Thursday, May 28, 2020

REVIEW: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Title: My Favorite Half-Night Stand
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Release Date: Dec 4, 2018 
Acquired: Purchased for collection
Goodreads: ADD

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.





This was my first read by this infamous contemporary romance duo-shocked gasps abound! I know, I've been slacking. I want to assure myself, and all of you, that I WAS enjoying it right up until things got too perfect and my belief grew tired of being suspended (I'd say this was around the 3/4 mark). There was no doubting the writing prowess of these two authors, because I can also assure you that the dialogue in here slots in comfortably and justifiably beside some of my all-time favourite dialogue writers (Rainbow Rowell, Marian Keyes). It was witty, wholesome and full of 'aww'-worthy moments, but you can only take so much cute until your eyes want to roll all the way to the back of your head.

Millie Morris, in an unofficial homage to Penny from Big Bang, is the only woman in a friend group of five. Ed, Alex, Chris and Reid round out these best friends, who all work together in different departments at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Millie adores her friends, but adores Reid just a little bit more than the rest. In a physical admission of this secret, the two hook up for a steamy, you guessed it, 'Half-Night Stand, at the beginning of the book, and things get understandably messy from there. In true rom-com form, it's made even messier when the friend group decides to dabble in online dating to find a plus-one for an upcoming black-tie gala at the University. Millie, uncomfortable with baring her soul to the masses to snag a match, creates an alter-ego profile where she can feel free to let her guard down. She (surprise, surprise) ends up matching with Reid, but doesn't let on that it's her, because..why would she !? It's a rom-com people, keep up! How long is she willing to keep up the charade? And if she does, is possibly losing her best friend in the world worth the risk?

This book left me...wanting. It delivered hilarious dialogue and some of my favourite side-characters in a contemporary romance (I'm looking at you, Ed!), but the main characters were one-dimensional enough for me to stop caring about what happened with them. Due to a troubled past, Millie was reserved, and closed-off, but she was also quick-witted, and extremely goofy. It was a confusing contrast that elicited more annoyance than sympathy. You're also trying to tell me, that two people who have been friends for 15 YEARS, can't recognize an (albeit) slightly head turned to the left profile picture and their way of typing/text speaking?! No, no sir. I am NOT here for your lies and deceit. I came here for a good time, not a take-me-for-a-fool time.

I will definitely be continuing on his Christina Lauren journey though, I am now determined to find a winner in their catalogue.



Read if you like:

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
The Flat Share by Beth O'Leary

Key themes: 
friendship, romance, family, love, friends to lovers

Challenges:



credit: https://christinalaurenbooks.com/bio 

CLICK HERE to read more about the author duo on their website. 

CONTACT LINKS
 

Website

Sunday, May 17, 2020

BLOG TOUR: Kingdom Above the Cloud by Maggie Platt (SPOTLIGHT)




Title: Kingdom Above the Cloud
Author: Maggie Platt
Genre: Young Adult - Christian Fantasy
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: April 17, 2020
Goodreads: ADD

What if the nine Fruit of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were locked in a battle for control?

Abandoned as infants, Tovi and her twin brother were raised by an eclectic tribe of warm, kind people in a treehouse village in the va lley. After her brother’s sudden disappearance Tovi questions her life and her faith in an invisible King. Ignoring her best friend Silas’ advice, she decides to search for her brother in the kingdom on top of the mountain.

Above the cloud, the Council of Masters receives their orders. Tovi and her brother are the objectives. King Damien has a plan and Tovi is the key. The Council of Masters want her, but will she remain unscathed?

Amidst the glamour of the kingdom above the cloud Tovi is torn between her own dark desires and unanswered questions. It starts with a snake and a crown. When the ring is complete, will her life be over?








Maggie Platt is a writer, traveler, cancer survivor, and dreamer. Her greatest joys are being Auntie M to her amazing nieces and nephew and sitting with students and friends over cups of coffee and deep conversations. She works at her alma mater, Anderson University in Indiana, and she lives in a cozy little cottage nearby where students come to sit on her couch just to laugh, cry, and talk about life.




CONTACT LINKS 

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CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE REST OF THE TOUR

Friday, May 1, 2020

May 2020: To Be Read


-MAY TO BE READ-

Let it be known that this was the month I decided to take on more buddy and group-reads than I can possibly handle *sigh. But I am determined! I will read like my life depends on it, and my MAKE MYSELF PROUD.

I also want to attempt to not buy 1000 books from Bookoutlet, but who are we kidding!? I buy books in my sleep now.

As always, keep an eye on my Instagram at the end of the month for the 'May Giveaway' announcement. It's going to be an EXTRA special one because I hit 1k on my Bookstragram recently!

Here are the 13 books (+ blog tour read) I have planned for May: 





Here are my picks categorized by relevant reading challenges (read my 2020 goals here!):

The Nerd Daily Reading Challenge (link here):
  • (#11) Green cover: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
  • (#12) Recommended by a friend: City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
  • (15) A book you never finished: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • (#20) Part of a duology: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  • (#27) A number in the title: The One by John Marrs
  • (#30) Inspired by mythology/folklore: And I Darken by Kiersten White
  • (#34) Author starting with 'M': Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • (#46) Romance or thriller: The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

PopSugar Reading Challenge (link here):
  • "A book with a bird on the cover": The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
  • "A book with more than 20 letters in its title": My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
  • "A book with a main character in their 20s": Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Beat the Backlist Challenge (link here):
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Save My Sanity Book Club
Unnamed Book Club
  • The Gilded Wolves by Roshini Chokshi
  • My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Blog Tour (Fantastic Flying Book Club):
  • The Kingdom Above the Cloud by Maggie Platt
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What are you all reading for May?
Send me the links to your posts below!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

APRIL 2020: Wrap-Up

-APRIL WRAP UP: (6) BOOKS-

I had such high hopes for April, and it really did start off strong. Good head space, strong will to read, and then the the quarantine demons reared their ugly heads in MY head again and I was back to only feeling relieved after watching copious amounts of Youtube and scrolling Instagram *sigh.

I did read some GREAT ones despite that though. Two of them are books that will stick with me for a long time, and will probably recommend until the end of my days: The Southern Bookclub's Guide to Slaying Vampires (Grady Hendrix's BEST so far, in my opinion, and The Went Left by Monica Hesse.

With those included, my total for this month was (6):




  • The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman | April 5 | ★★★★ 
  • All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace | April 1-6 | ★★★
  • The Southern Bookclubs Guide for Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix | April 8-9 | ★★★★
  • Harry Potter's & the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling | April 3-11 | ★★★★
  • The Went Left by Monica Hesse | April 11-14 | ★★★★★ | REVIEW 
  • The Half Sister by Sandie Jones | April 27 | ★★ | REVIEW 

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    READING CHALLENGES FULFILLED

    The Nerd Daily (link here)
    • (#1) Author starting with an "A": All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace
    • (#16) Protagonist starting with "H": Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

    Popsugar 
    (link here)
    • 'A book about a book club': The Southern Bookclub's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
    • 'A book rec. by your fav blog, vlog, pc or online bc': They Went Left by Monica Hesse
    • ''A book by or about a journalist': The Half Sister by Sandie Jones

      Blog Tour (read review here)
      • They Went Left by Monica Hesse

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      What did you all read in April?
      Let me know down below!

      Monday, April 27, 2020

      REVIEW: The Half Sister by Sandie Jones

      Title: The Half Sister
      Author: Sandie Jones
      Genre: Adult Fiction - Drama/Thriller
      Publisher: Minotaur Books
      Release Date: June 16th, 2020
      Acquired: Egalley approved via Netgalley
      Goodreads: ADD

      From the New York Times bestselling author of the Hello Sunshine Book Club pick The Other Woman, comes a compelling new domestic suspense novel about a family who is forever changed when a stranger arrives at their door.

      THE TRUTH: Sisters Kate and Lauren meet for Sunday lunch every week without fail, especially after the loss of their father.

      THE LIE: But a knock at the door is about to change everything. A young woman by the name of Jess holds a note with the results of a DNA test, claiming to be their half sister.

      THE UNTHINKABLE: As the fallout starts, it's clear that they are all hiding secrets, and perhaps this family isn't as perfect as it appears.





      This is my second book by this author, the initial being The First Mistake, and while I enjoyed the suspenseful moments and cliff-hanger chapter ends in that one, The Half Sister fell short in both in it's promoted genre (thriller), and in the execution of it's synopsis.

      More aptly described as a family drama, this narrative begins with an interrupted dinner to beat all others, as sisters Kate and Lauren and their mother Rose are visited by Jess, a woman claiming to be their half-sister and deceased father's third child. Dual perspectives are given to the sisters, as we follow a paranoid and disbelieving Kate, and an elated and sympathetic Lauren. Family secrets are brought to light, while long-held assumptions are put to rest. And inbetween it all, we follow a pair of woman who are struggling with the things that are all too (unfortunately) common: infertility and domestic abuse. The mystery behind Jess's appearance is just that, mysterious, and never quite ventures into the thrilling.

      I want to say that I might have appreciated The Half Sister more if it had a contemporary cover, and simply promised a saga of sorts; a hidden family past that those involved wanted to keep hidden, but alas, the genre wasn't the only issue. Jones can write a book, that is not a debatable fact. Many individual moments in this narrative were fraught with the right amount of tension; with dialogue fitting to it's cause. The entire book, as a whole, was compulsively readable, but broken down there were holes too big to ignore, and repetition that had me skimming instead of reading. 

      The biggest qualms came in the way the triggers were handled, and the slippery way the final twist was revealed. Lauren spent the entirety of the book in a domestic abuse situation, one in which was handled too loosely and distractedly in my opinion. There was a scene in which she has chance to explain to her mother exactly what's been happening, but never fully does. I found this to be a reoccurring theme in the book as well: characters hiding things for no logical reason. By the time the big reveal arrived, there were more questions than answers, and I closed the book feeling like I missed something that I was supposed to understand 5-6 chapters prior.

      With all of that said, I'll round out the trio of Jones' work by reading The Other Woman next, and will continue picking up whatever she puts out. This one just didn't work as well for me, sadly.



      Read if you like:

      A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

      Read if you like these authors:
      Kate White, Chevy Stevens, Alafair Burke 

      Key themes: 
      family, infertility, domestic abuse, relationships, secrets, lies, betrayal

      Challenges:





      credit: us.macmillan.com


      Sandie Jones has worked as a freelance journalist for over twenty years, and has written for publications including the Sunday Times, Woman’s Weekly and the Daily Mail. She lives in London with her husband and three children. The Other Woman is her debut novel and a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club pick.


      CONTACT LINKS 
      Website - Twitter - Instagram







      A huge thank-you to Minotaur Books for approving a copy via Netgalley for review!