Lies Jane Austen Told Me

34525559Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright

5_stars

I received a copy from Netgalley for a fair review. 

Publish Date: November 7, 2017

“This was all her fault. If I hadn’t spent half my life wanting to be Elizabeth Bennet, I wouldn’t have held my own prejudices so dear. I wouldn’t have taken pride in my own clever snap judgements to like and dislike at a whim.” 

Emma has broken up with Jane Austen. Despite all the happiness her novels and movie adaptations have brought into her life, she has decided that Jane essentially was a fraud – being that she had ended up an old spinster in the end and not happily married to her own love of her life. Except Emma can’t just rid herself of Jane, and her personality that that has been derived from constant interaction with the novels can’t just go away – her pride, prejudices, assumptions, and expectations all get in the way of her life and quite possibly, her happily ever after. Emma is caught between Blake, who she thought was going to propose, and his brother Lucas who is doing his best to reunite the two all the while confusing Emma when she feels a connection to him.

The Story-I blew through this book in one day, and by the end all I wanted to do was pick up my Pride and Prejudice and devour that next. I definitely need a copy of this book to shelf next to the rest of my Austen novels and inspired novels.

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With inspirations from Jane Austen’s novels (and a quote, seemingly a lie Jane has told us all, to start each chapter) we are given a well-rounded novel that not only emanates the type of story Jane would give us, but also something modern and fresh. For me there wasn’t really much in wanting for this book, it delivered exactly what I expected – a story of a girl who had had enough of Jane Austen ideals, but still ends up having her own Austen style romance, full of misunderstandings and missed chances. Really, this was such a subtle combination of a lot of the best aspects of Jane Austen Novels.

The Characters– I am only going to talk about two of the characters (Emma & Lucas) despite the fact that Blake and her best friend are also great characters and the perfect amount of interaction to actually help the plot without taking away from the obvious main characters.

Emma-First of all, she loves Jane Austen, so she gets 100 points there. She exudes a strong character that still has wants and needs. She’s a successful and beautiful woman, but can still be a swoony romantic. So yes, you can be strong but still be incredibly vulnerable with your heart. I loved that she could be sure of herself, but at the same time question her own heart.

Lucas-To me, he was so much like Edward Ferrars (Sense and Sensibility) – always doing right by his promises and for his brother. But then again, he just isn’t Edward either. I loved that everything we want to hate him for putting Emma through is nothing that we can really actually hate him for. He was noble without overdoing it. Which of course does nothing but make us expect men to be so valiant in our own lives, but who cares, that’s why we read this stuff.

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Anything You Can Do

34044126Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey

4_stars

“The truth is, we’ve always been this way I am the Annie Oakley to his Frank Butler and I firmly believe that anything he can do, I can do better.” 

Daisy has been competing with Lucas her entire life. Taking up a position as a doctor in the only family doctor in her home town is one more way she can get the one up over him. That is until she finds out that he will also be working there. Their childish antics resume while the sparks between them start to fly.

The Story-I read this in one sitting. It was a quick, easy read and had quite a few laugh out loud moments. I love the old, hate-to-love trope, and I blame Mr. Darcy for that. Now while it was similar, I wouldn’t say it was as good as The Hating Game, but I would also still recommend to fans of it. I for sure will be checking out more books by Grey.

I only dock it a star really for some of the medical aspects that really bothered me. Really though, it’s the same sort of irks that happen when I watch any type of show with a medical setting. I am not going to point out the specifics but there were a few medical fallacies and a whole lot of medical unprofessionalism.

The Characters-Daisy is really funny. I loved reading all her ridiculous ideas of how to challenge Lucas in a way that she could win. Since there were a few featured, I really wish we could have read more than just three of Lucas’ e-mails. However, I also think it was an easy way of showing his feelings —I did appreciate the home videos towards the end that supported it though.

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I Believe in a Thing Called Love

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

4 stars


“I had always assumed that when relationships went bad, that was the end. But the entire premise of K dramas was that they always ended happily. And that if you looked closely, there was a formula for making a guy fall in love with you.” 

I believe in a thing called love is about Desi, a go-get-it kind of girl who is good at everything she tries except boys. In fact, she is so bad when interacting with boys that she likes that her best friends call her flirting, flailure. In an attempt to snag the guy that she likes, she decides she needs a step by step plan that she can follow. Her inspiration, Korean dramas. The ultimate romantic drama from her very own culture.

Guys, when I first saw there was a book about a girl who uses k dramas as a plan to land the guy she has a crush on, my reaction was something like this:

I was going to give this book 3 stars, but you know what? This book nails the whole K drama thing. There is seriously a huge culture to just the clichés of K dramas and I think it did pretty well. Although, I am not sure if anyone who has never seen a k drama would quite understand the hype, much like Desi is in the beginning of the book. I LOVE k dramas. They are fantastic, and incredibly addictive (as seen in this book). As we first get to read firsthand how Desi is around boys, I was then all for the idea of doing a k drama plan.

As the story progresses I started to realize, holy shxt, this is actually pretty dang crazy, and beyond manipulative. The things that Desi puts on her list was absurd. Never really coming out quite how she planned but still landing her a check mark next to each cliché that can be found in a K drama. Luca is definitely not the ideal lead for a k drama as he doesn’t seem to pick up on all the ques that Desi keeps dropping. I mean duh he never chased after her in a moment where she walks away and grabs her wrist. But you know what? She manages to create all sorts of scenarios to help her get the result she was aiming for.

The stunts that she pulls are both dangerous and incredibly manipulative. How can she go from completely sensible to so crazy! Poor Desi is so caught up in her plan that she can’t step away from the situation and look at what she is actually doing, even if her intentions were sweet. Sometimes, I thought, I know there are some girls out there like this. Then I thought, oh gosh, I feel bad for every single person alive & thank God I don’t have to go to any extremes to get the guy to look at me. The entire time I was reading I felt more like this:

Despite thinking that she was crazy the entire time, I adored the book. Her father is endearing and I loved their dynamic. There were many a time that I read the conversations with her dad and thought, awww I wish I had a Korean dad. But then I remembered I had a Filipino mom and she does the same type of stuff in her own way too.

-Scrill

Mr. Big

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Mr. Big by Delancey Stewart

 

Publish date: August 29, 2017

I received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review. 

3 stars


Before I start my review, let me just say, please don’t let the cover or even the title of the book give you any indication of what the contents of the book are. Because I know this looks like some giant sexy book, but I swear there is more to it!

With that being said, let me just say that this book was surprisingly delightful. Mr. Big is about a CEO who lost his parents and with that his identity. It’s not until he meets fierce, plan-everything, Holland that he actually starts to get his life back together.

What I loved about this book was how much both our characters battled with their own worth from how they were raised and who their parents or family was. This wasn’t a whirlwind romance between a CEO and a woman out to prove herself—okay, it was, but that wasn’t the entire premise of the story. It had depth in a way that hit familial issues as well as what you do when you find out you are into your boss.

Oliver/Hale was seriously a huge dick. It wasn’t something that went away either. There are times that he is a shining example of what some women might dream in a man. But oh my gosh, sometimes he really is a self-centered ass hole. He really was a man who acted like the world revolved around him, and sadly when he wanted to do something for Holland, I almost felt like he was doing something for Holland almost as a self-gratification to be feel like, I did this, I put that smile on her face, even if it wasn’t explicitly said in the text. It was honestly, just the vibe I got. 

It was sort of hard not to root for Holland. Here was this selfless, hardworking, undervalued woman taking the bull by the horns. She had a plan and she was going to make it happen. There were times when I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her yelling, “of course you got here on your own merit!” But alas, she is a woman working in a big business that favored men.

This book was delivered everything I expect out of a good chick-lit novel. A story about a girl getting her life together, no matter how hard the world batted against her. A steamy romance that wasn’t a huge factor to change it from chick-lit to erotica. A gripping moment that has your heart aching right along with our protagonist. It’s there, it’s the whole package. It wasn’t the best I ever read, but it was most certainly entertaining and moving.

-Scrill

Beauty and the Book Boyfriend

Beauty and the Book Boyfriend by K.M. Galvin 

 

3 stars

 

Copy from K M Galvin via Netgalley for fair review.


“Light golden skin is stretched tightly over his muscles, and even though he is wearing a loose work out tank and track pants, I can tell he’s hard all over. I can tell because that’s how I wrote him. I’ve known him for almost ten years now.”


Okay, this book was stinking cute. To be honest, as soon as I read the synopsis I was like eeeek yay. Bellamy Strong is a successful writer and is setting out on a tour for her series for the first time. Her publishers decide that along with book signings they would have her star as the heroine and find a model that looks like the hero of her book for the tour. Shy Bellamy has to deal with her expectations of her come to life hero and how to get out of the shell she has built around herself and grow.


The idea of the story was stellar. The entire time I pictured someone like SJM getting to go on tour with a Rhysand look alike. *The most beautiful man she’s ever seen* Gosh, just the idea is swoon worthy. Can I please have a three month tour with a hottie of my making by my side? I loved that the book boyfriend was nothing like the character that Bellamy had imagined and in fact had his own personality.


Caleb, the guy who is hired to model as the character Max is a hottie & the sexual tension that builds between him and Bellamy is hot. I love that they didn’t hit it off and have to be friends before they can even move onto romance. The initial hotness of course is scoured as soon as he opens his mouth. But it’s not until they are forced to sit in a car together for the lengthy road trip that they get along by some sort of peace treaty.


One of my qualms with the story is that their relationships progressed rather quickly so there was a slight lull in the middle. Luckily, the last 20% skim by really fast, and not in the ‘well that ended abruptly’ sort of way. In a, eek, this is hot, flip flip flip, awwwww, flip flip flip, ending. And though it ended the way I anticipated it ending, it was still rather sweet.


My other qualm with the story was the lack of bickering. I would expect that spending nearly every minute with the same set of 4 people would cause some sort of animosity. Instead, the characters just grew closer and closer. But really, even with the people I most adore, you have to have some personal space. I would have liked it a little bit better if tempers rose and people got a little tired of being with each other. It would have seemed a little more realistic.

 
-Scrill

Ella’s Ice Cream Summer

Ella’s Ice Cream Summer by Sue Watson

Publish date: May 11, 2017

Received an ARC from Bookouture via Netgalley for a fair review.

2 Stars

“Was there still time to do something more with my life and get that Facebook fantasy? Should I Just play it safe and not risk losing what little I had, or should I throw caution to the wind and embrace what apparently the universe had given me? Perhaps this was my adventure after all?”


Ella’s Ice Cream Summer was a light story about a pseudo-empty-nester turning over a new leaf in her life. Ella lost her job, her kids are off having adventures in Nepal and Thailand for the summer, and her mother has taken on internet dating all other sorts of social media. The death of her aunt leaves Ella with a portion of the family ice cream business which Ella decides to try out for the summer.

The simplicity of the story was also what brought my opinion down. The beginning had enough going on to get me intrigued, but once Ella was working the ice cream stand I was hardly hooked and had to push through the story. The only element that really kept me going was the curiosity of what had caused the family feud. The actually facts behind the feud was definitely not expected but definitely gave reason as to why there was such a problem. The entire time, we are put off thinking it might be something completely trivial that had three women to have a complete fall out.

The curiosity wasn’t enough. The romantic relationship that Ella developed with Ben is not very developed either as their interactions are short. More time was spent theoretically thinking about what Ella was doing with the future of the business/staying in Devon and how she shouldn’t get attached to Ben than actual time spent with him.

The best part of the book was sadly the descriptions of the ice cream treats. And though it’s called Ice Cream Summer, it’s probably more like gelato. But I honestly don’t have enough knowledge between the differences of the two to definitely say either way. I just love ice cream/gelato.

What I had hoped would be a kick start to my summer beach reads ended up only inspiring me to make my own gelato, which it turns out is harder than this book makes it out to be, there are quite a few steps! I did find it cute to find an easy recipe after the epilogue for a batch of vanilla ice cream.

Now that I have read two books on gelato/ice cream this month I have since decided to take on making some of my own. Post on that after I try a little bit.

-Scrill

Royally Bad

Royally Bad by Nora Flite
Bad Boy Royals #1

2 stars


“I’d been thinking of her as my Cinderella. I was already a prince – in a sense – so why couldn’t it work? We’d dance, I’d put the shoes on her prefect feet, and we’d kiss and laugh, and all would be fucking sparkles and hearts.” 

I really had a hard time picking between a 2 and 3 stars on this. I mean, I have a hard time judging truly because this isn’t really the genre I prefer to read. Still, despite my low expectations it was surprisingly entertaining – despite the parts that made me laugh out loud and think…come on…really.

So the book is about this girl, Sammy, who becomes super involved in this family’s, the Badd’s, personal affairs. From making a wedding a dress, to being a brides maid, to being arrested with them. The day they Badds entered her family was the day her life changed from it’s boring and quiet ways.

The plot itself was…well entertaining enough. What I mean by that was that it was enough for me to finish the book. There were a few parts that left me wondering…why? Like, the Mr. Badd didn’t really know the relationship between Kain & Sammy, but still felt inclined to protect the girl because something concerning her might affect the family…..okay. It wasn’t really expected considering his position. The ending was a little predictable, well part of it was, but that’s okay.

The characters were so-so. Sammy was a cute little feisty girl, but was a little too trusting. Kain was sort of a d-bag. His third sentence in the book was, “Don’t use the worlds ‘little’ and ‘dick’ in the same sentence with me.” I mean serious eye roll, this guy is so into his penis and thinks he is all that. In fact, a lot of the things Kain says is pretty eye rolly-y. He’s got that macho protector character down. At least there weren’t a ton of hits-his-chest-cave-man moments.

All in all, it was a quick and easy read. Funny at some moments with a large dash of cheesy romantic scenes. My biggest problem is I can’t get behind a guy who is so fully of himself and having a character change so quickly. Call me a pessimist.

-Scrill

Beauty Sleeping

Beauty Sleeping by Farha Hasan

received a copy in exchange for a fair review from Weapenry Co-Op via Netgalley.

I am sorry to say that I DNF at 30%. I don’t particularly like to do that, especially from Netgalley. But I just couldn’t do it anymore

Beauty Sleeping is the first installment to the Make A Wish series by Hasan and is retelling inspired by Sleeping Beauty. I honestly don’t exactly know what is even going on in this book. From what I could tell there is a girl in a coma that can float around and see what is going on in other people’s lives.

Plot: Like I said, I have no idea what is happening. The story is jumping around from character to character so much that I am confused. The timeline is also confusing as well. One moment we’re at work, another we’re in therapy, then at home.

Characters: I feel that at 30% I should know a little bit more about our characters. I’m not sure if Hasan intentionally wrote this way to make the book a little mysterious, but I don’t know who the actual main character is. I know there’s obviously the girl in the coma. there’s a girl who is a designer for an ad company, and then some guy who works on Wall Street. That’s all I really know. I mean, I am a third of the way through and I don’t even care about the characters enough to keep going, not even considering the confusing plot.

Setting: New York. This could have been worked up so much more! The only major point that this gives any credit to is that our male antagonist works on Wall Street. Otherwise..it could be anywhere. The only depth that we get is when he is at his family house and talks about different foods. Thank God the characters are Indian because they gave some depth to the story and what is going on around them (arranged marriages, family obligation)

So, in the end, I only really got to 30% because I am a xenophile and I typically like books that use culture besides Caucasian America. Unfortunately, there was little that I got from the culture besides a few dishes and apparel references. It wasn’t enough to get me past the confusing intro and into any real story…if it existed.

-Scrill