Reading Challenge: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge

Buddy Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Posted June 12, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina LaurenReviewer: Ames & Rowena
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Format: eARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 395
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, 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.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren features Olive Torres and Ethan Thomas as they go on their sibling’s honeymoon because the happy couple and everyone else that attended the wedding got serious food poisoning and couldn’t go on their non-refundable trip. Olive and Ethan don’t even like each other for reasons that neither of them is aware of but that is not going to stop them from going on this trip…for free.

Once they land in Hawaii, things get really complicated when they both have to pretend to be together …they get really good at pretending to be together, so good that it soon starts to feel like they’re not pretending anymore. The trip brings out some truths between the two of them and when they return home, the party is still going but other things outside of their love bubble complicate things for them and Christina Lauren did their magic with bringing the drama. Olive and Ethan had to work for their happy ending and I thought everything was handled well.

Rowena: This was a fast read for me and I really enjoyed the whole thing. What about you, Ames?

Ames: It was a quick read for me too! I got swept right up into Olive and Ethan’s story so I wanted to see how it all worked out. I love that they went from enemies to lovers. One thing that just made me so happy was how Ethan purposely got Olive’s name wrong so then she started to do it too. I thought them calling each other by different names was too funny. Oscar…LOL The set up of the book was very well done too, the forced proximity really made Olive and Ethan see each other in a new light. There wasn’t anything forced about how their minds change over time.

I liked how the characters were built up too. Olive was the unlucky twin but she still had a go-getter attitude and wasn’t too woe is me. So I really felt for her when her sister and Ethan didn’t believe her at the end of the book. Jerks. LOL.

What did you think?

Rowena: I had the same thoughts toward Ami and Ethan at the end…and the way that Ami confronts the big bad and Ethan shows up and you can just feel how sorry he was toward Olive? Man, Christina Lauren did a great job of writing that scene. It pulled at my feels and I was so Team Olive through it all.

This was such a work of fiction, a little over the top with certain things (the lucky and unlucky twin thing is one thing that comes to mind) but I didn’t care about any of that. This book entertained the socks right off of me and I enjoyed getting to know Olive and Ethan, seeing them work things out between them since they spent so much time hating each other. They came together in a believable way and Ethan’s grand gesture had me smiling from ear to ear. So good.

Ames: See, I don’t know if I would have forgiven Ethan so quickly. Maybe I’m just a petty bitch and would have held on to my hurt for a bit longer but I thought it was too easy. Mind you Ethan did redeem himself…so it must just be me. haha!

I really liked Olive’s character. She hated lying to her new boss and she couldn’t lie to save her life! She did jump to conclusions quickly but Ethan always called her out on it so I liked that he balanced her that way. And I like that she eventually comes clean. She has integrity.

You know what I realized? The whole running into your ex with their new partner in Hawaii was very Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Remember that movie?

Anyway, I really enjoyed The Unhoneymooners. It made me laugh, it was definitely steamy and it was full of good characters. Even the extended family members were fun and added to the story. Olive had herself a little journey of self-discovery throughout the whole thing (especially around her career goals) so I feel like this one just checked all the feel-good boxes.

Rowena: Haha, you’re right. This movie was so Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I forgave Ethan a lot sooner than I thought I would because I knew that he was sorry and he got me with the, “I’ll spend the rest of my life being sorry for this” line so yeah, maybe it was just you. LMAO!

Olive was the highlight of this book for me. I loved her, her family support system and I loved her relationship with her twin sister. It wasn’t perfect and I was annoyed with Ami at first but man do they really come around for me. This book was definitely funny but I could have used for some more steam. I think there was like one sex scene in the entire book, I didn’t know that I needed more of those but it wouldn’t have hurt this book.

Christina Lauren did their thing with this one and I’m glad that we read this one together. It was a lot of fun and I’ve come to expect these kinds of stories from the Christina Lauren duo. I give this one 4.25 out of 5 stars, you?

Ames: I’m giving the Unhoneymooners a 4.25 out of 5 as well.

Final Grades

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Posted June 11, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma JalaluddinReviewer: Rowena
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn't want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

I picked this book up for review because I’ve heard so many good things about it around blog-land. Lots of bloggers loved this one so I knew that I would be reading it. I’m so happy to report that I agree with all of the other reviews out there. This was a charming P&P retelling even though it’s not a clear P&P retelling until you get almost to the end. Still, I was charmed from beginning to end and am definitely interested in reading more from Jalaluddin. She’s got a nice writing style that kept me involved in what was going on in the story and I appreciated her efforts.

Ayesha and Khalil were great. Their romance developed slowly with them getting to know each other but there was so much else going on in this book that I thought Jalaluddin did a great job of bringing everything together. I really liked that Jalaluddin didn’t waste words on stuff that didn’t matter. Everything and everyone had a purpose and the way that Ayesha and Khalil came together was pretty great. They were really put through the wringer but that made their coming together in the end so much more impactful. I mean, there were times when I was a little frustrated with both of them but for the most part, I was rooting for them to get their shit together and come together already.

They were also a great Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett pairing. I had a lot of the same frustrations with Ayesha’s character as I had with Elizabeth’s character in P&P. I saw a lot of Darcy in Khalil and seriously, the same issues I had with P&P were issues that I had here. There were times in P&P where I thought Elizabeth wasn’t remorseful enough when she was in the wrong where Darcy was concerned and I experienced that same thing here with Ayesha. Sure, I loved her as a character in the end but there were times when I wanted to wring her neck because I felt that Khalil was a lot more remorseful and showed a lot more growth than she did. Still, Uzma Jalaluddin did a great job of turning things around for the two of these guys and honestly, she brought out a lot of feels in me so I know that I’ll be thinking about this book for a while still.

This was a good one so I definitely recommend it for those of you guys looking for a diverse P&P retelling with a charming cast and a refreshing writing style that I ate right up with each page turned. Good stuff.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Bridal Boot Camp by Meg Cabot

Posted June 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Bridal Boot Camp by Meg CabotReviewer: Rowena
Bridal Boot Camp by Meg Cabot
Series: Little Bridge Island #0.5
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon Impulse
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: First, Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 96
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot comes the first story in her Little Bridge Island series—which also includes an excerpt from her forthcoming new full-length novel No Judgments!

Looking for a tropical escape?

Welcome to Little Bridge, one of the smallest—and most beautiful—islands in the Florida Keys, home to sandy white beaches, salt-rimmed margaritas, stunning sunsets, and some of the quirkiest—but also kindest and most resourceful—people you’ll ever meet.

Physical trainer Roberta “Rob” James moved to Little Bridge hoping she’d found paradise, but things haven’t turned out quite as she’d hoped. The closest Rob has come to her “happily ever after” is happy hour at the Mermaid Café with her buddy Bree, the bartender slash waitress who’s got romance problems of her own.

But Rob’s situation suddenly changes when sheriff’s deputy Ryan Martinez accidentally enrolls in her bridal boot camp class. Turning mush into metal in time for the big day is Rob’s passion (because even the happiest bride could use a little toning).

But what happens when a guy who’s all mush meets a girl who’s all metal?

They discover they have a lot to learn . . . about each other, themselves, and the island paradise they’ve come to call home.

This was a really short story but I don’t even care because it’s a Meg Cabot and I will probably always read new Meg Cabot books (her adult books, anyway) until the day I die. I enjoy her books that much. I can’t say that I absolutely loved this book but that had more to do with there isn’t much of a romance here. Sure, there’s a story but I wanted so much more than what we got.

So in this book, Roberta James meets Ryan Martinez when he shows up for her bridal boot camp aerobics class. He’s there trying to join a yoga class because he needs to work on his anger issues. His boss thinks that yoga will do the trick but when Ryan shows up at Rob’s gym, he wasn’t expecting to enjoy the aerobics class so much…and he wasn’t expecting to like his instructor so much either.

So because this is such a short story, everything happens at warped speed and so much of that didn’t work for me. They fell too hard, too fast but even though this book had a lot of that insta love going on, I still enjoyed reading it and I’m looking forward to reading the bartender, Bree with the sad eyes, story in the first book in this series, No Judgments. If we had another 100 pages or so to fully appreciate Robbie and Ryan, I think I would have liked this one more but oh well. I’m still interested in the others so it wasn’t that bad.

Final Grade

3.75 out of 5

Little Bridge Island

three-half-stars


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Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Posted June 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene GooReviewer: Rowena
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she's just performed her hit song "Heartbeat" in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She's about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She's in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She's very cute. He's maybe curious.

12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.

Last year, I read Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel and I really enjoyed that one so when I came across this book while browsing Netgalley, I knew that I was going to request to review it. I was mostly interested in seeing what Goo does with that fall in love in one day scenario and even though I didn’t read The Sun is Also a Star, I did see the movie and the whole scenario didn’t work well for me there. After reading this one, I’m thinking of going back and reading The Sun is Also a Star because, in my opinion, that scenario works better in print than it did on screen.

I will say that though I enjoyed the story, it took me a little bit to get into the story because to start things off, Lucky, the k-pop superstar decides to sneak out of her hotel room to grab a burger after she took some pills to help her sleep and she gets lost. She runs into Jack, who is, of course, trying to break into the paparazzo scene. At first, Jack doesn’t know who Lucky is so he helps her out because she seems to be struggling but once he found out who she was, he doesn’t reveal what he is and the night really kicks off because Lucky is really determined to get a hamburger. I will say that I was not a fan of this, it rubbed me wrong but over the course of the story, Goo does a great job of turning things around for me.

One of the things that I really enjoyed in The Way You Make Me Feel was how Goo brings L.A. to life. She does the same thing here. I’ve never been to Hong Kong but I could see everything that Jack and Lucky saw and taste everything that they ate while they explored the city so clearly. Goo does this really well and though I didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much as I liked The Way You Make Me Feel, I thought Goo did a great job of showing us readers the realities of being a k-pop star.

Overall, this was a quick read. The beginning was a little slow and there were times when I wanted to smack Jack and Lucky around but all in all, this was a cute read.

Final Grade

3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Then Came You by Kate Meader

Posted June 4, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Then Came You by Kate MeaderReviewer: Rowena
Then Came You by Kate Meader
Series: Laws of Attraction #3
Also in this series: Down with Love , Illegally Yours
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 200
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In the courtroom, they’re rivals. In the bedroom, they’re . . . divorced. But could the road trip from hell lead to a second chance at love?

Aubrey Gates is the hottest divorce lawyer in Chicago, a barb-tongued stiletto with legs that go on for miles. When her cool gray eyes meet mine across the battlefield, I want her like I’ve never wanted anyone or anything. Then I remember who she is: the woman who brought me to my knees. The woman who destroyed my faith in relationships.

The woman I used to call . . . wife.

And she needs a favor from me, Grant Lincoln.

It seems my ex forgot to mention the demise of our marriage to her dear old grammie, and now we’re both expected to attend her ninetieth birthday party. In Boston. And because it isn’t already awkward enough, Aubrey and I are driving there together from Chicago. That’s more than a thousand miles of tension, heartbreak, and barely concealed lust.

A little piece of paper might say we’re over, but this road trip is the true test. I intend to get my wife back . . . and I won’t stop until “I do.”

Then Came You is the third and final book in the Laws of Attraction series by Kate Meader and it was the book that I was most looking forward to because we’re finally going to get the lowdown on what truly happened between Grant and Aubrey. Grant and Aubrey used to be married but something happened that drove them apart and before either of them knew what was what, the marriage and the relationship were over. These days, they’re still in each other’s lives because they share friends and work near each other. They’re both divorce attorneys and often find themselves across the courtroom from each other so when Grant hears that Aubrey needs a ride home for the holidays, he offers to take her…and to pretend to still be married to her so that she can tell her aging grandmother the truth, in person.

On the road trip, Grant and Aubrey are stuck in close quarters with nothing but the road and time on their hands. They have a lot of time to talk things over and Grant realizes that his feelings for Aubrey never went away so he decides that he’s going to use this opportunity to try to figure out where they went wrong and how to fix them.

Aubrey grew up rich and she didn’t have the kind of loving upbringing that Grant did so she grew up to have a lot of Mommy and Daddy issues. Her parents left a lot to be desired in the parenting department and the only person in her family that she is close to is her grandmother. Her grandmother that never knew that she and Grant have been divorced for the last few years. Aubrey is finally going to tell her the truth but when they get home, Aubrey is so confused about everything that things don’t go the way that she thought it would.

Grant grew up with his single mother and all the love that could be showered on one person. He grew up in a happy home and never wanted his Mom to work as hard as she did while he was growing up. He wanted to take care of everyone around him and when he failed with Aubrey, his life was thrown off its axis. Being around Aubrey again, wanting to fix everything that went wrong with them is a lot harder than he thought as well.

Of the three books in this series, this book was my favorite. It was full of angst and just as intense as I thought it would be. Seeing Grant and Aubrey work through their shit and fall in love all over again with who they were now and recognizing who they were before, it all made for such a great second chance romance. I loved seeing the gang altogether again and really, Kate Meader did her thing with this one and I’m glad that I read it.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Laws of Attraction

four-stars


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