A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

So Ledi is in grad school, studying to become a badass scientist whilst working multiple jobs. She’s been getting these weird emails saying she’s the long lost betrothed of some African prince and her neighbour across the hall has gone on holiday and some guy who worked with her for a day, terribly, is doing some sort of AirBnB with the neighbour. And things just go from weird to weirder.

I really loved Ledi, she was such a fantastic MC. SHe’s whip smart and doesn’t take any nonsense. I’m so here for any book that has women in STEM, and that is intensified if it is a romance book or a POC lady and this is a black romance novel, so yes lot’s of excitement about the representation.

The relationship between the two MCS both romantic and non romantic was really sweet and playful. They were always ribbing each other and even when they were upset with each other you could still tell they had feelings.

If you’re worried about this being an arranged marriage, do not worry because like most arranged marriages there is no force involved and they are super sweet with each other.

Thabiso’s assistant, whose name escapes me was a force of nature as well. She definitely made the book even more enjoyable. She wasn’t just an assistant who would roll over and do whatever her boss said without argument. And she wasn’t afraid to tell him he was being an idiot. She was also a lesbian and it was just casually mentioned without being made a big thing and I love that.

I really liked Cole’s writing. It flowed really well and I didn’t have any bored patches. I loved that she took the characters to Africa as well instead of just staying in New York. It would be so easy to just have it set in the US.

I cannot wait for the sequel but I’m also hesitant because the love interest is Scottish and we all know how I feel about inaccurate Scottish depictions, but I feel like she can do it.

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne | So Fun but Problematic Language Let’s it Down

Content warning: sex, ableism, fatphobia

Lucy and Josh hate each other. They do basically the same job for the 2 senior editors of a publishing house, but are very different people. Lucy is a lot more of a relaxed person wheres Josh is super organised. Every day they try and rile each up and threaten going to HR. A promotion come sup and they are both up for it but in the process of trying to beat each other out they start messing around.

This definitely would have been a favourite if it hadn’t used the r word. It’s 2018, do people not know that it’s not acceptable to use that word especially as an insult? And the main character is fatphobic towards Josh’s boss which wasn’t exactly nice to read. This isn’t something that hurts me and I can continue reading despite it but if degrading comments about someone’s weight for the sake of it is something that triggers you be very careful of this book. yeah it’s fun but not worth that.

I loved Josh. I never understood from the outset why Lucy hated him. He sounded right up my street. In work every day looking snacc in his fancy attire. If I had a guy like that in my office I would not be complaining.

Hate to love is one of my absolute favourite tropes so this was right up my street and the only thing disappointing about it was the aforementioned language. I absolutely adored reading about Josh and Lucy and how they progressed to be honest. Whilst Lucy annoyed me sometimes, I loved seeing Josh’s feelings grow for her and I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Not only was it hate to love it was also slow burn. I had no idea what was going to happen to be honest. And I’m a big fan of spoilers to be honest but I managed to hold myself off with this and I’m glad I did.

I am so soft for this book. I want to read more from Sally Thorne if its like this.

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Circe by Madeline Miller

Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Content warnings: rape, sexual abuse, sex, I think homophobia, awful parents

Ugh this book. I don’t know how to talk about this because I had such high expectations because The Song of Achilles was so good, and objectively this book was really good but it didn’t connect.

Circe is the daughter of a Titan and she is born with yellow skin making her an outcast in her own family. She seeks solace in mortals but they always let her down and she ends up banished to an island.

The thing is with this book is that it tells all of the legends of Circe but the way it’s done at times it felt a lot more like an anthology than a straight story. As it strings the stories together there’s a lot of passing of time glossed over which is fair because no one wants to read that. That isn’t to stay I didn’t like the style it was just a bit odd.

I think that the style was part of my disconnect with the novel however. I couldn’t get a grasp over how I felt enough before it moved onto the next tale.

Circe is an amazing character. Her story is that of an ancient feminist who does what she wants without a care towards men. But she also struggled with the age old heterosexual problem of not needing a man but wanting a man. However for some reason I just couldn’t gel with her character. I should’ve adored her she is everything I want in a character but it just want happening.

Miller’s writing is fantastic once again. It’s somehow flowery and literal at the same time. I could really feel and imagine every aspect she was trying to convey.

I may try to read this again someday maybe when I’m a little older, that being said I would still recommend it as it is different from every Greek mythology fiction book I’ve read.

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I Heart Hollywood by Lindsey Kelk

Content warnings: outing ultimatums, gay closeting

I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as the first in the series, I felt like some of the characters were slightly off. Kelk’s writing was as humorous as ever, but something wasn’t quite right.

The title being I Heart Hollywood when Angela absolutely hated it was wildly confusing. I felt like because Angela just felt so awkward and uncomfortable and sad the entire time she was there diminished my enjoyment.

The biggest problem I had with this book was that a character is gay and in the closet, and Angela finds out and (I can’t quite remember it exactly as I read this a while ago) but there was some kind of ultimatum/forced outing kind of plot to it. I realise that this may be seen as a spoiler but stuff like this shouldn’t be as it’s something that can be harmful and we should be aware of this. I hope that Kelk is aware that this is something that isn’t ok, but this book was written some time ago so I’m not super angry about it. But I did not like it. And I feel a little less positively about the series. I do however still want to continue it.

I really felt for Alex in this novel as he was just in New York whilst his girlfriend was off on some work thing falling apart and being a general nuisance. I hope the next book has more Alex because I really like his character.

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Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Thank you to netgalley and for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If you want a steamy summer read with some characters who aren’t your typical romance book types then this is the book for you. Our two main characters are a chubby Grenadian American woman and a bearded mountain man and their chemistry is just so good.

The book kicks off with our MCs meeting when Claudia is on a camping weekend with her brother and her brother gets murdered by a serial killer and Claudia is running away from the same fate and finds Shep who rescues her from the murderer. When Claudia tries to get back to her real life after the horrible events she can’t stop thinking about Shep.

Now obviously based on that synopsis you can tell that there are some triggers with this book. Claudia’s brother is murdered and Claudia herself nearly meets the same fate and is attacked so whilst it isn’t gone into too much detail, if you are triggered by these kind of things I would be weary, especially as it is continuously mentioned throughout the novel as Claudia is still dealing with the trauma. BUT the way the author dealt with that trauma throughout the book was really respectful I thought, and I felt like the way she wrote how Claudia dealt with the grief and trauma was really real and believable.

The erotic parts of this novel, which there were a lot, were so steamy. I had to make sure I read this book when I was in bed as I knew if I read it in public I would get very uncomfortable. There was some exhibitionist aspects in this book which I haven’t read much of in erotica and my god it got me a bit hot and bothered. There’s also a lot of bdsm parts of their relationship, which from what I’ve read Rebekah Weatherspoon includes of lot of her books, which were really good to read, as I find bdsm in books can be really awkward if the writer doesn’t know what they’re doing.

I loved the characters in this book, I need to get myself a Shep because they way I imagined him was just so perfect. And Claudia was just such a good person to read the POV of, I felt like she made a lot of decisions that I would.

So, yeah, get this book because god damn it’s so hot.

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You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood

Thank you to netgalley and Penguin UK/Michael Joseph for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was a very odd book. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this and I probably won’t for the very foreseeable future. This books is all written as the written files of a person on trial for murder as he gives his final argument for himself.

I’m not the biggest fan of books told in nuanced language, like if it’s told from a characters dialect or it has a different style of writing to the norm. But I was able to read this despite the MC’s voice being written exactly as it would sound. I think that’s what made the book work though, reading it the way it would’ve been spoken.

It felt like Mahmood did his research, he’s pakistani and the characters in this book are all black, so obviously a different racial background and upbringing. But it did feel like he wrote their stories very well with a good insight into how gang culture for black young people works in London.

There was some moments where there was some really sensitive topics, like rape and murder and drug dealing, so trigger warning for that, and at times I felt like it was dealt with well and other times it felt too casual. And of course that’s because the novel is all told through speech, but it was a little too blasé at times and I wasn’t too keen on that.

It was quite slow, when we got to the midway point where the story started winding up it moved a lot faster but I felt like the MC spent just a bit too long on the back story, and had I been a juror I probably would’ve fallen asleep.

I liked the MC, his attitude to his girlfriend kind of annoyed me. It felt like he thought he owned her at times, not like in an over the top way but there was some elements at times of him being a bit too protective. But he read well and I could feel his need for the jury to really hear his story, even if it meant messing up his life.

I looked up the author and he’s a lawyer so I assume he would know the legal system like the back of his hand but it was like a 10 day final argument which I didn’t even think could happen. It felt a bit unrealistic, like surely the judge would tell him to wrap it up?

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The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

So I used to love Twilight and I still like The Host so I wanted to give Stephenie Meyer’s new novel a try. I wanted to see what her writing was like now that it’s been like 8 years since her last full novel was released. And for someone who isn’t massively into thrillers this was ok!

Alex’s life since she left her job has been constantly on the move. She can’t stay in one place, but then she’s contacted by her old boss to find someone who could ruin the whole world.

The beginning was super slow so if you start the book and think the first few chapters are heavy going, it gets better. It was very much full of jargon and building that there wasn’t much plot.

Honestly this book ended up being very romance based, and the romance was quite unbelievable. It was like some sort of weird stockholm syndrome thing. If the couple had met under different circumstances I maybe would’ve liked them together but it just felt really awkward and wrong, and even the MC herself kept telling him not to like her because she tortured him.

Meyer’s biggest plus I think has always been her dialogue, she writes really good believable conversations between characters. Obviously a lot of the lines from Twilight are super cringey now but at the time people quoted it so much and there’s a reason those lines were so memorable.

Overall I’d say this was a fun, kind of mindless read, I could tell where the general plot was going there was a couple of times I was shocked but there was never something that I found to be a big twist. It was definitely not a book that thriller lovers would enjoy.

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Why bother with writing this review when my feelings can be summed up in: READ IT.

Thank you to netgalley and Viking for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I’m a white woman so whilst I endeavour to explain things as best as I can let me know if I’ve said something offensive and I’ll correct it ASAP.

Homegoing follows the generations of 2 sisters (who didn’t know each other existed), Effia who is sold into slavery and Esi who is a slave trader’s wife. It alternates POVs from each side of the family though each generation until the modern day.

This book just really affected me. I just sat for like half an hour afterwards just not sure what to do with myself. I still just sit and think about it and I read it in December. It goes through every kind of racial inequality and experience that you can imagine from people who are descended from African slaves. Of course, it’s not every experience but it just felt like it. We go through riding the boat to America, to taking part in the slave trade just to live, to being persecuted for your father taking part in the slave trade, to growing up on cotton farms, to living free but not really free at all, to mine working, to the 1960s race riots, and so on and so forth. I really loved that there wasn’t just being put down for your race but also there was sexuality discussions in tense times for being gay.

I could not believe that this was a debut, the writing was so incredible. I could really feel everything and imagine all the settings described. I was so close to tears for a lot of it because the writing was so on point. I will definitely be reading anything Yaa Gyasi releases next.

If I have one complaint it was the PO switching, when I started the book I found it a bit disjointed because I wasn’t used to it. However after a few of these changes I got used to it and it began to feel a lot more natural. Gyasi was really good at introducing you to the next character, whether it be when they’re a baby or really getting to know them, you at least have a vague idea of who you’re going to hear from next.

I honestly don’t think I can do this book justice so please promise me you’ll read it. It’s one of those moments in life where I just felt changed as a person simply for reading it.

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The Martian by Andy Weir

I did a bad thing and watched the movie before reading the book. I honestly wasn’t even interested in reading the book until I watched the film though. The film was pretty true to the book I felt.

I’m sure you know what the Martian is about but if you don’t it’s about a guy called Mark Watney who gets stranded on Mars after his crew thinks that he died. The next mission to Mars isn’t for 5 years and he only has enough rations for 1-2 years.

I was worried after watching the film how they would explain all the science stuff in the books, I’m pretty good at understanding science related wording because I studied science a lot in school. It honestly was fairly straight forward, there was a lot of jargon but it was explained for the most part. However after a while I found my mind numbing with all the jargon, there was just so much. I get that it’s science fiction, I get that it’s all about getting a man back from being stranded on Mars, but honestly some of it was hard work. I didn’t have trouble understanding it, it was just tiring.

Despite the tiring jargon though it really felt like something that was actually happening. It felt like it was all in the realm of possibility, and I really felt myself getting to the edge of my seat sometimes, even though I knew what was going to happen.

Something I really adored about this book was how funny Mark was. Honestly his humour was right up my street, he’s a smart ass and I love reading people like that in books.

The rest of the characters were pretty diverse but also they kind of felt non existent sometimes. I couldn’t remember who all he people working at NASA were and who was what part of the team.

I think the film and the book are pretty on par in my opinion, which doesn’t happen often. So if you can’t be bothered to read all the info but could sit through a movie, you should watch the movie, if you aren’t a movie person the book is good too.

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Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

So I was quite a big McFly fan so I knew about Giovanna before she wrote any books, before Tom posted his wedding speech and went Viral. I’ve been meaning to read this since it came out… which was 3 years ago but let’s not talk about it.

Billy and Me is the love story of Billy, a famous actor, and Sophie, a girl who walks at a coffee shop. Throughout the novel we get to go through the peaks and troughs of love between a famous person and a non famous person.

The beginning of this felt like a gender bent Notting Hill. You know, the quirky British person randomly bumps into a hot actor etc etc. But after the beginning this book diverged into it’s own plot. It was nice to read that beginning though as it gave me a bit of nostalgia for the classic rom com.

Sadly I was kind of disappointed by this book, I was hoping it would be something like a Sophie Kinsella or Lindsey Kelk but there wasn’t much humour in it. The beginnings of the relationship really get you invested in the characters and despite mistakes they make later down the line I kept reading because I wanted to see what was going to happen to them.

To begin with I loved the characters, I loved the love story, I was so into it, but then things started to get a bit dicey. I felt like they were moving ridiculously fast in their relationship, without spoiling anything I was literally reading it like wtf chill out. As we got further into the relationship I felt like both Billy and Sophie started to change and both got annoying to me in completely different ways: Billy just turned into an asshole and Sophie became so whiney. So even though I wanted to know what was going to happen to these characters I was just getting more and more annoyed at them.

I am going to read the sequel eventually as I was sent it on netgalley and I do want to see what happens, I’m also interested in reading other books by Giovanna to see how she’s changed as an author since this was her debut novel.

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