Posted in Fast-Forward Friday, Reviews

Fast Forward Friday: Nothing But The Truth (7/12)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Nothing by the Truth by Holly James!
Expected Release: July 12, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I love a good story of reinvention. Whenever a person is like “Yo, the way I’m living right now A’INT WORKING” and then does something drastic to make change and find happiness, I love it! I can’t help but cheer for them!
  • I get the sense that Lucy is going to be a bold, take-no-shit kind of character. The title is all about giving the truth no matter what, and that usually leads to difficult or awkward conversations, as well as really lovely and personal ones! I want to see them all ^.^
  • Combining those two things, I expect some scenes of people getting what they deserve. And yes, I mean nasties getting schooled, but also — hopefully — sweethearts catching a break.

Summary

It’s the eve of Hollywood publicist Lucy Green’s thirtieth birthday, a day she hopes will bring the promotion she deserves and a proposal from her boyfriend. But he stands her up for a date, not for the first time, leaving Lucy alone at the bar—or at least, alone with the handsome bartender on the other side of the counter—so she makes a rueful wish over her cocktail for a perfect birthday. But when Lucy’s wish is granted in the most unexpected way, things go terribly awry, as things often do when wishes come true….

When Lucy wakes up on her big day, she can’t seem to force herself to go through her rigorous fitness and beauty routines—things she usually tells herself she likes. She has no desire to eat only a spoonful of yogurt for breakfast and she simply can’t bear to put on the uncomfortable shapewear needed for the power outfit she had planned for work.

When Lucy arrives at the office, she realizes that not only can she no longer lie to herself, she can’t lie to anyone else, either. Not her clients, not her boyfriend, not her creep of a boss. Now that she can’t hide how she feels, Lucy must confront all the injustices—small and large—she’s faced on a daily basis at work, in her relationship, and in every other aspect of her life…and the truth is going to come out in a big way.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Honey & Spice (7/5/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola!
Expected Release: July 5, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • FAKE DATING! I’m on an absolute TEAR of fake-dating tropes in books right now, and I’m ready to add another winner to the pile! I love that the angle for this one is salvaging each of their reputations (and radio shows).
  • It’s also a little bit enemies to lovers, since Kiki sees Malakai as the total player he is and calls him out in a WILDLY public manner as a piece of trash to be avoided at all costs — before frenching him (for some reason??).
  • Ah, and there’s also a lot of reluctant-to-love going on here. Kiki is never one to let herself be totally vulnerable, but it sounds like Malakai might end up worming his way past her defenses to a really lovely place. 🥰

Summary

Sharp-tongued (and secretly soft-hearted) Kiki Banjo has just made a huge mistake. As an expert in relationship-evasion and the host of the popular student radio show Brown Sugar, she’s made it her mission to make sure the women of the African-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University do not fall into the mess of “situationships”, players, and heartbreak. But when the Queen of the Unbothered kisses Malakai Korede, the guy she just publicly denounced as “The Wastemen of Whitewell,” in front of every Blackwellian on campus, she finds her show on the brink.

They’re soon embroiled in a fake relationship to try and salvage their reputations and save their futures. Kiki has never surrendered her heart before, and a player like Malakai won’t be the one to change that, no matter how charming he is or how electric their connection feels. But surprisingly entertaining study sessions and intimate, late-night talks at old-fashioned diners force Kiki to look beyond her own presumptions. Is she ready to open herself up to something deeper?

A gloriously funny and sparkling debut novel, Honey & Spice is full of delicious tension and romantic intrigue that will make you weak at the knees.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: American Royalty (6/28/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is American Royalty by Tracey Livesay!
Expected Release: June 28, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • The recluse (Damien) and the diva (Danielle). I CANNOT WAIT. I want her to drag him out of his shell, and I want him to cozy her up in quiet calm solitude. Look at how he looks at her on the cover! Huge kudos to the artist/designer for it, because I feel like it already tells a story I want to read 🥰 There’s a little splash of social/family drama too since it’s the whole “I want to but we shouldn’t” thing that can make a great tension.
  • Forced proximity! Maybe it’s weird to get excited about that but it’s my FAVORITE romance method (sorry, boyfriend) especially if it comes with a there’s-only-one-bed moment 😍 Considering they’re on the road together for tour I have hiiiiigh hopes!
  • Now add in royalty and music. I am usually hesitant about music-focused books, but also tend to end up loving them, so maybe it’s time I dropped that weird unfounded prejudice. And I’m an absolutely sucker for royalty for sure, so I think I’m ready to go. ^.^

Summary

Sexy, driven rapper Danielle “Duchess” Nelson is on the verge of signing a deal that’ll make her one of the richest women in hip hop. More importantly, it’ll grant her control over her life, something she’s craved for years. But an incident with a rising pop star has gone viral, unfairly putting her deal in jeopardy. Concerned about her image, she’s instructed to work on generating some positive publicity… or else.

A brilliant professor and reclusive royal, Prince Jameson prefers life out of the spotlight, only leaving his ivory tower to attend weddings or funerals. But with the Queen’s children involved in one scandal after another, and Parliament questioning the viability of the monarchy, the Queen is desperate. In a quest for good press, she puts Jameson in charge of a tribute concert in her late husband’s honor. Out of his depth, and resentful of being called to service, he takes the advice of a student. After all, what’s more appropriate for a royal concert than a performer named “Duchess”?

Too late, Jameson discovers the American rapper is popular, sexy, raunchy and not what the Queen wanted, although he’s having an entirely different reaction. Dani knows this is the good exposure she needs to cement her deal and it doesn’t hurt that the royal running things is fine as hell. Thrown together, they give in to the explosive attraction flaring between them. But as the glare of the limelight intensifies and outside forces try to interfere, will the Prince and Duchess be a fairy tale romance for the ages or a disaster of palatial proportions?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Lucie Yi Is Not A Romantic (6/24/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Lucie Yi Is Not a Romantic by Lauren Ho!
Expected Release: June 24, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I have never read a novel about a co-parenting partnership, and I LOVE that this is one. I’m not sure what the correct term is, but an alternate family structure like this is another example of diversity in stories for people of all kinds to see their own experiences reflected. I also think it’s an option for parenthood that is unknown/stigmatized, so seeing it in fiction is great!
  • There’s an extra perk for me of travel in this novel, as Lucie goes to Singapore to see her family once she’s pregnant. Since she’s pregnant and a local, I’m not sure how much exploring will happen for my benefit, but just being there in the story will be exciting! Even if her parents aren’t exactly on board with her co-parenting decision…
  • And then toss in the reappearance of an ex-fiance! Drama with lovers! I assumed the plot would go towards her falling for her co-parent, but I like the idea that it could go the direction of having a romantic partner and a parenting-partner and negotiating those intertwined relationships. Or maybe she’ll only give her heart to her baby, who knows! I think there are a lot of good options for the path, and I’m so excited to see which one plays out. 🙂

Summary

Management consultant Lucie Yi is done waiting for Mr. Right. After a harrowing breakup foiled her plans for children—and drove her to a meltdown in a Tribeca baby store—she’s ready to take matters into her own hands. She signs up for an elective co-parenting website to find a suitable partner with whom to procreate—as platonic as family planning can be.
 
Collin Read checks all of Lucie’s boxes; he shares a similar cultural background, he’s honest, and most important, he’s ready to become a father. When they match, it doesn’t take long for Lucie to take a leap of faith for her future. So what if her conservative family might not approve? When Lucie becomes pregnant, the pair return to Singapore and, sure enough, her parents refuse to look on the bright side. Even more complicated, Lucie’s ex-fiancé reappears, sparking unresolved feelings and compounding work pressures and the baffling ways her body is changing. Suddenly her straightforward arrangement is falling apart before her very eyes, and Lucie will have to decide how to juggle the demands of the people she loves while pursuing the life she really wants.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Thank You, Next (6/14/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Thank You, Next by Andie J Christopher!
Expected Release: June 14, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • After reading Bad Luck Bridesmaid and super loving it, this caught my attention by having another kind of romance-curse. In this case, it’s that Andie is the girlfriend who apparently sorts out the guy’s issues just in time for their next girlfriend to benefit. Alex is the girl we’re all thankful for being in our boyfriends’ past. Which, admittedly, really sucks for Alex.
  • This has so many romance tropes I can barely even track it! Alex and Will grew up close — physically at least — but seem to clash at every turn. So I guess they’re kind of like frenemies-to-lovers? Although it seems like Will knows pretty damn clearly what (who) he wants (Alex). So while Alex is trying to learn from her exes what she did wrong and how to avoid it, Will is along trying to learn from Alex’s exes what they did wrong — and how he can be sure to woo Alex.
  • Well I’m sure it will have some really funny and also really emotional moments! Considering this involves interviewing ex-boyfriends about “why not her” when they’re all now married, I think that alone is rife with opportunity for situational discomfort and humor. ^.^ Don’t forget the group of girlfriends — and Will — who are tagging along to interrogate!

Summary

Single divorce attorney Alex Turner is watching reality TV when she sees her latest ex’s new fiancé picking out her wedding dress. Yet again, the guy she dumped went on to marry (or at least seriously commit to) the next person he dates after her. Fed up with being the precursor to happily ever after, she decides to interview all her exes to find out why.

Up-and-coming chef Will Harkness mixes with Alex like oil and vinegar, but forced proximity growing up means their lives are forever entwined. When Will learns Alex and her friends are going on a wild romp through Los Angeles to reconnect with her ex-boyfriends, he decides to tag along. If he can discover what her exes did wrong, he can make sure he doesn’t make the same mistake with Alex.

On this nonstop journey through the streets of LA, Alex realizes the answer to her question might be the man riding shotgun…

Bonus fun / awkward fact: one time I was at a restaurant with a group of friends, including a guy I had recently broken up with but were still on decent terms. Part of the restaurant’s gimmick is to write mean things on hats for everyone, and mine said “Why are all my exes gay?” which was reeeeally awkward with my ex-of-2-weeks sitting right there with his buddy. Uhh, sorry. 😅

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Zyla & Kai (6/7/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest!
Expected Release: June 7, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • This story of an unlikely couple — cynic and hopeless romantic — is one on my radar. I tend to enjoy that “grump & sunshine” trope in couples, no matter how much it annoys me sometimes, too. 😅I want to see them fall in love in flashbacks, and see the understanding between them grow into something more.
  • And yes, I expect flashbacks, because the crux of this novel is the mystery of their disappearance when they were broken up (or so everyone thought). I’m desperately hoping for a romantic elopment of some kind and not an ultimately sad story. I’m a little nervous about that though…
  • Considering this all happens on a mountain during a massive storm, I’m a bit worried that there might not be a happily-for-the-moment kind of ending. It might be trending that way and end with a tragic romeo-and-juliet mountainside rescue and/or double death. I don’t know. I’m in a rough place mentally so maybe that’s me projecting, because the cover CERTAINLY doesn’t look like it would go that direction. Just don’t break my heart here, Kristina Forest.

Summary

While on a school trip to the Poconos Mountains (in the middle of a storm) high school seniors, Zyla Matthews and Kai Johnson, run away together leaving their friends and family confused. As far as everyone knows, Zyla and Kai have been broken up for months. And honestly? Their break up hadn’t surprised anyone. Zyla and Kai met while working together at an amusement park the previous summer, and they couldn’t have been more different.

Zyla was a cynic about love. She’d witnessed the dissolution of her parents’ marriage early in life, and it left an indelible impression. Her only aim was graduating and going to fashion school abroad. Until she met Kai.

Kai was a serial monogamist and a hopeless romantic. He’d put a temporary pause on his dating life before senior year to focus on school and getting into his dream HBCU. Until he met Zyla.

Alternating between the past and present, we see the love story unfold from Zyla and Kai’s perspectives: how they first became the unlikeliest of friends over the summer, how they fell in love during the school year, and why they ultimately broke up… Or did they?

Romantic, heart-stirring and a little mysterious, Zyla & Kai will keep readers guessing until the last chapter.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: TJ Powar Has Something to Prove, 6/7/22

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo!
Expected Release: June 7, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Specific body positivity topics are more common in the past couple of years, and I love it! This one focuses on body hair, and a classically pretty, popular girl who puts her foot — and shaving razor — down.
  • This sounds like a story where people will be put in their damn place for being shitty people. And yo: I’m here for it. TJ is a debater, and a good one, so she is in perfect position to clap back at these assholes.
  • OOoooh and of course there’s romance. Sounds like it’s the kind where she tries to deny it, too, but just can’t quite pretend otherwise even to herself. Ahhh, young love. ^.^

Summary

When TJ Powar—a pretty, popular debater—and her cousin Simran become the subject of a meme: with TJ being the “expectation” of dating an Indian girl and her Sikh cousin who does not remove her body hair being the “reality”—TJ decides to take a stand.

She ditches her razors, cancels her waxing appointments, and sets a debate resolution for herself: “This House Believes That TJ Powar can be her hairy self, and still be beautiful.” Only, as she sets about proving her point, she starts to seriously doubt anyone could care about her just the way she is—even when the infuriating boy from a rival debate team seems determined to prove otherwise.

As her carefully crafted sense of self begins to crumble, TJ realizes that winning this debate may cost her far more than the space between her eyebrows. And that the hardest judge to convince of her arguments might just be herself.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Two Nights in Lisbon 5/24/22

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone!
Expected Release: May 24, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • 1The setting, of course. I love books set in places that aren’t where I am, and Lisbon, Portugal is one of those places. This seems like a book that will track all through the city so I’ll see it a bit.
  • The mystery! I love a good amnesiac episode of trying to find out who you are. Siri, Who Am I? was a surprisingly good title, and The End of Getting Lost feels like it will have similar vibes to this one as well. Both were fab!
  • Who is the one person she doesn’t want to ask for help!? The blurb ends with that juicy little tidbit, so on top of the “who am i where am I” mystery, there’s definitely going to be some tension elsewhere as well. It must be someone she meets during the process or else she wouldn’t remember them, right? So what new person is catching her attention?
  • OH AND ALSO ITS BY THE GUY WHO WROTE THE EXPATS!!! That book was one I picked up I don’t even know how, and it was SO GOOD. I still think about that book. I recommended it to my mom and she loved it too. I didn’t realize Chris Pavone wrote it as well until literally just now when I saw the byline on the cover and yoooo I’m even more excited and maybe actually preordering this one now. 😍

Summary

Ariel Price wakes up in Lisbon, alone. Her husband is gone—no warning, no note, not answering his phone. Something is wrong.

She starts with hotel security, then the police, then the American embassy, at each confronting questions she can’t fully answer: What exactly is John doing in Lisbon? Why would he drag her along on his business trip? Who would want to harm him? And why does Ariel know so little about her new—much younger—husband?

The clock is ticking. Ariel is increasingly frustrated and desperate, running out of time, and the one person in the world who can help is the one person she least wants to ask.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Lesbiana’s Guide To Catholic School 5/17

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonoroa Reyes!
Expected Release: May 17, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I don’t know much about Catholicism or Catholic school, but I do have a feeling non-straight-ness is not usually smiled at. I hope I’m wrong about that, but at least in Yamilet’s experience in this book, it’s definitely the case. So it’s probably going to be pretty uncomfortable navigating her Catholic school as a lesbian.
  • And also as a Mexican. Jeez, not only does this girl have to deal with the judgment of her outward appearance as a Mexican in a very white rich school, but her inner self as well (though can we all just get each other’s noses out of sexual preferences unless you’re being invited into those sexual preferences??).
  • Clearly she’s dealing with a lot, and I can’t wait to read the moment when she sheds her fear and is able to embrace her whole self without fear of repercussions. Plus that can’t-resist love is always a pull (though hopefully it’s not just a “she’s the only option” kind of scenario).

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way.

After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami.

The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. So cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Ghosts of Rose Hill, 5/10/22

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero!
Expected Release: May 10, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • What immediately grabbed me about this title (besides the cover) is that it’s written in verse & prose. I’m curious to see how the poetic elements will be included, and if it will blend seamlessly or have sharp divides or maybe somewhere between. I love books that have a bit of both, though, like If I Tell You The Truth and Other Words For Home.
  • I don’t read many books with Jewish protagonists, and I’d like to change that. This story happens to focus specifically on the character’s Jewish heritage, as Ilana travels to Prague and meets a young ghost boy in an old cemetery. So far, this is giving me major The Graveyard Book vibes.
  • Definitely some kind of mysticism in this one! Obviously there are ghosts, but the apparent villain of the story has some kind of magic, and I’m getting the feeling that it’s not the most benevolent kind.

Summary

Sent to stay with her aunt in Prague and witness the humble life of an artist, Ilana Lopez—a biracial Jewish girl—finds herself torn between her dream of becoming a violinist and her immigrant parents’ desire for her to pursue a more stable career.

When she discovers a forgotten Jewish cemetery behind her aunt’s cottage, she meets the ghost of a kindhearted boy named Benjamin, who died over a century ago. As Ilana restores Benjamin’s grave, he introduces her to the enchanted side of Prague, where ghosts walk the streets and their kisses have warmth.

But Benjamin isn’t the only one interested in Ilana. Rudolph Wassermann, a man with no shadow, has become fascinated with her and the music she plays. He offers to share his magic, so Ilana can be with Benjamin and pursue her passion for violin. But after Ilana discovers the truth about Wassermann and how Benjamin became bound to the city, she resolves to save the boy she loves, even if it means losing him—forever.