Tag Archives: Romance

The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker

Overview
A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology by Dhonielle Clayton

Title: The Silk Blade
Author: Natalie C. Parker
In: A Universe of Wishes (Dhonielle Clayton)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: LGBTQI, Medieval fantasy, Romance
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Crown
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: I have him exactly where I need him to be, but before I can swing around to his other side, Rabi is there.

Synopsis

It’s the competition of a lifetime – three competitors competing to be the consort to the ruler of them all – the Bloom. But a chance meeting just before the final battle may change everything.

Thoughts

I love that from the get go of this story, gender and sexuality isn’t even a thing. There are multiple attractions and couples, but no set expectations for which genders are together. The way that there is no big deal made out of this needs to happen more frequently in YA stories as far as I’m concerned.

The idea of a great big challenge to be the consort of the Bloom was fun. There was this beautiful poetry and feeling of elegance that I got throughout this book. One that I wasn’t really expecting. But definitely enjoyed. Especially when there is that final challenge / battle at the end…

All in all, I loved this short story. I found it adorable and fun. With a great sense of action and drama. Add to that the romance and connection that weaves through the tale and the fantastic world building… I was sad when this ended.

<- A Universe of WishesThe Scarlet Woman ->

Image source: Goodreads

Kissing Tolstoy by Penny Reid

Overview
Kissing Tolstoy (Dear Professor, #1) by Penny Reid

Title: Kissing Tolstoy
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Dear Professor #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves:  Contemporary, Contemporary romanceRomance
Dates read: 25th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: I couldn’t bring myself to look at him again, so I directed a short wave at the room.

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Synopsis

What do you do when you discover that your super-hot blind date from months ago is now your super-hot Russian Lit professor?

You overthink everything and pray for a swift end to your misery, of course!

Thoughts

I fell stupid, crazy in love with this novel. Like, completely, totally and utterly head over heels for it. Not only was it fun and brilliant. But, as with every one of Reid’s books, the characters were a little quirky and impossible not to love. Particularly Anna with her slightly zany and very unique outlook on life. And Luca? Oh my goodness! Completely drool worthy! (Nobody look at my book… there are drool stains through the pages).

Every time I read a story that features academia, I kind of want to return to that world. Although, this is a perfect way in which to return without having all of the crap that actually comes alongside a life in the area. It’s a great window into a world that is seriously intense and complex. One that is fascinating and intriguing. The fact that it’s the setting for this book, and series, but not really a feature of it left me thinking of all of those wonderful positives. Whilst not dwelling on any of the negatives.

This is one of those stories in which things seem to go wrong, one thing after the other. That no matter what Anna tries to do, she’s drawn into Luca’s orbit and just isn’t quite sure how she got there. But, she wants to stay. It’s got that fate kind of feel to it that makes you think that those who are meant to be together will be, even if they’re not quite sure how to go about it. Which, honestly is the kind of thing that I love in a good romance – that feeling of inevitability that lends itself to a happily ever after.

All in all this was a fantastic, fun and impossible to put down book. I completely fell in love with it and don’t know that it is one that I will forget anytime soon. I most definitely can’t wait to sink my literary teeth into Kissing Galileo now!!!

<- More Penny ReidKissing Galileo ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Heart is Always Right by Lilith Saintcrow

Overview
Image result for death's excellent vacation book cover

Title: The Heart is Always Right
Author: Lilith Saintcrow
In: Death’s Excellent Vacation (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Gargoyles, Paranormal fantasy, Romance
Dates read: 19th November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: EvilMart probably didn’t prepare her for this.

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Synopsis

A gargoyle with a crush realises that the woman he’s been crushing on might just be his ticket to looking… well, less gargoyle-like. But he has to sacrifice his Heart first.

Thoughts

This was such a cute and sweet short story. I love that there are so many different meanings to the title, depending on what point of the story you are at. The different meanings drew me in completely and left me feeling very happy and content.

I don’t get the privilege of reading many stories about gargoyles. But, ever since watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I’ve been fascinated with gargoyles. Happily looking forward to any of the stories I can find that feature these creatures.

The lore and the worldbuilding in this short story are intense. I honestly can’t believe that there aren’t more books set in this world. It is just so damn textured and detailed. I want more!

<- Thin WallsThe Demon in the Dunes ->

Image source: Amazon

I Can See the Ending by Will Kostakis

Overview
Image result for begin, end, begin book cover

Title: I Can See the Ending
Author: Will Kostakis
In: Begin, End, Begin (Danielle Binks)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Romance, Young adult
Dates read: 29th September 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: I sit back and smile.

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Synopsis

He’s finishing his final day at work, and about to step into the adult world. But there’s this gorgeous girl that he just can’t stop thinking about…. And then a kiss lets him see the ending of their love and he asks himself… if you can see the ending, should there be a beginning?

Thoughts

I really loved the question that this short story posed – namely, if you can see the ending, do you even bother trying for a beginning?

That question, and the brilliant writing in this story made it incredibly difficult to look away from the pages and left me constantly pulling for the narrator of the story. After all, I don’t know if I’d have the guts to start a relationship when I know that it’s going to end in heartache. I’m not sure that I’m that brave or tough… it also highlights the risk that love is, no matter what the situation.

This was a great, cute and seriously fun short story. One that is all about first loves and the fact that sometimes happily ever after isn’t, well… quite happily ever after. But that doesn’t mean that all of the bits in between aren’t worth it! And it’s definitely a great idea to live in the moment as much as you possibly can…

<- One Small Step…In a Heartbeat ->

Image source: Harper Collins Australia

The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee

Overview
The Gentlemens Guid To Getting Lucky | Books & Writing Amino

Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Series: Montague Siblings #1.5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, LGBTQI, Romance, Young adult
Dates read: 25th September 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Mackenzi Lee
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: “Why?” I bite down gently on his lobe.

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Synopsis

In this funny and frothy novella that picks up where the New York Times bestselling The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue leaves off, freshly minted couple Monty and Percy fumble through their first time together.

Monty’s epic grand tour may be over, but now that he and Percy are finally a couple, he realizes there is something more nerve-wracking than being chased across Europe: getting together with the person you love.

Will the romantic allure of Santorini make his first time with Percy magical, or will all the anticipation and build-up completely spoil the mood?

Thoughts

This was such a fun, funny and cute way to round out the novel The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. It had me laughing out loud, repeatedly. Away from the adventure and drama of the novel, this is just a great little novella that makes you think about your first time…

The first time with anyone can be supremely awkward. But the adventures that Percy and Henry find themselves on in this… well, they just take the cake. My first time was certainly not this awkward! Thank goodness!

This is a great, light addition to this series. And it’s got me salivating for The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. I certainly hope that we get to see Scipio in the next few books! He is just such a kind pirate-man and I want more of him!

<- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and VirtueThe Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy ->

Image source: Amino Apps

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Overview
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Series: Montague Siblings #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, LGBTQI, Romance, Young adult
Dates read: 19th – 22nd September 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Instead he says to me, very calmly, “How dare you speak to him like that.”

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Synopsis

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions – not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still, it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Thoughts

I absolutely loved this novel just as much as I had expected. There is something fun, intriguing and seriously intense about this journey that makes it impossible to put down. And, even more importantly, seriously difficult to forget after you’ve turned that final page. This is definitely going to the top of my reread list and I think it’ll be one that I pick up again and again over the years.

Henry is a fantastic lead for a story which has a title such as The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. He’s seriously damaged, a little bit neurotic, and honestly, just so damn cute. The fact that his cuteness is offset by some seriously stupid decisions… it works well. Then, partnering him with his best friend Percy (who is nothing like what you would expect) and his incredibly strong sister Felicity. Well, the characters alone are a recipe for a great story. Luckily though, there is a great adventure in here too.

Not only is this a fantastic historical fiction story (I’m not sure how realistic it is, but it is certainly fun), it is also a great social commentary. I knew that it dealt with LGBTQI+ issues in the form of Henry being in love with his male best friend. But what I didn’t expect was that it also dealt with issues of race (again Percy’s character), illness and sexism. Even the moment in which Felicity questions Henry’s sexuality and morality is so well written. Instead of this being accepted like some of the historical fiction books I’ve read, there is a constant issue with the sexuality and race of some of the lead characters. And, let’s face it, they’re still issues that are painful and not quite dealt with in today’s society.

Even though I loved the character of Henry, his backstory did actually break my heart a little. How could it not when there are just so many horrid moments throughout? I’m glad that he was able to find his own happily ever after. And, although the story doesn’t end with him completely finding his own bliss and getting over his vices… there is certainly some great movement towards it. Which left me feeling seriously optimistic after I turned the final page of this book.

Now, I just can’t wait to sink my literary teeth into Felicity and the Goblins’ stories… surely this series is just going to continue getting better from here on out?

<- More Mackenzi LeeThe Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky ->

Image source: Goodreads

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Overview
Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Obsidian
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Aliens, Romance, Science fiction, Young adult
Dates read: 28th July – 17th September 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Hodder
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: It wasn’t usually the safest way to travel.

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Synopsis

The unputdownable first novel in the Lux series. Daemon Black will set pulses racing…

There’s an alien next door. And with his looming height and eerie green eyes, he’s hot… until he opens his mouth. He’s infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, he marks me. Turns out he has a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal his abilities and the only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to him until my alien mojo fades. If I don’t kill him first, that is.

When Katy moves to West Virginia right before her senior year, she’s anticipating a whole lot of boring. The last thing on her mind is getting involved with her sexy, exasperating neighbour – and then finding out he’s guarding a mind-blowing secret…

Thoughts

This was a seriously good novel. It took me a little while to read, but mostly because I kept getting distracted by other, shinier books. It was still wonderful and fun. This was a great teenage / young adult book with great world building and a lead female who I could really relate to. Definitely an enjoyable adventure. And, now that I’ve finished it… I can’t wait to read the next one and journey back into Armentrout’s world of the Lux.

This had a pretty typical level of the teen angst that I’m used to looking for in a young adult novel. But it was a little less painful than some of the other young adult books I’ve read – the angst was nicely balanced by the gumption and drive of Kat. I actually really enjoyed the angst that was a part of this story – it wasn’t over the top and painful, and honestly, if I had to deal with Daemon’s attitude like Kat does… I’d be pretty angsty and irritable myself.

I absolutely love the world building that Armentrout does in this series. I enjoyed the prequel Shadows, and that had a nice little introduction into this series. But it didn’t give me a full background into the world of the Lux. This novel most definitely did that. Although, I’m glad I know a little more about Dawson from Shadows. It’s a great world building that I can’t wait to sink my metaphorical teeth into… I just need to save up some money before I buy the next book is all…

Kat and Daemon definitely don’t have a cutesy, sweet relationship. Which I most definitely love. I get a bit fed up with relationships in books (both young adult and adult) which focus on the cutesy, love at first sight angle. That just doesn’t feel overly realistic to me. Instead, Daemon and Kat are constantly niggling at one another and making things somewhat difficult for each other. It’s a lot more similar to the healthy relationships that I see in my life (even if this one isn’t totally healthy).

I absolutely can’t wait to read Oblivion – I’m fascinated to see what all of the moments in Obsidian looked like through Daemon’s eyes. There are some wonderful and fun hints at the end of Obsidian, but I look forward to getting even more insight.

<- ShadowsOblivion ->

Image source: Goodreads

Unremembered by Jessica Brody

Overview
Unremembered (Unremembered, #1) by Jessica Brody

Title: Unremembered
Author: Jessica Brody
Series: Unremembered #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Romance, Science fiction, Time travel, Young adult
Dates read: 29th June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Especially given you… well, celebrity status.

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Synopsis

When Freedom airlines flight 121 went down, they didn’t expect to find anyone. Alive, that is.

But there was one survivor. Which is why a sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage – alive – is making headlines across the globe.

Even stranger is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. but can she really trust him? Can she trust anyone?

Thoughts

I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for quite a while. Ever since I read Unstolen. It looked kind of cute and intriguing. But honestly, that was the extent of my thought process. It was always a book that I’ll get to at some point. And then I needed a book with a title starting with a U for a reading challenge… and wow. This is not just good. It is ridiculously good. I actually couldn’t believe how much this pulled me in. And just how quickly.

Alright, so this is a bit of a teeny little romance. Which is why I gave it one less star than I probably would have otherwise given it. I do tend to find that star-crossed lovers can get a bit of an overbearing trope. And for the majority of this novel, that was kind of how I felt about that main relationship. But then… but then it really started to develop. As more of Sera’s history was revealed, her relationship with Zen became less and less irritating and more and more developed. And now? Now I can’t wait to see how that will develop in the next two books in this trilogy. Started out a bit eh, but the relationship quickly built upon itself and developed into a great aspect of the storyline.

I knew that there was a time travel aspect to this novel. After all, it says so on Goodreads. But this wasn’t quite the time travel that I was expecting. There is surprise after surprise throughout this novel that makes you constantly reconfigure and question the whole time travel angle. And at the very ending? You’re still kind of questioning things. Still wondering if you have all of the information about time travel locked away into your brain. And what you’ve probably missed… it makes for a seriously intriguing and great way to tell a time travel story.

Aside from the teeny / young adult storyline and the very unique take on time travel… I absolutely adored how Brody is able to play with the idea of memories and thoughts all the way throughout this story. In each and every moment, you’re questioning what is real and what is manufactured. And how memories can be stored. How much influence memories actually have on our personalities… it’s a fascinating realm to play with and Brody did an absolutely fantastic job of making you think through each and every sentence.

<- More Jessica BrodyUnstolen ->

Image source: Goodreads

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Overview
Mansfield Park (Vintage Classics Austen Series) by Jane Austen ...

Title: Mansfield Park
Author: Jane Austen
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Romance
Dates read: 17th May – 8th June 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Year: 1814
5th sentence, 74th page: She entertains me; and she is so extremely pretty, that I have great pleasure in looking at her.

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Synopsis

Fanny Price’s rich relatives offer her a place in their home so that she can be properly brought up. However, Fanny’s childhood is a lonely one as she is never allowed to forget her position. Her only ally is her cousin Edmund. When her cousins befriend two glamorous new young people who have arrived in the area, Henry and Mary Crawford, Edmund starts to grow close to Mary and Fanny finds herself dealing with feelings she has never experienced before.

Thoughts

I have started and stopped this classic about three times. Which is super annoying. Because all of the other Jane Austen books that I’ve read thus far I have absolutely adored. As in I started and finished them in a short period of time and thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. Yet, there is something about this one that I found more difficult. Maybe it was the size. But I actually went to DNF this for a third time. Then I decided to push on. And boy am I glad that I did!

Once I got past that first third that just made me cringe constantly. I think it was Mrs Norris. What a horrible, odious woman. And I honestly just wanted to cuddle Fanny the whole time – the poor, quiet soul! Anyway, once I got past that first third, I actually started to really love this novel. Fanny’s darlingness grew on me and felt less tragic and painful. Mrs Norris was still horrible and annoying, but there was the sense that others had begun to realise this. And the story just generally started to pull me in. I wanted the happily ever after that I knew was coming because I was beginning to be heavily attached to all of the characters.

Having said all of that, I do still find it weird that the happily ever after involved Fanny marrying her cousin. I know that this was a common practice at the time of this story. But I just found it uncomfortable. Particularly when she was kind of raised with the boy. I mean. Seriously. It was just… uncomfortable. When I stopped thinking about that aspect, and concentrated on the fact that Fanny and Edward made a good couple and made each other happy… well, it began to work.

I think that my absolute favourite thing about this book was the poetic ending. The fact that each and every selfish and annoying character in this book got a comeuppance. That in the end, Fanny’s goodness was noticed and she actually got her happily ever after. Plus, some of the poetic justice was just downright funny.

<- EmmaNorthanger Abbey ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Silver Bells by Debbie Macomber

Overview
Image result for that holiday feeling book cover

Title: Silver Bells
Author: Debbie Macomber
Series: Those Manning Men #5
In: That Holiday Feeling (Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods & Robyn Carr)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary romanceRomance
Dates read: 2nd June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Mira
Year: 1996
5th sentence, 74th page: “What are you doing tomorrow?” Philip asked unexpectedly.

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Synopsis

In this classic story, Debbie brings those Manning men and Manning sisters home for a mistletoe marriage when a single dad finally says “I do.”

Thoughts

So I desperately want to read this series now. There is just something about this gorgeous short story that makes me smile and feel the need to sink into yet another new contemporary adult series. especially if the lead in this novella is younger and cheekier than she is as an adult.

MacKenzie is a great adolescent character. She’s full of gumption and cheekiness (which I think would also be in other stories). She is funny and quirky. And she’s damn well driven by her belief that what she is doing is right. I remember being a teenager and being convinced that I was smarter than everyone else. That I knew everything. So any character that reflects that smart-arsery as a teenager in such a pure way… they’re good with me.

The cast of this apartment and this story is brilliant. They are crazy and zany. Incredibly different, but all completely loving. And accepting. Which created a great, sweet and cute novella. One that left me with a huge smile plastered across my face.

<- That Holiday FeelingThe Perfect Holiday ->

Image source: Goodreads