Review: Undercover Bromance

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Key Adams
Publication: Berkeley 
Publication Date: 3/10/2020

Disclaimer: I won a finished copy of this book on GoodReads from Penguin Random House. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef. 

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club. 

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

Review: Undercover Bromance is the sequel to The Bromance Book Club and is the second book I’ve read from Lyssa Kay Adams. I was really looking forward to this book as the main characters are two side characters I loved in the first book. On top of that, enemies-turned-lovers is my favorite romance trope! Personally, I thought that Undercover Bromance was much better than the first. I really loved that the author explored Mack’s vulnerable yet cheesy side. At first, I felt that Liv’s character was a bit too aggressive, however, I later realized why she was like that and she makes a great counterpart to Mack. It was also great the way that the author incorporated the #metoo movement in the storyline. Overall, I highly recommend checking out this book if you loved Undercover Bromance or are a fan of romance in general. I’m super excited for Alexis and Noah’s story to release later this year

Rating: 4/5

Review: The Honey-Don’t List

The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren
Publication: Gallery Books
Publication Date: 3/24/20

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from Gallery Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.
James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.
Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

Review: I’ve been anticipating for Christina Lauren’s newest book since it was first announced! I dove into The Honey-Don’t List the day I received it. I was pleasantly surprised to see the direction that they went in this novel. I feel this one delivers though it doesn’t exude the typical charm of their previous books. The elements I really loved about The Honey-Don’t List was that they bring up toxic bosses and feelings of being trapped in a job. I also loved the HGTV vibes in this book. My only drawback was that I wasn’t a big fan of the romance between Carey and James in this book. It felt a bit too forced and lacked chemistry. I really liked the way the authors created Melissa and James’ characters, however, I wasn’t a fan of Carey or Rusty. Despite my feeling of how I felt about the romance and a couple of the characters, this still resulted in a four star read because of the strong storyline.

Rating: 4/5

Review: The Other People

The Other People by C.J. Tudor
Publication: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Books
Publication Date: 1/28/20

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

GoodReads Synopsis: She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Three years ago, Gabe saw his daughter taken. In the back of a rusty old car, covered in bumper tickers. He was driving behind the car. He watched her disappear. But no one believes him. Most people believe that his daughter, and wife, are dead. For a while, people believed that Gabe was responsible.

Three years later and Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, sleeping in his camper van in service stations, searching for the car that took her. Searching for his daughter.

Katie spends a lot of her life in service stations, working as a waitress. She often sees Gabriel, or ‘the thin man’ as she has nicknamed him. She knows his story. She feels for him, because Katie understands what it’s like to lose a loved one. Nine years ago, her father was murdered. It broke her family apart. She hasn’t seen her oldest sister since the day of the funeral; the day she did something terrible.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people that want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows that if they ever find them, they’re dead.

Review: The Other People is C.J. Tudor’s third book. Overall, I found this to be a decent read. I really loved the premise of this novel. The character development and element of mystery were pretty strong. However, I found the writing style in this particular book to be somewhat odd. I noticed that the transitions alternating from past and present didn’t flow well. I also did not like the supernatural elements at the end which seemed to completely off. Despite these discrepancies, I would still recommend checking this thriller out if you loved The Chalk Man and Hiding Place.

Rating: 3/5

5 Helpful Tips To Cull Down Your TBR List

Every bookish person I know has a never-ending TBR list. Sometimes looking at your TBR list can be quite daunting whether it’s a super long list on GoodReads or maybe you have huge piles of unread books at home staring at you and making you feel guilty. If your TBR list is causing you stress and turning you off from reading, then it’s time to clean it up a bit. Here are some tips to help cull down your TBR list and focus more on quality vs. quantity:

What tactics do you use to cull down your TBR list?

Review: American Dirt

American Dirt by Jeannie Cummins
Publication: Flatiron & MacMillan
Publication Date: 1/21/20

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

GoodReads Synopsis: Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy–two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Review: American Dirt is the first book I’ve read from Jeannie Cummins. The audiobook narrator of this book was amazing. As I was listening to the book, I felt like I was listening to a drama show. As for the actual book, I was intrigued by the author’s captivating writing style. However, there were times where the story felt like it was dragged on a bit instead of progressing. The relationship between Lydia and Javier fell a bit flat and was inconsistent through the story. Besides those issues, this was still a five star read for me based upon the writing style alone. I’d recommend picking this up if you’re looking for a strong and heavy contemporary novel.

Rating: 5/5

Review: The Wives

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Publication: Graydon House
Publication Date: 12/30/19

GoodReads Synopsis: Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.
But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.
What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.
You’ll have to grab a copy to find out why.

Review: The Wives by Tarryn Fisher was my December BOTM pick and first book I’ve read from Tarryn. This was certainly a five star read for me! I loved the unexpected twists. At one point in the book, I felt so confused that I wasn’t even sure I was understanding what was real and what wasn’t. But what I loved the most of all in this book was the emotion behind this domestic suspense book. Tarryn herself describes it best as this “And in this story, I zone in how women emotionally bankrupt themselves for whom they love.” I highly recommend picking up this book if you’re a fan of domestic thrillers / suspense. Now I need to check out all of Tarryn’s other books!

Rating: 5/5

2019 Reading Reflection & 2020 Reading Goals

2019 has been a year of growth for me. I’ve learned so much about my reading preferences, stepped outside my comfort zone in exploring new genres, stepped up my blog and Instagram game, created my own book club, started going to author events, and have met some great bookish friends in the process.

Here were my 2019 goals:

  • GoodReads Reading Goal: Putting the goal at zero so I focus on books I truly want to read and not stress about getting to a specific number (updated as 1/8/19)
  • Join a book club I will enjoy and to meet new friends
  • Buy less books for myself – buy books for book swaps and utilize the library more

As for my GoodReads goal, I followed this and did not add a number I had to get to. Surprisingly, I surpassed the number of books I’ve read the past couple of years. However, I did notice that I put pressure on myself to try to read 12 books a month when I didn’t have to.

This past year I also learned the importance of DNF. I’m starting to get comfortable with the idea that if a book isn’t for me then it’s okay to not finish it. Life is too short to be wasted on a crummy book when there are so many great ones out there.

As for my second goal, I actually decided to create my own book club which I did back in August. So I’d say this one is accomplished as I met some great new friends and I enjoy my book club.

I pretty much failed my last goal as I ended up expanding my personal library. I also spent way more on books this year than I have in the past which is okay.

Going into 2020, I decided that I’m going to have one goal and it’s this:

Enjoy what I read.

I decided to have one simple goal for 2020 because I realized that reading is a hobby and it’s something I enjoy. I don’t want reading to become a task or something I dread. I look as reading as something to help me mentally unwind and destress and I’d like to keep it that way. There were a few times where I overwhelmed myself by committing to review books that I didn’t care for or didn’t have time to read. 2020 is going to be a year where I’ll take time to enjoy my reads. I want to make sure it’s quality over quantity and that I continue to get comfortable with the idea of DNF.

How was your 2019 reading year? What goals are you planning for 2020?