Review: The Way We Weren’t

The Way We Weren’t by Phoebe Fox
Publisher: Berkley
Pub Date: 11/9/2021

Thank you to Berkley for the free finished copy in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: You trying to kill yourself, or are you just stupid?

Marcie Malone didn’t think she was either, but when she drives from Georgia to the southwestern shore of Florida without a plan and wakes up in a stranger’s home, she doesn’t seem to know anymore. Despondent and heartbroken over an unexpected loss and the man she thought she could count on, Marcie leaves him behind, along with her job and her whole life, and finds she has nowhere to go.

Herman Flint has seen just about everything in his seventy years living in a fading, blue-collar Florida town, but the body collapsed on the beach outside his window is something new. The woman is clearly in some kind of trouble and Flint wants no part of it–he’s learned to live on his own just fine, without the hassle of worrying about others. But against his better judgment he takes Marcie in and lets her stay until she’s on her feet on the condition she keeps out of his way.

As the unlikely pair slowly copes with the damages life has wrought, Marcie and Flint have to decide whether to face up to the past they’re each running from, and find a way to move forward with the people they care about most.

Review: The Way We Weren’t is the first book I’ve read from Phoebe Fox. This contemporary novel explores unexpected friendship, moving on, and finding yourself. The author touches upon heavy subjects of miscarriage, death of a child, grief, family member abandonment. When I initially read the summary of this book, it kind of reminded me of A Man Called Ove and The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysuckle (both wonderful books and highly recommend reading if you haven’t done so already) so I was intrigued to read this. Overall, I had mixed feelings about is book. I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t expect miscarriage to be in this book which I don’t mind, but I think there should have been content/trigger warnings either in the summary or in beginning of the book. Also I felt that something was missing or maybe the book just wasn’t my cup of tea. I kept switching from reading the physical book and listening to the audiobook from the library book. In terms of characters, I really liked Flint and his backstory. I really loved the male audio narration and he brought Flint’s perspective alive. I really tried to like Marcie and tried to be sympathetic to her situation, but I found her unlikable and could care less about what was going on with her. I’d recommend reading this only if it’s on your TBR and keep in mind of the content warnings listed above.

Review: In a New York Minute

In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer
Publisher: Forever
Pub Date: 3/15/2022

Thank you to Forever for the free ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: A clever, tender, and romantic novel for readers of Christina Lauren, Jasmine Guillory, and Sophie Cousens, this laugh-out-loud debut is a perceptive reminder that fate can have a sense of humor, and that love can happen…In a New York Minute.

Franny Doyle is having the worst day. She’s been laid off from her (admittedly mediocre) job, the subway doors ripped her favorite silk dress to ruins, and now she’s flashed her unmentionables to half of lower Manhattan. On the plus side, a dashing stranger came to her rescue with his (Gucci!) suit jacket. On the not-so-plus side, he can’t get away from her fast enough.

Worse yet? Someone posted their (entirely not) meet-cute online. Suddenly Franny and her knight-in-couture, Hayes Montgomery III, are the newest social media sensation, and all of New York is shipping #SubwayQTs.

Only Franny and Hayes couldn’t be a more disastrous match. She’s fanciful, talkative, and creative. He’s serious, shy, and all about numbers. Luckily, in a city of eight million people, they never have to meet again. Yet somehow, Hayes and Franny keep running into each other—and much to their surprise, they enjoy each other’s company. A lot. But when Franny’s whole world is turned upside down (again!), can she find the courage to trust in herself and finally have the life—and love—she’s always wanted?

Review: In a New York Minute is the first book I’ve read from Kate Spencer. This adorable romcom definitely gave me ‘90s romcom vibes which I adored. In a New York Minute dives into a charming meet-cute, strong friendships, small business life, and NYC living. I really loved the meet cute between Franny and Hayes. The first half of the book caught my interest and was well paced. The second part of the book was a bit too slow and a bit cheesy for my taste. Highly recommend picking this up if you’re looking for a cute lighthearted funny read!

Review: The Golden Couple

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen 
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub Date: 3/8/2022

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the free advanced ebook copy on NetGalley along with the advanced listening copy from LibroFM in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: If Avery Chambers can’t fix you in 10 sessions, she won’t take you on as a client. Her successes are phenomenal–she helps people overcome everything from domineering parents to assault–and almost absorb the emptiness she sometimes feels since her husband’s death.

Marissa and Mathew Bishop seem like the golden couple–until Marissa cheats. She wants to repair things, both because she loves her husband and for the sake of their 8-year-old son. After a friend forwards an article about Avery, Marissa takes a chance on this maverick therapist, who lost her license due to controversial methods.

When the Bishops glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.

Review: The Golden Couple has been one of my most anticipated 2022 reads! Overall, I enjoyed this psychological thriller and loved the dual POVs. Both audiobook narrators really made the performances for each character very distinct. I was invested in the story from page one. There were quite a few twists and turns along the way which I appreciated and there were a couple of times where I wasn’t sure where the story was going. Avery’s perspective was my favorite and I liked her backstory. I was a bit let down about the ending, but it’s more about the journey in this book. Overall, I’d recommend picking this one up if you loved the duo’s previous work.

2021 Year In Review & 2022 Reading Goals

2021 My Year in Books from GoodReads
Genres read in 2021 from Storygraph

2021 has been another strong reading year! I may not have read as many books as last year, but that’s okay. Life happens. Here were my goals for 2021:

  1. Continue to enjoy what I read and embrace the mood reader in me! 
  2. Be more selective and mindful of the books I receive/request that I will be reviewing.
  3. Buy less books and use the resources I have to attain books, e.x. library, current book subscriptions I’m actively using.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Reading my favorite genres help me enjoy reading. I found that sticking with my favorite genres (romance and thrillers) actually gave me comfort and helped me get out of reading slumps.
  2. Stepping up my audiobook game! Audiobooks have been a wonderful option during those times where I want to read but I don’t have the time to sit down and read a book, need to multitask or my eyes are tired from staring at screens all day.
  3. Mood reading is ok. I’ve noticed that whenever I’ve forced myself to read a book because of a deadline or whatnot, I don’t appreciate it as much. That isn’t to say that I’m going to throw deadlines out the door but to give myself a better mix of books I need to read and ones I feel like picking up. 


After reflecting my reading habits this past year, I decided to focus on these 3 goals for 2022:

  1. GoodReads Challenge: Put at 1 for fourth year in a row to continue to enjoy what I read.
  2. Read more books from South Asian authors.
  3. Finish the rest of Jane Austen novels this year.

How was your 2021 reading year? What are your 2022 reading goals? 

Review: Kamila Knows Best

Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron

Publisher: Read Forever Pub

Release Date: 3/8/2022

Disclaimer:  I received a free advanced copy of this book from Read Forever in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Jane Austen’s Emma goes Bollywoood in this delightful retelling from the highly acclaimed author of Accidentally Engaged, perfect for fans of Abby Jimenez and Jasmine Guillory. Kamila Hussain’s life might not be perfect, but, whew, it’s close. She lives a life of comfort, filled with her elaborate Bollywood movie parties, a dog with more Instagram followers than most reality stars, a job she loves, and an endless array of friends who clearly need her help finding love. In fact, Kamila is so busy with her friends’ love lives, she’s hardly given any thought to her own . . .

Fortunately, Kamila has Rohan Nasser. A longtime friend of the family, he’s hugely successful, with the deliciously lean, firm body of a rock climber. Only lately, Kamila’s “harmless flirting” with Rohan is making her insides do a little bhangra dance.

But between planning the local shelter’s puppy prom, throwing a huge work event, and proving to everyone that she’s got it all figured out, Kamila isn’t letting herself get distracted—until her secret nemesis returns to town with an eye for Rohan. Suddenly, it seems like the more Kamila tries to plan, the more things are starting to unravel—and her perfectly ordered life is about to be turned upside down.

Review: Farah Heron is one of my favorite contemporary romance writers and I was thrilled to hear that she was releasing a new book in 2022. Kamila Knows Best can be best described as a modern day retelling of Emma. I didn’t really like the original story of Emma so I was a bit concerned on how I would feel about this book. Kamila Knows Best has a friends to lovers trope and is extremely slow burn. The contemporary romance explores friendship, family expectations, gossip, and authenticity. Overall, I enjoyed it! I liked that not only were the characters well developed and had strong backstories, but as a reader, I was able to see them change and grow in the story. There were times where the main characters annoyed me in certain situations, but I understood that was part of the story and how it helped with the story’s progression. Highly recommend picking this one up if you’re a Jane Austen retelling fan or if you love a good friends to lovers trope!

Favorite Books of 2021

Here are my 12 favorite reads of 2021! These are only in the order of when I read them this past year, but no indication on what my ranking order is as all of these were 5 star reads! The way I considered this what I read this year regardless of when the pub date is – whether it was before 2021 or an anticipated 2022 release.

🎉 Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

🎉 Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

🎉 Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian

🎉 What We Carry by Maya Shanbhag

🎉 Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

🎉 Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

🎉 The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

🎉 Knot My Type by Evie Mitchell

🎉 How Stella Learned To Talk by Christina Hunger

🎉 The Guncle by Steven Rowley

🎉 Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez (releases April 2022)

🎉 The Fastest Way to Falling by Denise Williams

Also here are a few of observations of my favorite reads this year:

✨Many thanks to the tagged publishers for giving me the opportunity to read some of these books which I may not have discovered on my own! 😍

✨ There are NO thrillers! 😱 I’m a bit disappointed there isn’t, but lately I haven’t found any thrillers that I’ve truly loved. Hoping I have better luck with thrillers next year!

✨Half my favorite reads this year are romance. Romance has been such a comfort read lately. I’ve also liked how the writing style in romance has shifted to discuss heavy subjects in a delicate but relatable way as romance gets bad rep for being fluffy and predictable.

Have you read any of these? What is one of your favorite reads this year?

Review: Eight Perfect Hours

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis
Publisher: Atria Books
Pub Date: 9/28/2021

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced digital copy of this book from Atria Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: On a snowy evening in March, 30-something Noelle Butterby is on her way back from an event at her old college when disaster strikes. With a blizzard closing off roads, she finds herself stranded, alone in her car, without food, drink, or a working charger for her phone. All seems lost until Sam Attwood, a handsome American stranger also trapped in a nearby car, knocks on her window and offers assistance. What follows is eight perfect hours together, until morning arrives and the roads finally clear.

The two strangers part, positive they’ll never see each other again, but fate, it seems, has a different plan. As the two keep serendipitously bumping into one another, they begin to realize that perhaps there truly is no such thing as coincidence. With plenty of charming twists and turns and Lia Louis’s “bold, standout voice” (Gillian McAllister, author of The Good Sister), Eight Perfect Hours is a gorgeously crafted novel that will make you believe in the power of fate. 

Review: Eight Perfect Hours is Lia Louis’ sophomore novel. This contemporary romance novel explores friendship, destiny/fate, second changes, and new beginnings. The author addresses some heavy subjects such as death of a close friend, mental health, infidelity, strained family relationships, and suicide. Overall, I had mixed feelings about this book. Even though it was a nice listen, I still preferred Dear Emmie Blue over Eight Perfect Hours. The storyline was cute, however, it was a bit too cheesy and unbelievable for me. I had a difficult time believing this insta-love and ‘great love’ between Noelle and Sam when they barely spend time with each other. A few of the supporting characters are highly unlikable which I didn’t mind, but I felt that all the characters needed to be fleshed out more. The one aspect I really liked about this novel was how the author discusses the loss of a best friend and strained familial relationships. If you love fate/destiny type romance novels, Eight Perfect Hours may be up your alley.

Review: Reminders of Him

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Montlake
Pub Date: 1/18/2022

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced digital copy of this book from Amazon Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

Review: Reminders of Him has been one of my most anticipated reads for 2022! This contemporary novel explores grief, strained relationships, hope, and second chances. First and foremost, this is a heavy contemporary novel that really dives into grief and trauma. There is a little bit of romance in here, but it’s more of a subplot. Overall, this was extremely well written and definitely a resonating book. I really love the way Colleen not only fleshed out the flawed characters, but we also have a chance to see them grow throughout the novel. The raw emotions and the intimacy she’s able to capture of her characters is truly heart wrenching. I loved the way that the story flowed and the pacing of the romance in here works so well. The only part that didn’t work for me was that I felt that the ending was a bit too tidy for my liking, but other than that, it’s definitely a powerful and moving read. I highly recommend picking this up if you’re a Colleen Hoover fan.

Review: You Can’t Be Serious

You Can’t Be Serious by Kal Penn
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pub Date: 11/2/2021

Disclaimer: I received a free finished copy of this book Gallery Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: In this refreshingly candid memoir, Kal Penn recounts why he rejected the advice of his aunties and guidance counselors and, instead of becoming a doctor or “something practical,” embarked on a surprising journey that has included acting, writing, working as a farmhand, teaching Ivy League University courses, and smoking fake weed with a fake President of the United States, before serving the country and advising a real one.

You Can’t Be Serious is a series of funny, consequential, awkward, and ridiculous stories from Kal’s idiosyncratic life. It’s about being the grandson of Gandhian freedom fighters, and the son of immigrant parents: people who came to this country with very little and went very far—and whose vision of the American dream probably never included their son sliding off an oiled-up naked woman in a raunchy Ryan Reynolds movie…or getting a phone call from Air Force One as Kal flew with the country’s first Black president.

With intelligence, humor, and charm on every page, Kal reflects on the most exasperating and rewarding moments from his journey so far. He pulls back the curtain on the nuances of opportunity and racism in the entertainment industry and recounts how he built allies, found encouragement, and dealt with early reminders that he might never fit in. And of course, he reveals how, after a decade and a half of fighting for and enjoying successes in Hollywood, he made the terrifying but rewarding decision to take a sabbatical from a fulfilling acting career for an opportunity to serve his country as a White House aide.

Above all, You Can’t Be Serious shows that everyone can have more than one life story. Kal demonstrates by example that no matter who you are and where you come from, you have many more choices than those presented to you. It’s a story about struggle, triumph, and learning how to keep your head up. And okay, yes, it’s also about how he accidentally (and very stupidly) accepted an invitation to take the entire White House Office of Public Engagement to a strip club—because, let’s be honest, that’s the kind of stuff you really want to hear about.

Review: Kal Penn’s memoir, You Can’t Be Serious, was one of my most anticipated books for Nonfiction November. In his memoir, Kal gives us insight into his childhood, his experience in Hollywood as a South Asian man, his political experience working as a White House administrator during the Obama administration, and how he found his partner. Overall, I enjoyed this book! Highly recommend listening to the audiobook for this one!

Review: Will

Will by Will Smith
Publisher: Penguin Press
Pub Date: 11/9/2021

GoodReads Synopsis: One of the most dynamic and globally recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, in a brave and inspiring book that traces his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way, Will tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the worlds of music and film that anyone has ever had.

Will Smith’s transformation from a fearful child in a tense West Philadelphia home to one of the biggest rap stars of his era and then one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, with a string of box office successes that will likely never be broken, is an epic tale of inner transformation and outer triumph, and Will tells it astonishingly well. But it’s only half the story.

Will Smith thought, with good reason, that he had won at life: not only was his own success unparalleled, his whole family was at the pinnacle of the entertainment world. Only they didn’t see it that way: they felt more like star performers in his circus, a seven-days-a-week job they hadn’t signed up for. It turned out Will Smith’s education wasn’t nearly over.

This memoir is the product of a profound journey of self-knowledge, a reckoning with all that your will can get you and all that it can leave behind. Written with the help of Mark Manson, author of the multi-million-copy bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Will is the story of how one person mastered his own emotions, written in a way that can help everyone else do the same. Few of us will know the pressure of performing on the world’s biggest stages for the highest of stakes, but we can all understand that the fuel that works for one stage of our journey might have to be changed if we want to make it all the way home. The combination of genuine wisdom of universal value and a life story that is preposterously entertaining, even astonishing, puts Will the book, like its author, in a category by itself.

“It’s easy to maneuver the material world once you have conquered your own mind. I believe that. Once you’ve learned the terrain of your own mind, every experience, every emotion, every circumstance, whether positive or negative, simply propels you forward, to greater growth and greater experience. That is true will. To move forward in spite of anything. And to move forward in a way that brings others with you, rather than leave them behind.” —Will Smith

Review: Will Smith’s memoir, Will, explores entertainment life, family, insecurity, and nuggets of wisdom. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook! Will Smith makes the audiobook come alive by adding music and rapping. He jumps around in the book a bit. My favorite parts of the book were the insights of his childhood and his family. It was also interesting to learn more about his rapping and music career, but I wish he went into more details about his movies instead of just stating surface level facts on how much he made for each movie. The last part of the book went more into self help which was interesting and challenged my views. Overall, I definitely recommend listening to the audiobook if you’re a fan of Will Smith!