Danielle reads literary fiction, fantasy, romance, and lots of YA. You can ask her anything about intersectional feminism or nontraditional relationships; she'll usually recommend a book to you! She spends her free time reorganizing her bookshelves by color, trying new restaurants, and watching the moon jelly tank at the Seattle Aquarium with rapt attention.
Solomon is a master at slow burn young adult romance. Her characters pine, miscommunicate, and overanalyze; I love it. So all of that plotted against time loops, set on the first day of college, with realistic yet impulsive youthful choices? It turned my heart to mush and I'm not really even into "Groundhog Day". Wish fulfillment, second chances (so many second chances), and mysteries of the universe: that's See You Yesterday.
I adore Janelle Monae's musical career but I didn't know what to expect in her first novel. I enjoyed The Memory Librarian immensely. Her vision is speculative, rooted in science fiction, but it is also hopeful.
The beating heart of The Memory Librarian is an exploration of technology and artificial intelligence as limitations on individual bodies and as liberation from governmental bodies. Co-written with celebrated and emerging black novelists, in the titular story as well as the four other connected tales that follow, Monae challenges the notion of "dirty" and "deviance" and "abnormal". She gives space to the "othered" and offers a vision of found family--places that are built by community and dreams alike, full of artists and creators and healers and humans who need space to be, just as they are.
Loss, longing, love. Two women, growing up at different ends of California, and the story of their intersecting lives. Yerba Buena is smooth, fresh, bitter, and a little sweet. It is a small wound and a tenderly applied bandage.
Sara runs from her small idyllic town, leaving behind the river, the forest, the death, the drugs... all the ways her father fails her and her younger brother. Emilie grows up in L.A. and she spends too much time on school, on people who will leave her, on jobs that don't feel right. She keenly feels abandonment but doesn't see how she becomes a vessel for other people to fill. Pivotal moments pull Sara and Emilie together; memories of ghosts push them away. Heartbreaking. Hopeful. Written exactly as it needs to be.
I don't think I read a book so quickly, in a single sitting, with handfuls of popcorn that I barely noticed eating because I was *that* fixated on the story.
The Love Hypothesis nailed the fake dating trope and did it with tongue-in-cheek, oddball humor. This book is geeky, sure, but it also is a steamy, slow burn, ratcheting up the tension between Olive and Adam until you almost fling the book across the room because there are TWO beds?!? How dare she!
Don't fret, this book is still a delight. And you might learn a bit about biology, academia, and science on the way to happily ever after.
Siren Queen is mesmerizing: an unusual blend of fantasy, historical fiction, horror, and magical realism. Golden Age Hollywood is the superficial outline, the glimmer and glow that draws your eye. But look into the depths--there's something supernatural and uncanny there. Here is an unsettling and electric story that mirrors the origin and rise of our narrator, Chinese American actress Lulli Mei.
At turns a tale of queer loves, at others an allegory on the monstrosity of powerful men, Vo recasts immigrants and outsiders as shapeshifters and sirens and silver screen starlets.
Kareena is thirty and single. She lives in the house her parents built. She also has her dream career and she's close to finishing the restoration of her mom's classic BMW. She wants true love, her jeevansathi, but she also needs money to buy her parents house before it's sold--in six months.
Enter television's Dr. Dil, aka Prem. He's planning to open a South Indian community health center when a viral confrontation on his show costs him big. The culprit? Kareena. While Prem doesn't believe in love or jeevansathi, he's sure faking an engagement with Kareena is the ticket to both their dreams coming true with so little time to spare.
Dating Dr. Dil is a fun, modern update of the Shakespeare comedy Taming of the Shrew. The plot holds up on its own and the enjoyment factor is raised at every turn through believable conflict, deliciously steamy chemistry, and a cast of meddling aunties who help Kareena and Prem get their hearts desires.
I absolutely devoured this debut. The witty banter between Dani and Wyatt gives me life. There's a full-bodied cast of supporting characters, a grumpy-sunshine workplace romance, a bunch of steamy hookup moments, and relationship conflicts so relatable they're ordinary (in the best way).
Dani is building on the lot next door to her ex-fiance: her very own "spite house," peppered with garish gnomes and architectural eyesores. She enlists Wyatt, her Bellevue firm's architect, to work on the project with some major caveats. Namely, he can never find out why she's building it and she signs off on all labor and design choices no matter how small. Obviously, her plans don't work out as expected, which makes for a fun read from start to finish.
This book lifted my spirits so high. Kate Clayborn is the master of complex plots, evocative locations, and endearing and goofy supporting characters in contemporary romance. In Love Lettering, Meg is a young hand-letterer with some not-so-insignificant conflict in her life... which she copes with by writing messages into her designs. Like, for example, a warning into a wedding invitation. Which is discovered by the groom of said invitation, who then appears in her shopfront furious. It's wicked, it's fun, and it's precisely the romance I share with friends who turn their noses up at the genre.
The Wayward Children series is dark, gruesome, twisty, fourth-wall-breaking magical fun. And it's easily my new favorite portal magic series. I usually can't stomach anything gruesome--however, reimagined fairy tales are my trope kryptonite. The prose is so crisp. The world building is creative, clever, and cruel. Strangely, this book is the evil mirror twin of TJ Klune's House in the Cerulean Sea: the children of the story are exactly as eager to find their own safe harbors, all those places known as "home".
WOW! This blew my mind. This story is so unexpected, I literally didn't know what was going to happen until it did. If you crave conceptual time travel narratives along the lines of This is How You Lose the Time War, please, please, read For All Time.
Tamar and Fayard suddenly begin having strange dreams and visions, set in different centuries and places. It's as if they spent other lives meeting and falling in love, as if their souls seek each other in every era and continent. But it couldn't possibly be real because Tamar is really sick and Fayard should be figuring out college.
There's so much to this story and I wish I could tell you more, but then I'd spoil it for you.
Look, if you've ever hate-watched (or love-watched, no judgement!) any of The Bachelor franchise, you absolutely must read The Charm Offensive. This journey is so much better than what's on reality tv, with smart, wry banter and complex, relatable characters. Dev and Charlie aren't perfect, but I love them, all of them, as they are on page. This debut from Alison Cochrun is, dare I say it, my favorite read of 2021.
Dev is a producer of Ever After. He buries his mental health and his dreams of writing queer brown love stories to focus on being Fun Dev every season, helping attractive heterosexual couples fall in love. For the first time Dev is responsible for handling Ever After's prince, tech hunk Charles Winshaw. Unfortunately, their prince is a nightmare: he's anxious, strained, and awkward with the women. It turns out Charlie signed up for the show to salvage his career, not to fall in love. One way or another, Ever After and its audience will get a fairy tale love story. It couldn't possibly be faked.... could it?
This reimagined Sleeping Beauty retelling is the perfect novella for single-sitting reading. Wry, dark, and deeply feminist, A Spindle Splintered is the type of story I don't want to spoil. Just read it, closely, and then pass it on to all your friends.
A collection of short stories from the Eisner award-winning creator of Monstress that will satisfy any fantasy reader. One story is eerie and twisted; another is apocalyptic and horrific; yet another is a fairytale retold, queer and tender; and in the eponymous tale is a princess who flees home to save herself. Liu is obsessed with dense magical forests and the precarity of life: how do we live and how do we love when survival is an ever-present demand?
A compelling and engaging debut novel from local author Rachel Griffin. The blend of witch magic, weather, and climate change makes for a fresh and nuanced low fantasy. The tender romance between Clara and Sang made my heart ache.
The buzz you've been hearing? Earned.
Control. College. Coach.
Three words define playing for the Wildcats, West Essex high school's celebrated varsity field hockey team. Over the next 48 hours, this group of newly-minted varsity girls will learn the limits of their friendship, perseverance, and dedication to a game that appears simply competitive.
The story seems pretty at first: a group of girls bonding as a varsity squad the night before their first scrimmage. Yet, like all that's compelling in life, the truth reveals itself when you look close and dig deep. We are the Wildcats is a tightly wound narrative that ratchets higher and higher until the inevitable break.
Float Plan turned my heart into a puddle. Anna's haphazard travels in the Carribean are an epic adventure to all of us trapped on dry land. And her newly-hired Irish deckhand, Keane, is an amalgam of all the best sexy cinnamon roll heroes in Romancelandia--prosthetic leg included. This is a grand adventure, a journey through grief, and, lest we forget the rules, a very satisfying happily ever after.
Two technology app developers go toe-to-toe for big funding in this delightful second chance, hate-to-love romantic comedy standalone. Drawn together by geography and the memory of a steamy week in Las Vegas, Annika and Hudson can't help but trick and torment one another.
Annika, creator of Make Up, knows her relationship fix-it AI will help people stay in love and work through their troubles. That is, if she can solve her money woes, get the app out of beta, and keep her office lease.
Hudson, creator of Break Up, feels on top of the world with his success, splashy feature interviews, and a shiny new office. But to the woman he can't stop thinking about, his app--helping couples break up by offering on demand "terminators"--isn't changing the world for the better but in fact making it worse.
Make Up Break Up is a modern love story you'll share with friends for its realistic stakes, grounded characters, clever jokes, and supportive friends.
I didn't think that there would ever be a book that merged the interests of Rainbow Rowell fans and George R.R. Martin fans, but here it is and it is delightful!
I was rooting hard for our heroine April, a curvy geologist who writes fanfiction for a popular television show, and our hero Marcus, heartthrob and star of the aforementioned show. Secrets and toxic families are the grounding conflicts, but their happily ever after is 1,000 percent "ship" worthy!
Maelyn spends every Christmas at her family friend's cabin in Park City, a tradition that began for her parents and their best friends in college. Back in her mother's Berkeley home at 26, in a job she hates, and harboring a decades-long crush, Mae is totally lost. She sends a plea up to the universe: will someone show her what makes her happy?
A snarky, steamy romantic comedy that is aptly billed as a "Groundhog Day" retelling set over the course of a week. IN A HOLIDAZE is a gift that should be opened all year long - not just as a seasonal treat! Readers will delight in the friends-to-lovers romance that ties up into a satisfying bow and a family tradition that shines brighter with timely updates.
Absolutely charming, smartly plotted, and completely believable. Tiffy and Leon meet under curious circumstances but manage to build friendship and intimacy over time by writing sticky notes and leaving them about the flat. Tiffy and Leon possess specific, unique styles of voice which make them vivid, if opposite, characters. No lazy or trope-ish story here, though the climax delivers a romantic comedy of Hollywood-esque proportions.
Need a fun space adventure with a dash of royalty, romance, and reconnaissance? Look no further than the Consortium Rebellion series.
Ada is the daughter of a High House and she's on the run from her family. Fleeing an arranged marriage she can't stomach, Ada finds herself locked up on a mercenary ship with a mysterious stranger named Loch. The Devil of Fornax oozes danger and has the largest bounty in the Universe on his head. Luckily, he's just as interested in foiling her fiance as she is.
The world-building is technologically complex, the action is fast-paced, and the heat is set to smoldering. If you like our heroes, you'll be delighted: there's 2 more books set in this 'verse!
Alix E. Harrow's lush sophomore novel grapples with the allure of feminine power and the bonds of sisterhood in a historical setting. A creative twist on magic and imaginary worlds draws from familiar European folklore, sure to delight any reader familiar with Grimms Tales and other mythological stories.
Three sisters, traumatized by their violent father, discover one another on the streets of New Salem in the mid-1850s. A mysterious pull has drawn them together at the moment of two incendiary events: a protest for Women's Suffrage and the dramatic yet brief appearance of the Lost Way of Avalon. These events compel the sisters to work together, despite old wounds, and inadvertently aid a tyrannical mayoral candidate in his efforts to snuff out witchcraft forever.
I can't think of anything more amusing (and fascinating!) than diving inside the brain of a seventeen year old male on the cusp of his sexual peak. The title is apt though misleading: our protagonist leads a messy life and nothing about his self-discovery is unpleasant.
This book has so much heart. The magical realism element adds depth and creates a complex, yet fresh, metaphor with the word "alien". The story is a classic high school makeover-and-revenge plot. What sets it apart from other #ownvoices YA is the pansexual lead character, the trans love interest, the otherworldly best friend, and many unique small town dramatics. Think Miss Congeniality: the New Mexico high school Latinx edition.
This is a story of the impossible. "A" wakes up in a new body every day: male or female teen, the same geographical area, and never a body twice. That's 24 hours to have the least impact, to get through the day and have a neutral effect. That is, until "A" wakes up in the body of Rhiannon's boyfriend. Now "A" is going against better judgment to see her and kindle a relationship -- but at what cost? A beautiful, tender examination of gender amidst a variety of topical issues: mental health, first love, and biological family.
A gripping murder mystery in a smartly constructed world of magic, mages, and trolls. This multiple POV narrative chronicles the complex political and religious forces that affect ambitious student magician Onna, charming soldier Jeckran, and compassionate half-troll Tsira. The interplay of power, revenge, and zeal execute slowly but purposefully as Onna's career and Tsira's pursuit converge in wealthy city Hexos.
Set aside your preconceived notions: this is neither a postscript 'Harry Potter' nor a derivative apocalyptic novel. This is a compelling fantasy for fans of alternative timelines (two Chicagos), anti-hero narratives (Sloan is pissed off and NOT okay), and magic co-existing with our sense of reality.
Hands down, my new favorite historical romance of all time. What woman hasn't been disappointed, wronged, or hurt by men? Us cynics of love deserve a happily ever after, too!
Seraphina's memoirs are intended to enthrall her fellow ladies of society: her story is a call for equality of the sexes in late eighteenth-century England. She returns to her coastal home to focus on writing and instead discovers handsome Scottish architect Adam. THE RAKESS subverts all tropes to deliver a complex story of first heartbreaks, small-town gossip, and fiercely loyal friends.
Set in the town bookstore (!!!), this friends-to-lovers romance is an emotional, dramatic ride. If you are inclined to agree that the phrase "baby fox coffee" is a loving term of endearment, this is the contemporary series you should read next. Read in or out of series order - spoilers don't detract from the wit and heart of this series.
The best night of Gavin's life? When he hit a grand slam for the Nashville League. His worst night? That evening, when he learns his wife had been faking orgasms. In the aftermath, Gavin's best friend Del promises to help - as long as he courts Thea and saves his marriage using a romance novel for inspiration. All the ballplayers in their secret book club swear by the historicals so, lo and behold, he woos Thea and she doesn't completely hate his guts.
A second-chance trope romance that is witty, woke, and fun. Make it a book club of your own: read it and pass it on to your S.O.! Are you really gonna say no to a bunch of fit, sexy MLB players reading steamy romance novels to better understand women?
I loved this clever twist on 80's movie tropes - I spotted The Breakfast Club, Can't Buy Me Love, and Pretty in Pink - and a fake date, friends to lovers Regency romance.
Seb is a bluestocking anthropologist and member of the Union of the Rakes, a group of five Eton men who bonded over mischief and a long day of penance. Lady Grace is a herpetologist and scholar who's been on the shelf, crushing on a rakish colleague named Mason Fredericks who is oblivious to her availability. Seb volunteers to help his friend attract Mason's attention but here's the catch: he has terrible, debilitating social anxiety. With the aid of a fellow Union member and society elite, Seb transforms himself into a charming rake who publicly pursues Grace. Their plan begins to work but their hearts have other ideas...
Eva Leigh delivers a sexy, ambitious happily ever after that's sealed by a very dramatic, filmworthy grand gesture. I can't wait for book two!
Heartwarming and brilliant! A wintry historical romance perfect for fans of Sarah MacLean and Olivia Waite. Realistic stakes paired with rigid class boundaries set the stage for a bluestocking women's suffragist and a noble Tory political strategist to fall hopelessly in love.
Delightful! If you need a STARLESS SEA read-alike, you'll find this historical novel as bookish and magical but more approachable.
Intimate narrative and a story within a story device work together elegantly to unfurl the tale of January Scaller and her missing father, their wealthy benefactor, and a mysterious door in Mississippi that opens into another world. TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY has all the elements of a precocious, coming of age story within a low fantasy world. There's adventure, secret societies with nefarious plans, a big best friend pooch called Bad, and places drawn from the wildest reaches of imagination.
Cameron Bright is pretty and popular, but brutally honest. Her crappy home life is no excuse for failure so Cameron works hard and chases her goals: date crush Andrew, get an internship at her father's office, and get into the Wharton School at UPenn. But when Andrew calls her a bitch, her normal teflon-tough exterior chips. Like Katherine in Taming of the Shrew, does she need to be tamed?
A millenial teen retelling of the film 10 Things I Hate About You that draws heavily from Shakespeare, If I'm Being Honest is crafted with thoughtful, real-world stakes. Cameron's a ringer for Blair Waldorf - and yet she genuinely learns from her mistakes and works to become a better person. Her social circle is rooted in relatable struggles like making new friends, keeping old friendships alive, being supportive, and managing conflict. She's flawed and *almost* unlikeable but the more I learned about her family dynamics, the more I rooted for her to make better choices and follow a path of her own making.
This paranormal romance series hooked me to the Romance genre once and for all. The Darkest London series follows three sisters and their various supernatural acquaintances in Victorian England. There's adventure, there's horrible deeds, there's heroes lurking in the dark - all framed by a magical investigative organization that's as old as it is secret. It's like Gail Carriger's Soulless series but with more fabled creatures and very steamy couplings.
This runaway bride, second-chance-at-love romance was unexpected and totally swoonworthy. The narrative builds steadily until the final chapters when all hell breaks loose and the story peaks in classic Western fashion. If you like character-driven stories, here's all you need to know: there's a contemplative Native American hero, a Boston society wife with a spine of steel, an abusive bastard of a wealthy husband, and a band of misfit outlaws hidden in a valley of the idyllic Rocky Mountains. Great fun as a standalone or to read out of series order.
GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN is a hate-to-love romantic comedy with more depth than the adorable cover suggests. Strong, smart-mouthed Chloe challenges herself to live more fully after a near-death experience breaks the monotony of managing severe fibromyalgia. She has made a list, of course, but struggles to check off more than the first item: move out of parent's house. Enter Red, her new (rather grouchy) apartment caretaker. They strike a deal to help Chloe with items on her list in exchange for an artist website. Adventures commence: motorbike rides, a drunken night out, camping in the woods. Not on the list? Falling in love.
A hilarious and charming romance with wickedly sexy scenes and believable emotional stakes grounded in familiar anxieties and traumas.
Absolutely delightful! A steamy, second-chance romance between childhood sweethearts who are kept apart by family rivalry and corporate espionage. Fans of The Kiss Quotient will enjoy the premise: a Japanese-American neurodivergent tattoo artist home temporarily to care for her injured mother tries (and fails) to avoid run-ins with her clean cut ex-boyfriend, Nico, Caustic wit abounds, as well as lightly kinky encounters conducted in modest secrecy around town. Alisha Rai's brand of heroine means women with badass exteriors and marshmallow interiors... and the head-over-heels men who can't help themselves. Bonus points for the cannoli to clinch the HEA!
This gorgeous book is a historical, Sapphic, friends-to-lovers romance between a tenacious astronomer and a wealthy widow (who happens to be skilled in embroidery). AMAZING COVER ASIDE, this is an excellent "gateway" book for Romance: readers will enjoy how Waite draws parallels between women's experiences in the 19th century and the 21st.
Our heroines get to work translating a new astronomical text despite rebuffs from London's Scientific Society. As their friendship flourishes and their pursuits war against societal gatekeepers, they ask each other: who determines Art? What is the difference between Scientist and Hobbyist? And best of all -- can ladies have happy endings?
Did you love The Kiss Quotient? Then you need to read Alisa Rai! She writes strong, smart, diverse women falling in love and heroes that will melt your heart.
Rhi Hunter knows the best revenge is success. As creator of the dating app Crush, she has what it take to takeover her competitor, Matchmaker. But tracking down their elusive, eccentric owner hasn't proved easy and with buyers circling - like her toxic ex-boyfriend and former boss - she's had to be rather creative in her approach. Fate serves up a twist when she discovers a former hookup is the new face of Matchmaker: retired footballer player Samson Lima, aka "The Curse". He's goofy, nervous, and totally clueless when it comes to online dating, but Rhi has a solution that might just help them both get ahead. A romance that is sweet, a little spicy in the bedroom, and full of active consent, The Right Swipe is a believable second chance romance for tech-savvy readers.
This YA novel is essentially Rory and Paris fanfiction, if Rory was Persian and Paris was Jewish-Mexican. Oh, and if they were lesbians with secret crushes on one another. It's everything you wanted that Netflix's last season of Gilmore Girls didn't deliver.
Rachel and Sana hate each other. When a chance blunder at school forces a collaboration in Rachel's senior film, neither girl trusts the other to get it right. And, as much as she is loathe to agree with her film adviser, Rachel knows Sana is perfectly cast as her Helen of Troy. Soon, the prim cheerleader is narrating the Greek epic and demanding other changes. With only 30 days left to meet academic deadlines, Rachel needs the film to be perfect to clinch her spot at NYU... and Sana needs a distraction as she runs down the clock on mailing her deposit to Princeton. The sweetest romance could bloom between them if they cast aside fear and their prep school personas.
Is it fate that intertwines 17-yr-old Xochi and 12-yr-old Pallas, or is it simply kindred spirit? On the night of the Autumn Equinox, they cast a playful spell and summon two eerie, green forest children - "Water Babies" in Native American lore - but these creatures do more than cause vivid dreams. Told from multiple POV's (including a bookstore cat!) with interludes in verse and oral storytelling, Keil's debut is a lush, magical novel of first loves and found family.
A delightfully dark "New Adult" read for fans of Francesca Lia Block, Sherman Alexie, and Hayao Miyazaki.
If The Dresden Files and The Magicians had a book baby, this would be it. Our heroine is an ordinary private eye hired to solve a murder at a boarding school for magical teenagers. Unfortunately, it's also the school where her magical twin sister, Tabitha, works. As Ivy gets further involved in the inner workings of the school, its faculty, and its students, she questions her sanity and skill. Can she keep up appearances, find the killer, and reunite with Tabitha?
Excellent storytelling with a plot that had me guessing "whodunnit" until the last 50 pages.
Oh, did I miss Cain's special blend of pop culture satire and zany camp! Here's the deal: menstruation turns teen girls into massive killer cats. Luckily, capitalism (aka THE MAN) has delivered a range of products to eliminate periods once and for all. Except... a cat attack plagues our teen heroine's Portland suburb.
If you like BITCH PLANET and teen angst, MAN-EATERS is totally on brand!
Unmoored by the loss of her first love, Poe Blythe has created deadly armor to protect the Outposts last dredge as it sets sail to pan for gold. Led by a man known only as The Admiral, Poe's grief and anger serves a purpose. But when her ship is attacked by drifters downriver, Poe's faith is tested. Why do the drifters hate the dredge?
Poe's survival depends on more than her engineering skills, but who can she trust?
Latinx culture. Near-future fantasy island. Espionage and arranged marriage. Queer romance.
In short, a gripping feminist story with excellent stakes, world-building, and character development that ends in a cliff-hanger. Let's just say I need book two of this duology immediately.
Are you a parent? Do you want to be a parent? Do you have a uterus or know someone who does? Then I recommend this book for you.
Lucy Knisley's personal experiences are balanced by her research on obstetrics throughout history. I am fascinated by the anecdotes and myths perpetuated by science, politics, and well-meaning mothers and mother-in-laws, but most endearing are the illustrations of Knisley's rocky path to parenthood. She has a terrifying pregnancy experience, no doubt about it, but her story is warm and hopeful.
Two teenagers with cystic fibrosis: they have a long list of DON'Ts but very few DOs. Stella sticks to her schedules and pins hope on a lung transplant. Will is ready to be 18, free of hospitals and his mother's race for a cure. An endearing and honest story of two teenagers learning there's more to living than simply surviving.
I'm a sucker for coming-of-age novels, more so when the setting is a crumbling English castle. Cassandra is a witty, observant girl on the cusp of adulthood. Her family is in a perilous financial situation: her father probably isn't writing another groundbreaking novel, her stepmom has retreated to London, and her sister pins their salvation on their new, wealthy American neighbors. A lesser-known work by the author of 101 Dalmations, suitable for adult and teen readers alike!