Notes from the 19 June 2020 edition of Read This Next. Watch this and past episodes on the TBPL Facebook page.
Highlights from cloudLibrary:
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston — NEW ADULT
GoodReads Choice Award winner for Best Debut & Best Romance of 2019; Best Book of the Year for Vogue, NPR, Vanity Fair, and more. When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal and his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all?
My So Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma
RITA Award for Best YA Romance. Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pundit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted. Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek. Dev is smart, charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after?
TBPL Staff Recommend
ONLY A BREATH APART BY KATIE MCGARRY
They say your destiny is carved in stone. But some destinies are meant to be broken. The only curse Jesse Lachlin believes in is his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year. A fortuneteller tells Scarlett she’s psychic, but what is real is Scarlett’s father’s controlling attitude and the dark secrets at home. She may be able to escape, but only if she can rely on the one boy who broke her heart. Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings, but as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…
Readalikes: Deb Caletti, Gayle Forman, Simone Elkeles
UPROOTED BY NAOMI NOVIK
This isn’t a traditional romance novel, it’s definitely more of a high fantasy that has a lovely slow budding romance. Agnieszka loves her small quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But on the border on her town is the Wood. It’s evil and threatens to overtake villages and steal people away.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. the next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. Ultimately We follow Agnieszka as she is chosen by the dragon and slowly discovers she has magic… magic that is unusual and completely different from what the Dragon does. Kaisa is suddenly taken by the Woods and Agnieszka is determined to find her. I love this book because it’s has a very romantic feeling and the romance is slow building. It feels like the slow burn fanfiction you might read where it takes so many chapters for them to even touch hands. Ultimately it’s a high fantasy novel, but it left me thinking about how full of love it was.
Readalikes: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, Cold Magic by Kate Elliott, The Waking Land by Callie Bates, Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
THE BRIDE TEST BY HELEN HOANG
GoodReads Choice nominee for Romance. Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection. With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
Readalikes: Jasmine Guillory, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison
Laura’s Bookternet Corner
What is happening with the Romance Writers of America?
Statement from the Romance Writers of America: https://www.rwa.org/Online/News/2020/A_Statement_and_Action_Plan_from_Romance_Writers_of_America.aspx
Past RITA winners & hall of fame: https://www.rwa.org/Online/Awards/RITA_Award/Online/Awards/RITA/RITA_Award.aspx?hkey=cfe8e149-83df-4361-81d4-1b4e5df10902
Book descriptions via GoodReads.com
Find Laura on GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/lauralisbeth