[711]: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

A lovely, funny story about a woman’s courage to go out into the world where human contact could mean her own death sentence.

Close Enough to Touch
by Colleen Oakley

Jubilee Jenkins hasn’t left her house in 9 years. After a kiss from the popular boy in high school nearly killed her, she decided it’s not worth venturing out to the world. She’s been living alone since her mother left her when she turned 18. Through her mother’s monthly stipend and her resourcefulness, she’s managed to hold off the universe from encroaching on her life.

But the death of her mother would leave her penniless as her stepfather decided to cut off her allowance. Leaving her no choice but to find employment, Jubilee would have to leave the house and risk her life every day.  Her unusual allergies to skin contact confined her to her house with no interaction with another human being. She’s lived a lonely life; barely speaking to another soul. She finished high school at home and took free Harvard courses online. Everything she needed got delivered to her house. She even managed to work the system in her favor. But she will have to leave her fortress for the first time in her life.

What a lovely read, you guys. I felt Jubilee’s fear every time she’s confronted by another human, and because she didn’t have much experience with human interaction, she was an adorable bundle of awkwardness. In a matter of days, her lonely existence was suddenly full of people who would care and understand her plight in the most unexpected ways. I especially love the way the father and son would make her even entertain the possibility of a romantic relationship. It’s so impossible, though. When a single touch could put her in anaphylactic shock.

Eric Keegan’s life is a mess. He has an adopted son whom he can’t seem to find a kinship and a daughter from a failed marriage who’s not speaking to him. He can’t figure out how to right the ship. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Eric; a father who’s only doing what he can to save his relationship with his teen daughter, whom, by the by way, was well on her way to being a juvenile delinquent. She’s so angry and rebellious. He sends her numerous unanswered text messages and keeps fervent hope for forgiveness. He saw the path to reconciliation by way of a book report journal. In there was a collection of opinions on books that she’s read. This book would bridge their relationship somehow, and inadvertently connect him to Jubilee.

Close Enough to Touch is a lovely story about finding the courage to confront your fears. It doesn’t matter what the motivation is – may it be out of desperation or survival, the fear is still real. Jubilee is a woman who was lonely and in need of human interaction. But the same interaction could mean her death. At the end of the day, she needed to find it in her to want it enough to do something about her malady.

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[708]: The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon

The Bastard Billionaire
by Jessica Lemmon

I’ll be the first one to tell you that I can never say no to the billionaire trope. And I’m not even sorry. I’ve seen this series around but I never paid much attention to it until I heard it call my name when I was browsing on NG a couple of weeks ago.

So glad I requested it.

The Bastard Billionaire is book 3 of Jessica Lemmon’s Billionaire Bad Boys series. I haven’t read the first two but rest assured it’s on my agenda this month.

In this book, we’ll meet Eli Crane, a former Marine who retired from service after losing a leg from an assignment that also took the lives of a couple of his close friends. The loss of his appendage and the grief of losing his friends lent to the closed-off, surly, and lonely disposition this bad boy presents to his family and to the world in general. He refuses any help from anyone let alone from a personal assistant. That’s why he goes through them like he goes through his underwear. Well, Isabella Sawyer has had enough. She’s run out of PAs to send. Come hell or high water, she’ll make him accept his responsibilities in the family business. And she won’t be discouraged no matter how badly he treats her. It looks like Eli Crane finally meets his match!

 Easy-peasy read and exactly how I enjoy my romance. Little to zero drama but heady with humor, of camaraderie, and a meddling family. You have a stubborn heroine and an equally stubborn hero that butt-heads every chance they get. A chemistry that’s off the charts and a banter oozing with sexual tension – the perfect recipe, if I may so myself.

Eli can be cantankerous but he’s never mean (which I like). I enjoyed seeing Isabella forcing him out of his gloomy shell of guilt. He carries a couple of them since he blames himself for the death of his friends. He’s also very resistant to the idea of accepting his position in the family business so Isabella had her work cut out for her. Good thing she’s the perfect person for the job.

Eli Crane needed someone like Isabella: beautiful, smart, stubborn, and ambitious. She didn’t coddle him outside of her responsibilities as a PA. She’s had enough of men trying to run her life so she knew how to handle someone like Crane. She’s a force of nature who didn’t wilt under pressure. They’re a match made in heaven. Overall, I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in this series. And I’m so thankful to have been introduced to Jessica Lemmon’s books.

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[707]: Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Mildly enjoyable; helplessly forgettable.

Seven Days of You
by Cecilia Vinesse

Sophia is no stranger to uprooting her life and moving to another country. Her family has done it at least twice in her short lifetime. She’s an American in Japan who’s spent summers in France with her father and his new family.

This move, however, will be different. This time, New Jersey will be their home base for good.

She didn’t anticipate a week of sharing the same continent with Jamie Foster-Collins, however. If she has any choice, leaving Japan without seeing Jamie’s shadow will be a welcomed blessing. But Jamie seemed determined to fix whatever went wrong two years ago. Once upon a time, he was a part of their small crew along with David, the flirty Australian ambassador’s son, and Mika, her best friend. They were friends who lost touch after his move to North Carolina. Conflating the issue was a painful episode that rendered their friendship close to obsolete. So hearing about his return a week before she leaves did not sit well with Sophia. And if she’s being honest, the hurt that cuts deep goes way beyond some angry words accidentally sent by a text message, and deeper still than the words she threw on his face.

She’s got a week to say her goodbyes to the life she’s known, the people in her life, and the country that she’s only ever known as home.

Sophia’s emotions over everything was all over the place. Notably, her feelings towards the two boys who occupied her mind for most of her post-pubescent life. Worry not, you love triangle allergy sufferers. She’ll only waffle for a second or two. After that, you’re golden. I do feel for the girl, though. The adjustment that looms ahead for her as she will try to acclimate to another life will be tough. And the truth bombs that come her way in a span of 7 days can’t be her idea of a good time. So yeah, she was in a tailspin. I suppose I don’t blame her for having her moment of insanity. She’ll grow up a lot. She’ll realize the truth about her hero-worship for the father that decided he needed a new family. She’ll try to repair the crevasse that was slowly widening between her and her sister. And most importantly, she’ll face the reality that Jamie meant more to her than just a boy in her past she’d rather soon forget.

Regardless, this was a cute, fast read. Nothing earth-shattering or life-changing. It was just a story about a girl leaving her life to start over again in her home country. There will be reminiscing; there will be crying. There will be drama and plenty of karaoke. There will be parent-less kids who will rule the night and kids who will drink way too much. In a span of 7 days, Sophia sheds all the half-truths about her family, accept some real truths about Jamie, and tries to look forward to a life in another continent even if she knows how difficult it will be.


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[678]: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

25883848 The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Stand Alone
William Morrow | August 9th, 2016
Source: Bought
Contemporary Romance | Adult Fiction
Rating 5 out of 5 Stars

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

I was stacking all the books that were on my bedroom floor neatly when I decided to skim through its pages. Hours later, I was grinning like a fool. It was so good, so sweet, and so funny. I mean, I’ve known a few people who swore how good this was but I was not ready to be floored as much as I have. It’s the perfect romcom; lovely characters bright with chemistry, a breathtaking romance with humour and a pinch of poignant sadness.

Battle of the Sexes

Lucy Hutton has always hated Josh Templeman’s guts. He’s a very regimented jerk who saw her as nothing but an amusing little woman with a penchant for wild colours and red lipstick. His total opposite, considering he wears a plethora of uniformed dress shirts for every day of the week. Their one-upmanship and skirmishes on the daily give her life. It’s the source of her motivation, aggravation and oddly enough, her addiction. But their competition is about to reach another level of insanity as they both vie for the same Chief Operating Officer position.  If Lucy wins, she becomes Josh’s boss and if he wins, she has no choice but to quit. Because there’s no way she’s going to work for the man who threatened to “work her so fucking hard” if he wins.

I love this book so much! I have this thing for short heroines rocking the retro look and Lucy personified that ideal. She’s a spitfire who stood up to Josh even if she was a softie to everyone else. Working in the publishing industry has always been her dream so she worked incredibly hard day to please everyone but Joshua.

Josh, on the other hand, is a massive oaf that perfectly contrasts Lucy’s diminutive posture. They’re opposite in every which way but once they let chemistry does its magic, they’re combustible! Love, love their witty banter, their playful provocations (also known as flirting), and the way they cared and worried about each other without the other knowing.

On the surface, these two are all about fun and games. But hidden just beneath their skin lives a loneliness brought on by family estrangement. Josh couldn’t make his father happy no matter what he does. He lives under the shadow of his father’s discontentment and constant disappointment. So he stopped trying and distanced himself from his family to his mother’s heartbreak.

Lucy, on the other hand, was loved. Her parents wanted everything for her but her dream took her far away from them. They’re still close, though no matter the distance. She has no friends, and because she’s the executive assistant to one of the partners, her officemates tend to keep her at an arm’s length. They dealt with loneliness the only way they could: denial. Honestly, no one could be more deserving of each other than these two. Josh is very serious, more often cranky but far more the asshole character that’s been known to grace the pages of a romance novel. Lucy balances Josh’s seriousness perfectly. She’s very quirky, smart and funny. She’s just lovely all around.

The Hating Game is by far the best contemporary romance I’ve read this year. If you’ve ever considered reading this after all the five-star reviews on Goodreads, well, leave your doubts aside. The majority of those reviewers are spot on. Sally Thorne is a brilliant, brand new voice in this genre.



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[664]: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

22297294 Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
HarperTeen | May 17th, 2016
Young Adult | Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Maguire is bad luck.

No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away may be harder than she thought.

Imagine being overcome with fear at the thought of being in public; or going through the motions of making sure there are no hazards before starting any tasks – even menial ones. Imagine believing in every superstition that would prevent any possible disasters that could happen to those around you. Imagine such a life.

Maguire Kelly lives that life day in and day out. The accident that took the lives of her father, brother and uncle was only the beginning of all the bad things that made her believe she was cursed. There was also the roller coaster incident, the sleep-over incident, and the neighbour’s house burning down incident. Ever since then, she isolated herself from people; convinced she’s the harbinger of bad fortune. She walks around with a journal chronicling every single incident that she blames herself for.

Maguire lives a sad, lonely life.

During her therapy session, she meets a boy who would help her with some of the challenges she’d set out to do. And as she learns to deal with her fear, she’ll learn that courage comes from accepting things that she can’t control.

My Thoughts

I used to be so terrified of sleeping when I have a headache. I always think –  what if I have a brain aneurysm? What if I don’t wake up? I would fight it off and refused to take any aspirins. I would lay there wide awake, thinking of what would happen should I die. What would my husband do? Would he get married right away? What would happen to our kids? Will they forget about me? My thoughts processes would just snowball from there. So I can relate to Maguire (to some extent). I know what it’s like to be overcome with fear – irrational, though as they may be. I can’t even begin to imagine what she goes through every day. The amounts of checks and double checks she must do to placate and silence her fears. And to live a very lonely life because you think you’re doing the world a favour. My heart went out to her.

Thankfully, Maguire had herself a very good support system. The people around her understood her, love her, and made sure she was comfortable with whatever she was doing. I especially love her family – her mother whom, although would seem a little out of touch with her daughter’s needs at first, was there for her anytime she needs it. Her adorable half-sister who adores her unconditionally. Her step-father who only ever wanted to be a part of her life. And of course, her small circle of friends.

Paula Stokes’ portrayal of a girl suffering from a number of mental illness was very well done. Maguire realistically showed us what it would be like to live with that kind of trauma that led to her obsessive compulsion. I easily identified myself suffering the same kind of irrational fear from time to time. Sometimes, I get this feeling that I left my boy in the car, so I would check to make sure even though I know for sure I didn’t.

Maguire is also a positive role model even though she’s a little broken. She’s got a great attitude despite everything. She showed great courage and faced every single challenge head on. And the presence of a supportive family structure is wonderful and almost rare in YA.

Overall, I’m so glad I finally read this book. The thought of missing out on this great story is unthinkable. I love the tentative and gradual romance between Maguire and Jordy. They both had issues to work through so I’m glad they both realized how important it was to resolve those first before anything. Girl Against the Universe is wonderful, tender and very sweet. It’s about a girl’s courageous attempt to live a fearless life. Triumph is the sum of small braveries and Maguire is the perfect example of why we should never quit.

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[659]: Appealed by Emma Chase

22926494 Appealed by Emma Chase
Series: The Legal Briefs, #3
Gallery Books | January 19th, 2016
Adult Fiction | Romance | Erotica
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

When Brent Mason looks at Kennedy Randolph, he doesn’t see the awkward, sweet girl who grew up next door. He sees a self-assured, stunning woman…who wants to crush the most intimate – and prized – parts of his anatomy beneath the heels of her Christian Louboutins.

Brent has never let the loss of his leg in a childhood accident affect his ability to lead a fulfilling life. He sets high goals–and then he reaches them.

And now he has his sights set on Kennedy.
When Kennedy looks at Brent Mason, all she sees is the selfish, Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue-worthy teenager who humiliated her in high school to join the popular crowd. A crowd that made those years a living hell.

She’s not a lovesick social outcast anymore – she’s a DC prosecutor with a long winning streak behind her. Brent is the opposing attorney in her next case and she thinks it’s time to put him through a little hell of his own.

But things aren’t exactly working out that way.

Because every fiery exchange has her wondering if he’s as passionate in the bedroom as he is in the courtroom. Each argument and objection only makes him want her more. In the end, Brent and Kennedy may just find themselves in love…or in contempt of court.

Sustained used to be my favourite Legal Briefs book, but I think that title has been usurped by Appealed. At times, it wasn’t as enjoyable as I would like, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that there’s just a bit more substance in this story. It’s those moments when I want to kill high school Brent and his posse that made it all the more remarkable. And that time when his douchebaggery was magnified when he flat out gave Kennedy an ultimatum. Like, dude. What the hell were you thinking? As if ultimatums ever work in the history of relationships. Above all, I like seeing glimpses of the group as they live their lives. But what I would like even more is to see how they are living now with kiddies in tow.

As usual, Emma Chase delivered a hilarious romance between two characters oozing with out of this world attractiveness and wit to back it up. The instant attraction wasn’t a surprise because they had a history together. And it was tender, but more often tumultuous. Your heart will go out for the young Kennedy who have loved Brent and whose heart was broken many times over by the pettiness and actions of others. Brent was – for the most part – a less than innocent bystander through it all, though. He failed to protect Kennedy then, which led to her hatred. Sadly, the comeuppance wasn’t as enjoyable because it was very brief. Sort of a delayed gratification, too. But, oh, was it fun to watch them spar in and out of the courtroom!

I recently found out that this is the last book in the series. I’m sad. It seems like I just found this series so I’m not willing to let go of the books  just yet. Emma Chase gave us a series that is wholly addictive and fun. Her characters are witty and hilarious. Navigating through all the idiosyncrasies of each characters’ relationships had been a hoot. Moreover, I enjoyed that the books were told mostly from the guys’ points of view. I like seeing them live through their self-inflicted heart injuries. Idiots.

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[655]: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler


Knopf Canada | June 21st, 2016 | Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

The latest in the Hogarth Shakespeare series is Anne Tyler’s interpretation of The Taming of the Shrew. I’ve looked forward to reading this book ever since I’ve heard of this all-star endeavour. The Taming of the Shrew is a personal favourite of mine because of Katherine. To me, she’s the queen of ball-busting sarcasm and witty repertoire. And even if it took me several tries before I got her zings due to Bill’s usage of the old language, I know that for every Elizabeth Bennetts in the literary world, there lives a version of Katherine Minola underneath.
Vinegar Girl is loosely based on this Shakespeare comedy. There was no bet to get Kate to go out with Pyotr. Instead, we have her father trying to marry her off so he could keep working with him for the good of Science. Bunny is as superficial as Bianca was but still somehow managed to show some sister love in her own way. Kate’s family (which consists of her father and Bunny) are two of the most selfish creatures I’ve ever known who can’t function without Kate’s coddling. Their father is one of those poor clueless characters whose life’s primary focus is to Science. His knowledge of raising two daughters is severely lacking which left the burden of  keeping house to the older Baptista. Despite the way he underappreciated Kate’s value, I like their father-daughter dynamics. It was endearing with an underlying sadness attributable to the missing mother who died or disappeared or left (I can’t remember. Sorry.).
Kate, for the most part, was an interesting character. She’s stuck taking care of everybody; a push-over who hates her job (she’s a teacher’s assistant) but loves being with the children. Because in some way, they understood her. She goes with the flow and is easily accepting of her family’s failures. She wasn’t the admirable version of Katherine Minola for the majority of the book for sure. She grew a backbone eventually once she realizes she can’t always set aside her wants for the sake of her family.
As far as the romance goes, it’s barely there and I didn’t mind it a bit. Pyotr is a Russian Scientist who got to know Kate through her father’s – for lack of a better word – “pimping”. I found him adorable in his own way. He turns his less than stellar command of the English language into a comedic schtick.
I didn’t see the development of their relationship, to be honest. Anne Tyler doesn’t like showing too much, and while it wasn’t a sudden thing, I would’ve appreciated knowing  the exact moment when Kate realizes Pyotr could be the man for her (not that she was looking. She was forced into it – kind of.).
Vinegar Girl is a far cry from the original, for sure. But I like that Anne Tyler retold the story that it came off a bit more realistic and modern than the original. She gave Vinegar Girl her voice, her stamp, as it were. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I appreciate it, nonetheless.
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[653]: Opportunity Knocks by Alison Sweeney

26033642 Opportunity Knocks by Alison Sweeney
Stand Alone
Source: Publisher
Hachette Books | April 5th, 2016
Contemporary Fiction | Romance
Rating 2 out of 5 Stars

Alex Cleary has 48 hours to resolve the nightmare her dream job has become…and the clock is ticking.

Alex Cleary has careened from one dead-end position to another. But suddenly the ingenious makeup artist finds her distinct talents are valued by none other than lifestyle-empire mogul Hillary P.–renowned for her golden touch in broadcast and print media, as well as for her hair-trigger temper. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the daytime television scene that Alex is determined not to screw up.

Then a frank word in the wrong ear puts Alex’s job on the line. Alex anticipates Hillary’s rage, but she can’t believe that this multimillionaire is holding her newest staffer to a nondisclosure agreement that demands reparation of 5 million dollars.

Alex has only 48 hours to repair the damage. And with a vengeful Hillary P. watching the clock, the devil will have her due…

So I remember now why I don’t enjoy reading celebrity-written novels. I mean, don’t get me wrong. There are actually talented celebrity writers out there, but you can tell this one was written by an amateur because it shows. She was fond of telling instead of showing and the characters are nothing but cardboard cutouts possessing the personalities of bland gruel. Let’s not even talk about the plot. If you think Hollywood is far out of realism, this book blows that perception out into outer space.

Alex Cleary is a fledgling makeup artist who hasn’t made it to Hollywood. She knows what she wants to do but just hadn’t quite caught a break. For now, she’s taking small time gigs while helping out in her family’s pool business along with her on-again, off again boyfriend. Who, by the way, seems to be only interested in her for the career her family name can afford him. On the other hand, hers wasn’t going anywhere, and her life is at a standstill.  Until she finally snags the opportunity of a lifetime: working as Hillary P.’s (even her name sounds pretentious *gag* ) makeup artist.

Lauded as a Devil Wears Prada wannabe, Opportunity Knocks tells the story about how easily it is for Hollywood to squash your dreams. Actor or not, it’s a shark infested water and you’re a bleeding, flailing bait. Alex Cleary finds herself on the cusp of a breakthrough but when she trusted the wrong people, it was all over even before it begins. Hillary P. is your typical egomaniacal villain bent on showing off her influence and power. She’s rude, a devil of a diva, and she makes sure everyone knows just how big her head is.

The writing is barely passable; the only good thing it had going for it was the fact that you’ll fly through this book. Though, now that I’ve thought about it, I think I skimmed a lot of nonsense. The characters are what you see what you get – no depths, no charms. They are just there to play their parts. You don’t get to know them any deeper than what’s there on the pages. Overall, I’m just happy I gave her work a chance. At least I know now to avoid them in the future.

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[642]: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld



by Curtis Sittenfeld

Random House Canada | April 19th, 2016 | 4 out of 5 Stars

I can never say no to a good Pride & Prejudice retelling. In fact, I have a shelf dedicated specifically to P & P published fan fiction. I must admit that it has been a while since I’ve read one told in a contemporary era. The last one was so bad I never wanted to read another retelling after that. Eligible, thankfully, was a fantastic modern retelling of a well-loved book. Sittenfeld truly grabbed it by the horns and directed the story as she saw fit. But she stayed true to what we’ve come to love about the book.

Majority of us probably have read the book or seen the BBC series – or the films for that matter. In here, we find slight variations to each of the characters’ roles. Like Wickham for one. Oh, trust me, he was still a douchebag. But the difference here is, he’s been Liz’s friend for years. His connection with Darcy would’ve been inconsequential had Darcy not played a role in the reason for Wick’s hatred.

Liz is a writer for women’s magazine in a different calibre as say, Cosmopolitan. They tackled issues with social relevance affecting women. Which is why I had a tough time stomaching the way she let Wick treated her. She was a strong, independent woman who – unfortunately – fell victim to what she thought was love. Her strained interactions with Darcy were comical at best. Expect the usual, “I want to marry you despite your family being poor and screwed up” hi-jinx.

Speaking of Liz’s family, well, Lydia created a different problem for the Bennett matriarch. One involving an elopement with a transgender – which, in this day and age shouldn’t really matter. But because Mrs Bennett is the worst kind of bigot in this interpretation, dramatics ensued. Mary is as studious as ever with opinions of her own. Suspected of being a lesbian didn’t sit well with Mrs Bennett. She seems to disappear time and time again and they didn’t know where she was going. That is until Kitty tracked her down and exposed her secrets.

Then we come to Jane and Bingley –  which really is where I should’ve started with this review because the title of the book references a reality tv show (ala, The Bachelor) where Bingley was first discovered. He’s a doctor looking for forever. Unfortunately, he couldn’t pick one woman so at the kiss-awarding ceremony, he broke down and cried. Cried like a baby because he didn’t want either of the women left. So yeah. He’s rich, he’s a doctor. Looking for love and found one in Ohio, no less. Until his meddling sister, Caroline Bingley interfered.

I’m sorry that this review is going a bit longer than I’d like. But I have so much to say about this book. Overall, it’s a great retelling. It was funny. It was important. It subtly discussed some of the social issues relevant to the on-going problems facing the U.S. right now. I also love how intensely conservative ma and pa Bennett were while the kids are considerably liberal-minded. It’s a delight to see Ms. Sittenfeld update a most beloved classic –  to see how the Bennetts would fare in today’s society even if it’s just a supposition.

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[584]: First & Then by Emma Mills


First & Then \ Emma Mills

R  E  V  I  E  W

I have wanted to read this book since it made its rounds in the blogosphere. With a cover that speaks of a fun contemporary read, how could I pass up the opportunity? While the plot itself isn’t all that ground-breaking, I thought the book was had its moments.

Falling in love with your best friend

Kind of a tiresome story arch, isn’t it? Especially knowing before hand that there’ll be another person in the picture sooner or later. Well, Devon Tennyson finds herself in this situation. Pining for her best friend Cas is such an inconvenience. Considering Cas has always treated her like his buddy, and have flaunted his ability to attract any girls that he wanted in her face. But such is her life. You can say that Devon is a tired, 18-year-old who was going through the motions of high school life until she can get the heck out of dodge.

With her fourteen-year-old cousin moving in to their house permanently, she also didn’t want to be saddled with a boy who trails her like a shadow. All that is about to change after the star of their football team took a shining to Foster, her cousin.

Friday Night Lights

Football is a big deal in their town. and with Ezra Lynley at the helm of stardom, the madness is amped to another level. When he took Devon’s cousin under his wings, Foster becomes an instant celebrity. But Devon can’t stand him. He’s surly, under appreciative of his celebrity status, and his drive to succeed hopelessly annoys Devon.

Pride & Prejudice

If you’re going into this book thinking it’s a retelling of Austen’s P & P, you’ll be disappointed. It is not a retelling. It may be loosely based on P & P, but you won’t find similarities between Ezra and Darcy. With that being said, I thought Mills made a good decision not to give us yet another retelling of P & P. Goodness knows, there’s a whole slew of them out there. Though, come to think of it, Ezra and Darcy were both socially awkward, so in that regard, I can agree. Devon shares Lizzie’s frankness from time to time, but she is not completely opinionated as Lizzie ever were. She’s got a dry wit, but she’s so quick to judge.

In Retrospect

It was a mildly enjoyable book. It wasn’t nearly as wonderful as I’d hoped it would be, but it was still cute. It had some scenes that made my chest ache, but not to the point that it conjured up tears. Devon was a little hard to take at first – I was never a fan of characters who can’t seem to find anything to be happy about in her milieu. And like a said, her judgement against the other girls who are not like her was a bit tiresome.  She did grow up a little, and I especially enjoyed it more once she’s accepted Foster as her brother.

Henry Holt & Co. | October 13th, 2015 | Hardcover, 272 pages | Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars



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