Reviews

Review: The Kiss Quotient ~ by Helen Hoang

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Review: The Kiss Quotient ~ by Helen Hoang

336 pages ~ Contemporary Romance   

June 5, 2018 ~ Berkley

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Description:

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

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My Thoughts:  

What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said?! Ok, I’ll give it a try…..

Like so many people, I found Stella and Michael’s story to be super sweet, funny, sexy, heartwarming, but also really inspiring. It was difficult at first watching both of these characters beat up on themselves for their perceived “flaws.” They’re both such genuine, honest, and loveable people, but I wanted them to love themselves as much as I loved them. It was frustrating at times that they didn’t realize their own awesomeness. However, this frustration ultimately gave way to inspiration when I saw them come together to battle for each other and for their own dreams.

This book will restore your faith in the healing power of love!

Here are a few highlights for me:

  • It was so interesting and insightful to read a book from an autistic perceptive, written by an autistic author. This really helped me better understand the struggles and the unique way people on the spectrum see the world. Getting inside Stella’s head- her work obsession, her daily routine, her approach to love and communication- this was all so fascinating and was by far my favorite element of the book
  • The sex scenes were actually about love and connection – there was no weird power play or struggle for dominance, everything is very tender and romantic
  • Michael’s family – I really loved the connection to Michael’s mom, sisters, grandma, and cousins. Not only were they all adorable and hilarious, but it was also a really cool look into a Vietnamese/American family. This also highlighted the cultural difference between Michael and Stella and how beautifully they were able to come together.  

Overall, I really loved this book. The only downfall for me was that I found it difficult at times to relate to Stella. However, this did not deter from my enjoyment or my appreciation for Stella as a character. If you are interested in other books that center around autistic characters, The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis-Graves is also wonderful.

Happy Reading!!

For more information on Helen Hoang and her books, check her out on Goodreads

Follow me on Instagram @somewhereinpages & Goodreads @erinrossi

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Reviews

Review: ACR- Passion on Park Ave. ~ by Lauren Layne

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Review: Passion on Park Avenue (The Central park Pact Vol. 1) ~ by Lauren Layne  

288 pages (Paperback) ~ Romance/Woman’s Fiction   

May 28th, 2019 ~ Gallery Books

My Rating: 3/5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Description:

For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strong-minded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page.

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Note: I received a digital ARC of Passion on Park Avenue from Gallery Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Gallery Books & NetGalley.

img_1883My Thoughts:

Passion on Park Avenue was a super fun, sexy read. I read it in one sitting and while I did find fault with a few things, overall, I enjoyed it.

Highlights for me:

  • The sexy banter between Naomi and Oliver had me laughing out loud through the entire book. The sexual tension and chemistry between the two made this the highlight of the book for me.
  • I also really loved the New York scenes and the juxtaposition between Park Ave and the Bronx. I’m always a sucker for a good New York setting.
  • Oliver was just adorable. He was smart, kind, devoted to his family, and loyal. I found myself relating more to him in this book than to Naomi, which usually never happens for me.
  • The “real life” struggles that Oliver and Naomi have to face- caring for sick parents, etc. was a refreshing departure from typical romance novels.

What I didn’t love:

  • The three friends, Claire, Naomi, and Audrey, become friends really quickly and in a super unrealistic way. I didn’t mind the unrealistic part because I’m not really looking for reality when I read, but the set up of their friendship could have been done better. They seemed to just randomly stumble into each other in Central Park, discover each other’s identities and decide “hey, we should be friends.” This was really hard to swallow. I think that the friendship between the three women could have been better set up and established. It just felt so awkward and forced.
  • There was a constant mention of fashion labels. I get that the author is trying to establish that Naomi has money, but the constant mention of “Chloe” bag and “Chanel” sunglasses became so distracting.
  • The beginning starts with a death and there were completely crass mentions of death and hell by the main character that really turned me off.
  • There were a lot of inconsistencies in the story- ie: characters who had supposedly never meet knew more than they should about each other. There was also a lot of repetition. The main characters having the same observations again and again – I hope some of these errors get worked out before the final edition is published.
  • A lot of cliches – for example- Naomi states that she wants to wear red high heels because that is the opposite of what a “good girl” would wear. What!? Who says “good girls” don’t wear red high heels?
  • Naomi was immature and annoying at times. There were times when I really liked her, but also times when I found her super annoying.
  • Steamy scenes did not deliver enough steam. There was a lot of build up, but very little delivery.

Overall, I enjoyed it- It was a nice palette cleanser and a fun distraction. This story is a perfect vacation or beach read! It comes out May 28th! Just in time was Summer!

For more information on Lauren Layne and her books, check her out on Goodreads 

Follow me on Instagram @somewhereinpages & Goodreads @erinrossi

Reviews

Review: ARC of The Unhoneymooners by ~ Christina Lauren

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Review: ARC of The Unhoneymooners ~ by Christina Lauren

Pages 416 Paperback ~ Gallery Books

May 14, 2019 – Adult Romantic-Comedy

My Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads Description:

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.

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Note: I received an ARC of The Unhoneymooners from Gallery Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are all mine.

img_1761My Thoughts:

This was my third Christina Lauren book and it was hands down my favorite. These two authors have really outdone themselves with this book. It is absolutely hilarious, I had a smile plastered on my face the entire time, the writing is smart and insightful, and I could not put the book down for two days straight. Both Olive and Ethan completely captured my heart, and I did not want to let them go.

Here are a few of my highlights:

  • Christina & Lauren do such an amazing job with their characters. Both Olive and Ethan are fully fleshed out characters with their own dreams, struggles, personality quirks, sense of humor, family issues, and personal issues that they are each trying to work through individually. Many romantic comedy novels do not always give a complete picture of who these individuals are apart from the relationship, but that is never the case with Christina Lauren, and definitely not the case in The Unhoneymooners. Olive is adorable, awkward, and a little salty at times, which is something that I really related to, but she is also so caring, thoughtful, and loyal. Ethan is really insightful and honest in a way that felt true to his character. It was so much fun watching them fall in love and overcome their “pride and prejudice” moment of misunderstanding.
  • The Banter – because this is an “enemies-to-lovers” story, there is some seriously epic banter between Olive and Ethan. These two are so funny and smart that I was laughing the entire time. I can only imagine the fun that these authors had when they were co-writing this book.
  • The theme of luck/fate vs. choice- Olive struggles with the idea of luck at the start of the novel and the authors do such a great job of weaving this theme throughout everything that she experiences with her family, with Ethan, and with her job. Olive’s changing perception of luck vs. choices made this more than just a romance novel for me. It is also a journey of self-realization and understanding.
  • Realistic nature of family/relationships: Both Ethan and Olive are fiercely devoted to their siblings which is a quality that is really admirable in both of them. However, when these sibling relationships start to come between them, their loyalty to each other is tested. I thought that this portion of the plot was really realistically portrayed. Ethan and Olive have found something special, but it is often difficult to reconcile new love with family responsibility and expectation. None of these issues felt forced or exaggerated. It just felt very natural and honest, and something that we can all relate to. 

If you enjoy a good rom-com in between some more “serious” reads, I can’t recommend this book enough. It is funny, heartwarming, honest, sexy, and just an overall fun escape. The Unhoneymooners comes out May 14th (just in time for summer vacation)!

Thank you so much Gallery Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read this early edition. I absolutely loved it!!

For more information on Christina Lauren and their books, check them out on Goodreads & Instagram. You can also check out my reviews of two of their other books: Roomies & Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating.

Follow me on Instagram @somewhereinpages & Goodreads @erinrossi

Reviews

Review: ARC of Queenie ~ by Candice Carty-Williams

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Review: Queenie ~ by Candice Carty-Williams

Pages 336 (hardbound) ~ Gallery/Scout Press

March 19th, 2019 – Adult Contemporary

My Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads Description:

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle-class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

Note: Thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for providing me with the ARC of Queenie in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are all mine.

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My Thoughts:

Queenie is described as being “Bridget Jones meets Americanah.” I haven’t yet read Americanah, but I feel like comparing this book to Bridget Jones doesn’t quite do it justice. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bridget Jones, but while Bridget is dealing with one bad man and silly parents, Queenie is dealing with much more serious issues. It definitely has a similar type of humor and it does deal with Queenie’s many sexual exploits, but underneath the humor, this novel tackles some really heavy and honest issues.

Queenie is a smart, young journalist who wants to use her unique voice to bring awareness to issues that matter to her. Her work as a journalist, so far, has only allowed her to write on trivial matters. But Queenie longs to write about more important topics: Black Lives Matter, police brutality, discrimination, etc. However, Queenie struggles under the weight of this burden because she is simultaneously dealing with the pain of a recent breakup, anxiety, her own racial identity, and a traumatic childhood that she has never really faced. It is painful at times watching her struggle on this journey, but it is also a really hopeful story of self-love, acceptance, friendship, and family.

Queenie’s family and friends were my absolute favorite part of this novel. Her Grandparents (“the water rates!”), her Aunt, her cousin, her mom…they are all such funny, unique, and loveable characters. And I really hope that Queenie’s best friend, Kyazike, is based on a real person because she is just to perfect not to be. I love that each of these characters plays their own unique role in helping Queenie heal.

The therapy sessions were some of the most interesting moments in the novel. We really get inside Queenie’s head here and we also start to see the healing process unfolding. The therapist, Janet, was also such a great balance to Queenie and their dynamic was great to read. I also loved the “Dame it, Janet” Rocky Horror reference. I loved that Queenie ultimately got better due to the therapy, which I think goes a long way in breaking down the stigma that is sometimes attached to therapy.

I relate to so many of Queenie’s struggles, but there is no way that I could possibly relate to all of them. Reading this book opened up a whole new type of understanding for me, and I honestly feel like a better person having read it. I completely believe that everyone will find something worth holding on to in Queenie’s journey.

Queenie comes out March 19!!

For more information on Candice Carty- Williams and her books, check her out on Goodreads & Instagram

Follow me on Instagram @somewhereinpages & Goodreads @erinrossi

Monthly Wrap-Ups

2018 Year in Review

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2018 was a really different type of reading year for me. Prior to this year, my reading experiences have mostly been a solitary affair. I have always been a big reader, but other than college, I never really shared my thoughts or opinions on what I read. At least, not beyond my own reading journal. I am so glad that this year I decided to break out of my comfort zone and start blogging. It has really meant a lot to me to have this small space online and to be able to connect with all of you amazing and thoughtful readers and writers. I love hearing your opinions and seeing what you are reading. I can’t wait to see where your reading adventures take you in 2019!

img_3068In reviewing my 2018 reading, my choices were all over the place. From Fantasy to Mystery, Romance and Historical Fiction, I read a little bit of everything. I read a ton of YA Fantasy this year. Besides reading Harry Potter as a teenager, this is the first time I have read so much fantasy. My daughter has been really into reading the last few years and this is her favorite genre. So, I really wanted to share those books with her. It was really fun reading The Throne of Glass, The Shadow and Bone, and The Infernal Devices series with her. My personal favorite in this genre was The Arc of the Scythe (Scythe and Thunderhead) by Neal Shusterman. My Daughter and I also visited the YA’ll West Festival together this year which was an amazing experience. The level of commitment that YA fans have is staggering!

I also read a lot of Literary/Historical Fiction this year: The Immortalists, Alias Grace, The Witches of New York, The Silence of the Girls, and The Heart’s Invisible Furies. My Mystery selections also went really well this year: Lethal White, The Last Time I Lied, and Final Girls. Riley Sager is one of my new favorite mystery authors. As far as romance goes, I read Roomies, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, and London Belongs to Me. Roomies being my favorite romance of the year.

Well, without further ado, here are my top five reads of 2018: (click on the titles to read my full review for each)

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies – Literary Fiction/Historical Fiction:

This was hands down, my favorite book of the year. This book is a thought-provoking, insightful, heartwarming, and bittersweet story of one man, Cyril Avery. As a baby, Cyril is put up for adoption by Catherine Goggin, a young girl who is kicked out of her small parish, country town in Ireland for becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Cyril is taken in by a wealthy couple, who have very little time for him and barely notice his existence. He discovers at an early age that he is gay and his relationship with his best friend, Julian Woodbead, proves to be a complicated one. Over the course of the novel, while in the midst of trying to understand his sexuality, and also find real love, Cyril has to navigate the hypocrisy of Irish society at this time (late 1940s-1980s). In his search for identity and meaning, Cyril’s life, just like all of our lives, is filled with moments of blissful happiness and moments of sorrow and loss. However, there are so many moments in this book that come full circle that it leaves you with a feeling of rightness, despite the heartbreak that you witness. The title couldn’t be more perfect. We all carry around burdens, pain, loss, and injustice that become etched on our hearts. These are our “furies,” and as heartbreaking as they may be, they are also part of what makes this life so beautiful.

 

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The Silence of the Girls – Literary Fiction/Historical Fiction:

Barker does something pretty brilliant in this book- she manages to simultaneously celebrate The Iliad (the original source of this story) and challenge it. Her challenge comes in the form of perspective because her story brings to light the thoughts/feelings/struggles/triumphs of the women in this story- who both A) played a crucial role in the politics and the emotion of the story, and B) whose perspectives were woefully left out of the original. However, her book also celebrates the Iliad. She gives you a sense of the majesty of this story and the complexity of its heroes. I honestly can’t say enough about how much I loved this book- it was a breath of fresh air, it was moving, emotional, honest, and beautifully written. If you’re a fan of Greek Mythology/retellings, you should definitely check this out.

img_2958-1Book of Dust– by Philip Pullman – Fantasy:

Philip Pullman is a master craftsman of the slow spun tale. His rich, building, lyrical style is so comforting that it draws you into a parallel universe. The protagonist, Malcolm, is such as smart and likable boy that you can’t help root for him as he gets caught up in this world of political intrigue, scholarship, and magic. If you are a fan of Narnia or Harry Potter, you would definitely enjoy this.

 

3d2832c7-d396-4ed9-9eec-26ae1753cab5Thunderhead– YA Fantasy:

I really loved Scythe, but Thunderhead takes the loose threads from book #1 and spins them into a whole new world of intrigue, danger, and suspense, with some really cool philosophical questions underlining the whole plot. While book #1 focuses on the Scythedom and Rowan and Citra’s place within it, book #2 continues this journey, but with more connection to the Thunderhead- the vast, all-knowing, God-like “server,” that monitors the world. Instead of being privy to the journals of the Scythes, we now get the journals/thoughts of the Thunderhead. The actions of the Scythes and Rowan, woven together with the thoughts of the all-seeing Thunderhead, created a brilliant contrast. If you’re a fan of YA dystopian, do yourself a big favor and read this series. The next book in the series, Toll, comes out in 2019.

 

0d838b18-8cfb-4c17-ad8c-2407b575136cLethal White– Detective/Mystery:

The same attention to detail and suspense that Rowling gives us in HP, works so well in her detective series. Every tiny detail is crafted to come together at the perfect moment, and suddenly, all of the pieces fit together and it is so satisfying. I have loved every Cormoran Strike novel so far, Cuckoo’s Calling being my favorite, but Lethal White was so much more intricate than the other 3 novels. Unlike all of the other Strike novels, we are not dealing with one crime in Lethal White. There is policial corruption, blackmail, and a repressed memory that, for the majority of the book, we’re not even sure is real). The length was completely welcome for me. I wanted to stay with Strike and Robin as long as I could and continue to take in all of the minute details of the case as they unfolded. I would have welcomed another 500 pages if it meant staying with these two a little longer.

Overall, a great year in books for me. Thank you all for being here and sharing with me. Stay tuned for my 2019 reading goals/TBR coming up in a day or so. Happy New Year, everyone! 

Click here: @somewhereinpages to find me on Instagram and here:  erinrossi to find me on Goodreads. 

Happy Reading!

Reviews

Review ~ Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

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Review: Vengeful ~ by V.E. Schwab

478 pages ~ Adult Fantasy

2018~ TOR

My Rating: 4/5 ✰✰✰✰

Goodreads Description:

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

Link to my Vicious- Book 1 Review

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My Thoughts:

Even though I loved Vicious, I actually enjoyed the plot of Vengeful much more. With Vicious I found myself disinterest at times, but Vengeful grabbed me right from the beginning and never let go. The build-up/plot was much more complex and intricate than the first. Schwab is such a skilled writer and there were so many unique themes running through this book. Below were some of the high points for me:

  • My enthusiasm for this book is in large part due to Marcella. She was such a great addition to this story because she added the drama and romance that was lacking in the first book. Her relationship with her husband and their backstory made her revenge and descent into villainy even more poignant. I felt like I really knew her and the motives behind her actions, which is something that was often lacking for Victor and Eli. I loved that Marcella’s character was beautiful and powerful. Schwab did such a great job playing with this femme fatale vibe.

“People looked at Marcella and assumed a whole lot. That a pretty face meant an Empty head, that a girl like her was only after an easy life, that she would be Satisfied with luxury, instead of power- as if you couldn’t have both.”

  • The banter between June and Marcella was also a really great addition. Two powerful females, the hit woman and the mod wife, trying to feel each other and anticipate each other’s moves was really fun to watch.
  • I really loved June as well- she had a very Arya Stark vibe with her “kill list.” She protected Sydney but also tried to empower her by teaching her the value of a family that is chosen rather than the one we are born into. I would have really liked more backstory on June, but maybe Schwab has plans for that.
  • The connection with the mod also gave the book a very cool film noir vibe that I absolutely loved. I can completely see this being made into a film noir style detective mystery complete with black and white stylized cinematography.
  • Eli’s backstory was fascinating. It was so interesting to finally see the motivation behind his actions. His backstory then brought up so many questions about motive. Victor and Eli commit the same crimes but for different reasons- Is Victor less evil because he kills EOs in order to protect Syd, their makeshift family, and find a cure for himself? Do we still consider Eli purely evil once we understand the full extent of his motive? These were all really interesting questions that the book brought up and I actually really liked that it never attempted to answer them. “There are no good men in this game.”- because no one is wholly good or bad.
  • Haverty- AKA: Frankenstein – His desire to tap into what the EOs have was a really cool reflection on Victor and Eli creating their own monsters (themselves). I would have liked more with the doctor at the end of the novel. His role was really shaping up to be something pivotal at the end, but it was over pretty quickly.

What was missing?

  • Ok, my only complaint is really the same complaint that I had with book one. Victor and Eli are supposed to be these legendary friends turned enemies. The inside cover of the book even compares them to “Magneto and Professor X” and “Superman and Lex Luthor.” But because we never get very much of the backstory on the formation of their friendship, I just consistently found it hard to understand their intense hatred for each other and their desire to destroy each other. There is a small flashback to the day they met, but that is it. It was not enough to understand the connection and/or love that they once had for each other. It might seem a little nitpicky, but I just wanted to be more invested in their relationship than I was. Ultimately, it was the side characters that I really ended up investing.

Without giving anything away, the ending does seem to leave you guessing. This could mean a potential continuation of the EO would, I’m not sure, but I would definitely be there for that.

For more information on V.E. Schwab and her books, check her out on Goodreads

Follow me on Instagram @somewhereinpages & Goodreads @erinrossi

Monthly Wrap-Ups

November Wrap-Up

Happy December, Everyone! Time is flying by and now it is full speed ahead into Christmas. November was such a great reading month for me. I managed to read 4 books total, but I didn’t have a lot of time to write up individual reviews throughout the month. So, I thought I would do a monthly wrap-up with 4 mini-reviews. So here goes:

Roomies by Christina Lauren ✰✰✰✰

I was in the mood for something lighthearted and fun over the Thanksgiving weekend and Roomies was a perfect choice. It definitely indulged my weepy romantic side, but it was also really well written. The characterization of both Holland and Calvin was so unique and really gave a sense of the whole person, not just who they were in terms of the relationship and the plot. I loved that the authors included all of their embarrassing moments – including Holland’s obsession with her “hot subway busker,” and Calvin’s marriage lies to his family back home in Ireland. These were all very real and relatable moments. My only complaint here was that I never really questioned either character’s motives in the same way they questioned each other. So it was a little frustrating at times to watch the two of them essentially make up things to be upset about. But overall, this was a perfect feel-good romantic comedy with really adorable characters.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren ✰✰✰✰

img_1016Ok, full disclosure, I read Roomies so fast that I needed another feelgood romance to finish out the long Thanksgiving weekend. Since I loved Roomies so much, I picked up Josh and Hazel. This was a really cute “friends to lovers” troupe with a fun twist. Ok, Hazel herself is really the twist. She was so unlike any female lead character I’ve read. She is unapologetically over-the-top, loud, blunt, free, and absolutely amazing! I loved that even though she’d been told time and time again that she was “too weird” or “too crazy” she never changed. She never altered herself in any way or attempted to please anyone but herself. For that, I give Christina Lauren a big high five. Hazel’s personality contrasted so well with Josh’s uptight demeanor and they made such a funny pair of opposites. I also really loved the Portland vibes. Having lived there for two years, I can definitely see someone like Hazel being happy and thriving in this amazing city. Thanks for keeping Portland weird Christina Lauren.

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager ✰✰✰✰

The second I read that this book took place at a creepy summer camp in upstate New York where a mysterious crime once took place, I was all in. Emma is a prominent New York artist who returns to the summer camp she attended at age 13 to confront the unsolved disappearance of her 3 cabin roommates 15 years prior. Once Emma actually arrives back at the camp, she starts to uncover cryptic clues and messages left by the girls. She has to unravel these clues in order to finally figuring out what happened to them. This novel was so fast paced and kept me guessing the entire time. It led me on a wild goose chase. Emma herself is constantly following different leads and theories, and I was following right along with her. Every time I thought I had it figured out, a new clue appeared and it was right back to square one. With about 5 pages left in the book, I thought everything was nicely wrapped up. I was completely wrong! Another crazy plot twist left me stunned. This was a perfect mystery with a crazy fun plot twist! My only complaint was that at times there was this weird time warp happening- where things happened exactly as they did in the past. Even down to what the camp served for dinner. I am not sure if all of this was intentional, but it took away from the believability at times.

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay ✰✰✰✰

After Halloween, I was really feeling the witchy vibes. Although the plot took a little while to pick-up for me, I loved the mood of this book. Witch grimoires, talking ravens, crafting spells, reading tea leaves- all of this created such an irresistible mood. The 1880s (Gilded Age) New York was the perfect setting for this story- gas lamps, horse-drawn carriages, bowler hats, parasols, plus the growing urbanization of the city. Adelaide, Beatrice, and Eleanor, our witches, are powerful women, but still, have to hide their talents for fear of persecution. With the start of Women’s Suffrage at this time, their little tea shop becomes a safe haven for all women seeking change. The overall message of the story was a really powerful one about what women can accomplish when they come together.

So that is my November Wrap-Up! Here’s to some more cozy holiday reads in December! Happy reading! 

-Erin

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