Reviews: Would Like to Meet (Rachel Winters)

Would Like to Meet
Author: Rachel Winters
Publication Date: December 3, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

In this charming, feel-good debut novel, a cynical assistant at a screenwriting agency must reenact the meet-cute scenes from classic romantic comedy movies in order to help her #1 client get his scriptwriting mojo back–but can a real-life meet-cute be in store for someone who doesn’t believe in happily ever after?

After seven years as an assistant, 29-year-old Evie Summers is ready to finally get the promotion she deserves. But now the TV and film agency she’s been running behind the scenes is in trouble, and Evie will lose her job unless she can convince the agency’s biggest and most arrogant client, Ezra Chester, to finish writing the script for a Hollywood romantic comedy.

The catch? Ezra is suffering from writer’s block–and he’ll only put pen to paper if singleton Evie can prove to him that you can fall in love like they do in the movies. With the future of the agency in jeopardy, Evie embarks on a mission to meet a man the way Sally met Harry or Hugh Grant met Julia Roberts.

But in the course of testing out the meet-cute scenes from classic romantic comedies IRL, not only will Evie encounter one humiliating situation after another, but she’ll have to confront the romantic past that soured her on love. In a novel as hilarious as it is heartwarming, debut author Rachel Winters proves that sometimes real life is better than the movies–and that the best kind of meet-cutes happen when you least expect them.


Would Like to Meet was a strange reading experience for me. I loved the opening scenes, but then I hit a weird patch where I wasn’t really into the book. I think I need to blame that on my mood. I was super tired. I set the book down for the day and when I came back to it, it picked up for me in a couple of chapters. I was into the story for pretty much the rest of the book.

What I liked about Would Like to Meet:

  • The meet-cutes. They were hilarious!
  • Ben. He was quiet and a little judge-y, but I totally identified with his judging. I was judging Evie in a similar way. Plus, he was the perfect love interest for the story.
  • Anette. She’s Ben’s daughter and involved in all the cuteness of the story. I loved the part she played in this romance.
  • Ezra/NOB. He was a great villain. I loved his ridiculousness.
  • All the awkward, horrible mistakes Evie made.
  • The writing was good for a début author.

Things I disliked:

  • The screenplay sections at the beginning of each chapter. They fit the story, I just wasn’t a fan of them. They bogged down my reading experience.
  • Evie. I wasn’t a fan of her. She drove me nuts because she was so oblivious. If I could see what was coming, why couldn’t she? It was that predictable.
  • It needed more Ben and Anette.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Would Like to Meet. It wasn’t my favorite book, but there were a lot of great things about it. I really loved all the awkward meet-cutes and the parts with Ben and Anette. It was a strong début novel, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for this author.

Review: The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street (Karen White)

The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street
Series: Tradd Street, #6
Author: Karen White
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Holiday, Mystery, Paranormal, Fiction, Contemporary
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The Christmas spirit is overtaking Tradd Street with a vengeance in this festive new novel in the New York Times bestselling series by Karen White.

Melanie Trenholm should be anticipating Christmas with nothing but joy–after all, it’s only the second Christmas she and her husband, Jack, will celebrate with their twin babies. But the ongoing excavation of the centuries-old cistern in the garden of her historic Tradd Street home has been a huge millstone, both financially and aesthetically. Local students are thrilled by the possibility of unearthing more Colonial-era artifacts at the cistern, but Melanie is concerned by the ghosts connected to the cistern that have suddenly invaded her life and her house–and at least one of them is definitely not filled with holiday cheer….

And these relics aren’t the only precious artifacts for which people are searching. A past adversary is convinced that there is a long-lost Revolutionary War treasure buried somewhere on the property that Melanie inherited–untold riches rumored to be brought over from France by the Marquis de Lafayette himself and intended to help the Colonial war effort. It’s a treasure literally fit for a king, and there have been whispers throughout history that many have already killed–and died–for it. And now someone will stop at nothing to possess it–even if it means destroying everything Melanie and Jack hold dear.


I’m always excited when I hear Karen White is releasing a new book. It’s even more exciting when that book is part of a series I have loved and has a holiday theme.

If you’re not familiar with Karen White or the Tradd Street series, it revolves around Melanie Trenholm and her ability to communicate with ghosts. Melanie lives in Charleston, South Carolina where the rich history of the area makes for some interesting paranormal interactions. There’s also some romance (Melanie & Jack), family relationships, and mystery to add to the fun. I will warn you that you can’t just see the words “Christmas Spirits” in the title and jump right into reading this book because you want holiday themes. While the mystery is new, the characters and their relationships are not. You would be completely lost. I have good news for you, though — the Tradd Street series is a fun read and you won’t be mad if you go back and read it from the start.

So, what did I think of The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street? I had some mixed feelings. I’m going to lay them out for you in a way that makes sense to me.

The writing: Karen White’s writing never fails to pull me in. It did have moments where things felt slow to me, but I think that’s because of some of the feelings I had for one of the characters. Otherwise, Karen White left me on the edge of my seat wondering how it was all going to turn out.

The characters: Melanie is same old Melanie. She’s quirky. In all of the other books that worked for me. In this one, it did and it didn’t. I just feel like her character needed to mature a bit. Melanie’s stayed stagnant throughout the entire series. Now, she’s married with children and her family and friends are still having to manipulate her to act like an adult at times. I did love how all of her relationships and the relationships around her have grown. It was fun to see how the gang reacted to her.

The mystery: This was my favorite part of the book. As always, I was enthralled with the mystery and how the ghosts related to it. It’s what kept me reading when Melanie was driving me nuts. I refuse to say more because I’m not giving anything away.

The end: I loved how the mystery wrapped up. It was perfection. All of the pieces of the puzzle revealed themselves in a great way and fit perfectly. What I didn’t love was how everything else ended. There was a cliffhanger that irritated me. I got it, but it wasn’t a fun way to end the book. Now I have to wait for the next book and I’m hoping it’s not going to be a long wait.

As you can see, there were some great things and some that drove me nuts. If you’re a fan of this series, you are going to want to read it no matter what.

Review: Love on Lexington Avenue (Lauren Layne)

Love on Lexington Avenue
Series: Central Park Pact, #2
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes the second delightfully charming installment in the Central Park Pact series, following a young widow whose newfound cynicism about love is challenged by a sexy, rough-around-the-edges contractor.

There’s never a bad time to fall in love in the city, right? Wrong. According to the recently-widowed Claire Hayes, it’s very, very wrong. In fact, after finding out her late husband was a liar and a cheat, Claire’s convinced there’s never a good time for romantic notions. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her philandering husband, Claire sets out to redesign her entire Upper East Side brownstone and make it her own. But when she meets gruff and often-cantankerous contractor Scott Turner and realizes not all men are scumbags, Claire must decide if she’s ready to risk her heart again.

Scott needs a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and bluntly makes it clear to Claire that he only took on her house for that reason, adding that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess on his job site. But when long work days soon turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction…? Scott knows he’s not one to settle down, but then why can’t he bring himself to put the finishing touches on Claire’s house and move on to the next job?

Filled with laugh-out-loud scenes that blend perfectly with the touching friendships Layne brings to life on the page, this “hugely entertaining” (USA TODAY) novel is perfect for fans of Lauren Weisberger.


If you know me, you know I love a Lauren Layne romance. She’s one of my go-to authors for all things contemporary romance. That being said, the first book in this series, Passion on Park Avenue, wasn’t my favorite. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It made me wonder how I was going to feel about Love on Lexington Avenue. I had nothing to worry about. I absolutely loved it! Love on Lexington Avenue was everything I expected it to be. It continued the strong friendships from the first book, had a cute romance, and was fun to read.

Claire, Audrey, and Naomi were back and ready to support each other. This was Claire’s second chance at love so she was the star, but it was nice to see her friends there to give her advice. Even Oliver and Clarke got on the advice giving. It was fun for them all to be involved. I also liked seeing things from Claire’s perspective since she was Brayden’s wife.

I was surprised at how much I identified with Claire. It had nothing to do with the relationship aspect of the story and all to do with the way she felt about herself. I liked that Claire knew what she didn’t want out of life, but needed help figuring out what she did. It was inspiring to see her step out of her normal self-imposed boundaries. This didn’t pertain to me, but I also liked what LL had to say about having children through Claire.

Scott Turner was the perfect person for Claire. He was one of the good guys. I liked how her experiences meeting him to falling for him made a difference in her life. He was the opposite of what Claire expected to want, and I thought that was cool. Plus, he had a cool dog named Bob. I also liked how he was connected to the gang through Oliver.

I really loved Love on Lexington Avenue. It was fun, sweet and just a feel good romance. Now, I cannot wait for Audrey’s book!

Review: Well Met (Jen DeLuca)

Well Met
Author: Jen De Luca
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.


Well Met is a book I picked up because all of my romance reader friends have been raving about it. Since they all loved it, I figured I would as well. I was right! It was so good. I couldn’t believe Well Met is Jen DeLuca’s début novel. It was so well written. It felt like a book by a seasoned author. It packed so much emotion — it even brought tears to my eyes. I was impressed by this début.

Normally, I like my romances to have dual points of view. Well Met didn’t have that. The entire story was told through Emily’s eyes. I was surprised at how well this worked for me. I think it’s because the romance, while a big part, wasn’t the complete focus of the story. It was more about how Emily was healing from a break up, moving to a small town, reuniting with her sister and niece, and working through what was next for her. I loved experiencing her figuring it all out.

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about the Renaissance Faire theme. I wasn’t sure if this setting would work for me or not. It did. I found myself loving the scenes at the faire. They added another level to Emily and Simon’s relationship that I wasn’t expecting.

As for Emily and Simon… I really liked them together. I liked them together so much that I was a little sad that there wasn’t as much to it as I was hoping. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of deep and important moments between them. It’s hard to explain, but their romance was a slow burn that felt kind of like insta-love. It took a while for them to get together, but they were in love the minute they were finally together. I felt like I missed something in between those stages. Maybe I just had a hard time combining their acting at the faire with their real life romance.

Overall, this was a strong début novel. It was filled with memorable characters and a great story line. It’s made me very excited to find out what’s next for Jen DeLuca. Selfishly, I’m hoping this novel becomes a series and I get to know more of the other characters better.

Review: On the Corner of Love and Hate (Nina Bocci)

On the Corner of Love and Hate
Series: Hopeless Romantics, #1
Author: Nina Bocci
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

For fans of Christina Lauren and Lauren Layne comes a delightfully sassy and sexy romance about a campaign manager who reluctantly works with the local Lothario to help revamp his image for the upcoming mayoral elections, only to discover that he’s hiding something that can turn both their lives upside down.

What’s a campaign manager’s worst nightmare? A smooth-talking charmer who’s never met a scandal that he didn’t like.

When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and mayor of her town—asks her to help rehab Cooper Endicott’s image, she’s horrified. Cooper drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, and she can’t say no to him without him finding out the reason why: Cooper and her have a messy past. So Emmanuelle reluctantly launches her father’s grand plan to get this Casanova someone to settle down with and help him lose his lothario reputation.

Cooper Endicott wanted to run for Mayor, but he never wanted the drama that went with it. Now that he’s on the political hamster wheel, the other candidates are digging up everything from his past. Even though he’s doing all the right things, his colorful love life is the sticking point for many of the conservative voters. He wants to win, badly, and he knows that if he wants any chance of getting a vote from the female population, he needs to change his image. The only problem? He might just be falling in love with the one person he promised not to pursue: the Mayor’s off-limits daughter.

A perfect blend of humor and heart, On the Corner of Love and Hate is the first in a new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Nina Bocci.


Today, I have a book I’m excited to share with you for a couple of reasons. If you’re a romance blogger like me, you have probably communicated with Nina Bocci or at least heard of her in some way. It’s always exciting to see a name you’re familiar with publish a book. Or maybe you’re like me in another way and became a fan of Nina Bocci’s writing with her collaboration with Alice Clayton on Roman Crazy. Either way, I was excited for On the Corner of Love and Hate for both of those reasons. Here is what I thought of Nina Bocci’s solo début.

What I liked:

  • I knew I liked Nina Bocci’s writing based on what I read in Roman Crazy. I wasn’t sure how that would translate to a solo novel. I was very happy to find that her writing felt just as strong by itself.
  • Emma was a strong female character. She was successful in life. She didn’t need a man to hold her hand through life. I liked that when she finally had a man in her life, it was because she wanted one instead of needing one.
  • Emma’s family. Her relationship with her dad was sweet, but her relationship with her mom was sweet and funny. I loved the texts they shared.
  • Emma’s friends were adorable! I loved Nick and Henry! I can’t wait to see them again.

What I disliked:

  • There was too much going on. There were three big things going on all at once and it was a little overwhelming. I didn’t know where to focus my attention: the mayor’s race, Emma’s tense relationship with Cooper, or Whitney?
  • The lack of Cooper’s point of view. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of Cooper because all I got to see through Emma were the bad things. Even when she moved from hate to love, it was hard to understand why. There wasn’t much to show their love for each other. It was so slow burn, the romance was almost non-existent.

Overall, On the Corner of Love and Hate was a strong solo début for Nina Bocci. It made me excited to find out what’s next in the Hopeless Romantics series.

GIVEAWAY

Review: My Crazy (Sick) Love (Drica Pinotti)

My Crazy (Sick) Love
Author: Drica Pinotti
Publication Date: March 14, 2019
Publisher: Adriana Da Silva Gomes
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Amanda Loeb is a single, intelligent New York City attorney coming up on the eve of her thirtieth birthday. With a stable job, circle of supportive friends, and close relationships with her mother and sister one detail sets Amanda apart from others – she is a hypochondriac. Her medicine cabinet is home to a stock of medications sourced from an actively managed A-Z list of the best doctors in NYC. When Amanda meets Brian Marshall, a handsome and charismatic restaurant owner, her heart beats in undiagnosable somersaults. As their relationship develops Amanda learns the intricacies and complications love brings may be the cure-all ‘pill’ she needs to free herself from the affliction – for the rest of her life.


My Crazy (Sick) Love exhausted me. One of the reasons I read it was because I was curious about Amanda’s hypochondria. I know I have had moments where I was filled with anxiety and worried that something was wrong with me, so I thought it would be easy to relate to. I was also curious how this mental illness would work in a romance. Unfortunately, it didn’t work all that well for me in this case. Amanda’s suffering was completely overwhelming. Her thoughts took over the whole story and made it hard to focus on any other aspect of it. I didn’t find anything about it humorous.

That’s not to say that writing wasn’t good. I thought it was very good and felt like it was well researched. I also really liked Brian’s character. My Crazy (Sick) Love might just be one of those books that works better for others than it did for me.

Review: Things You Save in a Fire (Katherine Center)

Things You Save in a Fire
Author: Katherine Center
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds.

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.


How to Walk Away was one of my favorite books from 2018. When I heard Katherine Center was releasing another book, I knew I had to read it. Things You Save in a Fire was exactly what I was expecting. The writing was brilliant. the characters were fleshed out and lovable. The story and drama were entertaining and pulled me in. There wasn’t much about this book that I didn’t love.

Cassie was this tough as nail firefighter who didn’t want to stand out in the crowd of firefighters. She tried to blend in as much as could with her fellow male counterparts. While I was impressed with her ability to do so, I was sad that she had to do that in 2019. I know a lot of women do, though, in many jobs. It added a very interesting aspect to this love story. It made Cassie’s feelings for the rookie a tad bit stressful and emotional in a way I couldn’t have seen coming.

I loved everything about Cassie and Owen’s (non-)relationship. The way everything built between them was perfect. I felt their connection. I enjoyed how Cassie tried to avoid it. It was just really cute…and emotional. I won’t go into why it was so emotional because I don’t want to ruin anything, but Cassie had some healing to do where love was concerned. I enjoyed how she worked through her issues with love.

Part of those love issues for Cassie had to do with her mom. I adored her mother in this book. I get why Cassie had to work on forgiveness. Forgiveness was a huge part of this book, and I liked how it was done — with one exception.

One of the biggest villains was forgiven more quickly than I liked. The severity of the hurt they caused felt almost brushed over by the rate of forgiveness. I am glad this person was forgiven, but I wanted more legal retribution. This person didn’t have to deal with their actions in the way I thought they should have. I did like how they atoned and made a huge effort to apologize, though.

Other than that, this story was perfection in my eyes. It was a great inspirational story that has me eagerly anticipating Katherine Center’s next book.

Review: Sunset Beach (Mary Kay Andrews)

Sunset Beach
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: McMillan Audio
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Drue Campbell’s life and career have recently been derailed. The only thing she has left is the house her mother left her: a ramshackle beach bungalow with a missing roof in the once-sleepy town of Sunset Beach, which is rapidly becoming a hot spot for the rich and well-heeled, who are none too pleased about the shabby eyesore in their perfect neighborhood.

When Drue’s larger-than-life father unexpectedly turns up at her mother’s funeral and offers her a job at his law firm, Drue doesn’t know whether to be grateful or resentful that he has suddenly reappeared. She grudgingly accepts the job sifting through cold callers and shysters looking to get rich quick. But when her attention is caught by a suspicious murder case, Drue finds herself entangled in a decades-old mystery – one that may have dire consequences for Drue and the people she loves.


It’s been years since I read a book by Mary Kay Andrews. I’m not exactly sure why. I guess her books haven’t been on my radar or something because when I saw Sunset Beach available to listen to from my library I jumped on downloading it. I’m thankful I did for many reasons.

Sunset Beach was a fantastic book to listen to. I usually enjoy Mary Kay Andrews’ writing, but there was something about the narrator’s voice that made it even more captivating. There were some points in the story where it might have lost me (so much going on), but Kathleen McInerney’s voice kept pulling me back in. I actually want to find more books she’s narrated to read. That’s how much I enjoyed her voice.

As for Sunset Beach‘s content, I was impressed with the mystery. There were actually two of them. One was an old missing person case Drue stumbled upon relating to her father. I liked how that one took me back in time and slowly revealed itself. The other mystery was a couple of years old regarding the death of a young mother. I liked that one because it added a more intense level of suspense than the first mystery. Drue also stumbles upon this one at her father’s law office and decides to do some detective work of her own. Meanwhile, she’s also working, meeting new co-workers, annoying police detectives, repairing her relationship with her father and his wife, and maybe dating. There was just so much going on.

Back to those mysteries… Usually I am able to predict what’s going to happen in a mystery or who the bad guy is. That was not the case with Sunset Beach. I had my suspicions about what was going on with both mysteries. I was COMPLETELY wrong. I never would have guessed any of it. I was super impressed with that. Kudos to Mary Kay Andrews for stumping me!

Overall, Sunset Beach was a great listening experience. I think its release is timely with the summer coming up. It would be the perfect beach read.

Review: 99 Percent Mine (Sally Thorne)

99 Percent Mine
Author: Sally Thorne
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.


99 Percent Mine was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I read Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game last year and adored it. I was bummed when I started reading a lot of reviews saying this book didn’t even compare to The Hating Game. Despite the negative hype, I decided to read 99 Percent Mine anyways.

I have to admit that 99 Percent Mine didn’t start off in the best way. Darcy, the main character, rubbed me the wrong way immediately. The vibe she gave off was not a good one. Darcy’s very brash and bitter. It was hard to connect to her for a large part of the story because her motivations are completely unclear. Even when they are, they seem juvenile. She always seems to be punishing herself in negative ways.

When Tom, Darcy’s childhood friend, shows up things start to get even more confusing. I don’t understand the dynamic between them. There’s not really much to tell me what happened between them in the past. It takes a while to learn that information, and when I finally do, I have no clue why Tom is attracted to prickly Darcy. He is this nice, quiet guy. If Darcy is a jalapeno pepper, Tom is milk.

Another negative factor in 99 Percent Mine is Jamie. Jamie is Darcy’s twin brother. He’s a complete jerk. He is so horrible. Darcy acts like he’s the better person, but he’s not. Jamie makes Darcy look less bitter and I actually felt bad for her when it came to him.

The entire first half of this book was filled with negative emotions and characters. I wasn’t having a great time reading, but I was curious enough to find out what made these characters tick. I’m glad I kept reading because the second half of the book was much better than the first.

I was surprised to find Darcy growing on me. I think that can be attributed to the revelations about her life, her illness, and her friendships. Once I understood her, she became more palatable. I wish some of the information would have been revealed early on. I also found myself liking Tom and Darcy’s dynamic. I could finally see what drew them to each other. I loved Darcy’s friendship with Truly and would have liked seeing more than that. I even, at the very end, started to like Jamie.

99 Percent Mine started out rough, but it ended up winning me over in the end. It wasn’t my favorite book, but I didn’t hate it. It’s one that if you push through the awkward, uncomfortable beginning, you will find a sweet love story and a TON of character growth. My advice going into reading it would be to go in with lower expectations (if you have read The Hating Game) and not give up on it too soon.

Review: I Owe You One (Sophia Kinsella)

I Owe You One
Author: Sophia Kinsella
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Dial Press
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Contemporary, Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella, an irresistible story of love and empowerment about a young woman with a complicated family, a handsome man who might be “the one,” and an IOU that changes everything

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?


Sophie Kinsella has been writing books for years, but I Owe You One is the first I have picked up. My first impression wasn’t very positive. Fixie immediately had me feeling some emotions I didn’t enjoy. She was high sting and wound tight. The tension inside of her transferred to me. I thought, “Oh no.” I was worried I was going to struggle through the book feeling on edge and uncomfortable. That was just an initial reaction. As I continued to read past the first chapter, Fixie grew on me. Once I understood the reasons behind her disposition, I could relax and roll with her personality. I began to truly enjoy the story.

Fixie was a doormat. There was no one she stood up to. I wanted to smack her when it came to Ryan, Jake, and Nicole. Fixie gave and gave and gave. The happiness of those around her mattered more than her own. It was easy to identify with that. I think we have probably all been there at some point in our lives. I know I have. I Owe You One was really about Fixie coming into her own and learning how to say what needed to be said and do what needed to be done. I loved the evolution she went through. I am happy to say that I ended up loving her character way more than I expected to in the beginning.

The other characters in this story were perfect. Ryan was hideous and irredeemable. Jake was completely frustrating in his antics. Nicole…Oh my goodness. The way her sentences trailed off was hilarious. Her helplessness combined with her getting in touch with her personal happiness was over the top fun. I loved Fixie’s mom. She was so supportive and loving.

And then there was Seb. Seb was this great surprise. His IOU to Fixie added a cool layer to the story. It made all sorts of things happen. Seb helped Fixie grow in some of the best ways. I wish I would have gotten more of him.

I Owe You One was a delightful story. I ended up truly loving it. I am so happy that I didn’t give up reading it after my initial assessment of Fixie. She grew on me in the best of ways. Her story was so important and a good reminder to always be true to yourself.