REVIEW: No Judgements – Meg Cabot (ARC)

43386668Title: No Judgements
Author: Meg Cabot
Rating: ★★★★

ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.

Meg Cabot is a staple of my reading experience growing up. The Mediator series continues to be one of my favorite sets of books ever, and so I was really excited to see she was writing a new series of contemporary romances! No Judgements was the perfect mixture of charming, romantic, and light-heartedness for a summer beach read.

The thing that reeled me in the most about No Judgements was how relatable I found both the story and Bree! We share the same nickname so that was a unique aspect that I haven’t read before and definitely added to my liking. And as someone born in Florida–and who spends a good deal of vacation time down there these days–I also really loved the Key West setting!

The romance between Bree and Drew was really well written. The obvious chemistry and slow-build tension was fun to read, and the way their relationship was built was very believable. Bree and Drew are both animal lovers and it was great to see them work together to help the pets left behind by their owners during the hurricane.

No Judgements was a heart-warming, romantic story perfect for a summer read! I had a lot of fun reading this and I look forward to more stories from Meg Cabot in this series.

REVIEW: How to Hack a Heartbreak – Kristin Rockaway

41887423Title: How to Hack a Heartbreak
Author: Kristin Rockaway
Rating: ★★★½

“And the way things were going, I’d likely be single and debt-ridden for the rest of my life.”

There’s nothing more enjoyable than reading a fun rom-com in the summer! How to Hack a Heartbreak is the perfect book for those everyone out there (including myself) that is sick and tired of the trials of modern dating in a digital world.

When I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I had to read it. Similar to myself, our protagonist, Melanie, is completely fed-up with dating apps. After her latest fiasco, she decides to secretly develop her own app to weed out the men taking advantage of online dating. She not only has to balance the unexpected popularity of her new app, but as the only female employee at her tech job, she also has to deal with incompetent jerks that continually belittle her knowledge. 

Everything about Mel and her story was so relatable! It’s hard to not find enjoyment in her growth as a character, and it’s impossible not to root for her in her journey to find love in a world full of swiping left or right. How to Hack a Heartbreak sheds light on the trials and tribulations of modern dating in a funny, light-hearted way that made this the perfect book for summer.

REVIEW: The Dragon Republic – R. F. Kuang (ARC)

41118857Title: The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2)
Author: R. F. Kuang
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.

This review took me forever to write, because I couldn’t quite put into words the perfection of this book. There is no second book syndrome here, and no need to worry that it won’t live up to the hype: The Dragon Republic shines just as bright – if not more – than The Poppy War. Once again, R. F. Kuang has written a masterful fantasy story. 

Grimdark fantasies can be difficult to get through, but R. F. Kuang does an excellent job blending the darker aspects of the novel with lighter elements and some humorous dialogue. There’s a lot more political maneuvering happening in this book, as well as the consequences of actions taken in The Poppy War begin to make an appearance.

I think I enjoyed The Dragon Republic immensely more than The Poppy War for one major reason: the characters. New characters are introduced in this book that are essential to the story, such as The Dragon Warlord (Nezha’s father). I really enjoyed the complexity of his character and found myself easily understanding Rin’s reasoning for supporting him. Along with new faces, a couple of my favorite characters return from The Poppy War: Kitay and Nezha (!!!). The three of them are together for a good chunk of the book, it was amazing to watch Rin’s relationships with each of them deepen and grow. They really take center stage in this book, which I think is why I loved the book so much. Also, I don’t want to get too spoilery, but R. F. Kuang really gave me the fuel for my ship and my shipper heart was so thankful. ❤️

“Fire and water looked so lovely together. It was a pity they destroyed each other by nature.”

My original review was much different than this, because R. F. Kuang pulls a plot twist out of nowhere and nearly destroyed my will to live. The entire book is action-packed and fast-paced, but the tension really builds during the last few chapters with an ending that is going to sucker punch you in the face. Holy shit. I have no idea what to expect in the next book, but it is riding at the top of my list for most anticipated releases for next year. I’m going to spend my wait obsessively thinking about Rin/Nezha and crying into the void.

The Dragon Republic gave me a serious book hangover. Similar to The Poppy War, this stellar sequel is full of non-stop action, amazing morally-complex characters, political intrigue, and worldbuilding unlike any other. The world is not ready for this book.

 

 

REVIEW: On the Corner of Love and Hate – Nina Bocci (ARC)

42587433Title: On the Corner of Love and Hate
Author: Nina Bocci
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

I enjoy the finer things in life and literature: slow-burn romance, hate-to-love romance, a healthy dose of angst. Thankfully, On the Corner of Love and Hate delivered everything I wanted in this fun, witty, charmingly romantic story.

I don’t often comment on book covers in my reviews, but I really think this book is going to fly under the radar undeservingly. I don’t hate the cover and I don’t think it’s terrible, but I really think having a cover that was brighter and more fun would attract the eyes of more readers (think along the lines of Christina Lauren’s The Unhoneymooners or Tessa Bailey’s Fix Her Up).

The crux of this story is a frenemies-to-lovers romance, so obviously I was all onboard. Emma and Cooper have a rocky relationship: they were childhood best friends who had a bit of a falling out later in life, and now work together in the same department. The two of them seem to be constantly bickering and arguing, but it’s still obvious that they care about each other.

I don’t think there was a single thing I didn’t love about this book. I adored the characters, the writing was fantastic, and the plot was super compelling. When a book gives me, the reader, a series case of butterflies during the first kiss scene, that’s when you know it’s done a tremendous job building the tension!

On the Corner of Love and Hate is the perfect summer read. It has a great blend of humor, politics, anst, and romance. I’m so thankful the publicist reached out to me about this title because I absolutely adored it. Nina Bocci has another book coming out this fall and I will definitely be keeping my eye out for it!

REVIEW: The Friend Zone – Abby Jimenez

42785825Title: The Friend Zone
Author: Abby Jimenez
Rating: ★★★★

What I expected upon picking up The Friend Zone was a light-hearted, fluffy contemporary romance perfect for summer. And while the book delivered with the romance, angst, and humor, it also contained a layer of emotional complexity that was unexpected in the best way.

I’ll admit, I was pretty hesitant reading upon reading the first quarter of the book. The beginning of the story features some very grey-area cheating, which is not my cup of tea. However, I was thankful that that particular conflict was resolved early on in the book, allowing me to then fully immerse myself in the story and the characters.

A large focus of the story was on Kristen and her infertility issues, and I think Abby Jimenez did an very excellent job with the subject. Kristen was a great character and it’s impossible not to root for her – even when she’s being extremely stubborn! It was easy to understand her reservations and struggles, but still want her to take a chance on a the person she loves.

Other than the grey-area cheating at the beginning, there were a couple other things that kept me from fully loving this book. Josh constantly compares Kristen to other women, repeatedly saying things along the lines of how she’s “not like other girls” and she’s a “cool girl.” I really don’t appreciate when the heroine of the story is show in a positive light by bringing down other women in comparison. The other thing that bothered me is probably going to sound super nitpicky but YOU CANNOT USE A DEFIBRILLATOR WHEN SOMEONE IS FLATLINING!!! This is a huge misconception perpetuated by all the medical drama shows. Stop this nonsense. The paddles are used for when the heartbeat is dangerously out of rhythm, not when there is an absent of a heartbeat. This honestly made me so irate.

The ending took me by surprise. The best way I could describe the events of the last few chapters would be bittersweet. There is a particular part of the story that is emotional and heartbreaking. The epilogue was the perfect ending and helped balance the heartache. Overall, I was really impressed by this debut and would recommend The Friend Zone to anyone looking for a moving, captivating read!