Midweek Mini Reviews #12

  
The Real Thing by Melissa Foster

I’m fairly new to the adult romance genre, and after reading a few that I adored I got a blogger friend of mine to give me some recommendations. On her list of recommendations for romances that are more rom-com was Melissa Foster’s The Real Thing. This was my first Melissa Foster book and I absolutely loved it! I’m so glad I decided to pick up this one as one of my first picks. The Real Thing takes place in a small town called Sugar Lake and features Zane and Willow who have a somewhat complicated history. I loved that they technically started out as friends and kept in touch all those years before getting together as it just made their chemistry and relationship all the more steamier and swoonier. And while the fake relationship trope was used in this book, I found it refreshing that the book did not focus on the angst of the scenario. Instead the two managed to have a relatively healthy relationship despite how they first get together. It was also refreshing to see a couple directly address their issues and problems and not take forever to dwell on their conflict and let things fester. A light and fluffy rom-com, The Real Thing has me adding another romance series on to my TBR list. Since the author has stated that there will be books for each of Willow’s siblings, I’m looking forward to the next one which features Bridgette in addition to the ones that will inevitably focus on the pairings of Ben and Aurelia and Piper and Harley as I’m not ready to say goodbye to all these characters for good.

Unconditionally by Erin Lyon

I did enjoy Erin Lyon’s I Love You Subject to the Following Terms and Conditions, however the cliff-hanger ending was killer! Especially since I went into the book not realizing it was only the first book of a duology. Unconditionally picks up almost immediately after the events of I Love You Subject to the Following Terms and Conditions. Things are finally picking up for Kate, she’s now has a new place and a job that she’s finding she doesn’t hate. I loved how chaos and hilarity follows Kate especially at work where she somehow always gets the most “interesting” cases and clients. Unconditionally was every bit, if not more enjoyable than I Love You Subject to the Following Terms and Conditions. And while there are times where the characters, especially Kate come off as superficial, and shallow this just added to the entertainment, and escapism element of the novel. Even with its incredibly satisfying conclusion, I can’t help but want a continuation of the Contract Killers series if only for more of Kate, Adam and their group of friends.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

 

Book Review | We Were on a Break by Lindsey Kelk

breakAuthour:
Lindsey Kelk
Format:
ARC, 404 pages
Publication date:
January 3rd 2017
Publisher:
Harper
Publisher Social Media: Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Okay, show of hands, how many of you thought of the TV show Friends when you hear “we were on a break”? That’s basically what came to mind when I saw the title of the latest Lindsey Kelk novel.

I absolutely adored Always the Bridesmaid thus I was curious to pick up We Were on a Break. Furthermore, I was in desperate need of a fluffy light read and I was fortunate to have a review copy of this book arrive on my doorstep at a perfect time.

Unfortunately, after Always the Bridesmaid, We Were on a Break was a bit of a letdown. The novel follows Adam and Liv a couple on vacation and the aftermath of what was supposed to be the “perfect” proposal but has now become a “break” of sorts from each other. Switching back from the point of views of the two characters readers get to experience the events from both sides of this couple.

Perhaps that was the reason this book didn’t click with me, I couldn’t connect to either Liv or Adam. Which is unfortunate as the novel has told from a dual perspective of the two of them. It may have just been me, but I found the pair of them to be remarkably selfish and self-absorbed which made them not incredibly likeable. In addition, in my review copy the perspectives often switch without warning in a single chapter which often made it a bit confusing as to who’s point of view, it was.

On the other hand, I did appreciate the doubts that Liv and Adam had about each other and life in general as it felt authentic to their characters and situations. I also did like some of the side characters that appeared, including David who was the better friend to Liv than either of her girlfriends> In addition the bromance between Adam and his best friend, Tom was also rather sweet.

So while, We Were on a Break was a light novel for the majority of the book, it was also one riddled with so much misunderstanding and conflict which were basically a result of some frustrating miscommunication. In the end, I can’t help but feel unsatisfied with the conclusion as it felt too sudden and given all that unfolded throughout the course of the novel it left me doubtful as to whether what happened in the end was truly what was best for both Liv and Adam.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

hategameAuthour:
Sally Thorne
Format:
ARC; 372 pages
Publication date:
August 9th 2016
Publisher:
William Morrow
Publisher Social Media:
Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
When I first heard about Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, I thought it would be the perfect summer read for me since I do love a good romantic comedy. Furthermore, my contact at Harper thoroughly enjoyed it, describing it as “a romantic comedy movie in a book, think a movie with the likes of Anna Kendrick and Zac Efron”. (By the way I would totally watch that) Anyways, just as she predicted I did end up enjoying The Hating Game.

One of the reasons I enjoyed it was that I could relate to the characters who both work in an office environment in fairly administrative roles. Additionally, if you are a book nerd too, you’d be able to appreciate the fact that Lucy and Josh both work for a large publishing house that was merged from two smaller publisher houses. Coincidentally (or maybe not), the situation reminded me of when quite recently, Penguin and Random House merged and became Penguin Random House. Anyways, there are numerous book and publishing references that I book bloggers and publishing nerds would appreciate.

Another time I found refreshing about this book was the relationship between Lucy and her boss, instead of a stereotypical evil boss Lucy as a boss that truly looks out for her well-being and wants to mentor her. There are, however, numerous stereotypes and the CEO that Josh works for could definitely fall into the “horrible” boss category. That being said, while the story is predictable, the banter between the characters is amusing and the chemistry between Josh and Lucy is definitely hot and steamy. And while Josh made me uncomfortable in the instances where he became jealous as he was kind of terrifying, he does help Lucy stand up for herself and she does bring out the softer side to his personality. All in all The Hating Game is a rollicking ride of a novel that is basically catnip to readers who are fans of the hate “turned to” love trope.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Baggage Check by M.J. Pullen

baggageAuthour:
M.J. Pullen
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
July 12th 2016
Publisher:
Thomas Dunne Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Having not read any of the previous books in M.J. Pullen’s the Marriage Pact series, I went into this book with little judgment concerning the protagonist, Rebecca who had tried to “steal” her best friend’s husband, Jake in the first book. And perhaps this was a good thing, as I ended up enjoying Baggage Check more than I probably would have if I had read Marci’s book first.

The premise of Baggage Check is basically what you’d expect it’s mainly light, fluffy and entertaining read, however amidst all that, it also shows how Rebecca has to confront her past demons in order to move on and become truly content in life. What I liked best was how early on in the novel, Marci committed to moving on from her feelings for Jake, her friend’s husband and stuck with it in spite of it being difficult for her. Of all her friends, I personally found Rebecca the most relatable in that there are times when I feel lost and talentless compared to those around me. In addition, I could relate to her younger self running away from her problems at home in Alabama to Georgia after her senior year as I would’ve done the same at her age if I was in her shoes.

All that being said, my favourite element of this book were the blog entries by Marci. Possibly for the reason that I too am I blogger, I enjoyed reading the entries as they gave another perspective to the events of the book and detail what’s happening with the rest of her friends while Rebecca is back in Alabama cleaning up her family’s mess. In the end, while I would have liked to see more of Alex and Rebecca together I felt that Baggage Check was a satisfying conclusion overall as it brought all the characters together in the finale in a realistic manner

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Christmas on Primrose Hill by Karen Swan

christmasprimroseAuthour:
Karen Swan
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 463 pages
Publication date:
November 13th 2015
Publisher:
Atria Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
The holidays remain one of my favourite times of the year, thus it’s only fitting that I’m always in search of an excellent holiday themed read. Karen Swan’s Christmas on Primrose Hill was one of those books that I truly wanted to fall in love with however it wasn’t meant to be I guess.

Christmas on Primrose Hill introduces us to Nettie Watson who by becomes an online sensation after her unexpected and humiliating fall is caught on air. As a result, she also catches the interest and ­­­­attention of Jamie Westlake, an extremely musician. The premise makes for a book that has several amusing hijinks as Nettie tries to hide her identity as the “Blue Bunny Girl” from the public. Additionally, I appreciated the community feel of the book especially the moment where the residents of Primrose Hill gather to show Nettie and her father their support and that they are thinking of them and their family. It was an incredibly heartwarming moment that captures the true spirit of the holidays.

Unfortunately, that remained one of the only elements that I enjoyed about this book. Other aspects of the book that I didn’t appreciate was how particularly near the beginning it felt that Nettie was constantly being forced to act in a manner that she wasn’t comfortable in public and by the people who were supposed to be her friends. In fact for the majority of the book it appeared that only Dan and her father were truly on her side and cared about what was best for her. (Although her best friend, “Jill” also come through in the end) And while the end result was a mostly happy conclusion for all, considering the situations that Nettie found herself in it could’ve gone extremely wrong at any point in time and she could have been in serious trouble. Another thing I wasn’t fond of was the relationship between Nettie and Jamie. It had extremely superficial roots and while there were a couple of sweet moments between the two of them, I find it difficult to believe that they could last. Although I’ll admit that I’m probably biased as in the finale I don’t think Jamie fully redeemed himself after the way he treated Nettie over a misunderstanding. He went a bit too far and hurt an already emotionally wounded Nettie. And even though he did provide an explanation for his actions, I felt that his reaction was disproportionate retribution to the situation.

Overall I felt Christmas on Primrose Hill attempted to tell several stories at once in one book which resulted in a novel that felt too long and often dragged at times. Furthermore I thought the book concluded in a manner that was a bit abrupt and unsatisfactory however the conclusion made sense for the type of story it was. Therefore while I’m unsure as to whether I’d recommend this particular book to others, the author herself has written numerous other books and perhaps it stands that this one title that wasn’t to my preference.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Truly, Madly, Greekly by Mandy Baggot

greeklyAuthour:
Mandy Baggot
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 331 pages
Publication date:
May 22nd 2015
Publisher:
Bookouture
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Fun fact, I never knew that there were all-inclusive resorts in other places besides the Caribbean. Anyways just like its resort setting, Truly, Madly, Greekly is a book that lets its readers escape from all their everyday troubles. While it starts off slow, Truly, Madly, Greekly evolves into a mostly light beach read.

While there were countless situations that were unbelievable and definitely difficult to relate to, however the one thing that the protagonist, Ellen and I shared was our idea of a relaxing vacation. We both would like to just sit in peace and take pleasure in the book that we are currently reading, rather than partake in any resort activities. However, that’s where the similarities end, as I would never let anyone make me do anything other than my idea of relaxing. Though I guess it works and is necessary for the plot of Truly, Madly, Greekly to move forward. And while I initially was unsure of the romance between Ellen and Yan since their relationship progressed remarkably quickly, it was evident that they truly did care about each other which is always nice.

Regardless of my uncertainty of the romance, I thought the authour did an excellent job capturing how families can be dysfunctional yet still work well for the most part. Ellen’s dad and sister are just as self absorbed and stubborn as her, and it was nice seeing that deep down in their own warped way they truly cared about each other. I also loved how Ellen’s sister was able to grow up a bit by the conclusion as it allowed Ellen a chance to discover herself, and what it was that she desired in life.

Thus while it’s not my ideal read, Truly, Madly, Greekly is still an entertaining if albeit cheesy summer beach read which makes it perfect if you’re craving a simple read that doesn’t require you to take things too seriously.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk

bridesmaidAuthour:
Lindsey Kelk
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 386 pages
Publication date:
June 16th 2015
Publisher:
Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media:
Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
For some of you, readers June is the start of the “wedding season” which means all those invitations to weddings of family and friends. Or perhaps you are the one getting married this year. Either way, if this is you, probably followed by you bracing for some heaving spending. For me neither is true, though my close friends are (mostly) in serious relationships, none of them are getting married anytime soon. And that’s okay, since I can live vicariously through fiction such as Lindsey Kelk’s Always the Bridesmaid which is basically all the excitement of a party without the actual stress from all the drama that usually comes to weddings.

I first time I learnt of this book from Suman at HarperCollins through twitter, and I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Always the Bridesmaid for review from Kaitlyn who told me that it was an extremely enjoyable read (which it was so thank you so much, Kaitlyn!). I love how the relationship between Maddie and her best friends was portrayed in the book since for me; personally it rings true to life. There are times that my best friends and I would do things to drive each other insane, nevertheless when it comes down to it, we are there for each other when one of us needs it. Additionally, I also loved how each chapter starts with an entry from the bridesmaid journal that Lauren gives to Maddie and their friend, Sarah. This means you receive hilarious and amusing snippets of what the journal contains and what it asks the bridesmaids to write about, several of them make sense, however others are ridiculously cheesy, which makes it all the more entertaining.

If you are searching for a light and entertaining summer beach read, then I definitely recommend that you pick up Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk since she truly has a gift for telling stories with flawed characters in a way that you cannot help but root for them to find happiness in the end.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Words of Asia | China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

WOA

For a listing to the links for all the other review posts for the Words of Asia blog event click here.

About the Authour:
Kevin Kwan was born in Singapore and currently lives in Manhattan. China Rich Girlfriend is his second novel, a follow up to his first novel, Crazy Rich Asians. Having grown up in the world that is depicted in his novels, he’s in an excellent position to give the rest of us an insider’s look into the exclusive world of the wealthy in Asia.

Where Does it Take Place?
The book jumps around ALOT! It starts in China then goes to Hong Kong before jumping to California and then to Singapore. Basically reading this book is like traveling to a whole bunch of different places, most of them in Asia.

chinarich

What’s it About:
The sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend once again follow Rachel and Nick as they get to know a whole other side of crazy rich, this time in Mainland China. And this whole new, crazy world may or may not be somehow connected to Rachel’s father. Along the way w get to catch up with some fan favourite characters from the first book such as Eddie and Astrid as well as getting to know some of the new characters.

My Thoughts:
In case you guys don’t know, China Rich Girlfriend was pretty much my most anticipated read of 2015. I could not wait to dive into that world again and visit all the familiar characters as well as meet the new ones. Fortunately the book did not disappoint, I love that we get to see both Astrid and Peik Lin again as well as Nick and Rachel of course. And I love Rachel’s interactions with some of the new characters especially one in particular who may be connected to her father. All in all, this entire book was much more intense and crazier than the first book, what with all the mind games and characters sizing each other up at every chance they get. It was basically a rollicking, good time and an excellent novel if you ever want to escape into another world. I also loved how in this book, the authour made the decision to show some of the plot through gossip tabloids and news articles, I thought it was an incredibly creative idea and it was a welcome addition to the reading experience. In the end while I really loved the book, I can’t help but want more so I really hope there will be a third book. Not ready to say goodbye to these characters yet!

You’ll like this book, if you love:
Books with LOTS of DRAMA, soap opera- like gossip, fashion and of course mouth watering descriptions of food. Also for those who you something slightly different from your usual adult contemporary fiction and a different kind of setting.


I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Nevertheless, regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The One & Only by Emily Giffin

Authour:theone
Emily Giffin
Format:
Hardcover, 400 pages
Publication date:
May 20th 2014
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“Then again, I know it’s not the win itself, but everything that went into the victory.” (p. 413)

Emily Giffin is such an amazing authour and I have always loved her books for the reason that the characters are usually incredibly relatable. And I also just love reading her stories and seeing how they unfold is she is a gifted storyteller when it comes to women and relationships. Giffin’s latest book, The One & Only is about Shea Rigsby, a thirty something woman who thinks she has her life all figured out until a tragedy close to her makes her realizes that she doesn’t. The rest of the book is about her journey of finding out what she truly wants in life.

One of the things that I found was extremely different in The One & Only versus Giffin’s previous novels, is how there is a lot of football talk in the book given the setting of the book it made sense but for someone who isn’t incredibly into football or any sports for that matter, it was difficult to immerse myself in that aspect of the story at times.

While overall I liked the writing style and the story, I had a few issues with the book. The first one is a bit of a nitpick, but I found it annoying how Coach Clive Carr was always be referred to in the book as “coach”, in fact there were times I forgot his name was actually Clive. And while I get that being a football “coach” is a major part of his identity, I wish Giffin used his name more in the book. On the other hand, while I found it weird that Coach Carr called Shea “girl”, it did not annoy me as much as the whole “coach” thing. Secondly the thing that I had a bigger issue with was the romantic that was the endgame. Without giving away too much (I hope), I found that relationship to have a major power imbalance which made me feel a little weirded out, especially as I was trying to imagine how I would react if one of my friends had a romantic relationship like the one that Shea ends up in.

In the end however, I think there is a one important message that this book gives to readers, which is if there is something you want, then you should strive for it no matter what anyone says, because if you try and succeed then perhaps its meant to be. And if you try and fail then perhaps it was not meant to be. All in all, The One & Only was a decent read that touches upon some extremely serious topics. And while I still sort of like her other books a bit more, I would recommend The One & Only to those who are diehard Emily Giffin fans or diehard football fans or both.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Never Google Heartbreak by Emma Garcia

Authour:heartbreak
Emma Garcia
Format:
E-Book, 352 pages
Publication date:
March 7th, 2014
Publisher:
Bookouture
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
What I found very relatable about this book, is how so many of my friends are in similar situations as the protagonist of Never Google Heartbreak. Many of them are in long-term relationships and are hoping to be married soon and one of them is even getting married this summer. Also none of us have hot guy friends to turn to, but that’s a whole other thing.

Anyways Never Google Heartbreak starts off with the protagonist, Vivienne Summers has been engaged to her boyfriend Rob for what seems like forever but each time they get close to the altar he backs out suddenly. Maybe it’s just me but I disliked how Viv made most of her goals revolve around Rob even after he breaks off their engagement. This was because Rob was just an incredibly immature and horrible person, and I felt that though Viv wasn’t the best person she still deserved better than him.

Like incredibly I said I wasn’t really a fan of Viv mostly because she was so selfish and thoughtless though for some reason everything I find myself starting to really hate her, something happens that makes me feel kind of bad for her. And while I didn’t like Viv I did love her with Max; they’re a couple that you couldn’t help but root for.

Never Google Heartbreak was a fun and light chick lit read that got a bit too clichéd around the middle of the book. However it was still pretty enjoyable and I would definitely want to pick up the sequel especially considering the huge cliffhanger ending of this book. I cannot wait for June when OMG Baby! comes out.

If you like this book, you’ll love: You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.