Spoiler Free Review: Love On The Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Title: Love On The Brain

Author: Ali Hazelwood

Pub. Date: August 23rd 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Rom-COM

Format: eARC

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

Pages: 368

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

*•.¸♡ 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐝𝐦𝐢𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐦𝐞, 𝐁𝐞𝐞. 𝐆𝐨𝐝 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐬 𝐈 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐡 𝐨𝐟 𝐮𝐬 – 𝐋𝐞𝐯𝐢 𝐖𝐚𝐫𝐝 ♡¸.•*

Bee Königswasser has been given the opportunity to work as the lead on a neuroengineering project with NASA to create a helmet for astronauts that would improve their focus. She’s excited up until she finds out Levi aka the guy who she believes hates her, will be the co-lead engineer on the project. She feels he made his feelings toward her known during grad school and the last thing she’d fathom is having to work in close proximity with someone who loathes her. She asks herself what would her idol the French Physicist Marie Curie do if she were in her shoes? readily acknowledging that Marie would accept this opportunity no questions asked, Bee decides to accept. Soon after she introduces herself to the team (all dude bros), all sorts of hijinks occur to prevent Bee from actually doing her job. We see Levi begin to back her up as she’s presenting her ideas/suggestions and quickly turns into more of an ally than enemy. Bee is very aware of his presence and stolen glances so much so that she starts to enjoy their collaboration. All the while reminding herself that Levi still fundamentally hates her. 

I’ll preface this part of my review by mentioning that I’ve seen many reviews since I finished my read and although I agree that there’s a specific formula to all of these “Steminist” books, I enjoyed this more than The Love Hypothesis. The biggest standout difference for me is that both leads/romantic love interests are thoroughly fleshed out making it easy to connect and root for this ship. I LOVED the insider look we get to the actual project and seeing Bee leave a lot of dude bros in awe as she strutted her knowledge in her area of expertise. I also loved seeing Levi go from silent bystander to someone in Bee’s corner who can’t stand when his male colleagues make it difficult for her to work. I loved the fact that Bee hates that it takes Levi backing her in order for the team to give her the time of day. She draws parallels between her current situation and that of Marie Curie who had to fight for an ounce of respect/recognition as a female Physicist during the early 1900’s. It’s not often that I end up LOVING the male lead but Levi has my whole heart simply because he’s a feminist that genuinely wants to see change in their field of work. If you can get past the many mentions of Levi’s large manly frame 😂 and Bee being overly oblivious, there’s a lot to love:

🧪Empowered women in STEM
🧪Tropes: Hate to love (kinda)/Close proximity
🧪Twitter threads/wars for entertainment
🧪feisty invisible 🐈
🧪Vegan love
🧪🧠 talk as they race to perfect a helmet for NASA
🧪Male lead is a feminist
🧪The humor was 👌🏽if it can get me to laugh out loud, then and only then it gets placed on my rom-COM faves shelf 😉


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Spoiler Free review: Love In The Time Of Serial Killers by Alicia Thomspon

Title: Love In The Time Of Serial Killers

Author: Alicia Thompson

Pub. Date: August 16th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eARC

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

Pages: 336

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

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

Rating: 38/5.4 =  ☆☆ 3 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

Fellow Cappies Rejoice we’ve got ourselves our very own Capricorn female MC and I dare you not to draw parallels as you take a trip inside the mind of Pheobe Walsh. Obsessed with True Crime and working on her dissertation analyzing the genre leaves Pheebs with very little time to even think of dating. Her father has recently passed away and she is now back in Florida trying to get her childhood home in order to sell. Having had a tough relationship with her dad that resulted in leaving with her mom after they divorced, she also has her brother Jeremy to reconnect with. The brother who stayed with their curmudgeon dad and is very sweet natured is also worried his sister’s obsession with true crime has reached new levels. Pheeb’s swears the hot and mysterious neighbor Sam MUST be a serial killer and she’s gone as far as logging in his coming & goings. There’s only one problem with this theory & that’s that with every interaction they have she has to admit Sam is just a great guy but this doesn’t mean she’s going to make it easy for him.

Our main character Pheobe puts the grump in grumpy sunshine and her dark sense of humor isn’t for everyone. Some readers may even find her to be unlikeable because we get a heavy dose of her paranoia with many mentions pop culture references of serial killers. For other readers who may listen/read true crime, the research in the genre may actually be a bonus and the dissertation process to have been detailed nicely. The romance takes off a bit later in the story with the steamy scenes falling short and I know that’s probably going to hurt the overall ratings for this book. I feel this one is going to land with those who don’t mind their female protagonist to be a bit unlikeable, perhaps even pessimistic and cynical. Sam the love interest is hard not to love, he’s a music teacher who can’t help but want to assist Pheobe with moving furniture or any project really as long as he’s getting to spend time with her. I almost wish this had been dual POV to give us a break from Pheeb’s thought process while also giving us a chance to get to know Sam. Taking all of this into account… this is my personal opinion but I feel male grumpy protagonists are ALWAYS preferred over a female grump 😂 yet they DO exist and deserve to be loved just as much! haha! To be honest I loved so many of the other themes in this book like the sibling dynamics, second chance friendships and unresolved grief of a parent being addressed. I feel these did compensate for some of the other things that needed more developing. 

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗱:

💓Plus size representation
🕵🏻True Crime genre explored
😒Grumpy/Sunshine trope🤗
🐈‍⬛Stray cat claiming squatters rights
👫Sibling relationship explored
👭🏻Second chance friendships
📚The Library as a secondary setting


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Spoiler Free Review: A Caribbean Heiress in Paris by Adriana Herrera

Title: A Caribbean Heiress in Paris (Las Léonas #1)

Author:Adriana Herrera

Pub. Date: May 31st 2022

Genre: Historical Romance/Latinx

Format: eARC

Publisher: HQN

Pages: 368

 

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

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

Rating: 64/9.1 =  ☆☆ 5 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

☆☆ 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐚𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐋𝐮𝐳 𝐀𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐚 𝐇𝐞𝐢𝐭𝐡-𝐁𝐞𝐧𝐳𝐚𝐧 𝐚 𝐟𝐞𝐰 𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬. 𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭, 𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐥. 𝐒𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐝, 𝐚 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐦𝐚𝐧’𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐫𝐝, 𝐚 𝐟 𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐤 𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐫𝐮𝐦 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐩𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐥 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐥𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐲. ☆☆╮

A Caribbean Heiress in Paris is Historical Romance with flavor, heart and heat! Our Dominican Scottish MC is traveling to The Exposition Universelle from Santo Domingo with three hundred casks of her family made rum Caña Brava. Unfortunately she has also lost her father and their family owned Rum business is not quite fully under her control. The only way to regain it is by marrying and having her husband then release ownership of it to her. Evan Sinclair is in a similar boat, only he has a toxic father in control of the inheritance his mother has left him as a future wedding gift. Luz is business savvy, knows what she wants and speaks her truths. She can spot a business opportunity like the best of them, and a marriage of convenience with a hot Scott? Why not?

Luz Alana has her work cut out for her, she’s now her little sister’s care taker as well as the oldest living heir to the family owned buisness in a misogynistic world. She’s looking to continue growing her brand but those who are in the business of selling spirits (white privileged men) aren’t inclined to make it easier for her. We see Luz challenge micro-agressions with wit and a spitfire personality. We see her love interest Evan attempt to handle any who step out of line but it’s not really necessary, Luz can hold her own and makes sure Evan knows it. Still, it is nice knowing he is willing to go to bat for her if need be. 

This is only the second Historical Romance I’ve picked up, the first being Sarah Maclean’s Bombshell which also featured a feminist heroine who is fiercely independent. I’m convinced now that I’ve read Luz Alana’s story arc that so long as the heroine is a no-nonsense call it like she sees it type, I will love the story! Luz addresses the fact that the generational wealth from which Evan will benefit comes from the slave trade. Evan in turn quickly acknowledges that to be a disgraceful truth.

“You are correct, yours is a legacy to be proud of. Mine, on the other hand, only warrants being razed to the ground.”

What I loved most is the way Luz and Evan’s relationship developed. Sure he was smitten from the moment he laid eyes on her but first and foremost he gave her props and admired the business woman in her. They also had grade A communication and thankfully the miscommunication trope does not rear it’s ugly head. There are some things that aren’t immediately disclosed since there is a revenge subplot but it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be explained and worked through. I absolutely LOVED this book and cannot wait to read stories from Luz’s girlfriends aka The Leonas who both piqued my curiosity. 


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Spoiler Free Review: Set On You by Amy Lea

Title: Set On You

Author: Amy Lea

Pub. Date: May 10th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eARC

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages: 384 pages

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🖤ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review🖤

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. 

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. 

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!

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Spoiler Free Review: Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma

Title: Dating Dr. Dil

Author: Nisha Sharma

Pub. Date: March 15th 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eARC

Publisher: Avon 

Pages: 352

 

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☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

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

Rating: 53/7.5 =  ☆☆ 4 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

*•.¸♡ 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘮𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭. 𝘐 𝘴𝘢𝘸 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘴𝘭𝘰𝘸 𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘬𝘪𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘰𝘯 𝘚𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴. 𝘓𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘱𝘪𝘥 𝘤𝘢𝘳 𝘮𝘺 𝘧𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘺 𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘬𝘦𝘦𝘱 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘢𝘥 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘵. 𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘭𝘢𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘐 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘐 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘳𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘣𝘶𝘪𝘭𝘵 𝘵𝘰𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳.” ♡¸.•*

 Kareena Mann dreams of having a love marriage like her parents had but she’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 he’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.  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 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

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 falling 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! 

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* 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 👏🏽🙌🏽 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 didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book.  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 series…as long as we get more from the Aunties network 🙌🏽


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Spoiler Free Review: Ramón and Julieta by Alana Quintana Albertson

Title: Ramón and Julieta

Author:Alana Quintana Albertson

Pub. Date: February 1st 2022

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Latinx

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Berkley Books

Pages: 304 pages

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | LIBROFM | AMAZON 

☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆╮

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

Rating: 46/6.5 =  ☆☆ 3 Stars☆☆╮

Rating system created by The Book Roast 

╰☆☆ 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐟𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐨𝐬 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐑𝐚𝐦𝐨́𝐧 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 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦. ☆☆╮

I’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. There’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. 

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 Ramón 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. I loved seeing two MC’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, Julieta’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 Ramón’s father since there is a back story there. We also got some page time with Ramón’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 😉


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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 Blood meets The Witch’s Heart in Rebecca Ross’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. 

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” 😵 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 daughter’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 ends—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 Emperor’s Justice – 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 – 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 Cake 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) 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’s The Night Circus, 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 series 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 – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling. 

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! ❤ 

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- Goodreads 

Say less! 😂 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. 

Lease On Love by Falon Ballard 2/1/22

Pitched as Beach Read meets The Flat Share, 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.

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

When fate and tacos bring Ramón 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 them—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 😉

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 🙂

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! 

 

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 💜 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’s The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is an enthralling feminist retelling of the classic Korean folktale “The Tale of Shim Cheong,” perfect for fans of Wintersong, Uprooted, and Miyazaki’s Spirited 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 🤗

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! 

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.  

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 🙌🏽 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.


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January 2022 Anticipated New Releases

If the Book Gods are listening…I hope 2022 is a much better quality reading year than 2021 *fingers crossed* Not being able to come up with at least ten stand-out reads for 2021 has me in the mood to set some intentions out into the Universe. When this post goes live I’ll probably be tossing and turning trying to figure out what my first read in the New Year will be. I am hella superstitious and 100% believe that the first read pretty much sets the tone for the rest of my reading year. In an effort to scout out potential six star reads, I’ll be posting a monthly Anticipated New Releases. There are sequels out there that I may leave out because they’re by favorite authors but I have yet to read the first book in that particular new series (Katee Roberts Neon Gods/Electric Idol), still they’re on my radar. Hopefully we all can find some new favorites and share in the comments down below any books I have left out. Also, if you already know what your FIRST read in 2022…also leave it down below cause I could use some inspiration 😉

*•.♡FANTASY & SCI-FI♡.•*

*•.♡Fiction & Thrillers♡.•*

Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski (Jan 18th)– A compulsive, tenacious, and unexpectedly hopeful thriller set in a midwestern strip club, told by New York Times bestselling author Marie Rutkoski in the spirit of Gillian Flynn and Tana French – Set in 1999 at the Lovely Lady trip club we meet Samantha who has been dancing for years when she decides to help out the newest dancer learn the ropes. This despite having her plate full with a jealous boyfriend and his young daughter. A night turns deadly when she gives the new dancer a ride home. Holly the detective on the case gets help from another dancer to try & solve the case. We get a story then told in multi POV’s as the investigation makes its rounds between dancers, detectives, children, club patrons AND the killer. 

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz (Jan 18th) – “A gothic tale full of mystery and romance about a willful female surgeon, a resurrection man who sells bodies for a living, and the buried secrets they must uncover together.” I’m not quite sure if this is YA or not but i don’t believe it to even though shelved as such in Goodreads. This is a gothic story with Historical Fiction/Romance vibes. A reviewer mentioned it reminded them of Down Comes The Night & I was SOLD! In 1817 Edinburgh Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to become a surgeon more than a wife. She is kicked out of a renowned lecturers class for being the wrong gender & decides to team up with Jack, a resurrection man. Dr. Beechan has struck a deal with her, if she can pass the medical exam on her own he will allow her to enroll in his classes. For that she will need corpses to study and Jack is the man who digs them up. When men start lingering around cemeteries & friends are disappearing off the streets they find themselves with a mystery to solve.

The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan (Jan 4th) – SCARY AF concept for all the mothers out there like myself! but i’m intrigued nonetheless. Frida Liu is struggling with life, trying to live up to the expectations of her Chinese immigrant parents and also a cheating husband. All that really brings her joy is her daughter Harriett but in this fictionalized world, there exists a government program who keeps an eye out for moms like Frida. Those that may be a bit distracted & look at their phone while at the playground or allow their kid to walk home alone. A Big Brother type institution determines if Frida is a candidate and will measure her motherly devotion to see if she can keep her child. “This propulsive, witty page-turner explores the perils of “perfect” upper-middle-class parenting, the violence enacted upon women by the state and each other, and the boundless love a mother has for her daughter”

The Maid by Nita Prose (Jan 4th) – Described as a Clue-like locked room mystery! SOLD! I was obsessed with playing Clue as a child LOL. Molly Gray is a 25 year old who struggles with social skills and oftentimes misreads others intentions. Her grandmother helped her navigate the world until her death, now Molly throws herself into her job as a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel. Her unique character and obsessive need to clean make her a perfect fit until wealthy Mr. Black ends up dead in his bed. Friends she didn’t even know she had rally to try and help clear name as she is deemed suspect #1. 

Wahala by Nikki May (Jan 11th)An incisive and exhilarating debut novel of female friendship following three Anglo-Nigerian best friends and the lethally glamorous fourth woman who infiltrates their group—the most unforgettable girls since Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda (Goodreads). I couldn’t have added Wahala faster to my MUST read in 2022 list. 

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González (Jan 4th) – a Latinx debut featuring two siblings living successful career lives in New York City. It’s 2017, Olga is a tony wedding planner for Manhattan’s powerbrokers. She orchestrates beautiful story book weddings for the rich but is unable to find love until she meets the one who has her confront the effects of long held family secrets. Her brother Pedro “Prieto” Acevedo is a popular congressman in a gentrifying Latinx neighborhood. Behind closed doors, they deal with their mothers abandonment. Blanca left them to their grandmother in order to join the Young Lord 27 years ago and re-enters their life at the same time as hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto-Rico.

*•.♡Romance♡.•*

D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding. by Chencia C. Higgins (Jan 25th) – an LGBTQIA+ romance based on the fake dating trope. We meet Kris Zavala who is looking for her big break as an influencer & joining the reality tv show could help and also win her $100,000. D’Vaughn Miller is trying to break out of her shell and alo hasn’t come out to her mother, joining the show can be her chance to do so. They have to convince all of their friends & family of this romance and get married in 6 weeks. If anyone guesses it’s all fake, they’re off the show. The great thing is their chemistry is actually very real. The downside is that the show puts those real feelings in jeopardy. 

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Jan 11th) – “A TV meteorologist and a sports reporter scheme to reunite their divorced bosses with unforecasted results in this charming romantic comedy from the author of The Ex Talk.” AND it’s set in Seattle! My dream city…say no more! 

Running Wild (The Simple Wild #3) by K.A. Tucker (Jan 25th) – I won’t go into too much detail since this is now the third book in a running series. Here we follow Veterinarian Marie who we’ve met as an ex of our main character’s love interest. Marie was in love with her best friend for many years but it was unrequited, now she is worried time is running out on finding her love & possibly having children. Things get interesting when she meets someone while volunteering at a dog sled race. I will read ANYTHING & EVERYTHING K.A Tucker writes.

*•.♡Young Adult♡.•*

Wow I did NOT expect this post to be this long but the sleuths of the interwebz were hard at work the last days of 2021 and my list kept growing. Sound off in the comments Book Lovers, what are some of the titles you’re looking forward to?

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Spoiler Free Review: A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria

Title: A Lot Like Adios

Author: Alexis Daria

Pub. Date: September 14th 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Queer/Latinx

Format: Paperback

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Pages: 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! 

 

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! 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*


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August 2021 Anticipated New Releases

I’m making up for skipping out on my July Anticipated Releases post with this nice and LONG early list of anticipated August New Releases. There’s a little of everything for everyone and while gathering these titles I realized I have some books to read ASAP since this month is sequel heavy! *sideways glance at Raybearer* I have been blessed by the Book Gods with early access to some of these titles (Currently Reading: Velvet Was the Night) and will be sharing my reviews for them here on the blog. Not sure how my internal bookish clock just knows that it’s August and even though I don’t ever pre-plan on participating in ARC August…it always ends up happening that I do, possibly cause Netgalley guilt is a real thing *silent nod* Anyways let’s get to it, If there are any titles I’ve left out please drop them down below in the comments <3’s!

FANTASY & SCI-FI

DEVIL IN THE DEVICE (GODDESS IN THE MACHINE #2) BY LORA BETH JOHNSON – The sequel to Goddess in the Machine which I have not yet read, follows Andra in the year 3102 as she awakens from a cryonic sleep only to discover that all of her friends and family have died while she survived. The descendants of those that have passed see her as a deity and she’s game to play the part if it means finding answers and making her way back to Earth. The sequel Devil in the Device hits shelves on 8/24/2021

THE SECOND REBEL (THE FIRST SISTER TRILOGY #2) BY LINDEN A. LEWIS – Geared towards fans of The Red Rising series, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Expanse. The original, The First Sister follows a Priestess of the Sisterhood as she travels alongside soldiers from Mars & Earth. When her former captain abandons her and she’s forced to stay aboard the ship with no friends or power alongside a new captain, she is commanded to spy for the Sisterhood. Complications arise when she finds herself falling in love. The sequel The Second Rebel hits shelves on 8/24/2021

THE WITCH HAVEN BY SASHA PEYTON SMITHThe Last Magician (Gasps) meets The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. A Historical Fantasy following a young woman who discovers she has magical powers and is thrown into a battle with witches and wizards. Oh, and it’s set in 1911 New York City. That is ALL I need to know tbh. 8/31/2021

THE PARIAH (THE COVENANT OF STEEL #1) BY ANTHONY RYAN – Set to be an EPIC Fantasy trilogy, we follow an Outlaw living amongst thieves until an act of betrayal sets him on a new path of vengeance and living a soldier’s life in the Queen’s army. He will be up against both human and arcane forces as he is forced to decide whether he can be a warrior or forever an Outlaw. Orbit NEVER fails to deliver heavy hitters – on shelves 8/24/2021

A LESSON IN VENGEANCE BY VICTORIA LEE – “For fans of Wilder Girls and Ninth House comes a dark, twisty, atmospheric thriller about a boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft and two girls dangerously close to digging up the past”-Goodreads …Witchery & a Boarding school? SIGN ME UP! – 8/3/2021

REDEMPTOR (RAYBEARER #2) BY JORDAN IFUEKO – A HIGHLY anticipated sequel and yea shame me now for not having read Raybearer but I promise it’s happening SOON! Raybearer follows Tarisai who longs for the warmth of family. Raised in isolation by a mysterious and often absent mother called The Lady, she is sent to compete with other children for a chance to be chosen to join the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. Why? because The Lady has a magical wish Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince. The Sequel Redemptor hits shelves on 8/17/2021

THE SISTERS OF RECKONING (THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS #2) BY CHARLOTTE NICOLE DAVIS – The sequel to The Good Luck Girls which is described as Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale. A western with a sisterhood of queer girls who are sold to a “Welcome House” as girls, branded with cursed markings. Setting off on a dangerous escape to freedom, the girls are up against a country who doesn’t want them to have freedom and forces both human/inhuman. The sequel The Sisters of Reckoning hits shelves on 8/10/2021

CAZADORA (WOLVES OF NO WORLD #2) BY ROMINA GARBER – The follow-up to Lobizona & YES I absolutely did read and LOVE Lobizona! (My review) Argentinan Folklore weaved in with real world issues make this Fantasy a MUST read! We get witches and wolves in a magical school setting. The sequel Cazadora hits shelves on 8/17/2021

ROMANCE

THE DATING DARE (SWEET MESS #2) BY JAYCI LEE – I have been meaning to read the first book in this cute new series but it doesn’t seem like you have to read them in order. Here we have Tara Park who doesn’t hop into bed with perfect strangers but then she meets Seth Kim. Her friends new brother-in-law who is very tempting, handsome and charming. A game of truth or dare leads these two to a four date arrangement. Doesn’t seem like this fling with no strings attached is set to be very successful, not when they find each other to be the perfect package- 8/3/2021

BATTLE ROYAL (PALACE INSIDERS #1) BY LUCY PARKER – OK! baking rom-coms are my WEAKNESS BOOK LOVERS! a hate-to-love rom com where we meet Sylvie, she once was a contestant on a hit baking show where her creation of a glittery unicorn went sideways. Dominic, a judge on the panel was quick to vote her off but Sylvie still uses her platform to open up her own magical bakery. Fast forward to present time where the the royal family is having a wedding and the Princess wants both Sylvie and Dominic to compete for the opportunity of making the royal wedding cake. This just sounds like a fun time! 8/17/2021

CONTEMPORARY YA

HOW MOON FUENTEZ FELL IN LOVE WITH THE UNIVERSE BY RAQUEL VASQUEZ GILLIAND – THE HATING GAME meets I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER; a YA Romance starring a Mexican American teenager who discovers profound truths about the universe as she spends her summer on a road trip across the country – 8/10/2021

EDIE IN BETWEEN BY LAURA SIBSON – Described as a modern day Practical Magicwe meet Edie one year after the death of her mother. But her ghost never left. According to Edie’s GG, it’s tradition for the dead of the Mitchell family to linger with the living. Edie stumbles upon the diary of her mother along with some talismans that transport her to different times in her mother’s life where Edie witnesses her mom experience love, loss and hope. Edie is still grieving her mother’s death and hopes she can find a way to make peace with her loss and put the past to rest – 8/24/2021

ADULT FICTION/THRILLERS

VELVET WAS THE NIGHT BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIAThis is 100% a SMG STAN BLOG! I nearly fell off my chair when the Publisher granted my request and I’m currently reading this title, too early to speak on thoughts. This one is for lovers of Noir, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thrillers. We follow Maite in 1970’s Mexico City where she is a secretary who loves reading Secret Romance. In the backdrop there is political unrest with students protesting and taking over the city. Maite escapes into her romance reads until her next door neighbor Leonora goes missing & Maite goes searching for her. Meanwhile, she’s not the only one searching for the missing woman. We have a shadowy figure who runs goon squads that target political activists and stopping them. Elvis is one of the goons and he LOVES movies & Rock n Roll…he comes to observe Maite from a distance and grows obsessed with her, the woman who shares his taste in music is also lonely- 8/17/2021

THE HEART IS A CHAINSAW BY STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES“Alma Katsu calls My Heart Is a Chainsaw “a homage to slasher films that also manages to defy and transcend genre.” On the surface is a story of murder in small-town America. But beneath is its beating heart: a biting critique of American colonialism, Indigenous displacement, and gentrification, and a heartbreaking portrait of a broken young girl who uses horror movies to cope with the horror of her own life.” Goodreads8/31/2021

A SLOW FIRE BURNING BY PAULA HAWKINS – “When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, it triggers questions about three women who knew him. Laura is the troubled one-night-stand last seen in the victim’s home. Carla is his grief-stricken aunt, already mourning the recent death of yet another family member. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor clearly keeping secrets from the police. Three women with separate connections to the victim. Three women who are – for different reasons – simmering with resentment” – 8/31/2021


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