Not The Girl You Marry by Andie J Christopher

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arc review

*This title releases Nov 12, 2019

official blurb
Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him.Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings. Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.

1 out of 5

🔥🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

 

This book started off really strong for me.  Reading the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book- you got a taste of why the author started out writing this book to begin with.  In this case the author wrote specifically about being biracial and dating what the difficulties she faced with that.  Being biracial myself, I was really excited to read this book – you know I’ve mentioned one of the coolest things about reading the romance genre is getting to read characters that are more like me on the pages of a book!  Well… it was a short lived excitement- as I dove into the pages I found the main character to be someone who constantly brought up race.  Constantly.  My interpretation while reading was not that the people around her were constantly judging her race necessarily, or that she didn’t fit it. But rather that she was unable to move on from periods in her life where she was judged.  I just really needed her to go to therapy… but that wasn’t supposed to be the takeaway in the book.

Remember the movie How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days? Well this book is basically a rip off of that movie if you switched the gender roles and made the guy the jerk and the girl the one who needed to stay in the relationship.  Reading about a douche guy who I’m supposed to be rooting for, just didn’t work for me. I rolled my eyes so many times in the beginning and got so tired of “private parts” references… seriously.

If you didn’t know it, I’m not into nicknames in books. It VERY rarely works for me… I think the only time I can remember it working for me was in With This Heart by R.S. Grey.  Well in this book he immediately starts calling her Duchess… and then later explains because she’s propper/classy.  These are not words that I would ever use to describe her.  In fact part of the whole entire storyline is that she is using him to be taken more seriously at work because she’s known as a bachelor party event planner instead of a classy event planner…

I could go on and on but why?  This book was rough.  In the end, I decided to DNF this book because life is too short for books you’re not enjoying (and I’ve been pushing through WAY too many bad books right now).

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Prose Before Bros (Green Valley Library #3) by Cathy Yardley

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arc review

official blurb
Nothing about being a librarian prepared Thuy Nguyen for such a wide variety of casseroles. Or life in a small town. Or becoming a farmer. But what can she do when her catastrophe-prone best friend begs her for help? After all, Maddy has always been there for Thuy. It’s time to return the favor. It’s simple really, all she has to do is: learn everything about farming ASAP, save her BFF’s family business from disaster, and avoid being caught staring at Maddy’s biker brother, and his muscles, and his smile, and his soulful, sexy eyes. Oh yeah, and she should definitely not fall in love with him. Easy, right? . . . Right.

1 out of 5(I didn’t get far enough into the book to give it an accurate steam rating)

Drill was not striking my fancy physically or personality wise. I’m not into the iron wraiths (reminder that this is the motorcycle club in this Peenyverse)! I just don’t like the whole motorcycle club (MC) thing in general- and unfortunately one of our main characters is an integral part of the MC.

Thuy brought the diversity in the book- she’s from NorCal (heyoh, I see you my old stomping grounds!).  She has a complicated past (though I never got far enough to discover what it was), and she is Asian.  From what I read from her (other than her attraction to Drill…which I did not get at all) I liked her.

The main reason I decided to DNF (did not finish) this book was that I simply couldn’t connect with it. By the time I finished chapter ten, I had made notes that there were too many redundant sentiments or sentences that I couldn’t move past. Also it was clear where the Drill MC storyline was going.  (With the MC using him for money and him not wanting to go through with their plan but feeling obligated- and I couldn’t sit through that). You know how I feel about my protagonists needing a LOT of gumption! A lot of gumption.

So alas, I was not the right reader for this book unfortunately. But if you enjoy motorcycle clubs and the Pennyverse (smartypants romances) then this one could still be for you!

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Weight Expectations (Cipher Office #1) by M.E. Carter

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arc review

my blurb!
Rian Thompson thought she joined the gym to get healthy. Little did she know she was about to add hundred and ninety pounds of swoonworthy abdominal muscles and arrogance to her life. Every day in Rians’s life follows a predictable pattern, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s got a nice job, a nice place to live, and a nice family – even if they are a little wedding-zilla-ish at the moment. She doesn’t need anything spectacular to be happy. She just needs to get healthy – mentally, physically. . . and maybe spiritually if that happens. But she’ll settle for two out of three until her sister finally gets hitched. Carlos Davies thought his life was perfect. Little did he know it was about to be turned upside down by a woman who is not his type. In Carlos’s mind, his life is damn near perfect. He’s got a great job, a great place to live, and a great stash of pick up lines that always work. It has occurred to him that maybe no one actually takes him all that seriously. But with these bulging biceps and thick, dark hair, does that even matter since he’s never sleeping alone? Welcome to Weight Expectations, where great—and unexpected—things happen.

1 out of 5

 

what i liked
Let’s start with the good, shall we?
We get to visit old friends again in this Cypher book! Lots of Quinn interactions and yarn references.
Rian was written really well. She was witty and self deprecating. A realist with wit. I like that idea… Feel free to use that on my gravestone.
There were some great side characters- Abel and Francesca. I don’t know who the other books are going to be about in this series but I loved interacting with both of these characters. Honorable mention goes to Tabitha. (Who’s name choice I still can’t get over. Out of all the names in the world….)

what i didn't like
Okay it can’t be avoided any longer-
I could not bring myself to finish the book. Hey, I did make it over half way but at that point I was hating on the Carlos POV chapters so much that I practically wanted to skip them all!
Should we talk about Carlos? I think he lived a previous life as Gaston. I kept making notes in my kindle to the tune of “unappealing narrator…” I’ll leave it at that. I think the picture has been painted.
While I loved Rian, I had a very hard time picturing her. She would mention she was morbidly obese and then in another chapter put on Carlos’ shirt and it would go down to her knees because he was so buff. I couldn’t get a handle on her size and since weight was such a big issue in the book- I think I should’ve been able to.
There was also a lot of Carlos saying that Rian wasn’t his type but he couldn’t get her out of his head. A lot of that.  I’m personally not a fan of that type of attraction- it feels very Mr. Darcy (aka: you’re family sucks and sometimes all of you are embarrassing, also we should get married).

I think this book will appeal to some people. Perhaps if you enjoyed Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich you will like this one? Unfortunately it wasn’t for me!

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The Hooker & The Hermit by Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway

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1 out of 5

5 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
There’s a section in this book when you feel as a reader that Annie should feel bad about keeping a secret.  Then her mentor brings down the “truth-of-the-matter” hammer.  It was a really cool perspective for me to read and I really enjoyed that part of the book.

what i didn't like
Wow this book was not for me.  After reading the steam level in this book, I feel like I should go back an edit some R.S. Grey books because there were definitely tame compared to this one.
What’s BDM? Is that the right term for the whole 50 shade of Grey vibe?  Okay I googled in haha! BDSM!  That was featured in this book. I felt like I had to skim so much of it! I was so disappointed about it, because I have really enjoyed Penny Reid books in the past.
Ronan, our main guy- he was possessive (why is this an attractive quality for romance readers?  This is not a good quality!).  He had anger issues.  He wanted control (in and out of the bedroom).  I didn’t feel like the couple ever loved each other, it was just a book written under the pretense of reading so that people can read gross sex scenes.  Too harsh? Well, I’m the one who read the darn thing and clearly I’m not thrilled about the time wasted haha.

while reading you should
Stop what you’re doing and walk this book over to the fireplace. Throw it in.

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This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Philipps

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official blurb
Busy Philipps’s autobiographical book offers the same unfiltered and candid storytelling that her Instagram followers have come to know and love, from growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona and her painful and painfully funny teen years, to her life as a working actress, mother, and famous best friend. Busy is the rare entertainer whose impressive arsenal of talents as an actress is equally matched by her storytelling ability, sense of humor, and sharp observations about life, love, and motherhood. Her conversational writing reminds us what we love about her on screens large and small. From film to television to Instagram, Busy delightfully showcases her wry humor and her willingness to bare it all. I’ve been waiting my whole life to write this book. I’m just so grateful someone asked. Otherwise, what was the point of any of it?

my blurb!
A memoir from a used-to-be actor turned late night host.
Trigger warning: Rape, physical altercations, abortion.

1.75 out of 5

This book started out really strong for me. I actually listened to it on audiobook and was very much enjoying it, but the audio expired from my library. I went back on hold and then listened to the rest of the book.  I say this because I have a long list of things I didn’t like about the book.  But for the first 1/3 of the book or so, I would have recommended this!  Also, for a confession- I have NEVER seen Freaks and Geeks- which I know was her initial claim to fame.

what i liked
Busy talks about her sister Lianne, and I was very intrigued by her sister.  I really liked all of the sections that mentioned her.
Busy says at one point that what drives her is a hole that needs to be filled, always trying to get to the next thing.  I found this so incredibly sad, and vulnerable.  It was this aspect of her writing that I really enjoyed.  She tried to identify her behaviors and was putting it all out there for you to read/listen to.
I loved the real world look into the acting world!  She mentions that at one point she auditioned NINETY times before getting a role.  This wasn’t auditioning for the same role 90 times, this was going on 90 different auditions before finally getting a part.
There were a lot of throwback memories for me.  She had a long term relationship with Tom Hanks’ son, Colin. And Colin starred in Roswell.  Remember Roswell?! I had totally forgotten about it!
She gives you some solid celebrity gossip.  Here’s some tidbits that I wrote down:  Busy and Colin Hanks both cheated on their back-home significant others in college and then got together.  Kristin Chenoweth potentially turned down a role in Rent for religious reasons.  James Franco was annoying, intimidating, selfish, a bully and a prick.  I mean, honestly the stories about James were AWFUL.  If he hadn’t already fallen from grace during the #metoo movement, he would have simply because of this book.

what i didn't like
She reads her own audiobook so you get a really good idea of exactly the way she would like to come across in the book.
Wow her voice is annoying.  That may be harsh, but I am a California girl- and some would say a valley girl (you should hear my husbands impressions of me!) – and to ME her voice is annoying.  Which is saying something.
She cheats on multiple boyfriends throughout this book. Like every single boyfriend.  When she is finally dating her husband, he is written of poorly. So poorly that when you finish the book you actually google if they’re still married.  (FYI- they’re still married).  She uses the excuse that she is really bad at quitting things, to explain why she keeps cheating on her boyfriends.  I hated this so much.  I can’t tell you how much I got tired of hearing her cheat on her boyfriends!
You know when you watch a teen drama and the kids are having sex, drinking, and doing drugs and you say to yourself, “Who does this?! Hollywood is so out of touch with reality…”  This was Busy’s actual life.
She is cocky.  Now I know that a lot of you will read that, and say that it’s confidence and it’s needed in the industry.  I will counter and say I know people in the industry and they’re not cocky. Busy is cocky.  And real talk- cockiness is one of my least favorite things in the world.
She has quite the potty mouth- this book is NSFW (not safe for work). At all.  Headphones ARE required while listening to this.
Oh my gosh, I almost forgot to mention this next part!  Busy is best friends with Michelle Williams (who sounds like a total sweetheart btw), and she was around Michelle during her whole Heath Ledger relationship.  She talks about his death (a little) and how she comforted Michelle.  She talks about a friend from high school who had a boyfriend die and how she comforted him.  She talks about comforting her husband, Mark, as he dealt with a death.  She then mentions how she’s always been there for people in these times and how she is good at it!  I’m sorry, what?!   Ya… she is as annoying and out of touch as that breakdown made her sound.
At the end of the book she goes into why she decided that she would make an awesome late night host.  She specifically mentions that she will host the tonight show.  I was walking around Costco while I was listening to this part and I literally said out loud, “Over my dead body!”  I know, what an insanely strong reaction!  I should mention that I love Jimmy Fallon. And in fact, my 30th birthday party was a Tonight Show themed party.  I had such an awful taste of Busy in my mouth by this point in the book that the idea of her taking over for Jimmy Fallon made me mad!
So here is the crux of the issue with the whole book.  I don’t know if I’ve ever read a memoir or autobiography from someone (who I basically had no opinion of prior to reading the book), and finished it really disliking the person in the end!  In fact, I have read plenty of political memoirs, where I’ve actually disliked the author prior to reading the book, and then finished it loving them!  Busy became so incredibly unlikable to me that I immediately removed her late night talk show from my DVR.  In fact, I thought about ranking this book one star, but I really did enjoy the first 25%- 33% of this book, so 1.75 stars it is! haha.

while reading you should
Stop.  That’s it. You need to stop reading this book and burn it.

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Attraction (Elements of Chemistry #1) by Penny Reid

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official blurb
One week. Private beach. Invisible girl. Jerk-faced bully. What’s the worst that could happen? Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner. Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family’s billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water. When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?

my blurb!
An inexperienced and really smart girl tries to decide if it’s worth winging it in life with her lab partner.

1.75 out of 5

what i didn't like
Let me start by saying I really enjoy reading Penny Reid’s writing.  But this book did not do it for me.  There was a vibe in this book that made me feel like the main character wasn’t always safe.  And let me tell you right now- there is not a rape scene in this book. But I sure thought there might have been one at some point.  I didn’t like that at all.
Let’s take a second to talk about consent.  Consent.  Okay we talked about it.  That was more than the conversations that were happening in this book.  It was like “oh, I’ve never done anything sexual- in fact I’ve never actually really had a boyfriend.”  Followed by me reading and saying “Ahhhh! skimming, skimming, skimming…”  And then reading for pages about how the Kaitlyn wasn’t even sure she enjoyed doing what she was doing, and certainly didn’t like Martin claiming her like property.  I’m sorry, am I supposed to be rooting for this couple to get together? Big problem for me.

what i liked
I really like Penny Reid’s characters.  She writes super smart women- who are quirky and fun.  I love reading Kaitlyn’s thought process and laughed out loud a few times while reading.
I also liked that this book was free this month on kindle.  I mean, I would’ve gotten it from the library if it wasn’t free.  But that for some reason is in the pro column for this book in my head. haha

 

while reading you should
Do: Stand up straight. Put your arms up to your hips like you’re superwoman. Look in the mirror and feel awesome.  (What… is that weird. I watched a whole TED talk on this!)
Eat:  something someone else made for you (in the book they stay at a place that comes with a chef.)
Listen: Firework by Katy Perry

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Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

official blurb
Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich is a rollicking and poignant romantic comedy about a young widow who decides to get in shape…and winds up getting her groove back–and a whole lot more! Holly Brennan used food to comfort herself through her husband’s illness and death. Now she’s alone at age thirty-two. And she weighs more than she ever has. When fate throws her in the path of Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to pro athletes, and he offers to train her, Holly concludes it must be a sign. Much as she dreads the thought of working out, Holly knows she needs to put on her big girl panties and see if she can sweat out some of her grief. Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly to most intense and steamy workouts. But can Holly and Logan go the distance as a couple now that she’s met her goals–and other men are noticing?

my blurb!
Holly, an overweight loner, decides to make a change and hits the gym hard.  All the while also falling hard for her trainer Logan- who has a thing for ugly ducklings.

1.75 out of 5

what i didn't like
Seriously, why does this guy get so turned on by her and then disgusted by her cellulite?  It was mentioned a million times and it got old.  I didn’t like how disgusted Logan was by her- and he was.  There are so many instances I could bring up- but I don’t want to allow for any spoilers, but basically he fat shames her the whole book. I will say that I wasn’t rooting for him in the end.  Which is obviously an issue in a romance novel read.
The spanking storyline- there were two side characters who were in the book quite a bit and actually had their perspective in a few chapters – Amanda and Chase.  I got to read all about their sexual preferences- specifically spanking.  Why was that even in the book and why was it brought up so many times? It was weird. I didn’t like it at all.  And it’s kind of a shame because Chase was a pretty fun character but EVERY time he was in the book there was a reference to him spanking his wife.
Towards the climax of the book Holly realizes that she molded her life to Logan’s.  Then there is more in the storyline and the book ends.  But this is a loose end.  She doesn’t ever take that realization back but it isn’t ever mentioned.  Reading the story- I 100% agreed that she made her day all about Logan and was all about pleasing him.  So that was a big way to fall short – by not addressing that in the end.
This book painted a setting of celebrities and celebrity trainers.  There wasn’t a lot in their lives that I could identify with. They were super rich, and judged fat people, and only dated Barbie models.  I didn’t leave the book bummed that I wouldn’t be seeing the characters at my next party.  If I had a party, no one in this book would be invited.

what i liked
I did like reading the workouts in the book.  Logan was a good trainer and believable- I liked that he prided himself in having a masters degree and really judged the trainers at the big box stores for having zero expertise in the field of personal training.  It’s a little rivalry I never would have thought of and I enjoyed glimpsing into that a bit.  It also made me wanna work out while I read it.  Let me be clear, I didn’t work out while I read this. But I did think about it, and that counts for something right?

while reading you should
Do: renew your gym membership
Eat: some ice cream – you deserve it for renewing that gym membership
Take: breaks from reading this book to do a few sets of lunges
Watch: baseball (and by that, I mean have it in the background while you’re reading… maybe that’s even too far. okay, watch Fever Pitch with Jimmy Fallon.  It’s kind of about baseball, anyways).

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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