RaveNPRI would\'ve loved to see Quan and Anna step outside their bubble and interact in more social settings together, but it feels just as good to see them learn about each other without external influences (although her family certainly tries) ... It\'s a little on the nose to say that Hoang\'s new romance is sex-positive, but it\'s important to show how she neutralizes the social pressures around physical intimacy ... Perhaps one of the hardest parts of reading this book is the visceral reaction to seeing other people mistreat Anna and Quan because of their differences. We want to protect them while we collectively bemoan their loss of agency. So much of the story manifests the act of grieving ... It\'s an emotional journey, but a fulfilling one to watch Anna and Quan not only reconcile with the limits of their bodies and health but wield enough power to stand up for themselves. In fact, it\'s evident that while Anna\'s autism is a turning point for her, it\'s not meant to define her or the story; if anything, it\'s just the missing puzzle piece that lets her fully love herself without a nagging sense of uncertainty ... Having read all three of Helen Hoang\'s books, I can confidently say she\'s a consummate wordsmith of soulful romances, with soft, honest-to-goodness love stories paired with euphoric steaminess. The Heart Principle wears its heart on its sleeve. While it\'s thematically heavier than her previous books, Hoang\'s writing breathes with the kind of kinetic power and acceptance that feel freeing because she lets her characters fully realize themselves — even when those around them can\'t.
RaveNPRMcQuiston has managed to do what no one else has: Make the New York City subway sexy and magical — and make readers feel so five minutes ago for not having our own public transit meet-cutes ... Trying to figure out how McQuiston will resolve such a seemingly impossible task is only half the fun; the other half is spending time in the company of a found family of memorable characters whose laugh-until-you-cry quality banter (and seances) will make readers feel right at home. Last Stop is by and large a humorous romance, replete with syrupy moments of love and ride-or-die friendships, but the complex themes of familial relationships, gentrification, and identity temper the levity ... The conversations around identity in particular demonstrate that — to a certain degree — Last Stop is not just an evolution of McQuiston\'s exquisite craft, but an extension of her debut Red, White and Royal Blue ... Queer relationships of every form are normalized and healthy, and the characters are fully-realized people who are beautifully diverse, but also much more than their identities ... It would\'ve been interesting to read Jane\'s perspective about this evolution, as someone who witnessed the 40+ years\' worth of changes, was still fighting for LGBTQ rights when she disappeared and is now seeing a more inclusive society and experiencing a bit of a culture shock ... Even so, McQuiston delicately juxtaposes the past with the present, evoking nostalgia for classic music (and terrestrial radio!) and beloved institutions, while brewing possibilities for a more accepting society ... an electrifying romance that synapses into the dreamy \'Hot Person Summer\' kind of story you wish you were a part of. McQuiston is leading the charge for inclusive happy-ever-afters, radiant with joy and toe-curling passion, and bursting with the creative range to make anything from electricity to social activism sound sexy.
RaveNPRThis book fizzes with sex, betrayal, lies, and family drama—but the good news is, it comes without an actual telenovela\'s requisite cliffhangers and tragedies ... Daria pulls readers into the telenovela, which acts as a framing narrative for the larger story. Much like its imaginary show, Hola is a triumph of Latinx joy and feminist agency. It thoughtfully explores gender roles and diversity in entertainment and the greater Latinx community, and challenges the Hollywood status quo ... It\'s through Daria\'s deep and nuanced exploration of these ideas that You Had Me at Hola says hello to new risks. It\'s a sensual choreography of romance, feminism, and identity that harmonizes the characters\' relationships on and offscreen—while making all the jefa moves.
PositiveNPR... an electrifying cocktail of girl power, adorable romance, and enough drama to rival a reality show ... Martin tosses out the playbook to the friends-to-lovers trope here by putting just as much narrative weight on Brynn and Maxwell\'s friendship as she does their romance ... The conflicts in the novel would have benefited from more of a walk-through and explanation. For one, Maxwell\'s creepy older brother shows up to stir the pot about his past, but he immediately fades into the background, and it\'s unclear why he and Maxwell are estranged until the end ... At times, Blitzed feels more like a \'womance\' than a romance, but given how masculine sports culture can be, it\'s fun to see the WAGS leading the charge without the cliched cattiness ... glitters with as much charm and fun as the bedazzled jerseys the WAGS wear to the games, and despite the title, it\'ll leave readers feeling warm and tipsy.
RaveNPR... it\'s gratifying to read about a heroine in a historical romance who wields some power over the hero ... the makeover romance can be controversial at times; everyone wants to be loved for who they are. But Leigh uses the trope to critique societal pressure — and ultimately transforms it into a positive experience for her characters ... a feast of female empowerment, positive friendships, feel-good moments, and social satire. And as the first book in a series, it builds a delicious world you\'ll want to come back to — hopefully because the delightful supporting characters will get their own stories next.
RaveNPR... is half spirited roman à clef, half Hallmark-sweet romance ... ... The stakes in this novel, however, are larger than their relationship — as charming and passionate as that is ... Cabot\'s careful to remind us there are often extenuating circumstances in these situations — but she doesn\'t soften the blow of animal abandonment and neglect ... Cabot captures the beauty of the community and its unity in the face of adversity. Despite the wreckage they have to wade through, the camaraderie Bree builds with the Hartwells cements a sturdy foundation for Little Bridge, sturdier than any physical infrastructure ... A thought-provoking contemplation on actions and choice, No Judgments creates a safe space amidst the storm for its characters and revitalizes readers\' hopes for humanity.
RaveNPR... stands out beautifully in the crowd ... Understandably, we don\'t see traditionally sexy scenes in Ayesha at Last, but the palpable friction between Khalid and Ayesha as they dance around like two magnets desperate to connect creates a whole new level of non-physical seduction. Jalaluddin carefully teases out their romance, taking just enough time and adding just enough heat to make it rise as gracefully as Ayesha\'s grandmother\'s parathas ... more than just a Muslim retelling of Austen\'s work; Jalaluddin constructs a timely and enlightening narrative that validates the experiences of many South Asians and Muslims today, while weaving in universal themes of identity, class, and discrimination. Though the topic of arranged marriage is prominent in the story, it acts more as a conduit to start lively debates about tradition and change among the different generations. And by highlighting ideological differences between many of the Muslim characters, particularly Ayesha and Khalid, Jalaluddin helps dismantle the misconception that all Muslims are alike ... In many ways, Ayesha at Last\'s fictional universe acts as a microcosm of a diverse and oft-misunderstood community, and Jalaluddin\'s compassionate and sensitive writing about it radiates off the page.
RaveNPR... a lighthearted, delectable combination of two of America\'s favorite pastimes: the British royals and politics, with just the right amount of scandal ... Their flirty relationship is fueled by snappy banter that makes even historical research sound alluring, and their chemistry sparkles even at a distance, transcending politics and tradition ... McQuiston writes with optimism ... Effervescent and empowering on all levels, Red, White & Royal Blue is both a well-written love story and a celebration of identity. McQuiston may not be royal herself, but her novel reigns as must read rom-com.
RaveThe Washington Post... both a hard-earned love story and a visceral account of history. Cleeton’s writing pulsates with passion and intimacy, even as she gives us a panoramic vision of life during that tumultuous era. She’s long since established herself as a remarkable writer, but with When We Left Cuba, she’s written with a sublime force that keeps us tethered to her words.
RaveNPR\"It\'s a cerebral, impassioned, and zeitgeisty bildungsroman that follows two young people ahead of their time but trapped by a society that strips them of any real power ... There is no hard and fast solution to the issues that plague Ocean and Shirin, and they never quite go away. Nonetheless, their polarizing union paves the way for tolerance within the novel\'s universe, while acknowledging there\'s still a very long way to go. A Very Large Expanse of Sea is young love at its most gut-wrenching; though it takes place in the past, it\'s timeless in its themes and will continue to affect readers, months after they\'ve closed the book.
RaveNPR\"The Proposal knocks it out of the ballpark, pun intended in this case ... Rollicking, charming, and infinitely zesty, The Proposal packs all the feel-good punch of a rom-com, with a weighty kick of gravitas around dating issues, loss, and male privilege. It\'s vibrantly diverse, from the characters to the food they love and the world they live in. Ultimately, The Proposal magnifies Guillory\'s delightful voice, showcases her sharp, invigorating wit, and keeps her considerable momentum going strong.\
RaveNPRHoang mixes sexy and tender with panache, and she\'s careful in sketching out the dynamics of the romance, making sure to maintain a balance ... Hoang\'s debut novel is unputdownable, exceptional, and leaves a strong impression that won\'t wane anytime soon. I confess, it\'s probably not ideal reading material for your commute because you\'ll find yourself so immersed that you\'ll inevitably miss your stop — but as tempting as it may be to binge-read, it deserves to be drawn out and savored.