So I have slowly started reading again after the pandemic and boy has it been amazing!
The kind folk over at St Martin’s press sent me a few review copies which I enjoyed immensely and once I was done, I went straight to my bookshelf and picked out my next reads. Here are the books that are currently on my TBR list.
Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting: This is the last book that I read and I loved so very much. This is a sweet best-friends-to-lovers book and while usually I detest this trope, this book does it beautifully.
A Reckless Match by Kate Bateman: Anything by Kate Bateman is a winner in my books. I’m currently reading this and it is such a thrill.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi- I’m listening to the audiobook of this and honestly it really isn’t doing much for me. I think I might switch to ebook or paperback since I knew I loved the book when I picked it up on a whim. It was supposed to be a read just to pass time but it really sucked me in.
What are you currently reading? Do you have any recommendations for books that helped you out of a pandemic slump? I’d love to know below.
I’ve been interested in reading “Tales from the Hinterland” since the first time I picked up “The Hazel Wood”. Let me just say this book does not disappoint. “Tales from the Hinterland” is full of spooky illustrations and captivating tales that stay with you long after you’ve finished the novel. I especially enjoyed seeing characters and stories I remembered from “The Hazel Wood”. This was a well-written read that flows beautifully and can be finished in one setting. Even if you haven’t read “The Hazel Wood”, if you’re a fan of spooky fairytales, I definitely recommend this book for you
So previously I had never heard of “The Blue Salt Road” and since I hate trying anything new. I hardly ever try new authors/books. Except I came across a hardcover copy that belonged to a co-worker and the illustrations were oh so pretty. So I decided to give this book a go and I most certainly did not regret it. “The Blue Salt Road” tells the story of a selkie who decided to explore the land despite the warnings against it from of his own kind. They tell him that the people on land will kill him if they come to know of his true nature. But naturally he ignores his family and friends and goes on land regardless. He soon meets a female and is attracted to her. They spend a few nights together and she soon falls pregnant with child. The female decides to trap him and steal his memories to bound him to her. While this was a really well-written story, I was convinced that it was going to be a love story so that twist left me speechless. Which was fine because lots of other twists were on their way too. The whole book is totally unexpected however I loved it. If you’re a fan of fantasy, definitely give this a go.
I absolutely loved Thorn. So it was a no-brainer that I would read this when I found it on Scribd recently. “Brambles” tells the full story of how Alyrra earned the contempt of her family and even her closest friend. It’s a story that is briefly mentioned in “Thorn” but while I STILL don’t get the cruelty of those around her (Alyrra did the right thing. Guess that makes us both silly, naive geese. It’s cool. We don’t mind) it was enlightening to see the full story. The short story took is quick to read but packs a quick emotional punch. We also get to see how her relationship with the magical wind starts. “Thorn” was one of the last books I truly enjoyed before Covid and “Brambles” really took me back to that feeling of being involved in a story without really realizing you are reading a story.
Maddie is a free-spirited, kind-hearted designer who doesn’t know how to say no. Her ex, Chase Black, is a cheating scoundrel who has no qualms about being a jerk. So when Chase walks back into her life and demands that Maddie pretends to be his fiance, she takes great joy in refusing him. At first. But eventually Maddie realizes Chase just wants to act out an engagement in order to please his dying father. Maddie goes along with Chase’s plan in an attempt to help him and his family. But it isn’t long before she starts to develop genuine feelings for both him and his family. This was very different from L. J Shen’s usual work however I enjoyed it regardless. This was so much less angsty but still very beautiful and well-written. Chase Black is an asshole but it is hard not to root for him considering his messed-up past with his bro/cousin. Maddie reminded me of Jess from New Girl but she was adorable and I just wanted to see her get the happy ending she deserved. If you are a fan of contemporary romance, give this a go.
Cillian (or The Villian as the media likes to call him) is perfect. The perfect son. The perfect businessman. But he is also an awful human being. When all the bad press gets to be too much, Cillian has to either marry to soften his icy, unfeeling image or risk losing the business he gave up so much for. Persy Penrose is whimsical and kind- the total opposite of Cillian. She has also been in love with Cillian since the moment she first set eyes on him. When Persy needs money to pay off her deadbeat ex-husband’s debts, she turns to Cillian. The two of them strike a bargain- he will pay off the debt in return for Persy playing the role of the perfect wife and providing him with heirs. Their sham of a marriage comes with an NDA and a very long contract that both eventually start breaking. I loved returning to the world of Boston and I especially enjoyed seeing Hunter once more. Cillian was a difficult character to like in “Hunter” and I actually despised him. Surprisingly, it only took one chapter from this book to endear him to me. I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a romance book that you won’t be able to put down. L.J Shen is a gem and this book is no different!
When Diana Blade receives an invite from her sister-in-law to meet her brother after several years, she accepts it albeit reluctantly. But while she is trying to reconcile the man her brother is with the boy she knew growing up, she gets to know his best friend and brother-in-law, Caine MacGregor. Caine’s reputation precedes him- both personally and professionally. Diana has heard all about Caine and his conquests and has no desire to be another one of them. But when Caine decides to expand his practice, he picks Diana to be his partner. It isn’t long before the two have to start juggle their professional relationship with whatever is brewing between them romantically. I loved having another look at the MacGregor family. Daniel is hilarious as always with his constant demands of marriage and grandchildren. I don’t remember Caine that well from the first book but it was great seeing the family again and getting to know the characters of future books. If you’re looking for a quick and easy, I definitely recommend this book.
It took me a while to get into this novel but it was a nice sort of slow burn- sort of like West and Grace’s relationship. West is running away from his past traumas and his method of escape involves drugs, alcohol and fighting for money. Grace is trying to hide away from her past where she was involved in a fire that ruined her beauty. Her method of escape involves isolation, baseball caps and hoodies. When West signs up to work with Grace at her best friend’s food truck, no one expects anything to happen between them. The town’s hottie bad boy and the girl burned so badly she looks like toast? Highly unlikely. But the two strike up a friendship and the more time they spend together, the more they start to realize that they might not be that different after all. “Playing with Fire” was a book I looked forward to for a while but was reluctant to approach because it seemed too angsty. There is a whole lot of angst which is why I couldn’t binge read it the way I wanted to but I enjoyed reading this nonetheless. This is one of L.J Shen’s finest work and if you want to cry and feel good thereafter, this is the book for you.
“Finding Audrey” is the story of Audrey who is unable to leave her house or take off her sunglasses- even inside her own house. Something traumatic happened to her leaving Audrey scarred and unable to trust people. But then she meets Linus who decides to write Audrey little notes in order to help her get used to him. The two of them strike up a friendship and eventually with him at her side, Audrey is able to slowly face the world again. So I had a family member recommend this book to me because I don’t like leaving the house and I was annoyed with them so I never read this book at the time. Now that I have read it, I wish I had done so sooner (Story of my life). It is hard not to feel compassion for Audrey and while she never goes into the story of what happened to her, I was rooting for her throughout the book. Audrey makes me feel seen and reading this book calmed down my anxiety. 100 stars! (P.S feel free to send more recommendations like this my way)
So I bought this book for R10 at Readers Warehouse Black Friday sale like three years ago. I didn’t pick it up as I was still missing the remaining books. I got the remaining books last March and still didn’t start the series because I am a bad reader. In honor of how much things have changed (and also because my brain keeps thinking we are still in March, thanks Corona) I finally started reading and all I can say is WOW! Chloe’s first period comes with the startling side effects of her seeing dead people. When she has a very public mental breakdown, screaming at ghosts in her high school, she is moved to a group home with other “ill” students. However the more time that Chloe spends with her housemates, the more she starts to suspect that something sinister is going on. It certainly doesn’t help matters that even with her medication, ghosts are STILL trying to talk to her. I loved the idea of a group home with magically gifted teenagers. It isn’t something that I ever read before so I definitely enjoyed this book immensely. Kinda sad that it was just sitting there on my shelf for so long and I missed finding this series sooner but that’s the story of my life. If you like paranormal fantasy, definitely give this a try.