April 2020 TBR

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During March I had a solid reading month. Here’s what I plan to read in April:

  • Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally *
Four Days of You and Me

I am so excited to read this new release of Miranda Kenneally! I have read all the books in her Hundred Oaks series. While some were hit and miss, I am excited to see what she has come up with outside of that series. I’ve actually already started this book and I can tell it has the same quick and easy writing style that I have come to expect from Miranda Kenneally. Hopefully, this one finishes strong!

  • Again, but Better by Christine Riccio
Again, but Better

I am always interested in reading books written by people on Booktube and I have wanted to read this particular book since it was released. I found this book discounted at the book store a couple months ago, so I am excited to finally sit down and read this one.

  • Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta's Academy, #1)

This is another book on this list that I barely started last month and hope to finish this month. Sandhya Menon’s books are hit and miss for me. I read 10 Things About Pinky last month and it was only okay for me, so I hope to enjoy this book a little more. This book promises some elements we haven’t seen before by Sandhya Menon, so I’m interested in how she tackles them in this book.

  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)

Wow! This I another book that I started, but still haven’t finished. Out of all the books in this list, this will be the toughest for me. This book has been super hyped recently, but I’m really not feeling it. Hopefully, if I keep reading, my opinion will change (even just a little bit for the better!).

What books do you plan to read in April? What are you most excited to read?

Any books marked with a * was sent to me as an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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ARC REVIEW// The Honey Don't List by Christina Lauren

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I’m somewhat committed to Christina Lauren’s newest novel.

The Honey Don’t List, the latest novel by popular author duo Christina Lauren, follows Carey Douglas, the assistant to a couple famous for their home remodeling show. Unfortunately for Carey, her bosses aren’t getting along despite their upcoming book on their rock-solid marriage. To ensure the book’s success, as well as their upcoming new show, Carey is forced to accompany the feuding couple on their book tour with the couple’s other annoying, but cute, assistant.

The Honey-Don't List

This was the fourth Christina Lauren book that I’ve read. Going into this book, I didn’t set my expectations too high. While I find myself interested in the synopses of Christina Lauren’s books, the execution always falls flat for me. While The Honey Don’t List didn’t knock my socks off, I overall enjoyed this story and thought it was one of the better plotted books of this author duo.

Like many other books by Christina Lauren, I was initially interested in this book because of the plot. There are many HGTV power couples (Joanna and Chip Gaines), and divorced couples (Christina and Tarek), who captivate viewers every week. Additionally, there’s an air of distrust with some design shows for their shoddy work, staging, and quick remodels. Unlike some of Christina Lauren’s other books where I found the execution of the premise fell flat, this book delivered what it promised. All of these behind-the-scenes aspects that people who watch home improvement shows wonder about are featured in this book.

Additionally, I enjoyed how this book was paced compared to some of Christina Lauren’s other books. I read The Unhoneymooners earlier this year and found the plot to be all over the place. While I do think the ending of this book comes across as a little too melodramatic, I think the final article included in the book justifies its purpose. I could have done without the police reports throughout the book, but I did enjoy how article on the couple, as well as social media, were incorporated throughout the story.

Another aspect that I enjoyed about this book were the relationships, more so the relationships between Carey and her bosses rather than the romantic relationship. Carey’s first job was working at a store owned by the Tripps, and while they provided many opportunities in her life, they also took many opportunities away from her. Additionally, I liked seeing the dynamic between Melissa and Rusty Tripp, especially on camera versus off camera. As for the romance, it was pretty standard. While I liked James as a character, the relationship in this book isn’t especially memorable or the most interesting dynamic presented in the story.

While I overall enjoyed The Honey Don’t List, I didn’t have a particularly strong connection to any aspect of the story and it lacked something extra to make it stand out from other similar books. The best way I could describe this book is formulaic. This book presents all the necessary elements to make a coherent and easy read. On the other hand, in a romance, there’s a large focus on the main character and the relationship that they develop with the male lead. Unfortunately for me, this was not the most interesting aspect of the book. In fact, this book may have been more successful with Melissa and Rusty as the main characters as they were more dynamic characters than the narrators who only watch the action take place rather than taking an active role in the story.

While I enjoyed this book more than some of Christina Lauren’s other books, I still wasn’t in love with it as I wanted to be after reading. I give this book three out of five stars.

Favorite Book Reviews 2018

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This year, I read a little over 60 books… so I wrote a ton of book reviews! Here are five of my favorite book reviews that I wrote in 2018:

The Hating Game

The Hating Game is an important review for me because it features a different kind of book than I usually read. While I’ve reviewed other new adult/adult books on my blog before (a couple books by Sophie Kinsella), this one really kick started me reading a lot of other new adult books. Looking at this review, I think it’s a good start. I think by reading and reviewing more new adult books, I will be able to provide even more helpful reviews as I become more familiar with the style of these books.

Save the Date

Save the Date was an interesting book for me. I heard not-so-positive reviews before reading it, but I ended up absolutely loving it. This book isn’t the type of Morgan Matson book that I expected after Since You’ve Been Gone and The Unexpected Everything, which are the two of her four books published right before this which definitely fall in the cutesy contemporary vein. For me, it can be difficult to articulate my feelings towards books that I really loved compared to books that I didn’t like reading. However, I like this review because I think I showed some personal growth when reviewing books that I really enjoy. I tried really hard to pinpoint exactly why I enjoyed this book and I hope that I can be just as specific in what I enjoyed in book reviews that I do in the future.

A Date with Darcy (Bookish Boyfriends, #1)

This was a book that I received as an ARC and was receiving a lot of attention for its plot that resonated with people who love to read. For me, this book was a bit of a miss. However, I still was able to see potential in this book, especially if it continues as a companion-novel style series. I think I really enjoyed reviewing this book because I put aside that this book was written for someone much younger than me. Although there were some aspects that I didn’t enjoy, I liked explaining how I think people younger than me probably would really enjoy this book. Even if I don’t necessarily really enjoy a book, I do like when I am able to recommend it to someone else you may really love it.

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree was a highly anticipated read for me. While I liked the overall message this book tried to highlight, there were many areas that I didn’t like. In this book, the story revolves around a student with a learning disability in the general education classroom. As a special education teacher, I love reading books that feature characters with disabilities and accurately portray special education. However, this book did not accurately portray special education. I liked that I was able to utilize my background in special education to point out areas were this book needed improvement to accurately portray the special education process.

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)

Lola and the Boy Next Door was a re-read for me. When I was in high school, I absolutely loved this book. Reading it years later opened up my eyes to things in this book that I didn’t pick up on when I was younger. Some of these aspects that didn’t bother me before, got under my skin and gave me a new perspective on this book. While I still enjoy this book, reading it again when I’m older allowed me to look at more critically. I am proud of this review because I was able to explain all of the reasons why I still like it, but other areas that I find a little problematic.

What were some of your favorite reviews that you wrote? Link them below so I can check them out!

The Brittany Awards: New Adult/Adult

the-brittany-awards

Welcome to The Brittany Awards!

The Brittany Awards are my annual end-of-the-year lists to celebrate my favorite books of this year. For 2017, I have divided my list into three preliminary categories (new adult/adult, YA contemporary, and YA fantasy) and one overall favorites category. For each category, I will select my top five favorite books as well as two honorable mentions.

Today, I will be selecting my top new adult or adult books that I read in 2018. Every year, I try to branch out into a new genre or age range that I don’t typically read. Last year, I found myself picking up a lot of graphic novels (see my top favorite graphic novels from last year here). This year, I found myself branching out into the new adult or adult genre.

When it comes to finding books where I relate to main characters, it has been a struggle. I can identify somewhat with young adult characters because I have experienced situations that occur in books about them. On the other hand, I am sometimes not really into reading the drama in young adult books, especially books that lean to the younger YA side.

As for new adult books, while the characters are my age, most of these books are primarily romance novels. For me, I’m not typically the biggest fans of books with romance as the driving force. However, moving into the more “adult” scene, it’s difficult for me as someone in my mid-20s to relate to older characters who are living very different experiences than my own (for example, being married and having kids).

That being said, I did pick up some new adult and adult books this year, based on different recommendations that I’ve seen from out YA readers. I found several books that do fill in the gap between young adult and adult for me. While there were a couple books that fell a little flat for me, I overall enjoyed many of the new adult or adult books that I read this year and look forward to reading more in 2019.

Now, time for the good part! For the new adult/adult category, I have three favorites and two honorable mentions. First, here are the honorable mentions:

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I actually decided to read this after seeing the trailer for it. From the trailer, it looked like a cute historical romance. Since I was a fan of Lily James, who plays the main character in the Netflix adaptation, I immediately picked this one up. While the romance aspect really isn’t played up as much in the book as I expected from the trailer, I really loved the history embedded into this book. This book is definitely out of my comfort zone, it is adult and historical, and I ended up overall enjoying it.

  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1)

I picked up Crazy Rich Asians for a similar reason to the book above. I saw the movie and it looked absolutely hysterical with a cute romance, which seemed right up my alley. This book wasn’t necessarily what I expected, similar to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. It took me awhile to get into the writing style and the bouncing around between different characters isn’t something that I find in books that I typically read. Even though I didn’t find myself laughing out loud as I expected, I couldn’t stop turning the pages because I needed to see how all the drama was solved!

 

Here are the three favorites:

  • The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game

This book is a huge new adult recommendation to people who typically read young adult books. Now that I’ve read this book, I completely understand! These characters definitely have the banter of some YA couples, but on a more mature level. This book is like a classic romantic comedy. Since that is my favorite kind of movie, I absolutely loved this book.

  • The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

When I saw the description of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, I knew I had to read it! This book follows a steamy romance writer after she decides to become a Christian. I’ve read quite a few Christian books, but they tend to follow the same format and they typically don’t feature a character like Sarah. This book was definitely a fun read and I hope to pick up more books from this author in the future.

  • Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

Dating You / Hating You

Dating You/Hating You is a big recommendation for fans of The Hating Game. Both follow two coworkers competing for the same job. Like with The Hating Game, I really liked the dynamic between these two characters and think it could be a good transition for people who want to branch out of young adult. This book was seemed really knowledgeable of the jobs that the character had, which I really appreciated. That being said, there is a lot of romance in this book which was a little off-putting to me personally at times.

 

What were your favorite new adult or adult books of the year?

Roomies by Christina Lauren Book Review

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Roomies by Christina Lauren follows Holland Bakker, a twenty-something year-old fascinated by a subway musician. When a man attempts to attack Holland at the subway, her crush Calvin Mcloughlin comes to the rescue. To show her appreciation, Holland introduces Calvin to her theater director uncle who is looking for a new star for his production. Calvin is a perfect fit, but there’s only one problem… his visa expired. To save her uncle’s production and help out Calvin, she decides to marry him.

I’ve seen Roomies recommended a lot for fans of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, which was a new adult novel that I also read this year and really enjoyed. Plus, I’ve heard positive reviews for books by Christina Lauren, the duo of Christina Hobbs, and Lauren Billings. When this appeared as a Kindle Deal, I couldn’t pass it up especially since I’ve been trying to read more new adult and adult books this year. While this was an easy and light read, there’s just a few aspects of this book that held me back from completely loving it.

One aspect that I enjoyed about this book, as well as another book by Christina Lauren this year, it the knowledge surrounding the industry where the book takes place. Looking at their biographies, it seems their working experiences outside from writing are different from what they write, so I appreciate all the research that they put into the theater industry. While there are a few unbelievable moments, like how Calvin secures his job and how easily Holland’s choices are accepted, this “escape” read also has a little more substance.

Holland and Calvin are two characters you’ve probably seen in romantic comedies before, however, they are generally likable. I think a lot of twenty-somethings will relate to Holland. She isn’t is exactly where she would like to be in her career, is still relying on family to provide for her, and doesn’t have a solid romantic relationship. Calvin was a decent male character, although I didn’t really care for some of his actions especially towards the end of the novel, specifically involving Holland and his family.

While Holland and Calvin are both decent main characters, I never found myself extremely invested in their relationship. It seemed like Holland put a lot more into the relationship than Calvin, especially at first, which personally wasn’t as fun for me. Additionally, I never really felt the chemistry between them. I don’t typically enjoy the average girl/star performer story line, so this definitely could be hindered by my personal preference as I know many people do enjoy their relationship. As I hinted at earlier, I also didn’t care for Calvin’s actions towards Holland near the end of the novel due to his lack of transparency with his mother and sister.

Overall, Roomies is a decent young adult novel although some aspects of the novel didn’t particularly suit my tastes. For me, I would most likely recommend Dating You/Hating You also by Christina Lauren to fans of The Hating Game which I enjoyed a little bit more. That being said, I would not rule out reading another Christina Lauren book in the future, although it may not be at the top of my to be read list. I give Roomies three out of five stars.

Throne of Glass Review

book review

In Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged out of a death camp to compete for the position of the king’s champion. When Celaena’s other competitors turn up murdered in gruesome ways, Celaena suspects a greater danger at play.

Throne of Glass is a hugely popular young adult fantasy series. I tried reading this book last year before I really starting reading fantasy and could not get past the first chapter. I decided to pick it up again after enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses, another popular fantasy series by Sarah J. Maas. While this may not be a new personal favorite for me, I can understand why a lot of people enjoy it and would still recommend to big fantasy fans.

I think the most difficult part of this book for me was understanding the characters and the world. Since I initially tried to read this book when I still primarily read contemporary stories, it was difficult for me to keep everything straight. However, after researching the series more and pushing past the first chapter, it was much easier for me to follow along with the story line. I would recommend digging for the same background information if you aren’t a huge fantasy reader since this book contains a lot of high fantasy elements.

That being said, I think another reason why I struggled with this book was the heavy story line involving dark magic. Obviously, fantasy books include some magical elements. However, like with A Court of Wings and Ruin, this detracted some interest on my part since I am personally not interested in story lines revolving around dark and ancient magic. This is just a personal preference and I know many readers, especially big fans of fantasy, will appreciate this aspect of the story line.

Despite some of my personal tastes towards this book, there were still many aspects I enjoyed. I know some readers may find Celaena kind of ridiculous since she wants to wear pretty dresses and sleep past noon while in a warrior competition, but I really liked that about her character. Celaena is a great example of being a physically strong female character, but still having some girly qualities. After watching some interviews of Sarah J. Maas this seems to reflect her as a person as well which made me even happier.

I also didn’t mind the emerging love triangle in this book. From my research, I know pretty much know where the relationships are in the series, but I still really liked the characters included in this love triangle. Both embody some of the typical traits of males in a love triangle at this time–the level-headed friend and the cocky prince–but they still were so much fun to read about. I particularly enjoyed reading about Dorian’s character because I felt like he was a little more developed than Chaol in this book.

Overall, there were some aspects that I enjoyed in Throne of Glass, but others that didn’t mesh with my personal preferences. While I want to continue with this series because I heard the next one or two books are really strong, I’m not sure I will because the plot really isn’t up my alley. I give Throne of Glass three out of five stars.