Review: Bidding on the Bachelor by Kerri Carpenter

I’m feeling slightly cheated here. Well, I guess it’s my fault actually. I completely forgot this book was in a series when I read it and I have the first book but read this one first? So, I’m going to be honest and tell you that I don’t know how much weight reading the first book adds but considering how I felt about this book, it was awesome alone but I’d recommend reading because it sounds like it might answer some questions about Elle that I was curious about while reading the book.

There is nothing sweeter than a second chance romance that you always have to grab those tissues for at the end. Kerri definitely wooed me with her latest in the Saved by the Blog series, Bidding on the Bachelor, leaving me curious for some answers that I desperately want for book three. Like, who the heck is the Bayside blogger, annoying he or she is but definitely added some flavor to the lives of these characters.

Jasper and Carissa definitely define that old cliché of if you’re meant to be together, it shall be. Who knew that time would heal all wounds and bring them back together after 10 years?  After the way it ended, the two of them seemed definitely not in the cards but a little thing like life happens and the right time comes around.

So, Carissa once was the It girl. You know the type. She was one of the popular gals who had it all with the cool boyfriend, Jasper but they were very young. When it was time to go to college, Carissa wanted big and better things and the way Jasper was, was not going to cut it. So, she just up and left, leaving his heart broken and not turning back. The only problem is there was more to the story then but you can’t change yesterday or get back time and the decision she made had consequences. I guess it’s how you look at it from what happens to her if this was karma but the last thing she ever would’ve thought would be to return back to Bayside.

Jasper had always been the guy in second place living in the shadow of his older brother Cam. He went through life feeling like he had to show how good he was, not being enough. Already feeling this way, when Carissa left him, leaving saying so much that equated that he was not good enough anymore, he was broken hearted and devastated. Something in him sparked something that made him strive to shatter that perception of living up to his dad and her and be more than he could’ve ever been. Life going forward, circumstances leading into his favor, he took over his dad’s company and made a great life for himself. Single, rich and slated as one of Bayside’s most desired bachelors, on the night of one of his biggest accomplishments, the last person he ever thought to see was standing in front him. Find out how fate and destiny meet a second time around for these two in this sweet book.

I really liked the book. I loved how not only were these two high school sweethearts, we got to feel real love through the ups and downs of life. Look at Carissa, a former it girl who turned up her nose at the town for bigger and better. Life really kicked her in the gut and got a dose of humble pie having to start life over with nothing, crawling back to where she said she'd never come back to. Then you have someone like Jasper who was made to feel like he wasn't good enough, bust his butt in life to accomplish something that was unattainable but be the best person he could be. I love reading characters like this. It makes you feel good when you see people get knocked down and get back up. Secondly, that awesome feeling of getting a second chance at love always leaves you warm and fuzzy inside with your pompoms rooting for them all the way.

I’m going back to read book one so I don’t miss out on anything anticipating book three. Overall, loved the characters. There was never a dull moment. Kerri is such a sweet storyteller of the type of characters that you want in your life. Loved the book and definitely looking for answers in book 3. You don't even have to ask, add to your TBR!

Review: Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook

I was feeling a little down today, and I wanted something that would lift my spirits. After searching on Amazon, I was immediately drawn to this book by the cover and also the title. It appeared like something that would feel personal and inspiring at the same time. So I gave it chance. And I’m happy that I did.

Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately manages to be both personal and relatable. The poems pull at your heartstrings, and it is hard not to reflect on your life as you read. It isn’t just a book about sad poems. It has uplifting poems.

It has poems about childhood friends, sisterhood, and confidence. It covers a variety of different subjects without feeling all over the place. This book is for everyone. The poems were simple, yet elegant. They were not confusing or harsh.

Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately is so much more than just a book about poetry. It’s a soundtrack. After every poem, the author includes a song that she had listen to. Songs from Taylor Swift, Big Sean, Tim McGraw, and Ingrid Michaelson are mentioned.

Having a playlist included definitely contributed to the overall personal feel of the book. It felt very much like a diary and the songs symbolize what the author was feeling when the words were written.  

I think one of my favorite things about this book was that it was creative. It’s broken up into two parts Side A and Side B. Side A features the poems in the entirety. Some are long, and some are short. Side B is blackout poetry.

This is where an author blacks out words from within a story and creates another. In this case, the author used her poems from Side A. It was interesting and amazing that she was able to use her passages to recreate something else.

Final Analysis

Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately feels like a personal and welcoming look into someone’s life. It’s creative and relatable. And there to remind that your feelings are valid.

Review: Get It Together Delilah by Erin Gough

I feet like this book has more potential to be greater than what it was from how I felt when I finished the book. I feel like Delilah is the type of character that could’ve been such a great example based on her experiences in the book but the supporting elements around her story made things fall a bit short for me. By no means is that an indicator of my perception of the book for my interest, rather that some things I wish could’ve been done different for me to connect better. Let chats about the book.
 
The book was about about a 17 year old named Deliliah. She is in her last year of school and an unfortunate situation that happened between her and another student, left her feeling uncomfortable with going anymore. Her mom decided to leave her family for another man, leaving her dad heartbroken with his life revolving area his café. Delilah convinced him to go away, which lasted a really long time. She made the decision to leave school and run the shop which in the process she learns a lot of life and falling in love.
 
Despite how much I enjoyed the characters and their involvement with each other, I couldn’t love them or fall in love with them. I felt like there were elements to their story that were not needed or wish it could’ve been more elaborated on. Maybe certain aspects of their storyline could've been more cohesive at parts. To me it felt like different elements of the book were free floating. This isn’t a bad thing but this drove me crazy because for the message that this book has, it took just made me a bit frustrated because I had question marks.
 
Let’s take Delilah. Here’s this 17 year old, who is struggling with her sexuality. She is dedicated and committed to helping her father in his business and wants to do the right thing. Now, we have a situation where bullying is involved and she is humiliated based on her involvement with a friend who was embarrassed by any association of being involved with her romantically. There is a video made and she is made to feel worthless, ashamed and isolation for who she is/likes. This drives her decision not to go to school anymore with an extra influence from her friend Charlie. She sort of just floats through the book alone like this.
 
What drives me crazy is how does a 17 year live alone for an extended period of time, run a business, not go to school without anything happening? Her father going away for a few days or maybe a week might be ok but he was gone a long time to where she missed an extended period of school with no contact? I know teens are more independent these days but there was a lot going on with her running a business dealing with all these adult issues with no one to help her. Now, I know to be fair there are many family businesses that the teens can do it but in the context of the story, this was a bit much. This was a bit of a reach in my imagination because for everything she was struggling with I just kept thinking, all this is happening and no parental figure.
 
Here was a chance I would’ve loved to read more involvement from her father. A single dad, raising a girl going through what she went through, this would’ve made me feel something especially when she finds love, more realistic. This is such a positive book representing all sides of a young adult who is part of the LBGT community. It would’ve been amazing not seeing this character quit school but have some support of someone in her corner to know that she is loved. This would've come full circle with the experience with her teacher in the end and would've been more impactful.
 
Another thing was her friend Charlie. I couldn’t stand him. Here’s another young person without any adults around. He has made some really bad choices but is sort of just living life too. There is something that happens between the two of them in the book that I don’t understand how it happened. It just happened. It could’ve happened but in the context of the story, I don’t know why it happened. It was so random and unexpected which could’ve been left out. There’s another situation where he gets into a situation that in reality would’ve had different consequences, nothing happens. I sort of felt like with him, there was no accountability for his characters for what he did. I don’t have a problem with who he was as a character but some of the situations for me just seem not realistic. I just can’t grasp some of the things that he did, didn’t have consequences despite being a flawed character.
 
The book absorbed so much on the issues the café was having which I wish didn’t take so much of the book. It would’ve been nice having this book elaborate more on Delilah's personal journey in her discovering love and dealing with the social backlash of her being gay and going through the bullying and the discrimination. She was made to be ashamed of falling in love with someone and through humiliation it drove her to give up school. Then, she meets someone else who she falls for but the other person is afraid to pursue her feeling backs because of how it would shame her family. This I wish could’ve been explored more because so many people could’ve identified with this.
 
Overall, the book had some moments that could’ve been pushed a little deeper to shine brighter. Not to take away from anything there were moments that I thought were just ok. This isn't a bad thing, just I had bigger hopes for what I thought this was going to be. Now, the reviews on this book are a mixed bag so it's up to you what your takeaway and thoughts will be if you decided to read it. I didn't hate it but didn't love it either. I'm honestly going to tell you that I'm somewhere in the middle. Leaving on a positive note, I'd love to explore this author in the future because even though I didn't fall in love with this book, her characters had such engaging personalities that I'd love to check out what else she has to offer. 

Review: Was Superman a Spy? by Brian Cronin

This book had a lot of information in it. A lot. And at times it felt overwhelming. I did appreciate how it was broken down in three parts- DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and other comic companies. That helped a lot because it focused on only stories pertaining to that particular comic company.

However, there were many times where the author would mention something about another comic company that related to a story that was being told in a different comic’s section. For example, DC comics and Marvel have a long history together. So there were many stories where certain actions by one of them influenced the other’s actions.

The author would mention a page number where the other side could be found in the book. This was confusing. First, because I was reading on Kindle so I didn’t have page numbers, and I couldn’t go back and refresh my mind on what had happened. Second, the author would mention something that would be discussed later on in the book, and it was a little distracting.

This book was entertaining, but there were more than a few moments where it dragged on and I lost interest. Like mentioned earlier, it had a lot of information. There were so many stories to tell so it moved quickly, and I didn’t have time to really dissect what I had just read.

I found myself skipping because it had such a broad scope, and I was not as familiar with certain topics as others. I do believe that if I had a greater understanding of comics I would have enjoyed this book a little more.

Final Analysis

Was Superman a Spy is jammed pack with a lot of information. This is beneficial but it is also hurtful at times. It moved a little too quickly for someone with barely an above knowledge about comics.

Review: Hotel Hell by Monica Savioz

After reading this book, I really sympathize with the hotel worker who has the late shift. The customer service and hospitality industry is a thankless and unappreciated industry. I wish so many people could trade places with many of these workers because at the end of the day, they are people who have families and should be treated with respect and kindness. 

I couldn't believe many of the situations that I read about in this book. It was really fascinating getting the perspective from the worker. So many times you see people complain about the littlest things but people can really be overboard and take things to an unnecessary level. I couldn't help to laugh and shake my head many times because you just can't believe that people act like this but they do. This was a fun, quick read that really makes you wander what people are thinking.

What I really liked about this book is not only the interesting behind the scene perspective but the worker that is chronicling her experience is a little person. What I thought was nice about her perspective is in many circumstances she wasn't taken seriously because of her size but put in some challenging situations she stood tall and held her own. What was also a really nice touch is that after each situation, she had a great positive takeway that showed the bright side of things. I thought this was fun and if you want to get peek into the behind scenes, check it out.

Review: Playing With Danger by Joya Ryan

If you haven't read the first book in the Desire Bay series, catch up before you read this one. It's not necessary because it can be read standalone but it would be a fun treat going into Playing With Danger.  The first book was good but this one was fantastic. Not only did the temperature rise at times and I had to check a few times to see if my Kindle was smoking, it was fun and engaging and I really didn't want to put it down. It had everything that you could've asked for to make everything feel so good reading a contemporary fiction romance. So, let's chat about the book.

Hannah Hastings is a very likable character. To an extent your heart goes about to her when you get to know her and understand why he makes the choices she does. She's sassy, independent and strong but like I mentioned before she's had it tough. A mother who left her and an alcoholic father isn't exactly the picture perfect family but she overcame and that made her a more determined person. Her father was the type of mean drunk who never was the father figure but rather the one who made bad decisions and found himself in situations where the kid should've had to bail him out. Only around when he wanted something, she never had someone in her life give or show her the love and affection that she deserved until she met Grant.

Who's Grant you ask? Well, he can call me anytime! Talk about a crazy decision on a whim. Hannah met him on a cruise. There's something about a cruise that does this sort of now or never, shed your inhibitions because they decided to get married. Yes, married! Didn't have a clue about each other but felt what was right and went for it. I think partly she craved for someone to make her feel loved but for him it was about feeling for the first time someone want him for only him and not anything. Their backstory is told from a dual pov past/present explanation but the point is that after this huge decision, she decided to be a runaway bride. What makes this interesting is that Grant has a secret that he didn't share until later which I believe would've be a game changer but after a couple of weeks, she succumbed to her insecurities to bolt. Two people coming from two different places, she is convinced that it won't work out.

The problem is, Grant saw something in her that was worth fighting for despite even though she had no hope. I think much of this had to due with the crappy lifestyle she had with her father not appreciating her affecting her self worth but Grant doesn't give up that easy. Determined to find her, will he be able to convince her that even though they don't know each other that well, is fate and destiny on their side? Can he convince Hannah to stay married or when she left, that meant they were really over?  You'll have to read on to find out!

I'm overly critical about the second book in a series because I want to feel like I want to keep reading. I can't say nothing bad about this book because I thought not only was it great but I thought it was better than the first. It had the right vibe and the length was perfect. The characters were engaging and it just felt right reading. Joya knows how to make you feel good and fall in love with her books. This was the perfect read to get all cozied up with. Without a doubt, add this fun one to your TBR! 

Review: Roommates with Benefits by Nicole Williams

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Amazon

I really enjoyed the main characters. The actual story itself, there were more than a few problems. It was filled with unnecessary drama and cheap clichés.

The story didn’t need a huge plot centered on jealously and the fear that every man besides the lead male, Soren, looks at the female character in a sexual way. This caused Soren to appear too protective and Hayden extremely naïve. It severely damaged their likeability.

This book was a little unrealistic. Hayden is a model, and after living in New York for a very brief time, lands almost every modeling gig she tries out for. The book never explains why and how, so it is a little hard to suspend the disbelief.

Characters

Like mentioned earlier, I liked the main characters. Soren and Hayden worked great as a couple, and I was rooting for them the entire book.

Besides his desire to protect Hayden from every male in the world, Soren was a good love interest. He was incredibly sweet. There were many times within the book where he would cook for Hayden and give her sweet and meaningful compliments.

Hayden was from a very small town, so it was interesting to see her navigate through New York and try to learn to survive. She came there for a purpose, and it would have been nice to hear more about that purpose and her overall goal. It was casually mentioned in the beginning and never mentioned again.

I can’t ignore that Soren and Hayden acted extremely immature at times. And this was especially true when Soren and Hayden disagreed. The silliness arguments were products of their immaturity and it was a little

eye roll worthy. Many of their problems could have solved if they would had an adult conversation and laid it all on the table.

Final Analysis

Roommates with Benefits is a best when it focuses all the attention on the main characters and just lets them breathe. The drama and jealously was unnecessary and in the end hurt both the book and the characters.

Review: Links by Lisa Becker

If for only so many this can come true. You know what guy you were madly in love with but didn't know you existed? Then one day your Cinderella dream comes true?

Meet Charlotte. Back in the day, she had the biggest crush on Garrett but he never noticed her. Well known for her bug glass, he coined a nickname for her that made her feel less than attractive. Just like so many gals like her become late bloomers in life, find success when she came out of her shell and once her inside beauty caught up with her outside, she became more than noticed. She was adorned and admired. Then out of the blue, years later, a chance encounter with her made him finally notice. Will she give him a chance?

Now Garrett was a bit of a jerk. Back then and to some extent into his adult years, he is a bit of a player and womanizer. Of course as he was popular then, he found fame as a profession gold player. When he reconnected with Charlotte, typical that he didn't know who she was but through his player lens sees her as someone he has to get with. The problem with Charlotte is that she sees right through him and doesn't trust his motives. Can he convince her he's changed? Will she give him a chance?

The book was fun and a bit steamy at times for me. I love the dual character perspective. It really allows you to connect and understand how the characters feel. It gave much insight into who they were. It was a quick but enjoyable read. Too bad we learned about her mom later in the book. I thought that would've added another dimension to her character because she was really likeable. Her mom was such a big part of her life, it would've been nice for that to be expanded on. Overall, the book was a good one to read that will leave you feeling good. I just loved that ending. 

Review: How to Be a Hepburn in a Kardashian World: The Art of Living with Style, Class, and Grace by Jordan Christy

How to Be a Hepburn in a Kardashian World, that alone really grabbed my attention. I was really curious where that was going to lead, so going into the book I had many expectations. Being that I am a huge fan of the incredible Audrey Hepburn and everything that she represents, I was a little bit annoyed with the author for even putting anything Kardashian in the same sentence with her. No offense but what they represent is nothing I'd want to look up or have any qualities that I hope young women would aspire to be either. Much to my joy and happiness, that was just a figure of concept rather than anything else. 

I found the book rather useful in so many ways. Jordan really captured that girlfriend vibe that was so inviting and made you feel like she was a good friend giving you great advice to be the best you can be. I was really captivated by her honesty in the beginning. I think her own personal experience is something many young women can relate to which help translate her credibility as someone who from her experience working with different groups of women share some insight input in our lives. She gives women a boost in the self confidence and self acceptance area which translates into all areas that include our person life, dealing with social media, personal style, health & fitness, love life and developing friendships.

Overall, the book was fun and I found her advice useful. I found her relatable and think many young women will connect with the guide to incorporate in their lives. I haven't checked out the preceding book but am curious to read more.

Review: Chasing Christmas by Jill Shalvis

What better way to start the holiday season reading a story that just warms you right up. Not to mention, but reading a Jill Shalvis novel? At the current moment I'm in a happy place and so looking forward to the next Heartbreaker Bay Novel but in the meantime, let's chat about Chasing Christmas Eve.

So, Chasing Christmas Eve, definitely can be read as a standalone novel. What I loved about this book was that people are forever putting a time frame on when you fall in love. What some people don't get is that you can meet someone and everything being aligned perfectly. Just because you just met someone, doesn't mean that the heart doesn't know what it wants. With that said, I was like, can love really happen in in a short amount of time?

Colbie Albright is on the run from her life. She is the definite the people pleaser and nurturer that everyone depends on and expects everything from. On top of being a bestselling author, she literally can't breathe in her life and needs a break. She decided to runaway from her life and go wherever as long as it was far away. Finding herself in San Francisco, on her way to her hotel, gets knocked over into a fountain and but all dramatics gets rescued by the handsome gentleman, Spence Baldwin.

Spence is running from a few things of his own. Smart and successful found his life turned upside down when a so called friend did an interview that was more like an expose that has made him the most sought after person. This has led him to keep a low profile and be very secretive. He really hasn't opened up to anyone excerpt those who he trust around him but when he encountered Colbie, there was something about her that captured his interest and wanted to be near her. Not only was she beautiful but everything about her seemed perfect. Unsure of who she was or why she was there, there was a magnetism to her that he couldn't let go of.

This is the first girl that captured something worth going after but he's got one problem. The last girl he had, he ruined what could've been. Now, here's a chance of something great with possibly the girl of dreams but she is only there for a couple of weeks. Is it possible that two people can be destined to meet?

I really loved the characters especially Colbie. I love seeing someone who takes care of everyone but herself opening up to someone willing to take care of them. That revelation to embrace always feels so good seeing that character transition when they're able to break down their inner struggles of what cripples them.

What really was heart pulling was the familial aspects of the book. In so many families you find a Colbie. In many situations people like her leave and never turn back. It is really damaging to a person where it cripples who they are because they internalized guilt for living for them which she loses herself. It was such a pivotal moment when she finally got the courage to say enough and they learned how to do things on their own. The strength she gained to be herself and know that she can live her life without guilt.

People like Spence, who had a chance for something great but let it slip out of your hands. Many times people like that give up but he was able to open his heart to let love in really made you want to root for him for a second chance at potential love.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. This is my first book to kick off the holidays and I'm so happy that I dove right in with a Jill Shalvis novel. She always knows how to make the reader feel good.The temperature at times rose a little in the book but definitely keep things interesting.The book wrapped up nicely transitioning into the next installment in the series. Jill definitely did what she does well, makes your heart smile with a story to fall in love with.