G. Bianco, 2019
In her debut romance novel, Getting His Game Back, Gia de Cadenet weaves together a wonderful love story while also racing head-on to talk about tough issues. Set to be released on January 25th, this novel shows both the ups and downs of a relationship and how the ones who truly love you are always there to lift you up.
Khalil Sarda went through a rough patch last year, but now he’s nearly back to his old self. All he has to do is keep his “stuff” in the past. Real men don’t have depression and go to therapy—or, at least they don’t admit it. He’s ready to focus on his growing chain of barbershops, take care of his beloved Detroit community, and get back to being the ladies’ man his family and friends tease him for being. It’ll be easy . . . until Vanessa throws him completely off his game. Vanessa Noble is too busy building a multimillion-dollar tech career as a Black woman before age thirty to be distracted by a relationship. Not to mention, she’s been burned before, still dealing with the lingering hurt of a past breakup. Besides, as her friends often remind her, she’ll never find a man who checks all the boxes on her famous List. Yet when she desperately needs a shape-up and happens upon one of Khalil’s barbershops, the Fade, he makes her reconsider everything. Khalil is charming, intelligent, sexy, and definitely seems like he’d treat a woman right… but he’s not Black. Vanessa may be willing to take a chance on Khalil, but a part of him is frustratingly closed off, just out of her reach. Will old patterns emerge to keep them apart? Or have they both finally found a connection worth throwing away the playbook for?
From the title and cover of this book, you would think it was a fun sports romance; however, you’d be wrong. Yes, there may be mentions of basketball scattered throughout the story, but this book’s main focus is on a growing relationship between two people who try to deny their attraction to one another initially and the ups and downs that relationship brings. This wonderfully-written novel focuses on not just a blossoming relationship, but what happens when that relationship is tested by outside forces.
Be warned: this book deals with some heavy topics like race, toxic masculinity, societal expectations, and mental health, but de Cadenet handles all of it with grace. The incorporation of the tough topics with Vanessa and Khalil’s romance is done very well and adds such depth to this fabulous story.
I legitimately binge-read this novel in a day and I adored it! Despite wanting more closure at the end of the story, I still enjoyed this book. To be honest, if the epilogue would’ve been just a little more robust, this would’ve been a five star read for me. However, I still highly recommend this fantastic and touching book to anyone looking for a potential top read of 2022!
*I received an ARC from Ballantine Books in exchange for my honest review.
From the bestselling author of Ten Rules for Faking It comes another romance book that is perfect for fans of home renovations shows and fluffy romance! Sophie Sullivan’s How to Love Your Neighbor, which comes out on January 18th, shows how love can find you in the most unlikely of ways and sometimes all it takes is a little labor to make it work.
Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door. Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he's found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door--the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it. With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.
This romance was super sweet and cute! Despite its lack of steam, I still really liked the plot and the characters! Plus, I’m a sucker for home renovation shows so this story felt like one in book form plus a little romance! I loved the characters in addition to the plot! Grace’s strength and determination matched with Noah’s wish to stay true to himself pair beautifully and makes their romance even cuter.
This book also deals with topics like social classes, the concept of family and dealing with terrible parents, and opening yourself up to love. While I wish I would’ve read Ten Rules for Faking It prior to this (since the main characters from that book make a minor appearance in this one), this standalone romance is adorable and is the perfect fluffy read!
If you're looking for a flirty and sweet romcom, then this is the book for you! I know I’ll be on the lookout for Sullivan’s next book!
*I received an ARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Katee Roberts returns to her Dark Olympus series on January 18th with another Greek myth retelling that’s sexy and sweet. Electric Idol, a modern take on the story of Psyche and Eros, shows how truly powerful and dangerous love can be.
In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there's always a price to pay. Psyche knew she'd have to face Aphrodite's ire eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake...or for Aphrodite's gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow. Eros has no problem shedding blood. But when it comes time to take out his latest target, he can't do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he marries her. Psyche vows to make Eros's life a living hell until they find a way out of this mess. But as lines blur and loyalties shift, she realizes he might take her heart after all...and she's not sure she can survive the loss.
I was unfamiliar with the original Psyche/Eros Greek myth prior to reading this book, so I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much as I did Neon Gods, but I was very wrong! This book was fantastic!! If you're a fan of the I-was-sent-to-kill-you-but-ended-up-falling-for-you-instead trope then this is the book for you! It’s steamy, it’s heart-breaking, it’s twisty, but all in the best way possible!
As I said in my review for Neon Gods (Book One in the series), I loved the setting of Olympus and the inner workings of the rulers there and the fact that we get to see the Dimitriou Family again is just a pleasure. But to further get to know Eros, a seriously dangerous man who is secretly so broken, just fall for Psyche just made my heart melt. This pairing was so well done and I loved reading about the hot hitman who doesn’t know love falling for the plus-sized socialite/influencer who doesn’t let fear stop her from doing anything to protect herself and her family.
I seriously can't recommend this series enough for my fellow spicy romance fans! This retelling needs to be added to your 2022 TBR immediately!
*I received an ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
From bestselling romance author, Katee Robert, comes a Hades and Persephone retelling that is enthralling as it is steamy! The first in a new series, Neon Gods will have you hooked from start to finish!
Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over far from the backstabbing politics of the Thirteen Houses. But all that’s ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade. With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth... a man who awakens her to a world she never knew existed. Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent years craving, it’s all the excuse he needs to help her—for a price. Yet every breathless night spent tangled together has given Hades a taste for Persephone, and he’ll go to war with Olympus itself to keep her close…
The story of Hades and Persephone was always one of my favorite Greek myths growing up, so I was already super excited about reading this book. But the fact that it was written by one of the best smutty romance writers currently writing? Sign. Me. Up!
This book was such a fabulous retelling and I loved the setting of Olympus being a mafia/gang-style territory rulership. The characters were super well-developed and the modern setting made this retelling even better. But once you get to the actual romance between Hades and Persephone, this story just gets better! Their dynamic and blossoming love is wonderful to read about and who doesn’t love a dark broody character who hates everyone but his love interest?
Overall, I loved this book, and am eager to start Electric Idol, the next book in the series (which I was fortunate to get an ARC of)! If you haven't read this, or any other Katee Robert book, then I highly recommend you do!
In a simple and touching graphic novel, Crushing by Sophie Burrows highlights love and connection and how we can find it in the weirdest of places. Set to be released on January 11th in the United States, this textless YA book is resonant in this day and age.
She’s lonely and searching for connection. He’s lonely and afraid to reach out. Life in the big city means being surrounded by connections—making them, missing them, and longing for them. But is finding someone else really the answer to their problems? Crushing, the stunning debut graphic novel from Sophie Burrows, is a story told in silence; a story without words but bursting with meaning; a story about loneliness and love. Achingly beautiful, quietly defiant, and full of subtle wit and wisdom, Crushing is a unique meditation on the human condition in the twenty-first century, and a timely examination of young adult life in an age of isolation.
This book highlights loneliness in a beautiful and unique way while really not using words to convey the feelings of the two characters. Additionally, the charcoal-esque/ sketch-like artwork only adds to the theme of life flying past and trying to quickly tune everything else out and focus on what is important or right in front of you.
For a book with no words, this story was wonderful, touching, and made me feel like I wasn’t alone in the world!
*I received an ARC from Algonquin Young Reader in exchange for my honest opinion.
Get ready for your next fantasy obsession! New York Times bestselling young adult author, Morgan Rhodes, starts off a new series with a book about a snarky seventeen year old who gets thrust into the world of forbidden magic. The first in a new duology, Echoes and Empires is stunning, enthralling, and will have you on the edge of your seat.
Josslyn Drake knows only three things about magic: it’s rare, illegal, and always deadly. So when she’s caught up in a robbery gone wrong at the Queen’s Gala and infected by a dangerous piece of magic—one that allows her to step into the memories of an infamously evil warlock—she finds herself living her worst nightmare. Joss needs the magic removed before it corrupts her soul and kills her. But in Ironport, the cost of doing magic is death, and seeking help might mean scheduling her own execution. There’s nobody she can trust. Nobody, that is, except wanted criminal Jericho Nox, who offers her a deal: his help extracting the magic in exchange for the magic itself. And though she’s not thrilled to be working with a thief, especially one as infuriating (and infuriatingly handsome) as Jericho, Joss is desperate enough to accept. But Jericho is nothing like Joss expects. The closer she grows to Jericho and the more she sees of the world outside her pampered life in the city, the more Joss begins to question the beliefs she’s always taken for granted—beliefs about right and wrong, about power and magic, and even about herself. In an empire built on lies, the truth may be her greatest weapon.
This was my first read of 2022 and what a way to start off the year! This book was so well-paced and developed that I literally hinged this book within 2 days! I loved the world-building in this book and how this fantasy book was set in an empire where modern technology exists, but also magic!
Additionally, I loved the character development! Between Josslyn, Jericho, and all of the other major players in this book, shifting loyalties and secrets run abound that will have you guessing who Joss can really trust. Add in a sprinkling of romance and you have an enthralling YA fantasy book.
Basically, go pick up this fabulous book so we can eagerly wait for the next book together! Trust me, this YA fantasy book should definitely be on your radar this year!
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!