Tuesday, December 11, 2018

November 2018 Reads // Mismash!


I realized that back in September... I forgot to share my review of Not So Nice Guy by R.S. Grey. *facepalm* I got the review onto Amazon 

Not So Nice Guy by R.S. Grey****

3 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance, quirky characters, and the friends to lovers trope.

Sam and Ian have been best friends for three years. Sam has love Ian for three years, and Ian has loved Sam for three years. Ian starts a rumor at the school where they work that they are dating, so other single teachers won't hit on Sam. When she squashes his rumor, single male teachers come out of the woodwork to date her. Suddenly Ian has to put his hat into the ring as well. Is he ready to be more than just friends?

I love R.S. Grey's books, they are so darn cute and funny. This was no exception. It started out incredibly hilarious and I loved their initial chemistry. Friends to lovers is one of my favorite romance tropes, so I was loving how it was progressing. I was having a rough couple of days though, so I am not sure if it skewed my opinion... but it ended up being a little bit all over the place for me. I loved the beginning, I loooved how he threw his hat in the ring, and some of the steamy/tension-y scenes at that point. However, I felt like I didn't understand Ian's character after that. He was trying to seduce her and then he just kind of asked her to date and stopped communicating. Maybe I didn't quite "get" them. I like that he gave her space to figure out what she wanted, but other times she asked for what she wanted... and got turned away. I'm not really sure. During that time a lot of zany things happened, which wasn't quite what I expected from her book. Not completely sure how I feel about it yet, it was a fun read, it had some really good steamy parts, but it also wasn't my favorite I've read from R.S. Grey.

Someone to Hold (Westcott #2) by Mary Balogh

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy historical romance. This is the second book in the series.

Camille Wescott's life was overturned when her father's death realized her fate as an illegitimate child and penniless. Upon moving to Bath to live with her grandmother, Camille decides to begin teaching at the orphanage where her half-sister used to live and work. Her time there helps her realize that she could be content with a simpler life, and that she very much wants to be a mother. When she meets Joel Cunningham, the orphanage's art teacher, and master portrait painter she is immediately taken with him. Can Camille adjust to her new life, and will Joel be content to live a simpler life with her?

Overall I enjoyed this book more than the first one. I liked the setting within the orphanage, a smaller city, and a lower society much better. I liked hearing about Camille's journey to accept her new life, and her teaching at the orphanage. I found Joel to be infinitely more appealing than Avery, not that he was horrible... I just thought the chemistry was better. I also like that Camille and Joel kind of made their own rules and made their strange relationship work. I liked the ending, though HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILER: did anyone else wish that they hadn't inherited all of that money? :/ 

Someone to Wed (Wescott #3) by Mary Balogh

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy historical romance. This is the third book in the series.

Alexander Wescott has unexpectedly inherited the title of Earl of Riverdale and a drowning country estate that he cannot pay to repair. Despite his distaste for it, he knows that he must marry a wealthy woman. Wren Heyden is a recluse with no surviving family. She owns her uncle's company, his estate, and is extremely wealthy. All that Wren is missing is a husband and a family. Can she convince the extremely proper Alexander to marry her for her money?

THIS IS THE BOOK I WAS WAITING FOR. Also, that start. So direct. I love it. I liked that this book was a bit different than the other two. I loved how forward, modern, etc. Wren was. I loved her contrast to Alexander and how they made it work. I could have gone for all of this happening at the country estates... but I guess they had to get her out of her shell. I adore that this was a bit of a Beauty and the Beast in reverse. I really liked pretty much everything about this one. It is my favorite in the series so far!

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

4 Stars - I recommend if you are looking for excellent writing, vivid world building, and a completely original fantasy plot.

Richard Mayhew's life is right on track, if not a little average. He's a business man, and he's engaged to a woman he's been politely dating for some time. His chance meeting with a wounded girl catapults him into the world of London Below. A place that no upworlder knows exists. An incredibly dangerous place filled with criminals, beasts, sewer people, danger, and rats. How can Richard survive London Below, and make it back to his London Above life in one piece?

It took me a little while to get into this book, the world and how it was written. It was immediately apparent how great of a writer Gaiman is. However, I wasn't sure that this story was for me. The world building was incredible, everything was written in such a vivid way which I adored. However, there was not a lot of linear plot until about 65-70% through the book. I will admit that I put this book down for several months. I just wasn't into it. I picked it back up and finished it very quickly. Once we got into more of the action piece of the story I quite liked it. Overall, maybe not my favorite Gaiman story, but I did end up liking it quite a bit. The world building, and incredible writing make up for any of the bits that I found were not my favorite within the plot.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy creepy stories with brave characters for children.

When Coraline moves into a new house she quickly figures out that some doors are better left locked. But is life more exciting on the other side? When her parents go missing it is up to her to find them and bring them back. Can she be brave enough to face her fears and save them?

Even though creepy themes are not my favorite by nature, I adored the reason that Gaiman wrote this book, and of course the writing style. I liked seeing how his mind translated into a children's story and a children's character. I liked how it focused on bravery and courage.

Someone to Care by Mary Balogh (Wescott #4)

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy historical romance. This is the fourth book in the series.

Viola Kinglsey, the former countess of Riverdale has been trying to start her life over. When her husband died, it came out that her marriage to him was illegitimate and that his daughter from his previous (and only) marriage was to inherit his fortune and property. All of a sudden Viola is left without a fortune, a home, and her children's futures are ruined. Since that time her children have started to remake their lives, but she is still unmoored. When a chance meeting reacquaints her with a man she once loved, The Marquess of Devonshire, she decides to take a chance on an improper decision. But how will her life move on once her fling has ended?

I wasn't expecting to like this one quite as much as the others. It is a second chance love story of one of the older characters, and I wasn't particularly interested. However, this one really grabs you from the beginning. A lot of the romance happens early on, and for the most part the plot kept my interest very well. I like that part of it took place at Christmas. I think that all of the other ones take place in spring and summer. Overall I liked Viola, and Marcel and how they worked through their various issues.

Someone to Trust (Wescott #5)**

3 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy historical romance. This is the fifth book in the series.

Elizabeth Overfield has been married before. Her first husband was abusive, and she was able to escape his clutches. After years of healing she is ready to enter into the "marriage mart" again. Colin Handrich is also ready to look for a spouse, but doesn't find any of the ladies he meets very compatible to his life. He does however, find Elizabeth to be a good companion. However, she's nine years older than he is, and not a suitable match. After a shared kiss, they part ways agreeing to look for more suitable people in London. Their agreement to save a waltz for each other at each dance however, may disrupt their marriage plans.

At first I loooooved this book. I adored the chemistry between Elizabeth and Colin. They were so bantery and fun. It was so festive that it took place partly at Christmas as well! I thought that their age difference was really kind of appealing... but then at some point it became kind of convoluted and overly dramatic for me. So much mis-communication and thing after thing put in their way. Any sort of passion or chemistry that they had felt diminished by the end of the book, which was such a bummer. Which is crazy, because the whole waltzing thing was so sort of fun and there was so much chemistry! I was really hoping to love this one, but I didn't love it nearly as much as the other books in the series.

Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey****

4.5 Stars - I highly recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance, humor, and the enemies to lovers trope.

Bailey is a surgical assistant and loves working with her surgeon. However, when he announces his retirement she's out of a job. Dr. Russell is known for being mean, cocky, and very good at his job. When his (newest) surgical assistant quits he is in need of a new one. Bailey begins working for Dr. Russell and finds that he is just as difficult as everyone says he is... but there's also something else there. Attraction.

I was a little nervous about this one, because Grey's last book Not So Nice Guy was not my jam. I had NO NEED to be! Y'all, this book was SO GOOD. It was very very very funny, it was extremely steamy, and it had parts that were cute as heck. I loved Bailey and Matt, they had such good chemistry! There was some banter, but mostly there were just icy cold glares and heated glances. I loved Bailey and Josie's relationship, I liked that it gave her character depth and a different backstory than other female leads. I'm not sure what else to say about this one, but I loved it! Highly recommend!

How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen

4 Stars - I recommend if you are looking to learn more about hygge.

A guide to hygge living, this book is filled with recipes, design tips, and memories from the author's childhood.

Starting out I enjoyed this book. I don't think it is a particularly good overview of Hygge. It sort of assumes that you already know something about it. I felt that the print was VERY small and I have pretty good eyesight. I enjoyed her Nordic mindset that bodies are looked at in the way of their usefulness and not in how they look. However, a few times in there it did feel a little like... but I can't go cross-country skiing in the evening, even if I wanted to. There is a sort of privilege that came with the perspective on that chapter. I did enjoy the commentary on the vikings and their nature to adventure and to move. Also on the idea that we forget to have fun and worry about being silly. I feel that way about exercise and sports. Though I do not in other areas of life. So that was food for thought. Overall I enjoyed this book, I thought that there were some good ideas within it, it was filled with reasonable information, and was inspiring especially during the winter season. If you are looking for an INTRO to hygge, I would go with The Little Book of Hygge instead.

Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson*

3.5 - 4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary romances, humor, nerdy references, and PG-13 romance.

Ginny and Charlotte are twins and polar opposites. Ginny is a beauty queen with an Instagram presence that earns her living. Charlotte is a school librarian with a minor Harry Potter obsession.When Charlotte agrees to attend Ginny's pageant in Florida she imagines she'll be there for the finals to cheer her sister on.. .but otherwise reading and visiting Harry Potter World. However, when Ginny has an allergic reaction and is unable to compete she convinces Charlotte to take her place for the first few days. What can go wrong? Not to mention... one of the judges is both nerdy, and incredibly handsome.

This is a really cute, quick read. I enjoyed this Parent Trap meets Miss Congeniality plot. At first I was hoping for the whole story to be about Ginny and Charlotte...  Sort of a coming to terms story with their sisterhood and their differences. As the book went though, I really ended up liking Grey. So I wasn't too sad that there was romance involved in the plot too. It was very cute in a nerdy sort of way (so many Harry Potter references! etc.). Also she says her favorite book is Jane Eyre. So it's a keeper for obvious reasons. I liked that this book did address the issues she had with her sister, and with herself as well as the romantic plot. This was a very cute PG-13 sort of romance... and I liked it. :)

Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess by Janet Hill*

5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy children's books, or gift/art books.

Miss Mink is a cat countess with her own cruise company. When she finds herself feeling down, she looks to her sixty-seven cats for advice on contented living.

Janet Hill has been one of my favorite Etsy artists for years.When Miss Moon: Wise Words for a Dog Governess came out a couple of years ago, I jumped at the chance to read and review it. I have now bought a copy for myself and gifted it to several kiddos in my life. Iwas so excite dto see Miss Mink was available as well. I consider myself a cat person, though I love dogs too. This book was just as delightful as Miss Moon, with so many cute, quirky paintings of Miss Mink and her sixty-seven cat friends. I love the whimsy of Janet Hill's world, I hope that she keeps writing books in addition to telling stories through her paintings. I definitely recommend this to parents and to anyone who loves a nice art/gift book.



What have you read lately?!

How's your 2018 reading goal looking?!



* Asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Netgalley

**Double asterisks denote books won via a goodreads giveaway! 

***Triple asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Penguin First to Read!

****Quadruple asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by the author of the book in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time! 

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