Author: Rowena

Review: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

Posted October 24, 2022 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Heart Principle by Helen HoangReviewer: Rowena
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #3
Also in this series: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1), The Bride Test
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 31, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 343
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this new New York Times bestselling romance by Helen Hoang.

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a book review so please bear with me as I jump back into this bitch. It’s also been a little bit since I read this book but I came across my notes that I wrote for this book so I’m reviewing it. I’m not going to get into what this book was about, the summary does a great job of explaining what we’re getting into so I’m jumping right into my thoughts.

This is the third book in the Kiss Quotient series by Helen Hoang. It’s the book that I was really looking forward to because it’s Quan’s book! Lovely Quan, Michael’s cousin from The Kiss Quotient. He was such a memorable character for me. I’m a bit sad that this was Quan’s story because we got more Anna than Quan. I felt that Quan was part of Anna’s story and that was a bummer for me. Quan was such a delightful and interesting character so I felt he was cheated and even after all of this time, I’m still not over that.

That’s not to say that I hated Anna or that I hated the book. I just wish that Quan had gotten another story where he shined and was front and center instead of being featured in someone else’s story. There is a lot of heavy stuff tackled in this book and I understood and even connected with Anna through all of it. There were times when I really felt for Anna and wanted to fight every single member of her family because holy shit are they toxic as hell but there were also times when I wanted to smack some sense into Anna as well.

The little Quan that we got in this book was fantastic. My heart hurt for him and what he was going through and seeing him work through each of his struggles made my love for him stronger. I loved the way that he loved Anna. I loved the way that he was up for anything and willing to do whatever he can to support Anna with everything she was going through. Even when he didn’t know how to support her or even if he had to do things that hurt him in order to support her, he was ready and willing.

The romance between Quan and Anna was small but what we got worked. I just wanted more. As a romance, which is what I assumed I was getting, this was okay but this would have worked better for me had it been a women’s fiction story but I’m still salty about not getting as much Quan as I wanted.

3 out of 5

The Kiss Quotient Series


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Review: The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Posted September 6, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan HeReviewer: Rowena
The Ones We're Meant to Find by Joan He
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Review Pile Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, with a dash of Studio Ghibli.

Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.

In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.

Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But nevertheless, she decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find isn’t the kind of book that I would normally be interested in but after browsing Goodreads and reading the blurb, I was curious enough to get it for review. It took me three tries to finish this book. I kept putting it down because the first part, through the middle of the story moved super slow for me. Like, at a snail’s pace and I had trouble trying to keep paying attention because I just didn’t care. I almost gave up completely on the third try but I am glad that I finished it because the second half of the book is much better and moves much faster than the first.

This book is about two sisters. Cee is stuck on a deserted island, trying her damndest to get back and find her sister, Kasey. Kasey lives in a dystopian world, in these eco-cities that keeps them safe from living on actual land where there is a number of climate damage and is probably where our earth is headed if we don’t get our shit together. There’s a mystery that is woven throughout the story and I’ll admit that a lot of that shit was lost on me in the first half of the book.

Of the two sisters, I connected more with Cee on that deserted island. Kasey wasn’t a bad character but there was something that kept me from completely loving her as much as I did Cee. Kasey is smart as hell and I did eventually warm up to her character but yeah, I was still Team Cee.

I will also say that there’s a huge twist that I didn’t see coming but when it started coming together, I stood up and took notice. I won’t say what it is but I will say that it surprised me and I was delighted with the twist. There’s an open ending to this book as well that might rub some folks the wrong way but I was surprised, that I was okay with it. I did wonder a bit over Kasey’s last words to Celia in her dreams but I let it go as I was ready to move on.

Overall, this was a solid story. If you make it past the first half then the author rewards you with a very strong second half. Things come together, other things are revealed and both Kasey and Cee’s stories reel the reader in and I’m glad that I finished it. The story highlighted some stuff that I already think about climate change and made me take notice of what I’m doing for my part in trying to clean up our planet. The story really does come together in a satisfying and meaningful way but the slowness of the first half kept this book from getting rated higher. Still, I’m not mad that I read this.

3.25 out of 5


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Review: Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane

Posted August 23, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlaneReviewer: Rowena
Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the four are as close as ever, Thursday night bar trivia is sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed. Maybe she should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed still thinks about it, too.
But then, in an instant, their lives are changed forever.

In the aftermath, Eve’s world is upended. As stunning secrets are revealed, she begins to wonder if she really knew her friends as well as she thought. And when someone from the past comes back into her life, Eve’s future veers in a surprising new direction...

They say every love story starts with a single moment. What if it was just last night?

Mhairi McFarlane is an author that I appreciate. She always writes the kind of books that pull me in, sucks me dry of emotions, and leaves me with a giant smile on my face. This book was no different. From beginning to end, I was invested in what was going on and though I wouldn’t necessarily classify this book as a romance, there were enough romantic elements to keep my romance novel loving ass happy. This book wasn’t an easy read by any means and it covered a wide variety of topics that seriously had me engrossed from start to finish.

This book covered the topics of love, heartbreak, friendship, and loss in a way that kept me up late at night, reading page after page after page. This book was a little darker in tone than her other books but there was still McFarlane’s witty humor weaved throughout the story and that made me happy. I thought that McFarlane did a great job of writing full-bodied characters that I connected with whether I liked them or not and I felt Eve’s every emotion throughout the entire story. Eve does a lot of growing throughout this story and I was here for it all. At every point in this story, I was either crying along with her, cheering her on, or laughing because seeing her with her friends was pretty great. Her friendship with Ed, Justin, and Susie was such a treat for us readers and probably one of my favorite things in the entire book. Their friendship was far from perfect and there was a lot of struggles but honestly, that made me love them all the more.

This book made me cry and it made me laugh and I felt Eve’s every emotion. I was scared that because we knew going into the book that tragedy was going to strike, that the book would be a lot heavier than what I’m used to from Mhairi McFarlane, that Eve’s grief would be too much for me but I shouldn’t have worried at all because like I said earlier, McFarlane does a great job of spreading her trademark humor throughout the story so the sad parts didn’t bog the story down for me. There’s a great mix of everything inserted in this book and I’m glad that I picked this one up for review.

The romance was done well, too. Eve’s journey to self-discovery played a huge part in the book, and the love interest isn’t really revealed until well into the story, but I still enjoyed it. Seeing Eve fall in love and find her person made me happy. This was a great way to spend a few hours. I enjoyed getting to know everyone in Eve’s life, I enjoyed all of the pets, the complicated mess of everything, and seeing Eve really come into her own. This was another hit from McFarlane for me and I definitely recommend it.

4.25 out 5


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Review: To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne

Posted August 11, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: To Sir, with Love by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Review Pile Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Love Is Blind meets You’ve Got Mail in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy following two thirty-somethings who meet on a blind dating app—only to realize that their online chemistry is nothing compared to their offline rivalry.

Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just five months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout to turn the store into a parking garage. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Lauren Layne book and I’m happy to report that To Sir, with Love was another fun one that took me no time at all to read from beginning to end. Layne writes such witty, fun, and charming romances and this was no exception. This wasn’t my favorite of her books but it was still a good one and I expected no less from Mrs. Layne.

This book follows our heroine, Gracie Cooper, a wine shop owner, and, Sebastian Andrews, the guy who wants to buy her shop space as they fall in love. Gracie isn’t a fan of Sebastian’s because, at every turn, he’s trying to run her out of the shop space where she runs her family wine shop. Sure, the wine shop isn’t doing as well as she would hope and sure, the wine shop was more her Dad’s thing than hers but for the time being, she was running the shop and out of love for her father, she kept his dream alive even long after he was gone.

She doesn’t have much of a love life but she does have a fun and flirty online relationship with a man named “Sir” and even though she’s sporting a mean crush on him, it’s not going to go anywhere because Sir is already taken. Their online friendship will make more sense if you read it but I thought it was cute. I also enjoyed seeing Sebastian and Gracie circle each other in real life and then being the complete opposite online without knowing it. Lauren Layne does humor really well in her books and it’s showcased here in this book.

Overall, this book was a light, fluffy romance that made me smile throughout. Gracie and Sebastian ended up being a great couple and their story was a fun one. Sebastian was a swoony hero and Gracie was a strong heroine who went through a lot to finally be able to stand on her own two feet and live her own life without the strings of family obligations. I was glad for her and loved seeing her and Sebastian fall in love. The secondary characters added more charm to this story and I really loved the relationship that Gracie had with her siblings and her friends. Gracie and her siblings didn’t have the perfect relationship and Gracie had some resentments that she was working on but I enjoyed seeing how much they cared about each other and how supportive they were of each other as well. I definitely recommend this book if you’re already a fan of Lauren Layne because it’s a great addition to her backlist but if you’re also looking for a sweet romance with humor, this one fits the bill.

4 out of 5


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The Monthly Recap: July 2021

Posted August 8, 2021 by Rowena in Features, Giveaway Winners | 3 Comments

Hey guys!

The Monthly Recap is exactly that, a monthly recap of what we’re reading, reviewing, and blogging about on Book Binge. We’ve also got some winners to announce for our monthly giveaways. If you missed anything on the blog last month, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you missed on the blog…

What We Reviewed

Holly and Rowena reviewed Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas | 3.5 & 3.75 out of 5
Amy’s Throwback Thursday review of The Space Between Us by Megan Hart | 3.5 out of 5
Holly reviewed Pause by Kylie Scott | 3.75 out of 5
Casee reviewed Come to Me Recklessly by A.L. Jackson | 4.5 out of 5
Rowena reviewed The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary | 3.5 out of 5
Casee reviewed Last Guard by Nalini Singh | 4.5 out of 5
Holly reviewed Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross | 2.75 out of 5
Holly and Rowena reviewed Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs | 4.25 out of 5
Tracy reviewed A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor | 3.25 out of 5
Rowena reviewed So We Meet Again by Suzanne Park | 4 out of 5
Tracy reviewed Dream Spinner by Kristen Ashley | 3.5 out of 5

What We Posted

Books to Binge On: July 2021
Monthly Reads: June 2021
What Are You Reading? (571)
WTF Cover Saturday (406)
Sunday Spotlight: The Adversary by Thea Harrison
The Monthly Recap: June 2021
WTF Cover Saturday (407)
What Are You Reading? (572)
Happy Birthday, Holly!
WTF Cover Saturday (408)
Sunday Spotlight: Last Guard by Nalini Singh
What Are You Reading? (573)
WTF Cover Saturday (409)
What Are You Reading? (574)
WTF Cover Saturday (410)

Giveaway Winners

Jennifer M

Monthly Reads: June 2021

Renee G

Sunday Spotlight: July 2021

Winners: Please shoot us an email at admin[at] then let us know which book you choose, and where you would like us to send your prize. You have two weeks to get back to us before we choose another winner.

That does it for this month’s recap. We hope that you’re all having a great day and we hope you look forward to what we have in store for June.

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