I was disappointed by Book Lovers, here’s a review in point form:

• My biggest issue with this book is that I simply didn’t feel strongly about any of it. When I read a romance novel, I need to feel strongly about said romance–it can be a fun, lighthearted romance, or an angsty, hardhitting romance, but regardless of tone, all I want at the end of the day is to feel deeply invested in the characters’ relationship. Needless to say, I didn’t feel that way about Nora and Charlie. I didn’t feel one way or the other about them, really. Their interactions were fine–and frankly, the worst thing aside from outright hating a romance is to think that it was fine. Fine is boring; it’s lukewarm; it’s forgettable. (Unsurprisingly enough, I’ve already started to forget this book even though I literally finished it yesterday.)

• As to why I thought the romance was mediocre, there are a lot of reasons. Namely, it wasn’t developed slowly enough. There wasn’t enough of a buildup, and the buildup is the best part of the romance: the tentativeness, the second-guessing yourself, the realization that you actually like this person, the tension–all of that was missing here. With the exception of their first encounter, Nora and Charlie pretty much immediately hit it off, and, like, good for them, but it’s not very interesting for me as a reader to just have all that fun buildup stuff almost entirely skipped over.

• Emily Henry writes some really great banter in this (it’s one of the few things I truly loved about this book), but banter does not a good story make, and the overarching structure of the romantic plotline was lacking. It was too vanilla in that it just wasn’t dramatic enough: there was very little conflict, or a sense of there being narrative ups and downs. There were inconveniences and half-truths and little misunderstandings, sure, but there was just no underlying sense of actually significantly highs and lows in the story (at least with regard to the romantic plotline).

• I feel like the whole time I was reading this, I was waiting for something to impress me–some “wow” moment that would stop me in my tracks–but it just never came. Part of that is the hype–a third Emily Henry romance!!!–and part of that was just my own expectations: I wasn’t especially taken with Beach Read, but I loved People We Meet on Vacation–structurally, it’s one of the most well executed romances I’ve ever read–and I thought (or hoped) that Henry’s stories were on an upward trajectory. Sadly, this was a major step down for me. It wasn’t bad, but it was underwhelming, which ultimately means give it a couple of weeks and I will pretty much have completely forgotten about this book.

• Some additional little gripes: first, the writing is overly sentimental sometimes, especially when Nora is waxing poetic about how much she loves New York and how much of a City Person she is. Like okay, we get it, you love the bodegas and trains or whatever, no need to tell us about it for the umpteenth time.

• Second, as with Beach Readthe fictional novel that Henry makes up for this book–a novel that Nora’s author client, Dusty, is in the process of writing–sounds awful. Like it truly sounds so bad, and the fact that the characters talk about it like it’s a literary masterpiece that they simply have to get their hands on boggled my mind.

• And third, I found it really annoying how Nora constantly had to babysit Dusty. Nora’s workaholic tendencies are a big part of the book, so it was surprising to me that this was never addressed in any way. Nora is fielding phone calls from this lady left and right to coddle her and give her pep talks and make sure she’s doing okay and like!!! Sure it’s your job to make sure your client feels supported and all, but the way that it’s written here makes it sound like Nora is just there to manage Dusty’s emotions 24/7. That’s not part of your job, Nora !!!!!

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More of a 3.5 stars, but I still really loved this.

I love me a good angsty romance, and A Lady for a Duke was angsty, and then some. Two chapters into this and I was already so deeply invested. This novel has such a great setup, and Hall does an excellent job at not just drawing it out–the pining!!!!–but also sticking the landing when it comes to the payoff. I loved our two main characters, Viola and Gracewood, and even more I just loved how much they cared for and took care of each other. I especially enjoyed the fact that they each got internal conflicts that felt hefty–that’s not to say that this is a dark romance, per se, but that these characters’ growth over the course of the novel felt really earned to me. They each have to work to grow and to make sense of who they are and what they want, and it’s exactly for that reason that when they do actively decide to be together, it feels all the more rewarding.

If there’s one critique that I have about A Lady for a Duke, though, it’s that the characters admitted their feelings for each other a bit earlier than I would’ve liked. It was nice that their feelings were out in the open and they could be safe in the knowledge that the other character felt the same way about them, but I felt like having them be so honest early on–I think maybe it was around halfway through the novel?–meant that it deflated some of that tension that made the first half so enjoyable and compelling. I wouldn’t have wanted them to keep everything bottled up, either, but I feel like there could’ve been a way to keep some of that tension going whilst also having them be honest with each other.

Overall, though, this was an excellent romance; everyone on my feed has been loving it, and I’m glad to say that I, too, loved it.

Thanks so much to Forever for providing me with an e-ARC of this via NetGalley!

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This was so cute! I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything that I’ve read by Rachel Lynn Solomon before, and See You Yesterday was no exception. This story works so well because of its premise, which has definitely been before, but which I think Solomon does particularly well: the stuck-in-a-time-loop plot. Our two leads, Barrett and Miles, find themselves stuck in a time loop in their first year of college, and on their first day of classes no less. This setup, then, allows for the story to explore and develop a lot of things: the romance, for one, but also a lot of coming-of-age things that the characters are just starting to learn about themselves. And I just really loved seeing the relationship between Miles and Barrett develop over the course of the story–there are some lovely little moments here, and Solomon writes them in a grounded, moving way. Definitely recommend this if you’re looking for something quick and cute, regardless of whether you usually read YA or not.

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me an e-ARC of this via NetGalley!

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