Revolutionary (2020)

by Colleen Cowley
ASN: B08KNPY365
Publication date: November 29, 2020
Series: Clandestine Magic Trilogy #3
Get it here: Amazon
For more details (like content warnings), click here.

**I received a copy of the book from the author and decided to write a review. This is my honest opinion.**

**Additionally, be forewarned the following may contain spoilers for Subversive and Radical.**

While Peter’s life hangs in the balance, Beatrix is faced with the responsibilities of keeping him safe as well as ensuring Lydia can continue going to school…not to mention ensuring all the bills are still being paid despite her job being on (possibly indefinite) hiatus. Despite this, enemies are still lurking everywhere, prepared to explore any weakness they can find. However, allies can be found in unexpected places.

The distribution of power has clear consequences especially when we understand that those in power have no reason to want to share it.  If you have power, why would you give it up?  Through Subversive and Radical, we learn that wizards sit at the top of the social strata while men without magical ability occupy everything else except the bottom rung, which is set aside for women.  Women have no magical abilities (or were at least told they didn’t) and are expected to marry to fulfill societal expectations. Not only are women up against males who want them to remain in their subservient roles but wizards who would like to maintain the status quo.  The growing number of women trying to dismantle the patriarchy pose a threat to those in power, and those in power will do anything to keep it. In Revolutionary, we find out what anything means.

Cowley once again shows how she can manipulate me into believing that I know what she’s getting me into, that I know what is going on. Then, of course, she throws something into the mix that surprises me. I was her puppet, and she continually pulled my (heart) strings. (I am just too gullible.) I thought I learned my lesson from the first two books but my guesses as to what would happen next only multiplied.  Cowley had me suspicious of everyone and made me doubt my hunches multiple times. I was proud to say there was at least one thing I suspected that I was right about, and it made me feel like I finally won the magic lotto.

Of course, I cannot close this review without mentioning Beatrix and Peter. This was a relationship I rooted for since the beginning. I’m a sucker for enemies-to-lovers but Cowley brought so much complexity to this trope. Beatrix and Peter went through so much with and for each other. The ending was one they deserved. Throughout the trilogy, there has always been a question of whether what they felt for one another was genuine. Is there an answer? Yes. Is it the one you’re looking for? I can’t say. (commence evil laughter: MUAH HAHAHA.)

It is bittersweet to have The Clandestine Trilogy come to an end. I always feel this way when I finish reading books I love, and I definitely loved this trilogy. It feels more like I’m closing a chapter on my life, as though I’m saying goodbye to friends, and less like I’m simply closing a book. The trilogy is a highlight of my very bookish year.

The trilogy brought me joy in multiple ways. I greatly enjoyed the political intrigue and how it reflected real past and present political struggles. The fight for equal rights, the strategic behavior in framing the fight, and the distribution of power were all very entertaining from an analytical perspective. Pairing these with romance between two characters I grew to care about made it all the more interesting and a worthwhile read. While nothing will beat the first time reading it, I already know I will be rereading this trilogy soon.

Radical (2020)

by Colleen Cowley
ASN: B08J83X9CD
Publication date: October 25, 2020
Series: Clandestine Magic Trilogy #2

Get it here: Amazon
For more details (like content warnings), click here.

**The following contains spoilers for book 1, Subversive.**

Beatrix’s desire to protect her sister against those trying to dismantle the women’s movement compels Beatrix and her best friend Ella to move forward with their plans to secretly provide magic lessons to other women. Their actions, however, may have consequences neither completely thought through.

The political intrigue continues in Radical as it becomes clear that those running the government see Lydia Harper and the women’s movement as a threat to their power. Beatrix now understands that the danger to her sister is very real. Being in this position reinforces the importance of family to Beatrix but also highlights her tunnel vision when things relate to her sister. She may often act hastily without thoroughly understanding the consequences for those around her. When magic is concerned, the resident wizard is bound to become entangled, leading to the question of how much of her relationship with Peter is Beatrix willing to jeopardize? It’s a difficult decision when they’re both people she loves (or one of them is at least).

The plot device used to connect our leads was ingenious. It was complex and constantly evolving. It put me on an emotional rollercoaster. And yet, I still loved it. I’ve been committed to Beatrice and Peter’s relationship since the beginning, and Radical wore me down emotionally. I was struggling nearly as much as Peter and Beatrix struggled with their feelings for one another, questioning if their feelings were genuine or a manifestation of their connection. One thing is for certain though, whether it is love or not, the pain from betrayal still cuts deeply.

There were moments when it felt like the magic rules kept changing. It could be construed that the rules were being made up as the story went…as if there weren’t rules to begin with. However, I think it fits well into the overall story because not much research has been done on the magical abilities of women. Anything can nearly go because no one knows much about what women can do. (Now for my PSA…) This is what can happen when knowledge is purposely withheld. If knowledge is truly power, those who get to control the narrative and determine what information is released may go a long way to protect what they do not want to be disclosed. This is why the dissemination of information is so important.

While I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as Subversive, it is still a good read–great when compared to other books I’ve read this year. It’s just that Subversive was extra good (unfair, I know). I felt like Radical taunted me, lulling me into believing I knew what was going to happen when I actually didn’t know much at all. Like its predecessor, it kept me on my toes. It also reinforced what I learned from reading Subversive: Cowley has an uncanny ability for writing endings, the rip your heart out kind (cue: Lifehouse’s “Whatever It Takes”)

Subversive (2020)

by Colleen Cowley
ASN: B08GYLTKNZ
Publication date: September 27, 2020
Series: Clandestine Magic Trilogy #1

Get it here: Amazon
For more details (like content warnings), click here.

**I received a copy of the book from the author and decided to write a review. This is my honest opinion. (If you’re wondering, the book is superb!)**

Peter Blackwell returns to his former hometown Ellicott Mills to serve as the town’s resident wizard, an omnimancer to help with illnesses or other problems that may arise in the town.  Requiring an assistant, he manages to steal Beatrix Harper from her current place of employment (against her wishes).  Although initially adverse to the idea, Beatrix agrees to help him, not realizing that helping Peter will require her to break the law because he didn’t exactly return home to just be an omnimancer.

There’s something to be said about reading a book you hope is going to be good and have it meet your expectations, possibly even exceed them. Reading Subversive was one of the best experiences I had all year. It felt like all my favorite genres—fantasy, romance, regency (not a real genre I know…but it’s historical but yet not and I get regency vibes from it )–melded into one.  I had a difficult time trying to figure out that something to say, how I might capture how wonderful it is in a blog post—the answer is that I couldn’t but still tried.

Cowley’s magnetic storytelling and distinct magic system had me enamored with the book and its characters. The social system and the political system are reflective of the present United States but this somewhat dystopian U.S. lags in women’s rights—women don’t have any.  Okay, they have limited rights but it feels more like no rights at all. For instance, women have a curfew, and single women are not allowed to be alone with single men or else their reputations will be tarnished. The lack of women’s rights and the privilege that comes from having magical abilities serves as a compelling backdrop to the events that unfold. The book poses multiple questions, and among them is the question of what those in power will do to stay in power. 

I immediately liked Beatrix upon meeting her.  Family is everything to her, and she is determined that her sister has opportunities she never had, even though it can lead to resentment and go unappreciated at times. She isn’t infallible.  She can be stubborn and doesn’t have a problem speaking her mind or apologizing when she has erred.

Peter is a bit harder to figure out because it isn’t immediately clear what his motivations are. What is clear, though, is that he knows exactly what he is doing when he hires Beatrix, and it isn’t because he is just a nice wizard trying to help her out.  The relationship that blossoms from their work arrangement is a complicated one and kept me turning the pages.

I cannot emphasize how much I enjoyed it!  It felt like stepping into a Jane Austen novel in an alternate 21st century made extra complicated by the presence of magic. I wasn’t always able to predict what was going to happen next. I both loved and hated how it kept me on my toes just as I thought I had it figured out. I kept wanting to skip to the end so I wouldn’t be so anxious about what was going to happen next. I didn’t but I really wanted to. It’s perfect for fans of romantic fantasy with strong, capable women fighting for what they believe in.

Romance Interlude (vol. 1.5)

More high school/college romances with ample chemistry between the characters. I’ve found books by Tijan and L.J. Shen to be extra steamy (like…my glasses are fogged up from the words on this page) and infused with a lot of chemistry between the leads. Sometimes I like the male love interest and other times I’m not a fan. With the exception of Enemies, I wasn’t too big a fan of the male leads in this set of books.


Rich Prick (2020)
by Tijan
ISBN: 9781951771485
Publication: June 15, 2020
Goodreads Summary
Series: N/A but there are crossovers from other series by author


One liner: Bad boy falls for shy girl who has a crush on him.

Aspen is shy and used to being alone. She has a crush on Blaise, who is her complete opposite. Yes, he’s the rich prick the book is named after. Despite not being a fan of Blaise’s personality, I ended up liking it because Aspen and Blaise had so much chemistry with one another. While a complete a-hole to the other people around him, he at least managed to treat her well and they pushed one another to be better. Although it’s entitled a sports romance, sports is not a very large part of the book until the end. (Content warning: It’s not mentioned in the summary but there is mention of domestic abuse and child abuse.)

Enemies (2019)
by Tijan
ISBN: 9781951771096
Publication: December 1, 2019
Goodreads Summary
Series: N/A

One liner: Professional football player comes to aid of childhood friend (present day enemies) after tragedy strikes.

Dusty is head strong and works hard at trying to keep to herself. Stone is actually a pretty good guy despite our very first impression of him from Dusty’s perspective. He’s not an alpha jerk male so I was happy about that. (Hallelujah!) This was a good read and it was feels-inducing especially when tragedy hits. (Content warning: It’s not mentioned in the summary but rape is alluded to at the very beginning of the book and mentioned at the end.)


Playing with Fire (2020)
by L.J. Shen
ISBN: 9798680019214
Publication: September 15, 2020
Goodreads Summary
Series: N/A

One liner: Moody and destructive boy is drawn to the girl who tries to keep to herself because of her outward appearance.

Grace and West are individuals with tragic pasts that continue to haunt their present. With his anger issues and short-temper, I wasn’t a big fan of West. He was sweet to Grace and went to great lengths to protect her, but I still wasn’t quite sold on him. She isn’t exactly the meek person people think she is despite her willingness to allow people to make fun of her. Because of her scars, she tries to remain invisible. Grace is a resilient individual who speaks her mind but only those who know her get to see this side of her. I liked Grace, and as much as I wasn’t keen on West, I liked how he pushed her to ask more from life and to stop hiding.

Notorious (2020)

by Minerva Spencer
ISBN: 9781496732835
Publication date: November 24, 2020
Series: Rebels of the Ton #1

**I received a copy of the book through Netgalley for an honest review.**

At her age, Drusilla is considered an old spinster. It also doesn’t help that she is an independent, progressive woman who has no plans to get married. Plans change, however, after her reputation is tarnished and she becomes engaged to her best friend’s brother to protect it.

The book is generally written well. There are a few surprises that made for an interesting story and allows the reader to keep pressing forward to find out what will happen next. Many readers will find this to be an enjoyable book because it does have its moments, but I do not think it was a good fit for me. I had high expectations for the novel but was left disappointed. It became difficult to finish reading when it was clear Drusilla was relegated to a supporting character in Gabriel’s story as opposed to sharing a leading role with him. He often dictated and she had to respond to him.

The summary of the book paints Drusilla as a liberal thinker, shunning the expectations of marriage and creating a group that takes up social causes. In the first half of the book, she at least seems to be that person. She banters with Gabriel while trying to hide her feelings about him. She doesn’t mind that people are aware of her ideologies. By the second half of the book, she is boxed into the role of a wife and the independent thinking woman disappears. The Drusilla we are left with is one who pines after Gabriel and who continually reminds herself that he doesn’t love her. So much unnecessary angst and frustration for the characters and the reader could have been prevented had Drusilla and Gabriel just talked to one another.

Outside of the bedroom, the most we get from Drusilla is excitement when Gabriel accompanies her to the seamstress. We see a spark of who she used to be toward the end, but by that time I was already frustrated. It was infuriating to see her turn into one of her greatest fears. She stopped standing up for herself, going so far as to take the blame for some of Gabriel’s flare ups and hardly ever demanding an apology. We don’t see her do anything about the social causes she claimed to care about despite her insistence earlier on that she be able to continue to do so should she and Gabriel be married.

Then the book shifts focus to Gabriel, despite alternating viewpoints, leaving us to accept this new version of Drusilla. If there is one thing that I dislike, it is how female leads like Drusilla go from independent to complacent as soon as they are paired up, which feels completely out of character. I would have been more understanding had I seen it coming, and the expectation was that she would change for marriage. The argument could be made that it was the time period and this should have been expected, but Drusilla verbally fought against this. After giving up on Drusilla, I found Eva becoming an interesting character but by the time she became interesting, the book was already coming to an end.

Individuals may be able to pick Notorious up and enjoy it, especially if this is a time period that is of interest to them. It is fast-paced, filled with unexpected twists. On the other hand, if individuals are looking for a strong, independent female lead promised in the summary, they may be left disappointed. I’ll be honest, I had high expectations for this book and I’m still reeling from the disappointment.

Princess Knight (2020)

by G.A. Aiken
ISBN: 9781496721259
Publication date: November 24, 2020
Series: The Scarred Earth Saga #2


**I received a copy of the book from Netgalley for an honest review.**

The Princess Knight follows the 2nd eldest Smythe sister Gemma as she and her older sister Keeley attempt to protect the world from the treachery of their younger sister Beatrix. Gemma is the titular princess knight and struggles between remaining sidelined as sister to the queen, protecting her family, and maintaining her vows as a war monk. When temples and monasteries are pilfered and their residents murdered, Gemma decides to return to the Order of Righteous Valor to try to provide them sanctuary with her queen.

(It’s difficult to write about The Princess Knight without also comparing it to The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga #1). I apologize in advance.)

The Princess Knight retains the same humor and bickering among siblings as its predecessor so I was not disappointed in the overall story. Many of the same characters return along with a barrage of new characters, making it difficult to follow at times. Strong female characters remain dominant and many more are added to the series. For instance, Ainsley Smythe is another skilled Smythe sister readers are introduced to. The long-running joke that neither Gemma nor Keeley pay attention to Ainsley and is constantly forgotten is both funny and infuriating. Being a younger sister myself, it pained me that Ainsley kept being ignored. I hope Ainsley will be the focus of the next book and that being forgotten will be an asset she will use to her advantage. I did love how the centaurs didn’t forget about her though.

Gemma Smythe was one of my favorite characters in The Blacksmith Queen so I was excited to have her as lead in the sequel. Gemma is not as likeable as Keeley, who easily opens her heart (and arms) to any individual and animal needing help. Gemma is much more suspicious of others as well as more prickly than Keeley. She remains hot-tempered and retains her single-track mind (set on destroying Beatrix). While the above was expected, Gemma’s confidence in herself seems to have eroded a little though the confidence she has in her skills remains. Her indecisive nature was the most bothersome to me because I found it to be somewhat uncharacteristic of her as compared to the Gemma in the first book. It frustrated me when Quinn (centaur and constant companion) constantly stepped in to point things out to her because of it.

There is a tenuous friendship that ultimately culminates into love but the romance isn’t present. The characters are constantly around one another but there is no chemistry beyond camaraderie to assume there could be an actual relationship beyond what ends up happening between the two. Maybe this might be addressed better in the next installments…maybe? I really hope so if they’re meant to be endgame.

The Princess Knight is for those who like humor in their fantasy and sword-wielding female characters who are not afraid to get their hands bloody. If you enjoyed The Blacksmith Queen, it is highly likely you’ll like the sequel as well. Although The Princess Knight stands well enough on its own, it doesn’t quite meet the bar set by The Blacksmith Queen. I enjoyed reading it and am ready for the next book in the series! (This might actually be a new favorite series but I’m hoping saga doesn’t mean more than 5 books.)

Romance Interlude (vol. 1.4)


Not My Romeo (2020)
by Isla Madden-Mills
ISBN: 9781542021883
Publication: August 18, 2020
Goodreads Summary
Series: The Game Changers #1

One liner: A case of mistaken identity leads to romance between a librarian and professional quarterback.

Elena mistakes Jack for the weatherman she is supposed to meet on a blind date and Jack doesn’t correct her. She’s unaware of the mix-up because she doesn’t pay attention to sports, and she also doesn’t seem to watch the news. This is especially plausible with the variety of outlets we can use to avoid all these things. The rest of the book remains as entertaining as Elena signing the NDA as Juliet Capulet. I enjoyed the book a lot and there was very little downtime. I would definitely recommend Not My Romeo.


A Lie for A Lie (2019)
by Helena Hunting
ISBN: 9781542015356
Publication: October 15, 2019
Goodreads Summary
Series: All In #1

One liner: Hockey team captain and graduate student unexpectedly meet again in Chicago after an unplanned tryst in Alaska.

The book starts of interesting with Rook and Lainey meeting on a plane, both on their way to Kodiak Island in Alaska. Somewhat isolated on the island, they give in to their attraction but Rook gets called away before too long. What happens on the island is probably the best part of the book. It’s after their accidental meeting in Chicago where the book begins to lose a bit of steam and starts jumping around. A lot of things happen in the last quarter of the book that should have been spaced out a lot more. While it was initially good, the ending was a bit disappointing because so many things happened when the book was wrapping up.


Pucked (2015)
by Helena Hunting
ISBN: 9780993800139
Publication: May 3, 2015
Goodreads Summary
Series: Pucked #1

One liner: Team captain has a one-night stand with new teammate’s sister and tries to pursue a relationship with her.

I liked how Hunting wrote Violet to be both loud and sexually comfortable with herself. She was refreshing as a main character. Her relationship with her step-brother was pretty endearing despite neither being touchy-feely. It was clear they were close even though neither particularly liked to express how much they cared about one another. It kind of bothered me a bit that Violet made these snarky comments about how not-so-smart her step-brother was, especially when he was super protective of her. While I liked reading Pucked, once things were resolved, it went on for a chapter or two too long. I felt the additional pages weren’t necessary and affected the overall experience so I had to drop 1/2 a star. Also, All In is apparently a spin-off from the Pucked series but I read A Lie for A Lie first.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow (2020)

by Laura Taylor Namey
ISBN: 9781534471245
Publication date: November 10, 2020


**I received a copy of the book from Netgalley for an honest review.**

After devastating changes in her life, Lila is forced to take a one-way flight to stay with her Aunt Cate in Winchester, England. Despite her initial hesitation and desire to return home to Miami, Lila starts to appreciate the town. Not only is she making new friends, but she’s also sharing her love of cooking, creating a new community that begins to rival the one at home.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow is so many things. It’s about family. It’s about culture. It’s about loss in its many forms. It’s about reconciling the changes that come with growing up, growing apart, and ultimately growing into the unexpected. There is so much packed into this novel but it’s ultimately Lila’s resilience that will leave a lasting impact.

When we meet Lila, she’s broken and still reeling at the unfairness of being forced to spend summer away from the city and the people she loves. But little by little, through cooking and baking, she begins to carve a place for herself in a town that is so different from Miami and yet begins to call to her in a similar way. Despite the challenges and the changes in her life, she trusts in her skills, allowing her to successfully fuse English and Cuban flavors into her culinary creations. When she allows her certainty in the kitchen to trickle into the rest of her life, we finally get to see the Lila that she was…but now a bit wiser.

While it’s a guide to tea and tomorrow, I found more tomorrow than tea, and Lila’s guidance about tomorrow is immeasurable. A traditional recipe that has been perfected may produce the same flavors to a tee (pun intended…hehehe) but sometimes accommodations have to be made; experimentation may be necessary to discover new and possibly better flavors. Lila’s experiences allowed me to reflect on my own life, and I am all the better for it.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow enfolds you like the wool knit sweaters Lila wears, warm and comforting even if a little prickly at first. Once you settle into it, you wonder how you might survive without it. When I finished reading, I felt a sense of loss in having to say goodbye to Lila and Winchester. The introspection it provided was invaluable. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend reading it with a cup of tea–my favorite, mint steeped 3-5 minutes with water at full boil–and a warm blanket, making sure a pastelito isn’t too far away.

Romance Interlude (vol. 1.3)

I am thankful for…college campus romances. There are so many of them out there, and I am not complaining. So many are sports themed! And again, I’m not complaining. I am not athletically-gifted but I sure am glad there are romantic leads who are.


The Deal (2015)
by Elle Kennedy
ISBN: 9781775293934
Publication: February 24, 2015
Goodreads Summary
Series: Off-Campus #1

One liner: Hockey player asks music major to help tutor him in exchange for getting her crush to notice her.

I read this back in August and enjoyed it. I didn’t realize just how much I liked it until I found myself rereading my favorite parts throughout summer and into fall, even rereading the entire book more recently. Garrett ended up being this really sweet guy and I liked Hannah a lot. It was fun to see Garrett fall over his feet for this girl who didn’t really care who he was. I liked her immunity to Garrett’s charm…until she wasn’t. (I mean, a girl can only take so much swooniness.) There are several subplots but they do not take away from our central couple, instead enhancing the relationship. (Content Warning: The characters share their personal experiences with rape and abuse. A minor character we meet closer to the end is also in an abusive relationship. I didn’t expect this so it was a bit jarring at first.)


The Setup (2020)
by Meghan Quinn
ISBN: 9798684487699
Publication: September 10, 2020
Goodreads Summary
Series: Baseball Romances

One liner: Meddling moms set up their college-aged kids who are both athletes at the same university.

The book started out really good. Initially irritated with his mom, Lincoln becomes more enamored with Indie the longer he hangs out with her. Indie, on the other hand, remains insistent about not starting a relationship and concentrating on soccer despite their mutual attraction. That’s also why they seem perfect for each other–they’re both focused on their athletic careers. I loved Lincoln and as much as I liked Indie, I could not get past how unhealthy she was for him. I also disliked the multiple time jumps at the end of the novel. This is a book that I would have given a higher rating but aspects of Indie’s character and the ending just wouldn’t allow me to give it. (Just thinking about it is sort of bringing my mood down. I liked the beginning so much.)

**Quick note: I Hate You and I Promise You don’t seem to fall into an official series but both take place at the same university with leads that show up in the other’s book. They can be read as stand-alone but just know you’ll see cross-appearances.


I Hate You (2019)
by Ilsa Madden-Mills
ISBN: 9781085802116
Publication: August 20, 2019
Goodreads Summary
Series: N/A **

One liner: After a public break-up, exes realize they aren’t over each other.

While I enjoyed it when I was reading it, I couldn’t remember much of it after. I needed to skim it again to recall what happened, which isn’t really a good thing especially since I read it so recently. Despite liking each other, Blaze and Charisma are commitment phobic. This gets revealed as we learn more about them on their way back to each other, going from lovers to enemies to friends to lovers again. The book was good but I’m not sure this is one I would read again. It had its moments but nothing that made my heart ZING!!! I do like Madden-Mills’s writing and will likely be reading more from her (obviously…see book below…hehehe).


I Promise You (2020)
by Ilsa Madden-Mills
ISBN: 9798694398961
Publication Date: October 8, 2020
Goodreads Summary
Series: N/A **

One-liner: Quarterback finally finds the girl he’s been searching for since freshman year but neither makes a good second impression on the other.

I liked that Dillon wasn’t necessarily this smooth talking playboy, although he is most definitely a playboy. When he finally meets Serena again after three long years, he’s pretty much all in but still gives her space to figure out if this is what she wants. I’m happy to announce he is not an alpha male that grunts and pulls Serena every which way he pleases. (Woohoo!) Serena’s still getting over a bad breakup and is hesitant to get into a relationship. Her quirk is that she spouts random facts–I know more about Oreos than I ever really wanted to know. As her Nana says, “it grows on you.” I can’t say the book left me with zings but it was an entertaining read that helped passed the time.

Written in the Stars (2020)

by Alexandria Bellefleur
ISBN: 9780063000803
Publication date: November 10, 2020

**I received a copy of the book from Netgalley for an honest review.**

Elle believes in astrology and finding her perfect one while Darcy is logical and used to believe in love but not anymore.  Although their initial date goes awry, they end up pretending to date.  Darcy needs Elle to get her brother to stop setting her up while Elle agrees so she can stop being the black sheep in the family.  Despite a rocky start and being opposites, sparks fly between them. Could fake dating actually lead to OTP status?  It’s hard to tell because it’s not like Elle notices how certain colors bring out the honey-colored flecks in Darcy’s eyes.  And, it’s not as though Darcy can’t help thinking about the way Elle’s eyes light up when she smiles.

Written in the Stars is a charming novel that wears its heart on its sleeve.  It has all the elements of a romantic comedy with fake dating and opposites attracting.  It doesn’t pull unnecessary punches to yank the reader around.  If there is any angst, it’s short-lived.  The novel drips with such sweetness that I couldn’t read this without a goofy smile plastered on my face.  Despite being a romantic, I sometimes even had to cringe because it was so disgustingly sweet.  While it didn’t make my heart zing, there were so many parts of this that made me swoon.  I couldn’t help it because the writing is as whimsical as Elle is, creating a tone that is light and fluffy.  It’s the perfect book to read to momentarily escape the real world.  One of my favorite images is of Elle’s “stomach erupting in a kaleidoscope of butterflies” after a kiss.  Another is the blooming of love, “like stubborn wildflowers poking up through cracks in the pavement, growing where they didn’t belong.”  I really liked the emotions and images that Bellefleur evoked through her writing. I highlighted so many passages throughout the book I wish I could share them all. 

I loved Elle for being such a pure-hearted free spirit who wore her heart on her sleeve.  I cheered her on when she finally stood up for herself.  If anything, I wanted her to see that she was deserving of so much.  She is a catch, even if she doesn’t seem to think so.  I think this is why I really admired her best friend Margot who continually tried to remind her of that fact.  I also couldn’t help but like Darcy.  She seems cold but there’s something that just makes her so charming.  She puts up this “I’m perfect and have everything together” front but she’s actually pretty squishy on the inside.  She just hides it so well.  Some of my favorite parts are when she would unexpectedly say something funny and it seemed like it went against her character. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book.  While it didn’t give me the constant zings, it gave me moments of laughter, heart eyes, and swooniness.  For a moment, I was as much in love as Elle was.