Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

arc review

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official blurb
Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means. Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?) Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.) Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?) Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!) Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite? Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her…

my blurb!
A literal birthday clown decides that dating her high school crush and the towns bad boy will help her be taken more seriously.

2.75 out of 5

5 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
This book was a cute and funny romcom.  I chuckled to myself a few times while reading it.  The family dynamics were written really well. As the youngest child in my family, I liked reading about the siblings and their struggles to all be taken seriously.  My favorite part of the book was the girl gang.  The Just Us League was a crew of women supporting women and I can get behind that all day every day! I could tell as I was reading that there were going to be some other companion books in this series and when I finished the story, that was confirmed!  As I was scrolling through my kindle notes for the novel, I found quite a few funny lines highlighted.  This was a true romcom (and a steamy one)!  The amount of clown jokes in this, was perfect in every way.  I laughed a lot at Georgie’s humor. Also, her sister Bethany was awesome.  She definitely has to have her own book because she was amazing in every way.  I loved the scenes she was in.  Here’s a little snippet of humor to wet your pallet:

“You look like a live childbirth just went by in your Facebook feed.”

Funny right? Haha! I definitely busted out laughing when I read that line.

what i didn't like
There was a flaw with the whole plot.  It didn’t make any sense why Georgie would be taken more seriously as an adult by dating Travis.  He was a playboy… who dates a playboy and then is suddenly taken seriously?
There is a big scene regarding professing a relationship status.  That scene just wasn’t for me.  It perhaps has to do with my personal taste public displays of proposals. But oh my gosh I was cringing while I was reading it!
There was a sentiment in this book that was repetitive.  The reader was reminded that Georgie was attempting to show Travis that he was worthy of commitment.  Did I tell you he was worthy of commitment?  Travis, you are worthy of commitment!  Oh did you get it already? I did too.
Holy steam room steam level!  This book was STEAMY!!! I think a lot of romance readers are really gonna like that about it.  However, for my personal preferences, this was too steamy.
I couldn’t get a read on whether or not Travis was supposed to have an accent in the book.  That doesn’t really matter but he gave Georgie a nickname that they used THE WHOLE BOOK (in fairness I do not like cutesy nicknames in books. It rarely seems genuine to me) and that seemed like it was kind of more a southern style of talking.  I’m not sure.
Travis. Travis, Travis, Travis.  I just didn’t like him. Isn’t that the WORST in a romance read?  It’s not the writing of him, I just didn’t like his character.  I would NEVER have dated him.  He was super domineering and gave insane mixed signals. He was possessive and had a dirty bedroom mouth.  He was just kind of a douche.  I know, strong words but really how else do you describe someone like that?!

This book was not for me but honestly, I do think a lot of readers will really like it.  I would probably recommend it to a few friends who’s reading style I’m familiar with.

while reading you should
Do: write down your ultimate goals and dreams.  Find your support group that will encourage you to get there.
Eat: a big waffle breakfast!
Listen: God Only Knows by Brandi Carlile

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When Polly Met Olly by Zoe May

when polly met olly

 

official blurb
Polly and Olly were never supposed to meet… Polly might spend her days searching for eligible matches for her elite list of clients at her New York dating agency, but her own love life is starting to go up in smoke. Even worse, she can’t stop thinking about the very person she’s meant to be setting her latest client up with… surely it can’t get any worse! But then Polly bumps into oh-so-handsome Olly, who heads up a rival agency, and realizes that perhaps all really is fair in love and dating war…

my blurb!
A girl with british-isms and job insecurities tries to find her footing in New York.

arc review

2 out of 5

what i didn't like
The main character in this book was British and living in America.  There were so many words throughout the book that I didn’t understand. Or if I did understand them, didn’t flow with my American thought process when reading. Managing to stay “schtum” is a great example. Don’t know what that means? I didn’t either.
I missed out on dialogue. I know the whole book can’t be dialogue, but I wanted more in each chapter.  There was a lot of Polly’s thought process or different back stories.  There’s a character named Brandon and he is described 7000 times in detail.  Okay I’m exaggerating, but Polly’s sense of drama has rubbed off on me.
I didn’t mesh well with our main character, Polly.  She was very timid. Very dramatic and just wasn’t very likable for me.  She didn’t have huge character flaws that made her unlikable – if that makes any sense- but she wasn’t a character that I would be friends with.
The title is a bit misleading- it’s about Polly and Olly.  But in execution- the book didn’t feature a lot of their interactions.  50% of the way through the book, they had interacted 3 times – none of which were extremely notable scenes, and the duration of which were all quite short.  (Look, I just used quite in a sentence.  The british lingo in the book is rubbing off on me!)
I requested the book for the cover, and the concept – it just sounded good! In the end, it didn’t deliver what I was expecting.

what i liked
I mentioned that I submitted a request to read this book. I that because (other than having a super cute cover) it had a cute premise. I loved the idea of the plot!
The good part about this book is that it is a light and easy read, no trigger warnings and no commitments!
There was some funny dialogue in this book! Polly’s roommate was particularly funny and I really enjoyed some of his lines! Here’s a great example:
“You’re so horny you probably go to Starbucks just hear someone cry out your name.”
Funny right?! It was lines like these that kept me reading the book even if I didn’t understand most of the british-isms throughout it.

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The Horse and His Boy (The Chronicles of Narnia #3) by C.S. Lewis

the horse and his boy

official blurb
The Horse and his Boy is a stirring and dramatic fantasy story that finds a young boy named Shasta on the run from his homeland with the talking horse, Bree. When the pair discover a deadly plot by the Calormen people to conquer the land of Narnia, the race is on to warn the inhabitants of the impending danger and to rescue them all from certain death.

my blurb!
A long story without very many pages, about some talking horses and the people who ride them.

2 out of 5

what i liked
This book would have been a one star read had it not been for Edmond. Edmond – who if you remember from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – was a world-class annoyance, came back to this book as the MVP.  He had amazing dialogue, great insight and seriously was as delightful as turkish delight! (I couldn’t help myself there. And no, I still have never had turkish delight so I can’t even say that with confidence).  I can say a lot of things about Clive (yes, C.S. Lewis and I are on a first name basis), and I can say with confidence that he writes a great epilogue.  And while they’re just a chapter number like any other, they are definitely epilogues.  I love a good epilogue- seriously, more people need to write them, we as readers want more!

what i didn't like
Wow, I almost didn’t finish this book. I almost looked up the summary and moved on.  The language in this one was hard for me to rally behind.  Not like there was a lot of cursing in this book, just the eloquent speech was hard for me to keep up with.  Let me mention again, that I am 30 years old, and this book was written for children. I know, I know, children of a different time – but children nonetheless! Chapter eight had come and gone and I was still not into this story.  There were a lot of character names that were rough – I really appreciate a good character name and didn’t find them in this book.  There was a character named Bree who was one of the main characters and he was super annoying.  Is it the rudest thing ever to say that C.S. Lewis wrote a lot of annoying characters?  Oops, I just said it!

while reading you should
Do: ride a horse (only to remember that it is an insanely uncomfortable way to get around)
Drink:  water (They’re on a long quest in this book so water is fitting. But also, do you ever really drink enough water?)
Listen: Come to Me by Bethel Music

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Dating You Hating You by Christina Lauren

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official blurb
Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire. But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

my blurb!
Two people compete for the same job and try not to fall for each other in the process.

2.75 out of 5

what i liked
Fun fact- this book is written by two girls under a pen name! What? Everyone already knew that? Oh… I didn’t. hah!
This book was fine and I would totally re-gift it to someone I knew liked the genre, but it didn’t make me wanna read it in a hurry.

what i didn't like
I didn’t care about the characters!  Isn’t that the worst when you’re reading a book and you slowly realize you wouldn’t be friends with the people you’re reading about?
The main girl was a little too childish for me.  Like- ugh he sucks! But also I’m in love with him!  It could be realistic- but I can’t identify with that at all, so it certainly wasn’t realistic for me.
The biggest inconsistency was that I thought the main guy was supposed to be handsome… but not like- shield your eyes handsome.  But then as the story progresses he’s CONSTANTLY getting hit on and getting checked out.  So that didn’t make a lot of sense.  It’s not a big deal but just not consistent so it bothered me.  What can I say, I like consistency!

while reading you should
Listen to: I Wanna by The All American Rejects
Watch: A Harry Potter movie (any will do, but I personally really enjoy watching The Prisoner of Azkaban)
Do: Polish up your resume.  You never know when you’ll get the urge to look for something different!

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Snow In Love by Various Authors

snow in love

official blurb
What’s better than one deliciously cozy, swoon-worthy holiday story? Four of them, from some of today’s bestselling authors. From KASIE WEST, a snowy road trip takes an unexpected detour when secrets and crushes are revealed. From AIMEE FRIEDMAN, a Hanukkah miracle may just happen when a Jewish girl working as a department store elf finds love. From MELISSA DE LA CRUZ, Christmas Eve gets a plot twist when a high school couple exchange surprising presents. From NIC STONE, a scavenger hunt amid the holiday crowds at an airport turns totally romantic. So grab a mug of hot cocoa, snuggle up, and get ready to fall in love…

my blurb!
A book of four short stories by different authors all involving the holiday season.

2.25

what i liked
Don’t let this rating confuse you too much when I start raving about this story.  The rating is an average of all of the stories and one story was AMAZING and cute.  Who wrote that one you ask? Well, Kasie West of course!  You may know by now that I have a small crush on Kasie West and her writing.  I mean the woman is a cute writing book machine.  She did not disappoint me with this story.  I read it so quickly and have thought of it a few times since.  Hers was the first story in the book titles- Snow and Mistletoe.  It was predictable in the best way possible (you know, in the Hallmark Channel amazingness kind of way?)

what i didn't like
Stories 2-4 didn’t fair as well in my humble reading opinion.  The second story was called Working in a Winter Wonderland.  I wrote down a few notes while I read this story and they went something along the lines of “will this story ever end?!”  Keep in mind that this is a short story.  I know, telling right? haha.  Some other thoughts when reading the story went something like, “I already know who she is and is not going to end up with!”  So this story was also predictable but not in a Hallmark amazingness kind of way.  Also our protagonist in this story was SUPER annoying.
The third story was called The Magi’s Gifts.  This story also featured a protagonist who I didn’t like at all.  In fact I disliked her.  I know, I know – I need to start pulling my punches.  This story was ALSO predictable in a bad way. (Is it possible that people tend to just write super predictable stories when it comes to the holidays?)
The last story in the book was called Grounded.  I didn’t even finish this story.  At this point in the book I started to wonder why I was suffering through stories- whether they were short or not- that I wasn’t immediately loving.

So here’s the full breakdown of my ratings:
Snow & Mistletoe : 5 Stars
Working in a Winter Wonderland : 1 out of 5 stars
The Magi’s Gifts:  2 out of 5 stars
Grounded:  1 out of 5 stars

The truth of the matter is, that I rarely like anthologies.  I would pick this book up and solely read Kasie West’s story and then return the book to the library.  Her story really was super cute.

while reading you should
Read: Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell (this is a 5 star short story book!)
Listen to: Little Drummer Boy by For King and Country
Do: Something to make your life easier over the holidays. (No one notices that you bought the cookie frosting instead of making it from scratch.  Oh, maybe that one was actually just speaking to myself)

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Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie

official blurb
Dumped by her boyfriend and demoted from WBBB’s prime-time spot, radio producer Allie McGuffey has nowhere to go but up. She plans to make her comeback by turning temporary DJ Charlie Tenniel into a household name. And if he’s willing to help cure her breakup blues with a rebound fling, that’s an added bonus. Charlie just wants to kick back, play good tunes and eat Chinese food. He’s not interested in becoming famous. But he is interested in Allie. And after all, what harm is a little chemistry between friends?  But suddenly their one-night stand has become a four-week addiction. Night after night on the airwaves, his voice seduces her…and all the other women in town. He’s a hit. It looks as if Charlie’s solved all Allie’s problems…except one. What is she going to do when he leaves?

my blurb!
A romance novel where coworkers attempt to not be attracted to each other.

2.75 out of 5

what i liked
I liked the world of a radio show. I’ve never really read about that life before, in fact I’ve never even thought about the people who work for the radio because… well I never listen to the radio.  Does anyone still listen to the radio?  I love anything about producers, I’m really into learning about their jobs, it’s always intriguing to me. (Remember that semi trashy tv show- UnReal?  I remember being like- woah THAT’s what producers do?  And then also the Newsroom [hollar Aaron Sorkin fans!} when I was like- dang you produce that segment! Do it!)

what i didn't like
I’ve read 2 of her books and they’re setup basically the same way.  As far as a shady ex-boyfriend trying to undermine a relationship and trying to get back with the main character. I’m not into that at all. In both books that just wasn’t my favorite part of the plot and I felt like it could’ve been left out.  But are we reading romance novels for the plot? haha

Overall, I liked this book less than Bet Me and less than The Wedding Date but I read it easily enough.

while reading you should
Listen: to the radio!
Eat: Chinese food
Watch: The Newsroom

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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Beard in Mind (The Winston Brothers #4) by Penny Reid

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official blurb
Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually. Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket. Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever. She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words. Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life. The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.

my blurb!
When the guy voted Most Likely To Charm Your Pants Off finds himself falling for the girl who would’ve never even bothered voting.

2.75 out of 5

what i liked
I liked reading about the Winston Brothers more!  As the books progress you get so many good little snippets of the previous characters and where they are now in their lives.  This is why I would recommend reading them in order- even though you don’t have to. Because you’ll miss out on how exciting it is to experience Cletus, Duane and Jethro in their current state of affairs.
I love how Penny Reid writes complex female characters- she has not let me down with a heroine being complicated yet!

what i didn't like
I’ve read that a bunch of people were super excited to read about Beau. I wasn’t in that camp.  I didn’t find him nearly as likeable as his brothers – especially Cletus- but he’s still a Winston so he has likable in him.
I’m not into plot lines where the character could talk things through with someone, but instead purposefully keeps secrets from them. There was a bit of Duane and Beau drama in this book like that, and I could’ve done without it.  I cannot be the only one who feels like this- but I swear this is actually in the majority of books! The whole- I’m going to deal with this myself even though it directly affects other people.  LAME.
I am hesitant to write much about Shelly- our main girl in this book because, to my VERY limited OCD knowledge- she seemed to also struggle from other issues, and is maybe even on the spectrum- which was never mentioned.  She couldn’t read sarcasm and was very blunt. She SAID she used to lie all of the time, though the reader never experienced that- and maybe this new personality trait of overt bluntness was meant to counteract that?  But it really seemed more like she was on the spectrum, rather than her just being blunt.  Anyways, (in my limited knowledge) it’s a whole separate thing from OCD so that was not in the pro column for me.  Overall I didn’t really like Shelly.
Would you believe me if I told you this book was verrrrry steamy?  Haha.  I know, I’ve said it for the previous books too.  Well, like the rest of the Winston Brothers books- this one was a bit too graphic for me. I find myself skimming over some of the steamier parts.  I know you’re wondering, why read them or finish the series? 1. Because this the 4th of 6 books. 2. Because I wanted to read a romance series and 3. Because I am reading these to experience romance novels and dive into the genre- and I think I certainly am with these ones!

This was my least favorite Winston Brothers novel but I wouldn’t be discouraged from reading it if you read the rest.  And you may also really like Beau more than I did! #teamcletus
Winston Brothers Predictions:
Billy and Claire (where is my Billy and Claire book already?!).  Roscoe and Simone.

while reading you should
Listen to: What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction
Watch: John Tucker Must Die
Learn: How to jump a car (Seriously, you should know how to change your own tire and how to jump a car. I promise it isn’t hard and you’ll feel empowered just by watching a youtube tutorial!)

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