Book Review

Book Review: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: May 18th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents–who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno–Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess–who is barely making ends meet–is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist–and the science behind a soulmate–than she thought.

Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.

A NEW FAV.

My love of CL books goes up and down. But I can easily say this is one of my top favorites of their books. I adored this one y’all. So if you’ve been hesitant too, I think this one is worth checking out.

I love the unique plot. I honestly don’t know how believable it is (genetics/romance/etc.) but that didn’t bother me one bit. I thought it would actually be pretty cool if something like the DNADuo was available. It was incredibly nerdy listening to Jess and River discuss statistics and genetics and I loved it. As someone who is allergic to math, I didn’t quite follow everything, but that doesn’t take away from the story.

River was such a cinnamon roll!! Oh goodness, just the sweetest. I love the dates he and Jess went on and the clear chemistry between them. Then his relationship with Jess’s daughter, Juno, was ADORABLE. I love a great single parent story and this one is it. I also thought Jess’s friendship with Fizzy was perfect. They were truly best friends and I couldn’t get enough of the support that went both ways between them. Fizzy was hilarious and brought such a great vibe to the book.

One aspect in most romances is that final conflict, which can bust a book or make a book. You can kind of assume what’s going to happen in this story, and even when it did I wanted to keep reading because I still HAD TO KNOW what was going to happen next. I thought the drama was a nice touch and that there was an honest conversation and acknowledgement of wrong doing in the end. I love how Jess and River came back together for their relationship, regardless of what had happened.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open and closed door scenes (brief, this is a lower steam CL book)
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a loved one with a substance abuse problem

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Book Review

Book Review: Shipped by Angie Hockman

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Angie Hockman
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: January 19th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.

The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.

Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.

With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?

WHERE’S MY CRUISE?

Mostly because I read this book in winter, am I desperately wanting to find myself a cruise ship. Wow did this make me want to travel (which is definitely a bonus point for it).

Shipped was a good, quick read. I didn’t find myself falling in love with it ever. Every time it got close to that level, something would drag me back down. Hard to nail it exactly, things were just missing to make it a complete romance for me.

I liked Henley. She was intelligent, a bit of a workaholic, and had a lot of space to grow. By the end I appreciated her arc and thought it was empowering. Henley found the support of her friends and the strength within herself to make some big decisions that ultimately helped her find her true career passion.

Graeme was adorable. From the first page he popped up on I liked him. I thought there would have been more banter and angst between Graeme and Henley. It was a letdown to see how quickly they became an item honestly. I wanted some more push and pull.

The Author’s Note and the general theme of the book being in the Galapagos Islands was fantastic. It encouraged me to research eco-tourism and want to plan my own supportive trips. This was a bit of romance and larger plots that bounced off of each other well enough.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to closed door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: side character in a domestic abuse situation

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Book Review

Book Review: The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction
Length: 400 pages
Author: Kristin Harmel
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: July 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice Network, The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.

EMOTIONS.

I had a lot of up and down with this one, but by the end I was really invested in getting some kind of ending I could be satisfied with. And even though it took awhile, I loved the way this ended which solidified a great book for me.

One of the things I struggled with was Eva’s Mother. I could understand the grief and despair she was feeling, but kept being angered at how much she taking out on Eva. There was never a chance for them to truly reconcile and it hurt my soul watching the relationship slowly deteriorate because of atrocities outside of their control.

World War II historical fiction is common in the genre. While sometimes I find the stories repetitive, I thought this one took on new aspects. I liked the focus on the children and of a Jewish woman working to forge papers to help those around her. Not to mention the romance sub-plot thrown in was SO SWEET. I mean, definitely tore my heart out, but also the development was spot on. The action and movement kept me interested and I enjoyed reading this as an audio book. Even when you could kind of see things coming, the whole of the plot still took me by surprise.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction [WW2]
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, one little detailed open scene
  • Violence:
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, depictions of World War 2, suicide (a small paragraph with depiction of method)

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: To Sir, With Love by Lauren Layne

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 288 pages
Author: Lauren Layne
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: June 29th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Love Is Blind meets You’ve Got Mail in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy following two thirty-somethings who meet on a blind dating app—only to realize that their online chemistry is nothing compared to their offline rivalry.

Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

HOW ADORABLE.

Ahhhhh so happy I got an ARC of this one because Y’ALL.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

Okay, first I need to preface this by saying, I have NOT seen You’ve Got Mail. I will in no way be able to convey if it’s like it or not (the summary says it is). So with that skeleton thrown out of my closet, lets get into the review!

I couldn’t get enough of this couple. Gracie and Sebastian play a perfectly sweet sunshine/grump + hidden identities (a FAV) scenario that had me grinning from ear to ear. All of their interactions were spot on and they were easy to fall in love with. The whole cast was easy to fall in love with for that matter.

This seemed to play on a little bit of an insta-love, but in a realistic style. I had no issues with the progression and timeline. Everything felt so natural that Sebastian and Gracie would fall in love. If anything I would have loved even more page time with them. I love how sweet they were on each other without even trying. Gosh the chemistry was fantastic.

Aaaand the family dynamics!! This had some of the best sibling relationships I’ve read about in a long time. They were all so kind!! And supportive!! And there for each other!! Ahhhh, I loved it. It was so meaningful to see these connections along side the romantic one. Graice had a lot of solid friendships as well. I really think all of these other people in Gracie’s life made this book sing. Nothing felt lacking even with the romance at the forefront.

There was so much to this story (and for under 300 pages I am wowza impressed). I found myself absolutely invested in that final movie ending moment and how CUTE. Just gave me all of the giddy, sunshiney feelings.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of parents (happened prior to timeline in book), a side couple struggles with infertility

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