Sometimes it’s hard to jump into the last book of a series. As a reviewer, this can happen a lot. Sometimes it can feel like you’re always playing catch-up while reading, and it’s easy to get distracted by the details. But sometimes you find a book that makes you want to go back and read the entire series. Crashing Into Her was that for me. Mia Sosa showed me a world I wanted to know more about, and even though I came in late, I’m so glad I found it.
The Chai Factor is a beautiful contemporary romance with a message. It’s fun but not fluffy, engaging but not light. Amira and Duncan’s story isn’t unseen in romance - a girl from a traditional family falls for a guy outside of her culture - but Heron tells it in such a way that’s it’s new and refreshing.
True confession: this book should not have worked for me, and yet, it totally did. Somehow between all of the things I don’t typically like (celebrities, closeted characters, a queer character hung up on a straight person), I inhaled Breaking Character. Such a satisfying slow burn.*
Meet Cute is one of those books with a cute cartoon cover that disguises some serious subject matter within. I'm starting to get used to these, but it still throws me if I don't carefully read the blurb. In the prologue, we meet Daxton and Kailyn, both attending law school together. The title refers to their first and second meetings, in which Kailyn walks right through Daxton's frisbee game and then spills coffee all over herself when trying to get into the seat next to him in class, the only seat available. Oh, and Daxton just happens to be the star of Kailyn's favorite teen drama of all time, so she fangirls and then is horribly embarassed. (He's essentially Dawson from Dawson's Creek.)
Sometimes I want to live in a haze of fluffy romances filled with heroines who are underestimated and stodgy heroes who need to loosen up. And The Lady Is Daring fit the bill perfectly. Is there some suspension of disbelief needed? Obviously. Is there a moment of “I know something bad is going to happen, why don’t the characters see it coming?” Yes. But here I am before you as someone who loves wrapping herself up in these stories.
Arctic Wild is about second chances, new adventures, and the dynamics of caring for each other. We meet imperfect people where their lives unravel, and watch them unfold beautifully into who they really are. The story honours learning to accept help and asking for what you need –physically, emotionally, and sexually. It's more about that journey than it ever is about the plane crash or being stranded together.
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I never underestimate the skill it takes to make something new out of something beloved, and Jalaluddin did it (seeming with ease) with Ayesha at Last. Retellings can be a difficult type of book because something as beloved as Pride and Prejudice comes with the expectations of everyone who loved the book (or zombie book), or the miniseries, or the movie (or zombie movie). As a reader, there’s this hope that all the beats will be there and that all of the characters you love or hate will be there too.
Josh Copeland is looking for a new start. After realizing that his long-time girlfriend was not changing her mind about having children anytime soon, he has ended that three-year relationship and moved across the country to work in the same firehouse as his best-friend. He has an empty apartment full of boxes, bills for appliances he no longer owns, and guilt and frustration over the relationship in equal measure. The last thing he should be doing is falling in love with a unavailable woman like Kristen, but the more time he spends with her the more he is convinced she is his “unicorn”.
The third book in Kelly Bowen's Devils of Dover series pairs two doctors who both happen to be smugglers as well. Katherine is the daughter of a smuggler and was brought up in the family business. She studied under a midwife and then went to war, and has since been patching up the locals. Harland is a Baron and also a doctor, something his late wife hated him for. Since they both have a disastrous past relationship and are trying to keep secrets (very poorly), their relationship progresses in fits and starts.