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

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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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The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness by Maddie Dawson

official blurb
Newly orphaned, recently divorced, and semi-adrift, Nina Popkin is on a search for her birth mother. She’s spent her life looking into strangers’ faces, fantasizing they’re related to her, and now, at thirty-five, she’s ready for answers. Meanwhile, the last thing Lindy McIntyre wants is someone like Nina bursting into her life, announcing that they’re sisters and campaigning to track down their mother. She’s too busy with her successful salon, three children, beautiful home, and…oh yes, some pesky little anxiety attacks. But Nina is determined to reassemble her birth family. Her search turns up Phoebe Mullen, a guarded, hard-talking woman convinced she has nothing to offer. Gradually sharing stories and secrets, the three women make for a messy, unpredictable family that looks nothing like Nina pictured…but may be exactly what she needs. Nina’s moving, ridiculous, tragic, and transcendent journey becomes a love story proving that real family has nothing to do with DNA.

my blurb!
A somewhat sad story about searching for yourself and accepting what you find.

2.75 out of 5
what i liked
I liked Indigo. She’s not really a main character but isn’t necessarily in the background either. She is wild and trying to find herself and boundaries and discover her place in highschool.
A.J. Barnes was a hit for me too. Although  he was for sure a background character, I really liked his dialogue and insight into Phoebe’s life.
I went back and forth over whether or not to call this book realistic- because it was kind of depressing to me at times. But it was also probably pretty realistic. And I do like that about the book in some sense.  I mean, I like that it makes the characters more real and identifiable.
Phoebe was our birth mom in the story.  She lived a really hard life and she was still living. She hadn’t exactly given up on life, but she wasn’t searching for the rainbows either.  I liked her, I felt like she could’ve been a real person and when it came down to her ultimate explanation of how and why the sisters ended up getting adopted- I understood her.
Sidenote: You know how I feel about plot points that seem like they are supposed to surprise you but don’t?  I am still not sure if I was supposed to be surprised while reading the explanation about the fate of a certain character… but I was not surprised. Although there was a little “twist” in the breakdown of the adoption story that I wasn’t expecting, so any points lost in the “fate of character” breakdown were given back with the “twist.”

what i didn't like
The books tone was overall… kind of sad.  And it’s not that I don’t like a sad book, because one of my all time favorites is The Fault in Our Stars – and let me tell you, that book is a tearjerker.  But this one was almost…unhopeful.  (Most people would have used the term hopeless here, but it wasn’t hopeless it just wasn’t dripping with hope either).
Really, a lot of times I don’t enjoy reading adult fiction because the main characters lives are such a mess.  They’re usually unhappy and not sure what to do about it. And it makes me sad to see they’ve made it so long into their lives without finding happiness.  And it makes me really sad to experience their humdrum lives for 364 pages.  (I know, maybe I’m being to hard on them, but I’m 30. It’s not fun to read about characters in their mid 30s having midlife crises).
Nina- our ultimate main character, was raised with two amazing loving parents who adopted her.  But she never could get past her adoption.  That made me a little sad – even if it was realistic.  (Yes, I do watch This is Us. And yes, Randall is my favorite character and he does experience the same thing.  I don’t know how to explain why I didn’t like this as much, other than to just say that perhaps I just didn’t like Nina as much).
There was a “love story” with Nina and another character.  The reason I put that in quotes is that, I never really thought she did love this character. So when she does end up with him in the end and she seems pretty happy… I almost didn’t buy it.  So that automatically deducts a star from the rating because I should root for every love story I read about.
I’ve barely mentioned our other main character- Phoebe.  I didn’t love her or loathe her in her perspective chapters- so if she didn’t add a lot, should there really have been chapters in her perspective?

This was my second Maddie Dawson book (my first one was Matchmaking for Beginners), and I still might try another of her books, because I did enjoy her writing, but did not really enjoy this book as a whole.  So if you were going to read one- go ahead and reach of MFB instead.

while reading you should
Eat: blueberry pie
Make: A list of things you want to do with your year
Watch: obscure music videos on YouTube

if you would like to buy
Click here: The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness

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The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel

official blurb
Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks. When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship. As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.

my blurb!
Return to Me meets The Bucket List.

2 out of 5
what i liked
I enjoyed the premise of the book…. that’s about it.  It featured someone accomplishing a bucket list, and I really do enjoy that idea in life!  I should start making my own list!
This book was also a Christian Fiction book- which I didn’t realize. And I read outside of my normal genre again. Yay me!

what i didn't like
I love all things cheesy and hallmark. But this one was too much for me.  It spelled out situations too much, it mentioned God in what felt like every other sentence (maybe normal for Christian Fiction), it resolved things and then broke them again for another 50 pages of uselessness.
It may be that I prefer my cheese on television only and not in books.  hmm… something to ponder. Maybe I’ll ponder it while watching Hallmark’s Fall Harvest specials haha.

There wasn’t anything in this book that was awful. In fact, I read it in 3 days or so. But I wasn’t enjoying it the whole time. I actually liked the beginning most of all, and really… shouldn’t you always like the ending of the book the most?

while reading you should
Watch: the travel channel
Listen to: Rains in Asia by Jump Little Children
Eat: crepes.

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

official blurb
Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks). But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

my blurb!
A plan oriented teen with a pension for surface level relationships falls for a nerdy teen writer.

2.75 out of 5

what i liked
I liked the relationship between Andie and her dad.  Isn’t it nice to read a relationship evolve in a good way between parent and child? I’m sure a lot of teens have crap relationships with their parents and that’s why it’s written about so regularly, but I really liked Andie’s dad and how his character changed throughout the book.
Some good loose ends. I don’t want to give away anything, and I won’t! Hmmm… let’s just say, yay for a friendships that aren’t entirely cookie cutter.
The books that Clark wrote that were scattered in between the pages.  I might’ve liked it better if I could read the whole book that Clark wrote!

what i didn't like
Andie. I didn’t connect with her at all. She was my least favorite character.  She was way too annoying for me.  And seriously, why did it take her so long to read Clark’s book?
There are over 500 pages in this book.  It was insanely long. Too long.  It was a 500 page love story and I really didn’t feel the love. I just didn’t care about the couple. I should’ve been LOVING this story to concede to reading 500+ pages.
This was my third Morgan Matson book, which I actually didn’t realize when I picked this up on a recommendation from someone. Some of her previous books ranked a 1 star and a 3 star – so perhaps this is on par for me and the world of Matson.  I know a LOT of people loved this book, and in fact reread it every summer.  I would skip this one unless you know you’re a fan of her writing, there are a lot of other great YA’s out there with a shorter page count.

while reading you should
Listen: American Girl by Tom Petty
Watch: Chasing Liberty
Do: walk your dog

if you would like to buy
Click here

when to read
The Summertime!

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