G. Bianco, 2019
In her debut novel, Irish author Michelle Gallen introduces the world to the quirky Majella O’Neill. Big Girl, Small Town, which will be released in the U.S. on December 1st, is unique in its depiction of life in a small Irish town.
Majella is happiest out of the spotlight, away from her neighbors’ stares and the gossips of the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up just after the Troubles. She lives a quiet life caring for her alcoholic mother, working in the local chip shop, watching the regular customers come and go. She wears the same clothes each day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, microwaved at home after her shift ends), and binge-watches old DVDs of the same show (Dallas, best show on TV) from the comfort of her bed. But underneath Majella’s seemingly ordinary life are the facts that she doesn’t know where her father is and that every person in her town has been changed by the lingering divide between Protestants and Catholics. When Majella’s predictable existence is upended by the death of her granny, she comes to realize there may be more to life than the gossips of Aghybogey, the pub, and the chip shop. In fact, there just may be a whole big world outside her small town.
This book is very reminiscent of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Normal People. Majella is quirky and weird in her own way and offers a unique perspective to the world around her (which isn’t all that big). This novel conveys that quintessential small town vibe where everyone knows everyone and gossip runs rampant. Majella is unlike any other narrator and you can’t help but want the best for her.
The only thing about this book is it’s very character-centric. It’s very narrowed to Majella’s thoughts and views, so if you’re looking for a plot-driven novel or a good mix of plot and character development, you might not find it here. There is also a lot of Irish slang and wording used in this book that I was unfamiliar with. I actually had to look up certain terms, so fair warning to my fellow non-Irish readers.
If you’re looking for a book to put you in someone else’s shoes or view life from a different perspective, then you will love this book. Fans of Sally Rooney will love this literary fiction debut and find Majella’s quirks and rules about life bizarre yet charming.
*I received an ARC from Algonquin Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
In the mesmerizing sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas brings Feyre’s story to new heights and further develops this enchanting tale. In A Court of Mist and Fury, Feyre must learn to grapple with the events that occurred at the end of ACOTAR and how to continue her new life in Prythian.
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.
Is it possible to give a book more than 5 stars?? Like I’m genuinely asking because this book was so mind-blowing and amazing that I don’t know what to do with myself. People kept telling me that ACOMAF was better than ACOTAR and I flabbergasted as to how the sequel could be that much better than the first book. But they were all 100% correct.
If you thought the first book of this series was amazing then you will be in for such a treat with the second. The plot is so well-developed and the new characters so well-written that A Court of Mist and Fury blows A Court of Thorns and Roses out of the water. That’s right: this sequel is better than the prequel. The plot twists, the drama, the humor, the heartache, and the steamy romance all make this book better than anyone could hope for.
I really loved how this story showed that even though things seemed to end well after book one, the story was far from over. How Feyre deals with the aftermath of book one and how her mental stability is explained really shows character development and makes the reader empathize with her even more. And the new cast of characters readers meet are so fabulously written. Readers also learn more about the devious and enigmatic Rhysand, who I couldn't help but fall in love with, and the reasons for his actions and attitude.
I cannot remember the last time I binge read a 600+ page book in 4 days, if ever. So when I tell you to go and read this book, I truly mean it. Sarah J. Maas is a genius and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. The rollercoaster of emotions while reading is insane and now I want everyone else to experience it because this book is truly a masterpiece. I can only imagine what the next book will hold for Prythian, but I am eager to read it and envelop myself in the world of faeries and magic.
In the first book of her new regency romance series, Rebels of the Ton, critically acclaimed author Minerva Spencer combines fan-favorite tropes into a fantastic love story. Notorious shows just what can happen when a rake and wallflower are forced to wed.
Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn't marry. But that doesn't stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend's brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel himself. And when Gabriel's heartless—and heart-pounding—proposal comes, it's enough to make Dru's formidable resolve crumble. She's sharp-tongued, exasperating—and due to one careless moment—about to become his wife. Still, something about Drusilla has Gabriel intrigued. First there's the delicious flush of her skin every time she delivers a barb—and then the surprisingly sensual feel of her in his arms. Gabriel even finds himself challenged by her unusual philosophies. And when he discovers a clandestine rival for Dru's affection, his temperature flares even hotter. But the real threat to their happiness is one neither of the newlyweds sees coming. If they're to save their future—and their very lives—they'll need to trust in each other and their growing love.
This novel started off a bit slow and I wasn’t a big fan of the way Drusilla and Gabriel were acting towards one another; however, once the plot starts moving along it becomes such a binge worthy book! Drusilla and Gabriel’s romance is steamy and lovable. This book also showed a different type of regency-era protagonist by having Gabriel be from Oman. I’ve never read a regency romance where one of the main characters wasn’t 100% British so I loved seeing a different kind of protagonist get showcased!
Spencer makes sure to add in all of the tropes romance readers love: enemies-to-lovers, forced proximity, forced marriage, wallflower and rake, and more! All of these tropes weirdly work well together and keep the plot interesting.
Speaking of the plot, the events of the novel take an action-packed turn towards the end and will have readers flipping the pages to see what will happen next. And with a cliffhanger at the end of the book, I don’t know how I’m supposed to wait until the next book comes out in June!
Overall, I definitely recommend you check this book out when it’s released on November 24th! It’s witty, steamy, dramatic, and just an all-around fabulous regency romance!
*I received an ARC from Kensington Books via Bookish First in exchange for my honest opinion.
V.E. Schwab is well known for her fantasy novels, including the A Darker Shade of Magic Series, but her newest book is unlike anything the world has ever seen. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a book that will stay with me, and other readers, for a long time after finishing it.
In France, 1714, in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
This book took me on a whirlwind of emotions. I’ll admit that I was a little discouraged while reading this book in the beginning. It didn’t hook me in like I was expecting and just found myself waiting for the main plot to get going. I took a break about halfway through and then forced myself to finish the book. The last 100 pages sucked me in and by the end of the book I was legitimately sobbing. From sadness, despair, hope, happiness, relief, and just appreciation of the beauty that is this novel.
Henry says at one point in the story that he didn’t think he could feel one emotion at a time, instead feeling a mixture of many. The same sentiments can be applied while reading this book. Between a doomed love story that you can’t help but fall in love with, a villain who you’ll love to hate, and wondering what has happened to Addie throughout the years, when I say that you will feel every emotion while reading this book, I truly mean it.
Schwab emphasizes many themes through the book including the fragility of life and what it means to be human. The sanctity of being mortal and living each day like it’s your last versus having all of the time in the world, like Addie, shows that despite wishing we could live forever, is it worth it if you can make no impact on the world? Tied into the last theme is the power of stories and the power of words. As the reader sees through Addie, communicating with others and interacting with the world around you is integral to living life to the fullest. Overall, this book places a large emphasis on how precious life can be. But this book is so much more than I can even express.
Going into reading this book, I thought I knew what to expect; however, I was sorely mistaken. This book shifted from a four star read to a three star read to an ultimate five star read for me. Please go read this book. Make the effort and read Addie’s story. Because unlike almost all of the people in Addie LaRue’s life, I will never forget this story. I Remember Addie.
*I received an ARC from Tor Books and BookCon.
After receiving high praises for his debut novel, Frankly in Love, David Yoon is back with a new story that really tests the limits of how far someone would go for love. In Super Fake Love Song, readers dive into a story where D&D references clash with rock music and how everyone struggles to fit in.
When Sunny Dae—self-proclaimed total nerd—meets Cirrus Soh, he can’t believe how cool and confident she is. So when Cirrus mistakes Sunny’s older brother Gray’s bedroom—with its electric guitars and rock posters—for Sunny’s own, he sort of, kind of, accidentally winds up telling her he’s the front man of a rock band. Before he knows it, Sunny is knee-deep in the lie: He ropes his best friends into his scheme, begging them to form a fake band with him, and starts wearing Gray’s rock-and-roll castoffs. But no way can he trick this amazing girl into thinking he’s cool, right? Just when Sunny is about to come clean, Cirrus asks to see them play sometime. Now there’s only one thing to do: Fake it till you make it. Sunny goes all in on the lie, and pretty soon, the strangest things start happening. People are noticing him in the hallways, and he’s going to football games and parties for the first time. He’s feeling more confident in every aspect of his life, and especially with Cirrus, who’s started to become not just his dream girl but also the real deal. Sunny is falling in love. He’s having fun. He’s even becoming a rocker, for real. But it’s only a matter of time before Sunny’s house of cards starts tumbling down. As his lies begin to catch up with him, Sunny Dae is forced to wonder whether it was all worth it—and if it’s possible to ever truly change.
If I’m being honest, I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I was going to! It was nerdy, it was funny, tear-jerking, and just overall relatable! I binged the entire book in one day and wanted more!
This rom-com seems super predictable, but it’s super not!! Yes, this is a young adult book with some of those classic tropes you can find in any ol’ YA book, but Yoon really takes it to the next level with the way he develops his characters and sucks you into the story. The narration by Sunny is amazing and the way he makes certain decisions and does certain things is more endearing than anything else.
This book also placed a large focus on relationships, and not just romantic ones. Sunny must balance what he wants with the people who are important to him. He deals with repairing his relationship with his brother, parents that are too busy working to pay him any notice, and maintaining old friendships while building new ones. It showed how honesty is the root to trusting those you love and how important it is to stay true to yourself despite the constant pressure to conform in high school.
Overall, this is a must-read for YA lovers, nerds, geeks, or anyone who’s wanted to fit into someone else’s shoes for a day! Releasing on November 17th, this is truly a book for everyone and I cannot wait to see what Yoon will write next!
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
In her debut novel, The Roommate, Rosie Danan shows how love can come out of the most unlikely circumstances. This romance takes it up a notch in steaminess, while also highlighting important issues.
The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true. After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet… Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.
This is one of the best forced-proximity romances I’ve read and couldn’t get enough of the sexual tension between Josh and Clara. And while this definitely plays upon the “good girl falls for bad boy” trope, it’s done really well and also showcases the reverse trope (aka bad boy also falls for good girl). The characters both have their insecurities, yet both find the confidence to reveal their feelings and fall in love.
This book is STEAMY to the MAX!! Hot and heavy, The Roommate takes what readers love about romance and amps it up a bit to bring this book to a sauna-level heat! But it was more than just some sexy times; the romantic scenes were evenly placed throughout the plot, but it also contributed to Josh and Clara’s relationship!
This novel also shares a peek into the adult entertainment industry and highlights the actual livelihoods of people in the industry. Behind the stereotypes many others think of are real people/characters and it was fascinating to see a novel take such an honest and unbiased view on a lifestyle many condemn. I was unfamiliar with the inner workings of the industry and found the insight Danan reveals to be super interesting and it added an extra layer to the plot.
This book will satiate any sexy romance cravings you may have and will have you bingeing the book in one sitting. I cannot wait to read the next book Danan writes and highly recommend this book for any romance lovers out there!
Set to be released on November 10th, Chelsea Pitcher’s newest YA thriller follows a shocking murder and four friends as they navigate the secrets surrounding one another. Her novel, Lies Like Poison, takes a look at what darkness lurks beneath the surface and what it takes to find your way out of it.
Poppy, Lily, and Belladonna would do anything to protect their best friend, Raven. So when they discovered he was suffering abuse at the hands of his stepmother, they came up with a lethal plan: petals of poppy, belladonna, and lily in her evening tea so she’d never be able to hurt Raven again. But someone got cold feet, the plot faded to a secret of the past, and the group fell apart. Three years later, on the eve of Raven’s seventeenth birthday, his stepmother turns up dead. But it’s only belladonna found in her tea, and it’s only Belladonna who’s carted off to jail. Desperate for help, Belle reaches out to her estranged friends to prove her innocence. They answer the call, but no one is prepared for what comes next. Now, everyone has something to lose and something equally dangerous to hide. And when the tangled web of secrets and betrayal is finally unwound, what lies at its heart will change the group forever.
This book was a fairly quick read, but was very dark. There’s mentions very heavy themes including child abuse, child neglect, murder, death, sexual identity, deception, and loss. So massive trigger warnings before reading this book! But I liked the parallels that were drawn between fairytales and the events in the novel. It gave the book a very ethereal tone reminiscent of the Grimm Brothers or a dark version of A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
The actual mystery and figuring out who the killer is isn’t overtly obvious, but some parts of the story were confusing. There are a few flashbacks and a lot of alternating viewpoints so keeping everything straight is a bit of a challenge with this book. But eventually all of the pieces start falling into place and the true villains start to become clear.
Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of thrillers, but I did find this one enjoyable in some aspects. If you’re looking for a book with messed up characters and twists after every chapter, then this is the read for you. However, it might not be the best book for first-time thriller readers due to its dark themes.
*I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
If you’re a fan of new adult or fantasy books, then you’ve probably heard of Sarah J. Maas or her Throne of Glass book series. However, her other fantasy series A Court of Thorns and Roses has just as large of a fanbase and is critically acclaimed by many. This retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set in a world where faeries exist, follows one girl as she tries to survive in a world that is sometimes cruel and unfair.
Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price. Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
I’m genuinely so mad at myself for not reading this book sooner because I became so obsessed with it that it’s probably not healthy… It was magical, entertaining, adventurous, and so enthralling to imagine a world where faeries and humans coexist (though not peacefully) and what happens when they cross over territory lines.
This book is heavy with world-building and setting the tone for the latter half of the novel; however, the descriptions and Feyre’s narration keeps the plot engaging and will have you turning the pages to see what will happen next.
I loved the bits of fairy tales elements woven into the plot. It made this Beauty and the Beast retelling live up to that description without seeming like a cliché. While you can draw connections between the popular story and Feyre’s journey, the plot takes liberties that only heighten the reader’s investment in the story. Not only that, but the characters are all so complex and interesting that you can’t help but love and hate all of them. The lines of right and wrong get a bit blurred as promises and moral obligations plague the characters as they try to survive and thrive, yet how far they will go for self-preservation is continuously put to the test.
I laughed, I teared up, and I wanted to throw my book across the room. Now I’m furiously telling everyone I know that they have to read this book if they haven’t already because it’s so mind-blowing and fantastic! All book lovers should read this book at some point in their lives! So don’t mind me as I sulk in a corner waiting for the sequel to come in the mail...
In her newest romance book, Melissa Ferguson shows how far a neighbor can push your buttons. In The Cul-de-Sac War, which comes out November 10th, two neighbors begin a prank war that might just end in romance.
Bree Leake doesn’t want to be tied down. She’s had more jobs than she can count, and she plans to move as soon as the curtains fall on her less-than-minor stage role at The Barter—the oldest live performance theater in the US. But just when it’s time to move on again, Bree’s parents make her an offer: hold steady for a full year, and they will give her the one thing she’s always wanted—her grandmother’s house. Her dreams are coming true . . . until life at the theater throws her some curve balls. And then there’s Chip McBride—her handsome and infuriating next-door neighbor. Chip just might be the only person whose stubborn streak can match Bree’s. She would move heaven and earth to have him off her cul-de-sac and out of her life, but according to the bargain she’s struck, she can’t move out of her house and away from the man who’s making her life miserable. So begins Bree’s obsessive new mission: to drive Chip out of the neighborhood—and fast. Bree isn’t the only one who’s a tad competitive, and Chip is more than willing to fight fire with fire. But as their pranks escalate, the line between love and hate starts to blur—and their heated rivalry threatens to take a hilarious, heartwarming, and romantic new turn.
I was so excited to read this book and loved the concept of it, but I just found this book to be very underdeveloped. The entire plot felt very rushed, yet also very slow-moving at the same time. What is supposed to be an enemies-to-lovers romance instead is two neighbors who assume too much about one another and act childish and don’t actually have a civil conversation until 70% into the book. The book was close to the end and it felt like there was so much left to happen and any major plot points just got brushed over to move on to the next chapter break. I just wanted this book to be over so I could get to the good parts, but they never quite came.
Aside from the plot, almost all of the characters lack depth and I hoped for more background on some of them. I just didn’t like the main characters all that much. Bree is a childish 34 year old woman who seems to take everything Chip does negatively and overreacts at everything that happens. I just found her to be mean and immature. And Chip was constantly infatuated with Bree while still dating his girlfriend and continues to bother Bree just because he finds it amusing.
Someone else might appreciate this book more than I did, but I think it’s safe to say that I was disappointed by it. If you're looking for a fun and flirty romance book, I don’t think you’ll find it here.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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!