Tag: Buddy Reviews

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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Buddy Review: Love, Chloe by Alessandra Torre

Posted May 28, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Love, Chloe by Alessandra TorreReviewer: Ames & Rowena
Love, Chloe by Alessandra Torre
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 14, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Chick Lit
Pages: 417
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

From NYT Bestseller Alessandra Torre...

You know girls like me. You hate girls like me. The privileged blonde who skips her Ivy League classes when she's had too many Soho martinis. The one draped on the asshole's arm because he drives a Bugati and screws like a champ.

I was that girl. I loved being that girl.

Then, my door was broken in. Literally.

And in that moment? Everything changed.

WARNING: This sexy standalone has jaw-dropping moments, crazy sexual chemistry, and will make your cheeks hurt from smiling. Read at your own risk.

Love, Chloe by Alessandra Torre is a coming of age story with a protagonist that you won’t be able to help from rooting for. From beginning to end, Chloe goes through it. When her parents go down for committing all the crimes, the life Chloe Madison has goes up in flames. All of a sudden, she’s got bills to pay and money problems…and she’s on her own. Life is about to throw every curveball to Chloe and Chloe has to figure out what kind of person she is and wants to be.

Rowena: Man, I really liked this one. What did you think, Ames?

Ames: Good pick for our May buddy review! I enjoy Alessandra Torre’s writing so I knew I’d be in for a good read. I admit to having a few bits of anxiety over the crap that Chloe goes through. But she’s a trooper! I like how her change in circumstances really made her look at her life and realize she wanted to be better. And the whole book was interspersed with Instagram posts so I thought that was unique and cute dog pictures don’t hurt!

Rowena: This has been languishing on my TBR pile for years and I really wanted to finally read it so thanks for agreeing to read it with me.

Chloe is definitely someone I would want to follow on Instagram. She had such a positive attitude toward everything, and it wasn’t fake. I really dug that.

I loved that she wasn’t perfect and even when she made such stupid decisions, I didn’t hate her and I supported her through the good and the bad. I also really liked that her friends were an actual squad. They loved Chloe for Chloe and not because of money, fame, or who she was dating. She had an actual support system in her friends. That was dope.

Did you enjoy the romance in here? I did. I adored seeing them fumble their way toward that happy ending. They both were such great characters on their own but together, I loved them all the more. I also really enjoyed getting to know all of the other characters from Dante to Clarke, Hannah and Joey. Hahaha, oh Joey. What about you?

Ames: Chloe’s friends were the best! When her life completely changed due to her parents dropping her like a hot potato, they really stepped up. That also allowed Chloe some breathing room to figure out what she needed to do pronto (make money lol). Plus they were interesting characters too. They weren’t just props to the story, they added to it.

Chloe was an easy character to root for because although at the very beginning she was like a fish out of water and had to re-orient herself (she was part of the ‘help’ at her new job) she bounced back quickly and was a fast learner. She may have been spoiled in her previous life, but she comes around when she sees how the other side lives. And that world shift for her was done in a good way for the reader. Chloe was always a good person, she just didn’t live in the environment where it was obvious. And so we rooted for her.

The romance was very satisfactory as well. Chloe being torn between an ex and a guy she thinks isn’t right for her made for some good tension for her character. I liked her self-awareness when it came to her ex. She recognized her weakness. I like how her friends gave her shit about that too. LOL

What did you think of the romance?

Rowena: I agree about Chloe’s friends. I liked that they were an actual part of Chloe’s story because they were such a huge part of her life so kudos to Torre for letting us see and get to know the important people in Chloe’s life outside of her love interest and work people.

I really enjoyed Chloe’s romance with Carter. I thought they complimented each other well and I loved that he was all in once they decided to be together. There was no waffling back and forth. He knew the gem he had in Chloe and wanted her. I also thought Torre handled Chloe’s issues with her ex in a real way that didn’t take away from the blossoming romance she had going with Carter.

I liked that we learned all about Chloe as she was learning about herself as well. I thought that Torre took us on an emotionally charged journey that had lighter moments that I really appreciated. I really adored everything in this book aside from Chloe’s selfish ass parents. I’m glad that Chloe really found herself and made a family for herself with the people that were important to her and loved and supported her. She built a really nice life for herself that was hers and hers alone. It took some time for her to get there and she definitely made some bad choices along the way but she didn’t let those bad choices define her and I just really dug that…and this story. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars, you?

Ames: I also like that Carter didn’t even consider listening to his mom about Chloe. sigh And you are so right, Chloe made herself a great little family. Her parents sucked so I’m glad she had people in her corner.

I’m giving Love, Chloe 4 out of 5 as well.

Final Grades

Ames: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Buddy Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

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

Buddy Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel CleetonReviewer: Ames & Rowena
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Format: eBook, Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction
Pages: 394
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana takes us on an emotional journey to Cuba, in both the past and the present as our main characters, Marisol Ferrera and Elisa Perez, battle through emotions, secrets and the hardships of war, all while falling in love with men that came with their own complications.

Rowena: This was really angsty and while I did end up enjoying it (I even cried), it was a bit slow to start. What did you think, Ames?

Ames: I have to agree. It took me a good while to get into it. Part of it was that in an odd switch I wanted to read this book in print, not in e-format. It’s usually the other way around. So I finally made my way to the bookstore and then I couldn’t finish this book fast enough!

And the angst wasn’t emotional angst. It was -oh my god we’re in the middle of a revolution and we could die- kind of angst. Which I was totally into. I can admit that I don’t know a heck of a lot about Cuba but this book did a really good job of making what happened, relevant and thought-provoking as well as providing a dangerous background for our main character’s grandmother.

Rowena: Yes, the romance took a back seat to all of the angst from everything else that was going on. Once I got the hang of both timelines, all of the characters, and what was going on, I zipped right through this book. My heart hurt and then it soared for both Elisa and what she lived through, how hard her life was even though on the surface, her life looked pretty fluffy, it was anything but and for Marisol, too. When she gets to Cuba, she’s expecting to hear stories of her beloved grandmother through people who once loved her and confided in her but she found so much more than that and I was so here for all of it.

I really liked the way that Cleeton wove this tale. She brought everything going on in Cuba to the front of a very compelling story and I really enjoyed it.

Who was your favorite character?

Ames: Elisa was definitely my favorite character. My heart definitely hurt for what she went through. But I liked how we learned about her story through Marisol’s eyes. I agree with you, I like the way Cleeton wove these two stories together. I liked Pablo more as an old man than when he was younger. His experience and his heartbreak was what made me cry. I really wonder how Elisa and his life would have worked out if Elisa knew the truth. This was a bittersweet book. And I promptly pre-ordered Beatriz book once I was done. LOL.

Rowena: Same. I connected with Elisa’s story and her struggles with every single thing that she went through. From her struggles with loving a man who was fighting on the opposite side of the side her father supported to the way that her family had to creep out of the country to survive and everything that she felt with toward her brother and not being able to know for sure that he was safe and all of that.

I felt the same way about older Pablo. He missed out on so much and my heart for him and just everything. His love for Elisa was true and it was strong and it lasted his entire life even though he moved on. It was so heartbreaking. I’m super glad that I read this one and will definitely be reading more from Cleeton, she’s got magic hands weaving the good stories. I need more of that in my life.

Are you going to read When We Left Cuba? I’m already reading it and so far, it’s just as fantastic as this one was. I give this one 4.25 out of 5 stars, what about you?

Ames: I am planning on reading When We Left Cuba. I needed to read something light and fluffy after Marisol and Elisa’s story though so I’m glad I have a bit of a wait until it’s released. I know I’m going to want to read it in paperback. LOL

I’m giving Next Year in Havana 4.25 out of 5 as well. Despite a bit of a slow beginning it’s definitely an engrossing story and it hits you in the feels. I highly recommend!

Final Grades

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

Related Books

Next Year in Havana
When We Left Cuba

four-stars


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Buddy Review for Into the Deep by Samantha Young at Breezing Through!

Posted February 27, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Ames and I made a pact that we’d do a buddy review at least once a month and our February buddy review is for Into the Deep by Samantha Young. Swing by Breezing Through to check it out!

INTO THE DEEP BY SAMANTHA YOUNG
 

 

intodeep
Live young. Live hard. Love deep.

Charley Redford was just an ordinary girl until Jake Caplin moved to her small town in Indiana and convinced her she was extraordinary. Almost from day one Jake pulled Charley into the deep and promised he was right there with her. But when a tragic incident darkened Jake’s life he waded out into the shallows and left Charley behind.

Almost four years later Charley thinks she’s moved on. That is until she takes a study year abroad in Edinburgh and bumps into none other than Jake Caplin at a party with his new girlfriend. The bad-boy-turned-good attempts to convince Charley to forgive him, and as her best friend starts spending time with Jake’s, Charley calls a truce, only to find herself tumbling back into a friendship with him.

As they grow closer, the spark between them flares and begins playing havoc with their lives and relationships. When jealousy and longing rear their destructive heads, Charley and Jake struggle to come to grips with what they mean to one another.

And even if they work it out, there is no guarantee Charley will ever trust Jake to lead her back into the deep…

Happy reading!


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Buddy Review: The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot

Posted February 1, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

The Boy Next Door
Rowena and Tasha’s joint review of The Boy Next Door (Boy #1) by Meg Cabot.

Gossip columnist and single New York City girl Mel lives lives in the most exciting place in the world, yet she’s bored with her lovelife. But things get interesting fast when the old lady next door is nearly murdered. Mel starts paying closer attention to her neighbors—what exactly is going on with the cute boy next door? Has Mel found the love of her life—or a killer?

Rowena: I went to breakfast with my friend Tasha a couple of weeks ago and we spent most of our breakfast discussing the books we were reading. So because we read a lot of the same books and because Book Binge is never far from my mind, I asked Tasha to buddy review a book with me each month for Book Binge and just like that, we were off. Our first buddy review book was The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot. It’s a book that is near and dear to my heart (because duh, it’s Meg Cabot) but it was new read for Tasha. I thought it would be interesting to discuss this book with her so here we are.

Alright Tasha, it didn’t take me very long to read this book and when I finally finished it, I was reminded why I love Meg Cabot so much. She never fails to write those books that just entertain the socks off of you.

What were your first impressions of the book?

Tasha: My first impression, hmmm…well, after reading the first 5 to 6 emails, I began to wonder if I could actually finish this. I mean, a whole story read through emails, I wasn’t sure. But I got used to it and found myself REALLY liking the book. This was a first Meg Cabot read for me and I enjoyed it very much.

Rowena: I know what you mean. I first heard about Meg Cabot and this book told in all emails a few years ago by my friend from Australia, Grace. She came down to visit way back in I think 2005 and we were at the bookstore looking for books and this was the book that she was looking for. I had never read a book entirely written in emails but I completely embraced the idea and picked this book up as soon as I could (they didn’t have it in stock at the B&N that we went to). As soon as I read it, I was glad that I did because it was such a fun book.

This re-read didn’t take anything away from my previous enjoyment of this book. I loved it all over again (which I’m happy about since a lot of my favorite books from back in the day are not holding up for me) and seeing John and Mel get to know each other and then fall in love while Mel believes John to be someone else? It made for a great read. Meg Cabot sure knows how to entertain.

What were some of your favorite parts of the book?

Tasha: That’s hard to say. I like the relationship she has with her boss George. If only my boss was as cool as he was. I mean, he tried to sound like a big bad guy, but I think his “bark was worse than his bite”, lol. There was this one part in the book where Mel and Nadine were emailing back and forth about John (after she found out who he really is) and George was being nosey and trying to read Mel’s email. She had purposely wrote something about him because she knew he was reading it,

“ ‘Are ,you kidding? George Sanchez is the sexiest man alive. Any man with that much hair on his back has to be a veritable repository of testosterone…’ HA, GEORGE! CAUGHT YOU!!!!” (pg 164)

That was one of my LOL moments. The characters here were so likeable that it was easy to follow along with the emails and capture everyone’s different personalities. How could you not be sucked in by Mel’s personality. Her response to George and the HR representative, Amy Jenkins just has her character written all over it. And I really really like John. I only wish he was man enough to come clean much sooner and told Mel the truth. But of course, it that happened, then it would’ve been a SUPER SHORT story!

Being that you’ve read other books from Meg Cabot, what would you sets this particular story aside from the others?

Rowena: I agree. I loved Mel’s character. I loved the way that she dealt with everyone at work, her soft heart where her neighbor was concerned and how close she got to what was the dog’s name again? Paco? She was such a giving character, who didn’t let people walk all over her and her personality just rocked my socks. I think my favorite scenes in this book were her responses to Amy Jenkins. And well, her emails about Max aka John. LOL.

What were your thoughts on Max? What a loser that guy turned out to be. When he first comes onto the scene and he’s more concerned with spending a week with a model instead of his Aunt in a coma, I hated his guts. And that model chick he wanted to spend time with? Ugh, what a freaking airhead.

Oh, I forgot. One of my favorite emails was the one John sent to his brother telling him about his first meeting with Mel as Max.

To: Jason Trent <jason.trent@trentcapital.com>
From: John Trent <john.trent@thenychronicle.com>

Subject: How’d it Go?

She’s a redhead. Help.

Haha, oh man I adored John. The obvious affection he had with his brother Jason made me laugh and swoon because one guy is great but two hot brothers? Yum! I LOVED them.

Tasha: Oh yeah, you could tell the sincerity of Jason’s concern for his brother at the beginning of this whole fiasco. Its nice to see that brotherly love. But what about John’s sister-in-law Stacy (Jason’s wife), wasn’t she the BEST? I loved her and I loved the emails between her and John. Some of the CRAZY advice she gave him also had me LOL! I liked that she was pregnant during all of this because it made her more human…blaming all her crazy advice to her hormones, ha! I loved her even more when she forward that email to Mel explaining John’s true feelings for her and the situation.

As for stinking Max, he was a big ka-ka head!!! I mean, who does that…throw a fit because your rich aunt wouldn’t give you money and accidently knock her to the floor AND leave her there to bleed to death? I tell you who…Max Friedland! He got everything he deserved in the end. Broke and no chance of getting any of his aunts money, hehe! I felt sorry for Vivica. She seemed like she really liked that loser. And yeah, I think she was somewhat of an airhead but it wasn’t like she knew anything about what Max had done. Its funny, I pictured Max as some cheesy looking Don Johnson (Miami Vice days) wanna be. You know the type that thinks he’s a real lady’s man, and dresses himself like he’s got plenty of money to throw around, when really he’s nothing! That’s what I thought of Max.

Rowena: Yep. Don Johnson for sure, I mean he wanted John to wear tassles on his shoes during his first meeting with Mel. What the hell? LOL. But you’re right, Stacy was pretty awesome. All of the characters in this book were kind of awesome. What happened with Max made me laugh because that was what he got for being stupid…and selfish.

I loved the characters, the story and the pacing. The story moves at a fast pace so there isn’t time for you to become bored, which is something that I appreciated. Meg Cabot does well with the stories on the lighter side of the emotional train but she does it in a way that still tugs at your heart strings. This book was so full of win that I’d gladly read it over and over again. How about you?

This definitely gets a 4.75 out of 5 from me.

Tasha: I agree, the characters were ah-mazing! They made the story more interesting for me. The different emails back and forth, to different recipients, I was looking forward to ‘em. And I suppose it did make the story go by faster. Definitely a great read for me and I’ll be picking up more from this author.

This being my first Meg Cabot read, I’d give this a 4.5 out of 5.

Thanks for choosing a great book Rowena!

Rowena: …and I think we’re done! Thanks for reviewing this book with me, Tash. You rock! What’s our next book? Your turn to choose.

Tasha: This was fun! Thanks for inviting me to do this. It’s something different and I really enjoyed it 

My pick: Charade by Nyrae Dawn

Rowena: Thanks for doing this with me, I love talking books with my favorite book people!  Next month Tasha and I will be reading and discussing Charade by Nyrae Dawn on Book Binge. See you next month!

This book is available from William Morrow.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.


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