No, We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald

Publication Date: January 10, 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Rating: ★★

Everyone knows a girl like Sloane. She was always The Single One. She never brought a plus-one to weddings. She was the woman you’d set up with your single cousin. She joined ballroom dancing classes to meet men and was the queen of online dating.

But then she met Myles. Perfect Myles, with denim-blue eyes and a dazzling smile that melted her insides. She’d finally found The One.

Except she didn’t imagine that Myles’s idea of Happy Ever After would include Sloane battling an overflowing laundry basket, buying birthday cards for his family, and ironing his Calvin Klein underpants.

Then Sloane finds out that Myles has a secret.

The fairy tale is well and truly over. Her heart is blown to smithereens. Eating her weight in Ben & Jerry’s and large Meat Feast pizzas can only get Sloane so far before she has to make a decision… Can she learn to love herself more than she loved the love of her life?

Review:

Thank you to Sophie Ranald, Bookouture & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I read the synopsis of this novel and was immediately interested. It was described as laugh-out-loud and I felt like the blurb given was very misleading. I think that the very end has some moments that were amusing, but I’m not sure that I laughed out loud once.

This book ended up being more somber than funny. I wouldn’t mind that in the slightest bit if I wasn’t expecting funny. If it was advertised as a secretive, sad novel, then I’d be all for it.

Sloane was a kind of likable character to the point where by the end, I could almost see me her being friends with her in a real life scenario. Throughout the novel, I had a hard time with the characters overall. There were some side characters (especially Vivienne) that I thought had better progression than the main characters and that made me have a negative reaction to this book.

There were a good amount of realistic points made and that’s the reason why this book got a two-star rating from me. I could resonate and think of real life scenarios that would really happen and I thought that Sophie Ranald did a good job with that.

Overall, if this book was described differently, I would’ve known what I was getting into. Having this book described as “laugh-out-loud” was simply misleading and it was a pretty heavy book to get into. I would definitely give Sophie Ranald another try as this was my first read by her.

 

Little Bookshop On the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

I received this book as a part of the Harlequin Book Tour for Romance & Women’s Fiction! Thank you to Rebecca Raisin, Harlequin Books, & NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Rating: ★★★

When bookshop owner Sarah Smith is offered the opportunity for a job exchange with her Parisian friend Sophie, saying yes is a no-brainer—after all, what kind of romantic would turn down six months in Paris? Sarah is sure she’s in for the experience of a lifetime—days spent surrounded by literature in a gorgeous bookshop, and the chance to watch the snow fall on the Eiffel Tower. Plus, now she can meet up with her journalist boyfriend, Ridge, when his job takes him around the globe.

But her expectations cool faster than her café au lait soon after she lands in the City of Light—she’s a fish out of water in Paris. The customers are rude, her new coworkers suspicious and her relationship with Ridge has been reduced to a long-distance game of phone tag, leaving Sarah to wonder if he’ll ever put her first over his busy career. As Christmas approaches, Sarah is determined to get the shop—and her life—back in order…and make her dreams of a Parisian happily-ever-after come true.

Review:

This was as typical as it could’ve been. A tooth-rottingly sweet bookstore romance. I really like Christmas based romance stories especially during that time of year. However, this one fell a little flat for me.

What I didn’t know when I requested this book was that it was the second in a series. I looked it up to see if this could be read as a standalone and it said that it could. However, from personal experience, I’d read the first book in the series, The Bookshop on the Corner. Since I didn’t read the first one, I felt like there was a good amount missing about a backstory. I was curious on why Sophie chose Paris, etc. You might not need to read the first one and enjoy it, but in my opinion, I think that it would be better if you did.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Sarah’s character. Her development wasn’t shown and it appears that she is a doormat for most of the book. People walk all over her throughout this novel and at some point, it does get old. I felt like skipping and scanning to just get through that part multiple times. I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again with some breaks of Sarah going out in Paris.

The flow of this book was very up and down. I felt like it was definitely repetitive, but I also feel like there were times where I was confused about the time periods. It seemed as though the time was flying and all of a sudden, Christmas was upon them and the story was pretty much over. I thought maybe it would’ve been better like that to make up for the repetitiveness of the story, but it just made me feel more confused about it.

There was plenty about this book that could be considered lovable, but it was a little tough to get through it. The enjoyable moments were as the heroine walks around Paris and gives me a complete visual of what I would see if I were in her shoes. On the other hand, I wish I read the first book before this one. There’s a good amount of backstory that happens off the pages that probably could be found in the first book of this series. This was enjoyable, but the writing could have definitely been tighter.

 

November 2019 Reads

Number of Books Read: 10
Avg. Rating of the 10 books: 3.8/5 stars
Five Star Ratings: 2/10
*five star ratings are bold

  • Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne (Love Unexpectedly #1)
  • Good Girl by Lauren Layne (Love Unexpectedly #2)
  • Love Story by Lauren Layne (Love Unexpectedly #3)
  • To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne (The Wedding Belles #1)
  • For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne (The Wedding Belles #2)
  • To Love and to Cherish by Lauren Layne (The Wedding Belles #3)
  • Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
  • Well Met by Jen DeLuca (Well Met #1)
  • Day Zero by Kelly deVos (Day Zero Duology #1)
  • Disney’s Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park That Changed the World by Richard Snow

 

I found a new love of Lauren Layne. If you are a romance lover, stop what you’re currently reading to pick up a Lauren Layne novel!

Well Met by Jen Deluca

Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Rating: ★★★

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

Review:

“I didn’t choose the wench life. The wench life chose me.”

Well Met started out so strong for me. I loved the learning about the characters, what their situations were and where they came from. I especially loved Emily and her sister because it showed their relationship and how eager she was to help her after her accident. It gave me a warm feeling that I would do for my sister as well.

Now, I picked this up because:
1) I was seeing it everywhere on Goodreads & Instagram.
2) I saw that it was a debut author which I love to read because it’s something fresh and usually has a new type of story which I haven’t ever read. (YAY for Renaissance Faires!)
3) I am a SUCKER for enemies-to-lovers romances.
4) It was nominated for the Goodreads Best of 2019 Awards!

I am someone who likes some steam in a romance novel, but this book didn’t have that much in it and I still found it to be adorable and a great story. The only issue that I noticed with this book is that it took a little too long to get started for me.

As I was reading, I thought that the book was progressing alright. I kept reading and then realized I was a little bit past the halfway point where things finally started to progress. If it started maybe 10-15% earlier, I think that this book would’ve kept my attention to the point where I would’ve finished this book right away. I am someone who loves a good slow burn novel, ESPECIALLY when it comes to friends-to-lovers and enemies-to-lovers books, but this burn was just a littletoo slow for me.

Overall, I think that Jen DeLuca did a great job in her debut novel. I loved the beginning of this story and the ending was very sweet as well. I am very excited to see what will come from her in the future!

August 2019 Reads

Number of Books Read: 28
Avg. Rating of the 28 books: 3.89/5
Five Star Ratings: 9/28
*Five Star Rated Books are bold.

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #5)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #6)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #7)
  • 25 Reasons to Quit Worrying by Dre Baldwin
  • Kiss Me In New York by Catherine Rider
  • American Fire by Monica Hesse
  • The A-List by D.P. Lyle
  • The Secrets of Self-Growth by Various Authors
  • 18 Hours to Us by Krista Noorman
  • Beg, Borrow or Steal by Susie Tate
  • Four Day Fling by Emma Hart
  • Miss Fix-It by Emma Hart
  • The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
  • A Practical Guide to Emotional Intelligence by David Walton
  • Advice From a Jilted Bride by Piper Rayne (The Baileys #2)
  • Birth of a Baby Daddy by Piper Rayne (The Baileys #3)
  • Operation Bailey Wedding by Piper Rayne (The Baileys #3.5)
  • Gratitude Daily by Nataly Kogan
  • The Note by Teresa Mummert
  • How to Change Your Mind by Adam Brown
  • The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper
  • When the Light Went Out by Bridget Morrissey
  • Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West
  • Husband Material by Emily Belden
  • In Zach’s Arms by Kori David (Once a Marine, Always a Marine #1)
  • Lily’s Outlaw by Kori David (Once a Marine, Always a Marine #2)
  • Finding Dani by Kori David (Once a Marine, Always a Marine #3)
  • Shelby’s Secret by Kori David (Once a Marine, Always a Marine #4)

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!

My Best Friend’s Ex by Meghan Quinn

Publisher: Hot-Lanta Publishing
Publication Date: June 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

“When I found an eviction notice taped on my apartment door, I had two options: find a comfortable cardboard box to call home, or move in with Tucker Jameson.

Seeing that cardboard makes me feel itchy, I chose the latter. Which shouldn’t be that big of a deal Tucker is one of my good friends. And because he’s still pining after his ex-girlfriend and I’m trying to finish my nursing degree, there is nothing to worry about in the romance department, making my last semester an easy one to conquer.

Boy, was I wrong.

Rules are set, dinners are made, conversations are had, and a shirtless, swoony roommate walks around in nothing but a pair of black briefs, ruining me for every other man.

Before I know it, I turn into a panting, lust-filled woman begging for Tucker to kiss me, touch me, and show me exactly what is hiding under those briefs.

But with great orgasms, comes great consequences.

Tucker might be my friend and roommate but he’s also my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, making him completely off-limits. At least that’s what my brain is telling me, my heart is speaking an entirely different language.”

Review:

Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.

This book was absolutely phenomenal. My Best Friend’s Ex is listed as #2 in the Binghamton Series, but I read it at as a standalone and it didn’t make a difference. Everything was explained very well from the first book, so I don’t see the need to read it if you so please. However, after reading this one, I absolutely will read the first one in the series as well as Meghan Quinn’s other books.

I have heard great things about Meghan Quinn’s books, so I had a bit of high expectations when it came to reading my first book of hers. She did not disappoint me at all. There were so many great things about this book. I’ve been struggling with romance novels lately, and I think that this contemporary romance just put me right back into the genre.

This book had everything that I needed/wanted. The chemistry was outstanding. I felt like the relationships in this book were absolutely perfect. I wouldn’t change them in the slightest. The way that the relationships progressed…sheesh! My Best Friend’s Ex really sold me on the romance. I was feeling like recent romance novels that I were reading were a little far fetched, but this, this, took me back into the world of romance.

The fact that this book had it’s fair share of heartbreak as well made this a five star read for me. Most of the time, a romance novel will have some sort of heartbreak involved. It is rare that I can feel the pain of the characters, but with this one, I felt myself tearing up at the words. It was moving and beautiful. It really showed how a person who has been through a tough heartbreak would be, and it was incredibly relatable.

Also, my other favorite thing about this book were the friendships. These friendships were everything. There were so many times where I stopped and thought, “wow, I need a friend like Emma has with her friends”. The friendships showed true tests and how exactly to talk through things. They were all there for each other through all of their problems, and that’s exactly how a friendship should be.

Overall, this book rocked. I am so happy I picked it because it might be the book that gets me out of my romance slump. Meghan Quinn surely did not disappoint me. I can’t wait to read another of hers.

 

On the Fence by Kasie West

Published: July 1st, 2014

“For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.”

Review:

This book was super quick, cute, and emotional. There were things that this book that were phenomenal, but overall, it was a four star rating for me!

The characters were great. I really loved the “only girl in a all boys household”. This is a classic “brother’s best friend” story and I love that kind of book. There were parts of the characters that I loved, but also, didn’t make me swoon completely. I think that there were more things that could have happened with their developments in the characters that would’ve made this book five stars.

The plot of this book was very emotional. The overall story of what happened and how she had been living with this secret that she didn’t even know about was heartbreaking. There were some parts of it that had me close to tears. However, there were times where I thought that the story was a little far-fetched and that they couldn’t really happy. I love a story that I could relate to, and this one was great, but it seemed a little too far for me.

I’ve read two of Kasie West’s books and I liked both of them. They are written very well and a person can fly through them in one day. Maybe even a few hours. Young adult lovers and romance lovers should really read Kasie West’s books. I think that the people who resonate with current romance troubles or current love lives would love these books!

Rating: ★★★★

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Stephanie Kate Strohm 

Publication Date: October 25th, 2016

“One girl’s comedic examination of her dating past, as told by friends, family, and boys who were involved! Avery Dennis is a high school senior and one of the most popular girls in her class. But a majorly public breakup with the guy she’s been dating causes some disastrous waves. It is right before prom and Avery no longer has the perfect date. She runs the prom committee, how could she not show up with somebody? Post breakup, Avery gets to thinking about all the guys she has ever dated. How come none of those relationships ever worked out? Could it be her fault? Avery decides to investigate. In history class she’s learning about this method of record keeping called “oral-history” and she has a report due. So Avery decides to go directly to the source. Avery tracks down all the guys she’s ever dated, and uses that information, along with thoughts from her friends, family, and teachers, to compile a total account of her dating history. Avery discovers some surprises about herself and the guys she spent time with — just in time for prom night!”

Review: 

This book had a lot of potential and I liked the story. The synopsis sounded super cute and I was definitely intrigued. 

This book wasn’t totally for me unfortunately. I liked some parts and the characters, but there are definitely some things I would change.

The characters started out great and I liked them all. I really liked Avery’s attitude and how she was in general. However, throughout the book, there were just wayyy too many characters for me to understand and I really started to not like any of the characters. 

The only thing I really loved about this book was the ending. It was super cute and well thought out. I like everything about the ending. 

Overall, this book was good but confusing for me. There were too many characters and I had trouble understanding a lot. I’d recommend to readers that enjoy young adult and can keep up with multiple characters. 

Rating: ★★★