Recommended Read, Review

Review: Heartstopper: Volume 1 by Alice Oseman (2018)

Heartstopper, Book #1

Heat Factor: First kiss

Character Chemistry: There are so many blushing faces images. It’s adorable.

Plot: Charlie, a nerd, is seated next to rugby lad Nick in class, and their unlikely friendship develops into a troublesome crush

Overall: Sweetness overload. I bought the next three books. Whoops.

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Review

Review: Book Boyfriend by Kris Ripper (2022)

Heat Factor: This one’s a proper slooow burn: no sex, barely even kisses

Character Chemistry: heavily centered on PK’s pining for Art

Plot: PK’s been in love with his best friend since college, and just when he thinks that Art will finally realize PK’s the boyfriend they’ve always wanted, Art’s dismissive comments crush PK into writing the perfect boyfriend into a romance novel

Overall: This one’s for readers who like single-protagonist personal growth arcs, super slow burns, and personal accountability

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Review

Review: Lucky Leap Day by Ann Marie Walker (2022)

Heat Factor: The door closes early! And I don’t often feel this way, but it’s actually disappointing because there’s a lot of possibility there for building the relationship during those scenes.

Character Chemistry: I honestly didn’t care what else was happening when Finn kept saying “my wife” (swoon!)

Plot: Woke up married (Irish tourist edition) plus Hollywood politics drama

Overall: The epilogue is from the dog’s perspective. 😐

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Review

Review: Earl on the Run by Jane Ashford (2022)

The Duke’s Estates #2

Heat Factor: It’s very sweet and charming, not steamy or hot.

Character Chemistry: They’re kinda cute and awkward, with glimpses of passion potential.

Plot: Harriet’s grandfather has swooped in and given his fortune to Harriet—after ruining his own daughter, Harriet’s mother, and forcing her into genteel poverty. Jack has inherited his family’s title, but he’s a Bostonian with Traveler roots—so when his grandmother cruelly points out what a failure he is, he joins a group of Travelers and ends up on his own property, right next to Harriet. 

Overall: It’s a cute read with mild heat and a tidy ending.

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Recommended Read, Review Revisited

Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant (2014)

Hey you! Yeah, you! 

Are you feeling Grinchy right about now? 

Would you like your heart to grow three sizes?

Yes? 

Then please go read A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong immediately. It might be the perfect Christmas romance. It’s utterly charming and includes just enough of the obligatory “let’s do Christmas cheer” activities without being twee. It features two protagonists for whom *everything* goes wrong (#relatable, what’s up 2021!), but things end up just right in the end (and my heart goes pitter-pat).

I agree with everything Erin wrote about the characterizations in her review. What she doesn’t discuss is how crisp the writing is. Not just on the level of plot and characterization—because the way Grant builds up the tension between these two crazy lovebirds is masterful—but also on the level of word choice. 

Here are the first two paragraphs:

The trouble, Andrew Blackshear would later reflect, might have all been avoided if he’d simply kept to the main road. His first glimpse of the girl would then have been indoors, seated, with her hair bound tidily back, and their first dialogue would have been an inquisition so tedious as to temper the allure of those great swooping clean-edged curves that made up her prodigal mouth.

But with no way of knowing what lay in store, he hadn’t any reason to avoid the detour. The clouds broke above him, he turned down a lane whose towering yews promised a bit of shelter, and trouble found him, in torrents that put the winter squall to shame.

“Trouble found him, in torrents that put the winter squall to shame.” Just sit and savor that clause. I am egregiously bad at text analysis, so I can’t explain how amazing it is, but I can feel it, in my guts.

Look, both Erin and I thought this book was really really wonderful. You should probably just trust us. (Read on for Erin’s thoughts on the characters, plus general squeeing.)

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