Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
I jumped into Sonali Dev’s The Rajes series with the final book, The Emma Project, a retelling of—you’ve prob guessed it—Jane Austen’s Emma.
Brimming with passion & vitality & with characters who feel layered, this is an interesting read that I’m still trying to pin down.
I could definitely tell that this was the final book. It has the air of things boiling up & coming to fruition over a period of time & unfortunately I do think I would have appreciated some of the pacing & structural elements more had I read earlier books.
But with that being said I found lots to appreciate about The Emma Project, newby to the series that I was.
Starting with the complex characters—even the secondary characters assert themselves & contribute to the story, whether the leads want entirely want them to or not 😉.
The family dynamics are sometimes loving, sometimes frustrating, & it’s really cool how past main characters aren’t perfect in this book just because of their once-vaunted MC status.
The Emma Project features childhood friends to lovers, 12 year age gap (she’s older), once fake-engaged to your brother, workplace romance. The sex scenes are mostly fade to black but there’s a lot of emotional intimacy here; it’s really sweet seeing how much Vansh knows Naina & vice versa—their understanding goes bone deep.
There are a lot of challenging family undercurrents in this read, including an abusive father (see my CWs) & I would have liked possibly some more time just on the development of Vansh & Naina as a couple, outside of their families. Those loom pretty large.
But this is a rich story told in a lovely, happy, & haunting voice & I would imagine a great conclusion to the series.
4 ⭐️. Release date: 05/17
Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Alexandria Bellefleur’s Hang the Moon elicits one warm fuzzy after another.
Brendon Lowell, Darcy’s well-meaning, matchmaking, dating app founding brother in Written in the Stars, is a blushing ginger romantic who enjoys watching proposal videos & crying.
When the woman he used to have a crush on as a teen, his sister’s best friend Annie Kyriakos, visits Seattle, he ends up showing her around, determined to change her skepticism regarding romance to something more positive.
It doesn’t take long before he realizes he wants to see where their very real feelings can go but his wishes are stymied by Annie’s announcement that she’s relocating to London for work.
Hang the Moon is a straightforward, pretty low angst romance that feels warm & lovely. The hero is a blushing prince w/ a talent for oral, the heroine is not going to rush into anything & I stan a woman who needs some time.
I really like Annie but in case I haven’t made it clear Brendon is the standout for me—he’s so freaking sweet & his tattoo is everything🥺.
Outside of these great leads I absolutely love the poignant story Bellefleur tells about friendships, too. About what happens when your best friend has fallen in love but you haven’t, & you’re no longer their “first” anymore. How the effort Annie makes in friendships—she’s always going the extra mile—has carried over into what she wants & doesn’t want romantically.
If you haven’t read this series yet I strongly request that you do. It’s so so good & just a delight.
4.5 ⭐️. Release Date: 05/25
Give me that HEA, please.
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