IMPOSSIBLE by Sarah Lotz

This is not a love story. This is IMPOSSIBLE.

‘Sometimes love doesn’t come in the form you think it will.’

Nick: Failed writer. Failed husband. Dog owner.

Bee: Serial dater. Dress maker. Pringles enthusiast.

When fate brings them together over a misdirected email, the connection is instant. They feel like they’ve known each other all their lives . . .

It should have been the perfect love story.
Instead it was IMPOSSIBLE.


Title : Impossible
Author : Sarah Lotz
Format : Physical
Page Count : 448
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Harper Fiction
Release Date : March 30, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Stay for that early, important twist
Odd coupling that works
Fresh feels

Impossible had me really wondering at it’s direction for the inital section but it wowed me as we turned an early twist corner. This is one of the most unconvential romance stories I think I’ve read and yet I do some parallels with other films/stories I won’t mention so as to keep that twist spoiler-free.

Bee was an endearing character, I liked her vibe, her job and her willingness to go with the curve balls the universe sent her way. Nick was more of a slow grower and I imagine many will feel this way. They weren’t a couple you would conventionally put together in a romantic sense but the writing and how the story evolves does make it work and get the reader on board. There were some pretty big roadblocks in the way that I was grateful were resolved early on. One roadblock however, stayed.

There was an alternative pov format to this story alongside an email epistolary approach and I lived for the email sections, that’s where the connections happened.

This story kept you on edge right to the end. There was a building tension and so many what ifs and what the… A clever read for sure.

Thank you to Harper Fiction for the early review copy.

3.75 stars rounded up.

WHEN OUR WORLDS COLLIDED by Danielle Jawando

A powerful coming-of-age story about chance encounters, injustice and how the choices that we make can completely change our future. The second YA novel from the critically acclaimed Danielle Jawando, perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Gayle Foreman, Jennifer Niven and Nikesh Shukla.

‘Jawando’s writing is incredibly raw and real; I felt completely immersed’ – Alice Oseman

When fourteen-year-old Shaq is stabbed outside of a busy shopping centre in Manchester, three teenagers from very different walks of life are unexpectedly brought together. What follows flips their worlds upside down and makes Chantelle, Jackson, and Marc question the deep-rooted prejudice and racism that exists within the police, the media, and the rest of society.


Title : When Our Worlds Collided
Author : Danielle Jawando
Format : Physical
Page Count : 368
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date : March 31, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Hits hard in the heart and gut
Manunian grit
Real, emotional and beautiful

When Our Worlds Collided was a read that revealed it’s title meaning after the first chapter…and what a chapter that was. This trio of black teens, found themselves together after a tragedy and naviagated it both together and alone. Chantelle, Jackson and Marc all had their own difficulties to live with but Shaq brought them together.

This threesome of new friendship in Manchester all faced different inequalities whether that was walking down the street, just being in class or trying to live in the care system. Some of the things that happened in this book made me rage. The organisational prejudice, the police and the media, were hideous. Ms Edwards was a complete tool and as an educator myself, I hated her with a passion but I know people like her exist which is, I guess, why I hated her so much. But then we had Gran, Mrs Cohen and Dry Eileen who frankly was a hug in human form; I adored her.

This story gripped me from the first few pages and while there is nothing easy about the themes in this book, the writing made it easy. Danielle Jawando has a way of not just bringing these characters to life, but also of revealing their hearts and minds. The mancunian narrative, the places and the locations, brought the city and culture to life. The grief journeys these teens and adults walked were relatable even if the exact experiences were theirs only.

I cannot say how emotional (across the range) this book got me at times. The injustices, the sadness, the love, the beauty, the connections and more than anything, the potential and possibilities were everything. This book was another triumph from Danielle Jawando who has securely placed herself as superb writer of black UK contemporary YA.

Pack your tissues, folks.

There are lots of content warnings for this book, feel free to DM me for details.

Thank you to Simon YA for the early review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – MARCH 29, 2022

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.


Pennyblade by J.L. Worrad is “a sharp-tongued disgraced-noble-turned-mercenary has to stop the world collapsing into chaos in this gripping, savagely funny epic fantasy packed with unforgettable characters, for fans of Joe Abercrombie.

Always Jane by Jenn Bennett is about “a chauffer’s daughter finds herself in the middle of a love triangle with the sons of her boss’s wealthy next-door neighbors.”

The Dragon’s Bride by Katee Robert is a dragon romance? We think? All we know is that cover catches the eyes..

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May, out today in the US/CAN and on March 31, 2022, in the UK, is a debut described as “in the aftermath of World War I, [where] a naive woman is swept into a glittering world filled with dark magic, romance, and murder.”

When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando, the author’s second YA release, is “a powerful coming-of-age story about chance encounters, injustice and how the choices that we make can completely change our future.” You can get it in the UK on March 31, 2022.



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

DATING DR. DILL by Nisha Sharma

Dating Dr. Dil features a love-phobic TV doctor who must convince a love-obsessed homebody they are destined to be together. 

Kareena Mann dreams of having a love story like her parents, but she prefers restoring her classic car to swiping right on dating apps. When her father announces he’s selling her mother’s home, Kareena makes a deal with him: he’ll gift her the house if she can get engaged in four months. Her search for her soulmate becomes impossible when her argument with Dr. Prem Verma, host of The Dr. Dil Show, goes viral. Now the only man in her life is the one she doesn’t want.

Dr. Prem Verma is dedicated to building a local community health center, but he needs to get donors with deep pockets. The Dr. Dil Show was doing just that, until his argument with Kareena went viral, and he’s left short changed. That’s when Kareena’s meddling aunties presented him with a solution: convince Kareena he’s her soulmate and they’ll fund his clinic.  

Even though they have conflicting views on love-matches and arranged-matches, the more time Prem spends with Kareena, the more he begins to believe she’s the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. But for Prem and Kareena to find their happily ever after, they must admit that hate has turned into fate.


Title : Dating Dr. Dill
Author : Nisha Sharma
Series : If Shakespeare Was An Auntie (book one)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 352
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : March 15, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★.5


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

I am not a DNF’er and yet I wanted to chuck this book across the room after setting it on fire after only 10%. However, I thought maybe it was just me or my mood. So I logged into GR to see reviews (which I never do before finishing the book myself) and honestly I’m going to link a few of them down below because not only are they excellent, and hilarious, but they’ll do a way better job at expressing my feelings than I ever could. But here goes nothing.

Even with a lacklustre read by this author already under my belt, I was drawn in by the Taming of the Shrew/10 Things I Hate About You retelling because it’s catnip and, yes, the great cover (yeah yeah, I know, we’re always suckers). So if that’s what is bringing you here, too, all I can say is skip this and go watch Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles makeout instead.

I obviously can’t speak for the culture or desi rep but as far as the characters went, the plot, the conflicts, and the story overall? Big nope. 96% of the characters were either full-time terrible or just occasionally awful or ridiculous — but in big devastating ways. The conflict from the male love interest’s side was just totally side-eye worthy and Kareena, our female protagonist, the only one who seemed to have the occasional modicum of sense, was woefully underdeveloped and just shit on constantly.

Also, the “Rina, honey” thing? I hated it so much. Right up there with “baby girl”.

But not as much as I hated the Charlie thing. Vomit.

This is my second read by Sharma and the second set of two stars or under (I considered rounding up but.. not here, maybe on GR I will) that I’m handing out. I think it’s safe to call it : no more for me.

ps, here are some amazing reviews you should definitely read. Please give these fantastic reviewers a follow.



RUNNING WILD by K.A. Tucker

Veterinarian Marie Lehr knows unrequited love all too well after pining for her best friend, only to watch him marry another woman. It’s a mistake she will never make again, especially not when she can practically hear the clock ticking on her childbearing years.

The trouble is, she can’t seem to find anyone who appeals to her even a fraction as much as that burly bush pilot did. Competitive musher Tyler Brady certainly doesn’t, especially not after the heated altercation with the handsome but arrogant, spiteful man.

Or so she thinks.

While volunteering at the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, Marie discovers that first impressions may have been false, and her attraction to Tyler is very real. But his heart belongs to someone else, leaving him with nothing to offer but friendship. Marie’s been down this road before and knows how that ends. Yet, no matter how hard she works to keep from falling for Tyler, it seems she’s doomed to follow her own trail once again.


Title : Running Wild
Author : K.A. Tucker
Series : Simple Wild (book three)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 370
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : indie
Release Date : January 25, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

While I absolutely think Tucker’s set-up and conflict for this romance was great — Marie with her imagined love affair, haunted by something that never came to fruition, pitted against a man who can’t let his past go and is, in fact, haunted by a different kind of life unlived — I do think maybe things just got dragged out.. too much. Even though, strangely, I might’ve even appreciated if this had been done in two parts. That third act conflict just comes too late and is resolved too soon. But I was really into this one right up until that point, which is where it all soured for me.

That said, I enjoyed returning to this setting, to this world, and seeing most of these characters again. We had a bevy of frustrating personas to contend with, which was less enjoyable, but it felt very real, too. As for some of those new faces.. Reed and Mabel in a time jump, please? I would definitely read on in this world and this town and would absolutely love returning to a focus on the mushing. I really enjoyed learning about the sport and the community and, as a bonus, there were so many excellent dog and animals characters, helped by Marie being a vet, so that was just constant fun.

I don’t quite know how to end this review so, uh, the end.

BLOODFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

I used to be your average, everyday girl but all that changed one night in Dublin when I saw my first Fae, and got dragged into a world of deadly immortals and ancient secrets…

In her fight to stay alive, MacKayla must find the Sinsar Dubh—a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over the worlds of both the Fae and Man. Pursued by assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she can’t trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and powerful men: V’lane, the immortal Fae Prince, and Jericho Barrons, a man as irresistible as he is dangerous.

For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them.


Title : Bloodfever
Author : Karen Marie Moning
Series : Fever (book two)
Format : paperback
Page Count : 349
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : Delacorte Press
Release Date : October 16, 2007

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

I can’t tell if this actually deserves to be rounded up or if, after a bit of a reading dry spell, I’m just excited to have finished something — and in one sitting no less.

Listen, I think we all know the deal with this series. It is definitely a product of it’s time. But we are already seeings signs of where Moning pushed her characters, and the series, away from their awkward beginnings.

While Mac is definitely a little too keen and bloodthirsty, not to mention fearlessly scrappy, for this stage of things, I’m willing to give her a bit of a pass. She’s already growing up a bit, dropping the eyerolling fake-swears, starting to find herself in amongst who she used to be and who Barrons was forcing her to act like in the beginning, and I respect that. I also really like how the momentum continued from where we left off with book one. Also, the cast is starting to grow (I forgot we met Dani this early, holy shit! not to mention MacKeltar.. even if I have only the vaguest recollection of the role he plays later on..) and we’re starting to get more on the ever mysterious Barrons and who (what?) he really is.

There was almost nonstop action but the pauses we did have were really.. good pauses. I especially loved the little illusionary experience Mac had in Faery because that was cathartic and also really lovely. In fact, amongst some of the ridiculous (like, seriously, some of the “I’m so pretty” behaviour and constant barrage of attractive people or Mac being recognized as attractive is a bit.. much, but we still haven’t fully left the Shallow Era of things, I guess) there were quite a few stunning lines. Whether it was Barrons dropping some wise truthbomb in the middle of a lecture or a temporary fugue of grief or reflection.. they kind of sneak up on you but they are very appreciated.

I’m sorta sad I can’t binge this (my buddy and I are doing one a month) but at the same time maybe I’ll enjoy the ride a little more by having to wait between each bit. Definitely keen to read on.

WILD AND WICKED THINGS by Francesca May

In the aftermath of World War I, a naive woman is swept into a glittering world filled with dark magic, romance, and murder in this lush and decadent debut.

On Crow Island, people whisper, real magic lurks just below the surface. 

Neither real magic nor faux magic interests Annie Mason. Not after it stole her future. She’s only on the island to settle her late father’s estate and, hopefully, reconnect with her long-absent best friend, Beatrice, who fled their dreary lives for a more glamorous one. 

Yet Crow Island is brimming with temptation, and the biggest one may be her enigmatic new neighbor. 

Mysterious and alluring, Emmeline Delacroix is a figure shadowed by rumors of witchcraft. And when Annie witnesses a confrontation between Bea and Emmeline at one of the island’s extravagant parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where the boundaries of wickedness are tested, and the cost of illicit magic might be death.


Title : Wild and Wicked Things
Author : Francesca May
Format : Physical
Page Count : 432
Genre : Fantasy/LGBTQIAP+
Publisher : Orbit Books
Release Date : March 31, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Blood, bodies and darkness
Friendships tested
Heritage

This book threw the reader into Annie’s world post WW1, a different version, one with magic but magic that was pretty much outlawed. An inheritance took Annie away from her frugal home on the coast to an island where her father’s property and belongings awaited her. This new place was full of decadence, forbidden things and danger.

Annie’s character had real growth, she moved from obedient young woman, in the shadow of others to an independant thinker and leader in some respects. That part of her she knew was there, the magic, was allowed time to grow. I liked Annie, Emmeline, Nathan and Isobel. I did not like Bea. The sapphic elements were subtle at times but present and important to the story.

To all intents and purposes, this was a historical fantasy thriller. There were many dark moments, some gore, and some real sinister feels at times. It was easy to get swept up then shrink in tension at the dark scenes.

The plot was really curious in terms of the magic, how it worked, how it controlled and I appreciated that the magic in this world was scary in nature. I think many will appreciate the freshness of this story.

Thank you to Orbit Books for the early review copy.

A SLICE OF HEAVEN by Sherryl Woods

Emotions run high when the Sweet Magnolias try to reunite a couple who was meant to be together in this classic from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sherryl Woods

When an eating disorder threatens the life of chef Dana Sue Sullivan’s teenage daughter, she has no choice but to bring Annie’s cheating dad back to Serenity, South Carolina. She tells herself and her friends it’s all about Annie, but the sad truth is she has a boatload of unresolved feelings of her own for Ronnie Sullivan.

From the moment Ronnie hits town, there’s no question about his intentions. He’s there for his daughter, to be sure, but he wants Dana Sue back, and every move he makes is designed to prove he’s a changed man. The one thing that’s never changed, though, are the sparks that fly whenever the two of them are in the same room.

Dana Sue can deny all she wants that Ronnie’s the only man for her, but not a single person in town is buying it. No matter the circumstances, Ronnie’s return is a sweet recipe for a new beginning.


Title : A Slice of Heaven
Author : Sherryl Woods
Series : The Sweet Magnolias #2
Format : eARC
Page Count : 396
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Mills & Boon
Release Date : November 1, 2011

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Second chance for divorcees
Parenting through teen trauma
Going the distance

This second book held far more appeal for me than book one. The book approach (as opposed to the TV series) seems to be particular character focus per book. This book was all about Dana Sue with just a little Maddie and Helen. It was interesting that Helen wasn’t painted in that gracious a light in this installment.

I loved Dana Sue and Ronnie and Dana Sue in the book was an improvement on her depiction in Season Two of the TV series. She was gentler while still being fierce, she had more integrity and I just liked her character. Ronnie was a treat, so aware of his past wrongs, humble, loving and truly determined to be the father and partner he should have been. This whole story arc was such satisfying reading.

Underpinning this whole story was something big going on for Annie that honestly was really scary initially. Parenting Annie through her struggles was a big and meaty issue.

Reading book two has given me the impetous to want to read on in this series when I wasn’t previously sure.

3.75 stars rounded up.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the review copy.

*CW: eating disorder*

LORE OLYMPUS VOL. 1 by Rachel Smythe

Experience the propulsive love story of two Greek gods—Hades and Persephone—brought to life with lavish artwork and an irresistible contemporary voice.

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

This volume collects episodes 1-25 of the #1 WEBTOON comic, Lore Olympus.


Title : Lore Olympus Volume 1
Author : Rachel Smythe
Series : Lore Olympus
Format : Hardcover
Page Count : 384
Genre : Graphic Novel Fantasy
Publisher : DelRey UK
Release Date : Novembeer 2, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Beautiful art with a contemporary feel
Fun, then dark and deep
Easy to love

This read was an easy win for me. I love Hades and Persephone retakes, I loved that this one was set in the contemporary. Hades struggled with self-worth issues and so did Persephone to an extent. I loved both these characterisations, the depth to the individuals and most especially their chemistry.

The toxicity of the other gods and goddesses masquerading as friends or mentors/leaders was unreal. Egos were exactly what you would think amongst the powerful of this world. I hated how that reeled out but the Cupid/Psyche side story definitely had an appeal.

There were content warnings at the beginning which I appreciated but I got so caught up in the fun of the story, that when we hit that point, it hit me in the gut. There was a sad depth to this story and I can’t wait to read on.

The art work was exceptional, I loved particularly the shades chosen for the story. Everything about this hard copy edition increases enjoyment.

HOOK, LINE, and SINKER by Tessa Bailey

King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time–in bed and out–and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?


Title : Hook, Line, and Sinker
Author : Tessa Bailey
Series : Bellinger Sisters (book two)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 400
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : March 1, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Even though I rated book one in this series a 3.5, I feel dramatically more positive about this one. Even though it’s only gone up half a point. Ratings, amirite? What even.

This story, following in the footsteps of It Happened One Summer, features the sister of book one’s female lead and the best friend of book one’s love interest. Naturally, of course, book one dude has warned Fox off of Hannah because he is a self-proclaimed, and infamous, manwhore and book one’s couple doesn’t want to deal with the fallout and hurt feelings. I feel like that was a poor way of explaining everything but you get it.

This particular match-up was just (chefs kiss). I loved the solid and fabulous friendship-based foundation to this dynamic. I always forget how much I enjoy friends-to-more because sometimes it isn’t done well. In this case? It is. There’s also the added bonus of a slowburn because friendship. And risks. Not just to those around them but also because there’s a risk to both of them; mostly in the case of Fox. He has to unpack so much of who he was built up to be and who he has become to fit that mold because Hannah challenges him on all of it. Hannah worked with him, saw to the truth of him, and was never run off. The give and take was just lovely. I thought Bailey did such a good job with this.

I’ll admit I was a little frustrated by how many of The Talks (you know, the one that turns the tide, cueing epiphanies and revelations) Fox needed to finally find his way through it all but.. I’ll allow it. Because that’s what we do in this genre.

Less allowed were the sex scenes. I don’t remember as many problems with Bailey’s last series (except for book one and that’s all we’ll say about that) but both books in this particular series just aren’t quite doing it for me. The dirty talk, the scenes themselves, just nope. Thank goodness it was balanced out by the good in every other way.

I also want to give kudos for this being very mental-health and therapy positive, not to mention all the talk about toxic masculinity and over-sexualization, without.. feeling like Bailey was going out of her way to do so. More and more these days it feels like certain hot topics get shoehorned into books for the sake of being PC or relevant and it either completely takes me out of the story or inspires an eyeroll because it feels like just ticking a box. Bailey instead wove it all into the dialogue, and story, so well and it was so natural and, yes, so important.

I don’t know if there’s more stories to be told in this world but I would be down to read on. If not, I’m glad we ended on a high.

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