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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Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

Content warnings: sex, substance abuse, arrest, alcoholism, age gap, s&m.

As the cover suggests, Permanent Ink contains a Daddy and tattoos. And I am a big fan of both concepts. Poe is a mess, he doesn’t know where he’s going in life and only cares about tagging. Until he gets arrested. Then his dad helps him get a job in a tattoo parlour and thats where he meets Jericho, the gruff older man who Poe is instantly head over heels for.

I read this after Off the Ice, and I liked it but because Off the Ice was so good for me this was a bit of a disappointment. Not that it’s bad in anyway but when you go from one of your new fave books to a book by the same authors that doesn’t quite live up to it you just feel a bit meh. I think this paled in comparison simply because I didn’t feel quite as much of a connection to the characters.

I really loved the relationship between Poe and Jericho. They respect each other and work hard on keeping each other’s trust. Poe wants to be better for Jericho and Jericho wants to help a kid he sees a lot of himself in.  I think Jericho is a stand out for me. he’s just such a sweetheart. Whereas Poe is a bit of a knob at times and I didn’t like him sometimes and wanted to smack him. I did however love that Poe is bi. Too often m/m romances are just 2 gay guys and it made me happy to see a lil bit of diversity in that respect.

The age gap works really well, both characters are really aware of it and try to work around it and make sure there is 100% consent and nothing’s dodgy. The language in sex scenes kind of bothered me. Mainly because I don’t really like dirty talk, and I was just uncomfortable, I just cringe. So y’know be aware if you also don’t like dirty talk.

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Off the Ice by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

Content warning: homophobia, teacher student relationship, sex

Tristan is a pretty famous hockey player but knows his career won’t last forever so in between practices he is working on getting his degree. What he doesn’t expect is for one of his classes to be taught by a very attractive professor, which could stand to affect not only his schooling but his career.

I read this book pretty soon after I quit uni and it was honestly the perfect book for that period of time. Expectedly I was in a bit of a funk and whilst this didn’t pull me out of it, it definitely was a bit of a release.

As someone who was training to be a teacher the concept of teacher/student really grosses me out unless it’s like this book in which its 2 adults close in age who can consent or stuff like grad students who assist undergraduates.

I think what I really loved about this book was the characters. Neither Tristan or Sebastian wants anything to happen to begin with but their attraction to each other is no joke. I fell in love with them as they fell in love with each other. They were just so easy to read.

There was also a lot of discussion throughout about gay guys in sport, and being in the closet etc. Whilst the authors aren’t gay sports stars it felt like they did a lot of research and put a lot of care an attention into it. This has made me more interested to read books from these authors because they obviously put a lot into their work.

I’ve read a lot of romance novels of late as I haven’t been super in the mood for fantasy or anything between going from quitting uni to working night shift to now having a 9-5 job things were a bit of a mess and now they’ve settled down I am getting back into more heavy reading. This book was a definite stand out for me in the mix of romance novels I was reading.

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China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

Hi hello I’m back, you probably wondered where I went as I’m normally pretty on top of posting regularly. Basically I just changed jobs and had an essay due at the same time so I had a lot of stress and decided to put the blog on a mini hiatus.

Mild Spoilers for CRA ahead!

Also I’m sorry I listened to this on audiobook whilst driving and walking so didn’t take any notes on content warnings.

At the time of writing this I have finished the whole CRA trilogy and though I adored the whole thing China Rich Girlfriend was probably my least favourite of the series, mainly because of the focus as it’s not in Singapore so you don’t get as much interaction with Nick’s ridiculous family.

In CRG we meet Rachel’s side of the family who turn out to be super rich and as much of a mess as Nick’s family. I love Carlton, he was just such a well meaning dude. Colette is a nightmare and written so well in that role and the drama between the pair and Nick and Rachel is so good. But I just felt it lacked a little compared to the Singaporean drama.

We see more of Michael and Astrid in this book and man alive do I HATE Michael. He is just an all round terrible husband, father and human and he does not deserve the goddess that is Astrid. If you don’t ship Astrid and Charlie after this book then idk what planet you are on.

I think what pale in comparison to the others for me, with this book, is that it took a while for a plot to get going, like there was vague lines of it running throughout but it wasn’t until like two thirds of the way through that anything big started happening. It was just little arguments and fights. Even Kitty felt a little bit lacklustre.

That isn’t to say that I didn’t like this book. I think this whole series is the funniest I’ve read in a long time and I look forward to whatever Kwan writes next and want everyone to read it.

 

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Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

content warning: sex

This was another book that I saw being raved about by a few people that I follow on twitter who love romance and I was kind of desperate to read it.

Every year Livvy and Nicholas would meet up on her birthday to have a 1 night rekindling of their old relationship. But then one year she didn’t show up and Nicholas was ready to move on and run his empire. Until Livvy moves back to town.

I adore romance books because they just take me away from how awful I’m feeling but I often feel like there’s just something missing from them that I can’t say they’re a favourite. But this one was. This was my perfect romance novel.

For me this book was a perfect mix of sex and plot. Like sometimes romance books are wither too plot heavy or there’s too much sex but not this one. It’s like when it knew when I was ready to read some sexy times and when I was ready to just read some plot. It didn’t have any wild plot lines like some romances do, it was so believable

I loved the family dynamics in this story. It had that kind of Romeo and Juliet feel without being as dodgy in content as R&J. The flow of this was perfect, both the plot and the romance moved at a good pace that I didn’t feel bored.

I’m desperate to read the rest of this series because if they’re anything like this one I’ll love them

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Bad for the Boss by Talia Hibbert

content warning: mild Bdsm, sex, racism, alcohol, drugs, kidnapping, boss/worker romance (aka power imbalance)

I bought this because I saw someone on twitter talking about it and I’m always open to trying new romance novels, especially if they’re written by WOC because the publishing industry isn’t really great for WOC so I want to help.

Bad for the Boss is an office romance, following Jen and her boss Theo. Jen grew up poor, going through a lot of heavy things that a lot of people wouldn’t imagine ever going through, this has left her closed off and very goal orientated. Theo only wants to be successful as well but somehow they end up with an explosive romance.

The subheading of this book is a “BWAM” romance, this mean Black Woman Asian Man which I didn’t realise until I was reading. Which I really enjoyed considering mainstream romance is so white that having 2 POC in one book and them being different races was refreshing for me, despite how much I try to buy lesser known and diverse romances. On top of this, Jen is fat which is desperately needed in the genre.

In terms of story line, this fell a little flat for me. There is a story about Jen’s past catching up with her involving kidnapping and it just kind of made me roll my eyes. Personally I find dramatic story lines like this a bit unnecessary in romance, but that’s just me. I was also kind of just bored for some of this novel. On top of that whilst there is lots of consent discussion there was a couple of dirty talk lines that were like ownership and kind of made me feel a bit icky, but again that’s me.

However, I really liked Hibbert’s writing and would definitely try something else of hers I think maybe this one just wasn’t for me.

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Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish

Content warning: age gap, sex

So this is the first book I’ve read by Avon Gale or Roan Parrish who I’ve seen a lot of buzz for in the romance reading side of the community that I follow on twitter. I adore age gap fiction (so long as it’s done consensually and tastefully of course) so I thought this would be a great start.

Amory Vaughn is rich as heck but he enjoys stealing. He doesn’t need to do it, everything he steals he could buy, but he enjoys the thrill. When he comes across William Fox he decides he wants to show off by stealing him a super expensive painting but what Vaughn doesn’t know is that William is part of the stolen art task force of the FBI.

I think my one problem with this book is that there was a little bit of drama but it just made my eyes roll. And yeah of course books don’t need to have a drama, you can just have a happy book but the plot was kind of just dull for me. What kept me reading this book was the characters and how much I loved them.

There’s a really sweet part of the story where William wants to adopt a kitten and Vaughn isn’t for it, but eventually Vaughn comes around and falls for the kitten. It really kind of describes them as characters. William is a massive softy and keeps coming back to Vaughn despite him being a thief and the type of rich who pays for problems to be erased. And Vaughn is a massive hardass, with a secret soft centre who just wants to protect those he loves in the best way he knows how, with his money.

I really did love reading the interactions between the two when they were getting to know each other and when they were fighting over certain things. I wish the plot went a little bit further than it did but that’s more my tastes than the book. I will be reading more from this pair in the future though because they write lovely characters and fantastic sex scenes.

 

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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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I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk

Now as I’ve been away I’ve kind of fallen out of my way of reviewing so I apologise if it’s a bit clunky. I also read this way back in September so my memories are a bit hazy but I’m going to try.

CW for: cheating, slut shaming.

After Angela finds her boyfriend of X amount of years having sex with another woman at her best friends wedding, and they all knew about it, she makes a last minute decision and flies across the pond to New York. She has no return flight and limited funds but she ends up really finding her feet and a new best friend. And her love life is heating up too.

I love Lindsey Kelk’s writing. She’s so funny and her characters’ voices are always just so real for me. This is Jess’ favourite book so I’ve always had my eye on it and I finally got it from the library and whilst it wasn’t perfect I did really enjoy reading it.

In regards the slut shaming it’s not great. There’s often mentions of sleeping around not being great and that it’s something to be judged for but there’s also some really sex positive scenes. However, as much as I felt uncomfortable reading the slut shaming, I tried to remember that this came out in 2008 and SO much has changed with people’s attitudes to sex especially with the mainstreaming of hook up apps.

Now because I went to a signing I already knew who the end game was out of the semi love triangle that there was in this book. But I don’t think that ruined it for me because reading it you could just tell from Kelk’s tone who she wanted her character to be with.

It may read to you as questionable what the main character does in this book after having her heart broken by someone cheating on her but it happens in real life. You get treated like an idiot by a man who completely betrays you so you just want to get back at all man kind and date a couple guys at once. Obviously it’s not the best thing to do. But it’s understandable.

This kind of book is perfect for when you want a light read to just take your mind off of everything and I love that sometimes as I have a lot of stress in my life. Eventually I’ll get around to reading the whole series.

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