this had Love Actually vibes… and I’m here for it

It Had to Be You – Georgia Clark 

Romance, fiction, contemporary, LGBTQ+. 

Liv faces the death of her husband and father of their only child. She finds out Elliot, her husband, decided to change the will to include this young woman who shows up. This young woman introduces herself as Savannah. She was his fling that he was apparently having the past couple of months. Ralph gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to go get his play on Broadway but his partner, Henry, proposes the idea of getting married. That means a closed relationship and he has to be fully committed which scares him. Darlene needs money and Zach needs to prove to his parents that he can settle down so he offers Darlene an offer she can’t refuse. Funding for her next album. Zia and Clay begin dating in secrecy. Liv is trying to work with Savannah as a partner as well as uncover the mystery of why her late dead husband cheated on her as well as naming this woman in his will. Each couple learns the hard way that love is never easy and finding love is even harder. 

I grabbed this from my local Target because there was not only a sale but the title caught my attention. I hesitated reading it and I regret it because this was extremely good. One of my new favorites so far. I cried so much throughout this book as well as laughed and sighed. By the time I finished this novel my heart melted into a puddle of feels. This definitely felt like Love Actually but more diverse and more heart felt. I hardly read contemporary romances because they typically are boring to me and there isn’t enough for the plot to be interesting enough for me to continue to read. This had me feeling for the characters and wanting to get to know their love stories and what they were going through. There are a lot of characters going on but this is all one giant story happening in New York. I didn’t rush to finish this book but rather read it in segments and slowly enjoyed the romances that were blossoming.

The writing was phenomenal. I loved how the chapters were alternating with the different couples and their love stories unfolding. The main focus is Liv and Savannah but there are other characters who are involved with the main characters that their lives also are intertwined with. All of this is happening because of one wedding reception in the beginning and ends the same. In other words, it comes full circle. This was brilliantly written and again the characters are diverse without it being too much or forced. The author is incredible and believe it or not but as I was reading the acknowledgements this book was inspired by the author’s wedding which makes the novel even more special. I definitely recommend going to get this book to read.

home is where ever they go because they are with each other

Fly Me to the Moon Vol 4 – Kenjiro Hata

Romance, contemporary, young adult, manga, fiction. 

Rating 10/10

Nasa and Tsukasa return from touring the Kyoto area and getting to know his parents to find that his home got burned up. Now they have nowhere else to go, one of his friends offers a room at the place he is a regular. Throughout this, they find romance and make memories with each other. Nasa learns what it is like to treat his wife to things that she deserves. Their next adventure would be finding their own place to live at. 

Okay, this one was definitely cuter than the previous volume. They are so cute that one has to obviously ship the two. There are some pervy parts in this one but there is too much romance and fluff that it goes unnoticed. I’m so happy to have found this series and can’t wait for the rest to come out. I am 100% deeply invested in this manga series.

so much fluff and romance

Fly Me to the Moon Vol 3 – Kenjiro Hata

Romance, contemporary, young adult, manga, fiction. 

Rating 10/10

Nasa realizes that their home is small and sort of cramped. He wants to move to a bigger space but she is happily content. He convinces her that they can get a bigger space for the two and get more stuff that she likes. Now that she’s on board with that idea but points out that a new bigger home would be costly. Nasa knows who to go get help for a bigger place, his parents. In realizing this, he forgot to inform them that they got married. He wants the best for his wife and will do anything to prove that he loves her. 

I was struggling to find this manga volume. As one can tell, I am deeply invested in this series. There are a lot of cute and hilarious moments. Moments that made me go aww and cried cause it was so much fluff and romance. I’m so happy when I found this and I found the fourth volume as well. I sincerely recommend this manga series because there is a lot of cute fluff and moments that will make one’s heart melt. The artwork and dialogue are perfect and well done. Unfortunately there are only four volumes but this can be a way to catch up if there is more coming out later this year. I saw at Barnes & Nobles that there are four more coming out this year which is great news.

funny and fluff

Fly Me to the Moon: Vol 2 – Kenjiro Hata 

Contemporary, romance, manga, older teens, fiction.

Rating 9/10

Nasa takes his new wife, Tsukasa, to the bathhouse since his living arrangements currently don’t have a shower or bath. They come back when her sister arrives and declares that she doesn’t approve of Nasa. Her sister kidnaps him and tries to ruin the relationship but he is loyal to Tsukasa. Tsukasa sees the loyalty and Nasa proposes to her, even though they are married. We follow them through their lives together. 

I was hunting down this series like a mad woman. I needed to read more and more of this. I want to know who and what Tsukasa is. There are some hints of possibly a being from the moon and or different planet. The artwork is splendid and the dialogue. I was laughing and going ‘aww’ throughout this volume. I highly recommend reading this manga series. This might take a while to complete but one hundred percent worth waiting.

this was really fun to read :)

To Kill A Kingdom – Alexandra Christo

Fantasy, sirens, young adult, fiction. 

Rating 9/10

Lira is a princess siren who loves to collect hearts. This is a part of her tradition to collect prince hearts. Prince Elain wants to destroy all siren kind as he travels the seas but only one or two at a time does not suffice. He falls into the ocean nearly drowning and she saves him. Her mother punishes her by taking away her siren song and she has to bring back his heart. However, she seeks the same thing that Prince Elain wants and both make a deal. 

I’ve seen this book all over tik tok and wanted to know what was the hype. Immediately on the first page I knew. All I can say is that this book is violent in a sense that it is appropriate for the genre of this book. This is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of taking out hearts from bodies and the author really does describe with a lot of detail. There are some mermaids but mostly this focuses on sirens which not many fictional novels mention nor have them featured. The world building was acceptable that helped the protagonists forward towards their goal. I enjoyed this novel a lot and I would recommend it for anyone who loves sirens, blood and gore, and violence. The author really went into this novel and I loved it.

I can’t get enough of this trope tbh

Conventionally Yours – Annabeth Albert

LGBTQ+, enemies to lovers, romance, comedy, road trips, conventions, fiction.

Rating 11/10

Conrad needs to win the Odyssey-Con so that he can use the money to find his own place to live at. He works part time multiple jobs due to that when his father found out he was homosexual; his dad did the worst thing by eliminating his son’s chance of a future unless he comes back home to be fixed. Alden’s mothers want Alden to decide on a future of what academic course he must take. Alden wants more time to decide and told them after the Odyssey-Con trip he will give them an answer. Gamer Grandpa, their game leader, becomes injured and sends the two on the cross-country road trip. Alden and Conrad despise and hate each other. They want this to get over and done that way they can be out of each other’s hairs. As the road trip progresses, their true feelings for each other begin to blossom and shed away. This road trip will forever change their relationship.

I’m left speechless as I am writing this. I wasn’t expecting some of what had happened to happen in this novel. The two characters Conrad and Alden are so drastically different and yet somehow, they mesh into what I would consider a cute relationship. I mean they were enemies and now lovers. This was not so cliché cringe as some that I had read before. This was fun to read and there was enough romance throughout the second half of the book. I guess that sometimes road trips really do bring people together in new and weird, exciting ways such as what went on with Alden and Conrad.

this was SO GOOD!

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars – Christopher Paolini

Science fiction.

Rating 9/10

Kira cannot wait to be done with this job so that she and her to be husband can work together on another mission. On Adstra she is collecting information about the planet she finds a cavern. She falls into the cavern to discover an ancient civilization of some sorts. Dust is everywhere and then she blacks out. She reawakens in the ship but different. There is some sort of matter covering every inch of her body that somehow is considered dangerous. She is put into quarantine to be analyzed. This sort of suit protects her from being poked and prodded. Out of quarantine she finds her way out of the ship to safety as there is an attack by an unidentifiable enemy that has tentacles and very hostile. The Soft Blade, as the organism covering her body named itself, tells her what they are and that they are dangerous. Kira learns more and she finds herself on another ship of people that are being rescued and to be taken to a planet for refuge besides the ship. She convinces the captain to work with her about the information of these Jellies by boarding one of their ships to get intel. Once she does that, she discovers that the Soft Blade had every reason to be afraid and wanting to help. She enlists help from a ship and its crew to help her prevent the War.

This novel was intriguing from page one to the very last page. I got this book because I saw it had great views and bad views on TikTok. I took it upon myself to read it. I loved the pacing and the characters; the author really was thorough in world building. However, there was a lot of uninteresting slow points and when there was some action, there was not a lot of fighting and it was settled too quickly. Do not get me wrong, I love this novel. I think this was good science fiction. I am not sure if I would reread it because this book is rather large but middle school me would have loved giant books. As an adult I have mixed feelings and sometimes I like to read a moderately sized science fiction novel or a series that was paced so perfectly as this one. I do recommend this novel for sure. I wished that this were rather a series, but we shall see if the author does.

this was sweet

Fly Me to the Moon – Kenjiro Hata

Marriage, fantasy, manga, fiction.

Rating 9/10

Nasa was ashamed of his birthname and passionately believed that he will ensure everyone will remember him but not for space stuff. He gets into an accident with a vehicle after he was hit on foot. A mysterious woman appears to rescue him. He wants her to stay but she makes an offer he unknowingly jumps into, marriage. She disappears after he agrees. Time passes by and he hears a knock on his door. It is the mysterious woman wanting to get married.

This was sweet and bizarre, but I loved it. I had not expected to like this manga. I thought I was going to hate it but nonetheless, I love it. I reflect and wish I got the second book of the series. I am curious about what the mystery girl is. The artwork was beautiful, and the writing style was simple. I love this manga. I only wished it were longer. I plan to get more in this series.

bones

The Bone Labyrinth: A Sigma Force Novel – James Rollin

Excavations, archeology, scientific world, voyages to the other world, special operations, military science, action, suspense, fiction.

Rating 8/10

Lena goes to Croatia, to an archeological site where she found the bones of a Neanderthal woman in a closed off chapel. Inside that site, there are artworks as well that depict society and the evolving brain that was humankind. The site is attacked and ransacked, leaving her and a few survivors straggling to get out of the cavern and questioning why the bones of a Neanderthal woman and to destroy the cavern. Commander Grey Peirce is on the case to go rescue and help. Whereas Monk and Kowalski are to talk with Lena’s twin, Maria, about their work. Maria explains that they wanted to know the mystery jump that happened that caused homo sapiens to be very smart and changed their ways of life. She and her sister think it’s a union between homo sapiens and Neanderthals. There’s so much danger that comes with this research because there are others hunting the same answers as Lena and Maria as well as wants them dead. This will take Sigma into the history and evidence of bones of human ancestors.

This was really intriguing and very adventurous. I enjoyed it so much, but it was a bit of a slow read for me personally. At the time of reading this novel I didn’t know that this was a series and I had read another book before this one and not know it was a part of a series. I plan to find out the first book of the Sigma Force series to read in order hopefully in the future. Overall, loved this indepth slow burn of a novel that kept me on my toes as well as kept me leaning towards reading rather than doing anything else. The author really panned out everything in the novel and made it very easy to read to understand the plot narrative.

introvert romances?

The Girl He Used to Know – Tracey Garvis Graves

Romance, Fiction.

Rating 7/10

Annika is a peculiar woman who prefers books and animals for company rather than people, a classic introvert. She has a way with her own words and her own style of interpreting life. Jonathan has been coping with a divorce. Annika and Jonathan run into each other at a grocery store and their love for one another is reignited. Both realize their past and discuss what went wrong. It was tragedy that created them to break apart. Just as they are rekindling their love, another life changing incident occurs. Both are unready for what life had in stored for them.

This was a slow read and took me a while to get into. The novel is fine and left an impression. There were two narratives that helped the plot along and explained the timeline of Annika and Jonathan’s relationship. I personally think that there could’ve been more done, and a lot of topics expanded. I can relate a little to the protagonist, Annika, because I also prefer books and animals sometimes rather than humans. I don’t do so well in social settings with large gatherings. If they were small group gatherings I can cope and deal with. This novel does bring up the topic of autism as well as anxiety and quickly dismisses within a few pages. I feel that subject should’ve been discussed further. I think this novel is fine if one wanted to read a slow romance novel.