This review contains a couple of mild spoilers.
More mini-reviews! Reviews of The Stormbringer, A Dark and Hollow Star, Sweet & Bitter magic, Act Your Age, Eve Brown and Forget About Me. That's two f/f YA fantasy novels, two adult f/m contemporary romances and an adult f/m fantasy romance.
Perfect on Paper is a perfect queer YA romance. Darcy Phillips is a bisexual teen who secretly receives relationship questions via an unused school locker and dispenses advice by email. Hopelessly in love with her lesbian best friend, she's great at giving advice and terrible at managing her own relationships. When she's caught in the act of opening the locker by Alexander Brougham (who goes by his last name), she agrees to help him get his ex-girlfriend back. (PS Brougham is Australian like the author.)
When I first heard that Rose Lerner was writing an f/f/ gothic retelling of Jane Eyre, I was thrilled. My expectations were high! Then Audible picked it up as an Audible Original and I got even more excited knowing I wouldn't have to wait for one of those days when my brain can read words on a page. This book on audio is long--a little over 16 hours. I'm happy to report, however, that it's very much worth the time investment.
Down Comes the Night is pitched as a gothic romantic historical fantasy novel and it both fits and doesn't fit that framing. I've been trying to sift through the various subplots and characters to figure out the essence of the book and I'm not sure it quite came together in the end. A case of close-but-not-quite-there. However, I think this is a book that will work well for a lot of readers, so let's get into it.
More mini-reviews! Reviews of I Wanna Be Where You Are, Happily Ever Afters, The Sweetest Fix, Lore and Of Wicked Blood. That's two f/m contemporary YA romances, an adult f/m contemporary romance and two YA fantasy novels with romantic elements.
The Beautiful Things Shoppe is one of those magical enemies-to-lovers romances in which neither character comes off like a jerk. Danny and Prescott end up sharing an antiques shop and have completely opposite approaches to the venture. Danny sells old bits of pop culture including a cartoony cookie jar and Prescott prefers high-end furniture and housewares. They have an immediate dislike for each other, but it's a flimsy thing that quickly gives way to respect and then those inconvenient feelings.
This isn't going to be a review so much as a list of things I loved about Honey Girl. While not really a romance--it leans much more toward commercial fiction and a single character arc--Honey Girl is a gorgeous story of loneliness and hope and love.
Jennifer Yen's debut, A Taste for Love, is the fluffy YA romance you think it is. It reads like a season of The Great British Baking Show with Pride & Prejudice vibes and some complicated Chinese-American inter-generational dynamics.