When the Light Went Off by Bridget Morrissey

Publication Date: June 1, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Rating:

Five years after the accidental shooting of Marley Bricket, her friends, who were there the day she died, reunite when a box of letters from Marley is found in her former home. The discovery leads them on a scavenger hunt that reopens old memories, wounds, and betrayals, and leads them to question what they thought they knew about Marley’s death.

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Bridget Morrissey & Sourcebooks Fire for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This book is classified as a young adult mystery novel. If you are going to read this book, I’d suggest realizing before you start, know that this is not a thriller. I felt like it should’ve just been classified as a contemporary young adult fiction. It’s more about dealing with grief and the horrible tragedy that a group of friends had to endure.

There was a lot going on in this book. Something for me was my inability to like the characters all that much. I feel like there were some parts where I enjoyed seeing what was going on in their mind. However, a lot of the time, I didn’t really enjoy them. I think that Olivia’s obsession with Marley was uncomfortable and unhealthy.

I think that this story had a lot of meaning behind it, especially after I read the acknowledgements. There was a lot happening where people had to deal with grief in a group and dealing with it alone. The writing was just okay, but I definitely got the message the author was trying to portray.

Overall, this book wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. I’d still recommend this book to those who like young adult novels, especially those dealing with grief at a young age.

The Seduction Expert by Saya Lopez Ortega

Publication Date: July 26, 2019
Publisher: VSP Publishing
Rating: ★

She’s the seduction expert.

Women contact her to take over their love lives. She steps in when they’re lost, she’s supposed to succeed where they failed. She handles their single status, their relationships, their breakups, and very often their partners’ affairs. Her job is a life priority, she spends most of her time at the office or between two flights in business class and the fact of having a sports car that can reach one hundred kilometers in less than six seconds often make her feel like a superheroine in service to women.

Anyway, take her card.

You’ll see, it’s much better than spending holidays in St Barts.

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, VSP Publishing, and Saya Lopez Ortega for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I requested this book because it immediately gave me The Devil Wears Prada vibes. The genre was listed as Contemporary Romance and Iknew I just had to read it. I went on Goodreads and saw that it had a lot of great ratings (I’ll get to this later in the review), so I was very excited. I began reading and… well I don’t even know what to say. This was not a romance at all. I’m not even sure what it could be classified as. I actually read the whole thing because it was short, and I understand that it’s a series, but what the heck was that ending?!

Let’s just start here – the main character is supposed to be a woman that helps other women with their love lives. What I found was a woman that was just a straight up bully. She was rude and just overall was unlikable. I couldn’t stand her, especially towards the end. She was extremely manipulative and not a symbol of feminism, which is what I think the author tried to portray her as.

The chapters were short and choppy which had me questioning if this was a novella or not. The writing felt forced and very terse. I was able to read it within an hour/two because it was really short and each page was a new chapter. There was no depth to anything in these chapters. I read them as what they were – just words on a page. Like I said before, I have no idea what to classify this book as. She has a boyfriend but then there’s drama and then there’s more drama and it just is a weird circle of something new each page. I couldn’t get into it at all.

Now, as for the reviews that were 5 stars and how this book is so highly rated on Goodreads:

I believe that VSP Publishing did something shady and had private accounts on Goodreads go on and rate this book 5 stars. All of the accounts that I clicked on were private or had little to no Goodreads activity. Every reader, that I’m friends with or has actual Goodreads activity, all rated this book 1-2 stars. When I googled this book, other blogs had this book also at 1-2 stars.

Next, I saw in other reviews of actual readers that VSP Publishing sent emails separate from NetGalley with a request of not putting low ratings on the Goodreads page and on their blogs. I personally didn’t receive this email, but that’s still really low of a publisher to do something like that to avid readers and to people who really care about books.

Here is a review from a blog that I follow dating back to May. Her review starts as: Let me start off by saying The Seduction Expert has over 500 reviews on Goodreads and most reviewers give it a gushing 5-stars. So keep that in mind when I say that I absolutely hated this book. 

There is something wrong here and I think it’s because something happened on Goodreads that shouldn’t be allowed. If you see this book or this publisher, run. It’s unfair for authors that really put the work in and accept negative reviews as motivation to learn and do better for the next one. Criticism is needed, whether a person likes it or not. It’s to help, not to hurt. Overall, this book and this situation is a mess. Stay away.

On the Corner of Love and Hate by Nina Bocci

Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating: ★★★★

What’s a campaign manager’s worst nightmare? A smooth-talking charmer who’s never met a scandal that he didn’t like.

When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and mayor of her town—asks her to help rehab Cooper Endicott’s image, she’s horrified. Cooper drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, and she can’t say no to him without him finding out the reason why: Cooper and her have a messy past. So Emmanuelle reluctantly launches her father’s grand plan to get this Casanova someone to settle down with and help him lose his lothario reputation.

Cooper Endicott wanted to run for Mayor, but he never wanted the drama that went with it. Now that he’s on the political hamster wheel, the other candidates are digging up everything from his past. Even though he’s doing all the right things, his colorful love life is the sticking point for many of the conservative voters. He wants to win, badly, and he knows that if he wants any chance of getting a vote from the female population, he needs to change his image. The only problem? He might just be falling in love with the one person he promised not to pursue: the Mayor’s off-limits daughter.

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Nina Bocci, and Gallery Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I will say that I am not a political person in the slightest. I had a little trouble with this book because I am a little under-educated in the political world, but this book was still easy enough to understand!

This was a great friends/enemies to lovers novel! I really enjoyed the chemistry between the two main characters, Emma and Cooper. Their snide comments and just overall love had me swooning.

I almost gave this book three stars because I felt like at some points I could’ve just skipped ahead and still understood what was going on in the plot. However, the ending did GET ME .

The actual gasp that I let out at the ending had me laughing at myself. It was hilarious and not what I expected at all. I am a believer in Nina Bocci and her ability to make me laugh.

I really enjoyed this one and if you are a fan of Christina Lauren and Lauren Layne, definitely put this one on your to-be-read list!

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Graydon House
Rating: ★★★★★

Swipe right for love. Swipe left for disaster.

By day, Mel Strickland is an underemployed helpdesk tech at a startup incubator, Hatch, where she helps entitled brogrammers—”Hatchlings”—who can’t even fix their own laptops, but are apparently the next wave of startup geniuses. And by night, she goes on bad dates with misbehaving dudes she’s matched with on the ubiquitous dating app, Fluttr.

But after one dick pic too many, Mel has had it. Using her brilliant coding skills, she designs an app of her own, one that allows users to log harrassers and abusers in online dating space. It’s called JerkAlert, and it goes viral overnight.

Mel is suddenly in way over her head. Worse still, her almost-boyfriend, the dreamy Alex Hernandez—the only non-douchey guy at Hatch—has no idea she’s the brains behind the app. Soon, Mel is faced with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life, and friendships, or change her life forever.

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Kristin Rockaway, and Graydon House for a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

How to Hack a Heartbreak was my most anticipated book this year so far. I am so ecstatic to say that it definitely did not disappoint!

This book was a reminder why I never tried or would try online dating. There is a stigma now surrounded by online dating that it’s all just for hookups. Kristin Rockaway wrote this story hilariously, like she herself has used online dating (apps, etc.) and had some of these problems arise personally. This book felt overall personal in a way, like a testament to not deal with this stuff!

The amount of time I spent laughing in this book is why I loved it so much. She made the characters very likable and able to be laughed at. When it got serious, it really felt it, but a lot of this book was upbeat and I think it really made a difference. I could connect them on a lighthearted level as well as a deeper level when things got a little angsty.

This book was also a testament to how women feel in a “male-dominated industry”. Melanie, the main character, was a coder for a company. There were many times in this book where individuals made Melanie feel like she wasn’t capable of doing her job. It happens so often in this society that I’m really glad Kristin Rockaway talked about how hard some women have to deal with it. I felt this on a personal level because I see it quite often.

I absolutely loved the friendships in this novel. It’s so refreshing to see a character have some friends to rely on during a hard time in her life. A lot of the time in novels, it’s “whoa is me”, “I’m so alone”…, but I feel like this book really showcased the importance of friendship and being there for each other.

Finally, I think that the overall story is so good in this book that you just can’t put it down. Melanie creates a website for women to write about their horror stories that they experienced on a dating app. Jerk Alert was a hilarious and amazing idea. I wish it was a real thing so I could sit, read, laugh and enjoy the stories!

The Retreat by Sherri Smith

Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: Forge Books
Rating: ★★★★

Four women.
Four secrets.
A weekend that will change them forever…if they survive.

Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.

Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait “Where Are They Now?” articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother’s too-good-to-be-true fianc�e invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie’s two best friends–one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship–Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.

Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.

Review:

Thank you to Sherri Smith, Forge Books, and NetGalley for a free copy of The Retreat in exchange for an honest review.

This story focuses on four women- Katie, Carmen, Ellie, and Ariel. It goes through describing each of their lives while describing what is currently happening at a “getaway” weekend retreat. From reading this, you see that all four women have starkly different ways of life and the things that they’ve been through. The best part was the secrets that each woman was trying to keep under wraps.

The characters in this book was my favorite part. They were all severely flawed and all had things they wanted kept hidden. They were so easy to hate, but I really enjoyed learning about their stories and why they were at this retreat. I read the end of the book in one straight shot because I needed to know what was going to happen based on the BOMB that is dropped on you in the first chapter.

The unpredictability was out-of-this-world. I loved the twists and turns when they were warranted. The only reason why I didn’t give this book five stars is because it was a lot. It was pretty tiring having something happen every other page.

However, I will say, the ending…PHEW! Totally unexpected and well worth the wait! I actually gasped out loud when I read over the final piece of dialogue. This was one of the endings that I think will stay with me. One word to describe this book: riveting.

2019 Reading Challenge: 75/75

Well, that was fast! As of July 15, 2019, I finished my Goodreads Reading Challenge! Below is a complete list of the 75 books I finished with their ratings!

Average Rating: 3.5/5
Days Taken To Reach Goal: 197

The Prenup by Lauren Layne

Publication Date: July 11, 2019
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Rating: ★★★★★

My name is Charlotte Spencer and, ten years ago, I married my brother’s best friend. I haven’t seen him since.

Charlotte Spencer grew up on the blue-blooded Upper East Side of Manhattan but she never wanted the sit-still-look-pretty future her parents dictated for her. Enter Colin Walsh, her brother’s quiet, brooding, man-bun-sporting best friend, and with him a chance to escape.

He’s far from Charlotte’s dream guy as but they need each other for one thing: marriage. One courthouse wedding later, Charlotte’s inheritance is hers to start a business in San Francisco and Irish-born Colin has a Green Card.

Ten years later, Colin drops a bombshell: the terms of their prenup state that before either can file for divorce, they have to live under the same roof for three months.

Suddenly this match made in practicality is about to take on whole new meaning…

Review:

wow. wow. wow. wow wow wow.

I have not read a book that wasn’t an audiobook in a day in alonnnnnng time. This book deserves all of the love and awards. The Prenup is definitely, wholeheartedly, my favorite book of the year so far.

“Life is short. I just don’t really see the point in wasting any more time than necessary being angry or fearful.” 

To start, what even was this story?! Get married and not see each other for ten years? What!!! I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much is because it’s not a book I really read before. Plus, Lauren Layne wrote such a phenomenal book with the love, angst and detail. I could close my eyes and picture everything she wrote in my head.

Next, I feel like Lauren Layne could write anything on a piece of paper and I would cherish it forever. Her quotes spoke to me and I have never even been close to any situation that she wrote about in this book! When I tell you that this book was written phenomenally, take. my. word. for. it! 

Colin and Charlotte are my favorite characters that I have endured in a book in a very long time. I connected with them so well and hated everyone that gave them trouble. I actually sucked my teeth when there were things going on like I was the one being offended. The development throughout this entire book was fantastic with the characters.

I will recommend this book to anyone. I mean it. Take the time out, put your current book on hold, and read this one until it’s finished. You will thank me, I promise!