🔥🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level
It’s no secret that I love R.S. Grey’s steamy romcoms. In fact a few of her books have made their way on MY required reading list for romance lovers! This book features the signature wit of Grey that I always love and tropes that I can’t help but get behind. (Tropes in this book include: confined space, in love with brothers best friend, coworker romance, age gap). Unfortunately this book didn’t capture me like Grey’s others. I had some issues with the overall romance in it. The couple’s relationship seemed a bit unhealthy with passionate scenes occuring after huge fights and poor communication. Sex scenes featuring tears and anger and avoidance. I had a hard time moving past that and it made me overall not root for them as a couple. In the background of this book are two characters that I hope will have a book next because I was really into them! (I’m purposefully not using their names… no spoilers from me!) So it’s a bummer that I wasn’t the ideal reader for this particular book, but that won’t stop me from picking up all of Grey’s books in the future!
Remember me screaming about my love for The Friend Zone? Well this book takes place after that one… it can definitely be read as a standalone book but honestly… why would you ever skip The Friend Zone?
Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back. Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?
An amazing grieving girl falls for a famous world traveling boy…before she realizes she would have to travel all of the time too.
🔥🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level
I loved this story! I read it really quickly… like in two sittings. It had me hooked! I loved the love story and meet cute! Revisiting Josh and Kristen from The Friend Zone added so much to the story! The best part of this book was easily how in love Sloan and Jason were. I kept thinking that the whole time I was reading it! I think a lot of people who may not have bonded with Kristen as much in TFZ will love Sloan. Jimenez wrote both characters really well and their personalities are so different from one another – I could just see a lot of people being #teamsloan. I loved the closeness of Jason and his family in this book- that was a big highlight for me. I hope to even see more glimpses of the family in future books! (Hey, it’s a three book deal! Maybe book three will be about his family!)
I think one takeaway from this book could be that the main couple was codependent. It might be a turn off for some readers. This was easily my favorite rockstar romance that I’ve ever read- in general that trope really doesn’t hit home for me. With that being said- there were still moments in this book that I wanted to hurry the rockstar drama along.
There was a bit of mystery (strong word here… more like a plot point that is revealed later on in the story) regarding a character named Lola and I solved that really easily and early on. It didn’t take away from the storyline per say – but I felt it should be noted. Overall this book had high drama. I didn’t love this aspect of it, but I adored the love story so much that it was able to drive the story home for me and still had me adoring this book.
Do: Go through a car wash
Do: Make a new playlist!
Listen to: …well the entire playlist that the author includes at the back of the book. but if you’re too lazy to flip there I’ll include one song… Keep Your Head Up by Ben Howard
Eat: A cupcake. And if you’re close to Nadia’s cupcakes – go there! (The author owns that bakery!)
Christmas is coming to the North Carolina mountains, and the air is fresh and crisp and filled with promise. After the devastating loss of her job in the big city, the small town of Sweetwater Springs feels like heaven to Kaitlyn Russo. She’s inherited her grandparents’ charming (if a little rundown) bed and breakfast, and it’s just the new lease on life she needs. Only “heaven” comes with a catch – and a handsome and completely infuriating one at that. After what he hopes will be a quick trip, Mitch Hargrove wants nothing more than to put his hometown in the rearview mirror. But his plans get derailed when he learns he’s now half-owner of the Sweetwater B&B. The fact that he’s given only two months to make the inn a success is a huge problem, but it’s his pretty – and incredibly headstrong – partner who’s the real challenge. With the holiday fast approaching and a grand re-opening looming, will Mitch keep running from the ghosts of Christmas past . . . or will he realize the true gift he’s been given?
🔥🔥 Steam Level
This book had total hallmark vibes and I am here for it! If you’re expecting a hallmark movie including a dog at some point then you’re in luck. This book ties up things quickly and makes you want to visit a super cute Bed and Breakfast in a small town. It even had me brainstorming about what couples in love I would name my hypothetical b&b rooms after! (In case you were wondering I was thinking Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly!) This was the first Christmas book that I ever made it through and enjoyed. I don’t know why those tend to fall short for me even though I LOVE Christmas. This one was a hit in my book!
At the height of drama in the book, I felt like our heroine let our hero off the hook really quickly. Also it should be noted that the epilogue was maximum cheese level.
trigger warnings: car accident, sexual harassment/ sexual assault (beginning of chapter 5)
Make: Chocolate chip cookies
Watch: The Hallmark Channel’s trilogy: All of my heart, All of my heart: The Wedding, All of my heart: Inn love.
Watch: I mean while you’re at it you might as well use that Netflix subscription you’re paying for and watch Falling Inn Love
A year after getting divorced, Helen Carpenter, thirty-two, lets her annoying, ten years younger brother talk her into signing up for a wilderness survival course. It’s supposed to be a chance for her to pull herself together again, but when she discovers that her brother’s even-more-annoying best friend is also coming on the trip, she can’t imagine how it will be anything other than a disaster. Thus begins the strangest adventure of Helen’s well-behaved life: three weeks in the remotest wilderness of a mountain range in Wyoming where she will survive mosquito infestations, a surprise summer blizzard, and a group of sorority girls.Yet, despite everything, the vast wilderness has a way of making Helen’s own little life seem bigger, too. And, somehow the people who annoy her the most start teaching her the very things she needs to learn. Like how to stand up for herself. And how being scared can make you brave. And how sometimes you just have to get really, really lost before you can even have a hope of being found.
A girl who deserves better out of life decides to go on a trip where she hopes to leave with the gumption to demand better. Also there’s a cute guy involved.
Okay remember how I was slightly (read: entirely) obsessed with How To Walk Away by Katherine Center? I had so many people talking to me about this other book by her that I needed to read (I’m looking at you Kate and Joee)! But for some reason I just never read it. Maybe because it reminded me of Wild which I couldn’t get through? But I finally read an ebook copy when it came in for me at the library. Truth be told this was at least the third time I secured the ebook from the library, but I finally read it this time! And woah… two words – freaking amazing. (I already ordered myself a copy and started annotating it).
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
🔥 out of 5 steam level
REQUIRED READING FOR FICTION LOVERS
Omg, what didn’t I like would be an easier question!!! I’m slightly obsessed with Jake. I was hooked on this book at the end of the first chapter. Like couldn’t put it down, couldn’t stop thinking about it, knew I would buy it – kind of hooked. At 60% of the way through I messaged my best friend and said “You really don’t have a choice with this question- but do you want to read this book?” (She is going to read it of course… because she has amazing taste. In books and in friends. hah!)
It’s so hard for me to review this without spoilers- but I will say that the message of the book is really on brand with The Gratitude Diaries (are you tired of me talking about that book yet? Too bad! I’ll never stop!!!)
There were approximately 7000 quotes in this book that I highlighted on my kindle. I’m obsessed with Katherine Center’s writing! I’ve touted it in multiple reviews of her books but honestly- this is her calling. She is such an amazing writer!!!
I heard that Katherine Center’s next book is all about Duncan and I cannot freaking wait!!!! I’m so here for all of her writing but this book spoke to me. It was a fictional practice of changing your mindset towards positivity. Read it!!!! Drop everything and read it!!!!
Lastly, I think it should be mentioned that I have two toddlers and a two week old newborn. I should have been sleeping when I was reading this book. Instead I was up two nights in a row reading this. I have zero regrets. That’s how good it was!
Read: The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan
Do: break out some old dance moves to The Cha Cha Slide
Eat: A fish dinner
Do: unfriend exes on social media!
Do: I mean while you’re at it, you might as well go for a walk!
Ready for a mini review? I’ve never done one before but I decided to DNF (do not finish) this book but still review it. (I mean, how else am I supposed to remember that I’ve read it?! Okay I do use goodreads…good point. Nonetheless I am doing a mini review!)
Okay, I really enjoyed the setup in the first few chapters.
At page 41 I’m already getting tired of the reiteration that she’s worried about money but thinking about getting a Christmas tree. So far it’s kind of a depressing read.
Jury is still out on if I’ll find jack too annoying or not with this- screaming when touched in crowds thing. Okay after reading a little further I do find it annoying.
Could use more scenes from Daniel…
No word on the steam rating for this book because I didn’t get that far.
Okay stopping this book. This is a real downer- not a fun Christmassy book by any means. I’ve just been alerted about MORE trigger warnings– so far the list is suicide, terminal illness, sexual assault.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
On New Year’s Eve, journalist and former Parade Editor-in-Chief Janice Kaplan makes a promise to be grateful and look on the bright side of whatever happens. She realizes that how she feels over the next months will have less to do with the events that occur than her own attitude and perspective. Getting advice at every turn from psychologists, academics, doctors, and philosophers, she brings readers on a smart and witty journey to discover the value of appreciating what you have. Relying on both amusing personal experiences and extensive research, Kaplan explores how gratitude can transform every aspect of life including marriage and friendship, money and ambition, and health and fitness. She learns how appreciating your spouse changes the neurons of your brain and why saying thanks helps CEOs succeed. Through extensive interviews with experts and lively conversations with real people including celebrities like Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, and Jerry Seinfeld, Kaplan discovers the role of gratitude in everything from our sense of fulfillment to our children’s happiness.
Wow, let’s talk about how life changing this book can be if you let it! But I know we need to get something out of the way first – Janice Kaplan lives a charmed life that most of us will not relate to. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t need to practice gratitude and can’t be an expert on it though!
I have recommended this book to practically everyone I know. Because, no joke, this book has made my day to day life so much better! There are daily practices you can do to practice gratitude. There are steps to help with you marriage, with your job, with depression. And let me tell you, it works!
I love the quotes from philosophers, I love the stats about mental health and how much gratitude can help with mental health. Most of all I love the actual payoff of reading this book and putting it into practice. If gratitude is a muscle that you exercise, I am determined to be a ripped body builder.
Add this to your must read list, you won’t regret it!
Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other. James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus. Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…
A dysfunctional version of Chip and Joanna Gaines go on tour and need to be managed by two employees who think they’re better than each other.
🔥🔥🔥🔥 (maybe 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥) / 5 steam level
[this rating is mainly for speech used rather than action]
This book was a hard one for me. It wasn’t particularly funny by any means and the characters that you’re supposed to be rooting for didn’t really have much of a love story. The first few chapters set the groundwork for the reader to understand the empire that Carey and James are working for. This was tough for me because I thought it was pretty easy to grasp that the Tripps were indeed the Gaines’ but with a crappy marriage. I tried to push through that part assuming that the Gaines’ don’t exist in the world that Christina Lauren created- but alas, at the end of the book Mrs. Tripp makes a reference to Chip and Jo! So that theory went out the window…
The formatting is a bit like Big Little Lies (the show… because I still haven’t read the book!) where they’re being interviewed by the police about something secretive and you don’t find out what it is until the end. I would’ve been really into this storytelling technique if it paid off. I didn’t think it paid off.
Around 31% into the book I made a note that I was ready to start skimming. Instead I put the book down and read a different book and came back to this one.
I think what I struggled with the most is not rooting for Carey and James. They were more like side characters than the main characters of the novel. Carey lacked a lot of gumption and I really dislike that in a character. There was a communication issue that could have been easily avoided but was maybe necessary for the climax of the book (only if you thought of James and Carey as the main characters… which I did not and therefore didn’t find the drama necessary).
I would be wrong to not acknowledge that there is a weirdly abusive (verbal and emotional?) relationship in this book that is completely unhealthy and doesn’t resolve in a way that was pleasing for me.
Remember that awesome movie Set It Up on Netflix? This was kind of like a take on that movie but not done as well.
I will say also that as much as I wasn’t wrapped up in the love story of the book, I did like James quite a bit.
So overall this book wasn’t for me. There will definitely be readers that love this book and like the variation from other CL books. The good news is that this is the exception to the rule from me with CL books and I will happily still pick up their next book without thinking twice about it!