Category Archives: romance

Normal People by Sally Rooney

book coverBased on the hype around this novel, I had fairly high expectations. However, I don’t feel that those expectations were met. I was unprepared for the heaviness of the novel, with topics of toxic relationships, abuse, and mental health; and felt that the novel took an unhealthy side of these topics, rather than creating beneficial conversation around them. Personally, this book was not my cup of tea and I would recommend reading a few reviews before diving into it.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Sarah Gleason
Rating:  Recommended with reservations
Challenge: Book made into TV show

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

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One Last Stop
is a romantic comedy set in the modern world with magic elements and time travel. It centers around August, a cynical college student who moves to NYC and falls in love with a girl on the train, only she ends up finding out that the girl Jane is actually displaced in time from the 1970s. It has well-written LGBTQ+ and BIPOC characters and beautiful friendships and romantic relationships, as well as an extremely interesting plot.

Availability: COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by:  Esther Markov
Rating:  Must Read

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

book coverIf you’re a fan of old Hollywood glamour, you would probably enjoy this fun, beach read. On the surface I took it to be just that, a beach read, but as you move through the story, you’ll find that the main theme runs a bit deeper. Evelyn Hugo is an Elizabeth Taylor-esque Hollywood icon, and now finds herself to be a bit of a recluse in her old age. One day she seeks out a relatively unknown writer and offers to give her a tell-all book about her amazing and scandalous life. To accomplish what she did, Evelyn was willing to do anything, including marrying seven different men over the course of her life. But at the heart of the book is discovering what really matters to each of us at the end of the day. There were definitely a few surprises I wasn’t expecting, regarding Evelyn’s loves and why she chose Monique for the assignment. After reading “Malibu Rising” earlier this summer, also by Taylor Jenkins Reid, I would have to say that while I enjoyed it more, this one has many of the same elements/themes I enjoyed in that book.

Availability:  COSMOS, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Kaylie Jasinski ’14
Rating:  Recommended
Challenge: A book with a number in the title

The Target by Catherine Coulter

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A good read with a few twists and turns. If you’ve read any of Coulter’s other books, you’ll recognize some of the characters. Not great, but not bad, either.

 

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Recommended

Murder in Plain Sight by Marta Perry

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With an interesting twist, this murder mystery is set in Lancaster County, home of the Amish. I can’t speak to the veracity of the representation of the Amish, but the author claims Pennsylvania Dutch roots. Anyhow, it was a good read, though a bit heavy on the romance side of things.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Recommended

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

cover artEight years ago princess Thanh was given as a hostage to a neighboring kingdom in order to ensure her homeland’s safety. After a fire destroys the palace where she miraculously is saved by a servant girl nobody else has seen, she returns to her home as a diplomat. Things become complicated as unexpectedly, the princess of her host family who Thanh has feelings for arrives just as the mystery of how she survived the fire starts to come to light.

This novella features a diverse cast of characters and is set in a world inspired by precolonial Vietnam. While it’s quite short, there is still some world building and character development which makes me wish the book was longer. I recommend this book for people who are looking for a quick read about a romance set in an interesting world.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jo Hoppe
Rating:  Recommended

One Enchanted Evening by Lynn Kurland

book coverThis “pg-13” romance novel was an enjoyable read. Kurland has a talent for medieval romance. Although this wasn’t my favorite of her books, I still enjoyed her idea of time travel revolving around the renovated castle and a costume designer. I also enjoyed Kurlan’s use of already established characters that we’ve fallen in love with in past novels. Easy summer read to take your mind off of the current state of affairs.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Julie Hamilton
Rating:  Recommended

Rosehaven by Catherine Coulter

cover artFirst, I have to admit I didn’t finish the book. It was that bad. I really enjoy historical fiction, but this was a terrible attempt at historical romance. I gave it a shot because Coulter is a renowned author, but without getting into the foul details, it was a very unpleasant book. It focused very much on the sexual and abusive relationship between the main characters. Not the type of historical fiction I was looking for.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Julie Hamilton
Rating: Not Recommended

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

book coverI loved this series, but I admit the first book was the best. The third installment was very good, but it really stretched the imagination. I enjoyed the simplicity of the first book more, but was glad to have some closure to the series. Snyder did eventually write 3 additional books for this series, but the first 3 can be read on their own. The end of the story was relatively dark, but very interesting. I highly recommend for an easy summer read.

Availability:  COSMOS, SMCM
Review Submitted by: Julie Hamilton
Rating: Must Read
Challenge: A YA book with diverse characters

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

book coverLiz Lighty is a high school senior running for prom queen. In her Midwestern small town, running for prom court is turned into a 6 week competition, and becoming prom king/queen gets them a $10,000 scholarship. Liz desperately wants the scholarship so she could attend Pennington College and get out of her small town. The thing is, she’s different from the usual candidate: she’s Black and queer, and usually likes to avoid attention.

This was such a great book. The characters were diverse and entertaining. Main characters were BIPOC, and the book contained a F/F romance. There were also tons of pop culture references. The title itself was a reference to a Billie Eilish song. The references to Avatar: the Last Airbender were the best though, especially when one character compared another to “Book One Prince Zuko.” I definitely highly recommend everyone should read this novel.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Marissa Christensen, class of 2013
Rating:  Highly  Recommended
Challenge: Published in 2020, YA book with diverse characters

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

book coverThis is the second book in the Poison Series. Not as good as the first book, but I still loved this series. In this story, Jelena has a lot of family drama (which I could have done without) but I enjoyed how Snyder broadened the world from Ixia to the Citadel. It was such a contrast with many types of people and backgrounds. I enjoy the magical aspects as well as the mystery. The book was an extremely easy and relaxing read. I didn’t want to put it down.

Availability: COSMOS, SMCM
Review Submitted by: Julie Hamilton
Rating: Must Read
Challenge: A YA book with diverse characters

Never Die Alone by Lisa Jackson

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Great for a summer read, though a bit complicated with flash-backs and lots of complicated characters. Maybe hold off on the Big Girl Drinks if you’re worried about following the story closely…

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Recommended