Husband Material by Alexis Hall

Book Description

In BOYFRIEND MATERIAL, Luc and Oliver met, pretended to fall in love, fell in love for real, dealt with heartbreak and disappointment and family and friends…and somehow figured out a way to make it work. Now it seems like everyone around them is getting married, and Luc’s feeling the social pressure to propose. But it’ll take more than four weddings, a funeral, and a hotly contested rainbow balloon arch to get these two from “I don’t know what I’m doing” to “I do”.

Good thing Oliver is such perfect HUSBAND MATERIAL.

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Accomplished by Amanda Quain

Book Description

Georgiana Darcy gets the Pride & Prejudice retelling she deserves in Amanda Quain’s Accomplished, a sparkling contemporary YA featuring a healthy dose of marching band romance, endless banter, and Charles Bingley as a ripped frat boy.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Georgiana Darcy should have been expelled after The Incident with Wickham Foster last year – at least if you ask any of her Pemberley Academy classmates. She may have escaped expulsion because of her family name, but she didn’t escape the disappointment of her big brother Fitz, the scorn of the entire school, or, it turns out, Wickham’s influence.

But she’s back for her junior year, and she needs to prove to everyone – Fitz, Wickham, her former friends, and maybe even herself – that she’s more than just an embarrassment to the family name. How hard can it be to become the Perfect Darcy? All she has to do is:

– Rebuild her reputation with the marching band (even if it kills her)
– Forget about Wickham and his lies (no matter how tempting they still are), and
– Distract Fitz Darcy — helicopter-sibling extraordinaire — by getting him to fall in love with his classmate, Lizzie Bennet (this one might be difficult…)

Sure, it’s a complicated plan, but so is being a Darcy. With the help of her fellow bandmate, Avery, matchmaking ideas lifted straight from her favorite fanfics, and a whole lot of pancakes, Georgie is going to see every one of her plans through. But when the weight of being the Perfect Darcy comes crashing down, Georgie will have to find her own way before she loses everything permanently—including the one guy who sees her for who she really is.

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Always Be My Duchess by Amalie Howard

Book Description

Pretty Woman meets the Bridgertons in this witty, vivacious historical take on 90s romcoms by USA Today bestselling author Amalie Howard: 

Lord Lysander Blackstone, the stern Duke of Montcroix, has only one interest: increasing his considerable fortune. After a series of betrayals, he keeps his emotions buried deep. Money, after all, can’t break a man’s heart—or make promises it can’t keep. But when his reputation for being heartless jeopardizes a new business deal, he finds himself seeking a most unusual—and alluring—solution . . . 

Once an up-and-coming ballerina, Miss Geneviève Valery is now hopelessly out of work. After refusing to become a wealthy patron’s mistress, Nève was promptly shown the door to the streets. When she accidentally saves the life of a handsome duke, she doubts the encounter will go any better than her last brush with nobility. But instead of propositioning her, Montcroix makes Nève an offer she would be a fool to refuse: act as his fake fiancée in exchange for fortune enough to start over.

Only neither is prepared when very real feelings begin to grow between them. They both stand to win . . . but only if they’re willing to risk their hearts.

My Review

This charming Victorian era historical romance is the story two people from different worlds forging a connection. A chance encounter between Lysander and Nève leads to an offer—not an indecent proposal, but rather a fake engagement scheme.

Despite being at the top of the social hierarchy, Lysander has developed a reputation for being cold and unapproachable. His one great love jilted him; I won’t say for whom she left him, but yikes. Yet Lord Super Grump’s heart grows three sizes over the course of the book as he does nice things for Nève just because. Likewise, Nève learns that after a lifetime of keeping her guard up and fending for herself, putting her trust in someone will not lead to her losing everything she has worked so hard to maintain.

The two protagonists are supported by a well-rounded cast of secondary characters, some of whom will almost definitely be promoted to a leading role in subsequent books in the series. Lysander’s aged aunt stole the show at every possible opportunity, and the villains of the piece chewed the scenery just the right amount whenever they appeared in a scene.

I would recommend Always Be My Duchess. The protagonists are likeable, and they have good chemistry together. The banter is light and fun, and this is clearly a great beginning to a new series. I’m looking forward to reading more from Howard in the future.

I received a digital ARC of this book from Forever/NetGalley

Just By Looking at Him by Ryan O’Connell

Book Description

From the star of Peacock’s Queer as Folk and the Netflix series Special comes a darkly witty and touching novel following a gay TV writer with cerebral palsy as he fights addiction and searches for acceptance in an overwhelmingly ableist world.

Elliott appears to be living the dream as a successful TV writer with a doting boyfriend. But behind his Instagram filter of a life, he’s grappling with an intensifying alcohol addiction, he can’t seem to stop cheating on his boyfriend with various sex workers, and his cerebral palsy is making him feel like gay Shrek.

After falling down a rabbit hole of sex, drinking, and Hollywood backstabbing, Elliott decides to limp his way towards redemption. But facing your demons is easier said than done.

Candid, biting, and refreshingly real, Just by Looking at Him is an incisive commentary on gay life, a heart-centered, laugh-out-loud exploration of self, and a rare insight into life as a person with disabilities.

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The Loophole by Naz Kutub

Book Description

A gay Muslim boy travels the world for a second chance at love after a possibly magical heiress grants him three wishes in this YA debut that’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda with a twist of magic.

Sy placed all his bets for happiness on his boyfriend, Farouk . . . who then left him to try and “fix the world.” Now, the timid seventeen-year-old Indian Muslim boy is stuck in a dead-end coffee shop job and all he can do is wish for one more chance . . .

Sy never expects his wish to be granted. But when a mysterious girl offers him three wishes in exchange for his help and proves she can grant at least one wish with an instant million-dollar deposit into Sy’s struggling bank account, a whole new world of possibility opens up. Is she magic? Or just rich? And can Sy find the courage to leave Los Angeles and cross the Atlantic Ocean to lands he’d never even dreamed he could visit, all to track down his missing ex? With help from his potentially otherworldly new friend, will Sy go all the way for one last, desperate chance at rebuilding his life and refinding love?

Your wish is granted! Naz Kutub’s debut weaves an engrossing whirlwind of an adventure with a journey to find love, home, and family.

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Murder for the Modern Girl by Kendall Kulper

Book Description

Gatsby-era glamour, a swoon-worthy love story, and an indomitable heroine dazzle in this romp that captures the extravagance of the Roaring Twenties and the dangers of vigilante justice.

A ravishing young mind reader stalks the streets at night in kitten heels, prowling for men to murder.

A soft-spoken genius toils away in the city morgue, desperate to unearth the science behind his gift for shapeshifting.

It’s a match made in 1928 Chicago, where gangsters run City Hall, jazz fills the air, and every good girl’s purse conceals a flask.

Until now, eighteen-year-old Ruby’s penchant for poison has been a secret. No one knows that she uses her mind-reading abilities to target men who prey on vulnerable women, men who escape the clutches of Chicago “justice.” When she meets a brilliant boy working at the morgue, his knack for forensic detail threatens to uncover her dark hobby. Even more unfortunately: sharp, independent Ruby has fallen in love with him.
 
Waltzing between a supernaturally enhanced romance, the battle to take down a gentleman’s club, and loyal friendships worth their weight in diamonds, Ruby brings defiant charm to every page of Murder for the Modern Girl—not to mention killer fashion. An irresistible caper perfect for fans of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, in an exquisite hardcover package with rose-gold foil.
 
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

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Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper

Book Description

From acclaimed author Phil Stamper (The Gravity of Us and As Far as You’ll Take Me) comes a poignant coming-of-age, contemporary middle grade debut novel about finding your place, using your voice, and the true meaning of pride. Perfect for fans of Rick by Alex Gino and The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy.

Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school’s first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can’t be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio.

When Jake’s dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, the mayor begins to receive complaints. A few people are even concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade.

Except Jake doesn’t think that’s a ridiculous idea. Why can’t they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he’ll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won’t be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring Pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor’s son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake.

But someone that cute couldn’t possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?

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A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall

Book Description

When Viola Carroll was presumed dead at Waterloo she took the opportunity to live, at last, as herself. But freedom does not come without a price, and Viola paid for hers with the loss of her wealth, her title, and her closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood.

Only when their families reconnect, years after the war, does Viola learn how deep that loss truly was. Shattered without her, Gracewood has retreated so far into grief that Viola barely recognises her old friend in the lonely, brooding man he has become.

As Viola strives to bring Gracewood back to himself, fresh desires give new names to old feelings. Feelings that would have been impossible once and may be impossible still, but which Viola cannot deny. Even if they cost her everything, all over again.

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Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee

Book Description

From the author of Meet Cute Diary comes a delectable rom-com that’s brimming with zest and a sprinkle of sweetness. A must-read for fans of Casey McQuiston and Julian Winters.

Theo Mori and Gabriel Moreno have always been at odds. Their parents own rival businesses—an Asian American café and a Puerto Rican bakery—and Gabi’s lack of coordination has cost their soccer team too many games to count.

Stuck in the closet and scared to pursue his own dreams, Gabi sees his parents’ shop as his future. Stuck under the weight of his parents’ expectations, Theo’s best shot at leaving Vermont means first ensuring his parents’ livelihood is secure. 

So when a new fusion café threatens both shops, Theo and Gabi realize an unfortunate truth—they can only achieve their goals by working together to cook up an underground bakery operation and win back their customers. But can they put aside their differences long enough to save their parents’ shops or will the new feelings between them boil over?

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I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Book Description

From the New York Times bestselling author of One Last Stop and Red, White & Royal Blue comes a romantic comedy about chasing down what you want, only to find what you need…

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and the puritanical administration of Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair and square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.

Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.

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