Chick-Lit, Fiction, romance

Book Review : Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Evvie Drake Starts Over

“Your head is the house you live in, so you have to do the maintenance.”

Evvie married her high school sweetheart. Everyone considers them the perfect couple and her husband especially, to be the perfect husband. On the day Evvie makes a decision that would shatter that illusion, her husband dies in a car accident leaving her reeling from the events that follow. Her guilt for not feeling as much grief as expected and coming to terms with her marriage and the man she married.

Dean Tenney was living the dream – a star pitcher for the New York Yankees until one day he just couldn’t pitch anymore. He was pitching wild balls and not hitting any of his targets and was forced to retire from a game he loved before he was ready. Dean heads to Maine, searching for answers and trying to understand his life after being forced to retire so young. He rents a room from Evvie and they become friends.

This is a charming book. There is no other word for it. It’s also a very adult novel. This is definitely  a romance novel but with fully developed characters who talk like adults. I enjoyed the different relationships in this book and the exploration of all the nuances. I really enjoyed watching Evvie and Dean fall in love. You watch them become friends, and then other things get slowly added to the equation. They both struggle to understand each other’s issues. Dean tries to understand Evvie’s actual marriage struggles that she hadn’t shared with anybody else – not her dad, not her best friend, Andy- and Evvie in turn tries to understand his pitching woes.

No matter how predictable this book is, Holmes still does a great job of walking us to the destination. This is a well written book. The character development was stellar. The characters have their flaws and Holmes does not lean on stereotypes to bring her story to life. I enjoyed these characters and found their back stories compelling and fascinating. I can’t imagine waking up and not being able to do the very thing you’ve loved and done for the longest. This book deals with a lot of serious issues but it also has a lot of humor and hope for the future.

Evvie Drake Starts Over definitely dragged in the middle. It was not a fast paced book all the way through, but I understood the reason for the slow build in the middle as our characters got to know each other. Also, the whole angle of trying to “fix” each other made me cringe a little bit because it just seemed a tad bit intrusive and codependent.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.




Chick-Lit, Fiction

Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

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“Being nice is a good thing. You can be strong and nice. You don’t have to be one or the other.”

Tiffy just broke up with her boyfriend and needs to move out from their shared flat ASAP,  but living in London on an assistant editor salary is no joke. She finds an ad in the paper asking for a flatshare. Leon works nights as a nurse in a hospice and needs the extra money, so he decides to rent out his flat for the time he isn’t there. He offers Tiffy the apartment from 6pm to 9am. They never have to meet and it’s temporary – just for 6 months. Leon’s no-nonsense girlfriend Kay handles the transaction, thus ensuring Tiffy and Leon don’t even meet during the lease signing. And since Leon will be spending weekends with Kay, there’s no reason for any interaction. What starts as Tiffy leaving a note to remind Leon to leave the toilet seat down turns into a correspondence between friends. The two interact via post-it notes and memos, which grow from basic requests to much more personal conversations.

“…there is no saving of people–people can only save themselves. The best you can do is help when they’re ready.”

The best types of books are books that absolutely surprise you when you have little or no expectations at all. This book checked out to me and I had no memory of even requesting it from my library but I didn’t have anything else to read so I downloaded it and gave it a go. I absolutely adored this book. It’s fun but very well written and manages to deal with some serious topics like gaslighting, emotional abuse, false incarceration, friendship, family etc. I really like romance novels where the people involved build a friendship first, it made their coming together seem so logical and authentic. There was no love at first sight here and the two individuals were fully developed human beings who had real life problems. It was so amazing to see how they supported each other through their life struggles even before anything romantic occurred.

“My dad likes to say, ‘Life is never simple’. This is one of his favorite aphorisms.
I actually think it’s incorrect. Life is often simple, but you don’t notice how simple it was until it gets incredibly complicated, like how you never feel grateful for being well until you’re ill, or how you never appreciate your tights drawer until you rip a pair and have no spares.”

Beth O’Leary writes a captivating novel that shines thanks to her stellar characterization. You cannot help but fall for Tiffy and Leon, and the brilliant supporting cast of Richie (Leon’s brother), Gerty, Mo and Rachel (all Tiffy’s friends). Even Leon’s patients at the hospice are so endearing and show how much of a wonderful nurse Leon is, even though he is a man of few words. His patients’ love for him makes it easy for readers to fall absolutely in love with him and seeing him root for them and vice versa, was fantastic to read.

This book was absolutely lovely and charming and made me happy. I like books that don’t pretend to be more than what they are and what they are is done really well. It was a typical rom-com that didn’t pretend to be anything lofty and that’s exactly what I wanted from it. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads and this is hands down my favorite romance book of the year.



Chick-Lit, romance

Review: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory + GIVEAWAY WINNERS ANNOUNCEMENT!

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“I’ve spent so long being afraid of love, because the last time I was in love, the man I loved only loved one part of me, but not all of me, and I thought love meant having to sacrifice a part of yourself”

I quite enjoyed The Wedding Date earlier this year and like most romance writers who write multiple books a year, Jasmine has just dropped another one in the same series. This book came out a couple of weeks ago and it was my Book of the Month pick for November. Even though I added this book BEFORE it came out, I was no. 126 in my library. 126?! I just couldn’t wait.

It was such a delight to read. The main female character, Nik, is completely blindsided when she is publicly proposed to at a baseball game by her boyfriend of just 5 months. She says no, is rescued by the main male character, Carlos, and goes viral. Guillory is very big on having a lot of diversity in her books. Nik is an African American freelance writer while Carlos is a Hispanic doctor who is cute, polite, smart and loves to cook – the absolute total package. We get to see the two of them build a friendship, with a dash of sex. Neither of them wants anything serious and Nik is just looking for a rebound so they keep it casual for most of the book. You get to see the slow burn of their relationship and this is what I love about this book. You actually feel them falling in love and there is no mention of love at first sight or instant love which is a trope I can’t stand in romance novels.

“Deciding to spend your life together shouldn’t be a surprise”

I know a lot of people didn’t like the amount of sex in The Wedding Date and I think the editor or author listened and kept this to a minimum. There was more insinuation than actual sex.   The female friendships in this book was another thing I liked. Nik had a strong support system in her friends – Dana and Courtney- and they almost stole the show. They looked out for each other and were there every time she needed them. I also enjoyed how both the characters were already fully formed individuals who communicated very well. I hate miscommunication in romance novels. I’m reading about adults not teenagers!

I did not particularly enjoy the last 50 pages of this book. The way the author wrote the final declaration of love, especially the scene where Carlos realizes that he loves Nik, was bleh to me. It was hard to believe because it just didn’t jive with the character she spent more than 250 pages building. Carlos acted questionably and that part dampened my enjoyment of the book because I expected more from him. Her editor should have had her rewrite the declaration. It took my rating down a star.

You do not have to read The Wedding Date to read this. Yes, we know Carlos is Drew from The Wedding Date‘s best friend and the couple shows up a couple of times in this book but they don’t have prominent parts in this story so you should be fine. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would totally recommend it if you’re looking for something light and well written to combat this bleak weather we’re currently having. I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.



Now for the exciting part.

*Drumroll please*


The winners are:


Estti E. and Edirin!!!!!! 

Congratulations guys! Please visit and DM via twitter or instagram to let us know what scents you would like and where to send to. Thank you all for your participation. Till the next giveaway, have a happy Thanksgiving!


Book Review: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

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Dan and Sylvie have been married 7 years and have a seemingly perfect life. Parents of twin girls, a home, decent jobs. They both know each other so well that they finish each others sentences and know exactly what the other person will do before they do it. They go in for their yearly physical and the doctor cheerily lets them know that they are in such good health that they will both live till they are 100 and 101 respectively.

For people who made vows “till death do us part”, this news comes as a shock to them and throws them in a tizzy. They suddenly aren’t sure what to do with themselves for the next 68 years and worry about being boring. Sylvie comes up with the grand idea that they should surprise each other constantly. This ends up being an epic fail as the series of surprises end up in mishaps and also dredge up secrets being hidden.

I reached for a Kinsella book because I figured something fluffy would help with my book malaise. Kinsella is usually good with these kind of books but I just could not get with this premise. It was too juvenile and unrealistic for me. Who instantly gets in a panic when your doctor tells you, you will live to a 100? Considering Sylvie just lost her dad to a car accident, you would think she would remember there are other ways to lose your life besides the state of your health.

I’ve always wondered why British authors tend to make their protagonists so flighty, juvenile and self absorbed. Usually, she is a single girl trying to get the attention of a man but in this case she is married and she still is a bit ditzy.

I didn’t quite understand the little side stories. They felt like puzzle pieces that didn’t fit the story and were fillers. The twist in the story was expected and sort of fit into the story but I felt the book should have ended after the reveal but it kept going.

I audio’d this one and the shrillness and eagerness of the Sylvie character didn’t help. Because of the author, I really kept hoping the book would make a turn around and get better but it never did. Overall, I have read better from Sophie Kinsella and this was definitely not one of them. I’d say skip the book if you were planning on reading it.


Chick-Lit, romance

Book Review – The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

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I’m so glad I got stuck in that elevator with you.” she said.“Me, too.”

What better way to spend a Sunday morning than to read about a black woman falling in love? Well, I went to one of my favorite independent bookstores and spent a friend’s coins to support 3 black writers! Anyway, one of the books I bought was The Wedding Date  by Jasmine Guillory and then I proceeded to read it one blissful Sunday morning in one seating.

This is a romance novel that isn’t masquerading as anything else but what it is. Boy meets girl  (in a very ridiculous way), boy and girl proceed to have weird ass conversations that would never happen in real life, boy asks girl to be his fake girlfriend! And here, ladies and gentlemen, are where rom-coms are born. So basically, this book contains all the best  tropes that I used to love in romance novels and still ADORE in romantic comedies (I LOVEEEEE romantic comedies! Also, is it just me or do they not make romantic comedies anymore?)

So, Alexa and Drew meet in an elevator when the hotel they’re in loses power so they’re literally stuck there with each other. Drew laments about the wedding he has to attend that weekend and about how he would love a date and has a stroke of genius and asks Alexa to come as his fake girlfriend. Drew is a pediatric surgeon in LA while Alexa lives in San Francisco and is the Mayor’s Chief of Staff. After the wedding, they continue to fly back and forth to each other’s cities and start falling in love.

This book, like its cover, is extremely cute. Like, “wow, I’m really going to die alone” cute. It reads like a rom com, they can’t get enough of each other and the reader already knows that the two characters are fooling each other with this undefined fun relationship stunt they’re pulling and you can’t wait for them to realize that they should absolutely be exclusively together.

Since the lead characters are an interracial couple (black woman/white man),  there is some mention of race and race relations in the book but nothing heavy handed or preachy. Like I mentioned earlier, it is just a romance novel that doesn’t pretend to be anything else. This will not fix racism but it feels good to sit back on a Sunday and read a book about a black woman falling in love because we don’t get a lot of that in main stream literary spaces.

Do you know how long I’ve read Julie Garwood, Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber? The mainstream romance space is extremely white and it feels good to finally have a romance novel with a black woman at center stage. This is a fun palette cleanser/easy read for when you’re tired of heavy handed literary books. It was fun and fast paced and I would definitely recommend.

I gave this book 3 stars on goodreads.



Chick-Lit, Fiction, Uncategorized

Love Between The Pages – Romance Novel Recommendations

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Ah. ‘Tis the season for love. Valentine’s day is ’round the corner just in case the aisles in your grocery store haven’t reminded you. In honor of lover’s day, I decided to make a list of my favorite Romance books for you lovers out there. I rarely read romance novels these days because many of them are corny, not well written and just make me roll my eyes.

When I was in secondary school (high school for my Americans), I loveddddd romance novels. In fact, I read my first Mills and Boons when I was in Primary 3 (third grade) and I actually still remember the name – “A Night of Possession”. I read romance novels right up to Secondary school then just sort of got tired of the repeated tropes. If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. But I’m not going to be a grinch. This is my contribution to the “holiday” and my way of spreading love to you guys out there. Here are a few of the romance books that  I have enjoyed over the years:

  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller:

“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

Miller retells the story of one of Greek Mythologies’ greatest heroes through the eyes of his best friend Patroclus. Staying true to the big points of Greek mythology, she weaves the story of an intimate friendship and eventual romance between Achilles and Patroclus with the Trojan war as a huge backdrop for their love. This book was absolutely fantastic and is a take on Homer’s Illaid, the romance is slow burning and believable.

  • Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella:

I love British chicklit. Whenever I want to tune out and cleanse my reading palate, especially after a very gruesome read, Sophie never fails me. I love that her books are funny and fast paced. You can read most of her books in a day. Twenty-eight year old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital and does not recognise herself – she’s skinny, perfect teeth, designer bags- and she has a millionaire (of course!) husband that she does not recognize either. Sophie takes us on a hilarious ride through Lexi’s past and her struggle to come to terms with her current self.

  • One Day by David Nicholls:

“You know what I can’t understand? You have all these people telling you all the time how great you are, smart and funny and talented and all that, I mean endlessly, I’ve been telling you for years. So why don’t you believe it? why do you think people say that stuff, Em? Do you think it’s a conspiracy, people secretly ganging up to be nice about you?” 

I love a good “will they? won’t they?” romance. I love friendship turned lovers stories. I love unrequited love and “I don’t want to ruin the friendship” romance tension. This book is everything I love about a love story all tied into one and has all the aforementioned. Dexter and Emma meet on the last day of college, spend a night together and can’t stop thinking of each other but they slip into the comfortable confines of friendship and the author takes us through the snapshots of their life on the same day – July 15th- over twenty five years. We see so many missed opportunities, so many fights, so many squabbles and breakdowns as they both try to come to terms with how much they really matter in each other’s life.

  • The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon:

“Stars are important,” I say, laughing.

“Sure, but why not more poems about the sun? The sun is also a star, and it’s our most important one. That alone should be worth a poem or two.” 

Don’t you just love it when you see the title of a book inside the book? I just feel like the author is winking at me from afar. Anyway, this is a YA romance novel. I found this author last year and I’ve read two books by her and this is by far the better of the two. I really enjoyed this book. Natasha is a girl whose family came illegally into the states from Jamaica and they’re currently being deported and she’s trying a last hail mary to get a stay before they have to leave in a couple of hours, Daniel is a young man who is on his way to his Yale interview that he is contemplating skipping because it’s just not what he wants and he feels pressured by his parents, who are also immigrants. This book is about their chance encounter and the 24 hours they spend together afterwards.

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” 

Ahhhh, the classics! I am an avid member of the Austen cult, I have read all the Austen books and even the Austen dupes. I know a lot of uptight people dismiss Austen as trivial and chicklit but what do they expect a middle class English woman to possibly write about in the 1800s? Sci-fi? Austen writes and constructs characters that she knows and her observation of human interactions has stood the test of time. There are no wasted plot devices in this book, the plot is tightly woven and not a single word is out of place. Pride and Prejudice is about the proud Mr. Darcy and the very witty and sharp tongued Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. The Bennet family will not disappoint you with their hilarity and every day living.

I hope you all have a fantastic Valentine’s week. Are you celebrating? Do you like romance novels? Tell me some of your favorites! I’d love to add some to my ever growing TBR list!