The Only Black Girl in the Room by Alex Travis
I received this ARC from Alcove Press (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Genevieve Francis has been stuck, both professionally and personally, ever since Jude, her ex-boyfriend, proposed to her at his father's funeral. Now she's working for a newspaper staffed mostly by straight white folk, unable to avoid their microaggressions or further her career. But then she gets a chance to make a name for herself: writing a profile on Jude, wealthy and desired CEO. Mixing ethics and an old flame - what could possibly go wrong?
I loved this so much! What an incredible debut. I adored Genevieve right from the start, thanks in no small part to the exceptionally strong narrative voice that Travis gave her. It made me sit up and pay attention. I'm also keen on second-chance stories - and this is one of the most satisfying ones that I have read, because both MCs had to really work for it and we get to see them both grow so much. Gosh, I am going to be thinking about this book for weeks.
Lastly, I should add that it's so important for these stories to be told, but it's equally as important that we read them.
One Night in Edinburgh by Nina Kaye
Steph loses her comfortable life on Hogmanay and a party is just what she needs to recover - that, and the super hot Jamie who she hooks up afterwards. The only problem? He leaves before they can exchange numbers! Steph launches a creative campaign to find him and she does. But a series of misunderstandings and omissions might be a sign that this wasn't meant to be.
"Romcom" is not the right label to use here, because it's more like chicklit engaging with a serious issue. One Night in Edinburgh perfectly captures the insecurity and messiness of the lives of twenty-somethings who are still growing - so Steph is realistic, even if that doesn't always make her a likeable character! The book itself has some pacing issues and isn't very tight. But it's an okay read.
The Matchmaker by Saman Shad
Saima is a matchmaker with a string of successes - and a lot of debt. She has no choice but to take on new clients, even though she's already met their son and she absolutely cannot stand him. The dislike is mutual. Kal doesn't appreciate Saima's opinion on his life and his choices, but she wears him down and he agrees to go on some dates. But his perfect date might actually be his matchmaker!
Great setup, great start, great chemistry - I was so keen. And I have such a weakness for stories that use Sydney as a setting! I spent most of this book thinking it would make a fun movie on Stan, but towards the end I got quite fed up with Kal. Also... I don't like MCs who hook up with another character 81% of the way through the book. Somewhat spoiled the fun for me.
Mr Wrong Number by Lynn Painter
Olivia is a complete dumpster fire, so naturally Colin, her brother's best friend/roommate, has reservations when she moves in for a month while she gets herself sorted. But when it turns out that the wrong number Colin's been sending flirty texts to is also the aforementioned dumpster fire? He now sees Olivia in a completely different light. But how can he convince her he's actually into her?
Oh man, I am such trash for anything that has a whiff of You've Got Mail about it. And I always appreciate a dash of Pride and Prejudice. So the question wasn't "will I enjoy this?" but "how MUCH will I enjoy this?". An average amount is the answer, apparently. This was a pleasant enough read, but I know it will quickly fade from my memory.
Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
Ruthie lives a very quiet, tidy life in Providence, a place where rich old people come die - er, retire. Two of the eccentric residents, the Parlonis, require another young man to torment/run their errands and so one must be found. But the latest offering is Teddy, son of the owner of Providence and the guy who just made one heck of a bad first impression of Ruthie...
I have to say, Thorne really knows how to pace a romcom! And she has populated her pages with some very interesting characters. However, I didn't really see Ruthie and Teddy being together at all (perhaps it's because I never lost my dislike of Teddy) and many things weren't addressed or were too quickly dealt with (eg. Teddy's sister). An okay, if not particularly memorable, book.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Nora is wary of small towns and for good reason - they're the kind of place were former boyfriends get lost forever, trading her in for someone less career focused. But she agrees to visit Sunshine Falls with her sister, Libby, in attempt to fix the vibe between them. This small town won't trap her, no way - even if it is the childhood home of Charlie, the editor who rubs her the wrong way and gets under her skin.
Hmm. I wanted to like this more than I did. Mildly entertaining, plays with the trope of a woman going to a small town- but lacks the magic of Beach Read. I also prefer a bit more of the "will they/won't they" thing, and there wasn't a single instance where I thought "won't they" about Charlie and Nora. Without that crucial element, the book plodded along without any tension. But it was still decent enough.
With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Lorelai has locked up her heart, but not for the usual reasons - whenever she kisses someone, she can see how they will die. Understandably, she has spent years avoiding men. But then Grayson, a regular at the cinema where she works, catches her eye. It's strangely difficult to avoid him - but how can she start anything with him if she'll see some horrible fate when she kisses him?
I really liked the concept and I do enjoy magical realism, but this book fell flat for me. Mostly, I think, because Lorelai was so annoying and didn't really gain the maturity she lacked from the start. I was also hoping to see more of her and Grayson together...alas. I liked the scenes with Lorelai and her family - the only time I was truly charmed by With This Kiss. But I also had to suffer through a scene with some guy assaulting Lorelai and people subsequently feeling sorry for him.
Well Played (Well Met #2)
Alyce Caswell, when she isn't drinking her way through a giant pot of tea, can be found dabbling in multiple genres and writing forms. She has self-published several titles in her space opera family saga, which is divided into two series: The Galactic Pantheon and The Pantheon War. Her most recent book is The Shadow of the Gods.
User-agent: GPTBot Disallow: /