Q: do you think the personality traits associated w/ your astrological sign are accurate?
You have to read this book! (I added an exclamation point to make the sentence seem less demanding 🤣.) But seriously, I love this book from the first page to the last.
Alexandria Bellefleur’s Written in the Stars has everything I want: steam, laughs, & just enough emotion to make me feel alive (; ) ) AND it has the uptight/reserved + charmer dynamic between leads that I love so hard.
Elle Jones & her BFF have made names for themselves as astrologers & they’re in the process of integrating their services into a popular dating app. The guy behind the dating app—now a friend to Elle—sets her up on a blind date with his sister Darcy.
Darcy Lowell is a beautiful actuary. She’s also sophisticated & reserved & doesn’t appreciate Elle’s job or when Elle spills wine on her dress.
But after the date, after Darcy has complained to someone about how it went (& after Elle overhears her ), Darcy finds herself telling her brother that she & Elle are dating so he’ll stop with the date suggestions. & then Elle goes along with Darcy’s lie for reasons, & soon Elle & Darcy are spending more time together because this has to be convincing dammit! & feelings start happening.
What a delightful ride this book is.
The back stories are developed well; each character has her own emotional baggage & it’s convincingly & thoughtfully related to their present. There are bursts of humor throughout—this is a funny one!—& there’s also a scene where one of the leads stands up for the other with family (which I know is catnip for some of us).
The female friendships are authentic & the pacing is 100—I just couldn’t wait to read more of this opposites attract, fake dating romance that is by turns hilarious & tender.
It gave me a million warm fuzzies to see how both leads feel free to be themselves with each other.
I wanted an epilogue . But over & over again this book is wonderful & happiness-inducing & I am a B I G fan.
5⭐️. Written in the Stars releases on 11/10. Thanks to Avon Books & Edelweiss for the complimentary ARC; all opinions provided are my own.
Bethany Bennett’s Any Rogue Will Do has so much catnip:
A fantastic opening scene where the heroine gets to live out many of our fantasies by lobbing insults at the man (the hero) who wronged her years earlier. Who’s the Paper Doll Princess now, hero?!!! It 👏🏻 is 👏🏻 so 👏🏻 good 👏🏻.
Unforgettable 🔥 scenes. I’ll just leave this here: balcony 🤭🥵.
A “managing” heroine with a strong IDGAF energy tempered by recognition that she has to play the game some to get what she wants.
A huge, brawny hero who was supposed to be a shepherd but unexpectedly became lord. He made bad decisions when he first became titled—see first point—but now he works hard for his people & is prepared to help the heroine out however he can 😉.
In short, this is such a great debut & I was impressed time & time again.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, I’ll say: it’s Tessa Dare-ish; the conflict is thoroughly built up & I love love love how the book explores standards for “ladyhood” & how women are judged for not acting like a Lady & in this heroine’s case—as the hero reveals—for acting like a Lady 🙄. There’s a fake dating situation & frank, open discussions between characters, including about sex. Oh, and a curvy heroine who has such confidence in how the hero responds to her body.
Pick this one up!
Any Rogue Will Do is available on 10/13. I think this is a tiny bit below 5⭐️ for me but I’m rounding up to 5! Thanks to Forever Pub, Grand Central Pub, & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
(Image note re: the paper doll: I printed the “A Regency Lady of Quality Dolls by Helen Page” & then watercolor painted over one bc my color printer ink is gone 🥴.)
Q: who is your fave uptight hero?
All the praise hands to books that make us happy during this time and Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material is one of them for me. I love this book so and it’s going on my shelves as soon as I can get my grabby hands on it.
Luc is the son of two 80s rockers, one of whom abandoned him when he was 3. As a minor celebrity he garners his fair share of paparazzi coverage & it’s always negative. But one particular article puts his job at a charity in jeopardy & to save it he asks an uptight barrister with a good reputation to be his fake boyfriend.
Oliver is said barrister. And *be still my heart* because I am a fiend for an uptight hero. You know the type: they’re so proper and often seen as stiff, condescending, & judgmental (and sometimes they are!) but they’re also—at least in Oliver’s case—protective & loving & find it difficult to express their feelings. Ahhhhh!
I’d also like to take this opportunity to say that Luc is *not* uptight but he is so yearning & he loves his mother; he’s often snarky & not always the nicest, even to his friends, but he has a big heart & does some hard emotional work & deserves a million Oliver snuggles, okay?!
Boyfriend Material is so so so funny and Alexis Hall’s portrayal of friendship is divine. I love when friends are loving & supportive and also not 100% perfect. Even the loveliest of friends don’t always say or do the right things (and can sometimes push on our bruises unintentionally). But they can also read your heart & accompany you on road trips so you can chase your heart’s desire.
As funny as this book is it’s also not afraid to explore hurt and insecurity, but in a way that didn’t leave me feeling emotionally devastated.
In closing I’d like to say again: I love this book so much. I do wish there had been a (totally) on the page love scene and an Epilogue because as a previous review established, my soul is thirsty, but this book is also so wonderful as is & I would like to hug Luc and Oliver forever.
Boyfriend Material is out on 07/07. Thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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