Books shelved under “Romance”

118 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Red Letter Days

    Red Letter Days

    by Sarah-Jane Stratford

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Two years ago I picked up, on a whim, Sarah-Jane Stratford’s Radio Girls, and I fell in love. The book was the perfect blend of history, politics, and feminism. I’m pleased to say that with Red Letter Days, Stratford has done it again. While the protagonists share some superficial qualities—both move from North America to Britain, both work in communications industries in some capacity, both become somewhat embroiled in espionage and skullduggery—Stratford has…

  2. Book cover for A Suitable Boy

    A Suitable Boy

    by Vikram Seth

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Every so often, I consider dropping the star ratings from my reviews. After all, ratings are a convention, not a requirement. Novels like A Suitable Boy confound the one-dimensionality of a 5-star rating system and leave me stymied. This is a 5-star novel. It is also a 1-star novel. Do I split the difference, give it 3 stars? Or do I depart from tradition and leave it unrated? You already know the answer, of course,…

  3. Book cover for Jane Steele

    Jane Steele

    by Lyndsay Faye

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Ever wondered, “What would Jane Eyre have been like if Jane Eyre had been a serial killer?” That’s the basic premise of Jane Steele, although if I’m being honest, the serial killer aspect was not as intense as I had thought it would be. As a feminist retelling of Jane Eyre this book leaves much to be desired. However, as a kind of mystery/thriller/romance, Jane Steele is a lot of fun. I came to…

  4. Book cover for Middlemarch

    Middlemarch

    by George Eliot

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I first read and reviewed Middlemarch in 2009, so you can read my first review if you like. This review will reiterate some of the points of my earlier review, but enough time has passed and I have changed enough that I definitely took different things from this book this time. Nevertheless, still a classic and a masterpiece.

    Middlemarch is a sublime example of Victorian authors recognizing and attempting to chronicle a disappearing lifestyle. Eliot…

  5. Book cover for This Is How You Lose the Time War

    This Is How You Lose the Time War

    by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Like so many time-travel stories, This Is How You Lose the Time War is frustratingly, endearingly, eerily beautiful. It takes a special kind of talent to write time travel well—you need not only that non-linear perspective that many writers find necessary even for linear plots, but you also require a certain level of sheer, Lewis Carroll-like madness to conceive of a multiverse so vastly alternative to our tiny slice, or strand. Amal El-Mohtar and Max…

  6. Book cover for Blades of the Old Empire

    Blades of the Old Empire

    by Anna Kashina

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’m slowly working my way through my Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry backlog from back when I had a subscription to every book they published. Anna Kashina’s name was familiar: turns out I read a similarly named Shadowblade that also features cool sexy sword-wielding ladies. I’m not saying these books are clones, but yeah … Kashina has a theme here.

    In Blades of the Old Empire, an ancient enemy has returned and has an outsized interest…

  7. Book cover for Stolen Songbird

    Stolen Songbird

    by Danielle L. Jensen

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is one of those books where you kind of like it but also kind of don’t like it, and you're low-key impressed you don’t actively hate it? Yeah, I think that's what this is. Stolen Songbird is a hot mess of paradox: the plot is straightforward but also convoluted; the romance is broken but also kind of believable; the main character is annoying but also grew on me. I liked it enough that I…

  8. Book cover for The Weaver

    The Weaver

    by Hannah Kindt

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I originally received an eARC from NetGalley, but for reasons that escape me (probably my own incompetence) I forgot to download it. Out of a desire for completionism, I bought a copy of The Weaver so I could read and review it. Although the basic premise is sound and interesting, Heather Kindt’s writing style didn’t work for me. This attempt at a combination of thriller, romance, and fantasy lacks what I enjoy about those three…

  9. Book cover for Muse of Nightmares

    Muse of Nightmares

    by Laini Taylor

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I was reading a very different, unrelated book last night before bed, in which someone says that the key to a good story is usually obsession. Laini Taylor has learned this storytelling lesson well, for her characters are distinguished by their obsessions. From Lazlo’s obsession with Weep or Thyon’s obsession with alchemy in Strange the Dreamer to Skathis’ obsession with power or a new antagonist’s obsession with revenge here in Muse of Nightmares,…

  10. Book cover for Full Disclosure

    Full Disclosure

    by Camryn Garrett

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Um, wow. Full Disclosure caught me by surprise. I was doing a library run, and after hearing this book hyped on Twitter I checked on a lark to see if my library had a copy—not expecting one, because it was so freshly published. Yet my library did have a copy, and I borrowed it, and I read it, and this book is quality. I was expecting to like the book, but honestly, I loved…

  11. Book cover for Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights

    by Emily Brontë

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I previously read Wuthering Heights over 10 years ago, and I might not ever have revisited it until my pal Julie roped me into a re-read. You can read her review here. Our reactions are quite different, although I think we share many observations about the nature of the story and its legacy.

    First, as always, a quick plot summary: the year is 1801 and a dandy gentleman named Mr. Lockwood shows up…

  12. Book cover for The Places I've Cried in Public

    The Places I've Cried in Public

    by Holly Bourne

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Every time I start another Holly Bourne book, I’m scared. I think, “Is this the time? Is this the book where Bourne lets me down, and I have to be disappointed??” And the answer is always no, as it is with The Places I’ve Cried in Public. I read this mostly in private, but otherwise there would have been some public tears, let me tell you.

    Trigger warnings in this book for discussion and…

  13. Book cover for Shatter the Sky

    Shatter the Sky

    by Rebecca Kim Wells

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the eARC!

    Maren is seventeen years old and ready to strike out on her own. Well, not exactly on her own. She has a girlfriend, aka a heartmate, Kaia, who is the more adventurous of the pair. They are head-over-heels in love for one another—but when an elite group of Aurati, women who do dirty work for the repressive Emperor, show up and abduct Kaia for purposes…

  14. Book cover for Our Own Private Universe

    Our Own Private Universe

    by Robin Talley

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So I had to read Our Own Private Universe in the space of a single morning. It was due that same day at the library, no renewal permitted because someone had it on hold (good for them!), and because I've broken my elbow, I can't drive, so I had to have it done in time for my mom to drop it off at the library when we went shopping that afternoon. Challenge accepted, but oh…

  15. Book cover for Shadowblade

    Shadowblade

    by Anna Kashina

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    So you want to stage a soft-coup and manipulate the succession, but you have one problem: you need some kind of plausible heir. Fortunately for you, about 17 years ago you encountered a baby at the same time there was a royal massacre, and well, you know, one thing led to another, and you ended up stashing her with some super skilled warrior so she would grow up all big and strong. Also, you read…

  16. Book cover for Let's Talk About Love

    Let's Talk About Love

    by Claire Kann

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Always excited to read a book with any kind of ace-spec rep. Let’s Talk About Love is in many ways your classic coming-of-age YA/NA tale of a protagonist discovering more about herself, her sexuality and romantic identity, and her relationships with her friends. Claire Kann doesn’t make it easy for Alice (or for the reader, for that part). This is a bumpy, uneven book, with parts that shine and parts that make me…

  17. Book cover for A Laodicean

    A Laodicean

    by Thomas Hardy

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    There’s a particular pleasure that comes with having read so much of an author’s oeuvre that you find yourself reaching deep into the back catalogue for new experiences. I love reading the less-celebrated or more obscure works by a famous author. Sometimes they are less-celebrated and more obscure for good reason! Sometimes, though, as with A Laodicean, they turn out to be undiscovered treasures!

    I picked up this used copy at the same time…

  18. Book cover for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

    Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

    by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Some books don’t work for me even as they leave me stunned, impressed, or moved. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one such book. Benjamin Alire Sáenz makes me cry at points with his writing, which is definitely beautiful. Yet neither the story itself nor the characters end up doing much for me.

    Aristotle (Ari, he calls himself) is a Mexican–American teenager growing up in the 1980s. One summer he meets…

  19. Book cover for Crosstalk

    Crosstalk

    by Connie Willis

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Reader, I have done something I didn't think I would ever do. Not only have I had to DNF another book just before the end of the year, but I …

    … I skipped to the end!

    Yes, I know! Sacrilege! But I could not finish Crosstalk. The constant storm of interruptions from Briddey’s phone and the people in her life was literally causing my introvert brain to feel anxious and stressed. If…

  20. Book cover for To All the Boys I've Loved Before

    To All the Boys I've Loved Before

    by Jenny Han

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Although To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was on my radar for a while, thanks to Twitter hype, I actually watched the movie first, and it definitely motivated me to read the book. I adore the movie. I think it’s so well shot that it’s nearly frame perfect. While I don’t think this is one of those cases of “the movie is better than the book”, I do think it’s a case where the…

  21. Book cover for It Only Happens in the Movies

    It Only Happens in the Movies

    by Holly Bourne

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It’s time for another Holly Bourne book, and if you’ve been following along my reviews, then you know what to expect by now: incisive, excellent narration from a teenage girl who is at a turning point in her life, some kind of crisis moment, and a lot of honest discussions about mental health, sex, romance, and friendship. In other words, it’s an epitome of a subgenre of YA in which Bourne has carved out a…

  22. Book cover for Textrovert

    Textrovert

    by Lindsey Summers

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I picked Textrovert up on a whim because the premise looked interesting. The premise is interesting, and I liked many of the individual elements of the story … yet it just didn’t come together for me. Lindsey Summers has a fantastic idea of a story and competent writing, but there’s something missing.

    Keeley thinks she has lost her phone; when she retrieves it, she learns it is actually another student’s phone, and he is away…

  23. Book cover for It's Not Like It's a Secret

    It's Not Like It's a Secret

    by Misa Sugiura

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    My friend Rebecca gave this to me as a birthday gift last year. This was a really tough week for me, so I finally picked it up off the shelf because I knew she had inscribed it (as I do with my book gifts!), and I wanted to reread the lovely, lengthy message from her and then dive into a YA book. Whether it’s fluffier or heavier, there is something about YA I find very…

  24. Book cover for The Heartbeats of Wing Jones

    The Heartbeats of Wing Jones

    by Katherine Webber

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I was feeling rather emotional over the weekend while I read this, and … I’m not sure if this helped. There were a couple of points where I nearly or did burst into tears from what was happening. The Heartbeats of Wing Jones is an earnest, heart-warming book about a teenager trying to find herself in the face of an incredible family tragedy. The feels are real with this one, and Katherine Webber’s writing is…

  25. Book cover for How To Be Famous

    How To Be Famous

    by Caitlin Moran

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is not a drill.

    I repeat: NOT A DRILL.

    Yes, Caitlin Moran has written a sequel to the sublime How to Build a Girl. I never expected this, never asked for this … and I definitely don’t deserve it, but young women do. This sequel is arguably better, brighter, more brilliant than the first book. I devoured it in a day, and I already want to go back and re-read it, underline it,…

  26. Book cover for Santa Olivia

    Santa Olivia

    by Jacqueline Carey

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It was only three weeks into knitting my SEKRIT PROJECT that has left me high and dry for reading time that I remembered audiobooks are a thing … good job, Ben.

    Santa Olivia is some dystopian SF from Jacqueline Carey, whom I better know from Kushiel’s Dart and its umpteen spin-offs, as well as the Agent of Hel urban fantasy series (damn, I still crave more of those). In this novel, Carey turns her hand…

  27. Book cover for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

    Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

    by Becky Albertalli

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I read young adult, or YA, for a lot of reasons. As I’ve said before, I read it to keep me young, or at least to keep me connected to the ideas and feelings of younger adults. It’s natural, as we grow older, to lose touch with those perspectives, especially as the world around us changes. Reading YA inoculates me, to some extent, against that. Moreover, YA novels often display so much courage. By…

  28. Book cover for Sofia Khan is Not Obliged

    Sofia Khan is Not Obliged

    by Ayisha Malik

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    This is somewhat outside my usual reading remit. I actually kind of bought it accidentally. I gave it a try, but honestly this weekend is just kicking my ass, so it’s not the best time to be reading something that doesn’t immediately appeal to me.

    DNFing this because if I finish it I’m not going to like it, and that isn’t really the book’s fault. It’s not a bad book, but I’m not in the…

  29. Book cover for Sisters Red

    Sisters Red

    by Jackson Pearce

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Sisters Red is the best kind of fairytale retelling, in that Jackson Pearce takes the kernel of a fairytale (“Little Red Riding Hood” here, obvs) and then … just runs with it. There’s no need to hew too closely to the “original” story—because what is the original story, anyway? Instead we get this cool, thrilling urban fantasy adventure about sisters who slay werewolves … like, yeah. I’m down with that.

    Scarlett and Rosie March are…

  30. Book cover for Strange the Dreamer

    Strange the Dreamer

    by Laini Taylor

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Oddly enough I recall being worried I wouldn’t like this book as I started it. And, of course, having finished it, I don’t know whence that trepidation originated, because of course Laini Taylor has delivered another sound tapestry of rich, fantastical storytelling. Could not put down Strange the Dreamer and would have read it in a night if I had the time.

    This lyrical title sounds like a play on word order or the opening…

  31. Book cover for The Mistress of Spices

    The Mistress of Spices

    by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The difficult relationship between power, responsibility, and humility is on full display in The Mistress of Spices, where Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s empathetic and passionate writing merges with magical realism. I loved a lot of the ideas in this book, and the meditative way in which CBD punctuates the narrative with beats on each spice. Yet the execution of the story itself, and the characters, left much to be desired.

    Tilo is a young woman…

  32. Book cover for Saga, Vol. 7

    Saga, Vol. 7

    by Brian K. Vaughan

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Oh. Em. Gee. Saga, Volume 7 might just be the saddest, most heart-wrenching thing I’ve read this year. It’s not quite at the nadir of A Fine Balance, but it comes close. I am struggling to recall a single positive and redeeming moment in this book. There’s … there’s a lot of bleakness and heartbreak here.

    As with many a long-running series, I’m starting to run out of new and creative commentary. Brian K.…

  33. Book cover for Autonomous

    Autonomous

    by Annalee Newitz

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    You have to watch out for those robots. Never know when they might develop thoughts of their own. Or sexual orientations, kinks, and an understanding of the way humans misunderstand them.

    Autonomous plumbs the depths of humanity through split narration. Annalee Newitz follows a very human, and very flawed, anti-patent crusader and a pair of patent-enforcement agents, one of whom is a self-aware robot just starting out. As the two stories unfold, so too does…

  34. Book cover for Warcross

    Warcross

    by Marie Lu

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    My major complaint about Warcross is that it was just over too soon. I guess that’s what happens, however, when you read a book in one day because you can’t put it down. Marie Lu’s story of a teenage hacker-turned-bounty-hunter at the end of her rope getting hired by the world’s richest game designer on the eve of the game’s annual championships is simply enthralling.

    Before I continue to gush about the story, though, we…

  35. Book cover for A Criminal Magic

    A Criminal Magic

    by Lee Kelly

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    A Criminal Magic hooked me from the start. A friend gave this to me for my birthday (apparently it was on my to-read list, not that I’d remember). I started it on Saturday, and 25 pages in I texted her to let her know she had picked well. Lee Kelly’s story of sorcerers labouring under a magic Prohibition in an alternative 1926 is just captivating. From parallel plot-lines to a careful, judicious use of magic,…

  36. Book cover for When Dimple Met Rishi

    When Dimple Met Rishi

    by Sandhya Menon

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    When Dimple Met Rishi is just plain adorable. It shouldn’t work, but it does.

    I picked this up on a whim while at Chapters, because it was in a display of new releases and I’d heard a little but of buzz about it from Twitter. I needed something nice and “light” compared to, say, Walkaway, but obviously didn’t want to go so far as to read a book that didn’t start with W or…

  37. Book cover for The Count of Monte Cristo

    The Count of Monte Cristo

    by Alexandre Dumas

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Second review, addendum: September 5, 2017

    It has, coincidentally, been exactly 3 years since I first read The Count of Monte Cristo. I bought a house this summer; I have my very own deck now. I decided that on my week off I wanted to sit outside and work my way through this classic behemoth during what might be our last nice days before the autumn chill kicks in. I was, for the most…

  38. Book cover for Crown of Midnight

    Crown of Midnight

    by Sarah J. Maas

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    (To be read in Majel Barrett’s voice.)

    Previously, on Kara’s reviews:

    —Celaena intrigues me as a character. I’m not sure I like her that much…. I very much respect an author who can create an unlikable protagonist and make me enjoy their journey and their story, and that is the case here. I didn’t necessarily like Celaena as a person, but I cared what happened to her.—

    —I also liked the positive female friendship

  39. Book cover for How Hard Can Love Be?

    How Hard Can Love Be?

    by Holly Bourne

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It has been nearly a year since I read Am I Normal Yet?, the first book in Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club trilogy. That was Evie’s story of her struggle with OCD and related issues. With some nice summer weather (finally), I decided it was time to tackle the sequel, wherein Amber spends a summer in America, working at a summer camp run by her mother and stepfather. I’m not as big a fan of…

  40. Book cover for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

    by Anne Brontë

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I went into The Tenant of Wildfell Hall conjecturing that Anne Brontë would prove to be the underrated sister, and my conjecture was right. Although I love and appreciate Jane Eyre, and I can see why others love and appreciate Wuthering Heights, where is the love for Anne? Charlotte and Emily get to become household names, more or less, their most famous works easily recognizable even by people who will never read them.…

  41. Book cover for A Crown of Wishes

    A Crown of Wishes

    by Roshani Chokshi

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    There’s a clever tweet going around out there advocating for a moratorium on words like “throne” and “crown” in YA book titles, and I totally get why. A Crown of Wishes is one of those densely generic titles that does a terrible job at hinting about the contents of the book. In this particular case, it is at least appropriate, in that the book does feature both crowns (metaphorical and literal) and wishes (um ……

  42. Book cover for Throne of Glass

    Throne of Glass

    by Sarah J. Maas

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This book has been on my to-read list for a while. So, like you do, when I saw the entire series on display in Chapters in paperback, I bought all of them despite having never read anything by Sarah J. Maas, secure in the knowledge that if I hated the first book, I could blame all of you, everyone on the Internet for leading me astray.

    You are all safe.

    This time.

    Celaena Sardothien…

  43. Book cover for Saga, Vol. 6

    Saga, Vol. 6

    by Brian K. Vaughan

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Yay, Ghüs is back for a bit!

    For the third year in a row I bought Saga for my friend for a Christmas gift. As long as they keep releasing one of these volumes every year, I’m golden. Volume 6 jumps ahead four years, so Hazel is in kindergarten, and Alana and Marko are kind-of together again, searching for their daughter. Meanwhile, Prince Robot is enjoying being “off the grid” and away from the court,…

  44. Book cover for Soulmates

    Soulmates

    by Holly Bourne

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Last year I picked up my first Holly Bourne book with Am I Normal Yet?. I had been hearing so much about Bourne and her Spinster Club trilogy from people I follow on Twitter and YouTube that I ordered all of her books—yes, all of them—on faith. I deliberately deferred her debut, Soulmates. Not only did I want to see what all the fuss around the Spinster Club was about, but I know…

  45. Book cover for A Room with a View

    A Room with a View

    by E.M. Forster

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is a tough one, because I’m feeling pretty conflicted about A Room with a View. On one hand, I’m pretty sure I didn’t like it—despite being only 220ish pages, it took me a long time to read, because I kept putting it down and looking for other, more interesting things to distract me. On the other hand, this is not a bad or poorly-written book. I can see what E.M. Forster is trying…

  46. Book cover for Unwrap My Heart

    Unwrap My Heart

    by Alex Falcone

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It’s almost too easy to write a vampire YA romance. Real authors tackle the hard romances, like mummies. How does a clumsy teenage girl fall for a thousands-year-old mummified but reanimated corpse? You’ll have to read Unwrap My Heart to find out.

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book because I am a Meat Buddy, i.e., I have pledged a small amount of money every month to Read It and Weep, the…

  47. Book cover for The Crown's Game

    The Crown's Game

    by Evelyn Skye

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    This is a book that shouldn’t work, but it does. Magical duels. Revenge plots. Hidden identities. Predictable twists. And a love triangle to boot. None of this is new, some of it is often boring. So why did I enjoy The Crown’s Game so damn much?

    Well, to start, there is no shortage of magic in this book. Don’t get me wrong: I like books that don’t have much magic too. Every once in a…

  48. Book cover for Why We Broke Up

    Why We Broke Up

    by Daniel Handler

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The back cover of Why We Broke Up warns that “Min and Ed’s story of heartbreak may remind you of your own”. I’d like to begin this review with some kind of witty observation about high school break-ups. Thing is, I can’t; I bring a different perspective. Min and Ed’s story of heartbreak doesn’t remind me of my own, because I don’t have such a story. I didn’t have a relationship, short or long, in…

  49. Book cover for The Rose & the Dagger

    The Rose & the Dagger

    by Renée Ahdieh

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I couldn’t stay away from the sequel to The Wrath & the Dawn, and my library was quick to enable me with The Rose & the Dagger. The love story of Shahrzad and Khalid and the war it has provoked come to a swift conclusion here. Hold on to your bookmarks, folks, because Renée Ahdieh is not slowing down this magic carpet ride, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    First off:…

  50. Book cover for The Wrath and the Dawn

    The Wrath and the Dawn

    by Renée Ahdieh

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    As I reflected in my review of The Sleeper and the Spindle, fairytale retellings are all the rage. With The Wrath & the Dawn, we have a new take on One Thousand and One Nights. Unlike the original, the stories within the frame story fall by the wayside, for the most part, as Shahrzad’s relationship with Khalid intensifies. Renée Ahdieh’s reimagining, then, is less about retelling the stories from One Thousand and