Book Review

Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 325 pages
Author: Beth O’Leary
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: April 10th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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. 

CUTE AT TIMES.

I didn’t know how I was going to feel about this book when I first started reading it. I wasn’t immediately drawn in and had a hard time connecting with everything. I think the second half of the book was MUCH better and I was so excited when Tiffy and Leon finally met in person.

This was a charming read. I loved watching Tiffy and Leon’s friendship start over post-it notes. That’s precious. The notes were cute and endearing and I really do think letter writing is its own form of intimacy (especially because nobody does it today). You could easily see the opposite spectrum of personalities they had. Tiffy effervescent and loud. Leon reserved and thoughtful. It was an opposites attract that worked so well.

The main conflict centered around Tiffy’s ex boyfriend, Justin. He angered me to a whole other level and I don’t feel like giving him the time of day in this review. What I did like was the approach that Tiffy’s friends had to help her. It can be hard in many ways to work through an awful situation like that (emotionally abusive) and I love that Tiffy had such a strong support group.

I thought the premise was unique too. I think I would be way too nervous to share a flat with someone I had never met, but I’m really happy it worked out for them. I got some good bubbly feelings from this, but it just didn’t have everything I needed to be a GREAT rom-com.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, some almost love scenes (with mild description) and one fade-to-black love scene
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: abusive relationship (emotional/controlling), PTSD from the relationship

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Book Review

Book Review: New Orleans Rush by Kelly Siskind

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 310 pages
Author: Kelly Siskind
Publisher: Everafter Romance
Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Falling for your surly boss is a rotten idea.
Letting him saw you in half is even worse…

Beatrice Baker may be a struggling artist, but she believes all hardships have silver linings…until she follows her boyfriend to New Orleans and finds him with another woman. Instead of turning those lemons into lemonade, she drinks lemon drop martinis and keys the wrong man’s car.

Now she works for Huxley Marlow of the Marvelous Marlow Boys, getting shoved in boxes as an on-stage magician’s assistant. A cool job for some, but Bea’s been coerced into the role to cover her debt. She also maybe fantasizes about her boss’s adept hands and what else they can do.

She absolutely will not fall for him, or kiss him senseless. Until she does. The scarred, enigmatic Huxley has unwittingly become her muse, unlocking her artistic dry spell, but his vague nightly activities are highly suspect. The last time Beatrice trusted a man, her bank account got drained and she almost got arrested. Surely this can’t end that badly…right?

WHERE CAN I GET A MAGICIAN LIKE HUXLEY?

This quick romantic comedy is a hidden gem in the genre. I absolutely adored this and it took me a day to finish because of it!

Beatrice is effervescent and optimistic about most things in her life. Being betrayed by the men she’s known (including her Father) she ends up in New Orleans, single, without a job or a home. But then she meets…HUXLEY. Oh their chemistry is dynamite y’all. Sparks flying every which way it could light up a night sky.

I couldn’t get enough of their banter and flirtatious moments. It was purely them meeting and getting to know each other that formed their friendship turned romance. I usually prefer a stand-out trope (like enemies to lovers) but this worked in such a magical way I was smitten with them. I love that Huxley took care of Bea and helped her get on her own two feet. Not only that, but Bea helped Huxley see the glass half full rather than empty. These two peas in a pod really completed each other. THEY’RE JUST SO PRECIOUS OKAY? Trust me on this.

Huxley and his brothers, Axel and Fox are also what brother goals are made of. These three had an incredible dynamic too. I love the different personalities and banter that made up their daily conversations. They all kind of grew up (even though everyone is in their late 20s and 30s) as they started to take care of each other. Huxley as big brother never got a chance to take a breath and his brothers (plus Beatrice) helped him step back and enjoy the finer moments of life.

The only reason I took off a half a star was a personal preference. I didn’t love that there was a whole chapter and a half dedicated to the sex scene. It was a bit much and a bit too detailed for me. It’s easily skipped over though so if this also isn’t your scene I promise the rest of the book is gold.

I liked the plot of this as well. It was different than other rom-coms I’ve read before. I felt there was a bit more at stake and it upped the drama overall. It never over took the romance, but wove seamlessly with it.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: kissing, make outs, flirting, innuendo, Chapter 23 & beginning of Chapter 24: detailed love scene; Chapter 30: fade to black with a little detail
  • Violence: physical, being held at gun point
  • Trigger warnings: gambling addiction, gambling in general

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Book Review

Book Review: Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 373 pages
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences. 

THIS ONE TIME AT SUMMER CAMP.

As a parent I read this thinking my child is never going to a sleepaway camp HA. But that was just my musings. This was a pretty good read. Not The Simple Wild caliber, but this is my third Tucker book and I’m definitely hooked on her romances.

I always have a rough time with flashback books. There’s something jarring to me about flipping timelines back and forth a lot. This book used the device fairly well. I didn’t love how many chapters flipped back, yet it was less than it could have been. Kyle and Piper’s insta-summer-romance was actually kinda cute. The only thing? Kyle was a very much stereotypical *bad boy* and I could not even with that. Fauhawk, lip ring, tattoos, his character was trying way too hard at that time. It was fun seeing all the camp had to offer and the growing background story between the two.

Present day was my favorite part. Adult Kyle allllll daaaaaay looooooong. I’m still very much smitten over here. The way he walked back into Piper’s life, forever in love with her? YES PLEASE. I also thought the dynamics behind why he left were much more solid than I’ve seen in other second-chance romances. My general issue is that it’s an obvious communication error. And that drives me up a wall. Kyle’s choices at the time made so much sense and a frightened 17-year old did what he had to for his family and friends. I can roll with it.

I love the swoon worthy romance of it all as Piper and Kyle reconnected. Crossing barriers and letting all the secrets out, oh it was a lot. I love how Tucker conveys emotion into her books and gives us a deeper story. The way the side characters were brought in melted my heart and I was feeling all the emotions right along with them.

I enjoyed Piper as an MC. I thought it was amazing she was an executive at a company (even though she definitely had some daddy issues). Her Dad, Kieran, played a pivotal role that I didn’t even see coming. I liked the conflict resolution between them and how a truthful conversation really turns the tides.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance (second chance trope)
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a handful of romance scenes from second base to all the way; moderately detailed (but easily skipped over)
  • Trigger warnings: cheating spouses, underage drinking (and a physical accident with lifelong medical issues as a result), underage smoking, parents incarcerated, bribing a minor

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Book Review

Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary fiction + romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Abbi Waxman
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

I CAN RELATE.

As an introvert extraordinaire, I could connect to quite a bit of what Nina was feeling throughout this book. That was probably my favorite part. The rest? Not as big of a fan.

I found it hard to read because I didn’t feel like there was an actual plot. Things were happening to Nina, but that was it. Nothing really moved forward. I did see a welcome change in Nina going from inflexible and unwilling to change to someone who was learning to adapt to the craziness of the universe and life in general. I did wholly appreciate this. I liked seeing this character arc.

The romance? Eh. I thought we were getting a cute story, but I felt it was allllll physical. They went on barely a date or two then sleeping together, to breaking up and I just shrugged my shoulders. I never felt an emotional connection to them and it made me not care either way what happened. It then got super cheesy at the end which only made it worse.

I also struggled with the third person point of view. I think I would have liked it more being only in Nina’s mind. The concept change to random characters was annoying and pointless. And there were so many random tangent paragraphs that I found myself often scanning.

This was a lackluster contemporary that I know I have an unpopular opinion about, but hey, can’t love them all.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary fiction + romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses, a few fade to black scenes
  • Trigger warnings: anxiety, loss of a parent

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Book Review

Book Review: Waiting for Tom Hanks (Waiting for Tom Hanks #1) by Kerry Winfrey

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance/Chick-lit
Length: 259 pages
Author: Kerry Winfrey
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?

DID I JUST READ A HALLMARK MOVIE?

Yes, I’m pretty sure I did. This book was everything you expect when you choose to sit and watch a Hallmark movie (which I know we all do sometimes).

This was really cute. I was into the romance between Annie and Drew. They had some great banter and I could feel their chemistry with each other. Things felt like they developed at a good speed (even though it was only over a two week span, remember: Hallmark-esque).

I ordered the side characters. She had a great friend who was truly their for her and helped Annie get out of her shell. Annie’s Uncle Don was fun too. He showed a lot of unconditional love and had some tender moments. They were both sweet and had enough pages in the story for me to feel connected with them too.

As someone who hasn’t seen any Tom Hanks rom-coms (don’t @ me), this was a bit heavy in the analogies to these movies. IT WOULDN’T END. I got tired of the crazy repetitiveness of her talking about romantic comedies. I get it, Annie is obsessed. This influenced her ideas and decisions so much that I would get frustrated that she couldn’t see past her rose-colored glasses. There were waaaay too many metaphors.

This is quick and charming. That’s its best feature. If you’re looking for something that has some witty banter and a cleaner romance this would be a good pick. I wish it was a bit longer so we got some more depth from the characters, but it’s fine! This was still a nice read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: some kisses, one love scene that has no details (literally says: “we had great sex last night” but that’s it for details – it’s very clean for a romance)
  • Trigger warnings: discussion of death of parents

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Book Review

Book Review: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Length: 432 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

HEART-WRENCHING.

I liked this book, but it was not my favorite by Christina Lauren.

This was so quick to fly through. I really enjoy love stories that flip back and forth in time. The hype and anticipation that builds waiting to find out what really happened that one night that ruined it all. YES. It makes the book fly by and this was no different.

Even as soon as Elliot and Macy saw each other it was like whoa, that’s my lobster (Friends fans anyone?). The fact that they both immediately realized their attraction and childhood love was still there ripped my heart out. WHY DID YOU LEAVE FOR 11 YEARS. Seriously, all of the emotions.

These characters were flawed and layered in so many ways. It made this romance stand out and brought the entire story to life. I thought Elliot and Macy were well thought out, and even the side characters added just the right touch.

The reason for their initial issues was a little eh. I didn’t love it and it kind of made me mad because it was a bit cliche. I’m glad they were actually able to communicate (FINALLY) and solve the issues from that night. So many things went wrong and it pulled at all of the heart strings watching young love be dashed.

I looooove Elliot. He was so sweet. He refused to give up on his first love and I’m impressed he held out this long to only be waiting for maybe a chance moment of running into Macy. He was continually thoughtful and endearing and I couldn’t get enough of him.

This book had a bit too much casual discussions of sex, and descriptions of sex for me. It’s a total personal opinion so don’t be deterred if you don’t mind this level of detail! I know we all have our own comfort level.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, mentions of masturbation, casual sex, some detailed love scenes
  • Trigger warnings: loss of a loved one

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