Book Review: Decidedly Off Limits

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Synopsis:

Best Friend Rule #1: never want the guy’s sister.
Oops.

Trent Salway is one of San Francisco’s hot up-and-coming-under-thirty bachelors. A highly successful mutual fund portfolio manager, a workaholic, and a ladies’ man, he’s got everything he could possibly want…except one thing.

Physical therapist Kelsey Quaid dumped her ex-fiancé six months ago because she was tired of not even being a distant second to his career. Which is why despite secretly crushing on her big brother’s best friend for as long as she can remember, there’s no way Kelsey can go there. One workaholic in her life is more than enough, thank you very much.

Before Kelsey’s brother leaves on his Navy SEAL mission, he asks Trent one simple request: make sure Kelsey isn’t dating any assholes while he’s away. As Trent does his best to do just this, he and Kelsey spend more and more time together. Sparks fly, as do a few items of clothing, and the next thing they know things are getting physical between them. Now, Trent has to decide what to do about the woman he’s falling for—the one whose brother would take him down faster than he takes down the enemy. And Kelsey will have to decide if Trent is just another workaholic or if he’s decidedly off limits.

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Review

I’m typically a fan of the “best friend’s sibling” trope but the writing style of this novel really ruined it for me. Told in alternating POVs between Kelsey and Trent, both of their narrations are written as if they’re having a conversation with you and expecting you to respond. For example, at one point in Kelsey’s narration we get this:

Did you see who was third in line? That’s right. The Viking.

Then later in Trent’s POV we get a similar thing:

Did you recognize the woman who tried to outbid Kelsey?  She was Beatrice Peterson, or Reese, as she preferred to go by.

Also, I still I have no idea who Beatrice is and why she’s so terrible, besides the obvious reasons, so no Trent, I did not recognize her. This was literally so frustrating. It was as if the author, Stina Lindenblatt, was attempting to do a breaking down of the fourth wall, like in House of Cards, but with a book and it just didn’t work well here. At least not for me. The thing is I know I’ve read other books that are kind of written like this that I loved but I think Lindenblatt just tried too hard with this, especially because we got it in both POVs so the voices started to sound a little similar.

Additionally, there were just too many points where the narrators kept asking me to “imagine” things or “remember when” something. This seemed to happen at the start of a lot of chapters and in both POVs and it was so irritating. Still, despite how infuriating I found the writing style to be I did push through and finished the novel and it wasn’t totally terrible. The plot itself was fine, in that it was exactly what I expected it to be. Boy likes girl, girl likes boy, both think they can’t be together, they hook-up anyway, keep it a secret, there’s some kind of conflict, they go their separate ways, only to realize they’re perfect for each other. One major issue I did have with the plot was the “break-up” scene. It just felt so anticlimatic to me and completely out of nowhere. There was no build up and it was so abrupt that I had to go back and read it over to make sure that was the break-up scene. Seriously, the whole moment only took like two pages.

Still, I did really like Trent and Kelsey as people though. I thought their dialogue was great and their chemistry was good. Even so, overall I wasn’t all that impressed with this novel and I’m glad I only spent 99 cents on it.

Stars:

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Favorite Line:

“I love everything about you. Your love for your job and the kids you help. Your love of life. Your love of those funny little owls. Your amazing photographs. Your heart. I love it all.”

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Book Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend

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Synopsis:

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she decides to do the unthinkable…convince the cute guy waiting to pick up his sister to pretend to be her boyfriend for the night. The task is simple: two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

The problem is that days after prom, she can’t stop thinking about her fill-in boyfriend. But can Gia turn her fake boyfriend into a real one without exposing her lie and possibly destroying her friendships and her newfound relationship?

Smartly observed and wonderfully romantic, Kasie West’s talent shines in this tale of one girl’s unexpected quest to find love…and possibly herself.

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Review

The Fill-In Boyfriend has been sitting on my shelves for at least a year and after seeing Kasie West’s books all over bookstagram I decided to finally give this book a try. Overall I liked it. It was a cute, short, romantic read that only took me a day to finish. The novel is told in the POV of Gia and the novel literally begins with her being dumped outside of her prom and it wasn’t the prettiest break-up.

From the very start of the novel I could tell what kind of person Gia was. She wasn’t so concerned with her break-up and was more worried about what her friends would think when she walked into prom solo. In other words, Gia is all about appearances, which is why she enlists a total stranger to pretend to be her now ex-boyfriend, Bradley. To be fair, the whole reason Gia feels she has to go to these extreme lengths instead of just telling her friends the truth about her break-up with Bradley is because this new girl, Jules, has infiltrated her friend group and has basically been implying that Bradley wasn’t real. Thus to prove Jules wrong Gia shows up to prom with the “fill-in Bradley,” who I’ll now refer to as FIB.

Gia reminded me a lot of Andie from The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson. They’re both very focused on keeping up appearances, they don’t stick with the same boyfriend for too long, and they like to keep their relationships with other people only on the surface level and never anything deeper than that. For this reason, I couldn’t help but compare the two novels and although I will say I like The Unexpected Everything better I still thought The Fill-In Boyfriend was a great novel and the plots were different enough that I think you can enjoy both without feeling like you’re reading the same book.

While The Fill-In Boyfriend heavily deals with the fact that Gia doesn’t real deal with her feelings it also focuses on her friendships and the tangled web of lies she weaves when she first hatches her plan with the FIB. Naturally, although this was only supposed to be a one night thing it quickly spirals out of control and along the way Gia found herself actually opening up to people in a way she hadn’t done before, not even with her family who’s just as closed off as she is.

Although I thought Gia’s whole “fake boyfriend” ploy was juvenile and Gia should’ve just manned up from the beginning and been honest I also hated Jules and kind of wanted to see Gia beat her at her own game. As I continued reading though I realized I kind of hated all of Gia’s friends and felt she was better off without them. However, I did fall in love with FIB and his little sister, Bec. They, along with Gia, made this novel for me and I really liked the chemistry between Gia and FIB.

Like I said, this book was really cute and a quick read. I recommend it if you’re look for something with a happy ending, some teen angst, and a lot of fluff.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“My preference is simple—you.”

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Book Review: The Sun is Also a Star

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Synopsis:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

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Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from First in Line and B-Fest. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it.*

Nicola Yoon knows how to make me feel all the feelings. At first I wasn’t sure I would like this novel because it’s written in an interesting way. Not only do we get the first person perspectives of Daniel and Natasha but we also get the history and future histories of other characters. We learn what’s to come for Daniel’s brother, Charlie, and Natasha’s father’s history of regret. Yoon not only gives us insight into almost every character that Daniel and Natasha come into contact with but she also gives us the history of African-American hair care, the meaning of fate and love, and many other things.

In the beginning I wasn’t a fan of these extra little side stories and histories and just wanted the Natasha and Daniel parts of the novel but then I ended up actually loving those sections that weren’t about Natasha and Daniel. I started worrying about Irene, the security guard, and Jeremy, the lawyer. I wanted to know how their stories would end and what their future histories would look like. Yoon made me become invested in characters that weren’t even main characters and that’s what’s truly remarkable about this book.

Yoon expertly weaves a love story that’s also an exposé on how our actions, whether they’re big or small, can affect the lives of the people around us. How one moment or one day can alter someone’s life forever. The Sun is Also a Star takes place within the span of a day but we see so much more than just what happens in this one day. We see what led to this one day in Natasha and Daniel’s lives and what comes after and it’s beautiful and heartbreaking to read. This novel deals with not only romance but immigration, racial tensions, a lot of science, and poetry.

If you’re looking for a love story that will make you swoon Natasha and Daniel definitely give you that but The Sun is Also a Star isn’t just a romance novel. It’s so much more than that. It’s a story about people, and how despite our differences we’re all connected in some way. Definitely give this book a read if you haven’t yet. It’s worth every penny.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Love always changes everything.”

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Book Review: Caught Up in Us

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Synopsis:

A second chance at first love… Five years ago, Kat Harper fell into a dizzying summer romance with her brother’s best friend Bryan. It was a mad, crazy love full of kisses all through the night — but he broke her heart and she had to move on. Five years later, Kat is finishing her graduate degree and building her business as a jewelry designer, when Bryan, head of his own successful company, walks back into her life. Bryan has been assigned to Kat as her new business mentor and the rules are clear. No hanky panky permitted. Kat can handle that because she’s totally over him… right? Except, he still makes her laugh, and he remembers all the things she likes. Not to mention that he’s even more handsome now than he was then. Then there’s the spark between them — the simply undeniable chemistry, and the tender ways he shows he still cares for her. Can they resist each other the second time around or will first love trump all?

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Review

Typically I love Lauren Blakely’s writing but this book just didn’t do it for me. The novel is told in the first person point of view and it’s Kat’s point of view. Unfortunately I didn’t like Kat. I found her to be annoying. However, I did like Bryan and the romance between him and Kat was swoonworthy so that made this book okay for me but I didn’t love it.

What drove me crazy was Kat’s attempt at trying to pretend she still didn’t have feelings for Bryan and the lengths she want to try to pretend those feelings weren’t there. On the one hand I tried to me empathetic. I know what it’s like to like someone and not want to but hearing Kat’s thoughts about it drove me crazy. Just get over it already! Or tell him how you really feel. Just do something! It was so frustrating.

Still, even though I didn’t love this novel it was a quick, romantic read. It took me only a day to get through and there were some very steamy scenes that were fun to read. Besides that though I wasn’t all that interested in this novel and won’t be reading the other books in this series.

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“He was a movie kiss, he was the name above the title. He was the one you wanted the heroine to wind up with so badly that your heart ached for her when they weren’t together, then soared when they finally were.”

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