RaveEntertainment Weekly... sublime ... Hibbert has this incisive ability to cut right to the heart of something, and she does it again here with anxiety, grief, and feelings of inadequacy. She describes anxiety in piercingly true ways. Her books are buoyant with compassion. Zaf and Dani are filled with tremendous care for each other ... In this winking, divinely funny tale of a fake relationship turned real, Hibbert finds space to unpick everything from toxic masculinity to racism in academia to romance as balm (shout-out to her Beverly Jenkins reference). It engages directly with popular criticism that romance is unrealistic, perhaps even detrimental, by framing it as Zaf’s saving grace in combatting his mental anguish. Happy endings, as Zaf points out, aren’t formulaic spoilers, they are safety nets. But it also takes care to validate those less engaged with romance with a capital \'R\' with its love for Dani just as she is, if only she’ll let down her walls. Like her heroine, Hibbert blends insightful literary and cultural commentary with a love story that’s exuberant, hilarious, and restorative. She writes with astonishing empathy, but never pity, both seeing and demanding the best in her characters and her readers. Take a Hint, Dani Brown is a burst of sunshine, as happy and bright as the daffodil yellow of its cover, and we’d gladly bask in its light endlessly.
Sarah J. Maas
RaveEntertainment WeeklyFull of complex sociopolitical commentary and steamy romance, it earns the more mature label, with depictions of toe-curling sex, explicit violence, and liberal swearing (don’t worry, we won’t tell your parents) ... a dizzying, suspenseful whirl that surprises at every turn ... The author’s world-building skills have long been considered among the finest of her peers. And they’re newly thrilling in Earth and Blood, intricately rendering Crescent City as a place that feels both familiar and wildly imagined. But it’s Maas’ sweeping feel for love stories, and particularly her essential take on female fellowship, that cast the real spell.
RaveEntertainment Weekly... a potent backdrop to cast this central romance against, one that allows space for Shupe to interrogate social justice, classism, and the heartbreaking complexities of the circumstances of domestic violence victims ... a powerful parable for the limited choices available to women and how such choices are shaped by the vagaries of class. Shupe also includes a sequence of assault to further the point she’s making about how often women were (or are) subject to the whims of men – and that true happy endings come from throwing off the shackles of the limitations of class, sex, gender, and societal expectation to live a life of own’s choosing. For Mamie and Frank, their happy ending is as much about justice as it is about the electric chemistry they share – chemistry readers get to witness explode with sexy times on a billiard table and a desk. Swoon! With The Rogue of Fifth Avenue, Shupe continues to build on the sterling legacy she’s building for herself as a gifted weaver of glittering Gilded Age tales (complete with lots of nods to real historical figures), while also deepening the contemporary resonance of her themes.
RaveEntertainment WeeklyWhatever muse is singing in Berry to produce her lyrical writing, we’d like to lobby for their services. The story itself is intoxicating ... Her research is impeccable, but it never overrides the breathless sensation that we are accompanying the gods along on a wisp of air, flitting in and out of the tragedies and triumphs of these individual’s lives. Occasionally, the other gods’ reactions to Aphrodite’s stories, their tears in particular, feel manufactured, outweighing the response of the reader. It’s hard to know if that’s intentional or a clever bit of emotional manipulation designed to make a reader feel a moment more deeply ... The narrative framework and the themes Berry explores through these icons of mythology pack more of a punch than the individual details of these lovers’ lives ... a gripping wartime love story, but it’s also an original, breathtaking examination of how humanity’s ills, from violence to racism, are conquered by our better tendencies ... a compelling take on fate, loss, and hope — and how when everything else hangs in the balance, love resounds as the most complicated, mystifying, resilient force of all.
RaveEntertainment WeeklyBeatriz Williams has made a name for herself as a historical novelist with a knack for the obscured whisperings and yearnings of women’s lives ... She adds to that canon with The Summer Wives ... Williams writes of Miranda’s journey in both timelines with a keen eye for the wounds unique to both the first flushes of teenage love and an older, deeper, more enduring ache ... Williams’ particular gift as a writer is peeling back the pages of history to breathe life into the interior lives of women ... With The Summer Wives, she has perhaps crafted her most evocative and stirring novel yet ... But Williams also never falls into the trap of nostalgia, always taking care to draw back the curtain on this sparkling world to show the rottenness at its core ... The novel is also a compelling mystery that will keep you turning the pages to discover both the secrets of the past and the prospects of the future. Williams writes with compassion and empathy for all of her characters, beguiling you with twists and turns.
MixedEntertainment WeeklyWhile Perri’s tale is a romance, it lacks some of the requisite heat and deep yearning that make for the best entries in the genre ... There’s nothing wrong with the notion of opposites attracting, but Perri never fully builds a convincing enough reason for these two to be together ... The most compelling part of the novel is the questions it raises about identity and finding one’s place in the world ... A romance is meant to guarantee a happily-ever-after at its conclusion by definition, but it should never feel undeservingly inevitable.
RaveEntertainment WeeklyAs Louisa has matured and grown, so too have Moyes’ novels, resulting in the best entry in the Me Before You trilogy yet. Here, Moyes seeks to plumb what it truly means to find oneself and build a life alongside others rather than solely in service to them … Past characters pop up with enough frequency to satisfy the most devoted readers, while Moyes’ ability to craft utterly unique and delightful new characters that spring off the page remains … Louisa herself is a heroine with whom you could spend endless hours – her generosity of spirit, sincerity, and gently self-deprecating inner monologue make it obvious why Moyes and readers have stuck with her through three books. For fans of the previous novels, Moyes has crafted a worthy conclusion to her trilogy, offering a finale brimming with pathos and warmth.