I haven’t done a post like this for a while and I thought it would be fun to do one! I’m also excited to check in at the end of the year (or as soon as I finish these) and see if they lived up to my expectations. I have to say that my slow reading pace leads me to do a lot of research before I pick up a book and this leads me to giving a lot of 5 star reviews. The pandemic has also helped me figure out the type of stories I really enjoy reading, as well as my favourite tropes. I have scoured the universe for the following books and judging from the plot, characters or authors, I think I’m going to give these books five stars!
Marriage for One by Ella Maise
Synopsis: Jack and I, we did everything backward. The day he lured me into his office-which was also the first day we met-he proposed. You'd think a guy who looked like him-a bit cold maybe, but still striking and very unattainable-would only ask the love of his life to marry him, right? You'd think he must be madly in love. Nope. It was me he asked. A complete stranger who had never even heard of him. A stranger who had been dumped by her fiancé only weeks before. You'd think I'd laugh in his face, call him insane-and a few other names-then walk away as quickly as possible. Well…I did all those things except the walking away part. It took him only minutes to talk me into a business deal…erm, I mean marriage, and only days for us to officially tie the knot. Happiest day of my life. Magical. Pop the champagne… Not. It was the worst day. Jack Hawthorne was nothing like what I'd imagined for myself. I blamed him for my lapse in judgment. I blamed his eyes, the ocean blue eyes that looked straight into mine unapologetically, and that frown on his face I had no idea I would become so fascinated with in time. It wasn't long after he said I was the biggest mistake of his life that things started to change. No, he still didn't talk much, but anyone can string a few words together. His actions spoke the loudest to me. And day after day my heart started to get a mind of its own. One second he was no one. The next he became everything. One second he was unattainable. The next he seemed to be completely mine. One second I thought we were in love. The next it was still nothing but a lie. After all, I was Rose and he was Jack. We were doomed from the very beginning with those names. Did you expect anything else?
Why I think I’m going to love this book: This is the book of my dreams. I love the grump/sunshine dynamic and the marriage of convenience trope because there’s pining, slow burn angst and domesticity. It’s almost as if the author looked inside my head, saw exactly what makes my heart melt and decided to write it.
Kulti by Mariana Zapata
Synopsis: “Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.” When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to. It didn’t take a week for 27-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon – why she’d ever had his posters on her wall or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies. Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.
Why I think I’m going to love this book: I have yet to read a Mariana Zapata book but she’s the queen of slow burn (which I crave) and the fact that it is a sports romance is bonus. The plot really intrigues me and I can’t wait to read this.
She who became the sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
Synopsis: Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in Shelley Parker-Chan's She Who Became the Sun, a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy. To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything “I refuse to be nothing…” In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness… In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected. When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother's identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate. After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother's abandoned greatness.
Why I think I’m going to love this book: This recently came out and it’s a queer asian sci-fi book!! YESSS, It’s marketed as “Mulan meets The Song of Achilles” and I have seen comparisons to The Poppy War which is one of my favourite books ever so this is very promising;
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Synopsis: This is the way the world ends. Again. Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze -- the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years -- collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She'll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
Why I think I’m going to love this book: An adult fantasy written by a Black woman? The real question is: why haven’t I read this already?? I also saw raving reviews by people I really trust so I’m very eager to read this fantasy.
Neon Gods by Katee Robert
Synopsis: He was supposed to be a myth. But from the moment I crossed the River Styx and fell under his dark spell... he was, quite simply, mine. Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over far from the backstabbing politics of the Thirteen Houses. But all that’s ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade. With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth... a man who awakens her to a world she never knew existed. Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent years craving, it’s all the excuse he needs to help her—for a price. Yet every breathless night spent tangled together has given Hades a taste for Persephone, and he’ll go to war with Olympus itself to keep her close… A modern retelling of Hades and Persephone that’s as sinful as it is sweet.
Why I think I’m going to love this book: What I love? retellings. My favourite gods from Greek mythology? Hades and Persephone (just look at my rating system). This book is a match made in heaven.
Drag Me Up by R.M. Virtues
Synopsis: They say he’s a myth... And Hades prefers it that way. He may do all the work, and Zeus may get all the credit, but at least it allows Hades to preserve the one thing he truly cares to have: his solitude. The mere mention of the Wraith of Khaos Falls is enough to keep order, and he is rarely forced to leave the shadows of Casino Asphodel. She belongs in the spotlight... And Persephone clawed her way out of Demeter’s shadow to reach it. Now she’s lead in Calliope’s Cirque production but not without great cost, and there is not enough money in the world to pay off the debt accrued for the simple mistake of trusting Zeus. Though it’s easier to ignore the bars when she still has room to fly. Landing a residency at the legendary Casino Asphodel is everything she trained for. Meeting a man she’d been convinced didn’t exist? She could never be prepared for that. Hades isn’t prepared for her either, but it’s soon evident they’re a force when together. He gives her a soft place to land, and she makes him want to reach for the stars. But when Zeus ups the stakes, they must be willing to go all in, even if it means coming down from the sky. Or stepping into the light.
Why I think I’m going to love this book: This is also a Hades and Persephone retelling but with a queer and diverse twist! I am so happy to finally read about a Black persephone and I love the fact that Persephone is trans in this one and that Hades is demisexual (like me!!).
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Synopsis: A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick. Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position... Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...
Why I think I’m going to love this book: I have never seen a book as liked as this one. It is impossible to find a single bad review about this romance novel.
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
Synopsis: Wanted: One (fake) boyfriend Practically perfect in every way Luc O'Donnell is tangentially--and reluctantly--famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he's never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad's making a comeback, Luc's back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything. To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship...and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He's a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he's never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened. But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that's when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don't ever want to let them go.
Why I think I’m going to love this book: This is one of my favourite author’s favourite book (Talia Hibbert even made a reel). This has been compared to Red, White and Royal Blue which I also loved! It also has the fake dating trope which is one my favourites so I can’t wait to read this!
Kiss the Sky by Krista and Becca Ritchie
Synopsis: Rose Calloway thought she had everything under control. At twenty-three, she’s a Princeton graduate, an Academic Bowl champion, a fashion designer and the daughter of a Fortune 500 mogul. But with a sex addict as a sister and roommate, nothing comes easy. After accepting help from a producer, Rose agrees to have her life filmed for a reality television show. The Hollywood exec is her last chance to revive her struggling fashion line, and boundaries begin to blur as she’s forced to make nice with a man who always has his way. Twenty-four-year-old Connor Cobalt is a guy who bulldozes weak men. He’s confident, smart-as-hell and lives with his equally ambitious girlfriend, Rose Calloway. Connor has to find a way to protect Rose without ruining the show. Or else the producer will get what Connor has always wanted—Rose’s virginity. This New Adult Romance can be described as Friends meets The Real World. Expect fist fights, drugs, sex of varying degrees, crude humor and competitive alpha males. Definitely for mature readers audiences only.
Why I think I’m going to love this book: Everyone on book twitter has both read and loved this one! Whenever I ask for recommendations, this always comes up. Connor Cobalt is said to be people’s husband and I’m very curious to see what the hype is about.
What are your five stars predictions? Let me know!