eARC Review – Bad Bachelor

Title: Bad Bachelor

Author: Stephanie Londer

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publication date: March 3rd, 2020 (first published March 6th, 2018)

368 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Everybody’s talking about the hot new app reviewing New York’s most eligible bachelors. But why focus on prince charming when you can read the latest dirt on the lowest-ranked “Bad Bachelors”—NYC’s most notorious bad boys.

If one more person mentions Bad Bachelors to Reed McMahon, someone’s gonna get hurt. A PR whiz, Reed is known as an ‘image fixer’ but his womanizing ways have caught up with him. What he needs is a PR miracle of his own.

When Reed strolls into Darcy Greer’s workplace offering to help save the struggling library, she isn’t buying it. The prickly Brooklynite knows Reed is exactly the kind of guy she should avoid. But the library does need his help. As she reluctantly works with Reed, she realizes there’s more to a man than his reputation. Maybe, just maybe, Bad Bachelor #1 is THE one for her. 

Review

**Thank you to Netgalley, Sourcebooks Casablance, and Stephanie London for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

I absolutely adored everything about this rom com story with Reed and Darcy. Told from both perspectives, it’s a love story that will capture your heart and make you think twice about dating apps.

Darcy is trying to get back into the dating scene after calling off her wedding at the last minute when her fiance cheats on her. Reed doesn’t want to date… at all. When their lives are pulled together through work, Darcy recognizes his name as one of the most infamous men on the new dating app, Bad Bachelor. Women are able to submit reviews of men after dating them, and every review Reed has is bad. That doesn’t stop the spark of interest Darcy feels upon meeting him for the first time, especially when he is her match at witty banter. Reed convinced himself he doesn’t have time for dating, and he doesn’t give much stock in the reviews on Bad Bachelor. But when it starts to affect his family, he starts to suspect there’s more behind the app and to the drama.

Darcy and Reed are just the cutest, and I will ship them forever. It’s true, some of the tropes are a bit cliche and have been done before, but I love the idea of the dating app – it’s different than anything I’ve read before. I also have a soft spot for the “bad boy” trope, especially when it isn’t ‘deserved’. The steam meter was good, but not 50 Shades level of spice. The romance flowed easily, sometimes in romance novels they jump immediately into bed or a switch flips and you’re unsure how they got there – not in this book. It is a bit of a build up to the big event.

I read this all in one day, it hit every spot that I look for in romance to keep me interested, and making me wish Reed had his sights set on me instead of Darcy.

Book Review – The Flatshare

“Being nice is a good thing. You can be strong and nice. You don’t have to be one or the other.” 

Title: The Flatshare

Author: Beth O’Leary

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication date: May 28th, 2019

325 pages

4.25/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.

What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good novel about finding love in the most unexpected of ways. 

Review

It was never home until you were there, Tiffy.

Beth O’Leary, The Flatshare

Hello all! I am on SUCH a romance book kick, probably because it is February and is the month of love! I’ve been in such a fantasy book slump so I’m throwing my TBR out the window and leaned into the romance bug during my last trip to the library. I’ve seen The Flatshare all over Instagram so I knew I wanted to read it, even though it meant reading two British books back to back and having my mental voice talk in a British accent for the next two days!

The Flatshare flips back and forth in POV’s between Tiffy and Leon, two strangers sharing a flat in London. He works the night shift, she works the day shift, they never have to even see each other. Leon’s girlfriend checks her out and concludes Tiffy is not a threat to her relationship (oh how wrong she is) as she is “larger than life” (ack). Tiffy is very eccentric and fun, where Leon is dealing with a lot and is more understated and reserved. Basically, they are opposites. When they start interacting via post it notes in the flat however, their camaraderie is undeniable.

The Flatshare was very adorable. I was waiting with bated breath for them to meet, especially after Leon’s girlfriend dissed her (still hate her). So glad I got the satisfaction of Leon being hopelessly attracted to Tiffy and questioning how Kay could have found her unattractive. Their first meeting is so funny and they really have an easy friendship.

However, The Flatshare is not all lighthearted. Tiffy has a stalkerish, emotionally abusive ex that pops up throughout the book so Trigger Warning. He is honestly terrible and any time his name was printed on the pages I cringed. Ouside of him, the side characters each have their own quirks and reasons for being in the book, which is a big thing for me. I hate when there are whole characters that have no point or purpose to the main characters or the plot.

Tiffy and Leon are exactly what they need from each other at every given time in the book, which for me is proof they are meant to be. Loved it, and very much enjoyed the book.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Bride Test

“Don’t forget to apologize. First with words. Then with your tongue.”

Title: The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2)

Author: Helen Hoang

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: May 7th, 2019

296 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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. 

Review

In a split second, she redefined perfection for him. His standards aligned to her exact proportions and measurements. No one else would ever live up to her.

Helen Hoang, The Bride Test

I absolutely adored The Kiss Quotient when I read it a few months ago. I didn’t end of reviewing it on here, otherwise I would link it. I truly adore that both books feature a main character with autism – because everyone deserves a sweet and sexy love story. The Bride Test is a companion novel to The Kiss Quotient.

The Bride Test follows Khai Diep, a young man with autism who is really not looking for a girlfriend and Esme Tran, a young mother from Ho Chi Minh City. Khai’s mother travels there to interview potential brides for Khai and to bring the best candidate to America to win him over. Esme jumps at the chance to provide her family a way out of poverty. However, Khai is seriously not pleased with this development and does everything he can to ignore his new roommate, who doesn’t make it easy…

*swoon* Man, Helen Hoang really knows how to make me laugh, my heart pound, and cry all in one books, sometimes multiple times each. From start to finish, I loved these characters and their interactions with each other. Their love is so unique and fun, began neither of them have any clue what they are doing. It is so eye opening to read from the perspective of someone with autism – the rep is done beautifully. Khai goes on such a journey in the book, you can’t help but be proud. And the same can be said for Esme! She makes the most of her opportunity in America and takes adult education classes on TOP of trying to seduce a man who doesn’t want to be seduced. Talk about overachieving.

The first sex scene (and the aftermath) if my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PART of this entire book. Picture this: it’s 1 am, I couldn’t sleep, I’m sitting outside my bedroom on the floor with a flashlight (so as not to wake up the fiance), and I’M DYING of laughter. It is a pure gold scene and I’m here for it. If you’ve read this book, you know what I’m talking about.

Anywho, this was amazing. Go read it ASAP pronto mucho. Read The Kiss Quotient first if you haven’t (it’s not necessary, it’s just also a freaking awesome book).

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Love Her or Lose Her

Title: Love Her or Lose Her (Hot & Hammered #2)

Author: Tessa Bailey

Publisher: Avon Books

Publication date: January 14, 2020

352 pages

4.5/5 pages

Goodreads Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey returns with a unique, sexy romantic comedy about a young married couple whose rocky relationship needs a serious renovation. 

Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippy. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

Review

We follow up with our characters with Rosie leaving Dominic because their marriage has been empty. The story follows them trying to save their marriage and learn how to communicate with each other better. I loved the use of love languages to explain the problems they were having. I fully ascribe to that relationship theory because it has always explained so much to me in my relationships. Rosie and Dominic try counseling, but Dominic has a secret that could change everything.

I pre-ordered Love Her or Lose Her after reading Fix Her Up and loving it. I loved the family and group of friends that Tessa Bailey has created, and I figured there would be one or two companion novels with it. As much as I loved Fix Her Up, Love Her or Lose Her was not quite as good.

Fix Her Up got a lot of critiques for the gratuitous use of ‘baby girl’ and the weird sex scenes. I didn’t agree with those and felt like the sex scenes were well done and I’ve never minded the term baby girl. HOWEVER, Bailey is back in this one with a new pet name and *gag* nope wasn’t for me. Used far too frequently. Also, the sex scenes seemed off to me, there was a level of ‘force’ to them that left me uncomfortable at times. Dominic seemed to be trying too hard to seduce and convince Rosie to do more than she wanted to.

I missed Georgie and Travis. Of course they are in the book, but barely. I think it says something that I’m reading about other characters and wishing for the story to be about someone else. I just didn’t connect as much with Rosie and Dominic’s relationship as I did with Georgie and Travis.

At the very end we find out that we are getting a Bethany book in the Fall!! I’m super excited! Even though Love Her or Lose Her wasn’t as great in my eyes, I still love Tessa Bailey’s writing and it is so easy to get through. I want to finish the stories of these characters so you know I’ll be back with that review quickly after it is released!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – My Favorite Half-Night Stand

“I should have been more offended. But I only have one emotion, and it’s hunger.”

Title: My Favorite Half-Night Stand

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: December 4th, 2018

384 pages

3.75/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Review

You’re honestly too good for me, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want you anyway.

Christina lauren, my favorite half-night stand

I’m back with another CLo read! I picked this up from Barnes and Noble because it was one of their half off sale books and I’ve loved all the CLo books I’ve read so far. Whereas this one was not my favorite, I still enjoyed reading it and I will still read everything they have, and will, write!

Millie is a college professor with not a lot of luck with dating. Neither does her 4 best friends, all straight men who also can’t seem to navigate the dating scene. Millie’s never considered any of her friends as possible romances, until she drinks too much wine one night and jumps Reid’s bones. Reid lets it happen, and they both end up confused afterwards. The gang decides to make a pact to use a dating app to find a date to the university’s black tie gala, and they can’t take each other. Millie doesn’t have much luck, so she creates a fake persona on the site and matches with Reid. She tries to play it off so he realizes it is her, but he doesn’t. What started as a fun gag gets out of hand, and Reid is starting to like her alternate persona more than her. What’s a girl to do when her best guy friend wants to date the fake, online version of her?

My major, major critique of this book is the catfish plot. It really doesn’t seem believable that this would happen. Also, Millie was kind of an annoying character as she got bad at Reid for being into the alt version of her… which is still actually her? It got a bit confusing what she was mad about after awhile. While this is happening, the real her is also still sleeping with Reid?? So confused.

The hook up happened too soon, as in the first 2 chapters. We barely have any information on these characters and they are already boning. It’s hard to believe they “never considered it before” when it happened almost immediately.

Frankly, the side characters were scads more interesting than Millie and Reid. I wanted more information on the other 3 guys, and hell even Reid’s parents after the scene where they all visit for Reid’s birthday. The side characters were somehow more fleshed out than the main characters, and I was rooting more for them than Millie and Reid.

Outside of all that, I still love CLo books. I read it all in one day and their books are always easy, breezy books that I don’t have to think so hard about. I love reading them after a heavy Fantasy novel just to come back to earth and real life. But honestly, this book just made me want to read The Unhoneymooners again.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Throne of the Five Winds

Title: The Throne of the Five Winds (Hostage of Empire #1)

Author: S.C. Emmett

Publisher: Orbit

Publication date: October 15th, 2019

704 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Two queens, two concubines, six princes. Innumerable hidden agendas. Yala, lady-in-waiting to the princess of a vanquished kingdom, must navigate their captors’ treacherous imperial court.

The Emperor’s palace — full of ambitious royals, sly gossip, and unforeseen perils — is perhaps the most dangerous place in Zhaon. A hostage for her conquered people’s good behavior, the lady Komor Yala has only her wits and her hidden maiden’s blade to protect herself — and her childhood friend Princess Mahara, sacrificed in marriage to the enemy to secure a tenuous peace.

But the Emperor is aging, and the Khir princess and her lady-in-waiting soon find themselves pawns in the six princes’ deadly schemes for the throne — and a single spark could ignite fresh rebellion in Khir.

And then, the Emperor falls ill, and a far bloodier game begins…

The Throne of the Five Winds is the first installment of the Hostage of Empire series, an intricate and ruthless East Asia-inspired epic fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Ken Liu, Kate Elliott, and K. Arsenault Rivera.

Review

**Thank you to Orbit, S.C. Emmett, and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The Throne of Five Winds is a new Asian inspired Adult Epic Fantasy series that seems to gain inspiration from George R. R. Martin in political intrigue and battles for thrones. You have several nations, however the Empire of Zhaon dominates the novel, with it’s recent acquisition of neighboring land, Khir. In payment to their new overlords, Khir “Great Rider” sends his daughter, Mahara, to marry the Crown Prince of Zhaon. Yala, her best friend, is sent to serve as lady-in-waiting to Mahara. Both girls are very honorable and take their fate in silence.

The Throne of Five Winds has many characters, so it is hard to pin down a “main” character. There is 1 Emperor, 2 Queens, 2 Concubines, 6 Princes, 2 Princesses, Mahara, Yala, etc. It is very difficult, especially in the beginning to keep everyone straight. This is also due to them having traditional and similar Asian names. The chapters are told by different points of view, but aren’t denoted as such like usual, which makes it difficult to follow along as well.

I have many thoughts about this book. For one, the writing if very beautiful and flowery, but overdone for my taste. However, this is on brand for Asian inspired novels as well as Adult Epic Fantasy. There was very little that happened except pointed conversations and some general court intrigue for the first 70% of this book. I like to think of it like chess, where most of it was used to set up the events of the final quarter of the book, which then sets up the next book in the series. However, this got old at points and it was a struggle to keep interest in this book for that reason.

This being said, the last quarter of the book was fairly interesting. I think the second book will be more exciting because of how this one ended (no spoilers!). I did become invested in the characters, even the ones that were meant to create tension and turmoil by being bad. The ending brought this book up in rating for me, which I was happy to have happen.

I suggest The Throne of the Five Winds for fans of Epic Fantasy, Asian inspired stories, and George R. R. Martin. Readers should have good patience and interest in chess game style novels. Whereas this book was not always my cup of tea, I would suggest it for those who enjoy the above.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – We Hunt The Flame

Title: We Hunt The Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1)

Author: Hafsah Faizal

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Publication Date: May 14, 2019

472 pages

4/5

Goodreads Synopsis

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. 

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

Review

“If I told you my name, would you bow?” His voice was soft. A melancholy caress. He lifted his chin when understanding dawned on her face. “Or would you flee?” 

Hafsah Faizal, we hunt the flame

Hello book friends! I read We Hunt The Flame while I was laying out on a cruise deck in the Atlantic Ocean – which I have to say really enhances the reading experience! Highly recommend to all you lovelies to take a cruise if your financials allow it! Special shout out to my parents for hooking me and the boyf up.

For this book, I saw it was HIGHLY rated on Bookstagram by reviewers that I admire and generally tend to agree with. They LOVED it and would not stop raving about it. Me? I was less thrilled.

Not to say I did not enjoy this book, I did give it four stars after all. But it draaaagged. Like, the first 150 pages were so slow and full of build up that I found it hard to focus. The book is written from a two person point of view, where the chapters bounce back and forth. I had no issue with this part, but I felt very disconnected from the characters, it was hard to pin down the timeline, and frankly they weren’t with each other so it was pretty confusing.

HOWEVER, the story definitely picked up after the two main characters actually came in contact with each other, Zafira and Nasir. Zafira is a woman who has been portraying a man as “The Hunter” because women are not respected in her territory. She is the one who is able to brave the Arz (magical, evil forest) to bring food and water to her territory. Nasir is the Crown Prince and is also an assassin for his insanely evil and unstable father, the Sultan of the country. These two characters are on a mission that will bring them together, but also tear them apart.

Once these two lovebugs met I started to really enjoy the book more. They have such snarky banter with each other and it’s such a slow burn romance. The side characters are generally interesting, and them working together and feeling each other out made the reading process easier.

We Hunt The Flame had great world building and a few major twists at the end, which rounded it out to a 4/5 stars for me. Would definitely recommend, and I will continue this series when the sequel, We Free The Stars, is released.

Happy reading, friends!