[Book Review] Meant to Be: If the Shoe Fits

Book Cover for IF THE SHOE FITS

Title: Meant to Be: If the Shoe Fits
Author: Julie Murphy
Genre: romance; humor; new adult; contemporary
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America’s favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.

Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn’t expect? That she may just find inspiration-and love-in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own.

Review: 5/5 stars

It’s not often that the plus size girl gets a whole ass romance plot (and isn’t just a side character) but this one is good! Cinderella meets the Bachelor meets Devil Wears Prada.

The step family in this Cinderella tale isn’t terrible, the Bachelor isn’t terrible, and neither are all the women in the show. The fashion industry isn’t full of superficial 2D characters that hate on sight. There’s a lot of meaningful depth and love in the relationships and characters in this book. I enjoyed watching each of the characters – the main and the sides – get unraveled. They were all so different in personality and expression.

Lots of really strong storytelling and good messaging in this book with an amazing love story woven in there too. In this book, the plus size girl gets a HEA.

[Book Review] Nimona

Book Cover of NIMONA by Noelle Stevenson

Title: Nimona
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Genre: graphic novel; fantasy; LGBT; found family; humor; adventure
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it “a deadpan epic.”

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Review: 4 stars

I loved the humor and the humanity in this graphic novel. Mimosa and Blackheart are the ultimate dynamic duo that everyone needs to read about. In the end, this is just a great story. End stop.

I loved the characterizations, the pacing, the flashbacks. I wanted a little bit more of the Nimona backstory, and a little more depth from the Institution— but honestly— would 100% recommend this story so much.

[Book Review] Drama Queen

Book Cover of “Drama Queen” by Jill Westwood

Title: Drama Queen (Nasty Woman #3) read as a standalone
Author: Jill Westwoord
Genre: Contemporary romance; Humor;
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) Catriona McBryde laughs too loudly, has never met a stranger, and enjoys making men blush.

With her unrestrained behavior—which includes rolling in the hay with many of the single men in her town—Cat might not seem like the ideal tour guide for British actress Dame Violet Ramsey, but no one knows Foster’s Creek better than she does.

When Violet’s sexy bodyguard Kiran Madan doubts Cat’s ability to be discrete and trustworthy, she sets to charming the pants off of him, but he proves to be the type of guy she hasn’t encountered recently.

It’s not only her body he desires. Kiran wants Cat’s heart.

* plus-sized heroine
* small town romance
* sisterhood / female friendships
* brooding bodyguard
* Halloween hijinks

Review: 3/5 stars

I enjoyed this book a lot! If you’re looking for a speaks her mind, gets what she wants, plus sized romantic heroine— Catriona is for you. And honestly, who wouldn’t want to live her story here? Her favorite actress comes to her small town and asks her to be her tour guide.

Yes please.

And she comes with a hot body guard?

X 2 yes please.

Kiran Madan is a good opposite lead to Catriona. Where Catriona says everything she’s thinking, Kiran is reserved. A real stuffed shirt at first. Cat is more of a Lorelei Gilmore in Star’s Hollow, witty, funny, and able to keep up with whatever the occasion calls for. Kiran is completely out of his element and worried about everything.

The lead actress character, Violet, is fun. She’s proper British, but also has an unexpected wild streak. Kiran has his hands full and Cat helps keep him company while hilarious antics ensue.

One thing I didn’t really get was the lack of secondary character development. Some relationships just disappeared. Or didn’t get any resolution. Cat has this major animosity for her best friend’s husband that she brings up constantly, but there is no big blow out, no coming together, no nothing. They just don’t solve anything. Both of Cat’s sisters make love connections, but you never hear about either after the plot point passes. So too with her cousin. Once his purpose has passed, we never hear anything more. I’d like more development in this.

The side characters build the main character’s personality for me and make the world more real, and when there’s not any real reasonable resolution or mention for so many characters, it’s a big thing I think about.

Overall, I liked it, and I like seeing plus size girls getting HEAs!

I received an advanced review copy of this book for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.