When NYC high schooler Emma learns about a film competition, she sees an opportunity to make her dreams come true. She enlists her friend group to help her, including Sophia, who has recently moved back after spending a year in France. To make a long plot summary short, creative differences lead to Sophia deciding to make her own movie, which means that now she and Emma are competing against each other for the same prize.Read more
I have been waiting for the conclusion of the Magic in Manhattan trilogy for nine months, and now it’s finally here! The plot picks up after the events of Starcrossed. Ace and Rory and their supernatural friends are still trying to stop the big villains before they unleash utter destruction on the world. This probably doesn’t make sense if you haven’t read the rest of the series, but I’m keeping the details vague so as to not spoil the first 2/3 of a trilogy.
But for those of you who have read the other books, Wonderstruck is an absolute treat. Rory is still as grumpy as ever, and some of the funniest scenes involved defending slights—both real and perceived—against his beloved Ace. As Rory would say, this book isn’t just mushy lovey dovey stuff: there’s plenty of action and a couple of real close moments where you aren’t sure if everybody is going to come out okay.Read more
I enjoyed the Gossip Girl novels in my youth—although I never got into the TV show—so I was intrigued by the prospect of a new novel by Cecily Von Siegesar.
Cobble Hill features an eclectic cast of neighbors, who meet and mingle in the titular Brooklyn neighborhood. Their shared narrative unfolds via a multitude of perspectives; quite frankly, I lost count of the number of POV characters, but there are four married couples and three children, most of whom have at least one POV scene.
One might think that it would be difficult to keep track of all these characters, but fortunately, they all have well-developed personalities and motivations, so they all stand out in their own ways. The author has infused these characters with quirky little details to help make them memorable.
As for the plot, not much happens. But also, a lot of things happen. Much like Seinfeld, the focus is on these amazing characters and how they interact with their environment and with each other. On the other hand, much like Gossip Girl, there are *some* juicy secrets, like the fact that one of the characters pretends to have MS in order to gain attention and sympathy from her husband, which left me anxiously waiting for the fallout from this duplicity. Yes, some of the events do beggar belief, but then again, truth is stranger than fiction.
I would absolutely recommend Cobble Hill. This book is engaging and fun, and held my interest amidst all the chaos going on in the real world. Von Siegesar has once again given us a glimpse into the world of a select group of New Yorkers. This time, we’re dealing with Gen-X Brooklynites rather than UES Millennials, but the commonalities are astounding. I would love to see Cobble Hill turned into a limited series on Netflix.
I received an ARC of this book from Atria Books/Netgalley.
Eric has been the goalie for the New York Admirals for his entire professional hockey career. Now that he’s turning 41, he knows that this is his last season, but he’s not ready to tell his teammates. He’s also finally acknowledging his bisexuality, and now that he’s been divorced for a year, he’s ready to explore this new facet of himself.
Enter Kyle, a grad student who he knows through mutual friends. Kyle offers to help Eric learn how to date guys, which includes low-pressure introduction to the physical aspect of dating.Read more
When emails from an African prince show up in Naledi’s inbox, she dismisses them as a scam. Little does she know—not only are the emails are genuine, but she is Prince Thabiso’s long-lost fiancée.
At first, Prince Thabiso isn’t impressed that the woman he has been engaged to since childhood doesn’t recognize him, but he quickly sees the potential benefits. Everybody always fawns over him because he’s a prince, but Ledi treats him like a regular guy.
So he decides not to tell her that he’s a prince. Or that they’re engaged.
But the truth always comes out eventually.Read more
This is the second book in the Magic in Manhattan series and readers ought to start with Spellbound, the first book, so they have a better idea of the way magic works in the storyverse, as well as understanding the threats the characters find themselves up against.
Arthur and Rory are still dealing with the fallout from the events in Spellbound and trying to figure out how to make their relationship work. It’s 1920s New York, so they can’t be together openly and then there’s the added layer of their socioeconomic differences: even a friendship between the two men raises questions. Read more
This is the first book in the Game Changers series, but it’s the second book I read—I started with an ARC of Tough Guy, the third book in the series, and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately bought books 1 and 2.
Kip makes dozens of smoothies during a typical work shift, but when the blueberry smoothie he makes for New York Admirals superstar Scott Hunter appears to pull the hockey player out of weeks-long slump, it becomes part of a new ritual for the two of them. Sure, Hunter is super hot, but it doesn’t mean anything… does it? Read more
Oh my gosh, I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for JuanPa’s book. Okay, it’s only been a year since American Dreamer, the first book in the Dreamers series, but needless to say, current events have made the twelve months between March 2019 and March 2020 feel like a decade. Anyway, when I saw the excerpt for this book at the end of American Love Story, it made me even more excited for this book.
JuanPa and Pris have been on-again-off-again for YEARS, like since they were teens. They have a lot of history, and now they’re both headed to a super posh wedding in the Dominican Republic. Both of them are determined to be cordial to each other while keeping their distance, but neither of them factored in that their scorching chemistry never waned.
So OF COURSE they hook up in the DR, and now they have to go back to NYC and figure out where they stand with each other. Read more
Title: House Rules
Author: Ruby Lang
Series: Uptown, #3 *easily read as a standalone
Length: approx. 47,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance; Romantic Comedy
Imprint: Carina Press
On-Sale: February 10, 2020
Format & Price: eBook $3.99
ROOMMATE WANTED to share a gorgeous sun-filled apartment in Central Harlem. Must love cats. No ex-husbands or wives need apply.
Seventeen years ago, different dreams pulled Simon Mizrahi and Lana Kai apart. But when Lana takes a position as a chef back in Manhattan, her apartment search puts her right in her ex-husband’s path. Music teacher Simon is also hunting for a new place to live, and when Lana proposes they be platonic roomies, well…it’s not the worst idea he’s ever heard.
A sunny uptown two-bedroom sounds far more appealing than the cramped, noisy space where he’s currently struggling to work. Still, Simon has seen firsthand that Lana’s a flight risk, so he agrees on a trial basis.
Three months. With strict boundaries.
Living together again feels wonderfully nostalgic, but when the ex-couple’s lingering feelings rise to the surface, the rules go out the window.
Of course, chemistry was never their problem. But while Simon’s career feels back on solid footing, Lana is still sorting out what she wants. With their trial period soon coming to an end, they’ll have to decide if their living arrangement was merely a sexy trip down memory lane or a reunion meant to last.
So, this is a second chance romance, but most of the other second chance romances that I’ve read involve a redemptive arc. That isn’t the case with this book; there was no Big Reason that led to Lana and Simon’s divorce; they just drifted apart. There was no angsty pining for each other over the subsequent years, but neither of them remarried either. Nevertheless, Simon and Lana have been granted a second chance with each other, and their reconnecting is both familiar and new.
This dichotomy was part of the reason why Lana and Simon had such great chemistry. They spent years together, but it’s been awhile and their bodies are not entirely the same over the years, so this makes for some really hot scenes together.
I liked that the protagonists were “older” than the average. They are 42 and 44, but in the romance genre, that’s practically ancient. They’re closer to my age than the 20-somethings who pop up frequently as protagonists, so it was a refreshing change of pace.
Simon and Lana were great, but Muffin the cat absolutely stole the show. This furry little ball of trouble chewed the scenery (literally!) at every opportunity, and was the catalyst for bringing Simon and Lana back together.
I would absolutely recommend House Rules. I loved the NYC setting and the diverse cast. I loved how realistic their situation was: Manhattan apartments are expensive and splitting the costs of a spacious apartment is a necessity rather than a manufactured conceit. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this book. This is my first experience reading Lang, but I have already added her other books to my TBR queue.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and I’m thrilled to be participating in the House Rules blog tour!
Ruby Lang is the author of the acclaimed Practice Perfect series. She is pint-sized, prim, and bespectacled. Her alter ego, Mindy Hung, wrote about romance novels (among other things) for The Toast. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Walrus, Bitch, and other fine venues. She enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband.
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And now, here’s an excerpt from the book:
She kissed him as they traveled uptown, under the too-bright lights of the rattling, rumbling 2 train, her hands stealing up past the thick collar of this coat, to his warm neck, to his hair.
“We’re disgracing ourselves,” Simon murmured, even as he nipped her earlobe and his fingers found the zip of her jacket and pulled it down. “Making out on the train, like teenagers.”
He watched the progress of the zipper avidly, as if it would reveal more than her scarf, her sweater, more layers and layers of clothing, as if he could see down to her skin. Then he tipped his tongue up to catch her again in a lush kiss.
She pushed her breast, or the area of her clothing that covered it, shamelessly into his hand, and he gave a muffled gasp that only made her wilder. The train seat felt too smooth and unsatisfying against her restless thighs.
Every stop on the walk home was marked by where they paused to kiss, where Simon pushed her up against a wall, and she ground her hips against his. A car slowed once and honked while they were pressed on the brick beside a beauty salon. Its headlights illuminated their desperate bodies, causing Lana to bury her head in the front of Simon’s coat. Simon laughed softly, an edge of incredulity in the sound.
“We should get back.”
They hurried now, swinging around the corner and down the block, through the gate and up, up the stairs, the thumping of their footsteps loud and urgent. Lana couldn’t help blushing at how impatient their running sounded. She and Simon burst in the door and into their dark hallway. Before the door fully closed, they’d fallen on each other, tripping in their haste to kick off shoes and unzip and unbutton each other, to unwind. It was as if they expected someone would stop them, someone wise and mature who’d tell them to think this through. But of course, they were the adults here, they were the ones in charge.
The fact that this was a bad idea only made Lana want it more.
Copyright © 2020 by Mindy Hung
Permanent Record is a YA novel written by Mary H. K. Choi. Even though I’m one of those jaded xennials and moving farther away from the target demographic every year, I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because the premise sounded interesting.
Pablo dropped out of college, and now spends his nights working in a NYC deli, and he’s quick to inform the reader that even though it’s open 24 hours, it’s not a bodega because it sells all sorts of fancy rich-people-food.
One night, a girl comes into the not-bodega, and Pablo recognizes her- she’s Leanna Smart- a child star who grew up into an international pop sensation. They strike up a conversation, and Leanna is impressed that Pablo doesn’t recognize her right away. This is, perhaps, why she invites Pablo into her inner circle. Read more