The Dating Plan by Sara Desai Publisher: Berkley Books Pub Date: 3/16/2021
GoodReads Synopsis: Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can’t give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiance.
Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend’s little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy’s matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather’s will. If only he hadn’t broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago…
Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimize their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that very little is convenient about their arrangement. History and chemistry aren’t about to follow the rules of this engagement.
Review: My January BOTM pick was The Dating Plan by Sara Desai. This was my first Sara Desai book and didn’t realize that was part of a series. I had mixed feelings about The Dating Plan. I enjoyed the multicultural aspects in this book. I also liked that we were introduced to several supporting characters. However, there were several parts that didn’t work for me. First, the main character was way too quirky. Her quickness didn’t really match with her personality. The storyline had some scenes that felt way too far fetched and too cheesy. The conflict-resolution of the book happened way too quickly and wrapped up too easily which seemed really odd given the circumstances. As for the writing style, it felt choppy to me. There were times where the story was dragged out with unnecessary back story or description or felt too rushed from one scene to another. Overall, it was a decent read, but not my favorite.
Publication Date: 8/13/19 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
GoodReads Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds. Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated. The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously? Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.
Review: Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid read. I definitely liked Things You Save In A Fire over Katherine’s previous book, How To Walk Away. I really liked Cassie’s character development and how she sheds light on gender inequality in her fire station along with dealing with a sick parent whom she has a strained relationship with. Overall, the writing style was very strong and the book kept me intrigued. There were some cheesy parts in here that were a bit over the top, but I was able to over look that. The only part I didn’t like so much was how rushed the epilogue was. The story started off strong and had great momentum, but at the end, everything seemed too rushed and wrapped up in a pretty bow. All in all, if you like contemporary romance, I’d recommend checking this one out.
Review: Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak was my May BOTM selection. This psychological thriller follows two friends who will do whatever it takes to become successful even if it means to destroy each other. I devoured this book! The character development in this book is phenomenal. The cat and mouse game of Stella and Violet’s friendship, strive for power and success was a wild ride. I didn’t see any of the twists coming. Stella and Violet’s rich girl poor girl theatrics did get a bit old at first, but definitely was made up by the twists made half way through the book. I also really liked how many of the characters strayed from the typical stereotypes. On a side note, I was intrigued with the journalism/newsroom atmosphere which kept the story intriguing and kind of reminded me of the TV show, Newsroom. Overall, I highly recommend this novel if you’re into psychological thrillers!
Review: Miracle Creek was my April BOTM pick. This legal thriller follows a Korean immigrant family and a single mother accused of murdering her autistic son. This book certainly lives up to the hype and deserves 5 stars! I really liked the premise and the complexity of the characters in this novel. The various perspectives also helped a lot while reading to give a more wholistic view of the controversial situation at hand. This is certainly a heavy read and I would recommend taking your time with this one. If you love mystery or courtroom / legal books with controversial topics, I highly recommend picking this one up!
Publisher: Penguin Group Putnam / G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Disclaimer: I received a free advanced digital copy of this book from Penguin Group Putnam / G.P. Putnam’s Sons in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.
Review: How Not To Die Alone is Richard Roper’s debut novel. This contemporary novel follows a middle aged man, Andrew, who works for a death registry and is offered a second chance at life and love when he develops an unlikely friendship. I started reading this book a couple of months ago and dismissed this book a bit too quickly. I initially didn’t finish it quite simply because I thought it wasn’t a right fit for me. The book was a bit depressing for my taste as the main character works for a death registry. After seeing this book as a May BOTM selection, I decided to pick it up again to see what I was missing out on. I’m glad I decided to read it again because even though the book is a bit depressing, there are moments where it’s funny, sweet, and touching. I liked the characters in the book as they were pretty lovable and realistic. The story was intriguing even though the death registry part was a bit morbid and I wasn’t a big fan of the British terms/jargon. I recommend you pick it up if you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant.
I decided to choose 3 books from Book of the Month in March. I only got to reading around 2 of them this month, but I’m hoping to read The Mastermind within the next month or so. Here are the ones I chose:
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson The Mastermind by Evan Ratliff
Down below are quick reviews / verdicts of Queenie & Before She Knew Him.
Quick Review: I chose this book based off the all the hype on bookstagram and let me tell you straight up that it is not worth the hype. I hated this book. The writing was all over place and it seemed to read more of a first draft than a polished book. The main character is extremely unlikable. She puts herself in situations which could have been avoided which I couldn’t emphasize and she has a terrible attitude throughout the whole book. The only good thing about this book is that the author sheds light on sensitive and important topics in realistic ways. Overall, I don’t recommend reading this book as they are other great contempories to read.
Quick Review: This was my main pick for BOTM. I can’t resist a good thriller! Overall, this was a decent read. It wasn’t the best thriller I’ve read, but I didn’t completely hate it either. The premise of the story is very intriguing and it pulls you in. However, I did find the writing to be a bit flat. I noticed that the author alternated the perspectives of the characters which I appreciated, but I wish the chapters were from first person narration versus third person narration. I feel like this is what could have made the book a bit stronger. I didn’t see the twists coming in this book and loved the idea of unreliable narrators. If you love thrillers or suspense, I’d recommend checking this one out, but just don’t go in with high hopes.
Review: I decided to choose A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum as my February BOTM pick. This contemporary novel follows three generations of Palestinian women living in Brooklyn: Fareeda who moves to America from the refugee camps in Palestine, Isra who has an arranged marriage with one of the sons and faces motherhood, and Deya who is the daughter of Isra and faces whether to enter into an arranged marriage of her own or take control of her future. Overall, this debut is extremely empowering and tragic. It shows the resilience and strength of women, the oppression of culture, and the choices that affect others. I took my time with this one because the content was so heavy and emotional. The beginning started a bit slow for me, but I didn’t mind due to the intriguing plot line. Etaf’s writing style can be described as raw and beautifully tragic This book gave me into a bit more insight about the culture of Palestine. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read a book that sheds light on a culture that isn’t discussed much in fiction and that will resonate with you.
Review: My January BOTM pick was the psychological thriller, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. After a woman murders her husband and refuses to speak, a psychotherapist is determined to uncover such a heinous act. This thriller started off a bit slow, but the premise grips you from page one. The author does an amazing job capturing the depth of the characters. I also really liked the psychology aspect of the novel. The alternating narratives were great which kept the story moving. I didn’t see the twist coming and I liked the way the author ended the story. I would recommend picking up this one if you love psychological thrillers.