Books With Romances I Actually Enjoyed

Top Ten Tuesday(77)

Hello my fellow book lovers!

I think it’s safe to say if you’ve been following me for a bit that you all know that I am not the biggest fan of YA romances, romance heavy plots, or just the romance genre in general. However, I promise you my heart is not completely made of ice! Here are a few of books that had romances that melted even my heart!

Also just a fun little side note that I had “We Go Together” from Grease stuck in my head the entire time I wrote this for some reason:

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So of course I’m going to be talking freely about the romances in these books and why I loved them so much and as a result there will be potential spoilers for some of the books. Some books it comes pretty obvious who is going to get involved with who but a few of these are surprises so here is the spoiler warning!

**** Please note that there are potential romance related  spoilers for the following books: The Night Circus, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Queens of Geek, The Diabolic, And I Darken, My Lady Jane, The Forbidden Wish, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Winner’s Curse, and Six of Crows!!*****

Anyways! I will link up my full reviews for each title if I have them!

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Celia and Marco’s romance is subtle, magical, and star-crossed what’s not to love about all of that? Their romance does have elements of insta-love but I honestly didn’t mind it at all since it felt like they were fated to be together from the very first pages (which of course they were since that’s what the book is about but you get what I mean!). They’re the kind of pairing that felt destined, like soul mates and I couldn’t wait for them to be together!

I don’t have a full review up for this book unfortunately, I just don’t know how to review it!


The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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This romance is between Aladdin and Zahra, the genie of the lamp, and as the title implies it’s a bit of a forbidden relationship. There were no tropes present here at all and Aladdin and Zahra’s relationship actually takes quite a while to develop, a nice slow-burn romance if you will. I was so desperate for them to get together while reading and was so satisfied when it finally happened!

You can read my full review of “The Forbidden Wish” here.


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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I don’t think I’ve shipped a paring so hard in a long time! Monty and Percy were straight up adorable and I think what made me ship it even harder was that they were both so clueless to the other’s feelings that they spent a majority of the book thinking their love was unrequited! They’ve been friends forever though and we start the book with both of them secretly loving the other so there aren’t any tropes such as insta-love here!

I do have a full review up for this book!

I just can’t link it since both posts were pre-scheduled as I am currently on vacation sorry for the inconvenience but if you’d like to read it you can search for it under my review index or search bar!


Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

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Love, love, loved the romances in this book! There are two different relationships that develop throughout the story and that would be between Taylor x Jamie who have been friends for a while already and Charlie x Alyssa two YouTube vloggers we also get to see some awesome diversity here since Charlie is Chinese-Australian and Alyssa is African- American and both are bisexual. Plus on top of all of that the romances are just so positive, fluffy, and adorable!

You can read my full review of “Queens of Geek” here.


The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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Nemesis and Tyrus kind of  had a “forbidden love” romance and there were definitely NO tropes or cliches with it either this was a complete slow burn romance and it definitely is secondary to the plot. I think that Nemesis and Tyrus fit so well together because they’re both ruthless but also with a strong underlying goodness to them. I also spent a good chunk of the book waiting for them to just love each other already! 

You can read my full review of “The Diabolic” here.


And I Darken by Kiersten White

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The romance definitely isn’t the only thing going on in this book which is probably part of why I liked it so much, it was more in the background. There definitely isn’t any insta-love at all and it’s actually quite a slow-burn romance, however, there is a love triangle but it isn’t your typical love triangle since it’s two sibling competing for the same man and is completely unrequited on the one side. It’s actually really complicated now that I think about it….

Anyways I really wanted Lada and Mehmed to get together just because they both spent so much time pining after one another in secret. The tension! I just wanted them to kiss!

You can read my full review of “And I Darken” here.


My Lady Jane by Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton, and Cynthia Hand

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While this may not be the most swoon-worthy romance to me it was still amazing because it was slow-burn and trope-free! Jane and Gifford were extremely cute and adorable and I loved how they disliked each other right away but slowly grew to care for one another by being themselves. It was realistic!

You can read my full review of “My Lady Jane” here.


The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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This was one of those books that I thought was going to be a mess of YA romance tropes but fortunately I was proved very wrong! There is no insta-love, no love triangles, or anything! Kestrel and Aren’s romance is very much slow-burn and forbidden love but I loved all of it! I felt that both characters were just really good for each other as well.

You can read my full review of “The Winner’s Curse” here.


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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The romance between Karou and Akiva is a little rocky for me because on one hand it’s very much insta-love (even though that’s justified later on) but on the other hand I loved the forbidden romance elements in this story. I think when characters can’t be together my brain rebels and declares “THEY MUST BE TOGETHER NOW!”, I’m seeing a pattern here. I digress, I really liked how well developed their romance was though and blame any misgivings I have on the romance due to the fact that I’m not the hugest fan of Akiva in the first place…I’m just not.

You can read my full review of “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” here.


Honorable Mentions

(aka romances I also enjoyed but not enough to go into great detail)

  • Alice by Christina Henry
  • The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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Have you read any of these books as well? What did you think?

Did you enjoy any of these romances or not so much?

What are some of your favorite bookish romances?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Book Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

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When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

review

This is the wonderful kind of book that I’m going to go around recommending to everyone all the time. It’s full of diversity and fandom culture which let’s face it we need more books with either or both! I found it to be so relatable on all levels and I feel it would be the same for many other readers as well.

PLOT

Of course one of the biggest reasons I enjoyed this book was because of how well I thought it handled many issues from sexism, racism, homophobia, slut shaming, fat shaming, and girl on girl hate. The characters, when confronted with these issues in the book, handled them in a very positive way and I loved it. There were many scenes where the characters were put down by others for things such as their sexuality, weight, or mental illness but they fired back and didn’t let people judge or hate on them!

There’s also a ton of diversity as well but I’ll get into that in my “characters” section.

One of the other BEST parts about this book was all of the fandom and geek culture, this is the kind of stuff I live and breathe for you guys! I’m that person who will bust through a wall if I hear even the slightest reference to something nerdy that I love so of course a book that has tons of said references has me all moony-eyed and in love!

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So I absolutely loved all of the references from cosplayers dressed as Captain Malcolm Reynolds to Taylor and Jamie’s Supernatural love and countless movie quotes! However, being the greedy little geek that I am I would have loved to see even more fandom references throughout the story since you know…they are at a convention.

The only little problem I had with “Queens of Geek”would be that I felt there wasn’t really any story going on. It mostly consists of the characters doing panels or walking around looking at merchandise at SupaCon and the two growing relationships between the characters. There really isn’t anything else going on and between all of the convention events and things and the relationships you don’t notice too terribly but I personally would have enjoyed if there was a little something else added to the plot to make things more interesting.

The writing was also very simple and easy to read, I enjoyed it!

characters

This is also probably one of the most diverse books I’ve had the pleasure of reading and I thought the representation was also well done. We have the two main characters: Charlie who is a Chinese-Australian, bisexual vlogger and Taylor who is the “chubby” girl somewhere on the Autism spectrum who also suffers from anxiety.

I have to say what made this book so much more relatable to me was Taylor and her anxiety, I just felt a connection to her and it was so amazing to see someone with anxiety represented this well. I loved how her friends would help her through it and how she found ways, such as her love of Queen Firestone and other geeky things, to help her get through her anxiety attacks. I personally suffer from anxiety as well and I thought the way anxiety was represented in this story was very, very well done.

I can’t speak for the representation of Taylor’s autism or Charlie’s bisexuality but I do know that Jen Wilde is autistic and bisexual as well (so I discovered via Twitter) so this is an Own Voices book and I feel she probably portrayed it very well!

I loved Charlie and Taylor’s friendship and it was awesome to see a positive representation of female friendship!

As for the secondary characters I would have loved to have seen a little more development with Jamie and Alyssa but I still loved them and how adorkable they were! There were also many other side characters that were gay, POC, or also had autism and I thought they were all handled very sensitively as well.

Also just a quick side note on Reese Ryan, Charlie’s ex: I fucking hated his guts. I would have liked to have seen him learn a good, hard lesson in this story but I loved how Charlie, Taylor, and Jamie all put him in his place later on. Still, I felt they went too easy on him because he was AWFUL! I get that he was supposed to be the sort of antagonist of the story and represented the people out there that are sexist and homophobic (among other things as well) but I still hated his guts! I wanted to transport myself into the story when he would go after the characters and say hurtful things and kick his ass!

romance

This book is ALL about that romance! Usually I am not one for contemporary romances but everything in “Queens of Geek” is so ADORABLE AND FLUFFY AND CUTE!

I was completely sold on both relationships in this story: Jamie x Taylor and Charlie x Alyssa. Both couples were so dorky, adorable, and sweet! I also really loved how both relationships were very positive as well there was no mistreatment at all between all of them.

There was quite a bit of insta-love in this story but it was the kind of insta-love that I really didn’t mind, which really says something since it’s one of my most hated tropes in YA!

in conclusion

Overall very, very happy with this book and there was just so much POSITIVITY from being body positive to being mental health positive.

What I Loved:

  • Diversity to the max!
  • Issues were handled very well
  • Anxiety rep was also handled very, very well
  • Positive depiction of female friendship
  • Positivity everywhere!
  • Fandom and geek culture representation and references
  • Adorable, sweet relationships
  • Fun, amazing characters

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Reese Ryan (seriously I would destroy this guy)
  • Would have liked a little bit more of an overall story-line
  • More geeky references would have been great too
  • More development for Jamie and Alyssa

RECOMMEND

YES! I highly, highly recommend checking out this book period but especially if you’re looking for a well represented diverse and Own Voices book or if you’re just looking for a fun, geeky fandom book! This book is hands down amazing!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Prettiest Covers On My TBR

Top Ten Tuesday (21)

Hello my fellow book lovers!

I could honestly do nothing but posts about book covers, I love book covers! So today I’m going to share with you guys the prettiest covers of books I still have on my TBR! I do own physical copies of most of these books with the exception of two, so it’s worse because their pretty covers stare at me accusingly wondering why I haven’t read them yet….

Anywho! There are also a TON of beautiful covers for books I’ve read, because I’m more likely to read the book sooner if the cover is pretty and shiny. Why? I suspect I may be part Niffler…..

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But I will be doing up another post in the future mentioning my favorite pretty covers for books I’ve read! Also probably another post about pretty covers on my TBR as well because there definitely are a ton more!

Enjoy!

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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I’m not 100% sure if I’ll truly enjoy this book or not since it sort of has mixed reviews even though it’s such a hyped book! Although I have to say I’m willing to risk it for that gorgeously, dark looking cover!


Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith

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I remember seeing this before it was released in 2015 and HAD to have it because it’s got “Inception” vibes and this beautiful cover! Of course I still haven’t read it though because I’m a terrible person……But anyways it’s about espionage inside of dreams so it sounds awesome!


Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

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Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I love how the black contrasts the orange and purple and makes them pop so much more, plus that peacock is so pretty! I also really like how there are throwing stars mixed in with the flowers it just makes it a little bit more badass.


Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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I pretty much love ALL of Rosamund Hodge’s covers because they’re always this gorgeous! I think the way the stairs wind into the rose petals is really unique and the font is also really pretty as well. I didn’t really enjoy reading “Crimson Bound” her other book but I’m hoping maybe I’ll like this one better.


After The Woods by Kim Savage

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A huge part of why I ended up buying this book was because of the cover, I mean it’s just so beautiful and I love all the shades of green. It’s a mystery thriller and the premise sounds a lot darker than the cover would make you think!


Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

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Probably one of my favorite covers ever! I really love birch trees so that’s probably a big part of it but I also love the way the cover looks like it’s burning away. Very unique and very pretty! I have heard this book is quite the blend of genres too with some fantasy, paranormal creatures, western, and steampunk!


The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

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I really love the starry smoke (if that even makes sense?) that’s on here as well as the gorgeous orange sunset! I’ve also heard that the writing is very beautiful as well so really I think I could say judge this book by its cover.


Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor 

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This is the UK cover even though the US one is pretty as well, I really love the blue and the sort of constellation looking patterns on it as well. Plus the back has some pretty galaxy patterns! I’m not a big fan of moths at all but the cover is so pretty that I can easily look past it.


Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

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It probably might sound a little weird to say that I find the dead flowers pretty? I think it’s really neat looking with them popping out of the frame and I think it fits the title really well since it’s all about a bad romance, hence the dead flowers.


Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

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I love, love, love the pink hair on this cover! I don’t know why but something about pink hair to me is just gorgeous and awesome. I also like how it weaves through the font too it just adds a little more to the cover. I’m currently reading and loving this book too by the way!

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Do you think any of these covers are gorgeous as well? 

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? 

What are some of your favorite covers on your TBR?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

June TBR

Top Ten Tuesday(61)

Well I think it’s safe to say that I’m getting better about sticking to my TBRs but also I always seem to be a little too ambitious! I still have 2 books left over from May (The Hundredth Queen and In Real Life) I’m currently working to finish too, not to mention I’m getting further behind in my Goodreads reading challenge. However, I do have a couple ARCs that I’m going to read this month as well as some books I feel are more summery-y.

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The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

The Disappearances

After Aila and Miles’ mother dies they return to live in her old hometown of Sterling where every seven years something disappears such as reflections, the scent of flowers, or even the ability to dream. The people of Sterling always suspected Aila’s mother, Juliet, and now Aila must bear the blame as she follows her mother’s clues to find out why the Disappearances really occur.

I actually received an ARC of this book and I’m very excited to get into it! It sounds like a very mysterious and magical story that might have some slower pacing but will probably still be interesting. Sometimes Magical Realism gets boring for me but I’m hoping this one will be good!


Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook

This is, obviously, a retelling of Peter Pan from Captain Hook’s POV and also sort of an origin story for Hook too. It’s also a very dark, horror retelling about how Hook went from being Peter’s favorite Lost Boy to his greatest enemy.

First of all I am 100% down to read ANY Peter Pan retelling ESPECIALLY a dark, horror-y one, ESPECIALLY if it’s by Christina Henry. This book is basically everything I have ever wanted! I really loved Henry’s retelling of Alice in Wonderland so I’m expecting to love this one too. I will be receiving an ARC here sometime at the beginning of the month and I’m pumped!


Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Dangerous Girls

A senior spring break trip to Aruba with friends, one ends up being murdered and the other is being accused for it. Anna must now try and find her friend’s real killer.

Your typical YA thriller but maybe with a great twist? Who knows, all I know is everybody seems to love this one! Plus it definitely has a very summer-y vibe going on which makes this the perfect time to finally read it!


Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Queens of Geek

Three friends attend SupaCon where they expect to have fun but don’t expect their lives to change forever. The tagline on the cover here pretty much says it all.

Everybody was ranting and raving about this book so I just had to grab a copy especially since it’s only 288 pages! I also feel like this being a more “geeky” book I’ll be able to relate a lot to the characters too!


Bonus Book! (If I’m actually ambitious and get to it!)

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

What We Saw

Kate remembers most of the things that happened at John Doone’s part: pictures with Stacey and Ben getting her home early and maybe becoming more than just a childhood friend….However, a picture appears the next day online of Stacey passed out at the party and presses charges against four classmates, Kate questions if she really had all the details that night especially where Ben was when the crime occurred.

It actually took me a long time to decide I could stomach this book, everyone really loves this one and I wanted to give it a try. The reason I wasn’t too sure about this one is because the central story revolves around a gang-rape and I honestly get really squirmy and squeamish with anything dealing with sexual abuse, but I think it will be a very worth while story regardless.

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Are any of these books on your TBR?

Have you read any of these, what did you think?

What are you planning on reading this month?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy