Title: Like a Love Song Author: Gabriela Martins Publisher: Underlined Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance Rating:★★★★☆ Where can I get this?Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble Recommended for: fans of YA contemporary, fake-dating trope, and cute, fluffy romance CW: racism, public humiliation
Check out the Goodreads synopsis below!
This debut paperback original romance follows a Latina teen pop star whose image takes a dive after a messy public breakup, until she’s set up with a swoon-worthy fake boyfriend.
Fake boyfriend. Real heartbreak?
Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop star…until she’s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliating—it could end her career.
Her PR team’s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boy—not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for William—and realizes that maybe she’s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?
Honestly, this was such a cute and entertaining read!
𝐆𝐔𝐒𝐇: • Light-hearted, fast-paced and fun read • This book explores assimilation and how it connects to one’s identity (I could personally relate to this aspect and appreciate reading it because I haven’t read many books that explore this). I love how it delves into one’s culture and the importance of self-acceptance and love. My younger self definitely needed a book like this! • Positive female friendship. I adored how they celebrated and brought each other up. Love it. • Love Nati’s growth and her journey. • Would’ve loved this and needed this book when I was younger!
𝐆𝐑𝐈𝐏𝐄: • Maybe it’s just me, but I would’ve appreciated more communication on William’s end, especially towards the end of the book.
𝐈𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞: ✔ fake-dating trope ✔ golden retriever/cinnamon roll love interest ✔ only one bed ✔ opposites attract ✔ celebrity main characters
The enemies-to-lovers trope follows the convention of when two (or more) characters begin as enemies or possess a dislike and/or rivalry dynamic which later develops into a romantic relationship.
There is a specific difference in the character dynamics and nuance between enemies to lovers and rival to lovers – with the main difference being the severity of antagonism, feelings and thoughts between the affected characters. Furthermore, rivals to lovers may not necessarily be ‘enemies’, rather, the characters may strongly dislike the other whether or not sharing the same or similar goal. For the sake of simplicity, I’ve categorised the two tropes together (although I have a stronger preference to rivals to lovers compared to enemies to lovers).
This category includes the following: reluctance to like, dislike to like, hate to love, rivals to lovers, enemies to lovers
Why ‘enemies-to-lovers’ trope is fun:
About this list:
This list will provide books that pertain the enemies-to-lovers trope and information regarding the book and author, such as representation in the books and of the author. Please note: I haven’t read all the books listed. If there’s any information needed (such as representation, content warnings, etc.) to be added please let me know.
Also, I feel that it is important to note that I intentionally list information such as the author’s identity in terms of ethnicity, gender, religion, whether the author identifies being neurodivergent or disabled if the author enclosed such information. Why disclose such information? Representation matters. I endeavour to be as accurate as possible with such information, however, if there’s any error please let me know so I can amend it.
𝗙𝗲𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗕𝗼𝗼𝗸: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
𝗠𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗵𝗹𝘆 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀: Crescent City inspired characters illustrated by @arz28
𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘃𝗮𝗹 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗝𝗶𝗴𝘀𝗮𝘄 𝗣𝘂𝘇𝘇𝗹𝗲: illustrated by @sallteas
𝗙𝗼𝗶𝗹𝗲𝗱 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀 featuring characters from 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗱𝗼𝘄 𝗕𝗲𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗨𝘀, 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗲𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗳𝘂𝗹, 𝗦𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝗧𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗻𝘀, and 𝗘𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗗𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘀: illustrated by @arz28
𝗖𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗮 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗦𝗼𝗰𝗸𝘀: designed by @jezhawk
𝗦𝗮𝗹𝘁 & 𝗣𝗲𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗿 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘀: designed by @noverantale
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗴 𝗘𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗘𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗹 𝗣𝗶𝗻: designed by @alchemyandink
𝗞𝘆𝗹𝗼 𝗥𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗦𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘀: illustrated by @_saintdri
This is such a gorgeous box and upon opening this I actually gasped. Everything here was so gorgeous! 🤩✨ I was completely blown away with how gorgeous and cohesive the items were in this box. I honestly can’t get over how beautifully curated this box is.
Cost & Value: I believe this box really was worth the cost just alone with the book. However, the items included are not only gorgeous but useful, too. I love every item but my favourite would be the playing cards and socks. I’ll definitely use all the items.
Design: I am in awe with every item in this box. Everything is so cohesive with the theme and overall aesthetic. Also, did I mention how gorgeous the book is? Because the book is so gorgeous.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
𝐐𝐨𝐭𝐃: Have you read Kingdom of the Wicked? Otherwise, what’s your favourite romantic trope?
𝐀𝐨𝐭𝐃: I love enemies to lovers but I love it even more when they must work together begrudgingly 😁 my absolute favourite is rival to lovers 🥰💞
With the limited sneak peaks for that month I was so excited for this box. Not only due to the theme and the book in question, but also how it exclusively features BIPOC sellers and inspired books. However, upon opening the box, I couldn’t help but feel… disappointed. I feel like this theme could have been explored further and be more creative in terms of design and items. I’ll be honest, I feel cheated with this box. I am a POC myself, so naturally, I want to support BIPOC sellers but I feel like this box doesn’t showcase the theme well. Plus, with the lack of BIPOC sellers… I just… SIGH
In terms of the theme, designs, and items, I felt like there was no cohesiveness. I don’t know how the items and design relate to the the inspired books and overall theme. The items feel so randomly shoved together and I suppose this may be due to the fact that I haven’t read some of the books. However, for the books listed that I have read, I don’t understand the choice of items. For example, I mean, one could do so much with Spin the Dawn. I feel like only the design relates the the book. And not to criticise the design or item–I do appreciate the item and design. The bowl cozy design is gorgeous and wonderfully made. However, I question how it relates to Spin the Dawn other than the cover of the book? I don’t know. Like, I do appreciate how useful the items are, but I don’t understand how they relate to each other and the theme?
Cost: I really do not feel like this box was worth my money. However, I am an international buyer so I understand that our currency is weaker than the USD plus shipping expenses, however, I feel like other than the soap, the items could be purchased on cheap websites like WISHand ALIEXPRESS for a fraction of the price. Friends, with the change of shipping, I pay approximately $77+ AUD for this box. I just feel like slapping quotes on items and claiming it’s exclusive… I don’t think I can justify paying over $77 for that… Also, other than the soap, I would not purchase any of this items for myself. I wouldn’t go as far as say that I’m a minimalist, but I don’t really like to purchase items I don’t use nor need. It’s a shame because since discovering OwlCrate last year I’ve always loved them. I enjoy their monthly picks and loved their items. Perhaps this particular month wasn’t for me.
Conclusion: I’m not too fond of the items but I do love this month’s book. I accidentally slipped up my dates and purchased the November box, so, I will see how that box goes and will determine whether I would like to continue OwlCrate or not. Which is a huge bummer because I usually love OwlCrate book picks and their items.
Growing up, my family always utilised the library. There’s something special about the library and I love them so much. The other day, I decided to ignore my unread books on my shelves and acquire more books without my wallet cursing and crying at me. As a result, I went to my local library.
One thing I love about my library is how it allows you to borrow ten books at a time. I tried to be realistic and borrow the maximum books I think I can read within two weeks, so I managed to pick five books. Here are my pics:
• 𝗢𝗽𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗔𝗹𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀 by Justin A Reynolds
• 𝗪𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗙𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝗛𝗶𝗴𝗵 by Elizabeth Acevedo
• 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝗲𝘁 𝗫 by Elizabeth Acevedo
• 𝗗𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 by Justina Ireland
• 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗦𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗼𝗻 by Samantha Shannon
A few of these books have book on my tbr for a while and now I can devour them to my hearts content 😁 I’ve already started Dread Nation and omgggg I stayed up so late and now I’m hating/loving myself right now 😅😭😂
(Ps please ignore how I forgot to showcase The Bone Season 🙈)
𝐐𝐨𝐭𝐃: Have you read any of these books? Do you use the library? What’s the last book you borrowed? Otherwise, what’s the last book you bought?
𝐀𝐨𝐭𝐃: Finally!!! There was some free Elizabeth Acevedo books at my library and you bet I swiped the books and ran out 😂🏃🏻♀️💨💨💨
I originally made this as a reel for Bookstagram, however, I can’t play the music I added with this so let’s just pretend I’m singing in the background *Cue off-pitch singing and cats crying*
Monthly Character Cards: Nevernight inspired characters illustrated by Katherine Britt
An Ember in the Ashes inspired Book Sleeve (Laia & Elias): designed by @monolimeart
Hunting Prince Dracula inspired Hardcover Notebook: by @noverantale with artwork by @taratjah
Aurora Rising Enamel Pin: designed by @ironandinkdesigns
Nevernight (Mia & Mr Kindly) Metal Bookmark: designed by @taratjah
Golden Egg Bath Bomb: created by @littleheartgifts
Scythe inspired Magnet: by @tararjah
Upon opening my box I actually gasped. This box left me speechless. I’m so in love with everything 😭🤩 FairyLoot definitely spoiled us with this book. One could say everything here was out of this world 😁✨
Title: The Midnight Bargain Standalone Author: C. L. Polk Publisher: Erewhon Books Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance Rating: ★★★☆☆ Where can I get this?GoodReads | Book Depository | Booktopia | Barnes and Noble Recommended for: fans of historical fiction set in Regency era, themes of politically arranged marriages, and feminism CW: themes of misogyny (women wearing collars after marriage to subdue their magic and protect potential children)
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Check out the synopsis below!
Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.
In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.
The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?
“You will dance. You will eat cake. You will see starlight. You will have a kiss by midnight, and then our bargain is done.”
I liked how this book explores and woven the themes of gender equality, women’s freedom, and independence into the novel. However, I felt like this novel lacked nuance in some areas. I appreciated the rhetoric regarding equality, however, at times it felt too heavy-handed and on the nose, thereby affecting my reading experience towards the 80% mark of the story. In saying that, I do agree that the discussion regarding equality and independence is crucial, and whilst I may find it a bit on the nose at times others may not find it so.
Also, I liked how driven and determined the protagonist (Beatrice) was throughout the story. My two favourite characters were Beatrice, Nadi, and Ysbeta. I particularly liked Beatrice and Nadi’s dynamic. And I liked how Beatrice and Ysbeta grew together, fostering a great friendship.
However, unfortunately, I could not come to love the love interest (Ianthe). I felt like the romantic interest was too perfect in the sense that he was consistently understanding, open-minded despite living in and taking part in a world that constantly benefited him. It felt unrealistic. From the top of my head, I can’t think of any flaws. I mean, the love interest is even good looking and rich.
Despite the constant focus on the romance, the romance felt underdeveloped and rushed. I didn’t feel emotionally invested nor understood the romantic connection between the characters. I feel that there was no romantic build-up for me to really cheer for the two characters.
In terms of the world-building and magic system, I liked how intriguing the magic system was. However, this could be due to my lack of understanding, but I found the magic system vague. Despite that, I did find the magic system fascinating and enjoyed it.
Without getting spoiler-y, I both liked and not-so-liked the ending. I found it unrewarding in the sense of how it opposes certain themes presented throughout the novel regarding marriage, children, and Beatrice pursuing her passion. I felt the ending felt too convenient to be believable. Despite that, I did like how Beatrice chose and paved her own path for both career and family (I’m trying to be as vague as possible here).
Gripping, I devoured this book in one sitting –
Interesting world and magic
Determined protagonist wanting to pursue their passion and a strong sense of women empowerment
I didn’t feel too invested in the romance
Not enough information regarding the world-building and magic –
Title: How to Break an Evil Curse Series: Chronicles of Fritillary #1 Author: Laura Morrison Publisher: Black Spot Books Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Where can I get this?Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble Rating: ★★★☆☆ Recommended for: people looking for a different take on fairy-tales, fans of satire, fantasy parodies, and snarky narrators
If you’re looking for a fairy-tale parody, this may be for you.
In ‘How to Break an Evil Curse’, the King’s firstborn is cursed to die if touched by sunlight. Princess Julianna, the unfortunate firstborn to the King of Fritillary is confined in darkness and dreams of a life of freedom. Disgruntled but also determined, Julianna decides to fight fate and live her life by escaping the somewhat nicely redecorated dungeon.
But first, how does one break an evil curse? Simple, really. The evil Wizard Farland admits there is a cure. All Julianna needs is to fall in love with a person that: 1. spent their whole life at sea, 2. whose parents are part of a travelling theatre troupe, 3. said person can play the banjo, accordion, and harpsichord, and 4. is allergic to asparagus.
“It is not impossible for such a person to exist, only improbable.”
Writing: Firstly, I must state this: approach this with a light-hearted mind. The narration style may not be for everyone. Rather, it may come across as sarcastic to some, with fourth wall breaks, witty comments, and interesting footnotes. However, I feel the narration is a stylistic choice to add to the humorous tone and I find that it works well with the story.
Characters: There is a large cast of characters in this book, however, they add to the story and it’s quite easy to follow. Although one may find certain characters to be shallow and two-dimensional, I feel like this story doesn’t take itself too seriously for you to do so. Although I must say, I appreciate how Julianna has initiative. Once she wants something, she goes after it.
Enjoyment: I can appreciate this book for what it offers—a unique take on classic fairy tales. The humour may not be for everyone as it’s sarcastic and sometimes nonsensical. However, if you enjoy such humour, you may thoroughly enjoy this.
This book may serve well as a ‘palate-cleanser’—when you’re looking for a book that is light-hearted, entertaining, and easy to read. I’d recommend those who pick this up to not take it seriously, and enjoy for what it is. Overall, I find this book to be a quirky and amusing read.
Recommended for: people looking for a different take on fairy-tales, fans of satire, fantasy parodies, and snarky narrators
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon. As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…
Rating: ★★★★☆ Recommended for: fans of YA Fantasy, sea settings,
Writing: Like the first novel, Kingdom of Sea and Stone was a delight to read. I found the writing style straightforward and engaging. Rutherford describes scenes well without weighing the narrative down with too many descriptions. I liked how I could read both books in a single sitting.
Characters: First and foremost, this novel is solely told in first POV of Nor and I appreciated Nor’s character growth depicted here. As we journey through the story we witness as she takes action and courage whilst remaining the same empathetic and kind-hearted she was in the first book. This book takes a shift and explores themes such as freedom, purpose, and love.
However, akin to the first book I found Nor’s internal struggle to take centre stage (romance in the first book and self-discovery in the second). I appreciate it when books explore a characters internal struggle, however, I found the increased focus on that aspect to downplay other aspects (such as the war, etc.) in the book thereby affecting the pacing. Despite it being slower paced, I appreciate how this book went into great length into Nor’s journey both physically and mentally.
Also, one major aspect I loved in the first book was the twin’s relationship. I adored their strong love for each other and I rejoiced to see them reunite here. Luckily, we get to witness more of Zadie and her interactions with Nor (as well as Zadie/Nor/Sami but the three best friend dynamic wasn’t as depicted as I would’ve liked it). I liked how
There were few recurring characters and some new faces. I quickly grew fond to a few of the new characters and liked how they spiced the story up. There were hidden agendas, unclear motivations, and unexpected twists and I was here for all of them.
Romance: Whilst some may disagree with me, stating the romance was lacking in comparison to the predecessor, I preferred the romantic resolution presented in this novel. Perhaps I wasn’t as invested in the romance due to it being a little too convenient for me in the first book. However, I did get frustrated at some parts of the book where I feel that a simple straightforward conversation would’ve prevented certain situations but hey, I did enjoy the drama of it all so… 😂😂 Anyway, I can’t complain with how the romance ended (but mind you some may find it lacking).
Setting & World-Building: I liked how this book explores further than Varenia and Ilara, journeying to a land named Galeth. Rutherford described the scenery well, incorporating little details of the land and culture throughout the story which helped grounded me into this fantastical world. Galeth was refreshingly different to Varenia in various ways (ruling, customs, expectations, etc.). I initially fell in love with how Rutherford depicted Varenia so exploring different lands was quite fun (though I missed the sea).
Overall, this was a pleasant conclusion to the highly anticipated sequel. There is a different shift in terms of pacing and themes compared to the previous book and I did enjoy the thoughtfulness and depth that went behind it all. Be prepared to meet new faces, see new places, and a fun ride!
Recommend for: fans of YA fantasy with political intrigue, character growth depicted in first POV
CW: violence, death
Some of my favourite quotes:
Please note: the quotes listed here are cited from an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) and may be subjected to change upon publication.
I loved this. I’m a sucker for a good parent/child dynamic and this interaction highlighted a tender moment between Nor and her father. Little do we know how much this quote really sets our story!
A great nod to book one! I adored this!
Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London. When she’s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. She is the author of CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL (2019), its sequel, KINGDOM OF SEA AND STONE (2020), and LUMINOUS (2021).