With the Fire on High easily is one of my favourite books that I read this year. Emoni loves to cook and dreams of becoming a chef. That’s all I needed to know in order to borrow the audiobook. With the Fire on High offers so much more than a trope I can’t get enough of, though. It brings to light complicated relationships, the difficulty of balancing responsibilities and ambitions, and a huge dash of heart.
The moment I saw the synopsis of The Couple, I knew in my bones that Helly Acton wrote this book for me. See, I love books that turn our social norms upside down and examine how life could be instead. Also, I basically spent my twenties single, which drew a lot of pity from friends. They made unsolicited comments, “Are you sure you don’t want to get married?” or “I’m happy to introduce you to someone!”
A Deadly Education left me with very mixed feelings. The opening line held so much promise. It offered conflict and an intriguing dichotomy right from the get-go. Such as, why would anyone want to kill the very person who’d saved their life? What more when they had saved them more than once? I wanted answers but didn’t feel like I got much by the end of the book. Is this one premise supposed to span across the entire series? Evidently, but the opening of the story arc for it didn’t turn out as solidly as I had hoped.
The first time I heard the term “retelling,” I expected it to refer to reimagined fairytales. I didn’t exactly expect these to be simply be stories inspired by fairytales. Stepsister, however, is exactly that which I had originally expected of a retelling. It builds upon the well-loved fairytale of Ashputtel, blood and all. It was entertaining with its dark humour as it continued to tell the story of how it might have continued. Stepsister was more detailed since it’s a novel rather than a short story but stylistically, it still very much read like a fairytale.
Believe it or not, there was a time that I loved cute romance books and adored books with meet cutes. As I hit my twenties though, I suppose I became somewhat jaded. I hardly reached for these books anymore, and when I did, I didn’t enjoy them anywhere near as much as before. Then along came What If It’s Us. I couldn’t stop smiling while reading it!