Beach Read by Emily Henry | ARC Review

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A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Date of Publication: May 19, 2020

Date Read: April 05, 2020

Publisher: Berkley Publishing

No. of Pages: 384

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Setting: North Bears Shore, Michigan

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon | Book Depository| Book Of The Month

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A new favorite romance for 2020!

Long time no review! I haven’t been giving full reviews since the year started, but this book deserves a full one! Beach Read is now included in my favorite books list. Best believe this will be one of the books that will come up on one of our conversations. Beach Read is so much more than what its gorgeous cover lets on. It is just everything I wanted in a book: 1) book about writers ; ) playful and funny banters; 3) characters that are relatable and realistic  (not the God-like, drop-dead gorgeous with ripped abs characters often described in romance books); 4) great family dynamic; 5) depth and character development and 6) lastly amazing plot line.

This book isn’t just your ordinary summer read. While it has the quality of a feel good book (something we desperately need during this uncertain time) it also gives off maturity and depth, focusing on dealing with grief and coming to terms with it while also discovering one’s self in the process. Beach Read offers its readers an escape from their own heads while imparting a lesson or two. I love that in a book, the way that it is not just a book but a depiction, an understanding, a realization. It deals with different kinds of grief but contain universal pain. I love how a book speaks in volumes.

January Andrews and Augustus Everett (gossssh I love their names!!!) are characters I have been longing to read for quite sometime. Who would pass up on a story about a romance writer and a literary fiction author? The premise alone holds so much promise and it definitely held up its part of the bargain, definitely exceeded my expectations.. January and Augustus have solid characteristics with amazing character development. Their characters represent two kinds of different people, one with a happier outlook and the other with seriousness, bleakness and some sense of intensity – looking at the world not with pessimism but with realistic eyes. I loved how their characters compliment each other and how their deal came about, how they each learn the value of the other’s work.

I loved how this book highlighted the notions on women’s fiction and how it should be valued just as much as any kind of literature. Oh gosh I love their rom-com trips, my fave was the drive-in, I am such a sucker for that! The author was able to highlight so much about the process of writing (makes me want to write my own book haha). Augustus and January’s banters and palpable sexual tension gave this book so much color. I laughed on more than one occasion. I love how easy their conversations are and how it doesn’t feel forced. Beach Read is the kind of book that really was able to sell the relationship of the characters, they are easily lovable and you just can’t help but root for them. The slow burn romance was played out well. While there are times that I would like Augustus and January’s relationship to move on to the next level and a few times got frustrated by their “almosts”, like I just want them to make out already  and be a happy happy couple haha. But when everything unfolded and ran its course, it was just perfect and definitely worth the wait. The romance was just made right, and that’s what I love most about it.

I can confidently say that Beach Read will be loved by many. It’s fun, sweet, tug at your heartstrings, with relatable characters and have an awesome setting. Honestly, what’s not to love?

 

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Falling’s the part that takes your breath away. It’s the part when you can’t believe the person standing in front of you both exists and happened to wander into your path. It’s supposed to make you feel lucky to be alive, exactly when and where you are.

— Emily Henry; Beach Read

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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman | ARC Review

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The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Date of Publication: July 09, 2019

Date Read: June 27, 2019

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Number of Pages: 352 pages

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Setting: Los Angeles, California

Get your copy here: Amazon

Source: Berkley Publishing sent me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Cute, nerdy, fluffy and feel good book! Every reader would find Nina Hill their spirit animal! Loved this one to bits!

I can’t wait for everyone to read The Bookish Life of Nina Hill! It was the ray of sunshine on a gloomy day, or that warm blanket on a cold night, or the cooler side of the pillow, or just your favorite comfort food at the end of a depressing day. It was just too cute, unabashedly nerdy and relatable to fault! Aren’t we all a little Nina Hill one way or another?

We follow the life of Nina Hill and how it suddenly turned upside down overnight. How her little world was not so little after all upon finding out about her new and utterly big family. Have I told you how much I love everything about this book?  From Nina being bookish, her working in a bookstore, trivia teams, a hint of family drama and a cute romance to tie everything, I mean what is not to love? I love that this book is light and feel good, definitely the book you’ll need to cheer you up! Those books are hard to come by these days, so whenever you chance upon one, you’ll treasure it like no other, much like how I treasure The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. And would you look at that awesome cover? Nothing I quite gravitates towards more than a yellow and sky blue cover. I reckon now that books with yellow covers are definitely good reads, fight me on this one (oh wait I just remembered one particular yellow book with such a very boring story, but that is for some other time). Haha

I know I always say this, but ever since I have read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine I tend to look for it in some books I read. And it so happened that The Bookish Life of Nina Hill had a minor resemblance to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. And what a delight it was for me! Let’s just say The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is the subtler, funnier, lighter version of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and it was just amazing. The one about their mothers stopped me in my tracks really, I really thought they have the same fate. That’s why I really loved The Bookish Life of Nina Hill it had everything I wanted in a good read. To those who haven’t read both books you are in for a huge treat!

Seriously, a book about a bookworm? That is a no brainer for me! I would read that in a heartbeat. I’m so glad this book existed, it was all my nerdy dream! I could relate to Nina Hill more than I could admit myself. Nina Hill with a schedule she follows quite religiously, Nina Hill who’d rather read than go out on a Friday night. Nina Hill who enjoys the company of few select people. Nina Hill who has three bookshelves filled with books she loved. Sounds very much like me. I love how it accurately describes a bookworm. I love the other characters as well, I love how each of them resembles Nina, from her father down to her niece. It’s like Nina is an amalgamation of all of her relatives – each having a unique connection with her. Making Nina feel a certain sense of belongingness, though she didn’t want it a first. And of course let’s not forget about Tom here, Tom and Nina’s romance was played out really well, it wasn’t the main focus of the book but it definitely made the whole story even better. I love how cute it was!

This book had the perfect humor, more often than not I catch myself laughing way more than necessary. It is the perfect rom com! It will give you that perfect rom-com vibes – the feel good type. One you’ll still think about for days on end. One you fall back into over and over. This is that book for me. And while true, this book is funny, humorous and light it also presented serious matters, one that I completely appreciated. It has depth and maturity. The writing style was brilliant, engaging and full of wits and humor. Charming and captivating, it was so likable without even trying so hard! Now this is the first book I have read by Abbi Waxman, and it sure isn’t the last one. I now have a new go-to author whenever I need a pick-me upper! It left me with a big smile on my face!

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“If you’re not scared, you’re not brave.” 
― Abbi Waxman, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren | ARC Review

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Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, 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.

Date of Publication: May 14, 2019

Date Read: May 11, 2019

No. of Pages:432 pages

Setting: Maui, Hawaii

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon | Book Depository

 

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Reading this book felt like a wonderful vacation!

First of all let’s just give a moment of silence to appreciate the beauty of this cover! Nothing screams like the perfect summer read than The Unhoneymooners!

The Unhoneymooners is one of the best romcom books I’ve read! It deserves all the hype it is getting. The duo Christina Lauren never disappoints! It has everything I want in a book – haters to lovers trope, palpable sexual tension, laugh out loud conversations and so much more. I could go on forever. This book is the perfect escape, it makes you want to pack all your bags and book a trip to Maui, Hawaii.

We have Olive Torres who went to the honeymoon in her sister’s stead with no less than her archnemesis – Ethan Thomas, who happened to be the best man at her twin sister’s wedding. It sure is a great premise and what is even greater was it was executed well. This book is such a pure delight to read, not only it has moments that would make you snort the loudest in public but also it has depth too. I love that the characters are very distinct. The authors had the power to write characters that feels like someone you actually know, making the reading experience more worthwhile. And that is what I love about their books, the main characters like Olive (or Hazel from Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating) are so distinct, not the generic type one encounters all the time in romance books. You can very well tell them apart, and they give out certain impacts making you remember each story fondly. I really commend the character development, it was something out of the ordinary. Can I just also say how much I love the family dynamics here! Kind of reminded me of my family too!

The Unhoneymooners is quite addictive, just impossible to put it down. And did I mention I love the humor in this one? It was so beautifully crafted, reading it felt like a true vacation. What I also love about this book is that conflict towards the end, how you thought everything is as smooth-sailing as one it implies it to be, then bam! Loved that it wasn’t just some shallow conflict just for shock value, it was what the book needed to give more texture to it and to make it everything but cliche. By the end my cheeks hurt from smiling a little too much. Gahhhh I just love Olive and Ethan okay?? If you are looking for a fun and light read make it your life’s mission to read this one and all other books by these amazing authors!

 

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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang |Book Review

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Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

Date Published: May 07, 2019

Date Read: May 08, 2019

Publisher: Berkley

Setting: San Francisco, California

No. of Pages: 320

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Get Your Copy Here: Book of The Month | Amazon |

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Now I am conflicted which book I love more – The Kiss Quotient or The Bride Test. Both books are sexy, sweet with a dash of some family dynamic. A perfect mix if you ask me. I breezed through this one, ad now one thing is for certain, Helen Hoang has done it again. She is now a favorite! This isn’t much of shocker, I was completely smitten by The Kiss Quotient so loving The Bride Test isn’t a challenge at all, I mean what’s not to love.

Asian Representation

Much like The Kiss QuotientThe Bride Test gives us a glimpse of Vietnamese culture and way of life. We get to see its stark difference from the western culture. How family ties are important and necessary part of their lives. As an Asian myself, I appreciate this a whole lot. Asians are becoming represented more and more into books and movies. Our cultures are highlighted and presented through own voices. Hahah and you have to give it to Khai’s mom to find him a bride. Haha! Ah Asian moms!

I loved Esme’s character. She was as real as it could get. Emotional and vulnerable but resilient. She knows how to hold herself up. I love that she was willing to better herself and not for shallow reasons. I love how this book centers on family and the sacrifices one is willing to make for them.

Khai on the other hand is a character who is easy to love. You get to understand why he is the way he is. I specifically loved the back story, I thought it was well thought-out and very fitting to the story making everything coherent and solid.

Autism Spectrum

Another own voices book. Now I can tell books that discusses autism spectrum has now become something I look forward to. I wanted to understand it better and learn so much from it. It is amazing how the author was able to write such amazing characters whilst also pouring herself into them. What I loved about this book, is its ability to present the autism spectrum in such a way that is easily understandable, giving the readers somewhat a taste of what it is like. Presented in a romance context The Bride Test truly isn’t something we encounter in romance books on a daily basis. You can really tell Helen Hoang really knows her craft and her power to convey it into words.

Sweet, Cute and oh so Sexy!

This book is brimming with cuteness and sweetness. If you’re looking for a feel good, fast and mushy read, then you’ve come to the right place. This is a perfect romcom! Make it a movie, I demand it! I love how the chemistry between Esme and Khai wasn’t forced or rushed. While I already expected it to be a little steamy, taking from its predecessor The Kiss Quotient, I was still surprised to be honest. I seem to forgot how Helen Hoang writes such romantic scenes, with enough sensuality and innocence at the same time.

I am glad this book did not suffer the proverbial second book syndrome. I am glad that it is as good as the first if not better. I really loved how it ended, it was just sweet and ahhhhh my gooey heart! Now I cannot wait for Quan’s story and all his tattooed glory! Hahah! And can I just say, I really love Michael and Stella’s cameos! I was sooo living for it! Made me miss them so much that probably a reread of The Kiss Quotient will happen in the near future. This book easily became one of my fave reads this year! Thank you Helen Hoang for yet another masterpiece!

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“You don’t have the flu, this is how your heart breaks. It’s like you hurt too much for your brain to process, and then your body shuts down too.”

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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang | Book Review

 

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A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

Date Published: June 5, 2018

Date Read: August 15, 2018

Publisher: Berkley

No. of Pages: 323

Setting: Palo Alto, California

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Source: Copy provided by the publisher

Get Your Copy here: Amazon | Book Depository

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One of my favorite books of 2018!!!

I broke yet another rule I have set for myself – that is not to join in with the hype. You see hype highly affects the reading experience for me, and I wanted to enjoy it with the least influence as possible. But damn, the hype surrounding The Kiss Quotient is so real I’m so happy I jumped right in. I am afraid there’s no getting over it anytime in the foreseeable future. I’m even too scared this book will put me in the biggest slump, but know what? I’m fine with it. I’ll use that time to savor every moment, go back to the pages I have tabbed, and boy I have tabbed so many, it’s almost the whole book. A reread is definitely in order. And when I’m through with that, I’ll proceed to googling Daniel Henney our Michael Larsen and dream about him too. I LOVE THE BOOK SO MUCH, IT IS ALMOST AN OBSESSION.

Steamy, oh boy, why does it feel so suddenly hot in here?

The Kiss Quotient is more than what meets the eye. And boy I didn’t expect it to be too steamy! Too steamy, I literally felt I needed air whilst I am inside a fully air-conditioned room. The steamy scenes were perfectly and vividly written that you can very well feel the temperature go up. That’s some serious talent there, and not everyone can do just that. And don’t get me wrong, it is not just these steamy scenes that sold me. It was so, so much more, it was also sweet and tender, and ahhhh all the good stuff. It was not smut, it was adorable and fun! The hot and steamy scenes were played just right.

Asian Representation

Let’s admit it guys, asian representation is still something the publishing world needs to work on. So much so that an asian like me is too delighted to see an asian character portrayed well in a book, this shouldn’t be something we should get excited about. It should be a normal thing — to see asian everywhere and not just some fancy thing that happens once in a blue moon if we are lucky. Right representation truly matters and The Kiss Quotient was able to let us in on a fraction of Vietnamese culture, which is not far too different from other culture in Asia. Asians are big on family, we put too much value on our family so much so that we will do almost anything for them. This was portrayed in this book, and it was an amazing depiction. Michael Larsen, our male protagonist is half Vietnamese, and the way he made sacrifices for his family especially his mother was truly remarkable. True signature of Asians, if you ask me.

Autism and Own Voices

Another topic that needs more attention and more representation is Autism. The Kiss Quotient gave us a glimpse of what it is to have autism and how one manages her day to day life with it. I specifically commend this book since it was written by an author who is diagnosed with autism. I am drawn to own voices books, there is authenticity and rawness you couldn’t find anywhere. And that is the case here, the author was able to provide us with a character with depth and realness about her that is hard to miss. Stella is a very smart and successful woman who had struggles when it comes to socializing which leads to having troubles having a romantic relationship with someone. She’s being pressured to have a boyfriend and eventually settle down, but all these seemed to be a challenge for her, and so she hired a male escort – which was Michael, this half-Vietnamese, half Swedish mighty specimen of a man, And the story took off into this steamy, swoon-worthy and all things amazing reading experience. Their first encounter? I was seriously contemplating to take a half day and go home and just read the day away, (yeah I was reading at the office, rebel). Don’t you just love when that happens? The book is so good you just don’t want to participate in life even if it is something that pays the bills! Hahaha

Many may not be aware of the Netflix series Atypical, the lead character has autism as well. This is why I was able to understand Stella in this book. Also the reason why I enjoyed it so much more than what I had anticipated. There are actions that may put someone off, but it is what the book required, it is what it is, and I had no problems with how Stella was portrayed. To me it was just spot on and amazing, again the authenticity is really palpable. And might I add, I love how Michael didn’t even bat an eye when he knew that Stella has autism, because he understood, he has this level of maturity that men seemed to lack these days (haha), he was patient and just the most logical person there was. He understood Stella in a way two people in love can.

This is how romance should be done!

The Kiss Quotient is definitely one of my favorite books of 2018. It was everything I needed and everything I truly enjoyed. It was yes, predictable, because duh this isn’t a thriller, but the best part of the reading experience is how everything leads to that ending. The story chapter per chapter, the build up and all those sweet moments between Stella and Michael. It has been a month since I last read the book and I’m still thinking about it up to now. I can see myself rereading it whenever I need some pick me upper or when life has been unbearably stressful. Helen Hoang instantly became a favorite author, I vow to read all her books until kingdom come! So this goes without saying, this book i worth your time, go ahead and pick it up!

 

 

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“Love, he found, was a jail. It trapped, and it clipped wings. It dragged you down, forced you to places you didn’t want to go”
― Helen HoangThe Kiss Quotient

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Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish. Helen is represented by Kim Lionetti of BookEnds Literary Agency.

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han | Book Review

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What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Date Published: March 20, 2015

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date Read: August 31, 2018

No. of Pages: 355

Setting: Charlottesville, Virginia

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble  | National Bookstore 

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Movie was way better than the book!

I went against the unwritten rule of every reader: to read the book first before watching the movie. It was actually the movie that pushed me to read the book. I wanted to know if Movie Peter was just as dreamy as the Book Peter.

Verdict: I liked Movie Peter way more than the Book Peter. Movie Peter was less of an asshole than the book counterpart. I know we only get the sugar-coated version in the movie, and maybe that’s was what I wanted. Book Peter did a lot of things that frustrate me. Him being head over heels Gen, kind of put me off. At least in the movie it was down-played. Okay enough with the comparison with the film!

While I did get the whole dimension of the characters, understood why they acted the way they did, I was looking for something more. YA can be a bit tricky for me, there are YA books that really wow me, and there are others that fell short. Much like any other kind of genre. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before fell a little short for me. It was a little childish for my own liking. Our narrator Lara Jean, sounded like she was 12, and I almost cringe to know that she’s almost 17. Also, why does it feel like YA books written around 2012-2015 revolved around some high school drama. Like high school is the be all and end all of things. My adult self couldn’t stop rolling her eyes, but I’m aboard the train, so might as well enjoy the ride right?

If you like fake boyfriend-girlfriend trope, then this book will satisfy your cravings. I am so drawn to this kind of trope it has become unhealthy haha.  It feels like I needed to get my hands on every book with this kind of trope. But can we please stop with love triangles? It was so 2012, let’s just move past it can we? Nope? Okay.

The plot of the whole book was preposterous, but I bought it anyway. (But was that the whole point of fiction, to get us out of the crushing weight of reality? hahah) It was so ridiculous you’ll get curious how will the author pull it off. And curious, I’ve been. But after reading it, I instantly needed something more mature to cleanse my palate. So much so, that I immediately jumped into reading a psychological thriller. The shift was a breath of fresh air.

And can we talk about the ending? It ended in a cliffhanger, which leaves you with no choice but to read the sequel. Which to be completely honest, I don’t think I would or at least maybe not in the near future. That ending could have been so much better, at least in the movie there was a period or at least a semi-colon, the book ended in a comma or ellipses, which frustrated me. It could have been better. There could have been one more chapter to tie everything up and make it more put-together. Truly, it was the ending that was a total let down. But all things considered, the book was easy to get through, fun and light to read, cute too! Especially the Halloween part, that was my ultimate fave, sad it wasn’t included in the movie. This book is the perfect companion when you needed to pass time and just for once forget about the complications that is your life. Ultimately did just that for me! And for that, I am grateful.

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“Do you think there’s a difference? Between belonging with and belonging to?”
― Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover | Book Review

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Synopsis from Goodreads: Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

Date Published: July 17, 2018

Date Read: August 2018

Publisher: Atria Books

Setting: 

No. of Pages: 320

Genre: Romance

Get your copy here: Book Depository | Amazon

 

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Colleen Hoover has done it again! 

I know I said in my review of Confess that I wouldn’t want to think my relationship with Colleen Hoover’s works has already run its course, that I could salvage it. All Your Perfects was my salvation. It was redemption, and a very sweet one. After reading November 9 and Confess, I kind of shied away from CoHo’s books, I thought that was enough for me already, that I should move along and enjoy other authors. And I was wrong. All Your Perfects was a reminder why I loved her writing since 2012.

Imperfect Marriage as its highlight

All Your Perfects is about an imperfect marriage, of two people trying to work things out but is so close to failing. It has flawed characters and a plot that might hit home to most of the people. It was a struggle some married couples undergo.. This is where it will hit you the most, that vulnerability of it possibly happening to you, or might have been happening to some people you know. It tackled something so raw and real. Admittedly, I have been always drawn to books with dysfunctional marriage/family. I loved how the characters deal with their problems and whether they were able to push past it or how they completely drift apart. For me, there is some sense of beauty in dysfunctional people, how they perceive life and the situations they were dealt and how they manage to navigate though life despite it. That’s how a good book connects to people, how it presents not just the good parts but more so the ugly ones. How it highlighted imperfection and flaws, ultimately what makes us human.

Flawed characters

At one point I was so frustrated with our female protagonist – Quinn, but at the same time understood where she was coming from.  Quinn’s predicament plagued her marriage with Graham. The book was written in her perspective. Colleen Hoover was able to write something profound through Quinn’s voice. I commend how mature this book was compared to CoHo’s previous works, it truly is something different. The book highlighted the struggles of modern day woman, and that’s what makes it beautiful, it delved into something not all books willingly talk about.

Then we have Graham, our male protagonist who had flaws of his own but managed to come out of it well. These two characters really complemented each other. Graham oh Graham, he was just so good to Quinn, sometimes I feel like Quinn doesn’t deserve him. Yet another book setting high expectations for men. (This is why I’m single, lol). Graham wasn’t perfect, and so is Quinn, but Graham was the one who came through for this relationship to work, and I love how he was just so patient with Quinn. Graham was never perfect, from the onset he was presented to be as vulnerable as everyone else, but he always rise through the occasion and makes wise decisions. He was the one who stood stronger for the both of them. And though he made a mistake as well, you’ll just understand where all of it was coming from. I love how Colleen Hoover did not romanticize that part but presented it in a no-nonsense approach.

Two perfectly flawed characters who gave me the worst heartbreak. Ahhh I still remember the letters and I am seriously welling up right now. This book was just heartbreaking, I didn’t know what to do with myself from Chapter 20 down to the very end. I was inconsolable to say the least. I felt like I have cried a year’s worth of tears.

Fast Pacing and Unconventional presentation of each chapter 

The Then and Now chapters definitely set the mood. I was happy reading Then chapters and I dreaded reading Now chapters. It gave off this balance, but kind of will put you in a confused state. You don’t know if you’re going to be happy or if you’re going to cry. It made the book a lot faster to read. The pacing was just right. I love the correlation of every events, not one event was unnecessary. It was well put-together.

You’ll cry river of tears

All Your Perfects truly wrecked me. I have cried over books before, yes, but All Your Perfects took it to a whole different level, that kind of level where my flu came back because I cried so hard. Hahah I am not even kidding. And it is a wonder because nothing in the book relates to me, I am not married nor I’m in a relationship. But this book pierced through my heart and set a camp there. I was already warned that I should not be reading this book in public, that I needed to be alone. Well, I guess thanks for the warning, because all the tears came without preamble. Before I know it my shirt was already soaked in tears. It was so dramatic, that I didn’t even wipe any of it, I just let it, one teardrop after another. I was a sight to behold really, and I felt the pain, really, truly felt it. I don’t know why I was so affected by the Now chapters, I have nothing in common with the characters, I haven’t gone through whatever they have been through, but I was so immersed in the story that my heart completely ached for them. I think that’s the gauge of a good book, how it able to transcend from the pages through the reader’s emotions, whether the reader could relate to it or not. Colleen Hoover truly evolved through the years. She always has something new to offer in the table, and everything is different from the last. I mean, where does she get her inspiration from? She is truly talented, no doubt about it.

This may very well be my favorite Colleen Hoover book among the ones I have read. Imagine, Maybe Someday and It Ends With U were dethroned. That is saying quite a lot because I loved those two books so much. That said, please find the time to read this book. I am offering support should you need it, you know where to find me! Go get a copy now.

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“Until then, I will continue to love you more and more with every struggle we face than I loved you when all was perfect.”
Colleen Hoover, All Your Perfects

 

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From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata | Book Review

Review:

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If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

Date Published: February 1, 2018

Date Read: July 2018

 

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Okay let me just say this first, before everything I’ve been meaning to say slip out of my head. WHY DO THEY BLINK SO MUCH! THEY BLINK SO MUCH AS IF THEY WOULD HAVE A SEIZURE OR SOMETHING IS AWFULLY WRONG WITH THEIR HEAD. There I said it. Never have I read a book that the characters’ blinking is given too much emphasis. NEWS FLASH, people blink, it is no rocket science, you need not be gifted to be able to blink. WHY IN THE WORLD DOES THIS BOOK HAVE TO MENTION THAT THE CHARACTERS ARE BLINKING? DO THEY HAVE SOMETHING IN THEIR EYE? IS THEIR A ROCK IN THERE OR SOMETHING?

Okay. In case you were wondering, yeah, I was shouting.

Now let’s get down to what we are all here for. From Lukov with Love is maybe the first and only book I have read about figure skaters. What attracted me to read it is the glamorous review it has been getting. Who could blame me? It was constantly recommended to me by people whose judgments I really trust. But then again, and I always forget this, we all have different tastes in books and there isn’t any guarantee that what the majority likes, you’ll like too, or even what the majority hates, you’ll hate too. Such is the case with this book. I went ahead reading this book with a very high expectation, an expectation, unfortunately that wasn’t met.

The book is about Jasmine Santos, she’s a half filipino, so yayyy! She’s a figure skater whose career is hanging by a thread. And then we have Ivan Lukov, the golden boy, he has won a lot of championships in figure skating. They were both partnered up to compete together. Sounds like a solid premise, if you ask me. This book revolves around Jasmine’s self-discovery and coming to terms with the hands she was dealt. It was more of a book about loving one’s self despite the flaws, letting people love you despite of it, put some family drama and solid friendship and tadaaa that’s basically the whole gist of the book. And the romance? Well, don’t let it mislead you, it wasn’t really a romance book, partly yes, but it was only at least 70% of the book that Ivan and Jasmine’s romance were emphasized. Is there something completely wrong with that? Well none really, I just wished I wasn’t led to expect a passionate love affair to bloom between the two, when in fact I am not getting any of it. It was a slow burn kind of romance, so slow you’ll get tired waiting for it.

Jasmine Santos’ character is the epitome of the word stubborn. Her character is way too immature for her age. I tried really hard to wrap my brain around everything she did, from those immature banters with her siblings, and with Ivan, down to the repetitive whining, angst and self-pity, boy, one can only read so much of it until she rip her hair off. Then we have Ivan Lukov, the way he indulges in these banters with Jasmine sometimes put me off. It was off-putting, it is borderline problematic. But I pushed past it and tried to read through all the bickering, and tried to appreciate the book for what it was.

Also can I just say how every small details were given too much emphasis and the ones that should be given emphasis  fell extremely short? The movements of the characters, i.e., blinking, cocking his head to the other side, and all these menial acts were so magnified that it truly affected the way I read the book. I tried to move past it, but how can I, when every other page it was mentioned? I was annoyed when I should really be appreciating the story. To be honest it completely ruined everything for me. I was looking for emphasis on the actual figure skating of Jasmine and Ivan, I want it to be so vivid as if I am watching some Olympics competition in my head but I was disappointed. It was just mentioned in passing, and I was like, that is what I am here for and I didn’t get it. It was a let down. Maybe it was so wrong of me to think of VirtueMoir, maybe that added up to the already high expectation. But damn, I was imagining a Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir level of intensity and passion in my head and I got nothing.

Also it felt like the book was preparing you for the biggest surprise, it keeps on building up one scene after another and you are sure something is going to happen but when it did happen you’re just like “????”, I wish there was the word for it hahah but I came out empty. There are moments that are anticlimactic, so much so that it affected the whole reading experience for me.

I hoped for more, maybe that’s what went wrong. I craved for something that would satisfy my thirst for romance books, but this only filled a quarter of the glass. I appreciate Jasmine’s relationship with her family, and Karina also Ivan’s love for dogs, but the story itself was a let down, that ending was cute though, I would have to give it that. It was a good plot, yes, it was the execution that didn’t sit well with me.

 

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“You are who you are in life, and you either live that time trying to bend yourself to make other people happy, or… you don’t.”
Mariana Zapata, From Lukov with Love

 

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Folsom (End of Men Book 1) by Tarryn Fisher and Willow Aster: Book Review

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The nation as we know it is a thing of the past.

With the male species on the verge of extinction, a society called the End Men is formed to save the world. Folsom Donahue is one of twelve men whose sole purpose is to repopulate the Regions. The endless days spent having sex with strangers leaves Folsom with an emptiness no amount of women, money, or status can fill.

Until Gwen.

Gwen has wanted a child for as long as she can remember, but when she finally gets a chance to have her own, she uncovers a long hidden truth. The injustice she sees moves her to help save the men whom no one else believes need saving.

A forbidden love, grown in a time of despair, ignites a revolution.

Folsom and Gwen, torn between their love for each other and their sense of duty, must make a choice. But some will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Folsom is book one of the End of Men series.

Date of Publication:  May 29, 2018

Date Read: June 2018

No. of Pages: 276 pages

Setting: Post Apocalyptic USA

Genre: Romance, Dystopia

Get Your Copy here: Amazon

 

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Folsom, where do I even start? I am really on the fence with this one. A part of me tried really hard to like it, a part of me finds the whole premise obnoxious but clever at the same time and a part of me just wants it to be over. It was a post-apocalyptic setting where men go extinct, and there are only 12 men left to impregnate as much women as possible to be able to repopulate. I know, me too, I had to process all that and I was more skeptical than hopeful. I was scared how will the authors pull off something like this. But I went ahead and read the book.

And oh my goodness, Felicia.

Let’s just say it isn’t my cup of tea (anymore). I’m not the right audience for this. It is with this sad realization that I don’t find joy in reading too much smut in a book anymore, or maybe it was just this one time, or maybe not. I hope this is just a one-time thing. Don’t get me wrong I love romance books with alpha-male and all that jazz, but this one didn’t do it for me. I was cringing half of the time. Maybe it is the way everything was presented, it was too literal, too right in your face (if that even makes sense), there’s just a little room for imagination, like everything was served in a platter and you’re given no choice but to devour it as is. Oh goodness, I hope I am making some sense here.

The characters, those unbearable, annoying characters. We have Folsom, the most sought after End Man. I was equal parts disgusted of his character and at the same time pity him for the hand he was dealt. Yes he was basically the Society’s highest paid prostitute. And believe me this doesn’t sit well with me. THERE WAS SOMETHING PROBLEMATIC but I shrugged it off and read on. I KNOW, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. Believe me I was so tempted to DNF it, but I had to give it the benefit of the doubt, and so here we are. Then we have this love-sick puppy Gwen. She was too smitten I want to rip her hair off. Her character was this poor attempt to be noble, but failed miserably (at least for me). And can I just say how frustrating the women in here, they were like deprived, crazed sex addicts. And just nope, we don’t need that kind of portrayal. The world has doled out too much of it as is, thank you very much.

The book’s attempt to be unique, was just that, an attempt. It failed to sustain the obnoxious yet clever premise it promised. The delivery wasn’t as solid as I expected it to be. It could have been better, oh boy, it definitely could. I can’t pinpoint exactly what is wrong, and because of this it overshadowed any good aspect of the book, and believe me there were few as well. You just have to see past the cringe-worthy parts and the too smitten characters. In summary, the book was a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, erotica that could have been better if the cards were played right. I was looking for more, something that could redeem itself, a silver-lining perhaps, but found nothing.

And yes, I find it hard to believe it was by Tarryn Fisher – an author I love so much. As per Willow Aster, I can’t say much since I have not read anything by her until Folsom. I felt like Tarryn let me down, it is with a heavy heart to say and accept it. What is happening? This is definitely not the kind of book that made me fall in love with her writing. It was just sad. But what I’ll do is just stick around and wait for that book that will make me say “Oh yes, this is the Tarryn Fisher I loved.”, but until then I am not having any more of this End Men series. Folsom is enough I think.

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“It was the truth! For the truth to make a difference, it needs to be said by one person at a time, until there’s a noise loud enough to make a difference.”
Tarryn Fisher, Folsom

 

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I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios: Book Review

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If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.

Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.

What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.

Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Date Published: February 3, 2015

Date Read: June 2018

No. of Pages: 388

Setting: Creek View, California

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Get Your Copy Here: Book Depository, Amazon

 

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This is it! This is the soft safe harbor amidst all the chaos that is life.

I’ll Meet You There has been sitting on my shelf for a good year now, always looking at it and telling it “I’ll read you one day.” To be honest, it wasn’t on my top to-be-read list, it wasn’t a priority, but boy was I wrong not making it so. I’ll Meet You There brought back my old self, that person who would willingly stay past her bedtime to finish up a book, that old self who’s carefree and just find pure joy in reading, that old self who’s happy hunkered down in her little corner not minding the world outside, and how I’ve missed that! I miss it so bad I was starting to believe I will never be able to bring her back.

I’ll Meet You There is a mixture of depth, great character build-up and realistic life-lessons. It was everything good and then some. It wasn’t your typical YA book, it has this sense of maturity that was hard to miss. I don’t know why but I am always drawn to books with Marines, I think I have mentioned this quite a few times already. This was angsty, but it was well-played out, it was perfectly incorporated in the book making it more engaging that what the premise had promised. I’ll Meet You There is the story of Skylar who couldn’t wait to get out of Creek View and Josh Mitchell who was able to get out but was back to the hell-hole as an amputee. This was the story of loss, healing and young love.

The romance was slow-burn, something I would choose over insta-love at any given day. I loved how Skylar and Josh complement each other, how their characters manage to navigate through the ins and outs of their hard life. How they are able to get by and deal with their own respective demons. The push and pull that is their love story, was definitely not lost on me, I blurted out loud at one point how they should just fall in love already, I was the one being frustrated how they manage to make the infamous one-step-forward-two-steps-back dance, but despite this frustration, I was glued to my seat reading as much as I can before the world borrows me to do the most mundane stuff, like you know, sleeping and eating. I finished it in two days, that’s saying a lot since I haven’t finished a book in a long while for such short period of time. It only proves how good this book was. And though the story line isn’t as original, I’m still giving it the full 5 stars. It was that good for me, it made me ugly-cry – something I haven’t done in a long while and ultimately this book helped me forget the complexities of my reality – it was indeed that safe haven amidst this chaotic world. So yep, it definitely deserved my five-star rating.

What I loved most about I’ll Meet You There is its quality of sincerity. How the characters felt real as if they were just ordinary people you could meet in your lifetime. I loved how flawed they are too, especially Josh. He was just this shell of a man he used to be because of what happened to him in Afghanistan. What transpired was a real depiction and sometimes too raw and honest description of how war can fck a person up. And it was painted in such captivating yet angsty light. Then we have Skylar Evans, who deals with her own demons. I liked her character, how sometimes she has this no-nonsense approach in life and sometimes she’s too calculated or guarded. I loved how they ease into each other’s lives. I loved how their love story was well-played out, and was not rushed at all. It progressed just right, and when they finally admitted to themselves what they truly feel for each other it was beautiful. I love that in a book, it’s power to suck you into the story and you just willingly immerse yourself into it. And though the ending was somewhat open-ended, I love that it gives room for readers to imagine more, it does not limit itself, it gives power to the readers to make out something more out of the story.  This book now has a special place in my heart. Highly recommend!

 

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“It gave me hope: if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages–no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.”
― Heather DemetriosI’ll Meet You There

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