Book Review

Book Review: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: December 4th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

AMUSING.

What a quick, cute, simple read. I’ve had this one sitting on my TBR stack for awhile and in interest of clearing out some of those books picked up an audio version from my library to read it (which I highly recommend, I enjoyed the audio book!).

One of the things I loved was that there was a guy’s perspective in this book. We got to see the story from Reid’s point-of-view and I felt that help me understand him and Millie more. Millie’s group of friends were funny, a bit ridiculous, and caring all rolled together. I laughed at their text/IM interactions and the amusing charade of everyone using a dating site together.

I didn’t know how I was going to feel about Half-Night Stand starting off with a half-night. I’m not a fan of too steamy books and these scenes were definitely a bit much for me. While that bothered me a bit, it didn’t take away from the story and especially the clear chemistry between Reid and Millie. I actually really liked this friends to lovers trope and how the catfishing issue worked out too. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’m not a fan of lying online like that (who is?), but I thought it allowed for some great character development in Millie. She went to him, honestly apologized, and was able to have a constructive conversation about her inability to let other people in. It made me appreciate her character all the more.

The setting was perfect. I love the idea of professor friends hanging out and the older ages of the group (late 20’s, early 30’s). All-in-all this was a great Christina Lauren pick and I’m enjoying slowly going through their backlist, while keeping up with their new releases.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs; three very detailed/explicit love scenes
  • Trigger warnings: loss of a parent at a young age, coping with a parent with dementia

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Book Review

Book Review: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Rating: ☆☆☆ 
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen — especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

HMM.

I’ve had a lot of friends read this. And I have heard literally every review under the sun. All things from 1 star rants to 5 star raves. I have decided that I’m smack in the middle. There was some parts I did like (hint: Josh) and some parts I didn’t like (hint: Kristen).

Good stuff first, JOSH. Dude, this guy put up with so much crap throughout this entire book and I feels deserves more praise. He was sweet, funny, attractive and the kind of guy I would enjoy being around. The only thing that happened that I didn’t love was his drunk confession of love. I personally just don’t like those scenes.

Bad stuff next, Kristen. I was really hoping to see a bigger character arc from her. I knew the main subject of the book was infertility and the struggles Kristen was going through involving that. Her despair was palpable and I truly felt for her (and those) in that situation. I thought I would see her come to a better understanding of herself and knowing she is more than whether or not she can have a child. There was no change until the last page of the epilogue where I finally felt she was at peace. I wish this had come sooner. Her sarcasm and wit were on fire and she had me laughing at some point. Yet, Kristen’s CONTINUAL pushing away of Josh instead of just LISTENING for a minute almost annoyed me.

The romance was good. I liked the build up. The only thing that bothered me was the emotional cheating. I know some people don’t consider this cheating, personally I do. After that point I loved watching the banter and heat between Kristen and Josh.

I was emotionally attached to some parts of the book involving Kristen and Josh. I was HIGHLY involved emotionally in Sloan and Brandon’s story. I’m still a bit shaken up over it because I was blind-sided by that whole bit. Makes me curious where Jimenez’s next book will take us (I’ve heard good things about it too!).

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: A LOT of strong language
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, two love scenes that were too descriptive for me personally (on the very explicit spectrum)
  • Violence: car accidents, discussion of a firefighters life
  • Trigger warnings: infertility

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Book Review

Book Review: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary fiction + romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: March 24th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A year after getting divorced, Helen Carpenter, thirty-two, lets her annoying, ten years younger brother talk her into signing up for a wilderness survival course. It’s supposed to be a chance for her to pull herself together again, but when she discovers that her brother’s even-more-annoying best friend is also coming on the trip, she can’t imagine how it will be anything other than a disaster. Thus begins the strangest adventure of Helen’s well-behaved life: three weeks in the remotest wilderness of a mountain range in Wyoming where she will survive mosquito infestations, a surprise summer blizzard, and a group of sorority girls.

Yet, despite everything, the vast wilderness has a way of making Helen’s own little life seem bigger, too. And, somehow the people who annoy her the most start teaching her the very things she needs to learn. Like how to stand up for herself. And how being scared can make you brave. And how sometimes you just have to get really, really lost before you can even have a hope of being found.

TIME FOR MY OWN HIKING ADVENTURE.

Picked this audio book up on a whim because bookstagram made me do it. I feel when this happens it has really helped me get to read books I normally wouldn’t have scene or had a chance to read. Yay for a backlist winner!

Audio notes: I enjoyed the audio! I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite narrator, but I didn’t mine the way the book was read and was able to listen at an increased speed with no issues.

Back to the book, oh this one hits all the feels. Not only is this a romance, but it’s also about facing trials. Having to conquer some crappy situations, grow from them and letting them go. I liked seeing the inner struggles and the true human sentiments of these difficulties. I felt connected to the main characters, Helen and Jack, and really understood their turmoil. Neither were perfect protagonists and that made this all the better of a book.

The romance was a bit different than usual couples I read about, but the way this was written had me shouting in my head to get together. Why is it different? There’s a 10 year age difference. I don’t have an issue with that, it’s just new to me in books I’ve read! The approach and slow-burn between them was dynamite. This isn’t a super steamy read because the focus is on other matters. Jack and Helen both helped each other through their issues and I was ecstatic to get my happyily ever after.

This definitely reminded me of Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It was a fictional version of that type of adventure novel. How the outdoors awakens an inner part of us. This type of book always makes me want to go on my own kind of wilderness trip to see what things I’d learn.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary fiction + romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: some kisses and make-outs
  • Violence: falling on a broken log
  • Trigger warnings: a few mentions of a past miscarriage (and a small description of the day she lost the baby), loss of a sibling, attempted suicide

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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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