Book Review: How to Sleep with a Movie Star by Kristin Harmel

Book Info:
Title: How to Sleep with a Movie Star
Author: Kristin Harmel
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Chick-Lit
Print Length: 337 pages
Notes: written in first person perspective, past tense

Rating Comparison:
Goodreads: 3.68
Amazon.com: 4.1
Me: 2.0

How to Sleep with a Movie Star

Synopsis

When Claire lands the plum assignment of interviewing Hollywood’s #1 hottie (Cole Brannon), she knows better than to mix business with pleasure, yet the next morning she wakes up in his bed–without her clothes. The tabloids pick up the story, and she learns that not everything printed is true.

My thoughts…

When I first saw this book on Goodreads, I thought the premise sounded interesting, fun, and light, essentially another chick-lit to add to my ever-growing TBR list. Then I saw that one of my favorite authors, Julie James, had rated it 4 out of 5. That right there was the clincher for me. I went from putting the book in my “maybe” pile to instantly downloading it, and starting on the first chapter straightaway.

Let me just say that I really wanted to like this book, because I had so much faith in Ms. James’s literary taste, but in the end, I couldn’t do it. Claire is probably the most unlikeable female lead that I’ve ever had the misfortune to read about. She’s a push-over with a long list of body issues, and a lack of self-worth.

A few days after finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman, she was already thinking about taking him back. He didn’t even have to do anything to get her to that point. All he did was call her, probably to apologize, and to make excuses for his behavior. He didn’t send her flowers, nor did he make any sort of grand romantic gesture to show her how sorry he was. I’m not saying that flowers would’ve made things better, but if my boyfriend cheated on me, he’d have to do a lot better than just calling to apologize. And even then, I probably still wouldn’t take him back.

Claire, on the other hand, would’ve gone right back to living with Tom, her cheating freeloading ex-boyfriend, if he hadn’t made the mistake of asking her for money right before she was about to forgive him. She was so willing to believe the good in Tom; meanwhile, she’d believe the worst about Cole. She refers to Cole as lying scum for “sleeping” with other women, when she had absolutely no right to be angry. They weren’t in a relationship. He should be free to sleep with whomever he wanted. See the irony here? She’s absolutely furious at Cole even though they weren’t dating. Meanwhile, she’s about ready to welcome back cheating Tom with open arms, the man who was supposed to be faithful to her. How does that even make sense?!

Not only is she completely irrational, and lacking in self-respect, she’s also overly insecure about her looks. Halfway through the book, her insecurities started to grate on me. I get that people have body issues, but i don’t need to read about it over and over again!

Enough of my rant about Claire though. Let’s move on to discuss Cole. Cole was so incredibly perfect that he ended up becoming mind-numbingly dull. His parts in the book were very minimal. He was only in the story for about 20% of the time, so there wasn’t much opportunity for character development. His character fell very flat and 2-dimensional. I also never really felt any chemistry between him and Claire. I felt like he was just there to fulfill every girl’s fantasy of ending up with a famous good-looking actor.

The only thing that I liked about this book was the fact that everyone got just what they deserved in the end. For that reason, I’m giving this a 2 out of 5 rating, instead of the 1.5 that I was so tempted to give it. I’m actually very surprised that Julie James liked this book, but what can I really say? Everyone has different tastes, right?

My Rating: 2/5

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Book Review: Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

Book Info:
Title: Mr. Perfect
Author: Linda Howard
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Print Length: 432 pages

Rating Comparison:
Goodreads: 4.08
Amazon.com: 4.2
Me: 4.0

I’ve had this book sitting in my TBR list for the past couple of months. Now, I’m just scratching my head, wondering why it took me so long to pick it up, especially when I’ve been in a bit of a book rut. I guess I really have no one to blame but myself for this one. I’ve been way too preoccupied with my TV shows, and my chick-lit that I almost missed out on a great book. Well, I’ve learned my lesson. I will try to make a conscious effort to read different genres of books from now on, because you never know what great stories you’re missing out on when you refuse to try new things ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In any case, here’s a little description of the book before I jump into my review.

What would make the perfect man?

Mr. PerfectThat’s the deliciously racy topic that Jaine Bright and her three girlfriends are pondering one night at their favorite after-hours hot spot: Mr. Perfect. Would he be tall, dark, and handsome? Caring and warmhearted — or will just muscular do? As their conversation hears up, they concoct a tongue-in-cheek checklist that becomes an overnight sensation, spreading like wildfire at work and sizzling along e-mail lines. But what began as a joke among friends turns deadly serious when one of the four women is murdered….Turning to her neighbor, an unpredictable police detective, for help, Jaine must unmask a killer to save her friends — and herself. Now, knowing whom to trust and whom to love is a matter of survival — as the dream of Mr. Perfect becomes a chilling nightmare.

The book starts off really strong with a very disturbing glimpse into the killer’s violent childhood. That first look at young Corin made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It was fascinatingly creepy. I knew then that this book was going to be great!

The story does lose a little bit of its momentum after that hair-raising prologue, but it picks up speed halfway through the book. Some parts of story were so creepy that I actually got scared of going to the bathroom in the middle of the night 🙄 …I’m a big scaredy cat 😐

Putting the creepiness aside though, I did enjoy Jaine and Sam together. The back and forth between them was very well-written, and entertaining. However, I wasn’t too crazy about how quickly things progressed between them. I personally think that it was a bit too rushed. It would’ve been better if Sam waited until the very end of the book to propose to Jaine. It just seems unrealistic that he would ask her to marry him a week after meeting her.

I was also quite bothered by how much attention the “list” was getting. I don’t really get what the big deal is. It definitely wasn’t news-worthy, so I was a bit skeptical about that whole scenario. I also thought that the men were overreacting when they got all worked-up about some of more risque items on the checklist. I definitely don’t think it’s anything worth breaking up a relationship over.

Overall, the story was really great. It’s really hard to put down once you get to the exciting parts midway through the book. The mystery of who the killer was had me guessing until the end. For that reason, I am going to give this book a 4 out of 5 rating. I definitely recommend this one!

My Rating: 4/5

Book Review: Sincerely, Carter by Whitney Gracia Williams

Book Info:
Title:
Sincerely, Carter
Author: Whitney Gracia Williams
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Print Length: 272 pages
Notes: written in alternating first person perspective, past tense

Rating Comparison:
Goodreads:
4.16
Amazon.com: 4.6
Me: 3.5

First of all, I’d like to thank Amber for recommending this book. She mentioned that I might like it, and sure enough, I did! 🙂 I was actually going to wait to read her review before diving into this book, but I got too excited after getting a peek into the 1st chapter. Now it’s looking like I might even beat her to posting a book review on here lol 😀

Anyway, as per usual, here’s the synopsis on the back cover of the book:

Sincerely, CarterJust friends.
We’re just friends.
No, really. She’s just my best friend…

Arizona Turner has been my best friend since fourth grade, even when we “hated” each other. We’ve been there for one another through first kisses, first “times,” and we’ve been each other’s constant when good relationships turned bad. (We even went to colleges that were minutes away from each other…)

Throughout the years, and despite what anyone says, we’ve never crossed the line.

Never thought about it.
Never wanted to.

Until one night changed everything.
At least, it should’ve …

Just friends.
We’re just friends.
I’m only saying this until I figure out if she’s still “just” my best friend…

To be honest, I was actually a bit hesitant about starting this book, because it was categorized under “new adult.” I’ve never had much luck with that particular genre of books. Almost all of the male leads in the new adult romances that I’ve read were too immature for my taste. They’re usually all pierced, tattooed bad boys with emotional baggage, and anger problems… Carter was a refreshing change from that. He’s a lot more mature, and relatable. The opening chapter with him and Arizona in the fourth grade immediately grabbed me, because it reminded me so much of the book “Flipped” by Wendelin Van Draanen. Both “Flipped” and “Sincerely, Carter” were written in alternating first person point of view, which I surprisingly didn’t mind. I usually like books to be written in third person, but I think using first person POV worked in this case, because it suited the style that the author was going for.

Warning, a few spoilers ahead!

I did have a problem with the pacing of the book though. The middle section was a bit slow and dragging for me, while the ending felt a little too rushed. I do think there was potential for more emotional development during Ari and Carter’s separation. The author could have made it a lot more heartbreaking if she really went in-depth into how her characters were feeling in that moment. I also felt like the conflict was too easily- and quickly-resolved after Ari comes back from France. Overall, the whole ending was just underdeveloped, and could’ve used a bit of work.

My last complaint about this book has to do with the break-up between Ari and Sean. It may just be one of the worst break-ups – if not the worst – that I have ever read in a book. It was so poorly executed and rushed. Sean definitely didn’t deserve to be dumped like that after pretty much baring his soul in front of Ari’s family and friends. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy – although I could’ve done without the whole promise ring scene… 🙄 The author really should’ve spent more time crafting a better break-up for those two characters.

Anyway, while the book isn’t perfect, to say the least, it was entertaining enough to earn a 3.5 rating from me. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a light summer read! 🙂

My Rating: 3.5/5

Book Review: Spencer by Kerry Heavens

Book Info:
Title:
Spencer
Author: Kerry Heavens
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, maybe a bit of Erotica
Print Length: 372 pages
Notes: written in alternating first person perspective, present tense

Rating Comparison:
Goodreads: 4.09
Amazon.com: 4.6
Me: 1.5

Ugh, this book was such a struggle to finish. I really wanted to like it, but I just had a difficult time getting into the story. Sorry to the person who recommended it to me! ^^’ We’re simply going to have to agree to disagree in this case. I am sad to say that I am part of the minority who just didn’t love Spencer and Jazz together.

Anyway, before I launch into my review, here’s the little blurb that I grabbed from Goodreads:

Spencer

@TheSpencerRyan exudes confidence,

I mean, have you seen him???
His dark good looks and tattooed muscled perfection are too much.
He’s hot. Lickably hot.
And he has a way with words that leaves me breathless.
But cocky doesn’t even cover it,
this guy is so arrogant you have to fight back.
But God he’s so lickable!
The thing is though,
he looks like sex but he’ll taste like jackass.

@OMGJazzyP is a sexy, annoying ball of rage in fuck-me heels
and she hates me.
Although her nipples would tend to disagree.
It’s a deadly combination.
She’s a princess.
And when I say princess, I mean intolerable, spoiled brat with a tiara.
Sure she’s got that curvaceous goddess thing going on,
but that mouth of hers…
God it needs something in it to shut it up.
#GotJustTheThingRightHere

This is not your average British romance.
It’s a tale of high heels, hot tattooed bad boys and
sex oranges, all wrapped up in a coating of chocolate.
It’s ‘love’ in a social media world,
where not everyone is who they seem
and where some people’s bios should carry a warning.
#JustSayin”

First of all, this book was written in 1st person perspective, something that I tend to avoid. Usually, I like books to be written in 3rd person, because it gives me the most insight into all of the characters’ actions, thoughts, and feelings. While the author, in this case, does alternate between telling the story from Jazz’s point of view to Spencer’s, I found that it still fell short in delivering a complete and insightful narrative. Another problem that I had was the use of present tense. I personally find that writing in past tense flows better, but I’m just being nitpicky now :\

The real reason as to why I had so much trouble finishing this book was because of the unlikeable male lead. Spencer was, in all honesty, shallow, vain, and narcissistic. At one point in the book, Spencer even says, and I quote…”Looking at myself in the mirror is usually one of my favourite activities.” 🙄 …Let that sink in for just a moment…

How is that not a turn off for all the women out there?! I’m astounded by the number of times he checks himself out in the mirror, and the number of times he poses for selfies…I really should have paid more attention to the cover photo before deciding to read the book. It’s a dead giveaway of Spencer’s personality… Don’t get me wrong; he does seem to become less self-involved as the story goes on, but by then, I was already way too turned off.

Jazz, on the other hand, was just an “okay” character for me. There were times when I got really annoyed by her lack of control, and self-respect, but other than that, she was fine. I have to say, though, that “Fine” and “okay” are probably 2 adjectives that you wouldn’t want your readers to be using to describe your fictional characters…

It’s also worth mentioning that the interaction between Spencer and Jazz consisted entirely of light bantering and flirting. I felt like they never really connected on a deeper level, because of this. They didn’t even know the most basic facts about each other (e.g., what Jazz did for a living, where Spencer’s parent were, etc.). They only find out about those things closer to the end of the book, and they don’t even hear it from each other. Instead, they had to talk to mutual friends in order to learn more about each other’s past.

It still irks to think about the number of times Jazz and Spencer got into fights/arguments over Twitter. They both came across as very immature and passive-aggressive in a lot of the posts that they made online. I can’t tell you how frustrated I was with Jazz for not blocking/unfollowing Spencer after he repeatedly dared her to.

One thing that I won’t be able deny is the sexual chemistry between the main characters. It was clearly evident in the length and the number of pages dedicated to the sex scenes. I’m actually wondering if this book should be categorized under erotica ❓ I did find myself skimming through the sex scenes after the first two or three, because it just started to get repetitive. They would fight, and then have sex, and that would just repeat over and over again. After a while, I realized that there wasn’t a lot of emotional “meat” to the story. It was just a lot of hot steamy sex. With that said, the book definitely did not need to be as long as it was. It was dragging in so many parts.

Now that I’ve spewed out all of my complaints, I should probably say that I did enjoy a bit of their social media interaction, especially when they weren’t being passive aggressive. I think the concept of using Twitter and direct messages is pretty original. It was actually what caught my attention when I first came across this book. But even with that bit of originality, I’m still going to have to give this book a 1.5/5 rating 😦 I most likely will not be reading any more books from this particular author.

My Rating: 1.5/5

Book Review: Suddenly One Summer by Julie James

Book Info:
Title:
Suddenly One Summer
Author: Julie James
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Print Length: 304 pages
Notes: Ford (the male lead in this book) was a supporting character in Love Irresistibly

Rating Comparison:
Goodreads: 3.91
Amazon.com: 4.3
Me: 3.0

Ever since I first discovered the book “Just the Sexiest Man Alive,” Julie James has become one of the few authors that I look out for. Upon reading a few more of her books, she has managed to secure a very special place in my heart with her amazing and funny writing style.

Suddenly One Summer

So, when she announced that her latest book “Suddenly One Summer” was coming out June 2015, I was ecstatic. I loved the last romance novel that she released, so I was expecting to love this one just as much. Sadly, it wasn’t so…

Before I get into what I thought about the book, here’s a little synopsis for you:

Divorce lawyer Victoria Slade has seen enough unhappy endings to swear off marriage forever. That doesn’t mean she’s opposed to casual dating—just not with her cocky new neighbor, who is as gorgeous and tempting as he is off-limits. But once she agrees to take on his sister’s case, she’s as determined to win as ever—even if that means teaming up with Ford…

Investigative journalist Ford Dixon is bent on finding the man who got his sister pregnant and left her high and dry. He’s willing to partner with Victoria, despite the fact that the beautiful brunette gets under his skin like no other woman. He might not be looking to settle down, but there’s no denying the scorching attraction between them. Still, the more time he spends with Victoria, the more he realizes that the one woman as skeptical about love as he is might be the only woman he could really fall for… 

While the story wasn’t bad, it didn’t wow me as much as I thought it would. I was expecting this book to be similar to all her other ones, which tend to be fun and light-hearted (kind of like a rom-com movie). It did start out fun with the whole “neighbour from hell” scenario, but it got serious pretty quickly. Both Victoria and Ford had emotional baggage from their childhood years, and while the back stories served to add more dimension to their characters, I feel like it took over the whole book. As I said, I was expecting light-hearted fun, but then suddenly there’s single mom drama, abandonment issues, and commitment issues…it just ended up getting drawn-out for way too many pages.

There is still that big fight/misunderstanding at the very end. That’s something that I look forward to in a book, because that’s usually the part where authors pile on a lot of emotional pull. I love getting that choked-up feeling in my throat when the characters are about to split up, because it’s telling me that I’m so connected to them in that moment that I’m essentially feeling what their feeling. So far, only two authors have been able to make me feel that way with their writing. One’s Judith McNaught and the other is Julie James. Here’s to hoping that Julie James goes back to writing smart, fun, amazing love stories with just a touch of heart-wrenching stuff at the very end of the book ❤

As much as it pains me to give Ms. James anything lower than a 4, I am going to have to give “Suddenly One Summer” a 3/5 rating. This is definitely not her best work, but I recommend her other books “Just the Sexiest Man Alive” and “It Happened One Wedding.” 🙂

My Rating: 3/5

Book Review: The Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne

Book Info:
Title: The Trouble with Love
Author: Lauren Layne
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit
Print Length: 248 pages
Notes: Book #4 in the Stiletto series, but can be read as a standalone

Rating Comparison:
Goodreads: 
4.22
Amazon.com: 4.7
Me: 3.0

If you knew me in person, you would know that I have a real weakness for rom-coms. This chick-lit is pretty much the equivalent of that in book form. So that’s one big checkmark for me.

The Trouble with LoveThen, add the fact that the main characters have history together…that’s another big checkmark for me. I’m a huge sucker for second chance romance, where the man and woman meet again after years of being out of each other’s lives, and they now have to deal with unresolved issues and unfinished business.

This book should have been a slam-dunk for me. It had a lot of the things that I’m looking for in the romance department, but sadly, it fell just a little bit short.

To give you a better idea of what the book is about, here is the synopsis of the book that I grabbed from Goodreads:

As Stiletto magazine’s authority on all things breakup-and-heartache, Emma Sinclair writes from personal experience. Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.

After giving up everything for a pro-soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.

My main problem with the book was the anti-climactic ending. In it, Alex and Emma have this semi-heated fight about their past, and normally, this is the point where the reader should really be connecting with the characters emotionally, feeling their pain and their heartache even though we’re 99.9% sure that they’re going to end up together anyway. Well, I didn’t feel anything at all during that fight, so that says something (I’m the type who cries pretty much at every little sad thing). I feel like the author should have dug deeper and really wrote about the thoughts that were running through her characters’ heads, how they felt at the thought of forever losing the person that they loved. Oh, and I should probably mention that the grand gesture at the very end of the book was corny to say the least. I’m pretty sure Alex’s friends were fucking with him when they gave him advice on how to win Emma back XD

Another problem that I had with the book has something to do with Alex and Emma’s break-up years before, and the reasoning behind it. Again, I think the author could have made it much more believable if she had gone into detail about why Emma felt betrayed. I do think that Alex’s reaction to the big blowup was a bit implausible. I don’t know of anyone who would just run without trying to fix things first. Granted, he did try to talk to Emma and explain things to her, but when she wouldn’t listen to him, he should’ve tried harder. Instead, he ran away and never looked back. I feel like that’s not something that you would do, especially if you’re supposed to get married the very next day.

Now that I’ve said all of my complaints, I will say that the book was still pretty good overall. I very much enjoyed the dialogue between the characters. It was fun, smart, and entertaining. There were parts in the book that I teared up to, but then again, I am quite a bit of a crybaby ^^’ I feel like I cried at all the wrong parts too! I should’ve felt an emotional pull during the big fights, instead of tearing up right before the sex scene ❓ …Don’t even ask.

Anyway, here’s my final verdict. While it was a good book, I don’t see myself reaching for it again in a few years for a second read.

My Rating: 3/5