Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

famous in a small town

So I’ve been stumbling upon old reviews that I drafted somewhat but never finished.  I thought about scrapping them entirely but then I thought, mmm…better not.  That was a very niche Pitch Perfect joke.

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official blurb
For Sophie, small town life has never felt small. With her four best friends—loving, infuriating, and all she could ever ask for—she can weather any storm. But when Sophie’s beloved Acadia High School marching band is selected to march in the upcoming Rose Parade, it’s her job to get them all the way to LA. Her plan? To persuade country singer Megan Pleasant, their Midwestern town’s only claim to fame, to come back to Acadia to headline a fundraising festival. The only problem is that Megan has very publicly sworn never to return. What ensues is a journey filled with long-kept secrets, hidden heartbreaks, and revelations that could change everything—along with a possible fifth best friend: a new guy with a magnetic smile and secrets of his own.

3.5 stars

The story in this book gave me a couple of twists, one of which I didn’t see coming (which is rare for me! …okay it would probably be less rare if I read things such as thrillers but since I don’t I can say I like the twists in the YA novel).  As always, I loved Emma Mills writing because she produces realistic characters.  It didn’t rate higher because the story wasn’t one that had me pulled in and non stop reading.  While I wouldn’t consider this a reread, overall I laughed out loud a few times while reading and enjoyed the ride.

Here are some quotes that I loved!

“Nice to meet you,” August said.
“That’s what I’ve heard, I replied.”

“Were you eating cold lasagna?” I asked, scooping pasta remains into the Tupperware while he wiped up the trail of sauce.
“Yeah.”
“But the microwave is right there.  Love yourself!”

“She knows everything,” Flora said. “She’s like the internet.”
She was possibly better than the internet sometimes.  I’d volunteered there since freshman year, and Mel had never once redirected to an ad for male enhancement.

“Sammy.”  He snapped his fingers.  “Patty. Patty Weaver. Oh yeah.  She makes a great lemon tart.”
“I heard she also makes responsible children.”

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Worth The Whisk (Donut Disturb #2) by Melissa

worth the whisk

arc review

official blurb
Oh, you know a phallic pipe joke? Cool. I’ve heard them all. Trust me, they don’t make me blush anymore. As the only female plumber in the family business and the newest member of an all-male construction crew, I’ve developed a thick skin. Usually I’m ready for anything. Doing my cousin a favor, I take a late-night plumbing call thinking it’ll be an easy fix. What I’m not prepared for is to be mistaken for a homeless man or to find a soaking wet hunk glaring at me. I have to work fast not only to fix his perception of me, but also the burst pipe that is flooding the Bake, Rattle & Roll bakery. Working around pastry chef Harrison Daniels throws a wrench in my plans. I’m going to have to use every tool in my arsenal to resist falling for him and his sweet, tempting words. He’s out to prove he’s worth the risk and I’m starting to agree.

3 out of 5

🔥🔥🔥🔥  out of 5 steam level

This book was much like the first so I think if you liked book one you’ll also enjoy this one! Like the first book, this a romcom with a bit of suspense in it. It was good to see the characters from book one. The rising star in the books for me is the mom – she just cracks me up!

Content warnings: stalker, death of a loved one, cancer.
There is cursing in this book.

The book is such a quick read which I really like. There were some really funny moments throughout the book. The downside is that I don’t fully get immersed in the characters and feel their connection to each other. Again, similar to the first book I found the words telling me things that I didn’t end up feeling while reading.  I really liked the switch up of the majority gender roles that the two main characters did for their jobs. August was a female plummer, while Harrison was a tattooed male baker.

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In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

in a holidaze

arc review

 

official blurb
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions. But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy. The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

2.75 out of 5🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

Wow I am having the hardest time rating this book.  First of all, I need to describe how I felt when I was reading it.  In one word: stressed.  Like so stressed that the second night I started to read it, I decided to pick up an entirely different book because I didn’t want to fall asleep stressed.  Now, I feel I must confess to you that I find the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles incredibly stressful – that’s the kind of stress I was feeling in this book.  You might be wondering from the description if I was feeling Groundhogs Day stressed… but like the main character, Mae, I have never seen that movie.  (Keep that gasp to yourself, not every classic is really a classic!) Shall we talk about the things that stressed me out?  As Lorelai Gilmore says, “Let’s shall!”  Mae made a lot of questionable choices in her communication or lack thereof.  That’s right, folks, this book features major communication issues (my least favorite trope in a book).  Remember my other least favorite plot device- the love triangle?  Yup, this book also featured a love triangle.  Did I mention I was stressed when I read this book?  I did? Okay…well, I was.  I even resorted to sending multiple texts to a friend demanding she tell me if this book was indeed a romance novel (did you know that for a book to be considered a romance novel it is required to feature a “happily ever after” or an HEA as we like to call it?)…. it was.  So are you wondering how this book got almost three stars for me after this stress?! I know, it’s hard to believe- especially for me, after I almost declared it a DNF (did not finish).  But there’s a point in the book when Mae decides to start communicating… and I fell in love.  I loved the whole section that moved forward from the communication! I was happy with the ending and finally felt all of the drama fall into its rightful place.  And for that, it almost got a full three stars from me! I also loved the family that was written in the book- I liked the traditions and the close knit crew.  They were well written and likable.  I think one of the reasons why the book is so stressful is because it’s written in a way that really pulls you into the world- the life with all of these families living together in a cabin over Christmastime.  And because you’re so into it, you find yourself grinding your teeth!

This is one of Christina Lauren’s low end steam books.  They really write very fluctuating steam level books and I love that about them!  (If you’re new to these authors, it is two women who write under the pen name Christina Lauren).

Thank you to netgalley and Gallery Books for the advanced readers copy of this book!

To see a holiday books that I recommend check out my reviews of Faking Under The Mistletoe and Christmas on Mistletoe Lane

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Donut Disturb by Melissa Williams

3 out of 5
🔥🔥🔥🔥  steam level

Thank you to the author for this complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

what i liked
This book had some really funny moments. Cassidy’s inner dialogue made me laugh out loud.  It was a really quick read that definitely made me crave donuts!  

Ready for my favorite quotes?  I knew you were ready:

Were they…blasting country music?  Inconsiderate and bad taste. This was a nightmare, it had to be.

“Mom, you hate exercise.”
“No, I don’t!” she yelled.  “I’m very active.”
I rolled my eyes. By her definition, fast walking from the couch to the kitchen and back before Netflix started playing a new episode was “very active.”

what i didn't like
My biggest hold up with the book was how things were said on the page that I didn’t feel off the page.  Cassidy had some relationship hold ups that I didn’t get to learn about as a reader.  I didn’t feel Bax’s and Cassidy’s relationship develop even though I was reading it.  

Overall it was a quick fun read which was what I needed when I needed it!

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The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel

glass hotel

official blurb

From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent’s half-brother, Paul, scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

 

I was so excited to get my hands on this book. I’ve only read Station Eleven by Mandel, but I loved it. In fact it is probably my most widely recommended books.  However if you’re reading this review and you’re still in the throws of coronavirus- now is not the time to read Station Eleven.  But feel free to still go over and read my review of it! 🙂

Now let’s get started with this review.  I decided to format this one a little bit differently because why the heck not.  Here are some of my notes I wrote down while reading this beautifully written book.  You can decide when you read them, what my rating should be. Because I still haven’t totally decided what this book should be rated.

  • 55 pages in and it’s really confusing. There are seemingly random numbers on the pages throughout the chapters. The chapters are written from multiple characters perspectives. There are a ton of names to keep track of and I can’t remember them all. I keep flipping back and forth to see if it’s a name from a previous section and it rarely is.
  • There’s a girl named Vincent. Who names a girl Vincent? It has taken me at least 50 pages to remember that Vincent is a girl.
  • Over 90 pages in and no real plot yet. They keep alluding to the plot but not much of anything has happened. I’m enjoying the journey though.
  • I don’t know anything about pyramid schemes other than people making jokes about Young Living. Which I think is more MLM but honestly don’t know. After reading this I’m still completely confused about it. I think it needed to be actually explained to the laymen better. Page 205, an actual explanation! Yay! (And I actually even followed the explanation with “newborn mom brain” working against me!)
  • Page 240 before the storyline of “the woman who disappeared off of the boat.” This whole time I thought it was referring to… well to someone else (I don’t want to spoil that) It wasn’t…
  • I think this book should have a different title. Maybe Ghost Stories.  You decide what you think when you finish it and let me know what you think the title should be.  I feel like Ghost Stories is a pretty strong contender.

I would recommend reading this on a Kindle. Like station eleven, only in writing style, there are roughly 7000 names in this book. Okay, you got me, not 7000. I have a flair for the dramatic. But there were a lot of names. And if you have a memory like mine, a Kindle will be your best friend for the X-ray feature.

After finishing this book I have NO idea what to rate it. I didn’t feel fulfilled with the ending and it actually seemed like it was a two different stories written in the same book. That’s not to say that the stories didn’t converge in some sense but… Not enough for it to make sense to me.

I HAVE to mention that there are little easter eggs in this book if you’ve read her other books.  I’ve only read Station Eleven, like I mentioned, but I’ve heard that some characters from her other books made their way into this one as well.  That’s right, keep your eyes peeled and you might see some of your old friends from Station Eleven in this one!  

When I say I really enjoyed the writing style, I mean it!  Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

-“Why were the righteous so often irritating?”
-“One of our signature flaws as a species: we will risk almost anything to avoid looking stupid.”
-“It’s always possible to fail to know the people closest to us.”
-“That’s what money gives you: the freedom to stop thinking about money”
-“Very few people who go to the wilderness actually want to experience the wilderness. Almost no one.”

Okay it’s time for me to rate this thing.  I know I won’t be widely recommending it like Station Eleven.  It really had a slow but steady pace… which in fairness I think quite a lot of adult fiction has this pacing.  It seemed like different stories were all jammed into one book.  The characters weren’t very likable (I think this is a trend for Mandel that she writes “realistic” characters.  I put that in quotes because I hope that if you met me in real life I would be likable and I am also a real person.  So with all of that in mind… I think I’m going to officially rate it:

3.75 our of 5

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Christmas On Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains

arc review

christmas on mistletoe lane

official blurb
Christmas is coming to the North Carolina mountains, and the air is fresh and crisp and filled with promise. After the devastating loss of her job in the big city, the small town of Sweetwater Springs feels like heaven to Kaitlyn Russo. She’s inherited her grandparents’ charming (if a little rundown) bed and breakfast, and it’s just the new lease on life she needs. Only “heaven” comes with a catch – and a handsome and completely infuriating one at that. After what he hopes will be a quick trip, Mitch Hargrove wants nothing more than to put his hometown in the rearview mirror. But his plans get derailed when he learns he’s now half-owner of the Sweetwater B&B. The fact that he’s given only two months to make the inn a success is a huge problem, but it’s his pretty – and incredibly headstrong – partner who’s the real challenge. With the holiday fast approaching and a grand re-opening looming, will Mitch keep running from the ghosts of Christmas past . . . or will he realize the true gift he’s been given?

3.5 stars

🔥🔥 Steam Level 

 

what i liked
This book had total hallmark vibes and I am here for it!  If you’re expecting a hallmark movie including a dog at some point then you’re in luck.  This book ties up things quickly and makes you want to visit a super cute Bed and Breakfast in a small town.  It even had me brainstorming about what couples in love I would name my hypothetical b&b rooms after!  (In case you were wondering I was thinking Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly!)  This was the first Christmas book that I ever made it through and enjoyed.  I don’t know why those tend to fall short for me even though I LOVE Christmas.  This one was a hit in my book!

what i didn't like
At the height of drama in the book, I felt like our heroine let our hero off the hook really quickly. Also it should be noted that the epilogue was maximum cheese level.

trigger warnings: car accident, sexual harassment/ sexual assault (beginning of chapter 5)

while reading you should
Make: Chocolate chip cookies
Watch: The Hallmark Channel’s trilogy: All of my heart, All of my heart: The Wedding, All of my heart: Inn love.
Watch: I mean while you’re at it you might as well use that Netflix subscription you’re paying for and watch Falling Inn Love

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Oopsie Daisy by Iris Morland

oopsie daisy

arc review

official blurb
You know when you meet your new professor, and he ends up being the same man you had a one-night stand with three months ago? Okay, maybe not. Let me explain. I hadn’t intended to sleep with my professor. I might be known as the impulsive, prankster daughter in my family, but I’m not insane. I just wanted to have some fun in Ireland at my sister’s wedding, and maybe lose my virginity, too. When I met Lochlann Gallagher at a pub one night, I couldn’t resist him. He was hot, Irish, and entirely set on seducing me. One unforgettable night under the sheets with him, and my V-card went up in smoke. Well, that night had one itty bitty consequence because Lochlann totally made my eggo preggo. And if this story isn’t crazy enough, Lochlann is not just my baby daddy: he’s now my professor and my advisor for grad school. Somehow we have to figure out a way not to reveal this rapidly gestating secret while resisting the explosive attraction between us.Except there’s just one more complication to this story: I think I’m totally falling for my baby daddy. Oopsie daisy.

 

3.5 stars
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

 

what i liked
I read this book very quickly and laughed quite a few times throughout. A lot of double chuckles happening… You know, “haha!” I really enjoyed the writing style, it was conversational – and that’s my favorite kind of narrator!  I feel like I could read one thousand books with this kind of narrator and not get tired of it.

what i didn't like
The storyline became a bit stressful to me at times, because of the whole secret baby. That involved some secret keeping, and some poor communication. Being pregnant right now with my third, there were some pregnancy inconsistencies that were obvious to me but would probably not be obvious to the everyday reader. Overall the novel was too steamy/dirty talky for me, but it is marketed as a steamy romantic comedy!

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