovering secrets and betrayals the matriarch of this family left behind. I’m looking forward to reading Black Cakeย over the next couple of weeks.

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano 2/1/22

The sequel to Finlay Donovan is Killing It (my review)ย is already rumored to be twice as funny as the first book in this series and I’m honestly hoping that it is. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll be reading it physically or via audiobook but after the cliffhanger ending in the first book, I’m curious enough to continue reading. Finlay’s night time job as a hitwoman may just prove to be lucrative haha!

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal2/2/22

Set in 1860’s England we follow a circus of wonders that has begun to recruit “human wonders” like our MC Nell who is known as “Leopard Girl” because of the birthmarks covering her body. Soon Nell’s fame begins to eclipse that of the ring master Jasper Jupiter with Nell knowing her worth and willing to fight for it. Other than Erin Morgenstern’sย The Night Circus,ย I haven’t read a circus story I love but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Also, the cover is beautiful and 1800’s England as a backdrop does sound appealing.

Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala 2/8/22

The second installment in the new cozy mystery seriesย Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery follows Lila Macapagal in the little town of Shady Palms. The Miss Teen Shady Palms Beauty Pageant has come back around and it’s a topic of contention for Lila (previously won) and her cousin Bernadette. When one of the judges gets murdered and Bernadette is the primary suspect, Lila has to set aside their differences to help her clear her name.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley 2/22/22

I’ve seen this thriller make its rounds on all platforms, Lucy Foley seems to be a favorite in the genre. This one centers around Jess who is looking to escape her past and decides to flee to Paris for a fresh start. Her brother Ben has agreed to let her stay with him but when she arrives, he’s nowhere to be found and the neighbors are all an eclectic bunch with lots to hide.

The socialite โ€“ The nice guy โ€“ The alcoholic โ€“ The girl on the verge โ€“ The concierge

Everyoneโ€™s a neighbor. Everyoneโ€™s a suspect. And everyone knows something theyโ€™re not telling.ย 

One Night On the Island by Josie Silver 2/15/2022

One can never have enough forced proximity trope romances especially when they’re set on a remote Irish island. We have two loners who love their solitude, escaping for some R&R when they’re informed they’ve been double booked for the same one-room cabin. They can’t really stand each other but while they wait for the weekly ferry to come back around, they start not to mine one another’s company. I’ll read anything and everything set in Ireland! โคย 

Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher 2/8/22

A fake relationship between a magic-less witch and a wolf shifter turns to more in the start of a bewitching new paranormal rom-com series- Goodreadsย 

Say less! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I haven’t read a shifter romance in so long but this one sounds so good! It has the fake dating + second chance romance trope which sounds like a good time.ย 

Lease On Love by Falon Ballard 2/1/22

Pitched asย Beach Read meets The Flat Share,ย and also set in Brooklyn (my home sweet home) we follow Sadie who is a bit down on her luck. After getting passed up for an overdue promotion and in desperate need of a new place to live, she goes out for some drinks. After a few, she makes the mistake of mixing her roommate finding app with her dating app which leads her to Jack’s doorstep. Jack who has just lost his parents and is grieving but open to the idea of renting Sadie a room. They are the COMPLETE polar opposites but somehow it just works.

Ramรณn and Julieta by Alana Quintana Albertson 2/1/22

When fate and tacos bring Ramรณn and Julieta together on the Day of the Dead, the star-crossed pair must make a choice: accept the bitter food rivalry that drives them apart or surrender to a love that consumes themโ€”perfect for fans of Jane the Virgin!- Goodreads

Literally checks off all my boxes for a romance and it’s Latinx! I was actually approved for an eGalley on Netgalley on release day & so I dropped everything I was in the middle of and jumped right into this one. 15% in so far & LOVING it! If you’ve watched the Netflix show Gentefied and are sad about it getting cancelled (like myself), pick this book up ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson 2/22/22

This is a second chance LGBTQIA+ romance with a bit of fake dating where we follow aspiring journalist Kian Andrews who hasn’t spoken to his ex Hudson in a few months. HE receives a text to meet up at a cafe where he has a favor to ask, that Kian agree to fake date him while his family is in town in exchange for the chance to meet some pretty well known figures in media. This then snowballs into Kian getting invited to Hudson’s sisters wedding as a plus one and that just means more time spent together…sounds like a rekindling Book lovers! I was granted a eGalley and will be reviewing here on the blog ๐Ÿ™‚

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake 2/22/22

Quite possibly my favorite romance of the year! I was very lucky to have received an eGalley and already have a review scheduled to go live closer to the release date, EXCITED to get my hands on a physical copy. This is a F/F queer romance set mostly in a small town with one of our MC’s traveling to/from New York City. Delilah and Claire have known each other since childhood but never really became close friends, Delilah lost her mom at a young age and moved with her dad to Bright Falls when he remarried. Claire was part of her step sister Astrid’s friend circle which made her keep her distance. Fast forward to the present and they’re all grown up & unrecognizable. Delilah doesn’t want to revisit the town she turned her back on but when Astrid asks for a favor, she gives in. Sexy, fun, atmospheric (small town is charming) and funny!ย 

ย 

Ophelia After All by Raquel Marie 2/8/22

In this corner of the interwebz we love Cuban food and Ophelia being a romantic with tons of crushes, a love for rose gardening AND Cuban food was sure to get my attention. Ophelia’s friends and family are used to the many crushes she experiences but when she starts having feelings for Talia Sanchez and thinking less & less of her ex-boyfriend, she has to start discovering who she really is. A queer exploration of character story I just know I’m going to enjoy!

No Filter and Other Lies by Crystal Maldonado 2/8/22

First! can we just take a moment to love on this cover?!?! It’s beautiful ๐Ÿ’œ When I read the synopsis, my mouth literally hung open cause I would be mortified if I had gotten myself in a sticky mess like Kat our MC does. Kat has created a persona online known as Max Monroeroe where she shares glam photos, doles out advice and networks with famous influencers. In her real life she’s dealing with unrequited love from her BFF Harri, a bad school year and terrible house parties. When one of her photos goes viral and the person from whom she was stealing photos finds out, her world comes crashing down and she has to figure out how to get out from this web of lies.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh 2/22/22

Axie Oh’sย The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Seaย is an enthralling feminist retelling of the classic Korean folktale โ€œThe Tale of Shim Cheong,โ€ perfect for fans ofย Wintersong, Uprooted,ย and Miyazakiโ€™sย Spiritedย Away – Goodreads

Ok so to sum this one up as best I can, we have a Sea God who is said to be angry with the people and therefore inflicting them with deadly storms. Each year a young bride is chosen and cast into the sea in hopes he will choose one as his bride and end all of the misery. Our MC has a brother who is set to marry his love, but the girl is chosen to be sacrificed and he does what is forbidden. He walks into the water to interfere which would get him a death sentence. Our MC jumps in to save her brother and gets swept into the Spirit Realm under the sea where with the help of a motley crew of demons, Gods and spirits she will attempt to awaken the Sea God. Sounds HELLA atmospheric ๐Ÿค—

Extasia by Claire Legrand 2/22/22

It’s been years since I’ve read a Claire Legrand book and since I LOVED Sawkill Girls, hearing of this title was exciting! a queer paranormal horror where the MC joins a coven to root out the evil that is plaguing her village. I’ve seen some early mixed reviews but i’m absolutely checking this one out since I’ve enjoyed this author’s writing style in the past.

Only A Monster (Monsters #1) by Vanessa Len 2/17/22

This is one of my MOST anticipated YA books simply because it has two things, monsters and London. Our MC is a 16 year old who is sent to work the summer in London with her eccentric family. Not just eccentric, they’re monsters with powers and our MC finds out she also has powers. The guy she’s crushing on happens to be a monster slayer…her only ally is another guy who comes from an opposing monster family. Could possibly end up as a love triangle? Not sure but it has all the vibeZ!ย 

Castles in Their Bones by Laura Sebastian 2/1/22

I actually just got my hold for this book come through from Libby so it’s looking like a February read! We follow three princesses who have all been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence in order to take down Monarchies. Their mother is the mastermind behind it all and plans to one day rule over the continent of Vesteria.ย ย 

This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi 2/1/22

This beautiful book just landed on my doorstep this afternoon and honestly has left me giving kudos to Illumicrate ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ they’ve outdone themselves with their special edition! This is the first in a romantic trilogy inspired by Persian mythology where we follow a servant who is an heir to a long forgotten ancient Jinn kingdom. The Prince has heard the prophecy foretelling the death of the king but he never would suspect that it would all come down to this one servant. Said to be perfect for fans of fantasy written by Leigh Bardugo, Tomi Adeyemi, and Sabaa Tahir.


*โ€ข.โ™กFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKSโ™ก.โ€ข*

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBooks

The Story Graph:ย LairOfBooks

Librofm Referral Code

Spoiler Free Review: A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria

Title: A Lot Like Adios

Author:ย Alexis Daria

Pub. Date:ย September 14th 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Queer/Latinx

Format:ย Paperback

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Pages:ย 381 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | LIBROFM

Gabriel Aguilar aka Gabe left his childhood home in the Bronx when he wast 18 years old to make a life for himself on the west coast. A major part of that decision was to put space between him and his family, specifically his father who wanted him to focus his efforts into taking over the family business. Gabe recognized he was stuck in a cycle of seeking validation and allowing others to steam roll him into making decisions that weren’t aligned with his true purpose. For Gabe, his dreams were with physical fitness and going to school to one day open his own gym/rehabilitation for athletes. He’s got a business partner he can count on and call family with which he’s successfully opened and managed one of LA’s hottest celebrity gyms. When his partner Fabian who finds himself overwhelmed with the expansion of his own family asks Gabe to spearhead the expansion of their Gym in New York City, Gabe is SUPER hesitant. When Fabian tells him he’s already reached out to a up & coming marketing solo agent to help with their rebranding, Gabe isn’t expecting it to be Michelle Amato AKA Mich…

Michelle Amato has just quit her job and is trying to venture off independently as a freelance graphic designer. She doesn’t have it all figured out just yet but is eager to find her true purpose in life without the stress of her Puerto-Rican/Italian family who are truly trying to see if she’s dating and on the way to someday starting a family. When she gets an email from Fabian hiring her to help with the gym and sees Gabe’s name attached to the email as co-owner, she feels a mixture of emotions all at once. Gabe, her best friend from childhood who walked out of her life 13 years ago without a word. Gabe who she one day thought would end up with and instead left her with a ton of unresolved feelings. She takes it as an opportunity to finally get answers from him whether he likes it or not. Mich will take on the campaign as long as Gabe is willing to agree to some terms. Some of these do require them spending time alone as they work on this campaign. This is a friends-to-lovers romance that will have you rooting for the couple till the very end!ย 

ย 

There really is so much to love about A Lot Like Adios and I’ll go as far as saying, it’s tons better than You Had me at Hola!ย Both of our main characters are Bi-sexual, Mich specifically is working through her sexuality and admits to not having it all figured out quite yet. I loved seeing the honesty and vulnerability when she talks about her dating life. Mich also struggles with anxiety for which she does take medication. She’s someone who is self-aware and knows that in order to make progress emotionally, she’s going to have to address the open wounds between her and Gabe. Gabe is equally self aware but has the opposite approach in order to protect his peace and make his own decisions, he’s chosen to run away from it all. It’s an interesting push and pull dynamic between the two as they seek to mend their relationship as well as work on the external factors that played a part in the distance. As always, Alexis Daria knows how to deliver on what being a part of a Latinx family feels and looks like. I loved the importance given to self-care and mental health and the different ways of coping. Also, being first generation myself and understanding that my immigrant parents had a very different more traditional approach to careers made seeing Gabe & Mich’s story that much more relatable. For those who enjoy mixed media, Gabe & Mich had a fan-fiction web comic when they were teens and we get to see their chat messages when they were piecing together that story. The romance/steamy scenes were satisfying and passionate, Gabe really enjoys proving to Mich that he knows his way to woman’s orgasm. He is a very generous lover as well as super confident which honestly is part of his sex appeal. It was a good time all around! I’m looking forward to more stories within the Primas of Power universe *fingers crossed*


๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBooks

The Story Graph:ย LairOfBooks

Librofm Referral Code

ย 

Spoiler Free Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Title: The Love Hypothesis

Author:Ali Hazelwood

Pub. Date:ย September 14th 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format:ย Physical Book

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages:ย 384 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | LIBRO.FM


Olive is a third year PHD candidate focused on science and not quite sure if sheโ€™s interested in love. In fact sheโ€™s questioning everything about how she views attraction, sex, and romance. Olive’s best friend Anh on the other hand is a romantic at heart and it just so happens that she has amazing chemistry with Jeremy who is Olives ex. She feels terrible for having these feelings and decides to keep them hidden but everyone in their friend circle can see they’re perfect for one another. Olive truly didn’t have any deep emotions for Jeremy but convincing Anh that she’s more than OK with them dating is proving to be challenging. The only way would be if she can show Anh that she’s since moved on into a new relationship. The idea of fake dating someone doesn’t have much time to brew in her mind before she finds herself ambush kissing Professor Adam Carlsen. The professor known to break the hearts of budding scientists leaving them in tears and rethinking their entire career paths. What’s even more surprising is that the forever grumpy Adam surprises her by agreeing to an arrangement that would help them both.
๐Ÿ”ฌ๐Ÿงช๐Ÿ’ž
*โ€ข.ยธโ™ก ฯ‰ะฝฮฑั‚ ฮน โ„“ฯƒฮฝั”โˆ‚ โ™กยธ.โ€ข*
๐ŸงชWomen in STEM
๐Ÿ”ฌQueer and diverse characters
๐ŸงชPositive healthy female friendships
๐Ÿ”ฌAcademic settings
๐ŸงชForced proximity situations that’ll have you blushing alongside our MC
๐Ÿ”ฌFlirting & banter *Chefs Kiss*

I don’t think I ever really considered the Fake Dating Trope to be one that I’d be totally into but it absolutely is now! I lost count of the times I found myself blushing and smiling from second hand embarrassment. We also get the Grumpy/Sunshine Trope which I’ve personally always enjoyed. Does it help that as soon as I heard this story is Kyloren Fanfic inspired, that I immediately envisioned Adam Driver as the lead male interest? ABSOLUTELY! he perfectly fits the description and mannerisms. I’ll admit I wasn’t too keen on the premise of a best friend falling for the other friends ex however, I felt Olive’s feelings on the whole thing were very well explored. She has a moment of introspection that even though it wasn’t spelled out on the page, I understood it to be that Olive may be Asexual. I appreciated reading a character’s POV who experiences love and sexual attraction differently than what we’re used to seeing in books.

I also LOVED how well balanced this read was with regards to the science in an academic setting and the actual romance. There was an emphasis on highlighting the many hurdles women in STEM go up against in a field where their counterparts are predominantly Caucasian males. Olive’s BFF Anh is a Vietnamese PHD Candidate who is very driven to creating more resources for BIPOC women in STEM. These themes were woven in organically which I feel is probably because the author themselves is a Neuroscientist with plenty of time in an academic setting. There’s honestly so much to love here! last but not least…The STEAM factor was so satisfying! It is well deserving of my 6 star rating simply because I am STILL thinking of these characters and the *Chefs Kiss* flirting that took place.ย 


๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBooks

The Story Graph:ย LairOfBooks

Librofm Referral Code

WWW Wednesday: 9/8/2021

It has been way too long since I posted a WWW Wednesday mainly because I’ve been mood reading and partly because I’ve been on the go. It’s a wrap on this rainy summer and even though I didn’t get as much beach time, I have been safely traveling and working on my little indoor garden. Currently I’m nurturing a Monstera Deliciosa aka My Baby! in hopes she thrives in my home. Physical fitness has taken center stage and for the first time in a really long time, I’m actually really enjoying my new workout routine because of the variety I’ve included. Audiobooks come in clutch when i’m working out and pretty soon they’re going to be my best friend while I tackle painting my apartment. It took me some time to decide on whether or not to paint but seeing as I’m in NYC for at least the next couple of years, might as well bring my vision for Desert Chic to realization. Besides reading, I started watching Fear Street on Netflix and thisย scares-very-easilyย person is loving it! What are you lovelies reading/watching/planting/cooking? lemme know down below!

I started The Love Hypothesis last night and while I may not be a Star Wars fan, I did love me some Adam Driver! Our male love interest is most definitely Kylo Ren fanfic inspired. I AM HERE FOR IT! We get the fake dating trope between two scientists that promises to be cute and steamy, what more can we ask for? I’m hoping to get some reading in tonight while doing the laundry but can easily see this one keeping me up past the midnight hour. 

I also sporadically decided to start listening to The King of Scars audiobook while I work. This is a re-read for me since I originally read my physical copy in 2019 and three starred it. YUP. It was not a great moment. In any case, seeing as I’ve had a copy of Rules of Wolves sitting on my shelves for quite some time and I’ve been reading from my shelves…figured I’d give it another go. It may still be a three star but so far I’m enjoying the audiobook way more than the physical. Zoya is EVERYTHING and her accent makes me smile. 

I actually binge read The Kiss Quotient trilogy, I listened to The Heart Principle on my flight back to NYC. The narrators did a fantastic job with all three books, Helen Hoang is now a new favorite Contemporary Romance author. The Heart Principle did have a different feel than it’s predecessors seeing as it was birthed after a year of grief and loss for the author. I had the chance to read the author’s interview on Goodreads where she discusses what she experienced in 2019/20 and the therapy she sought out to help her cope with her grief. The Heart Principle felt raw and vulnerable, I deeply resonated with Anna who I embodied at one point in my life. Quan, her love interest is reclaiming his life and self love after also experiencing a tough battle. Although very different in tone, I can honestly say this book is my favorite of the three. Please check for content warnings, my review is in the works. 

I also had the chance to read an early copy of A Curse In Ash by Julie Zantopoulos (my reviewand LOVED it! this was a book I picked up on my day off and read it start to finish in one day. If you enjoy sexy fae times and fantasy that is set in a contemporary world, then this is for you. If you love friendship circles that portray healthy relationships, this is for you. Lastly, if you enjoy a steamy AF Fantasy…I mean all the way off the meter…the meter is broken my loves! then I HIGHLY recommend giving this one a go ๐Ÿ˜‰

Never has a book been easier to select off my shelves than The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova what better way is there to bring in Latinx Heritage Month (begins September 15th) than with a new book by one of my favorite authors, Zoraida Cรณrdova?!?! this is an adult fantasy that also spends time in Ecuador which is where Cรณrdova was born in. I’ve heard only positive reviews and cannot wait to dive in to the Ecuadorian folklore I’ve heard our author weaves in. My boyfriend also happens to be Ecuadorian and as with most books I read, I’ll be sharing this one with him for thoughts ๐Ÿ˜‰


๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks

The Story Graph: LairOfBooks

Spoiler Free Review: Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams

Title: Isn’t It Bromantic?

Author:ย Lyssa Kay Adams

Pub. Date:ย July 20th 2021

Genre: Contemporary/Sports Romance

Format:ย eGalley

Publisher: Berkley

Pages:ย 350 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZONย 

Who else has been counting down the months for the release of The Russian’s story arc?!?! I couldn’t wait, I just knew there was more to him than the comedic scenes we saw him in when reading the other Bromance Book Club books. Happy to report that there is Book Lovers! Vlad aka The Russian is perhaps the ultimate hopeless romantic in the club but he’s running out of that hope that has kept him in a marriage of convenience to Russian journalist Elena Konnikova. Vlad is a famous hockey player who has done well for himself in the United States, marrying Elena who was his childhood best friend was something he was happy to do at the time. Life for Elena in the states has been a mix of both good and not necessarily bad but definitely a big adjustment mixed in with a yearning for home. Vlad takes the approach of giving her space to find her way in her new normal which includes at one point going to Chicago in order to pursue her degree in journalism. The time away from each other doesn’t really help either of them come together in their marriage. We see them stumble through interactions while trying to learn each others boundaries. This changes when Vlad suffers a sports injury and Elena sees this as an opportunity to show him gratitude for all that he’s done for her. In the background we also learn that Elena is actively investigating the mysterious disappearance of her father who was also a journalist. She decides to pick up where he left off with his story on a sex trafficking ring but as we’ve seen in the other installments in this series, things get a bit dark and complicated along the way.ย 

Vlad and Elena’s story is not just a marriage of convenience, it’s also friends to lovers and SUPER slow burn. I would say around the 52% mark is when we see our characters really start to make progress in their feelings towards one another. It’s not filled with cute moments or steamy scenes, instead we get their backstory in Russia and the childhood memories that pretty much makes their love story feel destined to be. Elena can be a bit stand offish and is self aware that she’s not as warm as other women she comes across. However, if I had to take a guess at her love language I’d say it’s a combo between acts of service and physical touch. The latter posing an issue since Vlad is SUPER respectful of Elena and would NEVER think to even kiss her for fear of pushing her away. As for acts of service, my girl Elena LOVES to cook and bake all of Vlad’s favorite Russian dishes and just so happens to have learned them from his own mother! I was fully invested in their love story and would go as far as saying that it is the most fleshed out from the other couples in the club simply because they share so much history. The fellas reconvene to help The Russian who is adamant about NOT being their next project but eventually gives in because he still has hope for his own love story. Also, Vlad has a project of his own he’s keeping under wraps (won’t say what cause SPOILERS) but I was both surprised and cheesy smiling when reading about his passion. What I didn’t love? I always find the subplots in these books to be very interesting, having the potential to cover some hard hitting topics. That being said, I always end up feeling like the subplots aren’t quite as developed as the romance. The sex trafficking ring we learn about in this book sucked me right in but it quickly wraps up at the end of the book. I would’ve like to see Elena’s journalistic skills come into play some more. What I loved? the healthy dose of our fellas in action, comedic relief, the continued efforts towards fighting toxic masculinity, supportive male AND female friendships as well as our couple in the kitchen cooking together. I’m NEVER quitting the Bromance Book Club!


Book Lovers I’m usually good at guessing whether we’ll get another book and who the love interest would be…this time I have no clue! Taking any guesses and/or info you may have on Lyssa Kay Adams next book <3’s!


๐Ÿ–คFOLLOW LAIR OF BOOKS๐Ÿ–ค

Instagram:ย @LairOfBooks

Twitter:ย @LairOfBooks

Goodreads:ย LairOfBooks

The Story Graph:ย LairOfBooks

Librofm Referral Code