I have some exciting new books to talk about this week! First up is the last installment in Jessie Mihalik’s scifi romance trilogy (finally!!), followed by new contemporary romances from Emily Henry and Kwana Jackson.
Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik (May 19)
Chaos Reigning is the third book in the Consortium trilogy, following the youngest von Hasenberg sibling, Catarina. Cat is used to being overlooked as the flighty youngest sibling, but she’s determined to do her part in uncovering who is responsible for kidnapping her eldest brother. When she receives intelligence that a rival House might be involved, she decides to attend their house party in order to spy on them and learn more. But her protective older sister won’t let her go without backup, and so Catarina is forced to bring Alex as her bodyguard and date. Unfortunately, Catarina is incredibly attracted to Alex, and the more the two of them work together to protect her family, the harder it is to fight that attraction.
It’s finally here! This is one of my most anticipated reads of the entire year, and I freaked out when it landed on my kindle! I love this world so much and really enjoyed getting to know Catarina and seeing how she navigates the world, and seeing how she really comes into her own in this book was awesome. I totally understand how she feels smothered and like even her family can’t see past the mask she’s created for herself, and she had so much amazing growth throughout the story. While I was completely hooked and super invested in the stakes of this book (which are even higher than the last two!!), I was a bit underwhelmed by the romance. Like, I loved Alex and how he believed in Cat and supported her, but I also didn’t really feel like we got to know him or see why Cat fell in love with him? I didn’t finish the book unsatisfied in any way, but I definitely wanted more romance from this one. All in all, it was an excellent conclusion to the trilogy, and I seriously hope Mihalik plans to revisit this world, because I really need the other three siblings to get their own romances!
I received an arc of Chaos Reigning from the publisher via Edelweiss.
Beach Read by Emily Henry (May 19)
With the death of her father, her discovery that he cheated on her mother, and a breakup with her longtime boyfriend, January’s life has been thrown completely into disarray. Unable to afford to stay in New York anymore, she retreats to the beach house in Michigan that her father bought without her knowledge to meet the woman he was having an affair with. She plans to spend the summer clearing out the house to sell it and working on her book, only she’s unable to bring herself to write the happy ending necessary for her romance novel. To top things off, her college rival, a well-known literary author, is living next door. As it turns out, he’s been struggling to write, too, and so the two strike a deal: she’ll try her hand at writing a literary fiction novel, while he’ll attempt to pen a romance. As the summer goes on, what starts out as a competition turns into something more.
Wow, I liked Beach Read a lot. I’m a bit hesitant to rave about it because I think it’s been getting a lot of hype, and I don’t want it to get too overblown, but I really liked this book. The premise was great and the banter between January and Gus was amazing. I love great banter, and this book definitely delivered! There were also a lot of really intimate moments between January and Gus that I loved. I really liked that after January called him out on being so closed off, he insisted that she ask whatever she wanted, and he was willing to be vulnerable and answer her questions. I also really liked January’s personal arc, though parts of it were so sad! Definitely keep some tissues handy, because I think you’ll be hard-pressed to make it through this book without crying.
I do have to admit, in some ways I’m still not quite sure what to make of this book. I really enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong (I even preordered a physical copy), but it didn’t feel quite as hopeful as a romance novel usually does. At the same time, though, the ending felt a little more realistic than your typical romance, so it’s an interesting tradeoff. I think I prefer the more hopeful endings, but I like the change of pace. And there’s still an HEA, so don’t worry! It just had a different tone to it than I was expecting.
I received an arc of Beach Read from the publisher via Edelweiss.
Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson (May 19)
In Real Men Knit, four brothers have to decide to do with their mother’s knitting store after she passes away. They’re all in favor of closing it except Jesse, who is determined to keep their mother’s legacy alive and wants a chance to try and keep it running. But he can’t do it on his own. Kerry has been working at the store with Jesse’s mother, but is planning to leave soon after getting her degree. But she can’t see the store disappear, either, and so she agrees to help him. And of course, the more time the two of them spend together, the more obvious it becomes that they have feelings for each other.
I was looking forward to reading this one because the cover and title are so amazing, plus Jackson is always great on panels and I enjoy listening to what she has to say. Unfortunately, though, her writing style doesn’t work for me. She has this tendency to pause in the middle of a scene and get lost in a character’s thoughts, giving you a lot of backstory at what I consider rather inopportune moments, and it drives me a little crazy. Literally nothing happened in the first two chapters, but you got a ton of backstory (and a lot of commentary on how much Jesse has slept around). I pushed myself to make it at least 20 percent of the way into the book, and then I DNFed it. It wasn’t bad by any means, but I was already a good chunk of the way into the story, and there was virtually no hint of romance, and I just didn’t really care about the characters all that much. If this book has caught your attention, it’s probably worth checking out and seeing if it works better for you. But I haven’t been able to click with Jackson’s writing style, and unfortunately this book wasn’t for me.
I received an arc of Real Men Knit from the publisher via Edelweiss.
While I’m disappointed Real Men Knit didn’t work out for me, I’m really excited about Chaos Reigning and Beach Read! Are any of these books on your radar? Let me know in the comments which one you’d like to pick up first!