Fat Chance, Charlie Vega (Crystal Maldonado)

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is the first novel by Crystal Maldonado.
Finished on: 8.7.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) fatmisia, diet culture, racism

Plot:
Charlie and her parents used to be a good team, but since her dad died, her mom has gotten obsessed with her own weight – and with Charlie’s. Constantly leaving her diet suggestions, Charlie feels that her mother is never happy with her. It feels like the only person who is firmly in her corner is Amelia – who is everything that Charlie is not: beautiful. Athletic. Popular. In a relationship with a cute boy. When Brian takes an interest in Charlie, instead of easier, things get even more complicated for her.

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is an absolutely lovely, wonderful and cute book that I wished I could have read when I was a (fat) teenager. But better now than never!

The book cover showing a fat, Brown girl with glasses in front of a few flowers.
Continue reading

Felix Ever After (Kacen Callender)

Felix Ever After is a novel by Kacen Callender.
Finished on: 25.6.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) transmisia, queermisia

Plot:
Felix is a student at an art school, hoping to get into a good college to pursue his art further. He therefore attends summer school with his best friend Ezra. He is also Black, trans, queer and desperate to fall in love for the first time, but secretly afraid that he has one marginalized identity too many. And maybe he is not all that sure about his identities anyway. Before he figures anything out, though, Felix arrives in school one morning to find pre-transitions photos of himself and his deadname plastered all over the school gallery. Suspecting his classmate and rival Declan, Felix hatches a plan to make him pay. But that plan leads him somewhere else entirely.

Felix Ever After is wonderful. Simply wonderful. It’s the kind of novel that queer people everywhere should grow up with, really. It made my heart swell in the best of ways.

The book cover showing an illustration of a Black guy in a tank top. His arms are covered in small tattoos, he is wearing a flower crown and underneath the tank top, we can just make out scars from top surgery.
Continue reading

The Duchess War (Courtney Milan)

The Duchess War is the first novel in the Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan.
Finished on: 23.5.2021
[Here’s my review of the prequel novella.]

Plot:
Minnie has perfected the art of going unnoticed. Afer a scandal forced her to change her name, she had no other choice. Now all she needs is a husband to find some security in her life. Impoverished and with her secret, she doesn’t have much choice. That is why she really can’t have it that none other than the Duke of Clermont, Robert Blaisdell, seems to actually notice her. His curiosity about her is a threat, and Minnie is determined to uncover his secrets first to protect herself. This decision leads both of them down unexpected paths.

The Duchess War is a really sweet book with wonderful protagonists and a good plot that makes good use of the period it is set in. More importantly, it’s easy to root for Millie and Robert and to enjoy their falling in love.

The book cover showing a woman from behind, in a red dress with a huge skirt. She has flowers in her hair.
Continue reading

Rafe (Rebekah Weatherspoon)

Rafe is the first novel in the Loose Ends series by Rebekah Weatherspoon.
Finished on: 11.5.2021

Plot:
After a hard divorce and a move across the country, Dr. Sloan Copeland has built a new life for herself and her twin daughters. But that life is seriously threatened when she returns home one day from work to find her live-in nanny just up and left. Sloan has to figure something out quickly, and after the last catastrophic nanny, it has to be a very good solution. That’s when a friend recommends Rafe Whitcomb. Rafe has been working as a nanny for a few families and comes highly recommended, even though he – tall, bearded, tattooed – doesn’t necessarily look the part. Rafe was thinking of leaving the nanny life behind, but can’t leave Sloan in a lurch, and the kids take a liking to him fast. That both Sloan and Rafe find each other very attractive could make things more difficult though.

Rafe is a sweet, quick read that I could fall into very well. It may not become an absolute favorite, but I definitely enjoyed the hell out of it.

The book cover showing a red-haired man with a beard and a tattoo of a heart on his neck.
Continue reading

Up For Air (Christina Berry)

Up For Air is the first novel in the Lost in Austin series by Christina Berry.
Finished on: 6.5.2021
[I won this book in a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give Away.]

Plot:
Ari met Greg and Jake when they were just teenagers. Jake became her best friend, and Greg her husband soon after. Ari has left a very shelterd life that way for 12 years, but a funeral causes her to take stock of her life, and the bottom line is that Ari isn’t happy anymore. She feels limited and suffocated by her lack of experiences. So she asks Greg whether they could open their marriage to try new things. To her surprise, Greg agrees and their decision pushes them both on new paths. But where those paths lead, they could not have foreseen.

Up For Air is a really good read with nice characters and a good understanding of what its story is actually writing about. There were a couple of moments where I wanted to get my own editing pen out, to polish things a little more, but other than that, I really enjoyed it.

The book cover showing a pair of discarded chucks and behind them two feet in fishnet stockings, putting on high heels.
Continue reading

Cherish Hard (Nalini Singh)

Cherish Hard is the first novel in the Hard Play series by Nalini Singh.
Finished on: 11.4.2021
[Here’s my review of Rock Hard that is the last of this series, but also second of her Rock Kiss series.]

Plot:
Ísa dreams of having the kind of stable family she never had growing up. But for that she first needs to find a partner who is just as ready to settle down as she is. The hot gardener working at her school, Sailor, does not fit that bill. Running his own business with ambitious plans for his future and a few years younger than her, he is certainly not the kind of guy she is looking for. And yet, Ísa can’t keep her eyes off him. When fate, or rather Ísa’s CEO mother, forces them to work together, it’s the possibility for Sailor to convince Ísa that he is in it for the long haul – because he is head over heels for her.

Cherish Hard is a fun read, but not one of Singh’s best novels, I’d say. I liked both Ísa and Sailor, but I wasn’t as invested in their story as I would have liked – or even expected to be.

The book cover showing a shirtless man with a shovel in his hand.
Continue reading

A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas (Jackie Lau)

A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas is the second novel(la) in the Holiday with the Wongs series by Jackie Lau.
Finished on: 29.3.2021
[Here’s my review of the first book.]

Plot:
When his mother tells Greg that she has arranged everything for Greg to give his ex-girlfriend Tasha a ride back home from Toronto for the holidays, Greg is dismayed. Not just because he likes to have his peace while driving, but also because he knows it’s an attempt from his mother to get them back together. But there is no backing out now. And then, of course, Greg and Tasha have to stop overnight to wait out a snowstorm. Just maybe Greg’s mother was on to something, though.

A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas is another sweet and fun read that I found very enjoyable, although I didn’t completely love it.

The book cover showing a car with presents on the roof in front of a house with a pine tree next to it.
Continue reading

The Governess Affair (Courtney Milan)

The Governess Affair is a prequel novella of the Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan.
Finished on: 28.3.2021

Content Note: rape

Plot:
Three months ago, Serena Barton was kicked out from her position as a governess in the Duke of Clermont’s household. But she is unwilling to let that dismissal stand. She seeks reparations from the Duke. The Duke asked is right-hand man Hugo Marshall, nicknamed the Wolf of Clermont for his bargaining techniques, to make sure that Serena goes away without a fuss. But Hugo finds that Serena is a tougher opponent than he suspected at first.

The Governess Affair is a sweet story that had me smiling, and also fanning myself. I really enjoyed it and would have liked it to be longer.

The book cover showing a woman in a yellow ball gown.
Continue reading

A Match Made for Thanksgiving (Jackie Lau)

A Match Made for Thanksgiving is the first novel(la) in the Holidays with the Wongs series by Jackie Lau.
Finished on: 7.3.2021

Plot:
Nick Wong loves the big city life in Toronto, especially being able to meet new women all the time and taking them back to his penthouse. One of these women is Lily Tseng who just got out of a relationship and is trying to not take things so seriously for now. But after Nick and Lily part in the morning, they are both still thinking about each other – without knowing that the other is in the same position. When Nick returns home for Thanksgiving, he finds that his parents have set him and his siblings up on blind dates for the night. And Lily is one of those dates – meant for his brother Greg. But having Lily walk into his life for a second time, Nick is not willing to let her go again.

A Match Made for Thanksgiving was a quick, sweet read that knows what tropes are for and uses them well. A word of warning, though: do not read it while hungry.

The book cover showing a table full of classic thanksgiving food, but also ramen.
Continue reading

Angelfall (L. Penelope)

Angelfall is the second novel in the Eternal Flame series by L. Penelope.
Finished on: 21.02.2021
[Here’s my review of the first novel.]

Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism

Plot:
Lyrix is the first angel to emerge in a thousand years. This means that she is still closest to the angels’ power source and should become a Seraph – one of the four angel leaders – relieving the fifth youngest angel. But Lyrix feels that she needs to explore the world a little more. That includes spending time with Wren. He is angelborn – his mother is an angel, his father human – and thus at the very bottom of the angel hierarchy. He, too, feels pulled towards Lyrix. But there is no room for their relationship in their world – so they hope that maybe in the human world, they are allowed some freedom.

Angelfall is a nice, quick and very enjoyable read but I also have to admit that I’m not too sad that there aren’t any more novels in the series. Though if Penelope ever continues writing it, I might pick it up anyway.

The book cover showing a woman from the nose down in a ripped shirt, below her a cityscape.
Continue reading