Chick-Lit, romance

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

Proposal -  by Jasmine Guillory (Paperback) - image 1 of 1

“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.

Leggy

GIVEAWAY WINNERS

Now for the exciting part.

*Drumroll please*

 

The winners are:

 

Estti E. and Edirin!!!!!! 

Congratulations guys! Please visit www.theluxecandles.com 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!

romance

Book Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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The Kiss Quotient is a debut romantic novel by Helen Hoang with protagonists, Stella and Michael. Stella is on the spectrum, she has Asperger’s syndrome and struggles with all that comes with being autistic. She has a hard time socializing with people, struggles with touch from other people, obsessive over things etc. With all of this, it’s no surprise that Stella struggles with romantic relationships. All her sexual encounters have been torturous for her and her mom decides to let her know that she is ready for a grandchild. A coworker makes a passing remark to Stella that she needs to learn how to seduce a guy and she takes it seriously.

Cue Michael. The escort Stella hires to help teach her how to be good in bed. Michael is not an escort by choice. He is in over his head in debt. Devoted to his family, especially since his Swedish dad left (his mom is Asian) and mired by personal baggage. As an econometrician, Stella is used to being able to predict behavior but all that is out the window when she meets Michael.

I liked this book. It usually won’t be a book I’d pick on my own but a friend recommended it to me and I needed something very light. It really is basically a rom-com in book form. For those familiar with Mills & Boons, it’s a modernized version. Meaning it followed the basic formula of boy meets girl, they hit it off superbly, misunderstanding drives them apart and they eventually get it together. This is not a spoiler because this is not hard to figure out when you start the book.

The book reads like it is YA because honestly it comes off a bit juvenile. For example, phrases like “he palmed her sex” or “he tried to control himself from spilling” are used BUT it is definitely not YA as there were very many sex scenes that were graphic. The author only referred to penis as cock in the entirety of the book and some how that made me laugh.

If you read this book, you are going to have to HEAVILY suspend belief. Because as soon as she meets him, she suddenly has no issues with touch or tongue in her mouth and is a sex pot. It’s a little unbelievable that they liked everything about each other and nothing annoyed them about the other. I kept wondering whether Stella was Asian but eventually figured out she was white.

I will say though, we constantly say representation matters and sometimes when it doesn’t apply to ourselves we forget all the kinds of representation that matter. The author Helen Hoang was just recently diagnosed as being on the spectrum 2 years ago at age 34 and it helped her in writing the book. I saw a review in which a reader only via reading this book did she associate the symptoms mentioned with herself and she felt so seen. I thought that was such a great thing.

Overall, I recommend this book. As Leggy would say, “It’s a good palate cleanser”. I read this book in two days and I am not a fast reader. If it matters to you, The Kiss Quotient was a finalist in the romantic fiction section of Goodreads Year End Awards. Not surprisingly, the film rights to the book has been optioned. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Taynement

Fiction, romance

Book Review: The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

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The Perfect Couple is centered around Benji’s and Celeste’s fairytale, high society wedding in Nantucket. It’s wedding season there and this Island is overrun with tourists and wedding guests alike when the maid of honor is found drowned on the morning of the wedding day by the bride herself. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash digs into the best man, the maid of honor, the groom’s famous mystery novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, the chief discovers that every wedding is a minefield–and no couple is perfect.

Through the investigative work of Chief Ed Kapenash, an unraveling of the many alibis and a host of memories from multiple perspectives, Elin takes us back to the beginning—to how Benji and Celeste came to be the perfect couple set to say “I do”. We find out how they met, how their relationship progressed to the proposal. We find out the dirty secrets and the secret love affairs between the most surprising characters and everyone takes a turn being a suspect. Was this drowning a murder or an accident?

Hilderbrand is the queen of beach reads (all her book covers are people sitting in front of the ocean) and multiple book releases a year, this woman knocks them out like books are going out of style soon. In fact, she already has a new book out just a couple of months after this one (4 months to be exact). She is also quite good at writing such distinct characters that actually make you feel things. I did not care for the main character, Celeste, her actions and the holier than thou attitude were just too much for me to take. I know that good people do bad things but I got tired of being told how good, kind and so independent she is while watching her make shitty decisions that would hurt her supposed fiance if she is ever found out.

If you’re looking for a murder mystery book, this really isn’t it. I mean there is an investigation for 24 hours and you quickly realize that this was just a plot by the author to tell us about family secrets and forbidden love. This is chick-lit through and through. I could not stand the love at first sight story line between two of the characters, it was dumb and it was a bit insulting to the reader’s intelligence. I rolled my eyes so hard during all their interactions and did not root for them at all. I thought they were selfish and hurting people whose intentions were clear and pure just for their own stupid gain. Also, the end was pretty anti-climatic for me.

I gave this book two stars. It was a quick read and I think if you’re looking for something easy to read, this is the book for you.

 

Leggy.

 

Fiction, romance

Review – A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

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I’m not a huge fan of romance novels but I’m a huge fan of romance movies and after I read this post from Taynement about how romantic comedies aren’t being made anymore, I decided to read this book that’s been on my “when I make it to the beach this summer I’ll tackle it” list. I also decided to listen to it as an audio book to elevate the dramatic effect and make me feel like I was watching it. Thank you American library system!

A Princess in Theory is basically Black Panther if it was a romantic movie. This book is told from two perspectives. There is Naledi Smith who is an orphan American woman in grad school that has been getting a lot of spam mails from somewhere. She is not quite sure where, but thinks it is coming from a made up African country telling her that she is the Prince’s long lost betrothed. Then there is Thabiso who is an actual Prince and the only heir of the current monarchy in Thesolo – a small African country. He comes to America for a couple of meetings, goes to meet and confront Naledi at the restaurant where she works part time for ignoring his assistant’s emails, gets mistaken for a waiter and the familiar trope of mistaken identity kicks in! (strains of Coming to America)

Thabiso gets to know Naledi under the moniker of Jamal, she thinks that he is a trust fund kid of some sort  who has been cut off from the family, but never in her wildest dreams does she think that this Jamal guy could be a prince. They get to know each other as two ordinary individuals but obviously, this is a romantic book so the characters never seem to be able to make smart decisions and he tries to tell her who he is a couple of times but keeps getting interrupted and she makes the discovery in a very dramatic way.

I enjoyed this book. I thought it was well written and well narrated. I think it was a little longer than it really needed to be but I still enjoyed it overall. There’s a bit of mystery that shrouds her family history and why she left Thesolo as a child which kept me wanting to reach the end to find out. Even though I loved the chemistry between the two main characters especially during the first half of the book, I still thought there should have been more scenes to show us exactly why they fell in love and had such an amazing connection.

The second half of this book moves us back to the actual country of Thesolo and the descriptions of the country and its culture is quite fascinating and pretty. I understand how the book cover could be a turn off but literally don’t judge this book by its cover.  I mean I know Alyssa doesn’t need my help selling books but I implore you to look past the cover and give it a chance as I really did enjoy this one.

I gave this book 4 stars on good reads. Have you read this? Did you enjoy it? Please read it and tell me what you think. Happy reading week!

Leggy.

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.

 

Leggy.