Saturday, July 11, 2020

Undercover Bromance

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction. 

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart... even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned. - excerpt from Goodreads.

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams is the second book in the bromance book club series. Although it's not the continuing story for Gavin and Thea, it's people that have appeared previously. Braden and Liv definitely make a fun combo to read about. Their clashing personalities brings out maybe the worse or probably the best of their current self. In terms of dynamics, these two have more banter and more sass and it's adorable to read about it. Rom-com is at its best, the author has capture my heart as a new favourite. 

The cliches and tropes of a rom-com is definitely present but that's what I want and I loved it. It's not something that happens in real life but it isn't a fairy tale as well. What I meant is that Braden is written like every girl's dream come true yet he is still single. From his yearnings and obviously a secret about his past, you get to the present Braden, why is he single. Even Liv herself have a little something to hide from the readers. I love it when characters have a bit of mystery to their past that slowly unfolds, definitely a good hook me in element. Liv is the type of character that might get on your nerves through her reactions of every situation thrown at her.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Americal Royals

What if America had a royal family?

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America's first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling.

Nobody cares about the spare except when she's breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn't care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her.

And then there's Samantha's twin, Prince Jefferson. If he'd been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart. - excerpt from Goodreads.

American Royals by Katharine McGee is definitely the first of its kind for me with an alternate reality of having a royal family in America. I am totally not equipped with American history so the only thing I know is that it has a president that voted by the people. Where I am from, we have the same system as Britain, we have the royal family and we have a prime minister. So it was quite refreshing to read about this system in America, an interesting setting for sure. Without getting into details of politics as I am not good in it at all, this book is about people and the life circumstances that made them who they are and what they will become.

It's definitely a story full of drama as you have 4 different perspectives of four different ladies with different statuses. All of their lives are intertwined because of their relationships with one another in a different way. I love how these ladies show so much character even with alternating chapters for all of them. Having several point of views in one same venue is an enjoyment as you get the thoughts and reactions of different girls.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Regretting You

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.
 - excerpt from Goodreads.

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover is yet another heart-wrenching story, you will find it hard to hold back your tears.  I always have high expectations for this author and again she has not disappointed me. I often thought what else can she write about, what new story this time? Oh my I was so so surprised with this one, it definitely became the new number one for me. The setting of the book is always simple, nothing dramatic at first. Then slowly all those difficult life choices will ease in and then before you know it, the book ended because it is such a great page turner.

With two character's point of view, the author nailed the perspectives of both of them. When one chapter ends for one, the next begins for another. This alternating method is what keeps you gripped into the story because of the wanting to know what happens to them next. Without a doubt, Morgan is the one who shines in the plots because you can help but sympathise with her, to feel her pain and also at the same time to cheer her on. Although some points you would be yelling at her or shaking your head for the decisions she makes, but you'll come to understand why. You would not have expected her reaction to everything that came crashing down on her and yet certain choices are pretty obvious.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Bromance Book Club

The first rule of book club: You don't talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott's marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife. - excerpt from Goodreads

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams is a witty book addressing real problems of a marriage/relationship. With a sudden change of direction towards the negative side, Gavin is lost for words and doesn't know what to do. Lucky for him, his best buddy has the solution - a book club! I was hooked instantly and could not put down the book because this book has good characters and great plot lines.  The author's writing is simple yet emotions are conveyed strongly. 

I love the point of views of Gavin and Thea throughout the chapters, problems of a marriage definitely stem from something and with their thoughts and reaction you would realise there's truth in it in any relationship. Although I'm quite partial to Gavin because I couldn't agree more that it is frustrating when you don't know what's the problem and how to fix it. At some point I thought Thea was selfish, there's just slight character growth in her compared to Gavin. The interactions drives the story forward and I love it every time the book club gathers. The side characters definitely catches my attention and I hope that I would learn more about their backstories.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Bride Test

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. - excerpt from Goodreads

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang continues right after her debut novel, although it's not really a series but the characters are mentioned in the first book.  Here we have Khai and a new addition Esme which builds a very different dynamic. All autistic people are different so expect Khai to differ from Stella very much. Of course certain characteristics are the same else they would not be catogorised as autistic but because of different family backgrounds Khai's understanding of feelings and emotions are special and often noted as an emotionless person. How Khai view himself and other see him is not the same and often misunderstandings stems from it.

With a new leading female, Esme's life and background is something to take note in this book as it's the key story of what the author is trying to show her audience. Inspired by her mother's story, the author created Esme that is somewhat simple at first but learns to adapt and grow with opportunity. I love how Esme is strong yet because of her background she feels inferior in many ways. The impressiveness of this books is how all the characters interact with each other, the reactions to situations that arises when a stranger is just thrown into your life. You get a bit of laughter, sometimes a bit of heartwarming moments through the interactions of family members.  One thing that was not to my satisfaction is I wanted more of the side characters to be involved such as Khai's brother and of course his cousin as well but mostly we get more of Esme interacting with others than Khai.

The plot itself is unexpected given there is a timeline to Esme's stay in the states. Throughout the story, you'll probably try to anticipate if anything will happen between the two and often you will be a little bit surprise and a little bit disappointed as well. I would say the plots are smooth with little flaws but everything feels a bit rush because of the deadline. I would have loved a bit more expand into Khai's and Esme's relationship as some timeline is just rushed over with a mentioned of a week later and what not.

Overall, this is one entertaining book with a good backstory. The alternating POVs from the male and female characters is always refreshing as you get both sides of a story. I love Esme's personality and it certainly compliments Khai. As for Khai, sometimes I don't remember he is autistic and just felt that he is like every other male in the planet. I would not compare both books as characters and plots are different but the excitement I had for the first book is not at the same level. I can easily take a break from this book where else the other one was a strong page turner. I believe this is because the flair and the attraction is not as strong but it is just my own opinion. The last book will be about Khai's brother and this is one book that I am excited as I have been curious of him since the first book.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Meet Cute

Kailyn Flowers was always calm and controlled - until she ended up sprawled all over Daxton Hughes, the former actor she totally crushed on as a teenager. In seconds, she became a mortifying fangirl and oddly enough, he didn't run away. Instead, their meet cute led to something she never expected: a friendship. Of course, she never expected him to betray her, either.

Eight years later, Dax needs Kailyn's help. Years of anger towards him haven't exactly left Kailyn inclined to oblige, but she also isn't heartless enough to turn him down. She vows to be friendly, but soon their 'friendly' meetings turn into flirty dinner dates, and Kailyn can feel their chemistry is as explosive as ever. But how can she possibly let down her guard again to a guy who has heartbreak written all over him?
  - excerpt from Goodreads.

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting is the type of story that can easily turn into a k-drama or a rom-com movie. It's funny, cute and definitely pulls a little at your heart strings. The first thing that caught my attention to purchase this book is without a doubt the cover design but few pages in, it's their personalities that attracted me. The characters starts of being vague without any backstory at first and it slowly unfolds for you to discover who they are. They have really strong personalities yet still have room to grow.  The chemistry between the lead male and female has a lot of tension, push and pull that is very entertaining to read about. The side characters itself gives a good push for them and you can tell that they influence them greatly. I love the banter between Kailyn and Daxton, it is often hilarious and you cannot stop rooting for something to happen between them. It's the type of tension where you'll go please kiss each other already!!! Every interaction between them is the highlight of the book, the parts that keeps turning the pages. When they are on their own thoughts, it can often be graphic and funny.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Open Road Summer

Reagan O'Neill is leaving her rebellious ways behind.

She's finished with her bad-news boyfriends and she's ready to join her best friend Lilah Montgomery on tour. Lilah's a country music superstar, and she's nursing a broken heart of her own. It's the perfect opportunity for a girls-only road trip full of break-up ballads and healing hearts.

But Reagan's vow to live drama-free is tested by the arrival of Matt Finch. He's Lilah's opening act, and his boy-next-door charm is difficult to resist....

Two Best Friends
Two Broken Hearts
One summer that will change Everything - excerpt from book.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord is a sweet, youthful contemporary novel about a summer road tour for two young girls where one is a superstar, the other is the best friend. This story's perspective is through the eyes of the best friend. She considers herself less than perfect, not a good girl and definitely does not qualify to have a superstar as her best friend. The characters' friendship is explained throughout the book, how strong the bond is and why. Slowly the past of the main character is revealed as well through her thoughts. 

This story is about Reagan reinventing herself, finding her one true self. She is flawed yet beautiful at the same time. The mysterious personality is the cause of something deeper that you would get from reaching the end of the book. The side character Lilah is a very cute and sweet girl that comes with struggles of her own. Reading about Lilah is like an instance of Taylor Swift, although I do not know what kind of person Taylor is but it feels like this character is modeled over her.  I love that this book allow all the characters to grow at the same time. I very much enjoyed reading their adventures and interactions with each other. My favourite page turning quality are scenes which involved the designated male interest of our female lead. Their interactions are quite cheesy at times but that's how young love is. The male interest himself has struggles and you would want to learn more about him, just like Reagan.

In terms of plot, the chapters are named over cities of Lilah's music tour which pushes the story forward with the timeline of it. It's not the type of plot that is too dramatic, just realistic enough for the characters portrayed. I can't really relate to them but their struggles and resolution still touched me. Emery does a great job in narrating their feelings, it is always quite poetic, descriptive that is beautiful and memorable. 

I really loved this book as the author sends across a deep meaning message to the readers through lyrics of songs written by the characters. I always can't wait to read about incidents happening to the lead as I want to know how she would have reacted. If I have to pick a favourite quote from the book it would be difficult because there is just too many. This is the fourth book that I have read from this author and I have not been disappointed, I would definitely recommend this to young adult contemporary lovers. Her writing is just fluid and poetic with good meaning that get you pondering and thinking about life.  

Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Fountains of Silence

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography--and fate--introduce him to Ana, whose family's interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War--as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel's photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city. - excerpt from Goodreads

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys is her latest work this year and it has been the longest time ever for me. I first fell in love with her writing through The Salt of the Sea and it was such an amazing book. This book is no exception, it is just as phenomenal. I am truly grateful to have received this from Times read for review. Written in a setting relating to a historical event, her book is inspired by the Spanish Civil War specifically the post war period. She has spent 8 years of researching for this book, so I am happy that it had all worked out for her. With multiple character views in alternating chapters, you get so much different perspective from different backgrounds.

Our male lead is from America and our female lead is a native of Spain, how they intertwine seems simple at first but more and more involvement pushes the story forward. While other characters might be on the sidelines, their growth is also eminent through the alternating chapters you read from the book. Slowly the connection between these characters will show through the plot twists. The mix of the Spanish language into the book gives you a flair of their culture so its funny to learn simple words from reading. Every time Daniel and Ana interacts, you could feel the attraction and how Ana is holding back because of her background. Both character's personality sort of compliments each other, encouraging each other's growth as well.

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