Book Review

Book Review: Not Like the Movies (Waiting for Tom Hanks #2) by Kerry Winfrey

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Kerry Winfrey
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What happens when your life is a rom-com…but you don’t even believe in true love?

Chloe Sanderson is an optimist, and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early onset Alzheimer’s, she’s pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time—or interest—in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that’s about to premiere in theaters across America…and happens to be inspired by Chloe and Nick Velez, Chloe’s cute but no-nonsense boss.

As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man, and now she can’t see him as anything but Reason #2: The Scruffy-Bearded Hunk Who’s Always There When You Need Him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn’t so sure her own story will end in a Happily Ever After. 

IT WAS FINE.

Oh, but I liked Waiting for Tom Hanks more. Even though I was more excited for this release. I love a good side character follow-up in “series”.

It was really hard for me to watch Chloe struggle with all of the weight on her shoulders. Her highly relatable nature to take things solely on her own had me up in frustration, yet completely understanding the choices she continued to make. I felt she had some growth over the novel, but a lot of it felt stuffed right at the end. I just didn’t appreciate the way I felt she toyed with Nick after finally allowing herself to admit her feelings. Emotions got twisted poorly and I could feel my trepidation as the book went on.

Nick, oh, I adored Nick. Would have loved even more Nick. He was a quiet and firm presence in Chloe’s life. Made my heart flutter and feeling all the feels. I loved him so much and thought he was the perfect addition to Chloe’s world. Sometimes you just need someone that gets you. And that’s how both of these characters collided.

This was just missing something for me. There was so much ELSE going on that the romance fell by the wayside. Usually not a big deal, but this book is a romance? Leaving my expectations befuddled. I enjoyed seeing old characters again and getting a form of an extended epilogue for them. Everything did work out in the end, which is expected and appreciated, at least.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; innuendo and suggestive dialogue; a few closed door scenes with some detail leading up
  • Trigger warnings: Chloe takes care of her Father with Alzheimer’s, mentions of past parental abuse (Nick)

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Book Review

Book Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 673 pages
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 28th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

MY FIRST ZAPATA BOOK!

I did it. I read a book by Zapata and my first sports romance!

And I have wide-ranging thoughts on the matter. Namely, mixed, but on the positive side overall.

I have decided I need a lot more sports romances in my life, why did I take so long to read one? I love the aspects added in and I thought it really made the book even better. Aiden was *all the stars*. I adored his character and thought his progression from stoic to, stoic AND tender was fantastic. Seeing him slowly open up to Vanessa, and acknowledging he’s totally smitten with her, had me totally smitten with him. YUP. On the other side of that coin, I struggled with Vanessa. Maybe because it was all from her point of view. I felt there was repetitive nature to her thoughts that got to be a bit much. She may have been a bit aloof, but without the repetitiveness I did like her character progression as well. Aiden and Vanessa did have stellar chemistry, so that was a big bonus.

The last quarter of this book was dynamite. I think because of the speedier nature compared to the rest of it, things moved at the pace I was craving to finally reach. That sealed the deal for me to give it four stars (rather than 3.5). For someone who loves slow-burns, I felt this really toed the too slow line. And the way it jumped from a very mild romance book to WHOA in the final chapter just made me shrug my shoulders.

Lots of good and some eh. I did read (and listen) to this very fast. It truly did keep my attention which is always nice to have. With the length, it does seem long at times, but I was surprised at how little I really noticed. I definitely want to try another Zapata book and see what other romances she has!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary sports romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a detailed almost scene and one very open-door scene
  • Violence: physical, football related injuries
  • Trigger warnings: a physically abusive boyfriend (a side character), mentions of abusive parents and siblings

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Book Review

Book Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult dystopia + romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: October 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

WELL THAT WAS INTERESTING.

What a unique book y’all. And yet…not? I did a buddy read for this book and we both were finding so many tidbits from other books in here that combined to form a whole new novel. It was definitely something different.

I liked how quick it was to read. I would look down and be astonished at how many pages had already flown by. The Grace Year keeps you involved and wanting to know what happens next. I had so many questions throughout it that kept me on my toes. Who was going to die? Why did this happen? Wait, is that what I think it is? Ah, I love a book that makes me question.

This was also a very odd world-system. I would have loved to know if this county’s system was more broad than just this small area, but I was creeped out by the system anyways. Sending the girls off because they have “magic,” was so barbaric I could barely handle it.

One aspect I really didn’t like that caused the 4 star rating was the love story. For someone SO INCREDIBLY ADAMANT they didn’t want to be married or committed in anyway to fall for someone else was a bit unbelievable. The way it was written made it seem like a shorter time period than it really was which also rushed the process. Tierney’s relationship could have used a lot more development, or flat out cutting this piece out.

I liked how everything ended. Michael was a saint and I can’t believe the compassion and forgiveness he had for what Tierney did (which was another piece of the book I didn’t love). Michael did everything for her and I was grateful to see them begin to work things out. I also loved that the usurper was close to home. It made the theme of this book clear, women need to support women and not tear each other down.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: very little detail fade to black scene, some kisses
  • Violence: murder, lightning strikes, punishments in the form of removing fingers/ear/toes/hair, poison, knives

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Book Review

Book Review: The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 308 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: March 24th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

I FEEL LETDOWN.

I’ve been a big fan of Christina Lauren as of late. I haven’t read all of their books, but most of their newer contemporaries. I was excited for this one, but I have been letdown. This was not a gem.

My biggest gripe was that the focus was way too much on Melissa and Rusty. So much so I feel like their arguing and battles between each other completely overshadowed the story about James and Carey. I felt like James and Carey were hardly even there!

The handful of times they were alone, I was loving those snippets. They were cute, I could feel the chemistry and vibe between them, and everything was fine and dandy. With the focus on other things it forced their relationship to appear fast and without much lead up. One scene we’re throwing out a bit of a frenemies vibe. Then we’re having a hot make-out in a pool, then sex, then break-up, then back together. It was disjointed and hardly gave me a chance to appreciate the stellar characters they were.

I really did enjoy Carey and James. I thought Carey was resilient, brilliant, and a genuinely nice person who wanted what was best for others (and sometimes forgot to think of herself). James was trying to overcome a poor situation, clearly handsome, and easy to talk to. They both worked really well together I loved their open and honest conversations.

I’m still here for reading Christina Lauren books. I know not every book by every author will always be a hit. I’m looking forward to what the plan on writing next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few mild detailed love scenes
  • Violence: arguing resulting in items being thrown at another person; an accidental fire
  • Trigger warnings: a cheating spouse

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