Reviews

Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount

official blurb
Book lovers, rejoice! In this love letter to all things bookish, Jane Mount brings literary people, places, and things to life through her signature and vibrant illustrations. Readers will:
• Tour the world’s most beautiful bookstores
• Test their knowledge of the written word with quizzes
• Find their next great read in lovingly curated stacks of books
• Sample the most famous fictional meals
• Peek inside the workspaces of their favorite authors
A source of endless inspiration, literary facts and recommendations, and pure bookish joy, Bibliophile is sure to enchant book clubbers, English majors, poetry devotees, inspiring writers, and any and all who identify as bookworms.

my blurb!
The perfect coffee table book for book lovers, and lovers of illustration.

5 out of 5

Okay, this one is a really weird one to rate because it is 100% a coffee table book.  The kind of book that you flip through once, but then might keep on the table (or in your bathroom) to skim through and read a page or two at any random point to spark your interest.  So if this is the case how could I have rated it 5 stars?  Well… what can I say, it’s a good coffee table book!

what i liked
The illustrations were gorgeous! I would LOVE to have Jane Mount draw a picture of me holding my favorite book (dream Christmas list item anyone?).  I almost wish some of the pages were perforated so that I could tear them out and frame them!  (Also, I should mention that I got this as a library book so I couldn’t do that if my dream became a reality).
I loved all of the lists.  Bookstores that are owned by authors, amazing libraries to visit, books recommended by authors or influencers, best books by genre, etc.  They were great ones to go through, and always kept my attention.  My personal favorite was definitely bookstores owned by authors.
I read the whole book in one sitting, it was easy to flip through and kept my attention.  I found myself taking pictures of quite a few of the pages because I wanted to remember what she was referencing.  I know, so lame (yes, I am a cheap genius). But it also made me realize that I wanted to buy this book. Hence the 5 star rating!
Ps. Since my initial read through of this book, I have received this book as a gift and I am THRILLED to add it to my library!

what i didn't like
No bookstore recommendations in my current hometown or my OG hometown!  But I can look past that.  Maybe that means I need to open one (not gonna happen!). haha.

while reading you should
Make: a list of all of the books you want to buy or check out from your library
Eat: anything you made out of a legit cookbook- not online.
Listen: The Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack (it just makes me feel all literary!)
Buy: this bibliophile journal or these notecards!  (I personally have two of Jane Mount’s vases and am *patiently* waiting to be gifted the third, cough cough).

if you would like to buy
Click here: Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany

DuxSignature smallercopy

Dating – ish (Knitting in the City #6) by Penny Reid

dating ish.PNG

 

official blurb
There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris:  1) She’s fed up with online dating,  2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and  3) She knows how to knit. After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of human kind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities: Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services? But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . . As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

my blurb!
The story of a super cool girl and a smartypants guy, who decide to use each other for professional gain but but end up gaining something else in the end.

3.25 out of 5

what i liked
I really liked Marie!  Can you tell by now that I ALWAYS like the Penny Reid heroine?  She is motivated and kind, she sticks up for herself and is loyal.  What’s not to like?
This book was a really cute romcom…. BUT it was too steamy.  So if you don’t mind a steamy romance- you’ll like this romcom.
I liked the topic that this book focused on- writing an article or solving a scientific problem of the perks of a relationship without being in one. (Sidenote- I JUST watched a new hallmark movie called Mingle All The Way that also tried to tackle this topic!)

what i didn't like
It’s too steamy!!! I have to skim a lot of parts in a Penny Reid book but I keep coming back to her. I know… why?!  Because I love her writing and her characters but I don’t love her steam! It’s too much!
The ending I didn’t love. I won’t give anything away… but the last scene.  Nope… wasn’t into it.
This was the 6th book in a series- and somehow my library has this book and only this book in the series.  They are each stand alone books but I found a lot of recaps in this book that I knew were big plot points in other books.  It didn’t flow very well.

while reading you should
Do: Read a newspaper- while you’re at it, get me a subscription bc my free local one just went out of business 😦
Make: coconut cake
Listen: Turning the Page by Sleeping At Last

DuxSignature smallercopy

Attraction (Elements of Chemistry #1) by Penny Reid

attraction.PNG

official blurb
One week. Private beach. Invisible girl. Jerk-faced bully. What’s the worst that could happen? Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner. Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family’s billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water. When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?

my blurb!
An inexperienced and really smart girl tries to decide if it’s worth winging it in life with her lab partner.

1.75 out of 5

what i didn't like
Let me start by saying I really enjoy reading Penny Reid’s writing.  But this book did not do it for me.  There was a vibe in this book that made me feel like the main character wasn’t always safe.  And let me tell you right now- there is not a rape scene in this book. But I sure thought there might have been one at some point.  I didn’t like that at all.
Let’s take a second to talk about consent.  Consent.  Okay we talked about it.  That was more than the conversations that were happening in this book.  It was like “oh, I’ve never done anything sexual- in fact I’ve never actually really had a boyfriend.”  Followed by me reading and saying “Ahhhh! skimming, skimming, skimming…”  And then reading for pages about how the Kaitlyn wasn’t even sure she enjoyed doing what she was doing, and certainly didn’t like Martin claiming her like property.  I’m sorry, am I supposed to be rooting for this couple to get together? Big problem for me.

what i liked
I really like Penny Reid’s characters.  She writes super smart women- who are quirky and fun.  I love reading Kaitlyn’s thought process and laughed out loud a few times while reading.
I also liked that this book was free this month on kindle.  I mean, I would’ve gotten it from the library if it wasn’t free.  But that for some reason is in the pro column for this book in my head. haha

 

while reading you should
Do: Stand up straight. Put your arms up to your hips like you’re superwoman. Look in the mirror and feel awesome.  (What… is that weird. I watched a whole TED talk on this!)
Eat:  something someone else made for you (in the book they stay at a place that comes with a chef.)
Listen: Firework by Katy Perry

DuxSignature smallercopy

 

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

official blurb
Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich is a rollicking and poignant romantic comedy about a young widow who decides to get in shape…and winds up getting her groove back–and a whole lot more! Holly Brennan used food to comfort herself through her husband’s illness and death. Now she’s alone at age thirty-two. And she weighs more than she ever has. When fate throws her in the path of Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to pro athletes, and he offers to train her, Holly concludes it must be a sign. Much as she dreads the thought of working out, Holly knows she needs to put on her big girl panties and see if she can sweat out some of her grief. Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly to most intense and steamy workouts. But can Holly and Logan go the distance as a couple now that she’s met her goals–and other men are noticing?

my blurb!
Holly, an overweight loner, decides to make a change and hits the gym hard.  All the while also falling hard for her trainer Logan- who has a thing for ugly ducklings.

1.75 out of 5

what i didn't like
Seriously, why does this guy get so turned on by her and then disgusted by her cellulite?  It was mentioned a million times and it got old.  I didn’t like how disgusted Logan was by her- and he was.  There are so many instances I could bring up- but I don’t want to allow for any spoilers, but basically he fat shames her the whole book. I will say that I wasn’t rooting for him in the end.  Which is obviously an issue in a romance novel read.
The spanking storyline- there were two side characters who were in the book quite a bit and actually had their perspective in a few chapters – Amanda and Chase.  I got to read all about their sexual preferences- specifically spanking.  Why was that even in the book and why was it brought up so many times? It was weird. I didn’t like it at all.  And it’s kind of a shame because Chase was a pretty fun character but EVERY time he was in the book there was a reference to him spanking his wife.
Towards the climax of the book Holly realizes that she molded her life to Logan’s.  Then there is more in the storyline and the book ends.  But this is a loose end.  She doesn’t ever take that realization back but it isn’t ever mentioned.  Reading the story- I 100% agreed that she made her day all about Logan and was all about pleasing him.  So that was a big way to fall short – by not addressing that in the end.
This book painted a setting of celebrities and celebrity trainers.  There wasn’t a lot in their lives that I could identify with. They were super rich, and judged fat people, and only dated Barbie models.  I didn’t leave the book bummed that I wouldn’t be seeing the characters at my next party.  If I had a party, no one in this book would be invited.

what i liked
I did like reading the workouts in the book.  Logan was a good trainer and believable- I liked that he prided himself in having a masters degree and really judged the trainers at the big box stores for having zero expertise in the field of personal training.  It’s a little rivalry I never would have thought of and I enjoyed glimpsing into that a bit.  It also made me wanna work out while I read it.  Let me be clear, I didn’t work out while I read this. But I did think about it, and that counts for something right?

while reading you should
Do: renew your gym membership
Eat: some ice cream – you deserve it for renewing that gym membership
Take: breaks from reading this book to do a few sets of lunges
Watch: baseball (and by that, I mean have it in the background while you’re reading… maybe that’s even too far. okay, watch Fever Pitch with Jimmy Fallon.  It’s kind of about baseball, anyways).

if you would like to buy
Click here.

DuxSignature smallercopy

The Space Between by Kate Canterbary

the space between.PNG

 

official blurb
Patrick
That hair. That fucking hair. It was everywhere, always, and I wanted to tangle my fingers in those dark curls and pull. And that would be fine if she wasn’t my apprentice. Andy Asani was nothing like I expected. She was exotic and scary-brilliant, and the slightest murmur from those lips sent hot, hungry lust swirling through my veins. Outside my siblings, she was the only person I could name who shared my obsession with preserving Boston’s crumbling buildings.
Andy
My wants were few: good eats, tall boots, hot yoga, interesting work. One incredibly hot architect with the most expressive hazel eyes I ever encountered and entirely too much talent in and out of the bedroom wasn’t part of the original plan. Apparently he was part of the package. Wine was my rabbi and vodka was my therapist, and I needed plenty of both to survive my apprenticeship. Especially with Patrick Walsh leaving love notes in the form of bite marks all over my body.

my blurb!
A book that should 100% be judged off of its cover.

1 out of 5

what i didn't like
Wow. This. Book. Was. Awful.
I know, I know- some of you will say… did you read the blurb about it before you read it?  No, no I did not.  This is not abnormal for me to do by the way.  I find that the blurb often gives away too much of the storyline so I don’t read them.
When I decided to really immerse myself into the romance genre for my first ever romance read- a- thon, I wanted to make sure I really went for it to find out what I liked and what I hated.  I hated this book!  Oh, you could tell from the rating? Well okay then.
At one point a month into reading romance novels- I realized I had never picked up a book with a really trashy and embarrassing cover.  Trying to rectify this, I saw this book for free on amazon kindle, looking exactly like the type of book I was trying to cross off of my list.  I then went to goodreads.  Oh goodreads… how you lead me astray.  (Btw, if you’re not following me on goodreads- click here to fix that!)  There is a 4.19 out of 5 star rating for this book!!! WHAT?!  I can only imagine that this book appeals to people who aren’t embarrassed by the cover… or the contents.  And to each their own- that is the cool thing about books, there is something for everyone!
Well this one wasn’t for me. It was crass. Way too sexual. I didn’t like the characters. I wasn’t rooting for them.  In fact they annoyed me so much that I might have been rooting against them.  I tried desperately to give this a fair shake and really push myself to read it, and just skim the parts I didn’t like.  Then I realized I was skimming like 10 pages and then reading one page.  So I stopped reading it.  Because if you didn’t get it before… this book was awful.

I know I always include a list of things to do while reading this book. But there isn’t a list for this one. Because you should totally NOT read this book.  In fact if someone gifts it to you, throw it at their heads.  …too confrontational?  Okay you can take the gift, but then go home and use it for kindling.

DuxSignature smallercopy

More Than Words by Mia Sheridan

official blurb
The moment she met Callen Hayes, eleven-year-old Jessica Creswell knew he was a broken prince. Her prince. They became each other’s refuge, a safe and magical place far from their troubled lives. Until the day Callen kissed herJessica’s first real, dreamy kiss—and then disappeared from her life without a word. Years later, everyone knows who Callen Hayes is. Famous composer. Infamous bad boy. What no one knows is that Callen’s music is now locked deep inside, trapped behind his own inner demons. It’s only when he withdraws to France to drink his way through the darkness that Callen stumbles into the one person who makes the music return. Jessica. His Jessie. And she still tastes of fresh, sweet innocence . . . even as she sets his blood on fire. But they don’t belong in each other’s worlds anymore. There are too many mistakes. Too many secrets. Too many lies. All they have is that instinctive longing, that need—and something that looks dangerously like love.

my blurb!
A love story that wasn’t…. with a chance to turn into a love story that was.

1.5 out of 5

what i liked
Clearly I didn’t like a lot. But I did like the setting, picturesque France.

what i didn't like
Callen was so annoying. I could rant about him but I refuse to give him any more for my time.
Jessie- why is she in love with him? She knew him for a few months when she was 11 years old, but couldn’t give her heart to anyone else because she had already given it to Callen…What?! You didn’t read that incorrectly.  What a an insane plot.
I also hate the whole- let’s just be together no strings attached and with an end date- thing.  It’s the lamest plot ever.  Seriously, have these people never seen a movie ever?

while reading you should
Listen to: See you again by Miley Cyrus
Also Listen to:  Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds
Visit: France

if you would like to buy
Click here.

DuxSignature smallercopy

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

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

DuxSignature smallercopy

My Favorite Half – Night Stand by Christina Lauren

my favorite half night stand.PNG

 

official blurb
Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single. So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic. But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

my blurb!
A frelationship goes awry when someone isn’t able to own up to their feelings.

4 out of 5

what i liked
Do you love a frelationship? Because I do.  What’s a frelationship, you ask?  Well it’s a made up word that is basically a friendship that is dysfunctional and basically functions as a relationship but either one or both members of duo don’t realize it.
Reid is so likable that it almost makes Millie less likable.  I know that’s kind of insane but I was rooting for Reid so hard, that Millie getting in her own way made me mad bc I was team Reid!
The writers (remember how I mentioned in my Dating You, Hating You review that Christian Lauren is a pen name for an author duo?) did an AMAZING job writing a friend group.  I mean, I loved it.  At first it might feel a little complicated because there are a lot of people to remember, but you get over that pretty quickly and by the end, each member of the crew has their own distinct personalities.
I recommend reading this book as an actual book and not an e-book (although I haven’t actually seen the e-book formatting) because there are some chat, text, and email communications that are formatted really well in the book and actually help you distinguish between different members of the friend group.
The ending was great- no spoilers but I personally appreciated the way it wrapped up.
This book was such a fast read for me. I would be excited to read it when I got in bed, but I would make myself put it down by 10pm so that I could get some good sleep time in.  Okay, fine, 1030pm! Sheesh!  I read it in 3 sittings and easily could have done it in one or two if I had the time.

what i didn't like
I hate characters who constantly get in their own way.  While I didn’t hate Millie, I needed her to mature faster than she did.
There were a couple of sex scenes in this book. The first one is SO steamy!!!! Then the next few- almost no steam!  I wish it would have been more consistent.  If it stayed steamy, I would’ve adjusted my review accordingly- and if it had less steam the whole time I would’ve done the same.  As is, it messes with who you can recommend the book too because the beginning is so much steamier than the rest of the book.

while reading you should
Do: take interest in someone else’s passions.  You’ll learn something just because the other person is so excited to talk about it!
Listen to: You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift
Eat: pizza

DuxSignature smallercopy