Blog

TO REREAD OR NOT TO REREAD..

.. that’s the question that plagues almost every bookie I know. It definitely plagues me. Hi, Hollis here. Once upon a time I used to reread books on an almost yearly basis. Some of my favourite books, and series, were on constant replay, looping through my TBR the way I listen to a song on youtube these days (aka way too many times in a row).

Now it’s a rare event. Now it’s more like.. a reward, a special occasion, a holiday. Actually most of my rereads do happen on holidays, like Christmas. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of the season? I’m not sure. What is new about my pattern of behaviour when it comes to rereading is that, if I can find a copy on my OverDrive (and the narrator doesn’t make my brain bleed), I’ll actually choose an audio reread over a physical book reread. It’s a medium I’m still getting used to, will never be my go-to, but there is an appeal that I didn’t ever expect : it gives the experience a freshness and, bonus, lets me multitask at work.

Okay, Micky’s slice of pie here. I’m interrupting this intelligent rationalisation of rereading to tell you the only time I reread is for comfort. As a mood reader, sometimes I need a familiar friend, a quilt of a book to wrap myself up in, especially if life or work is stressful. I tend to want ease in a reread, not to be challenged by need for deep concentration, some light-ish angst is okay though. I have some go-to books for this like PERSUASION by Jane Austen, THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne, REAL by Katy Evans, OBSIDIAN by Jennifer L Armentrout and many others. Rereading has got me through some sticky life points and I am ever grateful to books for their balming words. I don’t like to reread a book before the next one comes out and will only do this if I really can’t remember; I have to force myself to do this.


So our question is, for the rereaders out there, do you find you have less time to re-experience your favourites? Do you like to flip between audio and reading? Do you find that the more time that passes, the less likely you are to want to reread incase your tastes have change? Or do you like seeing if your tastes change and don’t mind moving on from a favourite?

Can you tell we are curious or are we being too subtle with the barrage of questions? Let us know!

IF YOU LIKE THAT.. TRY THIS!

Hi hello, readers, welcome to the first edition of, “If You Like That, Try This!”.

Today we’re going to be talking THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne. If you’ve yet to read this book, stop what you’re doing and go get started. I’ll even give you a handy link. Here. One, two, click, boom. Enjoy. And you’re welcome.

For those of you who have already enjoyed this book (and for those of who have since come back from their impromptu read, hi, welcome back!), I thought it helpful to start out this blog feature with this particular book because something I often hear in Romancelandia/the book community is :

I want more books like THE HATING GAME.
I loved THE HATING GAME, can you give me similar recommendations?

Well, today you’re in luck!


First up we have WALK OF SHAME by Lauren Layne. This is a hate to love between a party girl heiress and a celebrity divorce attorney. They live in the same building and, every day, pass each other in the lobby : one just coming home, the other leaving for work. She loves to tease, he doesn’t have time for her ‘type’, and well.. we all know where that inevitably leads. I loved how Layne made these two go through all the typical motions, all the standard romance tropes, and yet.. make them so self-aware while still managing to change up the game. There’s relentless snark, delicious chemistry, so many two steps forward and three steps back agonies, adorable moments, heartbreaking moments, a little bit of drama, aaaand swoons. While this is shelved under Layne’s Love Unexpectedly series, there’s actually no crossover between any of the books so this totally stands on it’s own.

Next up we have PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT by Julie James. This book actually predates THE HATING GAME but it has that same vibe and is also set in an office; except in this story we have sassy lawyers snarking and pulling pranks on each other as they battle for the one partnership position open in their firm. We have misunderstandings, banter, quips, hijinks, and humour. James had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. I know it’s not very highly rated (at least not on GR) but I loved her writing and I enjoyed the hell out of these characters.

ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker might be the most un-THE HATING GAME-y of all these recommendations but it definitely a worthy addition to this list. Why? Because it’s an excellent hate-to-love romance full of tension and snappy rejoinders — but this one has a fake-boyfriend trope thrown in and is set against the London West End stage. Their chemistry was just so so great and while Parker doesn’t give us any explicit intimate scenes, they were instead a different kind of intimate. The heat was there, yes, but the tenderness and affection was so palpable that you didn’t feel the lack of graphic interactions between the two — just like with Josh and Lucy. With sprinkles of emotional and personal drama alongside the drama of celebrity and actors and PR nightmares, book one in the London Celebrities series was funny without veering into silliness, adorable and swoony, with drama, characters to love, characters to hate, a grumpy hero for all the readers who love them, a strong heroine who gives as good as she gets, a few thrills and chills, and an epilogue that will turn you into a walking talking heart-eyes emoji face.

BUNS by Alice Clayton (#3 of her Hudson Valley series) is a gently funny contemporary romance where hate to something more is on the menu at this hotel. Clara Morgan loves her life of going into a struggling hotel and fixing what is wrong. Being on the move and never really setting down roots works for her. Archie Bryant however, is deeply attached to his family’s hotel which might be a run-down money pit but he knows what he’s doing. Clara’s ideas seem to gain traction and these two are professionally at odds but there’s chemistry and sweet, sweet buns to be had. I honestly got all the feels reading this story. Archie had a stubborn but strong streak to him, with a side of geek. I found him very appealing and I loved reading these two together. If you liked the previous Hudson Valley books, you will see more of the previous characters, the women from previous books are friends with Clara. But you can read this as a standalone and won’t miss out. Got to say though, Cream of the Crop (#2) is worth your time!

BURN FOR YOU by J.T. Geissenger has some of the most delicious hate to love vibes I’ve ever read. Why delicious? Because Bianca is head chef in her own New Orleans restaurant and the food she makes had my mouth watering but the hate chemistry also had me hungry, if you catch my vibe. The ‘BEAST’ Jackson is a rude, rich, entitled arse who comes into Bianca’s restaurant and insults everyone, then he has the front to ask her to cater a fundraiser for him. Bianca needs the money for a very good reason. The sense of family on Bianca’s side paints a rich and bitter-sweet picture. Whilst on Jackson’s side, the breaking through of his persona to his humanity is something to behold. It took me time to be on the side of this couple but it made me all the more loyal. This book had heart and heat with a culinary context that was fantastic and you MUST READ THIS. I’d say I’m sorry we both talk about this book too much, but I’m not!

THE OPPOSITE OF YOU by Rachel Higginson is the first in a series of interconnected standalones that are also in the chef-ing world. What is it about chefs that equals grumpy and sexy? In this first book, both protagonists are chefs but Killan is the locally-reknown ‘IT’ chef with the Michelin star and Vera is the stubborn and strong chef working from the food van across the road with equal talent but unequal footing in the world. Killan is a grumpy grunter, low on communication but there is much more to this over-worked culinary genius than first meets the eye. There’s less banter in this book and more argument but you know what happens after an argument with a couple who create chemistry-laden fireworks? Yeah, THAT. This was a great hate to love read with a fantastic, rich and sometimes traumatic story to tell. I loved this whole series, but you have to start at the beginning.


And there you have it! We hope you check out and enjoy (if not love) these recommendations — please let us know if you do. And if you have any suggestions for our next “If You Like This..” feature, send them our way!

MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE by Nisha Sharma

Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart, charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.


Title : My So-Called Bollywood Life
Author Nisha Sharma
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 332
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Stripes Books
Release Date : 2 May 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

What a delightful, fun, escapist read this unusual YA was. It was completely unexpected in nature and plot line, fairly low in terms of teenage angst and it made me smile while reading many times.

I know only a little about Bollywood films but through the protagonist Winnie, I learnt just a little more and came to love her love for it. Winnie finds herself in a break up situation in her final year of high school, with a new low-key love interest and uses her savant-ish knowledge of bollywood films to guide her direction.

The sense of family in this story was full and fun. Nani, her mum and dad were in the background but powerful in wanting to steer Winnie alongside her astrological predictions. 

Raj her ex and Dev her want-to-be, were hilarious to read about; I knew where my wishes swayed towards from early on. The friendship circles were both interesting and complex with some strained loyalties. The story had a feminist underpinning which I appreciated and Winnie was empowered as a young women by her family and school.

“I don’t understand why you love the singing and dancing and Bollywood drama…but Winnie Mehta, I would dance for you.”

There’s so much to this story, much more than just a great romantic storyline. Whilst I’m not from the Indian community in the US, I felt this was relatable with a strong coming-of-age theme that will appeal widely.

The cover for this book is one of my favourites this year and the words inside match beautifully. I will love seeing this book on my shelf and I would definitely re-read it. MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE is a fun, own-voices and diverse read and I highly recommend it.

Thank you @nishawrites for these words, @stripesbooks @darkroomtours and @hatecopy for the fabulous cover. 

SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.


Title : A Sorcery of Thorns
Author : Margaret Rogerson
Format : eARC
Page Count : 464
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date : June 4, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Just the other day I was pouting about YA fantasy just not hitting the mark for me in 2019. And in struts SORCERY OF THORNS just to prove me wrong. I didn’t really know what to expect for this one other than it had something to do with library with a hate to love (possibly) and magic and, not having read Rogerson’s first novel, didn’t know how that would all translate in the writing.

Well, it translated super well.

You used a demonic incantation to pack my stockings!”
You’re right, that doesn’t sound like something a proper evil sorcerer would do. Next time, I won’t fold them.”

This not-quite-medieval but not-quite-steampunk world is populated by living, magical, books and sorcery from demonic bargains. Librarians are the keepers of the books and look down upon the Magisters, the sorcerers, for their alliances with demons. So naturally this is a great set-up for an orphan, raised in the library and on her way to become a Warden, to get tripped up with a Magister.. who then trips up all her pre-conceived notions, too. 

I don’t mean to be forward, but is that a–“
A sword hidden under my dress? Yes, it is.”
I see. And how exactly is it–“
I thought you didn’t mean to be forward.”

The banter and dynamic between the two leads was great. Even during a weird lull, where I worried my experience with this one was also going to crash and burn, I was comforted by the four and five star worthy dialogue of bickering and nicknames. It was just fabulous. What I could never have suspected, though, was how much I would love a certain demon and that my love for him would have me shedding a tear or two. 

Can you go on?”
Of course I can. I may be useless, but my good looks might prove critical for morale.”

Honestly, the mayhem and calamity that is crashing down around their ears didn’t interest me half as much as the Help Save The World Adventure Squad Trio.. but, to be fair, I did like them a lot so even half of that.. isn’t bad. But I’ll admit I lost a wee bit of love somewhere around the middle bit. Things went in a strange direction I didn’t see coming and there was an odd interaction or two I didn’t quite understand, but overwhelmingly this book was just.. unexpected. Interesting, creative, funny, clever, and fun. There’s one specific thing I liked so much, and liked how it wasn’t really made into A Thing, but I’m not even going to remotely hint at it so that you, too, can be pleasantly surprised about it. Instead, I’ll say how much I appreciated the constant reinforcement, and reminder, of shades of grey as it applies to so many things, including people. It made for a richer story that was already pretty lush. 

These weren’t ordinary books the Great Library kept. They whispered on the shelves and shuddered beneath iron chains. Some spat ink and threw tantrums; others sang to themselves in high, clear notes on windless nights, when starlight streamed through the library’s barred windows like shafts of mercuryOthers still were so dangerous they had to be stored in the underground vault, packed in salt. Not all of them were her friends.

I feel a little nitpicky for harkening back to this after all the nice things I’ve said but for all the good, there were those moments I wasn’t too sold on, and definitely a few typical fantasy roadblocks as we see when the hero/heroes are trying to convince People In Charge that they are Here To Help. It isn’t without some clichés or slower moments so, yeah, it’s not a perfect ten. Hence the four (#math).

Tempting as the prospect is, we are not attempting world domination. It sounds fun in theory, but in reality it’s a logistical nightmare.

But the moments that were good, were great. The parts that made me laugh, really tickled. And those unexpected glimpses of brilliance and emotion.. they are definitely there. I didn’t always like how the perspective could be fluid but at the same time I also really loved how the narrative flowed and didn’t always need us to live through the events but would still catch us up. And I love love loved the end.

I dragged you into this. You wouldn’t be here it it weren’t for me.”
You’re right. I would be alone in my study, utterly miserable, spending my final hours unaware that demons were about to overrun the world. I like this version better. The one with you in it.

SORCERY OF THORNS is definitely worth picking up. I have no idea if there’s more to come and, because of the ending, I almost hope not. But I wouldn’t say no to more, either.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

LIKE A LOVE STORY by Abdi Nazemian

It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He’s terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he’s gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media’s images of men dying of AIDS.

Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance…until she falls for Reza and they start dating.

Art is Judy’s best friend, their school’s only out and proud teen. He’ll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.

As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won’t break Judy’s heart–and destroy the most meaningful friendship he’s ever known.


Title : Like a Love Story
Author Abdi Nazemian
Format : ARC
Page Count : 432
Genre : YA historical fiction, LGBTQIA+
Publisher : Balzer + Bray
Release Date : June 4, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating
: ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

LIKE A LOVE STORY is a little like a love story, really. But more in the sense of love for oneself, one’s body, and one’s community. I think it did a really good job of that, particularly when propped up against the setting, but when it comes to the love story, the romance, within the book.. it kinda failed. And by kinda I mean really.

Nazemian’s story takes place on the cusp of the nineties, in 1989, and is set against the AIDS crisis. Not as a backdrop but as a very real threat and very present player for our three protagonists. Art is out and proud and angry. His best friend, Judy, has an uncle dying of AIDS. And the new kid, originally from Iran, is Reza; someone both friends fall for but who, despite initially dating Judy, is closeted. 

I knew this wouldn’t be an easy story but I knew it would be an important one. It was a frightening time and is made even more terrifying when held up against the current social and political climate. Addressing the bigotry and the homophobia was all very visceral and awful but well done. I felt like I was living it. Where the fear of touch, of being touched, infected every interaction. Where not subscribing to white, heteronormative, ideals made you worthy of hate or shunning. Where it was acceptable to wish your son dead just for being queer. Where hate fuelled both sides of the equation; one side for being ushered into an early grave just for being who they were, and the other for not understanding or not accepting people different from themselves.

What I believe failed this story was the characters.

The romance is fast tracked as is fairly typical — though the fact that these two besties go from zero to eleven within half a page over the new kid is unlikely as it is; but for it to be turned into a triangle, infusing unnecessary drama into the mix, just becomes tedious — and ultimately, it’s the leads that do a disservice to the goings on around them. Or, rather, I feel they overshadowed the rest with their nonsense. I outright disliked two of the POVs (one more strongly than the other) but overall it was their behaviours, too, that I just couldn’t stand. 

The most important four-letter word in our history will always be LOVE. That’s what we are fighting for. That’s who we are. Love is our legacy.

I’m heartbroken that this didn’t work but I do think, if the synopsis draws you in, you should still pick it up. LIKE A LOVE STORY is a book that features a four star topic but is, unfortunately, saddled with one star protagonists. 

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JUNE 4, 2019

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson, one of the first YA fantasy books I’ve liked this year, is out today! If you love magic, nemeses/enemies reluctantly teaming up to save the world, and are fascinated by the concept of living books, you definitely need to give this one a try! Hollis’ four star review will be up on the blog tomorrow!

GHOSTS OF THE SHADOW MARKET by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link & Robin Wasserman, is a collection of eight short stories set in the Shadowhunter world. Having recently been drawn back into the OG The Mortal Instruments universe with the recent release of THE RED SCROLLS OF MAGIC (also by Clare and co-written by Wesley Chu) I’m keen to read these novellas from both before and during that same era.

CINDER & THE PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT is Susan Ee’s first release since 2015 and hoo boy am I excited. This dark reimagining of Cinderella (with fae?) released yesterday, June 3rd, and you know I snapped it up. Because let’s be real, it’s Susan Ee. I was already 60% invested without a synopsis or a cover (though I’ll admit I wouldn’t mind a prettier one..) and I can’t wait to reconnect with her words, and her creative brain, again.

THE TIGER CATCHER by Paullina Simons is the start of a contemporary trilogy that apparently breeches time and space… intrigued? So am I. There are themes of love, grief and searching and these two characters, Julian and Josephine, seem somewhat starcrossed. I’ve not read this author before, but I’ve heard plenty about THE BRONZE HORSEMAN and I want to give this book a go.

THE REST OF THE STORY by Sarah Dessen sounds like the classic coming of age YA contemporary but bringing in some interesting dynamics. Emma’s mother died when she was 10 and now shes about to reconnect with some of her family that have been in the background. I like the sound of the class divide in this story and also, there’s a boy.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by André Aciman – double review!

Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

The psychological maneuvers that accompany attraction have seldom been more shrewdly captured than in André Aciman’s frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion. Call Me by Your Name is clear-eyed, bare-knuckled, and ultimately unforgettable.


Title : Call Me By Your Name
Author André Aciman
Series : Call Me By Your Name (book one)
Format : OverDrive (eBook)
Page Count : 268
Genre : historical fiction, LGBTQIA+
Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date : January 22, 2008

Reviewer : Hollis/Micky
Rating : /


Hollis’ 1 star review

His words made no sense. But I knew exactly what they meant.
–> this is, I feel, a good expression of this entire book but flipped on its head. I understand what I read but I DON’T GET IT

I really don’t. Like, this isn’t me shitting on the overwhelming love people have for this book, or being contrary for shits and giggles.. I, personally, just don’t get it. 

Maybe I hyped this book up in my head for too long, maybe it was because I had these grand expectations, not to mention having put off watching the movie (which I will still) in order to read this first, but.. wow. Maybe, too, it’s my fault for not looking closely at the summary which does go on to detail some of the nittier gritty of what kind of relationship this book features but as I’m #TeamNoBlurbs.. it was obviously a surprise.

The first 60% of this was stream of consciousness confusion, was cringey secondhand embarrassment, was obsessive uncomfortableness.. it was so many things and none of them good. There was no characterization to these characters beyond Elio being consumed, forever fantasizing, and sifting through passages of is-it-really-happening-nope-just-dreaming chaos that made up the majority of his days; it’s intense but.. not in a good way. It’s discomfiting. I either skimmed because I couldn’t anchor myself to Elio’s internal rambling monologuing or because I just couldn’t bear to look too hard at his fixation. And Oliver was, well, a hot and cold dick of a human for the most part. And then suddenly he wasn’t, but it was all.. I don’t know, things being said, and not said, but they seem to understand it regardless? It just felt lazy and set up for the sake of drawing things out and drama. 

Not to mention they were both, at times, grossly childish or selfish.

s p o i l e r s   b e l o w

Case in point : Elio goes from screwing around with Oliver only to go to a girl’s house for more screwing around. Later, the boys have a nice afternoon delight together, then Elio heads out to meet with girl again, after having no discussion with Oliver about the logistics of this, and then when Oliver is missing upon Elio’s return, the latter is all bent out of shape and tied in knots and ‘how dare he make me wait’? Moments later Oliver’s ‘the best person he ever knew’. What the shit kind of whiplash nonsense is this? I actually refuse to tag this as a romance because, I feel, there was none. It was attraction, it was lust, it was physical intimacy (as well as certain intimacies that I believe were included in order to convince us of the existence love, make us believe there was a romance), but to me this wasn’t romantic. It was infatuation.

In the last 40%, however, there was a part or two that felt stronger (but it’s all relative, really) and yet it also transitioned into these scenes with other random characters I couldn’t care less about who rambled on about Bangkok, and various anecdotes as delivered by a poet we never see again, for eight to fifteen pages at a time. I honestly don’t know what was going on and I’m going to be fully honest : I skimmed most of it because I didn’t understand the point of it all.

There was a moving conversation between Elio and his dad near-ish to the end but then we have a time jump and weird transitions and odd conversations between adult Elio and older Oliver, reminiscing and yet not, where we’re supposed to believe this infatuation, this obsession, has endured for over twenty years, and I was just so done, long before this point, truthfully, but at least I saw it through to the end. Where the sequel goes I have no idea. And I definitely need some time to forget most of this experience before diving into the movie. 

That said, I think perhaps the movie will succeed where the book is too much for me. It wouldn’t be the first (and won’t be the last) time an adaptation succeeds in softening the edges of its source material. So I’m hopeful that a lot of what I hated about this book won’t apply to the adaptation but, for right now, I just need space from it all. I’m in no hurry.


Micky’s 1 star review …it’s pretty short

I know a lot of people loved this book but nothing about it appealed to me. In fact, I hated a lot of it. I listened to the first 35% on audio (and hated it), then a week later, I read/skimmed/read my paperback to the end (and still hated it). 

Why did I hate it? I didn’t like either character but I found Oliver to be a pretty awful person, with nothing to ingratiate himself to the reader. More than this though, 85% of the book is Elio’s inner monologue, his egotistical and obsessive mental ramblings poured onto the page for… ever. I disliked this style of writing, I found it incessantly dull and nothing about it worked for me.

Count me out for book two.


JUNE 2019 TBRs

Micky is a mood reader who tries to splice in ARCs and library reads as per her momentary mood. She is also a polyreader. Hollis is an organised creature who is always sickeningly ahead of the game with her ARCs, library reads, and general reads. Hollis sensibly reads one book at a time. Micky is jealous of Hollis.

Micky’s June TBR

I try and have a physical TBR which is often aspirational and ambitious. I have a rough eBook TBR that always includes my ARCs, the rest is mood for audio (I commute and listen) and owned eBooks.

This month my planned ARCs are:

THE PERFECT DATE by Evelyn Lozada
OUR STOP by Laura Jane Williams
THE AU PAIR by Emma Rous
THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL by Abbi Waxman

This is my physical TBR plan:
MY SO CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE by Nisha Sharma
MARESI RED MANTLE by Maria Turtschaninoff
THE GIRL IN RED by Christina Henry
SKY IN THE DEEP by Adrienne Young
NAONDEL by Maria Turtshcaninoff
THE GIRL IN RED by Christina Henry

These are the audios I’d like to accompany me to work:

BUTTERFLY TATTOO by Deirdre Knight
99 PERCENT MINE by Sally Thorne (reread)
RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston
SHERWOOD by Meagan Spooner

Hollis’ June TBR

My TBRs are far more loosey-goosey in the sense that the only thing I plan are.. deadlines. ARC due in a few weeks? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month! Library hold comes available? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month!

The ARCs I have due are :
THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jimenez
STORM AND FURY by Jennifer L Armentrout
WICKED FOX by Kay Cho

and I might also pick up LETS CALL IT A DOOMSDAY by Katie Henry, though the release date isn’t until August.

As for non-ARCs, I’m finally going to read CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by André Aciman, a book long overdue for this m/m reader, and very likely CINDER & THE PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT by Susan Ee which releases June third. Also, if the OverDrive gods are kind, I’m hoping to also get to THE TAKEOVER EFFECT by Nisha Sharma, which Micky highly recommended last month, as well as THE BRONZE HORSEMAN by Paullina Simons which is another read I’m very late to the party for.


What’s on your TBR for the month? Let us know in the comments!

ANTICIPATED JUNE 2019 RELEASES

Each month, we’ll be putting together a list of our top most anticipated releases; from romance, to sci-fi, to fantasy, and everything in between. These releases might be ones we’re counting down the days for or ones we’ve already read and want you to read (and love!), too.

What you do need to bear in mind is that living on different continents we have different release dates. So as a general rule there might be some repeats from one month to the next.. it’s not that we’re just being weird. Though we can’t dismiss that totally out of turn.

For June, Micky’s hotly anticipated titles are :

Top of my list is THE BRIDE TEST by Helen Hoang. I know it released last month in the US but the paperback is only out in the UK this month. I got an early copy and I adored this so I am all anticipation for my fellow UK readers. This story has all the appeals in terms of characters, diversity and representation wrapped up in a mail order bride type story. Don’t hesitate on this one. THE BRIDE TEST is out on JUNE 6, 2019.

THE GIRL IN RED by Christina Henry is a red riding hood retelling in what sounds like a post-apocalyptic context. The woman in the red jacket is just trying to stay alive and keep away from the woods and everything that lurks there. This sounds like a dark tale with a strong woman who will do anything to stay alive. THE GIRL IN RED is out on June 18, 2019.

Some Penny Reid fans have been reading KISSING GALLILEO weekly in her e-newsletter for free but I am the kind of reader that prefers to wait for it all bundled up as a whole story, so I am looking forward to this release. This second installment in her Dear Professor series promises to bring Penny Reid’s special brand of wit and intellect. KISSING GALILEO is out on June 11, 2019.

NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A ROCKSTAR by Rachel Higginson centres on Clover Calloway who is a has-been rock star, now with a normal life she has built and savours. The musical life is over because her heart got shattered by the lead singer in the band she played with and now he’s back. AND I am clicking this as soon as it drops! NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A ROCKSTAR is out on June 25, 2019.

For June, Hollis’ hotly anticipated titles are :

I’ve been plagued by disappointing YA fantasy reads of late but I can’t help but be excited about SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson. First of all, that cover? Stunning. Secondly this is about sorcerers and libraries and seems to feature a hate-to-love pairing? I’m more than willing to give this a go and from seeing some early reviews I have hopes it won’t let me down! SORCERY OF THORNS is out June 4, 2019.

LIKE A LOVE STORY by Abdi Nazemian is a YA historical fiction novel set in the eighties around the AIDS crisis. It follows three teens, one gay and closeted, another out and proud, and a third who has an uncle dying of AIDS. This is diverse, #ownvoices, and sounds compelling and heartbreaking in equal measure. LIKE A LOVE STORY is out June 4, 2019.

THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jimenez is a women’s fiction title that is getting tons of buzz right now in Romancelandia and seems to be one that will make you laugh, cry, and cry-laugh. My favourite kind of book! This is also the author’s debut which is very exciting. THE FRIEND ZONE is out June 11, 2019.

I read OFF THE ICE by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn, the first in this duo’s Hat Trick series, back in 2017 and really loved it! Now they’re back (finally..) with GOALIE INTERFERENCE which features an enemies to lovers trope but made better : it’s an m/m romance with two goalies. I know it’s a cliche, as a Canadian, to be a hockey fan but I own it. However a little known (hah) fact is that goalies tend to be my favourite players. So, yeah, I’m very much anticipating this one. GOALIE INTERFERENCE is out June 17, 2019.


What titles are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments below!

MONTHLY WRAP UP – MAY 2019

To close out each month, we’ll be posting a break down of everything we reviewed, beginning with the reads we loved.. and ending with the reads we didn’t. Not only does this compile all our reviews in one handy summary for you to peruse, or catch up on, it also gives us an interesting birds eye view of the month and our reads. And maybe, even, our moods.


☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston — see Hollis’ review here
BIRTHDAY by Meredith Russo — see Hollis’ review here
HEATED RIVALRY by Rachel Reid — see Hollis’ review here
AYESHA AT LAST by Uzma Jalaluddin — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK by Lucy Parker — see Hollis and Micky’s reviews here
THE BRIDE TEST by Helen Hoang — see Hollis’ review here
UNDER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS by SC Stephens — see Micky’s review here
THE TAKEOVER EFFECT by Nisha Sharma — see Micky’s review here
COLLISION by Victor Dixen — see Micky’s review here
THINGS WE NEVER SAID by Samantha Young — see Micky’s review here
LUNA AND THE LIE by Mariana Zapata — see Micky’s review here
HER ROYAL HIGHNESS by Rachel Hawkins — see Hollis’ review here
PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND OTHER FLAVORS by Sonali Dev — see Micky’s review here
THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE by Sandhya Menon — see Hollis’ review here
CRASH by Harper Dallas — see Micky’s review here
STEPSISTER by Jennifer Donnelly — see Hollis and Micky’s reviews here
SERIOUS MOONLIGHT by Jenn Bennett — see Micky’s review here
TIMES CONVERT by Deborah Harkness — see Micky’s review here
MY FAVORITE HALF-NIGHT STAND by Christina Lauren — see Micky’s review here
THE GOOD MAYOR by Andrew Nicholl — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

UNBROKEN by Jay Crownover — see Micky’s review here
FIELD NOTES ON LOVE by Jennifer E Smith — see Micky’s review here
THE UNHONEYMOONERS by Christina Lauren — see Hollis’ review here
THE LOVELY AND THE LOST — see Hollis’ review here

☆ ☆ star reads

TOP SECRET by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy — see Hollis’ review here
AYESHA AT LAST by Uzma Jalaluddin — see Hollis’ review here

star reads

DNFs

MILLION DOLLAR DEVIL by Katy Evans (Micky)
PRISONED by Marni Mann (Micky)
ROMANOV by Nadine Brandes (Hollis)
WE CONTAIN MULTITUDES by Sarah Henstra (Hollis)



total reads by Micky : fifteen (hear me roar)
favourite read of the month : AYESHA AT LAST by Uzma Jalaluddin
least favourite read of the month : MILLION DOLLAR DEVIL by Katy Evans
most read genre : contemporary romance

total reads by Hollis : twelve
favourite read of the month : RED, WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQusiton
least favourite read of the month : AYESHA AT LAST by Uzma Jalaluddin
most read genre : contemporary romance