Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: April 2020

Y’all. This month started out so great, then I got really sick for a few weeks (NOT COVID, don’t worry y’all) and the last half just plummeted. I’m not in an awful book slump where I can’t even get myself to read a few pages a day.

I know its not a huge ordeal to stop reading for a bit, and this too shall pass, but it’s still weird not reading so many books. I’m focusing solely on the ARCs I’ve already received and titles that I’ve already pre-ordered so I can try to at least keep up with those.

I dd manage 17 books in the first chunk of April, and some good titles at that!

My favorites this month were: King of the South, Dark Skies, Voyager, Elantris and a A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.

My least favorites were: The Kingdom of Back, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird and The Honey-Don’t List.

  • King of the South (Belgrave Dynasty #1) by Calia Reed – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) by Danielle L. Jensen – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn – (☆☆☆)
  • Elantris (Elantris #1) by Brandon Sanderson – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu – (☆☆☆)
  • Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co. #5) by Jonathan Stroud – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) by Holly Jackson – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver – (☆☆☆)
  • Moment of Truth by Kasie West – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1) by Sarah Morgenthaler – (☆☆☆☆)
  • You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle – (☆☆☆)

There we have it! My reads for April. Were any of these books you read too? See some favorites? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Expected Release Date: October 22nd 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment Weekly) My Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it…

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

Thank you to Gallery Books and Goodreads for the ARC. This was my first ever Goodreads win! All opinions are my own.

YES, I READ THIS IN ONE SITTING.

Why you ask? Because Christina Lauren can do that to me.

I thought this was a great read, not my favorite by them, but still a solid quick book.

I liked most of the story line. The first love romance that happens on vacation and then is dramatically cut short and they are apart for years. The insta-young love happening here actually worked out well for me in this context. I am wary of second-chance romance stories and loved how this one was done.

What I didn’t love was the movie that Tate was filming during the second half of this book. It was fine and dandy and everything, but was taking up a lot of space in the story. Reading lines, doing scenes, etc. It made that feel like it was almost more important than Sam and Tate’s story. It also took away from Sam’s background. I never got to know much about him and wanted to connect deeper with his character.

Sam was precious though. I really did enjoy them re-connecting. They actually tried to communicate with each other and Tate had a chance to learn what actually happened between them. The very ending was the perfect Hallmark movie moment that I was SO HERE FOR. It was tender and sweet. Exactly how I expect and want CL books to end. HAPPY ENDINGS ALWAYS.

Leading up to the ending was a bit abrupt and rushed. I think there were a lot of unresolved Daddy issues that were NEVER resolved. Tate, for whatever reason, didn’t call out her Dad or stand up to him when she had multiple chances to do so. It left this line open ended, and trust me, her Dad deserved it. UGH.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: strong language throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a handful of detailed love scenes (I didn’t find them as vulgar as I’ve seen before, but they are definitely adult scenes)
  • Trigger warnings: cheating spouse

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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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Book Review

Book Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆   
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 432 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: May 14th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

THIS DUO DOES IT AGAIN.

I finished this book IN HOURS. That’s how much I loved it. Oh it was so cute y’all.

There were moments where I actually found myself laughing out loud at the antics that Olive would find herself in. The poor girl is always the unlucky twin and her stories show. But, over the course of this book she had a lot of growth as she realized she also possessed the power to change her course and not always assume she would draw the short straw.

Ethan was precious. I loved all of his interactions (and that massage scene you guys!! – the angst was real throughout this entire book) He and Olive made this amazing pair. This book could have been even longer and I wouldn’t have complained one bit. This is less enemies-to-lovers than it appears though. The whole reason she has an issue with him is a misunderstanding. Goes to show, communication is key.

I had heard that this one was less steamy than their other novels. I found it to be a perfect amount. I personally don’t love when the books feels like only sex, so by dialing this down I got a lot of great banter, sweet-heart moments and more plot.

I struggled with Ami because I felt she should have trusted her twin more (and Dane is seriously, the worst). Their plot line only really added to the conflict between Olive & Ethan.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses, a little-detailed love scene, a few more that are mostly fade to black
  • Trigger warning: cheating spouses

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