Review: The Love HypothesisTitle: The Love Hypothesis
Author: Ali Hazelwood
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
Source: Book of the Month
For: Book of the Month
Rating:
Steaminess: 4 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn't believe in lasting romantic relationships--but her best friend does, and that's what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees, Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor--and well-known ass.

My Thoughts

I’ve wanted to read THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS ever since I started blogging and reading again. The cover and synopsis drew me right in and I knew I’d love it. Now having read it, I wasn’t wrong. I adored THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS so much!

The fake-dating trope is one of my favorite romance tropes and THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS did it so well. The sexual tension was strong with this one. Hazelwood is really good at writing banter between her characters. I was giddy during most of the book because I just loved Olive and Adam’s interactions.

THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS is such a fun story. I really needed it right now. I felt so many emotions. I laughed, yelled, cried, and swooned. I stayed up until 2am on Wednesday finishing it because I couldn’t put it down.

I’m starting to wonder if this is what being in love is. Being okay with ripping yourself to shreds, so the other person can stay whole.

I loved all the characters in THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS, even the ones I was meant to hate. They each had distinct personalities and were fun to get to know. I especially loved Holden, Adam’s best friend, and Olive’s best friends, Anh and Malcolm.

I adored the setting of THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS, especially the representation of women in STEM. I know there’s some controversy as to whether a relationship between a professor and grad student would be allowed. Honestly, even if it weren’t allowed, I can suspend my belief enough because of how Hazelwood presented it.

THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS started out as Reylo fanfiction. (Yes, just like FIFTY SHADES OF GREY began as TWILIGHT fanfiction.) You can tell that the characters are based on Rey and Kylo Ren if you focus on it. If you don’t, the story works just fine one its own. Personally, I’m not a Reylo fan. View Spoiler » That being said, if this is how Reylo fans see Rey and Kylo Ren together, I now know why there are so many of them.

Anyway, THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS is a fun nerdy contemporary romance that also deals with some heavy themes to give the story some depth. I’m really glad I took the time to read it.

Have you read THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS? If so, what did you think?

Review: Dear Emmie BlueTitle: Dear Emmie Blue
Author: Lia Louis
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 311 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
Steaminess: 1 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address … and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached address, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens. Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him.

My Thoughts

When I read Wendy’s review of DEAR EMMIE BLUE, I put it on hold right that second at my local library. Fortunately for me, there was no wait and I got to pick it up the very next day. I’m so happy I got it as fast as I did because I absolutely adored this book!

OMG! This book! I can’t say enough good things about it. DEAR EMMIE BLUE reminded me of a cross between My Best Friend’s Wedding and something I’d read that’s written by Beth O’Leary. (If you don’t know, FLATSHARE by Beth O’Leary was my favorite book last year.)

I loved Emmie. I related to her so hard. I didn’t have a flighty mom and I knew my dad, but I’ve dealt with a lot of severe family drama since my early teenage years. I’m a victim of sexual assault and bullying like her. A lot of her fears and anxieties mirrored my own.

Maybe home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling. Of being cared for and understood. Of being loved.

I loved the other characters in the novel too. Her friendship with Lucas and his family was such a great way to set up the story. I loved Lucas’ brother Eliot and I loved his parents Amanda and Jean. Her work friends, Rosie and Fox, were fun and a bit dirty, which endeared them to me because I love dirty jokes. I loved her landlady Louise the most. I absolutely adored every scene with Emmie and Louise together.

I adored the setting. The constant go between England and France. It was so much fun to read about the two towns where Emmie and Lucas lived, the differences between them and Emmie and Lucas.

DEAR EMMIE BLUE is such a beautiful story. I really needed it right now. I felt ALL the emotions. There were times when I laughed, cried, yelled, and swooned. I was on the edge of my seat for the last two-thirds of the novel because I wanted to know how everything panned out.

I honestly don’t want to say anymore because I don’t want to give anything away. Just know that DEAR EMMIE BLUE may be a fun contemporary romance AND it’s so much more! It deals with some heavy themes that give the story some depth. It’s my second 5-star read of the year.

Have you read DEAR EMMIE BLUE? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for sexual assault (not rape) and loss of a parent.

Review: Stalking Jack the RipperTitle: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Thriller, YA
Pages: 392 (Paperback)
Source: Own
For: Play Book Tag, Unofficial Trim Challenge
Rating:
Steaminess: 1 Flames

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Goodreads Synopsis

Against Audrey Rose's stern father's wishes and society's expectations, she often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey Rose into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

My Thoughts

I’ve been fascinated by the story of Jack the Ripper ever since I was a teenager. I watched a couple of TV miniseries fictionalizing his rampage of terror with my parents and I often wondered who the real Ripper was and why he did what he did.

I’ve been excited to read STALKING JACK THE RIPPER ever since I knew the book existed. I just never took the time to read it. I’m so glad I finally did. I loved how Maniscalco wove the historical in with the fiction. I loved seeing the events of Jack’s murders through the eyes of Audrey Rose and the other characters around her.

Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.

One of the things I loved about STALKING JACK THE RIPPER was reading about the science of the times. In Maniscalco’s author’s note, she said she tried to remain as true to the capabilities of the time as possible. I thought it was really interesting that even though most of society scorned the work of forensic scientists because they thought it ungodly and mad, scientists were able to do all they did without the many advancements we have today.

I loved the cast of characters in STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, including Jack. Even though I guessed who Jack was in the end, I was surprised how it all went down. It made for a fun, surprising ending that I really enjoyed. View Spoiler »

I’m glad I finally took the time to read STALKING JACK THE RIPPER. Even though I’ve watched several miniseries and movies about the infamous Ripper, this is my first book. I now want to read more books and see how they compare. I also look forward to reading more by Maniscalco as I enjoyed her writing.

Have you read STALKING JACK THE RIPPER? If so, what did you think?

Review: Dread NationTitle: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland
Series: Dread Nation #1
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Horror, YA
Pages: 455 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Rating:
Steaminess: 0 Flames

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Goodreads Synopsis

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville--derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities--and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

My Thoughts

DREAD NATION was my IRL book club’s pick for April. I was really excited to read it as I’ve wanted to ever since I first heard about it. A zombie apocalypse during the Civil War? Yes, please. A strong black female character fighting to not only survive the dead, but also for freedom from the oppression during Reconstruction Era America? I say again, yes, please!

DREAD NATION is the first zombie novel I’ve ever read and I loved it. I loved how the “Shamblers” worked and how they changed the outcome of the Civil War and society in general. The Shamblers were so much fun to read about. I especially loved reading the fight scenes with all the different weaponry used against the dead.

There’s nothing white folks hate more than realizing they accidentally treated a Negro like a person.

The thing I liked the most about DREAD NATION, however, was the time period and how Ireland used the setting to discuss the oppression of black people not only during Civil War era United States, but in general. Even though the themes are blunt, DREAD NATION isn’t preachy. Ireland skillfully addresses issues of racism and inequality while delivering a complex, enthralling story.

Reading DREAD NATION was very eye-opening. I know I’ve lived a very sheltered and safe life (and I’m not talking about a life free of Shamblers). I felt like DREAD NATION wonderfully illustrates the perseverance and strength black people have while enduring horrific abuse at the hands of those who see them as lesser.

I’m glad I finally got a chance to read DREAD NATION. It was a powerful, entertaining story. I look forward to reading the sequel DEATHLESS DIVIDE.

Have you read DREAD NATION? If so, what did you think?

Review: A River EnchantedTitle: A River Enchanted
Author: Rebecca Ross
Series: Elements of Cadence #1
Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 480 (Hardcover)
Source: Book of the Month
For: Book of the Month
Rating:
Steaminess: 1.5 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

My Thoughts

I’m so glad I chose A RIVER ENCHANTED as my February Book of the Month choice. As soon as I started to read the story of Cadence and its inhabitants, I was hooked. When I was reading A RIVER ENCHANTED, I didn’t want to put it down and I couldn’t stop thinking about it in between reads. I stayed up until 4am on Sunday night finishing it because I was that invested in the characters and the story. I haven’t done that for a very long time.

I loved that RIVER ENCHANTED was written from different POVs and that it wasn’t done chapter by chapter. The story was told from whoever’s POV it needed to be told from at that moment. (Don’t worry. It’s not confusing in any way.) I also loved all the characters and the slow-burn romances. I wish there was more kissing, but I’m glad the story wasn’t sacrificed for the romance.

I once thought home was simply a place. Four walls to hold you at night while you slept. But I was wrong. It’s people. It’s being with the ones that you love, and maybe even the ones that you hate.

I adored the mythology of A RIVER ENCHANTED. It was fascinating. The magical system with the spirits was fun to read about and experience.

I really loved the Scottish feel to A RIVER ENCHANTED and I think Ross could’ve pushed that aspect of the story a lot more. My guess is she didn’t want to make it hard for her readers to pronounce the names and places or dialogue between the characters. Because she didn’t embrace the Scottishness whole-heartedly, the story felt a little YA at times. (Ross states in her “review” on Goodreads that A RIVER ENCHANTED started out that way.) The YA feel doesn’t take away from the story. However, as a lover of adult high fantasy, I think A RIVER ENCHANTED could’ve been that much better if Ross had pushed the envelope a lot more.

I’ve been trying to decide if I want to give A RIVER ENCHANTED 4 or 5 stars. I finally settled on 4.5 stars. I’m so glad I finally got a chance to read it. It was a delight to read and I look forward to reading its sequel. It’s going to be a very long wait until December View Spoiler ».

Have you read A RIVER ENCHANTED? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for cutting, physical assault, mention of stillbirths, and loss of a child and parent.