Book Reviews

July Romance Reviews

Today I’m bringing you another dose of romance reviews! This month we have a whole lot of diversity – two queer romances and one featuring a Korean American MC! Get ready to add these books to your TBR for July!

A Sweet Mess

Aubrey Choi loves living in her small town nestled in the foothills of California, running her highly successful bakery away from the watch of her strict Korean parents. When a cake mix-up and a harsh review threaten all of her hard work and her livelihood, she never thought the jaded food critic would turn out to be her one-night stand. And she sure as hell never thought she’d see her gorgeous Korean unicorn again. But when Landon Kim waltzes into her bakery trying to clean up the mess he had a huge hand in making, Aubrey is torn between throwing and hearing him out.

When she hears his plan to help save her business, Aubrey knows that spending three weeks in California wine country working with Landon is a sure recipe for disaster. Her head is telling her to take the chance to save her bakery while her heart—and her hormones—are at war on whether to give him a second chance. And it just so happens that Landon’s meddling friends want them to spend those three weeks as close as possible…by sharing a villa.

When things start heating up, both in and out of the kitchen, Aubrey will have to make a choice—to stick it out or risk her heart.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I will read food romances forever okay? There’s something sizzling about the chemistry of spicy foods, whipped cream, and the heat of the kitchen. It doesn’t hurt that many of them have a workplace romance kind of feel to it, which is another of my favorite elements! I really loved A Sweet Mess not only for its foodie references, but also its utterly charming characters. While in this dual POV book I may have loved Audrey a bit more, there was plenty of great banter, chemistry, and tension.

It was so easy to devour A Sweet Mess. There’s this whimsical feeling of development. I never felt that it was rushed together and the dual POV allowed readers to get a good sense of both Audrey and Landon – especially as secrets emerge. If you’re a foodie, or a fan of tense undeniable chemistry, then check out A Sweet Mess. Find it on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.

Boyfriend Material

One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: homophobia

As soon as I started Boyfriend Material I loved the narration. It’s funny and self-deprecating in a way that elicits chuckles, but actually points to Luc’s deep insecurity. My favorite thing about Boyfriend Material was not only the fake dating trope – because that will get me every time – but also the characters. Luc felt so relatable to me, giving voice to all those deepest thoughts, those insecurities and fears. And while Oliver isn’t a POV in Boyfriend Material, we can also see his own fears and vulnerabilities. They felt so relatable in the issues they tackle that I ended up reading into the night to see how they would evolve.

This m/m romance features these two awkward cinnamon roll characters. And a whole host of other side characters who will make you laugh. I especially loved that Luc was so close to his mother. Mother and son relationships are so precious and theirs will make you smile basically all the time. So sweet! Above all, Boyfriend Material has some great banter with quick wit and sarcasm galore. The character evolution in Boyfriend Material left me grinning. When we are so convinced we are destined for failure and the importance of someone believing in ourselves to inspire us to believe in ourselves. Sometimes it just takes one person.

Our conscious decision to fill our lives with people who make us happy. To say no to our own toxic thoughts and the people in our life. When our own fear makes us lash out at things that are good. That terrify us because it could convince us that we might be good too. That if we open ourselves up to happiness, it could crumble and break our heart entirely. The knowledge that we’ve found something so precious that the loss, the fear of loss, is horrifying.

Find Boyfriend Material on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows

When Agatha Griffin finds a colony of bees in her warehouse, it’s the not-so-perfect ending to a not-so-perfect week. Busy trying to keep her printing business afloat amidst rising taxes and the suppression of radical printers like her son, the last thing the widow wants is to be the victim of a thousand bees. But when a beautiful beekeeper arrives to take care of the pests, Agatha may be in danger of being stung by something far more dangerous…

Penelope Flood exists between two worlds in her small seaside town, the society of rich landowners and the tradesfolk. Soon, tensions boil over when the formerly exiled Queen arrives on England’s shores—and when Penelope’s long-absent husband returns to Melliton, she once again finds herself torn, between her burgeoning love for Agatha and her loyalty to the man who once gave her refuge.

As Penelope finally discovers her true place, Agatha must learn to accept the changing world in front of her. But will these longing hearts settle for a safe but stale existence or will they learn to fight for the future they most desire?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I loved The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows for all the reasons you might not expect. I wanna say, before you go into this, that this book features two older, but amazing characters, in a slow burn romance book full of politics and queer women tackling patriarchy and homophobia. If that sounds good to you, then you will love this because Waite combines absolutely precious characters with a rich story. Their first meeting, plus the beekeeping elements, plus the way that Penelope has to deal with the homophobia in her small town, made this book unforgettable.

Having adored The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics, this sequel (which you can totally read alone, but please don’t because the first is precious) feels more political than the last one. While they’re both historical fiction, this one talks more about the monarchy in the UK and politics regarding women’s right to vote and patriarchy. It lends a wonderful detailed aspect to the book that grounds their slow burn romance in the real world. It’s not only the homophobia and sexism they deal with as characters, but the world in which they live their lives.

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows asks questions of freedom of speech – as Agatha operates a printing press – and it looks at both homophobia and sexism in a historical fiction setting. There’s more politics than I was expecting, but I ended up truly loving this element. Don’t even get me started on the (many queer) side characters! It’s also a book that celebrates the small changes we make in our lives and communities. How we fight for the changes around us.

Find The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What are your favorite queer romances?

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