One Last Stop

For those that read Casey McQuiston’s first book “Red, White, and Royal Blue” and loved it just like me, you may have been worried that her follow up wouldn’t capture the charm and joy and romance of that story. Fear not.  If anything, “One Last Stop” manages to take everything I loved about that first book and take it one step further, showing McQuiston’s growth as an author and her understanding of people’s relationships with romantic partners as well as friends and family.  I read this book with a smile on my face the entire time and I think everyone will enjoy this one.

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Only When It’s Us

This was a delightful surprise.  I can’t remember where I first came across this book but when I read this description “frenemies-to-lovers, college sports romance about a women’s soccer star and her surly lumberjack lookalike classmate” I knew I wanted to read it.  There was more depth to this story than I expected and I found the romance to be sweet and realistic.  

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The Midnight Library

Sometimes, books get a lot of buzz, show up on numerous “best of lists,” get recommended by everyone you know and don’t live up to the hype.  At the end of last year it seemed I couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about Matt Haig’s newest book, and as much as I wanted to read it, I was worried the buildup would be too much and I would be left disappointed.  I am happy to say that this book was everything I had hoped it would be. 

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Cemetery Boys

How I adored this book!  I am not the intended audience for Aiden Thomas’s book but still found myself being swept up in his tale of young people searching for the place they belong and fighting for the respect they deserve.  This book has a bit of everything: family, friendship, humor, and romance and I think anyone who reads this would like it.  This book is especially important for young trans people who may be struggling to find acceptance among their family and friends.  I highly recommend this book.

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Spoiler Alert

Over the past few years, there has been a push for more inclusive characters in romance novels, with a real focus on fat love interests.  There have been some positive and well written titles, but many authors have failed at creating stories that feature plus size women who find love while also not shaming them about their weight. Oliva Dade has quickly emerged as an author that can write relatable fat characters without being condescending and without their weight being the only thing that defines them.  Spoiler Alert is no exception to this, and I highly recommend this fun and charming romance.

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Leave the World Behind

While reading this book, I kept thinking, “did Rumaan Alam think his book would be so timely when he was writing it?”  The topics of race, class, and family would have been enough to make this a very 2020 book but how could anyone have known that a book that discussed those topics AND a global catastrophe would be written pre-2020, only to be released at the end of what feels like the longest year ever?  As much as I loved this book, I would hesitate to recommend it right now, solely based on the content, knowing that some people might not want to read about the beginning of the end of the world while we are still dealing with a pandemic. However, if you feel like you can handle this topic right now, this book is one that you will be hearing about a lot over the next few months (Netflix bought the rights before the book was even released and Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are already set to star in the adaptation,) and I really enjoyed this one, as much as you can enjoy a sad, semi-apocalyptic book.

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Happy Trail

A few years ago, romance author Penny Reid “opened up her Universe to allow several different authors to publish stories set there, either new stories about characters readers are already familiar with, or brand new characters.”  These books are being published under the Smartypants Romance publishing house and have allowed fans of Reid’s (like me!) to enjoy a wide range of stories.  “Happy Trails” is the first book in the Park Ranger series and was a fun, quirky addition to the Green Valley Universe Reid created.  You don’t have to be familiar with any of Reid’s books to enjoy this one but if you are, I think you will like seeing some familiar characters pop up for a scene or two.

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