Book Review

Book Review: The Extra (The Extra #1) by Megan Walker and Janci Patterson

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 265 pages
Author: Megan Walker and Janci Patterson
Publisher: Garden Ninja Books
Release Date: April 6th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Gabby Mays wishes she had her future figured out, like her gorgeous roommate Anna-Marie, who has just landed a role on the hit soap opera Passion Medical. Gabby would give anything to find a career she’s half as passionate about as Anna-Marie is about acting—and a love life that isn’t comprised of nights with a party-sized bag of Doritos and her Netflix account.

When Gabby becomes a recurring extra on Passion Medical, she finds a job she’s surprisingly great at. Even better, her old crush and ex-boss—the sexy, sweet Will Bowen—is writing the scripts, allowing Gabby lots of quality flirting time at the craft services table.

But between feuding divas, fake Emmys, and Gabby’s growing concern that Will might not see her as anything more than a friend, her life on set is quickly becoming a drama worthy of the soaps.

Thank you to the author, Megan Walker, for a copy in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

ENTERTAINING.

I had a good time with this one! I didn’t know much going in but found myself easily drawn in to the writing style and the story at large.

Gabby was a well thought out main character. She had a lot of struggles and over a small amount of pages really showed some growth. I liked that she started to take charge of her life and didn’t rush into what she wanted to do. It’s so hard to pick out what you want to do with your life (hello, I still have no idea) that I felt and have thought the same things Gabby has.

The romance was sweet! It didn’t take up as much page time as I thought it would (or hoped), but it’s cute nature easily charmed me. The emotional cheating aspect was one of the harder things to read. I did like the way the authors addressed this though and thought it was handled much better than I’ve seen in other books (where it’s not even addressed at all, it is a form of cheating!).

You have to lean into the drama in The Extra. Knowing the synopsis and the general idea of the book helped me know it was going to be a bit dramatic, and I ended up really loving the flair of it all. Yes, a bit over the top, yet was the right kind of quirk this story needed. The soap opera plot line was humorous and totally ridiculous, and I was all in for it.

I’m curious about the other books in this series and look forward to checking those out some time!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a lot of mentions of off-screen sex
  • Trigger/Content warnings: divorce, emotional cheating, physical cheating, bullying, a loved one with a drug addiction

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Book Review

Book Review: 180 Seconds by Jessica Park

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: New adult contemporary romance
Length: 300 pages
Author: Jessica Park
Publisher: Skyscape
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.

OH MY HEART.

Reading this book constantly made me think, this book is going to destroy me, boy was I right. Staying up way too late to finish this was necessary because I NEEDED a happy ending.

I absolutely loved that this book was about a relationship and not as you see typically a book where the characters are moving towards a relationship. Esben and Allison get together pretty quickly into the book and the emotion and moments created behind this made it feel like so much more than insta-love. I felt the connection between them too during their 180 seconds.

Esben is a new book boyfriend. What a man y’all. I loved how passionate and caring he was. Yet alluring and handsome. Could joke and be serious and really kept his priorities in check. The way he treated Allison made me absolutely melt.

Now Simon. WHAT A DAD. If I thought about crying at any point, it was the moments where Allison really let Simon be her Dad. I can only imagine how hard adopting an older girl out of foster care would be and the way that Simon loved Allison made my heart burst. He is one of the BEST book Dads I have ever read.

Allison was an amazing MC. You really saw her character grow and grasp onto the concept of being brave. She slowly learned to let others in while taking her walls down. Even fully understanding that she does have people in her life that will love her always. Allison showed strength and raw humanity dealing with the trials before her.

The reason I took of 1/2 star was because towards the end I felt like a lot of the social media interactions really felt far-fetched and a bit unbelievable. They leaned towards being there purely to push the plot along because otherwise there wasn’t an option. I understood the dynamic, but thought it a bit ridiculous at times.

This is my second Park book, and based on the raving review I gave the last one (Flat-Out Love, pre-blog/Goodreads days) I can’t wait to read more of her titles!

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, a spectrum (this phrasing was used in the novel) of moments from kisses to a sex scene, a few love scenes; all little to mild detailed with fade to black, nothing fully explicit
  • Trigger warnings: high levels of anxiety, Ch. 19 – a main character describes finding a sibling after being sexually assaulted/raped (somewhat detailed)

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Book Review

Book Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: New adult contemporary romance
Length: 306 pages
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: March 10th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Auburn Reed is determined to rebuild her shattered life and she has no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to become deeply attracted to the studio’s enigmatic artist, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is hiding a huge secret. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything Auburn loves most, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it—but can she do it?

COHO FOREVER.

I can’t think of a book by Colleen Hoover that doesn’t leave me emotionally distraught but also handing out 5 stars like it’s a meteor shower. I LOVE HER BOOKS. This a back list title of hers I happened to see at a used bookstore and I snatched it so fast and read it even quicker.

The way this romance is written in short time period, and yet feels like the best slow burn makes this book. I love being taken on a journey with these characters and feeling the intensity of their choices and situations.

I can never imagine how more tragic these stories can get until it happens. And yet, it never feels dramatic. There’s such a sense of real life and knowing these characters that make me love this story. Everything feels authentic and honest and I mesmerizingly read this in one sitting because I needed Auburn to have a happy ending at last.

Owen is another enigmatic and swoon worthy romantic interest. He’s filled with such longing for his own happy ending and struggling to cope with his own past. Auburn was intensely brave and an incredibly strong woman. Their connection and drive on their own was amazing, put them together and it’s dynamite.

I feel like I’m struggling to put this review into something fully legible. I JUST LOVE COHO BOOKS. The power and rawness of each story captures me and forces me to think. The ability to create these situations and not make it feel cheesy is the reason I love to read her books. This was another winner.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: throughout
  • Romance: a mildly detailed scene, a FTB scene
  • Violence: discussion of car wreck
  • Trigger warnings: arrest for possession, pain pill addiction, an abusive relationship (physical, emotional, manipulative and sexual), attempted sexual assault

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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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