Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Sometimes I’m a really bad NetGalley reader. I didn’t read this book until it was actually published. But, I still enjoyed it and am grateful for NetGalley!

Crazy Little Thing Called Love is about Leila who has just gone through a particularly bad break up when she decides to give up dating for a year. Her friends and family mock her, but she opens up a blog and to everyone’s surprise it’s wildly successful. Leila is feeling strong as she makes new friends through her blog and corresponding events, until she meets Nick, her new sister-in-law’s older brother. Can she keep up with her “man ban”? Can their affection overcome some pretty terrible odds and circumstances?

It took me a really long time to get invested in Crazy Little Thing Called Love. I was not a fan of the writing style and I think that affected my ability to enjoy the story at first. However, I kept going and once I got sucked in, it was hard to put down. I appreciate that the characters, while not generally likable, are realistic, especially with how they handle conflict. I also enjoyed how Butterfield switched character viewpoints from time to time, although the story is mainly from Leila’s perspective. However, with the switch in character viewpoints, I do wish we heard Nick’s side of the story.

I’m intrigued enough by Crazy Little Thing Called Love that I might check out some of Butterfield’s other novels. They are great for planes and vacations, which is perfect for the summer.

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Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding

I received an Advanced Reading Copy from NetGalley.

I love Her Royal Spyness. If you’ve been reading for any amount of time, you’ve probably picked up on that love. Maybe it’s because I’m used to listening to the audio version, narrated by the wonderful Katherine Kellgren (RIP) as opposed to reading, I found Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding a bit lackluster in writing. It took a very long time for me to get invested in the plot, although once I did, it was hard to put down.

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding finds Georgie and Darcy looking for an apartment once they are married. Nothing meets their standards until Georgie gets a letter from Sir Hubert who offers his house in advance (she’s his heir) since he’s gone most of the time anyway. Georgie moves in immediately, trying to set it to rights before the wedding, but all is not as it seems at the estate.

Now, I’m not one of those people who tries to figure out the mystery ahead of time, but even I had suspicions about the mystery. Although there are still plenty of twists and turns. I also love that Georgie does grow and becomes a stronger in this installment. Although that also means there is less of Darcy in the book.

I hope the next installment is the last so we can end on a high note, and that Georgie continues to grow as a strong woman, while also having Darcy around. Overall, Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding was enjoyable, but not a top installment in the series.

Boy

While walking amongst the stacks the other day I found Meg Cabot’s The Boy is Back and checked it out. I think I read it in a day. The story is told between texts, emails and journal entries, and is light and fluffy. Exactly what I needed. The Boy is Back follows Becky Flowers, the owner of a senior moving company in her Indiana small town. When her high school boyfriend Reed’s parents are caught trying to pay for their dinner with a postage stamp, she knows something is wrong. So does the rest of Reed’s family, so Reed (now a professional golfer) comes back to Indiana. Shenanigans ensue as Becky is hired by Reed’s sister in law to help his parents move, and as I’m sure you guessed, there’s a happy ending.

This got me reading the rest of Meg Cabot’s boy series. I read them out of order (4, 3, 1, 2) and aside from The Boy is Back, the characters all work for the same newspaper in New York City. This isn’t a crucial plot point or anything, but I kinda love how they’re all connected. Even if the main players are different.

boy

In Every Boy’s Got One, Jane flies to Italy with her best friend Holly to be a witness and Maid of Honor at Holly and Mark’s wedding. Mark’s best friend Cal, is the Best Man, and so different from Holly she doesn’t know how they’ll stand the week together. But as they say, opposites attract.

The Boy Next Door follows Mel, a gossip columnist who finds her elderly neighbor unconscious in her apartment. When the neighbor’s nephew moves in to take care of the place (and pets) and be around for his aunt, Mel starts to pay a little closer attention to her neighbors than before.

Boy Meets Girl is about Kate, who works for the Human Resources Division of the New York Journal is instructed to fire the catering lady, despite Kate’s moral objections. When Ida, the caterer, files her own countersuit Kate finds herself embroiled in a legal case with her hated boss, her hated boss’s fiancé, and the boss’s fiancé’s brother (who is technically the head of the case, since the fiancé is “too close to the case”). However, the fiancé’s brother, doesn’t seem quite so bad… actually kind of nice.

I think I liked The Boy is Back the best, followed by The Boy Next Door (and with Every Boy’s Got One as the worst). But they’re all fun. A little dated in terms of politically correct terms, but I can’t hold that against them since they’re 15ish years old (I think). They also have some godawful covers. The early 2000s did not have good designers.

Daughter of the Pirate King and Siren Queen

I’d been meaning to read Daughter of the Pirate King for a while now. I believe I even entered a giveaway for the book in Goodreads when it was first coming out. Obviously, I didn’t read it then. But… it seemed like the perfect fit for one of my reading challenge prompts this year: A book set at sea. Especially since I have no interest in reading one of those Master and Commander books that were so popular a while back.

While I can’t say Daughter of the Pirate King is fantastically written, it certainly sucked me in! I love how different Alosa is from other heroines. She takes no crap, and has no qualms about killing, yet she’s someone you root for, and her loyalty to her crew shines through. I’m not sure I’d like to be her friend, but I can appreciate reading about her! The romance between her and Riden is also pretty electric. Their scenes are riddled with sexual tension. Which I love.

As soon as I finished Daughter of the Pirate King I went searching for the newly published sequel: Daughter of the Siren Queen. Luckily I was able to nab a copy the next day. While I tore through Daughter of the Siren Queen in a day, there was something missing and I can’t quite decide what that something is. Alosa’s badass character was not quite herself and the sexual tension between Also and Riden wasn’t quite there this time around. I can’t point to particular passages, but it didn’t have the same grab for me.

With that said, I’m really hoping there is as third (and final) installment, so we can get Alosa and Riden’s, and the rest of the Ava-Lee’s, story wrapped up. I want to know what they are off to do next! And what crazy creatures they might run into this time.

Little Fires Everywhere

My book club decided to read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I’m glad I read it since Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are turning it into a series on Hulu. But… I don’t know if I get the hype. I enjoyed it, but it’s nothing mind blowing. It probably doesn’t help that I kept comparing it to Big Little Lies, which I enjoyed a lot more. The two are getting compared a lot. Mostly, I imagine, because of Reese*, but they both are suburban mom stories that are well written, that also discuss the deeper and darker parts of our everyday lives. Which I find commendable. Great stories don’t have to be about huge things. I just liked Big Little Lies more. I think I like that it made me laugh while also think about the deep and the dark.

I’m going to be lazy here and copy and paste the Goodreads synopsis:

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

I wish I had paid a bit more attention to the audiobook in the beginning, because so many things come full circle and I had to backtrack in the print book when finishing. Also, I was personally not a fan of the narrator. I’m sure that did not help my paying attention in the beginning.

This Love Story Will Self-Destruct

I can’t remember how I heard about this book, but I think it was on a list of realistic romances I discovered online around Valentine’s Day. Anyway, I just got around to reading it because I was almost out of renewals, and I loved it!

The comparison to When Harry Met Sally is a bit of a stretch, but it certainly applies. Although if pressed, I’d have to say I like When Harry Met Sally more.

This Love Story Will Self Destruct by Leslie Cohen is about Eve and Ben and their beginnings as mutual acquaintances in college, to boyfriend and girlfriend later in life. They continually  meet through mutual friends, but timing was never right. Due to their own issues, the relationship isn’t always a smooth one, but who has a smooth relationship in real life anyway? While I can’t relate to Eve’s character, or Ben’s really, I can appreciate that their struggles are real. And as someone who married a person she broke up with at one point, I can also appreciate the work that goes into reestablishing that relationship, and how sometimes it makes it better in the long run.

My major issue is that everything wrapped up quickly in the end. I felt like the beginning had a lot of introspection on both Eve and Ben’s parts, but by the end Leslie Cohen was looking to wrap it up. I wish we knew more about the later parts of their relationship and what happened.

The Wedding Date

A lot of my Goodreads friends were raving about The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory, so I put my name on the wait list at the library. Once I started reading, I finished the thing in under 36 hours. I can’t say it’s particularly well written, but I got sucked in and was rooting for the characters.

The Wedding Date follows Alex and Drew, a two young professionals in California who meet while stuck in an elevator during a power outage. Alexa is at the hotel visiting her sister and Drew is attending a wedding. A wedding between his ex-girlfriend and former best friend. Not wanting to face the wedding alone, Drew asks if Alexa would come with him, as his date. The relationship progresses from fake relationship to real relationship over the course of the novel, and readers are brought along the various ups and downs of new relationships.

Their relationship struggles are compounded by long distance (Alexa in San Francisco and Drew in Los Angeles), Drew’s past “dating” life, and the fact that Drew is white and Alexa is black.

What I really loved about the wedding date is that Guillory didn’t shy away from the specific difficulties inherent in interracial relationships. And Drew when people say mean or racist things to Alexa, he believes her without question. Add in their other struggles (which are totally realistic, even if as a reader they behave stupidly), and the The Wedding Date tells a lovely, realistic, modern romance.

Recently I’ve been lamenting a lack of Romantic Comedy movies (what happened to the rom-coms of the 90s and 00s??) and I really want some Hollywood producer type person to make this into a movie. I would totally be at the theater for that! Or my couch if it’s a Netflix release.