I read only 5 books last month and I am sorely disappointed in myself folks. I can do WAY better than that. But it’s fine cause I’m already making up for it this month. I unfortunately only read two books with Asian rep for AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Heritage Month. I’ll finish many more by the end of the year though!
🔺Diverse Books Read: 2/5
🔺New Adult/Adult Books Read: 4/5
🔺Middle Grade Books Read: 0
🔺Young Adult Books Read: 1/5
🔺Graphic Novels Read: 0
🔺Novellas/Anthologies Read: 0
🔺Favorite reads of the month: Roomies, Poison Study, Spin the Dawn
🔺Least favorite read(s): The Chase
🔺Longest Book Read: Spin the Dawn (418 pages)
🔺Shortest Book Read: Trade Me (337 pages)
Roomies by Christina Lauren
This was first time reading a Christina Lauren book outside of their Wild Seasons series. It was quite a different experience! The Wild Seasons books are much steamier and sexually explicit. Not that this one doesn’t have explicit sex cause it does, it’s just not quite as….I dunno….prominent? A little toned down? Which is fine! It was just an adjustment of expectations. I immediately got to reading this one after someone on twitter mentioned a certain very entertaining scene from it. I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was sweet and messy and awkward as hell in the best way possible. I loved that Holland had a crush on Calvin for months before they actually officially talked and the fact that they arranged a fake marriage thing to get him green card and all while Calvin had no idea she was basically in love with him. HELL YES. I also loved Holland’s relationship with her uncle and his husband and how they were like dads to her. Their relationship was very sweet. I highly related to her complicated and messy friendship with her bestie as well. I did feel that the ending was a little rushed, which is my only complaint aside from the toned down steaminess
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Chase by Elle Kennedy
This is the first Elle Kennedy book I’ve read outside of her Off Campus series. I didn’t enjoy it quiiiiite as much as her other books but it was still entertaining. I’m one of those weird people who kinda likes miscommunication tropes in romances, so this was fun to read in that aspect and the sex scenes were just as sexy as always. There were some scenes and lines here and there that were a bit ‘problematic’ and rubbed me wrong. I felt like the creepy, predatory professor aspect was well written but I didn’t really like how an attempted assault (against another character not Summer) was used as a plot device or how much girl on girl rivalry there was. I think there was plenty of girl empowerment to make up for it though. I did like how Summer was a girl passionate about clothes and hair and makeup and how the stereotypes regarding the intelligence of these kinds of girls was challenged. Overall it was a (relatively) lighthearted, fun read.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
I loved this Mulan retelling! It had so many things I love: the girl-disguised-as-a-boy trope, a mischievous and soft male love interest, forbidden romance, and a magical and dangerous adventure during which love blooms. The journey across lands and the dangers the face and the mutual love that grows between Maia and Edan-that was definitely my favorite part. Although I loved the sewing competition in the palace too cause that was dramatic and suspenseful, wondering who would win and not knowing who Maia could trust. I loved Maia’s stubborn determination and Edan’s gentleness and supportiveness and I loved how cute they were together. I really just loved everything about Spin the Dawn. The ending absolutely killed me and I can’t wait for the sequel!! So sad I have to wait an entire year for book 2.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Poison Study by Maria V Snyder
I read this book back in highschool…..and didn’t even realize until I was about halfway through the audio book. Oops. So it’s technically a re-read. I had completely forgot about it though. But that’s definitely not due to it being bad or unmemorable-I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just think I read it at the wrong time, if that makes sense. It’s ‘older YA’ although I think it’s technically adult. The main character is 19. I’m not usually one for huge age gaps but I thought the romance between Yelena and Valek (who’s like 32) was done really well. It was built on trust and honesty and respect, even if it took awhile to get there, and even though he was in a position of authority over her, he never once abused that power. I loved the friendships that Yelena formed too, and the forbidden magic aspects and how Yelena had to fight with all she had against everyone trying to take her down. Trigger warning for rape flashbacks if you wanna read this one-they get pretty detailed. And there’s attempted assault a few times in the present too. It didn’t feel like it was used as a plot device to me, rather just a part of Yelena’s past that didn’t define her. Overall, this was an exiting and unforgettable read. The audio book narrator was also amazing and made the experience ten times better.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Trade Me by Courtney Milan
Trade Me is my first read by Courtney Milan and I throughly enjoyed it! It has a very unique story line-a poor girl and a rich boy decide to trade lives for a short period of time, and as they come to understand each other more, they fall for each other hard. It had some pacing issues-I was like halfway through and it felt like they hardly knew each other and hardly anything had happened-but then it picked up and really improved and I was impressed with how real their relationship felt. I liked Tina’s complicated relationship with her mother-tbh her mother frustrated me a whole lot but in the end I came to understand her more and I liked how their relationship grew once Tina was finally honest with her. I think this is the first adult romance I’ve read with an Asian heroine? It’s own voices, so the rep is authentic and I could tell the author wrote from experience. Also this is the first time I’ve ever come across a piece of media in which a male character has an eating disorder-Blake has a problem with under eating and it just felt so realistic and it was heartbreaking to read but was really well done. Blake’s relationship with his father was another super complicated relationship in this book and just like with Tina’s mom, I kinda hated him at first but came to really understand him and Blake’s relationship with him. Overall this book was a wonderful introduction to Courtney’s books! Can’t wait to read the next book in this series, which has a trans woman of color heroine.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars