Book Review – Beach Read

“Here’s the thing about writing Happily Ever Afters: it helps if you believe in them.” 

Title: Beach Read

Author: Emily Henry

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: May 19th, 2020

361 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Review

“He fit so perfectly in the love story I’d imagined for myself that I mistook him for the love of my life.”

emily henry, beach read

I am obsessed with this book. Beach Read is the adult romance novel that you need in your life. January is going through a lot right now, her father just died, she learned he had a mistress for a very long time, and she just inherited their love nest. She also was dumped, lost her home, and has writer’s block – which doesn’t help matters as her next draft is due by the end of the summer. She moves into her father’s old house, and is shocked to find her arch rival from college is her neighbor. Augustus ‘Gus’ Everett is also an author, also having writer’s block. However, the two couldn’t author different genres if they tried. They team up to try & bust their writer’s block by writing each other’s chosen genres – and spend a LOT of time together as a result…

As much as this title would lead you to believe otherwise, this book is not entirely lighthearted. There are some serious topics tackled and discussed, but it is still an amazing romantic comedy. Janaury and Gus’ chemistry just leaps off the page, and they are both very funny and endearing. They communicate with each other via messages written on notepads and held up in mirrors ala Taylor Swift in the You Belong with Me video – which is completely heartwarming. And don’t get me started on the Gus in the tent scene…

The middle portion of this book has a slower pace which causes it to drag a bit. And I feel like there could’ve been more time spent wrapping up the bet they made – it could’ve just been longer and more detailed and I would’ve loved that.

I finished this book weeks ago and I still think about it pretty regularly – which I always find to be a great sign about how good a book is. It is definitely one I will reread in the future when I need to read an amazing book.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Well Met

“Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.”

Title: Well Met (Well Met #1)

Author: Jen DeLuca

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019

336 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

Review

I didn’t choose the wench life. The wench life chose me.

jen deluca, well met

Y’all I am TRASH for this book and that’s not even an exaggeration. It has legit everything I love in life… hate to love romance, Renaissance Faires, and sassy & witty characters. I AM obsessed and I was SO HAPPY to learn there were going to be two companion novels!! I need them in my life!!

First off, Emily gets roped off into helping with her niece’s school Renaissance Faire because her sister was in a horrible car accident and needed to be taken care of. Emily dropped everything (not that there was much to drop) and rushed to live with her. What she didn’t bargain for was the uptight, stickler English teacher in charge of running the Faire. Simon thinks Emily doesn’t care about Faire, and isn’t motivated to be there or make it successful. Emily thinks Simon is too strict and close-minded. They argue in every conversation…. but why can’t they stop thinking about each other??

Again, I. AM. OBSESSED. I was sold on Simon and Emily early on, because they were so good for each other. At any given point of the book, they were exactly what the other person needed. And that growth! Simon and Emily had such character and personal growth during Well Met that it blew my mind. They really were at pivotal points in their life and needed each other to make decisions and get through hurdles!

And don’t get me started on sexy, pirate captain Simon. HE is the show stopper, crowd pleasing, FANTASTIC man every woman needs in life. He made me actually swoon during this book, because you just knew it was the real Simon, not just the Simon everyone expected him to be. My cinnamon roll was able to open up and be his real damn self while playing a character and THE. FLIRTING.

Can y’all see how obsessed I am? Can you tell from this rambling review that barely has sentence structure or even makes sense? I HOPE SO!! Because I will be over here in my corner shipping them forever and ever and counting down the days until Well Played is in my hands.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

“She enjoyed people—she really did—she just needed to take them in homeopathic doses; a little of the poison was the cure.” 

Title: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Author: Abbi Waxman

Publisher: Berkley

Publication date: July 9th, 2019

351 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book. 

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.) 
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee). 
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page. 

Review

Being with you is as good as being alone.

abbi waxman, the bookish life of nina hill

Nina works in a bookstore. She has her routine and her planners, and doesn’t accept the unplanned or unpredictable. She loves her friends and trivia night, but isn’t great with exercise or eating normal meals. Her whole life is turned upside down when her unknown father ends up dead but she is listed in the will. She finds herself with several siblings, nieces/nephews, cousins, grandnieces and nephews, etc. It’s very overwhelming for her. Also, her bookstore can’t pay the rent and she may be falling in love with her trivia rival. Basically her life is crumbling into the unpredictable, and what is a rigid and routine loving girl to do?!

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is delightfully funny and sweet. Abbi Waxman has a way of writing that invokes deep emotion while being laugh out loud funny. Her writing style felt real and genuine, and the personality she gave the characters was second to none. There were times when you got the POV of both within the same character through thoughts they were both having about what was transpiring and it was so well done. I love when romance novels have more than one POV because I also want to read about the man falling in love with the woman.

I love how the story line with her long lost family played out, and how she went through this journey mostly by herself, mostly successfully. Her life flipped around a lot during the story but she was able to learn from the experience and be more open to life than she had been. She also has a remarkable number of friends for someone who says she doesn’t like people. She seems to make friends with everyone she meets.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. Abbi Waxman was able to create a story that was gripping and very funny. Go check it out!

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!