Review: How to Hack a Heartbreak

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

Publication Date: 7/30/19

Publisher: Harlequin – Graydon House

Rating: 2/5

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

Review: How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway is a chick lit following Mel who works at a male driven tech start up where she is fed up with her job and terrible dates. After being stood up on a date, it’s the final straw and she decides to create JerkAlert app which warns women of terrible men to avoid dating. It becomes famous, however, in the midst of it all, there’s a romance story. I really wanted to love this book, but I felt like the novel missed its mark. It’s great that it advocates feminism, however, it was way too forceful and Melanie becomes unlikable. I liked the premise and that the author focuses on a woman in the tech industry, however, I didn’t like her stance that basically all men are terrible. I also didn’t like how Melanie goes about her job. If she hates it so much, why doesn’t she actually do something about it like look for a new one or report the issue to HR? Also her relationship with Alex seemed dull and immature. Alex’s character ends up being so one dimensional that I would have liked to have read his perspective as well. Overall, I would recommend skipping this book as there are other better romance reads out there.

Review: The Great Unexpected

The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney

Publication Date: 6/25/19

Publisher: Harlequin Books (Park Row Books)

Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced reader copy of this book from TLC Book Tours & Harlequin Books (Park Row Books) in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

Review: The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney is about two men who couldn’t be more opposite of each other develop an unexpected friendship at the nursing home they reside in. They join together to plan an epic escape in this charming novel. I laughed, I cried, and the author really pulled my heartstrings when I read this novel. I found myself grabbing a tissue more than once. The writing style reminded me a bit of Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove which I adored as well. All the characters are charming and witty. The author does a great job exploring themes of agism, mental health, grief, and friendship. I really loved the unfolding of Joel and Frank’s friendship. The challenges they face and the way they handle them are so real and honest. I highly recommend picking up The Great Unexpected!

Review: Things You Save In A Fire

Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

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. 

Rating: 4/5

Review: The Marriage Clock

The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem

Publication Date: 7/23/19

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (HarperCollins Publisher)

Rating: 3/5

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

Review: The Marriage Clock is Zara Raheem’s debut novel. This contemporary romance follows, Lelia, a young Muslim-American woman, who is given 3 months to find the perfect husband otherwise her conservative Indian parents will find someone for her and arrange her marriage. I found this book to be charming, witty, and could connect to the book on a personal level. Zara’s writing style keeps your attention throughout the full book. I also found it refreshing to read the view point from an Indian Muslim perspective as I am Indian Hindu and it was interesting to see what the similarities and differences were. With all of that said, there were some parts of the book that I found difficult to connect with fully which resulted in a lower star rating. First, I found Lelia’s personality to be a bit jarring, more immature, and delusional than I anticipated. At the same time, it didn’t surprise me as she was still living at home with her parents, but I expected a bit more openness and understanding from her. The ending made sense to me, but it felt me wanting something a bit more. Overall, I thought it was a great start for a debut. I’d recommend picking this up if you like contemporary novels.

Review: The Flatshare

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Publication Date: 5/28/19

Publisher: FlatIron Books

Rating: 4/5

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

Review: The Flatshare is Beth O’Leary’s debut novel. This contemporary romance follows two people, Tiff and Leon, in London who are in a financial bind and agree upon a peculiar roommate agreement. I loved this book! It was lighthearted and fun, but also dove into serious issues such as emotional abuse in relationships and finding justice. The story is unique and maintains the reader’s interest from start to finish. All the characters are quite lovable and realistic. The alternating perspectives were refreshing, however, Leon’s perspective took a bit to get used to as the writing was a bit choppy. I definitely recommend picking this up if you love lighthearted and fluffy romance novels.

Review: Red, White & Royal Blue

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Publishing Date: 5/14/19
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 2/5

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

Review: Red, White & Royal Blue is Casey McQuiston’s debut novel. This romcom follows the First Son of the United States, Alex, falling in love with the Prince of Wales, Henry, in an enemies-turned-lovers whirlwind. I was initially super excited to read this book for various reasons:

  • The author is going to have a book event at a local bookstore near me in June.
  • Her book is turning into a movie.
  • There were great reviews on GoodReads.

After I finished the book, I had mixed feelings about it. First, let me start off with the positives:

  • The premise of the book intrigued me and I can totally tell why this was being picked up for a movie.
  • The diverse set of characters was definitely refreshing.
  • The strong overall message and representation in this book is wonderful to see and I’m glad to see that this is becoming more mainstreamed and discussed about.

Now with all the points I mentioned above, you would think that I would give this book a 4 or 5 star review, however, there were so many little things that made this book not so great which outweighed the pros and made it a 2 star review instead. There were a couple of times where I really wanted to DNF the book, but I decided to go through to finish it hoping it would get better and to also provide a fair and unbiased full review. Here is the list of issues I had with the book:

  • Political Ideas: Now I understand that because we are talking about the First Family that there will be some political ideas shared in here, but the author basically shoves all her political ideas into this book and calls it “romance.” I typically avoid books that are over political and thought this would only have light politics, but there are so many political digs thrown to the reader that it’s poorly executed no matter what political party you affiliate with.
  • Characters: All the characters, especially the main characters, are so unlikable and so rude. The characters are a bit immature – more to come on that later.
  • Dialogue: The things the characters say are either too much slang, profanity or just downright corny.
  • Plot:The plot is a bit all over the place and it seems like some of the things in here were just out of place.
  • Writing style: The story reads like “fan fiction” that you would find on the internet, but not in an actual novel. Also I was a bit surprised on how this read more of a YA than an adult romcom instead. I assumed since the characters were in their early 20s, it would be a bit more mature, but the writing ended up being a bit more cheesy instead.

Overall, the book just wasn’t for me. With that said, I wouldn’t say to disregard this book completely, but it wouldn’t the best book you’ve read in romance though.

Review: How Not To Die Alone

How Not To Die Alone by Richard Roper

Publication Date: 5/28/19

Publisher: Penguin Group Putnam / G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Rating: 3/5

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.