Can you believe I’m actually posting a wrap up? Yeah, me either. But here I am, actually typing out words. I read more books than I realized in June, apparently being productive also makes me read more. Or I’m just too exhausted for other activities. Wel, anyways, I found a new favourite book last month and reread a favourite series with which I am completely and utterly obsessed with yet again. Shall we see what I read?
PERFECT ON PAPER by SOPHIE GONZALES
Hodder | 11.03.2021 | 348 pages | contemporary YA romance | Rep: bi MC, lesbian Vietnamese-American side, trans, gay Korean-American, nonbinary, ace and queer minor characters | TW: (internalized) biphobia, cheating, alcohol | 5 swords
Everyone in school knows about Locker 89. If you slip a letter in outlining your relationship woes, along with a fiver, an anonymous source will email you with the best advice you’ve ever gotten.
Darcy Phillips, a quiet, sweet junior, is safe in the knowledge no one knows she’s the genius behind locker 89. Until Brougham, a senior, catches her.
The deal Brougham offers is tempting: in exchange for his silence–and a generous coach’s fee to sweeten the deal–Darcy can become Brougham’s personal dating coach to help him get his ex-girlfriend back.
And as for Darcy, well, she has a fairly good reason to want to keep her anonymity. Because she has another secret. Not too long ago, she abused locker 89 to sabotage the budding romance of her best friend, Brooke. Brooke, who Darcy’s been in love with for a year now.
Yeah. Brooke can’t find out about that. No matter what.
What I think: Remember me saying I found a new favourite? Well, we’re starting with a banger here because this one is it. Perfect on Paper was the perfect book for me. I saw me in there. I loved the characters so, so much. And you can red my full review here.
DOWN COMES THE NIGHT by ALLISON SAFT
Wednesday Books | 02.03.2021 | 400 pages | fantasy | Rep: bi MC, sapphic side | TW: blood, death | 2 swords
Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.
The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.
With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.
What I think: Sigh. I really, really wish I would have liked this more. But I didn’t. This was supposed to be a “snow-drenched romantic fantasy” and uh, yes, there was romance. But mostly there was mystery and people almost dying. And while I anticipated this book to be quite dark, it somehow wasn’t what I expected. This might very well be a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” but I really couldn’t get into the story or make myself feel anything for the characters. The world building and the characters just fell flat for me.
A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR by ASHLEY SHUTTLEWORTH
Hodder & Stoughton | 03.03.2021 | 504 pages | urban fantasy | Rep: gay MC, bi MC, lesbian MC, questioning MC, queer side characters | TW: blood, gore, body horror, death of a child, depression, drugs, human trafficking, stalking, suicide (off-page), manipulation, racism, violence | 3 swords
The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.
A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.
A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.
The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.
For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.
Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?
Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.
What I think: Why why why did this have to be another case of not being what I expected? The thing is: I still enjoyed this book but if I had to describe it with one word, it would be confusing. It took a really long time for me to even start to understand how the world works, how fae and fairies and immortal beings live together (or not idk?) and what laws there are. It was made more confusing for me by the use of so many PoVs that each brought another angle to the story. It was okay when all the characters finally found each other… but until then I couldn’t really make sense of anything. But I definitely think that following books will be much better since we already get to know about the world in this instalment.
AYESHA AT LAST by UZMA JALALUDDIN
Harper Collins | 12.06.2018 | 320 pages | adult romance, retelling | Rep: Indian muslims, Indian-American muslims, muslim side characters | TW: Islamophobia | 4 swords
Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.
When a surprise engagement between Khalid and Hafsa is announced, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and his family; and the truth she realizes about herself. But Khalid is also wrestling with what he believes and what he wants. And he just can’t get this beautiful, outspoken woman out of his mind.
What I think: Call me dumb but I didn’t realize this was a Pride & Prejudice retelling until a certain scene with a proposal. Not that it’s right there on the book or on goodreads. I am apparently Jared, 19. I love Pride and Prejudice a lot and I already enjoyed this book so much before realization finally hit me. There was such much (family) drama and also so much fun! I loved the characters, their relationships and the development of both.
IF I NEVER MET YOU by MHAIRI MCFARLANE
Harper Collins | 05.03.2020 | 432 pages | contemporary romance | Rep: biracial black MC, Sikh side | TW: micro aggressions, racism, sexism, cancer, paedophilia, cheating | 4 swords
When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.
Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend…
What I think: This was such a good book! I really liked Laurie and how the story was told. She’s so strong yet vulnerable. And Jamie is such a sweetheart even though he hides it a lot of the time. If I never met You was so much fun while still discussing more serious topics.
YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT by SIMON JAMES GREEN
Scholastic | 03.06.2021 | 416 pages | YA contemporary romance | Rep: gay MC + LI, gay and queer side characters | TW: cheating | 4 swords
Freddie has a reputation as a ‘nice guy’ – inoffensive, sweet, kind – and therefore completely un-dateable.
As he starts sixth form, Freddie decides that this nice guy isn’t going to finish last any more. No more missing out on parties because he’s got to do his homework. No more saying no when he really wants to say yes. And most of all no more lusting after unobtainable straight boys who enjoy the attention but ultimately break his heart.
Freddie embarks on a series of changes designed to transform his social and romantic life, and suddenly he’s a drama darling, getting invited to all the popular kids’ parties, and hot new boy Zach is showing an interest. Life couldn’t be better!
But the path to love is never smooth – and Freddie’s about to learn that changing everything about yourself isn’t necessarily a foolproof way of finding the right person…
What I think: God, this book was so. Much. Fun. It’s probably no secret that I just absolutely adore Simon James Green’s books. They are so full of awkward teens having awkward moments and wonderful stories. And this one didn’t disappoint at all. There were so many moments I laughed out loud and even laughed tears. And all the drama! I loved it!
A LAIR OF BONES by HELEN SCHEUERER
Alchemy Books | 15.07.2021 | 474 pages | dark YA fantasy | Rep: wlw side characters | TW: blood, violence, death | 4 swords
A deadly contest. A vaulting ambition. How far will one cyren go to win?
Mighty cyrens have ruled the ancient lair of Saddoriel for centuries. A cavernous fortress, a subterranean labyrinth of tunnels and levels, powered by magic and music…
From the moment she was born, Roh, the daughter of an infamous criminal, has been despised by her own kind. Restricted to the Lower Sector and forced to work as a common bone cleaner, she has always believed she belongs above: where lies adventure… and power.
Opportunity arises in the form of the Queen’s Tournament, a treacherous set of trials that could see the victor crowned ruler of the entire lair. Up against the most cunning, dangerous cyrens in all the realms, does Roh stand a chance?
What I think: Ah, I gotta love morally gray characters. Especially paired with absolute cinnamon rolls, what a beautiful combination. I really, really liked this story of the cyrens, their dark lair and the whole atmosphere of the book. I could imagine things very well. Read my full review here.
THE FOXHOLE COURT by NORA SAKAVIC
15.01.2013 | 237 pages | contemporary NA | Rep: demi MC, gay | TW: blood, death, drugs, drug abuse, overdose, violence, sexual assault, alcohol, domestic abuse, murder, suicide (mention) | 4 swords
Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.
Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.
But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.
What I think: This was a reread and I’m still as obsessed as last year, when I read it for the first time. Good god, this whole story is all kinds of fucked up but so, so good and addictive. The characters are incredibly dear to me, the whole team has a very special place in my heart. Guess what, I’m typing this while wearing merch for this series. I probably loved The Foxhole Court even more than the first time around and I FEEL SO MANY EMOTIONS.
THE RAVEN KING by NORA SAKAVIC
All for the Game #2 | 10.07.2013 | 423 pages | contemporary NA | demi mc, several gay characters, wlw side | TW: blood, violence, drugs, drug abuse, rape, alcohol, torture, self harm (off-page) | 5 swords
The Foxes are a fractured mess, but their latest disaster might be the miracle they’ve always needed to come together as a team. The one person standing in their way is Andrew, and the only one who can break through his personal barriers is Neil.
Except Andrew doesn’t give up anything for free and Neil is terrible at trusting anyone but himself. The two don’t have much time to come to terms with their situation before outside forces start tearing them apart. Riko is intent on destroying Neil’s fragile new life, and the Foxes have just become collateral damage.
Neil’s days are numbered, but he’s learning the hard way to go down fighting for what he believes in, and Neil believes in Andrew even if Andrew won’t believe in himself.
What I think: I don’t really have anything add to what I said regarding The Foxhole Court. I LOVE THIS SEIRES WITH MY WHOLE DAMN HEART. I finished the last book and immediately wanted to reread it. AGAIN. Anyways, I ordered the books in Polish because I need more editions of them.
And that’s it! That was my reading month! Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And how was your reading month?
Until next time,