Tag: Romance

Book Reviews

Book Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Title: Emergency Contact Book Cover
Title: Emergency Contact Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance Publisher: Simon Schuster Audio Format: Audiobook Source: Scribd

For Penny Lee, high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she’d somehow landed a boyfriend, they never managed to know much about each other. Now Penny is heading to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer. It’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to, you know, see each other.

TW: Abuse, Racism, Mommy Issues, Daddy Issues (I’m sorry it’s been a month since I listened to it, so if there are triggers I missed, I’m sorry.)

Emergency Contact is the story of Penny and Sam. Neither of them is a particularly likable character. They are seriously messed up. But if I have to choose one over the other, I’ll take Sam, thanks.

For one, both have issues with their mothers, but for different reasons. To my idea, Sam has a legitimate reason to have issues with his mother, considering what she did to him. Penny, on the other hand, has issues with her mother for being herself. Penny seems to think that her mom is embarrassing and a pain in Penny’s butt on purpose. To my idea, that’s ludicrous and Penny is just being a brat.

When Penny moves to college and meets Sam via her dorm roommate, they become friends and text each other. Which is fine. Except they don’t tell anyone. They literally keep this a secret, when at first, there is literally no reason to. They’re just friends who talk to each other.

By the way, it takes way too long for them to figure out they have feelings for each other. Seriously. I thought they’d never figure it out. I had it figured out way before they did.

I don’t care for Mary H. K. Choi’s writing style – at least not in this book. I don’t mind books with multiple points of view, but this one was just irritating. At times it didn’t even seem like Sam and Penny were in the same story the way the chapters jumped around between Penny and Sam.

I gave it one star because I just did not like the book at all. I might give Permanent Record a try, but if it’s anything like Emergency Contact, I’m going to chalk it up to Mary H. K. Choi not being the author for me.

Book Reviews

Book Review: It Won’t Be Christmas Without You by Beth Reekles

Title: It Won’t Be Christmas Without You
Author: Beth Reekles
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins/One More Chapter
Release Date: August 30, 2019
Format: Kindle
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆

From the author of the smash hit Netflix romcom The Kissing Booth!

Eloise, a self-confessed Christmas obsessive, can’t wait for the big day. Devoted to her Michael Bublé playlist, she’s organising the school nativity play and even her gorgeous Grinch of a neighbour, James, can’t get her down.

Her workaholic twin sister, Cara, on the other hand, plans to work over the holiday. The sisters used to be close but since Cara moved to London, everything’s been different.

Eloise isn’t giving up just yet. With James’s help and a white Christmas on the cards, Cara can’t fail to be moved by the magic of the season … can she?

I admit, I’m not usually one for romance or adult fiction. I’m more of a mystery, thriller, horror, and YA person. But this book seemed like it was going to be too cute to pass up. I was right.

Christmas is my second favorite holiday after Halloween. It should be – my birthday is Christmas Eve. So I know how important it is to be surrounded by loved ones for Christmas. So I can see why it is that Eloise is so disappointed when it seems that Christmas might not include her twin sister.

The writing style in this book might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Mind you, the book is set in the UK, so UK terms are used and might confuse some readers from other countries. The writing style itself kind of mish-mashes the story lines together. But it works. I didn’t find myself confused or wondering what was going on.

I found myself alternating between wanting to smack Cara and wanting to smack Eloise. They both seemed to be playing selfish – Eloise demanding her sister spend Christmas with her, Cara wanting to work as opposed to being with her family. But at the end of the day, aren’t we all at least a little selfish?

I was surprised to see how little the romance played into the story. It was there and it fit well into the story. Yet I can’t help but feel that with the exception of some dialogue between sisters, it honestly could have been left out with little consequence to the main theme of the book.

All in all, this was a vet quick, very cute read. I recommend it for anyone looking for a cute., holiday themed read.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Beautiful Surrender by Priscilla West

Title: Beautiful Surrender
Series: Forever
Author: Priscilla West
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: November 2, 2013
Format: Kindle
Pages: 132
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★☆☆

“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

The conclusion to the Surrender Series by Priscilla West.

No one is who they seem to be.

Kristen let Vincent into her heart because he seemed so different from everyone in her conservative world of wealth management. She thought they shared something special, but when she realizes that Vincent has been playing her the entire time, her heart is crushed.

As Kristen’s relationship with Vincent reaches a crisis point, a man from Kristen’s past returns looking for a second chance. Is her ex-boyfriend really looking for redemption or is his goal something more sinister?

Kristen struggles to hold herself together, until she discovers a revelation that will change everything.

I admit, I was kind of scratching my head because on Goodreads, this book is listed as “erotica” and it really isn’t. It’s pretty much a romance book with some sex thrown in. I’ve read far more erotic and dirty books from authors like Linda Lael Miller, trust me. This was tame compared to her books.

Then I saw on NetGalley that the book’s genre was actually New Adult and Romance, which made a lot more sense to me. The story is interesting and the book is a quick read at 132 pages on a Kindle. This was the 3rd book in a series, but you honestly don’t need to read the first two books to be able to follow along. You’d think you’d need to, but you really don’t.

I like a series where I can screw up and read them out of order and still be able to read the book without reading the previous books first. It makes it a lot easier.

I can’t say I connected with or particularly liked any of the characters in this book. I also can’t say that the writing was great. It was average and so were the characters. There wasn’t anything special about them to be honest. However, I am more than willing to read further books by Priscilla West because the story lines and plots themselves are good and the books are quick reads.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Verity by Colleen Hoover

Title: Verity
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Romance, Mystery, Thriller Publisher: Hoover Ink, Inc.
Release Date: December 7, 2018
Format: eBook
Pages: 333
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: ★★★★★

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

I’m not a big fan of Colleen Hoover. Most of her books are just not my style. I’m not into the contemporary, YA/New Adult romance thing. But this book, self-published because it was such a departure from her normal books, was right up my alley.

I’d seen a review on booktube for this book and new I had to check it out. So I got an eBook copy through the Books app on my iPad and went to town. It didn’t take me long to read it because I couldn’t put it down. This book is so amazing. You get little twists and turns right from the start, but the biggest twist comes at the very end of the book. That twist gave me chill.

The characters are awesome. You’ll come to love Jeremy and Lowen but hate Verity. You’ll come to feel sorry for Jeremy and what he’s had to put up with over the years. But then… you find some things out and discover maybe you hated the wrong person. This book is not for the faint of heart – it has some scenes that are sexual in nature, some scenes that may depict things that are upsetting.

I gave this 5 stars. It was just an awesome book and I absolutely loved it. I hope Colleen Hoover writes more of these books because I will definitely be reading them!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Dear Rockstar by Selena Kitt

Title: Dear Rockstar
Series: Dear Rockstar
Author: Selena Kitt
Genre: Romance, Erotica
Publisher: Excessica
Release Date: August 16, 2018
Format: Kindle
Pages: 208
Source: BookSprout
Rating: ★★★★☆

The best things in life are crazy…

Sara is obsessed with rock star Tyler Vincent, and as she works to complete her senior year, she’s determined to find a way to meet him—although her best friend, Aimee, keeps telling her to find a different escape from her desperately violent home life.

Complications arise when Dale, the mysterious new transfer student, sets his sights on Sara, and she falls for this rock-star-in-the-making in spite of her better judgment. When Sara wins a contest, she is faced with a choice—travel to Tyler Vincent’s home town to meet him, or stay and support Dale in a Battle-of-the-Bands hosted by MTV.

Their triangulated relationship is pushed to its breaking point, but there is another, deeper secret Dale’s been keeping that just may break things wide open…

Turn up your collar, feather your hair, and splash on some Polo, because we’re going back to the ‘80’s when MTV played music videos, there was no such thing as American Idol, and becoming a star meant doing nothing short of crazy for that one, big break.

If you’re a teenager looking for a new book about teen angst and relationships, don’t bother with this one. Yes, I know the description reads like a really cool YA novel that is set in the 1980s. But it’s not. Trust me. There’s a warning that I found at the very end of the book that should have been at the beginning – this book is for purchase/reading by adults only. There’s a very good reason for that.

For one thing, although it does take a bit to get to it, there are some explicit sex scenes in the book. Not enough to make me say the novel is exactly erotica – most erotica novels I’ve read don’t have a plot other than having sex – but enough to know that this book isn’t for anyone who isn’t an adult. Another thing that made me realize this book was not for teens but for adults were the themes of domestic violence, marital infidelity, and even eating disorders that come up in the book. This book has a plot and “smut” isn’t it.

I found Sara to be a sweet, lovable character who is simply caught in a horrible situation. Because of this, she’s become obsessed with Tyler Vincent, a rock star & actor. She writes him “letters” which are never sent, just kept in a notebook because they are more or less her diary. Sara’s best friend Aimee is also sweet, lovable, and has her own issues to work through – some of which we see in the book. After seeing a glimpse of Aimee’s story in the book, I’d actually like to see a sequel of sorts to this one that explores more of Aimee’s story, just because. Dale is the kind of guy I’d love to have around. He cares more for Sara than you’d think he would and given what you’ll find out as the book goes on, he’s extremely tolerant of Sara’s obsession with Tyler Vincent.

This book was extremely well written. I had to look up a few things to make sure they’d have been in use in the 80s because there were a couple of things I thought were too modern – but I was wrong, they were in use back then, I just didn’t remember them. If there were any spelling or grammar errors, I missed them because I was too busy paying attention to the story itself.

I gave this one 4 stars because it’s a very well written book, but I wasn’t expecting the type of book I got based on the description and synopsis.

I received a copy of this book free from BookSprout in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.