Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

serious moonlight

official blurb
After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately. Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel. In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel. To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

my blurb!
A semi naive aspiring sleuth teams up with a former fling to uncover the identity of a mysterious author using a pen name.

 

Want to read my other reviews of Jenn Bennett books?  Click here for Starry Eyes.  Click here for Alex, Approximately.

4 out of 5

what i didn't like
I was ready for it to end a little sooner.  Otherwise this book MIGHT have been 5 stars for me.
I also didn’t always love Birdie.  But I did for the most part.  Her indecisiveness got old.  To be fair, that was addressed by the end of the book.
There is also storyline with Aunt Mona that was 100% predictable to me.

what i liked
A main character obsessed with mysteries? Sign me up!  I love BBC masterpiece mysteries and consider myself to be an amateur sleuth of sorts.  Okay, I don’t really consider myself to be one, more like I think I’d be good at it if I ever tried it.  (Oh, come on. Like you didn’t watch the Bourne movies and think you’d make an awesome Bourne!  I’m basically the same except more like Veronica Mars).
Jenn Bennett writes some really funny dialogue, but also some hard hitting dialogue.  Here’s a couple snippets from the book to wet your appetite.

“Come on, Nick.  Are we solving a GD mystery, or aren’t we?”
A slow grin split his face.  “Nora, my dear, you know I can’t resist it when you use profanity.”

“We didn’t come out here to help you seek vengeance.”
“No one plans vengeance,” she argued.
“Yes! They do!” I said, exasperated.  “It’s a planned act of revenge.”
“For you maybe.  For me vengeance just happens.”

“When you pin impossible ideals on someone, nobody wins… Judging other people unfairly doesn’t define them; it defines you.  And in the end everyone will be disappointed… Most of us are just living our lives, trying the best we can.  Accepting people for who they are is hard, but in the long run, it’s easier than sitting around, wishing they were something they’re not.”

I mean… I know you’re wanting to run out and get this book right now. And you should.  But just wait a minute because I’m almost done with my review.
If you don’t follow me on instagram (you should), then you don’t know that I’m obsessed with berets.  In fact you can often see me sporting the hashtag of #beretoftheday.  Picture this, I’m just sitting and reading…minding my own business and adjusting my beret when necessary, when all of the sudden I stumble upon this gem of dialogue:

“Don’t bother being polite to Old Man Jessen.  If an asshole could were a beret, that’s what it would look like.”

A line featuring a beret?! YES!! Okay, so it wasn’t totally favorable.  But still.  I’m throwing a party for a beret mention!
If it wasn’t totally clear with the above line, this book features some profanity.  It also starts out recalling a (sort of) one night stand.  Yes, this book is YA.  It’s not “open door” descriptive in the romance scenes but mentionable nonetheless.  There is also trigger warnings for suicide in this book.
I can’t believe I went this long in the book without  talking about my main man Daniel!  Daniel is our male protagonist and he is amazing!  I dare you not to develop a crush on him and his grand gestures.  Go ahead and try… you will not be successful.  Shout out to diverse reads here because Daniel Aoki is in fact Asian.  There’s nothing I’m more of a sucker for in a book than an interracial couple!  Bring them all to me!!! I will read those books os fast!

while reading you should
Watch: Veronica Mars
Read: Agatha Christie books
Listen to: David Bowie

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The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

the flateshare

official blurb
Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.  But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

my blurb!
Two people share a living space (bed and all).  One person lives there during the day, and the other at night.  They never plan to meet.

5 out of 5

 

1 / 5 steam level

For all of you looking for LGBT character in books- this book did feature a supporting character subplot with an LGBT romance.
Trigger Warning: Emotional Abuse.

what i liked
Have you noticed yet that I don’t love “women’s fiction” books yet?  (I don’t know why they’re usually called that and not just fiction, btw).  I get kind of depressed when I read them, because the adults lives are so humdrum.  But guess what? I read a fiction book that I loved!!!  Oh… you knew that?  You already saw the part where I rated it 5 stars? Fair enough.
While this book wasn’t all sunshine and roses (trigger warnings in this book for emotional abuse), I did find myself smile-reading quite a bit throughout it.
This book was for sure British but while that can be a hindrance in understanding the flow or tone in some books (I’m looking at you When Polly Met Olly) , it was great in this book! (More like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine). 
So many words came to mind when I was thinking of this book… funny, stressful, cute.  It was all of these things!
There were some amazing pop culture references in this.  I LOVE a good pop culture reference so everytime I read one I would get a little giddy.
Guess what else this book had? An Epilogue!!! I can’t help it, I am a sucker for a good epilogue! I love the wrap up in a book!
I adored the main couple in this book.  Tiffy and Leon.  First of all, let me shout out to them being an interracial couple.  Secondly they were so freaking likable!  I am totally fictional friends with them.
Here’s a little snippet from my main man Leon:
Tiffy: You’re an introvert.
Make a face.  I’m not a fan of those Myers Briggs – type things that tell you your personality type, like horoscopes for business people.
Me: Guess so.
If you didn’t know this about me- I HATE personality tests.  I know, you want to tell me my enneagram number.  I’m happy for you and your number, and I don’t want to take the test!  (Did that just giveaway my number? Crap.)
Need a little pallet teaser for Tiffy?  I didn’t leave you hanging!
Leon looks at me with amusement.
“What a hat,” he says.

“What a day,” I counter, spreading my arms out wide.  “No other headwear would do it justice.”
Need I say more? Tiffy and I are soul sisters?!  If you don’t follow me on instagram (you should be ashamed of yourself!) then you don’t know about my hat obsession. In fact I regularly post to my Instagram story with #beretoftheday.  That’s right, berets are awesome and there’s nothing you can do to talk me out of it!  Do you see why Tiffy and I are besties?
Also, if it wasn’t clear from those excerpts, the chapters are told from alternating POVs.  So you hear from Tiffy and you hear from Leon’s perspective and they’re both perfect!
I loved this book- if you’re looking for your next great fiction read then look no further than The Flatshare!

while reading you should
Do: bake something to share with your neighbors!
Listen to:  Manhattan by Sara Bareilles and Sun-Drenched World by Joshua Radin

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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

the unhoneymooners

Thank you Netgalley and Gallery Books for the copy of this book. Even though this book was free, it in no way affected my opinion of it!

official blurb
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.  Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.  Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

my blurb!
An unlucky twin is awarded a trip to paradise, the only catch being that she has to take the vacation with her least favorite person.

4.5 out of 5                                                                1.5  / 5 steam level

what i liked
Wow this book was so funny you guys! Because I read an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC), I can’t give you quotes until it comes out. But I loved this book and laughed out loud multiple times! I’ve read a few of Christina Lauren’s books now and they are great romcom writers!  I feel like if I’m in a book funk or wanting to be generally cheered up then I automatically reach for a Christina Lauren or an R.S. Grey book!
Now this book is a romcom, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t amazing and that it doesn’t tackle bigger topics.  (I see you, romcom hater!)  Believing the voice of women? Check. Perception changing your circumstances? Check. Honestly, the book was deeper than I was expecting it to be! And I loved that! Big tallies in the pro column for me.
Let’s go ahead and give a big holler for featuring one of my favorite tropes in a book! Enemies to lovers! *Holler!!!*  The only storyline I like more than enemies to lovers is fake relationship. Guess what…. this book featured both! *gasp!* I know, I’m telling you, run- don’t walk – and go buy this book!
The Unhoneymooners also featured a lower steam level then I am used to from CL.  This is a definite pro for me, because in general I tend to enjoy a book more if it’s not a 5 steam level. And this was nowhere near 5 flames of steaminess!
I have read quite a few stories featuring twins in the last year (99 Percent Mine, The Identicals).  This was the first book  which featured twins that were likable!! It was seriously a breath of fresh air. Finally twins I could get behind!!!  And truthfully don’t we all kind of root for twins? I blame the Parent Trap – it made me pro twin!

what i didn't like
You guys know that I love an epilogue. This book featured one! I know, you’re wondering why this is in the negative column for the book then.  Hold your horses little miss horsey holder! (Gilmore Girls reference anyone?).  The characters were together for like 2 weeks and their relationship progressed so quickly. It seemed as if they had been together for years.  Then there’s the epilogue which is like one year later. I was surprised at where the characters were. I expected them to be further along relationally. There was something about it that made me think they still didn’t know each other that well.  I don’t know, it just didn’t flow with who the characters were and where their relationship was for the whole book.  Which in turn made me like their relationship less because I felt like they were tiptoeing around each other.
Overall this negative aspect didn’t detract too much for me and I would still definitely recommend this book.

while reading you should
Do: get a firm grip on your stance about buffets. Pro or Con? I’m personally con.
Listen: To this playlist I created on Spotify
Eat: something made to order… because hopefully at this point you’ve realized you don’t like buffets.

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The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

the proposal.PNG

 

official blurb
When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans… At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…

my blurb!
A girl who gets brutally embarrassed online falls for her no- strings white knight.

3.75 our of 5

1.5/5 steam level

what i liked
This book is kind of like the second in a series- but also it’s not.  That was really good, right? I know, I should try to write reviews for a living!  Did you read The Wedding Date?  Well this book features the best friend from TWD, so it is a stand alone novel.  But also, it could be read as the second book in a series!
I loved the peak at Alexa and Drew from TWD.  I didn’t love TWD when I read it, but that was before I became a romance reader!  Now I think if I read it again, I might like it more.  So overall, it was fun to look back at some old friends from TWD.
I’m not sure if I just missed it in the description, but it was a good 3/4 of the way through the book before I realized that Nikole was black.  They have a scene where they really reference this- and I was like… wait what?! I was picturing her so differently so that was a funny and fun surprise.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again- the most diverse characters I’ve read in any books have all come from romance novels!  I hadn’t read very many black leads until I started reading this genre and I’m so happy to read about characters like me!
These books feature what I would call closed-door sex scenes.  It’s not an open look at the dirty deed. It basically features very little description and the reader is left easily understanding what the characters are doing.  I really liked that myself!
There’s also a solid group of friends in this book- so shout out to that!

what i didn't like
I feel like going back, this book should rank higher- but for some reason it just didn’t rank THAT high for me.  There were things I loved about diversity in the book and things I hated.  There’s a scene where Carlos kind of tests Nik by ordering her tacos.  I won’t go into it… but I didn’t like it.
The writing wasn’t amazing.  Is it too lame as a reviewer to say the writing fell flat?  The dual perspective wasn’t varied enough, and the characters found each other so charming and funny but I never laughed out loud while reading the book.

while reading you should
Go: to a baseball game
Do: make a recipe at home that you’ve been wanting to try!
Listen to: Blank Space by Taylor Swift

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

official blurb
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?  Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

my blurb!
Girl with unrequited love issues is bombarded when guys she’s loved start popping up like daisies… with her unsent love letters in hand.

4.5 out of 5

what i liked
I liked so much about this book! Jenny Han’s writing is so enjoyable to read.  You’ll be laughing on the first pages and the rest of the book won’t let you down.  Don’t believe me? Here’s an excerpt of the first paragraph of the book:
I like to save things. Not important things like whales or people or the environment. Silly things. Porcelain bells, the kind you get at souvenir shops.  Cookie cutters you’ll never use, because who needs a cookie in the shape of a foot?  Ribbons for my hair.  Love letters.  Of all the things I save, I guess you could say my love letters are my most prized possession.
I loved Lara Jean’s family. I believed them and their complications and their love for each other.  I love her dad!
Also, shout out to Jenny Han for telling me exactly how to pronounce Lara Jean’s last name in the first couple pages of the books. If you don’t remember a pet peeve of mine is going a whole book and having NO idea if I’m pronouncing someone’s name correctly.
I loved LJ’s fashion sense. Hello Blair Waldorf in book form… wait was gossip girl a book series… okay maybe that sentence doesn’t stand true… but you know what I mean.
She bakes! I need to get a list of awesome  books where the characters bake throughout it’s pages? Wouldn’t that be the perfect themed book club? You make all of the recipes while you talk about your book?  (I know, I know… I’m an idea girl. Oh what was that? People have been doing book clubs like that for years? Oh…)
I also like the name Margot.  Which is really random to mention- but in case you were wondering it means pearl in French.  Why do I know that? I liked it so much I looked it up. You’re welcome.

what i didn't like
If you’ve read this book already do not kill me for this answer. And let me also tell you that this is a reread for me, so…  I don’t like Peter K.  I know, I know, the heart wants what it wants.  When LJ and Peter actually converse alone, she usually seemed annoyed with his style (the constant “you’re welcome” response), and she mentions more than once that she just can’t stay mad at him.  So that means that she was consistently mad at him.  Just didn’t seem like the making of a long-lasting and solid relationship to hope for. #relationshipgoals
I also didn’t like the best friend of Chris.   That’s LJ’s best friend?  I get why she’s written in the book, she pushed LJ.  But she doesn’t really seem like a good friend.
It ends on a cliffhanger. LAME.

while reading you should
Watch:  the movie on Netflix!
Read:  a romance novel (She reads them in the book!)
Buy: the next two books, because it’s a trilogy and they end on cliffhangers!
Eat: snickerdoodles (The first cookies she makes in the book!)
Listen: You Belong with Me by Taylor Swift

when to read
This really COULD be read anytime because it’s super cute- but they do mention the holidays quite a bit in this movie- so I say Thanksgiving and Christmas time!

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

official blurb
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop. So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company. She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

my blurb!
Girl low on money and high on wit, meets VERY rich boy that she tries super hard not to like.

5 out of 5

 

So I’ve been doing some Kasie West rereads and reminding myself why I somehow had a crazy insta love with her as an author.  I do love how much she interacts with her fans on goodreads – I’ve never seen an author interact as often as she does! And that could be why I’ve kept reading her books after the insta love has tapered off for me.  But when I reread this book in ONE night AGAIN… well she cemented a spot as an “always read” author for me.

what i liked
First of all, let me state that this is my THIRD time reading this book. Every time I’ve read it, I have read it one sitting. Last night, I read it until 130am.  Why would I do that? I have two kids 3 and under. What was I thinking?! I wasn’t! I was just reading and loving every moment so much that I couldn’t stop reading!!
I LOVE Caymen.  She is the snarky high schooler I was, with the wit I always hoped I had.  She reacts very realistically to me, early in the book. Any main character who minimally annoys me- if at all- is a HUGE win for me.  (Am I the only one who finds a lot of main characters whiney and annoying??)
I love Xander. Though I don’t adore his name – she at least tells us how to pronounce it very early on in the book.
I love Mrs. Dalton. If i can be her when I’m old, I would be. (Well, except for collecting dolls.  Let me go ahead and set that record straight right now. Creepy dolls are not my thing).
I enjoyed Skye. She’s Caymen’s best friend and also has enjoyable wit and isn’t always out of the loop with what’s going on in Caymen’s life like a lot of YA friends are.

what i didn't like
The anticipation of waiting for the other shoe to drop.  You know Caymen is going to get something totally misconstrued and you can’t help but keep reading. The suspense of getting to the moment is brutal!

when to read
Your junior or senior year of high school. Oh wait, I’m 30.  Okay, then anytime.

while reading you should
Shop at: Savers, or your favorite local thrift store.
Listen to: a random local band playing at a bar/ coffee shop near you
Drink: Hot chocolate
Eat: blueberry muffins (or if you’re like me and don’t like blueberries, lemon poppy seed. In my opinion, they are equally addicting).

if you would like to buy
Click here. (A friendly reminder, that this link is an affiliate link. It doesn’t cost you more for the book but it does give me a kickback!)

Ps. I’ve mentioned before that Kasie regularly interacts with fans on goodreads. Well, I finally sent her a question and she responded! Enjoy!
the distance between us kasie west

 

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The Fill In Boyfriend by Kasie West

So I’ve been trying to go through some books that I’ve ranked as 5 stars on goodreads in the past to see if they really were as good as I remembered.  Plus a reread is super easy to do when you are on vacation (hello beach reads!)  I wasn’t super excited to read this again because my last two Kasie West books had been flops – so I wondered if maybe I was in a different mindset when I read her previous books and loved them so much.  Welp… the truth is, her previous books are just better!

official blurb
When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley. The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship

my blurb!
A girl with normal girl friend high school drama enlists the help of a handsome stranger to pretend to be her boyfriend.

5 out of 5

what i liked
Bec – hello GOOD girl friends! I LOVE a good supporting character! Please Kasie- write a companion book with Bec because she is amazing.
Hayden- amazing name. solid character with believable flaws.
Gia- she’s not the most amazing ever main character but she’s pretty relatable and she doesn’t drive you crazy as you read. I consider that a win.
The plot- it was a funny idea that I liked being along the ride for.

what i didn't like
Nothing! It was the perfect light easy YA read! Required reading for all YA light easy read lovers!  If you would like to check out more of my YA required reading list click here.

when to read
Summer or the end of the school year

while reading you should
Eat : m&ms and dried bananas (you’ll get it when you read it)
Watch: the wedding date
Listen to: Marry You by Bruno Mars

if you would like to buy
Click here.

Ps. I’ve mentioned on some previous posts that Kasie West interacts regularly with her fans on goodreads. Well, I decided to ask her a question about her book! Notice in my question I TOTALLY name the WRONG book… ugh! How embarrassing. In my defense I read two of her books back to back and submitted two questions at once. But still… Wow.  Anyways, enjoy!
kasie west the fill in boyfriend

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