Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

born a crime

5 out of 5

what i liked

I listened to this on audiobook after I was gifted it by a friend. Man am I glad that I listened to it! I think reading this book would also be great, but Trevor Noah does read this audiobook and it is so good.
This book is titled Born A Crime because Trevor is born of mixed races in South Africa during the apartheid. So his birth was literally a crime. His insight into living during this time period was incredibly interesting! I didn’t know very much about the apartheid other than referencing Nelson Mandela and his prison time. I feel like I know quite a bit more now, but I’m still interested in learning more.
Trevor grew up in South Africa and has since moved to the states. He references just how different his life was from the typical life here in the States. It was all just really eye opening. (Let me preface that I have been to Africa- a few countries in southern Africa, so I did have a good frame of reference from how different their lives are from my own.) There is just a huge power in hearing someone’s personal story and how much that can show you about the world.
I loved hearing stories about Trevor’s mom, and his extended family. His intense and alcoholic step dad. All of the scenes that he describes are written so well, and they feel so real while you’re listening.
He’s a strong writer, in fact, part way through the book I actually forgot he was a comedian/celebrity. It just seemed like a regular memoir.
Fun fact, this book as been optioned to become a movie starring Lupita Nyong’o as Trevor’s mom! I can’t wait to watch it!
Pick this book up, (and on audio!) you won’t regret it!
This book is REQUIRED READING for memoir lovers!

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Coldhearted Boss by R.S. Grey

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Wow I had a really hard time rating this book.  Here’s the deal, it started off rough for me.  Mostly because it featured my least favorite trope of all time- poor girl and rich boy.  Now there are occasions in which the story or characters will help me get past my hatred of this trope (I’m looking at you The Distance Between Us).  But that’s the exception… the rule is Poor vs Rich trope is a big no for me.  But alas, Rachel is a master at her craft and had me totally rooting for this couple.  I was invested in their lives and knew their motives.  So without further pomp and circumstance I officially rate this book …

4 out of 5

4 out of 5 steam level

How did she turn me around completely to this book? Well she also included my favorite trope: hate to love you.  What else do I absolutely adore in a romance? A slow burn.  And oh boy did this feature a slow burn!  It also featured R.S. Grey’s signature wit and charm that she writes into her characters.  So while this book started off rocky for me, about 1/3 of the way into it I was absorbed fully.  I read the next 2/3 of the book in one sitting.  Let me emphasize this…I read the next 2/3 in one sitting after I taking a sleeping pill.  I refused to give into sleep because I loved this book so much!  It ended with a perfect epilogue- which you know I’m a sucker for.  What can I say, R.S. Grey does it again!  If you like a steamy romcom then run don’t walk to your nearest R.S. Grey book because she is a Queen of her craft!

arc review

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Roomies by Christina Lauren

roomies

 

official blurb
Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient. For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions. Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago. Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

my blurb!
A girl who feels indebted to her uncles, figures the best way to help them out is to marry a guy she has a crush on; simply to help him secure a visa.

5 out of 5                                                              4 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
So… I read this book at the end of January.  Yes I know, I’m that behind on reviews.  And back in January I rated this book 4.75 stars…just shy of required reading.  But alas, with the gift of time I now find myself grading this book higher. Mostly because I can only remember the good things. So this book is REQUIRED READING for Romance Lovers!
I read this book in one sitting.  One night. The whole book.  I was so into it! This was a 2am book read for me!
It was really funny, I laughed out loud multiple times.  Which, honestly I’m kind of just expecting from Christina Lauren by now.  This is another perk of reading romcoms, you can lay in your bed and laugh out loud, annoying your sleeping husband beside you.
This book was just plain cute.  I found myself smiling a lot while reading it.  I really enjoyed it!  Is there anything better than smile-reading?  I submit not!
Our main man, Calvin, was perfect.  I mean, he’s totally book boyfriend material.  And he has an accent so that’s an added plus.  He was loyal and kind and talented.  Did I mention the accent? Because he had an accent.
Our main girl, Holland, was odd and quirky and really likable.  In the first few chapters you already find yourself rooting for her to succeed.
Here’s a quick quote to wet your appetite for Roomies:

“Tonight I’ve concluded two things about gin: it tastes like pine cones and is clearly the devil’s sauce.”

what i didn't like
I know I said I didn’t remember what I disliked about the book, but as I was writing the “liked” section I remembered!  Yay for the amazing power of memory!  (I have to cheer my memory on because honestly, it’s awful).  The ending of this book left a few too many loose ends for my taste.  I needed a couple of things to be a bit more concrete.  Could I be more vague for you? YES! haha But I don’t want to give any spoilers so that’s as vague and precise as I’m willing to be.  Overall though, I still loved this book so I’m keeping the five star rating.

Interested in more of my reviews of Christina Lauren books? Check these one’s out!
Love and Other Words
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating
The Unhoneymooners
Dating You Hating You

while reading you should
Do: plan out what you’ll wear and who’ll you take to the theater when this book becomes a movie! That’s right this book IS becoming a movie- starring Jenna Dewan.
Drink: gin.  Not an alcohol fan? Full disclosure, I’m not either.  In that case drink Gin…ger ale!  See what I did there?
Listen: Ho Hey by Lennon and Maisy

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Harry Potter (#1) and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

HP1

official blurb
Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry. Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

my blurb!
An eleven year old boy finds out that he can do magic and gets to go to a new school to study it.

So this was a reread- or in my case a re-listen.  I have always listened  to the Harry Potter books. Yes you read that correctly, me- a huge Harry Potter fan, I have not actually physically flipped pages of an HP book.  I listen to Jim Dale’s many voices to make the story come alive.  And it is…magical.

5 out of 5

 

This is REQUIRED READING FOR FANTASY LOVERS.  Let me reiterate that.  If you don’t like fantasy books, you probably won’t like this book.  If you don’t like middle school age books, you probably won’t like this book.

what i liked
Ron is an MVP! I didn’t remember how much I really liked Ron. His humor is really funny throughout the book. I definitely laughed out loud multiple times.
I’ll always have a soft spot for Neville Longbottom, there’s just something about him that I adore! It could be because of the actor who plays him and what he looks like. Just saying. But really Neville is my favorite.
The world building is done very well! I seriously loved every scene with the Dursleys in it. She does so well writing them so that you can’t help but hate them! But you also love reading about them!
Funny story about listening to the audio books is that I don’t know how to spell a lot of the words in Harry Potter and I didn’t actually know that Voldemort had a “t” at the end of his name! I did eventually pick up a book and read his name and was shocked, because Jim Dale the reader of the audiobooks does not pronounce the T.
Upon listening to the book this time around, I noticed that Hermione’s skin color is never mentioned and this time I pictured her being black because of the description of her features and her hair. Of course I’ll always imagine Emma Watson but it was interesting that my mind chose somebody else this time around!
It really makes magic seem normal and that’s the best possible compliment I could give to JK Rowling. I sometimes didn’t even notice that this is a fantasy book because it seems so real!
Another thing the book does so well is to actually capture the ages of the characters. The snide remarks and the annoyance about teachers… the way that Harry refuses to call Professor Snape by the title of Professor and just called him Snape haha! The line at the very end of the book really captures Harry’s age and his wiliness! (Sidenote- isn’t wiliness the best word ever? I need to use it more often!)

what i didn't like
There’s a little cheesiness involved in this book regarding the ending and how Harry is able to defeat the bad guy.  I think it should be noted, but honestly I didn’t mind it that much.  These books are done so well and I’m so happy to finally be reviewing them!

while reading you should
Listen: to this book on audiobook.  I mean, you can read them it’s true.  But seriously Jim Dale is a master at his craft! I’ve listened to almost every audiobook he’s ever read!
Do: Get some harry potter swag. There are so many things to buy that are HP themed, the options are endless!
Watch:  The first Harry Potter movie!

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Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

serious moonlight

official blurb
After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately. Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel. In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel. To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

my blurb!
A semi naive aspiring sleuth teams up with a former fling to uncover the identity of a mysterious author using a pen name.

 

Want to read my other reviews of Jenn Bennett books?  Click here for Starry Eyes.  Click here for Alex, Approximately.

4 out of 5

what i didn't like
I was ready for it to end a little sooner.  Otherwise this book MIGHT have been 5 stars for me.
I also didn’t always love Birdie.  But I did for the most part.  Her indecisiveness got old.  To be fair, that was addressed by the end of the book.
There is also storyline with Aunt Mona that was 100% predictable to me.

what i liked
A main character obsessed with mysteries? Sign me up!  I love BBC masterpiece mysteries and consider myself to be an amateur sleuth of sorts.  Okay, I don’t really consider myself to be one, more like I think I’d be good at it if I ever tried it.  (Oh, come on. Like you didn’t watch the Bourne movies and think you’d make an awesome Bourne!  I’m basically the same except more like Veronica Mars).
Jenn Bennett writes some really funny dialogue, but also some hard hitting dialogue.  Here’s a couple snippets from the book to wet your appetite.

“Come on, Nick.  Are we solving a GD mystery, or aren’t we?”
A slow grin split his face.  “Nora, my dear, you know I can’t resist it when you use profanity.”

“We didn’t come out here to help you seek vengeance.”
“No one plans vengeance,” she argued.
“Yes! They do!” I said, exasperated.  “It’s a planned act of revenge.”
“For you maybe.  For me vengeance just happens.”

“When you pin impossible ideals on someone, nobody wins… Judging other people unfairly doesn’t define them; it defines you.  And in the end everyone will be disappointed… Most of us are just living our lives, trying the best we can.  Accepting people for who they are is hard, but in the long run, it’s easier than sitting around, wishing they were something they’re not.”

I mean… I know you’re wanting to run out and get this book right now. And you should.  But just wait a minute because I’m almost done with my review.
If you don’t follow me on instagram (you should), then you don’t know that I’m obsessed with berets.  In fact you can often see me sporting the hashtag of #beretoftheday.  Picture this, I’m just sitting and reading…minding my own business and adjusting my beret when necessary, when all of the sudden I stumble upon this gem of dialogue:

“Don’t bother being polite to Old Man Jessen.  If an asshole could were a beret, that’s what it would look like.”

A line featuring a beret?! YES!! Okay, so it wasn’t totally favorable.  But still.  I’m throwing a party for a beret mention!
If it wasn’t totally clear with the above line, this book features some profanity.  It also starts out recalling a (sort of) one night stand.  Yes, this book is YA.  It’s not “open door” descriptive in the romance scenes but mentionable nonetheless.  There is also trigger warnings for suicide in this book.
I can’t believe I went this long in the book without  talking about my main man Daniel!  Daniel is our male protagonist and he is amazing!  I dare you not to develop a crush on him and his grand gestures.  Go ahead and try… you will not be successful.  Shout out to diverse reads here because Daniel Aoki is in fact Asian.  There’s nothing I’m more of a sucker for in a book than an interracial couple!  Bring them all to me!!! I will read those books os fast!

while reading you should
Watch: Veronica Mars
Read: Agatha Christie books
Listen to: David Bowie

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The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

the flateshare

official blurb
Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.  But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

my blurb!
Two people share a living space (bed and all).  One person lives there during the day, and the other at night.  They never plan to meet.

5 out of 5

 

1 / 5 steam level

For all of you looking for LGBT character in books- this book did feature a supporting character subplot with an LGBT romance.
Trigger Warning: Emotional Abuse.

what i liked
Have you noticed yet that I don’t love “women’s fiction” books yet?  (I don’t know why they’re usually called that and not just fiction, btw).  I get kind of depressed when I read them, because the adults lives are so humdrum.  But guess what? I read a fiction book that I loved!!!  Oh… you knew that?  You already saw the part where I rated it 5 stars? Fair enough.
While this book wasn’t all sunshine and roses (trigger warnings in this book for emotional abuse), I did find myself smile-reading quite a bit throughout it.
This book was for sure British but while that can be a hindrance in understanding the flow or tone in some books (I’m looking at you When Polly Met Olly) , it was great in this book! (More like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine). 
So many words came to mind when I was thinking of this book… funny, stressful, cute.  It was all of these things!
There were some amazing pop culture references in this.  I LOVE a good pop culture reference so everytime I read one I would get a little giddy.
Guess what else this book had? An Epilogue!!! I can’t help it, I am a sucker for a good epilogue! I love the wrap up in a book!
I adored the main couple in this book.  Tiffy and Leon.  First of all, let me shout out to them being an interracial couple.  Secondly they were so freaking likable!  I am totally fictional friends with them.
Here’s a little snippet from my main man Leon:
Tiffy: You’re an introvert.
Make a face.  I’m not a fan of those Myers Briggs – type things that tell you your personality type, like horoscopes for business people.
Me: Guess so.
If you didn’t know this about me- I HATE personality tests.  I know, you want to tell me my enneagram number.  I’m happy for you and your number, and I don’t want to take the test!  (Did that just giveaway my number? Crap.)
Need a little pallet teaser for Tiffy?  I didn’t leave you hanging!
Leon looks at me with amusement.
“What a hat,” he says.

“What a day,” I counter, spreading my arms out wide.  “No other headwear would do it justice.”
Need I say more? Tiffy and I are soul sisters?!  If you don’t follow me on instagram (you should be ashamed of yourself!) then you don’t know about my hat obsession. In fact I regularly post to my Instagram story with #beretoftheday.  That’s right, berets are awesome and there’s nothing you can do to talk me out of it!  Do you see why Tiffy and I are besties?
Also, if it wasn’t clear from those excerpts, the chapters are told from alternating POVs.  So you hear from Tiffy and you hear from Leon’s perspective and they’re both perfect!
I loved this book- if you’re looking for your next great fiction read then look no further than The Flatshare!

while reading you should
Do: bake something to share with your neighbors!
Listen to:  Manhattan by Sara Bareilles and Sun-Drenched World by Joshua Radin

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Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

meet cute

official blurb
Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran – quite literally – into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either… Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can’t help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn’s new celebrity client, there’s even more at stake than Dax’s custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she’ll be promoted to partner. The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

my blurb!
After a law school experience, steeped in sexual tension, ends with being backstabbed.  Two people are forced to coexist while trying to do what’s best in a custody agreement.

3.5 stars                                                             4 out of 5 steam level

 

what i liked
This book starts off laugh out loud funny.  I was laughing, cringe reading (lots of embarrassment) and smile reading throughout the first few chapters of this book.  Here’s a little snippet of funny exchanges:

“I don’t have time to shave regularly these days, let alone time for hot dates.” She sighs.  “I hate this whole online generation crap.  Why can’t I just meet a nice guy in a coffee shop, or the library or something?”
“I think you’d have to frequent coffee shops and library for that to happen, wouldn’t you?” I ask.

But don’t let the humor fool you.  This book isn’t entirely funny.  In fact, in the first 4 chapters- it starts to get pretty serious.  The overall plot of this book revolves around a custody dispute.  The writing, even when it wasn’t funny, still packed a good punch.  I included a snippet of this too (you’re welcome):

“Heartache is the worst affliction.  It robs a person of rationality, or logic, of forethought and patience.  It makes everything good painfully bright and magnifies the bad with an intensity that’s difficult to tolerate.”

Another thing in the pro column for me is their jobs.  The two main characters were both lawyers.  You got to see them in law school and then see them practicing different types of law.  I really enjoyed that whole aspect of the book.
The last chapter of the book was great so it definitely ended on a high note for me.  It felt a little disjointed from being laugh out loud funny to being heavy and not very funny at all.  But overall I enjoyed reading this and read it quickly!

what i didn't like
Okay, you know how I feel about names.  The main characters name was Daxton.  You read that correctly.  DAXTON.  The whole book, I kept thinking… how does that name even dawn on you to use? I’ve never even heard of that name before!  It did have a saving grace though because towards the latter end of the book we get to experience this funny exchange:

“Oh my God, Emme, look, Liam is waiting for you! Who’s with him? Oh! Oh! That’s Clark and Jackson and River.”
“Who the hell named these kids?”  I mutter.
“Your name is Daxton,” Emme points out.

Another thing I didn’t love was how predictable this book was.  I knew exactly what was going on in all of the plotlines- and in fact, ended up being a little annoyed that it took the characters so long to catch on.  It got to be a little bit stressful at times!
Speaking of stressful- when these characters get together it seems ethically unsound.  So I was pretty stressed throughout the book waiting for the shoe to drop on that part of the plot.
I think my biggest gripe was that this was titled Meet Cute and it’s not a cutesy book- but more of a heavy hitter.

while reading you should
Watch: Legally Blonde (because… lawyers)
Watch:  What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (Siblings raising siblings storyline!)
Eat: Shepherd’s Pie

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