Book Review: Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur – A Pride and Prejudice Inspired F/F Love Story

Blurb:

With nods to Bridget Jones and Pride and Prejudice, a charming #ownvoices queer rom-com debut about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary until New Year’s Eve—with results not even the stars could predict!

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.

Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.

When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship.

But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?

Written in the Stars is one of my favorite F/F romances. Like the blurb says, it has nods to Pride and Prejudice in our the protagonists’ namesakes, their family structure, and most importantly, their relationship dynamic. I will always have a soft spot for anything Pride and Prejudice inspired because it was the first book after elementary school that made me fall in love with reading in AP English.

Read More »

Reading Romance While Demisexual

An illustration of Amina the hedgehog, reading a romance book with hearts on it, while under a snug demisexual flag blanket. Title: Reading romance while demisexual. A discussion about my experiences of reading romance, my struggle with connection, and why i love friends to lovers.

I love romance stories. I love the idea that people may cross paths with countless others in their lifetime, only to find someone (or someones!) who they grow to care for and love. I love the idea that people can grow a bond so intimate and so tender that they can build a bridge that crosses valleys of hurt and pain and loneliness. I love the idea that someone can grow to understand and accept you in ways that others may not, and to cherish you despite your flaws. I love love, and I love that love can feel so transcendent and beautiful.

But lately, I’ve been reflecting on my relationship with romance stories. I’ve felt that I often occupy this weird space of really enjoying romance stories whilst also struggling to connect with them. It sounds a little contradictory, right? You’d think that the romance is the highlight of a story – so why can’t I usually connect with the romance and the relationship? I never really interrogated this, but recently, I’ve been mulling over these feelings, trying to parse and explores these complicated thoughts that I have.

Read More »

Book Review: The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert – A Warm Yet Sharp ‘All in One Day’ Love Story that Takes Place on Election Day

The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert. Tagline: Make it count.

Blurb:

Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?

Duke Crenshaw is so done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight. Only problem? Duke can’t vote.

When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn’t spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right.

And that’s how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote. They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva’s missing cat), it’s clear that there’s more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.

CW’s Review:

I don’t know how Brandy Colbert does it. I don’t know she deftly balances a story that is both incredibly warm and soft but also incisive in its discourse in activism and privilege. After reading The Voting Booth, I came away with these warm and fuzzies because the love story is such a treasure and a delight but I also loved how it made me think, reflect, and feel deeply about the Black experiences portrayed in the story.

Read More »

Book Review: Go Deep by Rilzy Adams – I Need to Lay Down

Go Deep. Rilzy Adams.

Summary:

It was all supposed to be so simple.

Navaya Howard is an erotic writer in a rut. Her readers are fed up of her stale plots and Navaya can’t blame them. She’s been celibate for over a year and a half since finding her now ex-boyfriend’s side chick’s positive pregnancy test on her bathroom counter. How can she write steamy romances if she can barely remember which body parts go into the other?

Navaya enlists the help of her best friend, Xander, to revive the inspiration that used to have her sitting comfortably at the top of her game. What happens when the sex hits deeper than either of them expected and the tender emotions can no longer be denied?

Navaya and Xander’s arrangement has gone far deeper than intended.
Will their friendship and their hearts survive the fall?

Joce’s review:

Thank you so much to Sil @ thebookvoyagers for the recommendation!

Go Deep is a novella that zooms in on my favorite meta trope: a writer or author who needs inspiration and their journey to do so. Bonus points here, I like my romances EXTREMELY sexy and this completely delivered. It may only be around 150 pages, but Rilzy Adams had me thinking about her characters, and her characters TOGETHER, for a good while longer. When I saw Sil talking about how amazing this book is, I truly had no idea quite how long I’d be thinking about it for (Read: I finished two weeks ago and still think about it daily).

Read More »

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Lauren Ho, Author of Last Tang Standing; On Her Experiences of Being a Chinese-Malaysian Woman and Humorous Asian Reads

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month. Author Interview with Lauren Ho, author of Last Tang Standing, on her experiences of being a chinese-malaysian woman, and humorous asian reads.

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

If you know me, you know I am always on the hunt for Crazy Rich Asians readalikes. While I can give some criticisms to CRA, including some issues with the representation of South Asians and mental health in the third novel (not Colin Khoo’s depression because WE STAN A STRONG FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN MEN!), it was one of the first book series I ever saw myself in. Now, moving into my late 20s, I also look for plucky heroines navigating the same life stage as myself. Enough about me though, let me tell you about the amazing book I just read…

Read More »