The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
I want to reiterate, 3 stars for me still means I liked it, this is not a negative review
This is the story of Stella, a woman with Asperger’s who has trouble connecting with men romantically. When her mother begins to pressure her for grandbabies, she decides she needs to face her fears. To do this, she hires an expert. Or well, an escort. Stella hires Michael, a dreamy escort who seems very understanding of her needs. But he has some secrets behind his reasons for being a male escort, and he doesn’t want to get too close to anyone so they can find out.
The Kiss Quotient is a book I was very excited to read, mostly because it has an autistic main character and an Asian male lead. I think this is a great debut novel and I love that we got a male Asian lead, you rarely see those in the romance genre. I also liked Stella because while many people may not have Asperger’s like her, I feel she’s a relatable character that many women will identify with.
This book was steamy and sweet at the same time. My main issue with it was I felt the plot structure was all over the place and it made the story very choppy for me. This also made the characters seem very indecisive on some things which is a pet peeve of mine in books. But overall I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to seeing what else Hoang has to deliver in the future.
ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Chaser by Kylie Scott
I think this might be the end of Kylie Scott and me. I loved her early books, but the last few I haven’t really connected with and I’m starting to feel like I’m picking on her when I don’t enjoy a new book.
First things first, what I liked about this book and why it’s a 3 star rating and not lower. Single mother trope, reformed bad boy trope, and the special appearance of Stage Dive. I liked that this book was from Eric’s perspective because we got to see his growth, but I wish we had dual POV because Jean fell so flat as a character.
I didn’t feel the connection between Jean and Eric, I felt more of a connection or bond that he had with her daughter. I really enjoyed his interactions with the baby. Nell ragging on him the whole book got on my nerves, but even more so when she suddenly changed her mind and was all Team Eric.
Also a pet peeve thing that probably doesn’t bother other people but bugs the shit out of me, the author is writing American character but through this whole series has them referring to things with Australian or British terms. It takes me out of the book because people who grew up in the USA wouldn’t say these terms unless raised with a strong British background. But, it’s probably just me who is annoyed by that.
Anyways, this book was a great escape from reality, I think lots of readers will love it but it didn’t really rock my world.
Circe by Madeline Miller
“When I was born, the word for what I was did not exist.”
Circe is a retelling of the Greek Goddess of sorcery. From her birth and through thousands of years of her life. In her early life, she discovers a strange power within her and she finds she can transform her enemies into monsters. Fearful of her power, Zeus has her banished into exile, to spend her immortal years on an island alone.
As the years go by Circe faces those who come to her island, some are friendly and some are foe. In this, we get her side of the story and see that things are not always as they seem.
“You cannot know how frightened gods are of pain. There is nothing more foreign to them, and so nothing they ache more deeply to see.”
Madeline Miller is a writer I love, her book The Song of Achilles is very close to my heart. So when I saw that she had written another novel I was very eager to read it. I didn’t remember much about Circe and after I started I admit I needed to look her up for a refresher. One of my favorite thing about Miller is her writing style and the way she bends the English language to her will. All the words flow so elegantly across the page, I love reading what she has to say.
Circe was a very interesting character, but also a passive one at least to me. I felt a lot of her life was watching things happen to other people, and while she was involved, it wasn’t until the end that she felt like the heroine of her own story. I liked seeing Miller’s take on all of these famous characters and how the stories we thought we knew might be a little bit different than we think.
A beautifully written book and an interesting story, if you like the classics and retellings you should pick this book up.
“It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.”
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
“I hate this idea that boys are thinking about sex nonstop and girls are thinking about – what? Stationery and garden gnomes? No.”
I attended Apollycon this year and had the pleasure of meeting Julie Murphy and listening to her talk on a YA panel. She had talked about Ramona Blue and after hearing what she had to say, I was intrigued and decided to check it out from my local library. Julie had said this book was her own personal screw you to the movie Chasing Amy (which I haven’t seen but have heard of).
Ramona Blue is about a very tall teenage girl with blue hair who has always known she was a lesbian. After a summer romance with a girl named Grace that doesn’t end well, she finds herself resigned to the fact that she will never leave her small town. Starting her senior year, a childhood friend Freddie moves back to her town and the two reconnect. Their friendship is effortless, until Ramona realizes she has feeling for him, that combined with issues at home throws her into an identity crisis.
“You’ve never dated any guys?’
I shrug. ‘Haven’t even kissed one.’ And then I add, ‘Well, in recent years.’
‘Then how do you know you don’t like guys?’
‘I don’t know, Freddie,’ I say, trying to hide my irritation. ‘How many boys did you kiss before you realized you were straight?”
I really enjoyed reading this book. Sexuality is fluid, and I think this book did a good job of portraying that. I think it also covers how difficult it can be to be bisexual and all of the stigmas and judgments that come at it from both sides, straight or gay. I think Julie covered this topic really well and at no point did anything personally offend me.
Julie Murphy has a writing style I connect with very well, and I am excited to read more by her in the future!
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
This is a book that’s been getting a lot of great buzz, a lot of my book friends really loved it and I’ve been hearing good things all around. I was a fan of Julia on the show Once and Again and I had the pleasure of meeting Julia at another author event for a book she narrated and she’s absolutely lovely. All those things combined, I was very eager to read this book and really wanted to love this book and I had high hopes. And while I didn’t love it, I enjoyed it and I think this was a really great debut from this author.
There were a lot of moments when we as readers were supposed to feel a lot, and I felt a bit like a sociopath in those moments because I didn’t really feel anything and I knew I was meant to. Plus, a lot of the dialogue and some of the vocabulary was way above my head and I felt, well, unintelligent at moments while I was reading this book.
I think Julia Whelan is a fantastic writer, I think she delivered a very interesting and engaging story. I also think a lot of readers will love this book and I while I didn’t love it, I will be recommending it quite a lot because I think many of my friends and close ones would really enjoy this story.
Fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid, Jojo Moyes and Sally Thorne, this is your next book to pick up!
A copy for review was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
This is the book that made me realize Becky Albertalli is a one click author for me! I had no clue this book was happening but the minute I found out I ordered the hardcover from Barnes and Noble so fast my head was spinning! I love being so excited about a new release that I drop EVERYTHING just to read that authors next book.
Leah on the Offbeat is a sequel to Simon Vs the Homosapien Agenda, except this book is about his best friend Leah. Leah is an artsy, sarcastic bisexual girl, she’s just not out to her friends yet. The majority of this book takes place at the end of senior year of high school, a major turning point for many teens. Leah’s group of friends finds itself at odds, and Leah ends up realizing she has stronger feelings for someone in the group and doesn’t know how to feel about it.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I liked Leah as a character, it was great to see this world from her perspective and the other characters too. I think many readers might not like Leah because she’s not a typical heroine, but I loved her because she wasn’t a typical heroine and was her own person, good parts and faults.
If you love banter filled and character driven young adult novels, this is the book for you!
Loving Mr. Daniels by Brittainy C Cherry
“Leave the past behind you so the future can find you.”
Once upon a time…. a friend recommended this book to me. Well, four years later and I finally read it!!!!!!! See, I eventually get to books on my TBR!
Loving Mr. Daniels is about two broken people who have lost family members closest to them. When Ashlynn moves in with her dad, the last thing she expected was to fall for a Shakespearean inspired musician. And she’s even more surprised when he turns out to be her teacher.
I know what you’re thinking, that you’ve read this book already. Yes, you’ve read this trope, but Cherry puts her own beautiful spin on it and I loved this book. Bravo Ms Cherry! I do wish she wasn’t so good at making me cry, but I think that’s a testament to her writing skills.
I hope you all give this book a chance! I did, years later and I loved it! It’s never too late!
“I love you slowly. I love you deeply. I love you quietly. I love you powerfully. I love you unconditionally.”