The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

official blurb
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position… Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

my blurb!
Pretty Woman reversed. And with a lot more sex scenes.

1.75 out of 5

what i didn't like
This was the kind of romance novel that I was afraid of reading when I started reading romance novels!  It was totally the type that I generalized into the category of romance novels.  Heavily laden with tropes and and uncomplex characters.
This novel was DIRTY. Like x-rated. So much so that I couldn’t finish it. It wasn’t steamy like some others, it was- hide your kids, hide your wives – wow.  (Side Note – I read this book BEFORE I read the Winston Brothers series.  And looking back- for the life of me I cannot remember how this steam compared to the Winston Brothers steam.  I do, however, remember being shocked by the steam in this book- so I am classifying it 5 flames for steam level).

what i liked
The main character is on the Autism Spectrum. I enjoyed reading a book from that perspective. (Though, if I were to recommend a book with a main character along those lines it would undoubtedly be Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine).

while reading you should
Listen to: Without You by Parachute
Watch: Pretty Woman

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas

official blurb
“We were perfect together. Until we met.”
Misha
I can’t help but smile at the words in her letter. She misses me.
In fifth grade, my teacher set us up with pen pals from a different school. Thinking I was a girl, with a name like Misha, the other teacher paired me up with her student, Ryen. My teacher, believing Ryen was a boy like me, agreed.
It didn’t take long for us to figure out the mistake. And in no time at all, we were arguing about everything. The best take-out pizza. Android vs. iPhone. Whether or not Eminem is the greatest rapper ever… And that was the start. For the next seven years, it was us. Her letters are always on black paper with silver writing. Sometimes there’s one a week or three in a day, but I need them. She’s the only one who keeps me on track, talks me down, and accepts everything I am.  We only had three rules. No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. We had a good thing going. Why ruin it?  Until I run across a photo of a girl online. Name’s Ryen, loves Gallo’s pizza, and worships her iPhone. What are the chances? F*ck it. I need to meet her. I just don’t expect to hate what I find.
Ryen
He hasn’t written in three months. Something’s wrong. Did he die? Get arrested? Knowing Misha, neither would be a stretch. Without him around, I’m going crazy. I need to know someone is listening. It’s my own fault. I should’ve gotten his number or picture or something.  He could be gone forever. Or right under my nose, and I wouldn’t even know it.

my blurb!
Teen pen pals with secrets finally meet.

1 out of 5

what i liked
I liked…. nope. Can’t think of anything

what i didn't like
I was legitimately nervous that there would be a rape scene in this book because Ryen’s semi- love non interest was way too agressive for me.
Also, this MAY be marketed YA. It is for sure for audiences 18+
I actually am pretty sure I did read this book a while ago and quit it because it was… intense and dirty. Now going through a romance novel phase, a friend suggested it. (I appreciate all suggestions as we get closer to finding my niche in the romance novel scene! We now know that this one didn’t do it for me.)  Ps. If you have suggestions for me, send them my way!
It was too crass for me.  Hide your kids, hide your wives language in it.

while reading you should
Listen to: Done For Me by Charlie Puth
Watch: Switched at birth (Random but there is a graffiti storyline in that show and in this book!)

if you would like to buy

Click here.

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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

official blurb
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazilyrich.

my blurb!
The story of a kind of crappy boyfriend bringing his girlfriend to meet his family and throwing her to the wolves.

1.75 out of 5

No, your eyes did not just stop working. Yes, I did indeed rank this 1.75 stars. I know, it’s an unpopular opinion but this book wasn’t good. I didn’t even finish it even though I read over 200 pages! I know, I know, every book in the past that I marked DNF (did not finish) I ranked 1 star. Why does this one demand the extra .75 star?  Well, because the movie was amazing. Which really has nothing to do with the book but what can I say- it’s my blog, so I can do what I want! (Imagine a small childs tantrum here)

what i didn't like
Nick Young. Uhm, no way would I be okay dating a guy for TWO YEARS who then gave me ZERO prep for meeting his family and in fact HID the truth that his family actually didn’t like me and was not happy that I was being brought to meet them. NO WAY.  That is a total game-ender for me.  I was so annoyed with how he was being so laissez faire with his dating life to the AMAZING Rachel Chu.  Nope. I’m sorry… Not sorry.
There were WAY too many names in the beginning of this book. There was a family tree in the first few pages that I kept going back to reference.  I’m sorry, what? YES, you read that correctly, I had to reference the family tree multiple times in the first 200 pages of this book and I had ALREADY seen the movie!!!
The chapters are from different people’s perspectives.  I’m not all about that writing style in general, but usually it’s like two characters, maybe three. Okay sometimes four but that’s rare.  There were SO many. And by so many I mean like 6 perspectives in this book. Too many.  (Okay, I didn’t actually go back and count, but there were a lot… trust me).
I was exactly 212 pages into this book before I decided to stop reading it. Which is really a shame because I actually went out and bought the books, assuming I would race through them right after I saw the movie.  (Sidenote- go see the movie, it’s excellent).  I was so nervous, in fact, that the first book would cliffhanger like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before– that I had to get the second one!  Now here I am, sitting on two books that I may eventually try to read again but am in no hurry to do so.  (This is a trilogy but my weird reasoning only required me to buy the first two books).
The last thing I didn’t like?  I never got emotionally attached to any of the characters.  I think that’s a problem when you’ve been in their lives for 200 pages. I should be invested! I wasn’t at all.

what i liked
Rachel. A smart, self-sufficient, good job having, cute clothes wearing heroine.
The movie.  (Okay, I know that shouldn’t go into the “liked” section for the book but I did like the movie!)

while reading you should
Go: to the theater and see the movie (have I mentioned that yet?)
Eat: food from a street vendor
Listen: The Crazy Rich Asians soundtrack! It’s amazing!

when to read
The summer – although I picked this up over the summer and still didn’t finish it.

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

official blurb
If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?
It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes. Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

my blurb!
Four siblings who live separate lives after visiting a seer in their youth.

1 out of 5

This book has almost 4 stars on goodreads with over 17,000 reviews.  When I looked that up, about halfway through the book, I was shocked.  The books premise alludes to fantastical elements – there are VERY few of these in the book except the prologue, where you read ONE of the four prophecies.

what i didn't like
Why are there so many names in the beginning of this book?! It’s a family of 6- so six names you need to immediately remember. But for some reason we are told street names, and countless townspeople’s names in just the first 27 pages!

I was not expecting, (and may it be noted that I didn’t like) the sexual writing style.  Don’t believe me? Here’s an excerpt:
“Vaginas have never appealed to him: their cabbage-like folds, their long hidden corridor.  He craves the long thrust of the cock, its heady insistence, and the challenge of a body like his.”  This is on page 33…
Not only could you find this writing in context but also completely out of context- just a random sexual sentence mixed in with normal everyday living. Sentence number TWO in the entire book:
“New to her are three more inches of height and the dark patch of fur between her legs.”

I just finished reading Station Eleven- which is required reading for dystopian fans- where I really enjoyed the writing style. Wow, what a change it was to go to this writing style.

what i liked
The premise of the book was intriguing- I think that’s the only way to explain how it’s gotten such a large audience so far.

I would definitely skip this book- I say it’s all hype and not worth the fuss!

BUT If you would like to buy this book click here.

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The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble

I received a free copy of this book for an ARC review.

OFFICIAL BLURB

After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger, too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

MY THOUGHTS

I liked the premise of the book. At its core, the idea for this book was solid. I really wanted to know the backstory between our two main characters–Zach and Shauna–and I wanted good things to happen for them in the end. However, the execution just wasn’t there I felt like I was reading a book written for adults but at the high school level. Everything we were supposed to know or feel, we were told outright. We didn’t have to figure it out for ourselves. There was no mystery or suspense to the relationship between our two main characters. Even though they were adults, the writing made them sound and feel immature.

We also devolved from a murder mystery into some sort of terror plot involving man-made earthquakes? There was just a lot going on, and the complexity of the plot didn’t jive with the simplistic writing style.

SUMMARY

There is potential here, but I wouldn’t recommend this book in its current writing. I like the idea, but wasn’t impressed with the execution, and wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone.

 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

official blurb

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever. Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.

my blurb!

When the world’s most annoying sisters go to a Magical Carnival only to become even more annoying as they attempt to navigate their way to the carnival finale.

1 out of 5

Okay, I have seen this book on SO many bookstagrams saying it was amazing.  I even succumbed to the peer pressure and read this even though it is the first book of a series and a recent release.  THIS. BOOK. WAS. AWFUL.

First of all, the way everything is spelled out for the reader. Whew.  We get it- your dad is a bad guy. The first chapter REALLY goes on an on here.

Also, how many storylines are we going to have? Abusive father, grandmother’s tales of the awe-inspiring circus, arranged marriage to a mysterious stranger, flirtatious sailor, secret threats from daddy about the sister.

Next gripe- the protagonist is awful! She reminds me of the main girl in Hush Hush, except the HH one was somehow likable! (Check out our must read guilty pleasures for the review of Hush Hush!). Is her cheesy nickname throughout the book really necessary? Her thought process is juvenile. “Does he want the wish? Surely not. No way. Okay, I won’t ask him bc he definitely doesn’t want it.”  To be fair- that’s not a direct quote from the book, but I feel like I definitely captured the thought process.

Oh did you want a quote from the book after that teaser? Okay, I won’t leave you hanging.  “It was the kind of night where she could smell the moon….” What?! What does that even mean?

Spoiler question I want answered:
She was so worried about her sister and then hasn’t seen her in days and just assumes she’s fine and at the Caraval?

Wow. That. Book. Was. Awful.

Why is there so much hype over this book? Don’t waste your time like I did! Save yourself!

 

IF you insist on reading this …while reading you should

Listen to: Inception Soundtrack
Wear: something warm

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Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Official Blurb: Here

My Blurb: Romeo and Juliet type story in a fantasy setting with magical gifts and lots of people who hate each other.

1.5 out of 5

I have to be honest: I barely finished this book.

Veronica Roth built a really interesting world. I loved the cultures she created, I loved the history. The current–a magic of sorts that gives people special abilities–was interesting. I liked her characters. I liked Akos, who was a soldier but also a scientist with a soft heart. I liked Cyra, who somehow ended up with a fairly decent moral compass, but was more of an ends girl than a means girl, which I also liked. I wanted Cyra and Akos to succeed. You knew there was never going to be a happy ending (at least in the first book of the series), but you liked to see the small things that made people happy.

But despite all that, for some reason, I just could not fully connect with the book. Maybe it was too long. Maybe in theory it was a dark tale, but not descriptive enough to make me actually feel what the characters were feeling. It kind of seemed like the story was told in passing, with enough detail so you get the idea, but nothing more. I’m feeling unemotional about it even now. Like, literally no feelings about it. I’m struggling to write this, that’s how non-feeling I am.

If you’re a fan of Veronica Roth, check out Carve the Mark. Don’t let my lack of excitement stop you. I know people who enjoyed this book. I’m just not one of them.

-Hawk-