I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
TW: book contains attempted suicide
Julia has never been a prefect Mexican daughter and her sister Olga - who seemingly was - is now dead. But Olga's secrets have not perished with her. Julia is determined to find out the truth, no matter how bad it is, but she has mounting personal obstacles that she needs to clear first. Which feels impossible, given how strict her parents are.
Ooh boy. A few chapters in, I realised the tone of this novel was too similar to The Catcher in the Rye - a book I actively despise. So it wasn't a surprise when said despised book was actually mentioned. I find it hard to enjoy a story where the protagonist isn't particularly likeable and things just happen in lieu of a strong plot. But if you actually like The Catcher in the Rye and want a more diverse version, this is what you should pick up.
PS: Do NOT read this during a depressive episode. I wish I'd had some warning.
At First Sight by Hannah Sunderland
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
TW: suicide ideation
Nell works at a mental health crisis line and has to take some tough calls. What she doesn't expect is to receive a call from a stranger she had a chance encounter with at a cafe. Drawn to Charlie, she wants more than he seems capable of giving - can they overcome his past? And does time really heal all wounds?
Such an unexpectedly raw and powerful book. Characters you can't help but love (and you also love to laugh at some of their interactions) and a journey of healing that feels genuine. This really isn't what the cover suggests it to be. Sure, it's romance, but it's so realistic and heartfelt. I would advise, however, that you don't read this during a depressive episode - not my smartest idea, admittedly.
Alyce Caswell, when she isn't buried in a book or drinking her way through a giant pot of tea, is a keen writer of science fiction and romance. She has published two novels and four novellas in her space opera family saga, The Galactic Pantheon Series.