Chick-Lit, Fiction, literary fiction, Mystery, romance, Uncategorized

Book Review: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Big Summer | Book by Jennifer Weiner | Official Publisher Page ...


“The trick of the internet, I had learned, was not being unapologetically yourself or completely unfiltered; it was mastering the trick of appearing that way. It was spiking your posts with just the right amount of real… which meant, of course, that you were never being real at all.”

Six years after the night that ended their friendship and inspired Daphne to start her blog, Drue Cavanaugh walks back into Daphne’s life and asks her to be her maid of honor. Drue was always the one who had everything – money, beauty, brains- but has finally alienated every friend she’s ever had with her horrible attitude and entitlement. Daphne is no longer the shy kid from high school who did anything for Drue’s friendship, she has built a plus-size blog from the ground up with a very good following and is about to land the biggest contract of her life.

Daphne recognizes that Drue’s wedding guest list is going to be filled with the best of the best and will be taking place in the most beautiful mansion in Cape Cod, so she decides to take that opportunity to boost her career. When a murder happens right before the wedding that throws everyone for a loop and lands Daphne on the suspect list, she’s forced to reevaluate her history with Drue and the reason she was invited in the first place.

“I was going to eat to nourish myself, I was going to exercise to feel strong and healthy, I was going to let go of the idea of ever being thin, once and for all, and live my life in the body that I had.”

Weiner’s writing style is great in this book. She tackles female friendships really well. Some are complex and toxic, while others are complex and yet very healthy. The high school friendship between Daphne and Drue was very intriguing to read about, it was almost like reading about an emotionally abusive relationship. Drue made Daphne feel disposable so she worked even harder to please Drue and maintain her place in Drue’s life. She would do Drue’s home works, take her verbal stings and subject herself to so many different diets just trying to fit into Drue’s squad in high school.

I loved reading about Daphne’s road to accepting her body for what it was, trying to be strong and healthy and discarding the idea that she had to be thin to be worthy of love. I love that Weiner showed that loving yourself is never a straight trending upward line. There are dips and days when we just don’t feel that love and loving oneself is a continuous and never stopping active exercise.

“When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you’re angry, everything looks like a target. There are a lot of angry people in the world. And these days, they’re all online.”

The mystery in this book absolutely sucks. Yes, this book is part thriller/mystery but it was so unnecessary, not well executed and just felt a bit ridiculous. I think this book should have just been straight contemporary female fiction. Big Summer had so much going for it until the murder happened and then everything completely fell apart for me. The murder happened so late in the book that it just felt like an after thought and then the entire book is overtaken by an investigation and our protagonist is suddenly being questioned for murder.

Also, this book absolutely didn’t need a romantic angle. It just felt like it was trying to be everything at once – contemporary, romance, mystery, thriller, social commentary. We don’t need to validate or prove that the fat protagonist is worthy by giving her a man and that is exactly what the whole thing felt like. It was literally instalove, they fell in love in a day and he suddenly moves across states to be with her within a week. It was just ridiculous and unbelievable.

“It’s almost religious, that belief, that faith that a piece of silk or denim or cotton jersey could disguise your flaws and amplify your assets and make you both invisible and seen, just another normal woman in the world; a woman who deserves to get what she wants.”

I really wanted to love this one because I picked it up after hearing the author speak about this book and loving everything she had to say about social media and body acceptance. I enjoyed the first 50% of this book and thought it was well written, the last 50% didn’t work for me. I ended up giving this book 2 stars on Goodreads.



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.




Fiction, romance

Book Review: Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Waiting for Tom Hanks (Waiting for Tom Hanks, #1)


“My Tom Hanks is out there, and I’m not going to settle until I find him.”

Annie is 27 years old, single and obsessed with romantic comedies. All her expectations for what a healthy relationship entails are from these movies. She can quote them, she watches them incessantly and she’s determined to meet the movie perfect man. And what better way to look for her real life Tom Hanks, than to work on a movie that your uncle pulls strings for you to be the director’s new assistant. And on her first day at set, she meets Drew, the star of this rom-com that is being filmed.

Honestly, I didn’t want to review this book because I don’t think I can be diplomatic about how I really felt about it. I thought this was going to be a fun read but the heroine was absolutely horrible. I could not stand her. I thought it was going to be a cute story about a girl working on a movie set and falling in love with the star of the movie. The premise had everything I love in a romantic comedy – rich heroes, rich heroes, rich heroes. But it was absolutely disappointing and just plain not good. The main character, Annie, is absolutely insufferable, childish and a little delusional.

Let’s talk about Annie, shall we? Being in Anne’s mind was a terrible experience. She was the absolute worst. It’s one thing to want a romantic comedy kind of love, who doesn’t? But Annie wanted a man who owns a houseboat because Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle had a boathouse. Annie dated a minor character in the book because he had a son and Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle had a son. That’s how absolutely crazy our main female character is. She was crazy judgmental, she judged the main male character based on gossip site articles, even though everyone knows those are hardly true. She never dated but believed that the love of her life would just fall into her lap!

The couple had absolutely no chemistry. Honestly, I should have DNFed this book. I do not know why I continued. There was no redeeming quality that I can tell you about. The only good thing I liked about this book is that it made me re-watch “You’ve Got Mail” and it’s still so good. You know what you should do instead of reading this book? Watch “You’ve Got Mail” again. I do not recommend this book and it’s currently on the top of my list of the worst books I’ve read this year. I gave this one star on my Goodreads.




Book Review: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

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The modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, it’s about the five Bennett sisters and their pushy mom – who is dismayed that none of her five daughters are married and their dad – who I don’t even think knows he exists. The Bennett parents live in their house in Ohio with their three youngest daughters – Mary, Kitty and Lydia. Mr. Bennett has a heart attack, prompting the two oldest daughters, Mary and Liz,  who live in New York to head home to help tend to their dad.

With all of them together under one roof, their mom wastes no time in matchmaking by inviting them to a neighborhood barbecue to meet Chip Bingley who was a suitor on Eligible, a The Bachelor-type show. He has his friend Fitzwilliam Darcy in tow and the rest makes up this hot garbage of a book.

You guys, I HATED this book. Like, this was an awful book. There is nothing redeeming about it. The writing was awful, the characters were awful, the structure, the plot – all awful. So many things felt so cut and paste. Jane’s story line was the most ridiculous from start to finish and Sittenfeld wrote her in a way that made me think Jane was a little mentally behind than the average person.

Don’t get me started on the tone deafness. Mrs. Darcy is clearly Trump-nation and makes all these weird racial comments. One of the cut and paste story lines was the introduction of a transgender character which causes Mrs. Darcy anguish and she only understands when its explained to her that being trans is like having a birth defect – what?? Yup, she is racist and transphobic.

At some point when Liz is crying on a bench, a woman stops to ask her if she is okay, except the book says “a black lady stops and says are you okay, honey?” or when one of the producers on Eligible is described as the Asian woman. Ughhhh. Don’t get me started on when Liz says she is not interesting enough to be on a reality show as she is not in an interracial relationship or dating a trans man. My God, who approved this? The author just tried too hard to be “down” and failed miserably.

The book couldn’t decide if it was PG or R. One minute there was cursing and next minute it’s describing an erection as “proof that he was ready” as if you are reading a Harlequin novel. Like I said, badly written. The book was written from the POV of Liz and for some odd reason the final chapter suddenly just cuts and pastes a random backstory about Mary.

In the off chance you couldn’t tell, I hated this book. Don’t waste your time with this, you will be sorely disappointed. It managed to get 1 star from me because for some delirious reason, I finished reading this book. But just because I suffered, doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t do it!


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.



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: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Image result for the kiss quotient

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.


Fiction, romance

Book Review: The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

Image result for the perfect couple

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.




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!


Chick-Lit, romance

Book Review – The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Image result for wedding date book

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.