Book Review: Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Publisher: Avon
Publication Year: 2019
Page Count: 373
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 3.5 stars

Blurb (From GoodReads):

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve been seeing this book everywhere! Because of that, I’ve been hesitant to review it because there are so many out there. However, I don’t think I liked this book as much as everyone else, so I just wanted to give my two sense!

This book is told from two point of views, Chloe Brown and Red. After a near death experience, Chloe decides she needs to grab life by the reins and do things she normally wouldn’t do. However, she has no idea where to begin, and turns to her nemesis, Red.

I really liked reading from Chloe Brown’s point of view! She was funny, and I just wanted more and more from her! Along with that, Chloe has an illness that leaves her in chronic pain. I thought this representation was really well done (although I do not have this illness, so I am not sure if it was accurate). I feel like chronic illness isn’t something readers get a lot, especially in swoon-worthy romance novels, so this was a great addition! I also adored Chloe’s sisters! I loved the dynamic between the three of them- it was just so much fun, and their banter was so great.

While I did enjoy Red, I just wasn’t as invested in his character as much as I was with Chloe’s, and I can’t explain why. Perhaps since this series is about the Brown sisters it felt a bit out of place to me? I honestly couldn’t say. But one thing I did appreciate about Red’s perspective was the mental healthy representation. Near the end of the novel, we are in Red’s POV while he is having what I would describe as a mental breakdown or panic attack. This scene felt really authentic to me and I am happy that we got this in addition to the chronic illness representation.

As for the romance itself, I did think it was cute! However, I didn’t necessarily understand where the hate between Chloe and Red was coming from in the beginning of the novel. Chloe talks about despising Red, but I am not quite sure why. Red mentions he disliked Chloe because she had a perfect exterior, so I think that was a bit more believable, although it still wasn’t quite enough to convince me that the two off them were actually enemies. However, I did really enjoy the transition into lovers (although I did feel like it was a bit sudden on Red’s behalf). Once the flirting and romance actually began to happen, I definitely was swooning over the couple. While the romance was fluffy and fun, there also were some really heavy topics that were brought up as well.

All in all, this was a fun and fairly quick read, although I am not sure if it is something that will stick with me long term. Even so, I think I will be continuing with Take a Hint, Dani Brown because I have heard such great things about it, that I have to give it a try.

What did you think of this book? Leave a comment below!

Review: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

“You guys read romance novels?”
“We call them manuals.”

Lyssa Kay Adams, The Bromance Book Club

Page count: 352 pages
Publication year: 2019
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Format: audiobook
Rating: 4 stars

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble.

After Gavin’s wife, Thea, asks for a divorce, Gavin’s whole world turns upside-down. Completely distraught, Gavin turns to his teammates for help. Little does he know that his teammates have been in a similar situation, and have found a solution. They introduce Gavin “The Bromance Book Club,” a book club made up of Nashville’s elite men who have been having marriage trouble of their own. To try to fix their relationships, they read romance novels to find out what women are looking for in their men. While reading these books and trying to save his marriage, Gavin realizes maybe he never knew Thea at all, and vows to win her back.

I almost didn’t read this book. My loan was almost expired from the library, so I decided I might as well give it a shot. I am so happy I did! Usually, I am not into books that have to do with sports or anything of the sort. This was definitely an exception for me.

One of my favorite parts about this book is that although it was fluffy, it also had some super meaningful moments. The author discusses toxic masculinity quite frequently in a way that is easy to understand but also funny. If a guy wants to order a PSL, why the hell shouldn’t they? They’re delicious! It was super refreshing to see this being brought up in romance novels. The author also addresses absent parents. Thea’s father is about to get married for the fifth(?) time, and she discusses the hurt that goes into that, no matter how much you expect it.

Gavin Scott was so much fun to read about. It was so much fun watching him interact with his three year old twin daughters. Seeing the measures he took to try to fix his marriage and putting his all in for Thea was amazing to read about. Although I loved Gavin, I wasn’t as on board with Thea. Gavin was putting everything he had into fixing the marriage, yet she refused to put an ounce of effort into doing the same. This was especially frustrating because they had two daughters, and I feel like she should have been doing whatever she could to make sure they didn’t grow up without a dad. I understand where her insecurities were coming from, but I couldn’t help but feel irritated with her.

The other problem I had with this book was Liv. I cannot think of a single character more selfish than her. I felt like she was trying to sabotage her sister’s marriage because she was so insecure of herself that she couldn’t bear to see her thriving. She is the reason I brought my rating from a 5 star to a 4 star read. Although I loved this book, I don’t think I will be reading the next one in the series because I know Liv is the main character, and I don’t have much of an interest of reading more from her.

All in all, I really did love this book. If you are on the fence like I was, I would definitely recommend picking it up. It is a fresh take on the romance genre yet has some depth to it!

What did you think of this book? Leave your opinions in the comments below!

Book Review: Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

2.5 stars

Katrina, an ex-model, spent most of her childhood in the spotlight as a model. Now, after the death of her husband, she has created a space of anonymity for herself. That is, until one day, a man approaches her at a busy coffee shop and asks to sit with her. He’s cute, but Katrina isn’t ready to date, so she politely turns him down when he asks. She thinks the interaction is over, but the next day finds out that an observer at the next table documented the entire thing on her Twitter- included with a photo. Next thing Katrina knows, she is going viral as the #CafeBae and people all over the world are trying to uncover her identity. So when her bodyguard, Jas, suggests a weekend away, that sounds exactly like what Katrina needs. However, the more she spends time with Jas, the more she realizes that the sparks between them are undeniable.

This is the companion novel to The Right Swipe (full review here), a book I was pleasantly surprised by. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling this book quite as much.

I really liked reading from Katrina’s perspective. She was lots of fun and had an interesting back story. In fact, I wish we would’ve gotten more about her backstory. The author added a few details, such as an abusive father and a kidnapping, but I wish she would’ve gone a bit more in depth into water her childhood and pre-marriage life was like.

This was a dual perspective novel, so although I liked Katrina’s voice, I didn’t like Jas’s as much. I found him quite boring and monotone compared to her. Even by the end of the book, I felt like I didn’t know that much about him, and I also didn’t understand how his feelings for Katrina had come to be. From the start of the novel, he’s such crazy for her, and I wish I would’ve been able to see a build up of those feelings. He had so much family drama going on, and I felt like that’s the only part of Jas’s character that was really developed.

Now, let’s continue with the romance. The idea of a bodyguard romance sounds super intriguing, but this really didn’t work for me. I didn’t understand where Jas and Katrina’s relationship stemmed from, it just kind of appeared. It didn’t seem very real to me. The author tries to cover for this by saying they had been into each other for since the beginning, but I still didn’t really feel it. This made the whole story feel kind of insta-lovey. Not only that, but the two also claim to love the other after the first time they kiss. It just didn’t feel super real.

Although this wasn’t my favorite, there were some things I really did like about this book! Gia, Katrina’s roommate, is so precious and I am so excited for her to get her own novel! I also loved the mental health representation in this book! Katrina struggles with anxiety, and the author goes into detail about how this affects Katrina. However, I love the fact that even though Katrina has anxiety, she is still crazy successful! She has amazing friends, financial security, and by the end a great boyfriend. I feel like there is a stigma that people with anxiety cannot be successful, and the author totally erases that prejudice.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

Review: If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

4.5 stars

“Those who said family mattered above all else were wrong. People you love, who love you back, matter above all. Crap people you happen to be related to: you need to stop thinking you owe them a limitless number of chances to hurt you.”

Mhairi McFarlane, If I Never Met You

Laurie has been dating Dan for over a decade. Things with Dan were easy, and although they didn’t talk about it much, she always saw herself marrying him in the distant future and starting a family with him. However, one night Dan abruptly decides to end things with Laurie, and to make things more awkward, she still has to see him everyday at the law firm where she works. Just when Laurie thinks things can’t get worst, Dan breaks the news to her that his new girlfriend (whom he left her for) is now pregnant. After Laurie meets Jamie Carter, the office playboy, in the elevator, the two strike up a deal. Jamie needs a stable girlfriend with a good reputation to impress his boss, and Laurie wants to make Dan jealous. The two decide to pretend to be the office’s new hot couple until Christmas time, where they will stage a polite breakup. Of course, after Jamie and Laurie start to get to know each other better, they struggle to determine how much of their relationship is actually fake…

Not to be over dramatic but I am OBSESSED with this book!

I absolutely fell in love with both of the characters in this novel. Laurie was so much fun and so relatable to read about. My heart was breaking when hers broke, and filled with butterflies when hers did. Not only that, but she is a badass woman at her law firm and doesn’t let any man walk all over her. She addresses the double standards that come with being employed in a field dominated mostly by men, and isn’t afraid to stand up to the back stabbing women she works with. She is so precious and I just love her!

Jamie Carter is also equally swoon-worthy. Although he has a bit of a reputation as a playboy, it is so much fun to watch him change throughout the course of the novel as you see him actually falling in love. One thing I really liked about his character is that he was chasing Laurie. I feel like in a lot of romance books you see the woman chasing after the man, but in this one you could tell he was trying to make the relationship shift from a fake to a real one more so than Laurie was.

This book is not only one of the cutest love stories ever, but it also deals with some real world issues. Laurie is Black and has to deal with ignorant comments from her coworkers, such as the classic “where are you really from?” and such. Not only that, but Laurie has a rocky relationship with both of her parents, especially her dad. As someone in a similar situation, I saw a lot of myself in Laurie and it hit very close to home.

So, basically, I need to read the rest of Mhairi McFarlane’s books right now. This is definitely a favorite of the year for me and I can’t wait to see what the author publishes next!

Review: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

5 stars

“Has Nicholas ever looked this happy? No. What a shame, to know I’ve been accepting anything less than this smile he’s giving me right now.”

Sarah Hogle, You Deserve Each Other

From the outside, Naomi and Nicholas’s relationship seems perfect. The engaged pair seems to be “couple goals” from the outside, but in reality they are far from it. With the wedding three months away, Noami realizes how much Nicholas drives her absolutely crazy. He never sticks up for her when her evil mother-in-law bullies her, he doesn’t confront her on big decisions, and he is just plain annoying. To her surprise, Nicholas is just as unhappy in the relationship as she is. The problem is, whoever calls off the wedding has to pay the enormous non-refundable wedding bill. Naomi decides she needs to sabotage their relationship as much as possible until Nicholas can’t take it anymore. However, by doing so, the couple spends more time together and to their surprise, start falling in love with the person they met years ago.

I literally cannot say enough good things about this book! I read it weeks ago, but cannot stop thinking about it. Sarah Hogle’s writing is absolutely addictive.

The best part of this book for me was definitely the characters. Naomi was so much fun to read about. Even though at times she was immature, it made her seem more human and relatable. Not to mention, she was absolutely hilarious. I listened to the audiobook and couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of the things her character did. I was rooting for her and Nichloas the entire time as they tried to figure their relationship out. Her and Nicholas’s banter was so funny, and even when they were fighting, the author kept the tone light to the readers so it stayed a light hearted read.

I also loved Nicholas and Naomi’s relationship. Obviously, it was definitely in no way perfect, but watching them fall back in love was so much fun. This was the first love-to hate-to love story I’ve read, but I don’t think others will compare after reading this one. Watching them slowly becoming a real couple was so heart touching, and I never stopped rooting for them, even when one of them was being ridiculous. I loved seeing the pranks they played on each other. This book definitely shows that marriage can be so much fun if you are marrying the right person, and how important it is to have an established friendship with your significant other. By the end, Nicholas and Naomi are best friends, and it makes me so damn happy!

I could gush about this book forever, but if you are looking for a new favorite rom-com, I can very confidently say that this would be a great recommendation. This book also has very little smut in it, which is good for me because I don’t love reading very detailed sex scenes. I am so excited to see what Sarah Hogle writes in the future and already can’t wait to reread this one!

Review: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

4 stars

“It’s not a weakness to take care of yourself. Asking for and taking what you need to function should never be considered a weakness.”

Alisha Rai, The Right Swipe

Rhiannon Hunter straight up doesn’t have time for a romantic relationship. Even though she is the CEO and owner of the company Crush (the hottest dating app of the modern world), romance is the last thing on her mind. However, the occasional hookup isn’t out of the question, and when one of those hookups happens to be retired NFL player Samson Lima, how would anyone resist? Unfortunately, things go downhill after her ghosts her the next night.

Months later, Rhiannon is positive she is over the hurt of being ghosted, until he reappears on a team with her business rival, Matchmaker. Samson asks for forgiveness and a second chance, but how can Rhiannon trust someone who’s ghosted her?

TW: sexual harassment, cyber bullying

Okay so first of all, can we appreciate this gorgeous cover that prompted me to pick this book up in the first place? And let me tell you, the story inside is just as cute as the cover on the outside!

I loved so many things about this book, but one of my favorite things was the discussion of race and gender in the workplace. Rhiannon is literally one of my favorite people I’ve read about in a romance novel. As a black woman in the business world, she handles the topics of racism and sexism with such grace and integrity. This book addressed so many important issues and put them into a real world context. Rhi is just a badass woman and I love her!

Also, can we just talk about how amazing the representation was in this book? The main characters were black and Samoan, Rhiannon’s assistant was Indian, her best friend Korean-American and plus sized, and Samson’s two best friends were black as well. How incredible is that?

I fell like the author took everything in this book and made it an important topic of discussion. When I found out Samson was a retired NFL player, I thought I would be less invested during his perspective because I’m not a sports person. However, the author incorporated the importance of safety and the dangers of concussions and created a whole new topic of discussion! This is a topic I have never heard being discussed before, and I didn’t even know there were problems surrounding it.

The same goes for the topic of sexual harassment. Of course, this is a delicate topic and the author could have steered clear of making it part of her plot, but decided to go at it and really brought it to the forefronts of people’s minds. She addressed why some women don’t come forward, and why it can ruin a woman’s life.

Also, this romance was just so swoon worthy! Samson and Rhiannon are so precious and their relationship was actually believable. I liked how the author brought in Rhiannon’s past hurts and Samson’s insecurities and it made the couple stronger. It was one of the healthiest relationships I have read about and both respect each other and their boundaries, but also want to help the other overcome what’s hurting them. My heart couldn’t take it!

Basically, pick this book up! It is fun, meaningful, and just so dang cute! I am so excited to read the sequel soon!

Review: Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

2.5 stars

“Just because their standards are low does not mean that we should lower ours.”

-Jasmine Guillory, The Wedding Date

This book follows Vivian, a 55 year old single mother to Maddie, the main character in The Wedding Party. Maddie was invited to style a Christmas outfit for the Dutchess of England and invites her mother to come with her overseas for the holiday. Here, Vivian meets charming Englishman Malcolm, who works for the Queen. The two hit it off right away, and Vivian decides that a little vacation fling won’t hurt anyone. However, things get messy when she begins to catch feelings she knows can never travel back home with her.

I picked up this book to prepare for Christmas time and although I had high expectations, I was a bit disappointed. I have read 3/4 of Jasmine Guillory’s books and none of them have really stood out to me. With this one taking place in England during the holiday season, I was hoping this would be the one to make me truly fall in love with Jasmine Guillory’s books.

I had the same problem with this book as I did with The Wedding Date, it was just a little too repetitive for my taste. I felt like I was reading the same story over and over again, especially in the second half of the book. Furthermore, this relationship felt so rushed to me, and I wasn’t really rooting for the characters because I didn’t see very much of a relationship between them. I didn’t feel any chemistry and honestly just really didn’t care about whether or not they got together.

I know this is a romance so I can’t be too hard on Guillory, but the ending was so predictable. Maybe I’ve just read too many of her books and know her writing style by now, but it was very underwhelming and didn’t make my heart flutter like the end of a romance book should.

This whole book was also a bit unrealistic, so you definitely have to read it with an open mind. For example: running into the queen while on a walk? That is not something that just happens.

All in all, I did not hate this book. It was short and quick, and I did enjoy reading about a woman in a stage of life I don’t usually read about. I also did enjoy the setting and watching Vivian get to explore London. I am a sucker for European romances.

This may be the last Jasmine Guillory book for me for awhile. I love reading romance books that have minorities as the main character because OF COURSE they deserve to be the star of their own love stories! Guillory might just not be the way to go when I’m craving a story like this.

Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

4 stars

“I don’t want just a night or a week or a month with you. I want you all the time. I like you better than calculus, and math is the only thing that unites the universe.”

-Helen Hoang, The Kiss Quotient

All her life, the only thing that has ever really made sense to Stella was math. She spends her days plugging algorithms into computers and coming up with equations that predict customer’s purchases. Stella doesn’t really have time for love or relationships. Not only that, Stella has Asperger’s and doesn’t like the idea of someone touching her. After her mother asks her to see a guy at work, Stella decides she needs practice before going on a real date. She hires Michael, a gorgeous male escort to show her all she needs to know about dating, kissing, and what happens after kissing. Soon, Stella and Michael have a hard time discerning what is real and what she is paying him to do.

I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did, especially since I was not the hugest fan of The Bride Test. But this book was just a real joy to read.

This book does a great job at bringing awareness to autism and really showed me that autism does not look the same for everyone! I have multiple autistic family members and their autism was so much different from Stella’s, whose was so much different from Khai’s. I also believe this was an Own Voices story, so of course that’s amazing as well. We do not get enough autism representation in books so I am so happy Helen Hoang is bringing this discussion to the forefront and showing that autistic people can also be the star of their own love story!

I also just loved Stella and Michael’s relationship. Going into the book, I was a little unsure because I didn’t see a good solid foundation their relationship was to be built upon, but a couple chapters in and I was rooting for them! The shift from fake love to real love was very smooth, and I’m happy that there wasn’t insta-love, which was nice for a change.

Stella was an absolute angel and so much fun to read about. It was so much fun to see her character develop from shy and awkward to brave and romantic. I felt like I was reading about a real person and couldn’t help but admire her for conquering her fears and take her life and turning it around.

I also really enjoyed Michael. At first, I thought that Stella deserved better but after some character development I was rooting for him! He was sweet and romantic and never pressured Stella into anything that made her uncomfortable.

All in all, I gave this book 4/5 stars, and I can’t wait to see what other books Helen Hoang publishes in the future!

Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

3.5 stars

This book was so stinkin’ cute!

This book follows Tiffy who has just been through a bad break up with an abusive boyfriend. Desperate for a place to live, Tiffy signs a contract with Leon, where the two come up with a flatshare plan. Leon works nights so he will get the apartment during the day, while Tiffy is at work. If all works out as planned, Tiffy and Leon will ideally never even have to meet. However, the two start to write one another notes which lead to an unlikely romance.

I loved Tiffy’s character and her personality was so much fun!! I really enjoyed reading from her perspective and liked all the gossip going on in her friend group, and of course Katherin. I liked reading about what it is like to work as an editor, and how Tiffy was a hard worker. Working for a publisher is not an easy job, and this book showed that Tiffy definitely had to work for all her success.

However, I wasn’t as fond of Leon’s perspective. The writing style took some getting used to and at some parts I found his character quite dull. However, he was so sweet and so he definitely made up some points for that.

The main issue I had with this book was the ending, it just dragged out too long for me (even though this book is relatively short).

I also loved reading the notes between these two, and loved their chemistry!! The post-it notes were so unique and a fun aspect of this book.

This book is also great if you are looking for a less intimidating adult romance. Like mentioned before, this is a relatively short book (just over 300 pages) and there are no wildly explicit scenes like some adult romance books have. This one focuses mostly on the two characters and how their relationship comes to happen, unlike other adult romances that are driven mostly by sex scenes.

Overall, this was just such a sweet book and definitely a solid romance!!