2018 Book #79 – Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

51R44pJdXnLTitle: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating
Author: Christina Lauren
Date finished: 9/7/18
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction, romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Most men can’t handle Hazel. With the energy of a toddler and the mouth of a sailor, they’re often too timid to recognize her heart of gold. New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (RoomiesBeautiful Bastard) tells the story of two people who are definitely notdating, no matter how often they end up in bed together.

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had just recently read my first book with this author in July and LOVED it so I was excited when this book became available for review. And I’m so glad that I got to read it, I ended up loving this book too. Hazel as a character was hilariously funny. She was sweet and precocious and just utterly charming. I was infatuated with her from the start and she really drew me in through the rest of the book. I really liked Josh too, but my favorite thing about him was how much he loved and accepted Hazel just for being who she was. The plot was somewhat predictable, friends turn to lovers and fall in love, but the authors imprint such emotion into the story that its astounding. And the characters were all wonderfully developed and like-able – Hazel is probably one of my favorite characters of all time. I didn’t want to put this book down, and while the last book I read by this author duo was poignant and touching, this one was lighthearted and fun. Reading this book just made me feel so happy and light and I wish I could read 100 more like it. I’d highly recommend this one.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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2018 Book #65 – Smothered by Autumn Chiklis

51T99qCdIqLTitle: Smothered
Author: Autumn Chiklis
Date finished: 8/3/18
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A humorous debut crossover young adult novel about what happens when entering the “real world” means moving back in with your mother, inspired by actress and celebrity Autumn Chiklis’ real life.

Eloise “Lou” Hansen is graduating from Columbia University summa cum laude, and she’s ready to conquer the world. Just a few minor problems: she has no job, no prospects, and she’s moving back into her childhood bedroom. Lou is grimly determined to stick to a rigorous schedule to get a job and get out of her parents’ house. Shelly “Mama Shell” Hansen, on the other hand, is ecstatic, and just as determined to keep her at home. Who else will help her hide her latest binge-shopping purchases from her husband, go to SoulCycle with her, and hold her hand during Botox shots?

Smothered is a hilarious roman à clef told via journal entries, text messages, emails, bills, receipts, tweets, doctor’s prescriptions, job applications and rejections, parking tickets, and pug pictures, chronicling the year that Lou moves back home after college. Told from Lou’s point-of-view, Smothered tells the story of two young(ish) women, just trying to get it right, and learning that just because we all grow up doesn’t mean we necessarily have to grow old. (After all, what is Juvaderm for?)

My rating:  1.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This was the first book that I finished for ARC August 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “Book set in Summer” box.

I really love epistolary novels and so I thought I’d give this one a try. I have to say though I did not love it. Lou as a character was just a doormat and let everyone walk all over her. And her mother was so immature and self-centered. Really there weren’t many characters that I did like in the book, except for Theo who was amazing and did not deserve the treatment (and lies) he got through most of the book. Lou’s character was very whiny and also she lied a lot, and overall it really took away from my enjoyment of the book. It is hit or miss with me and young adult novels since many of them I find to be a little too teen angsty. But this novel was supposed to be about a college graduate, but Lou either would not or could not stand up for herself for most of the book, despite being on her own for 4 years. Her mother had no idea of what boundaries were and really was just overwhelmingly pushy. Anyways, the plot itself wasn’t my favorite either because it centered around Lou’s inability to stand up for herself and also be an honest person. There were some funny things but I honestly just couldn’t get past my personal downfall’s with the book.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Book #46 – This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell

517ZIFOEqmLTitle: This Could Change Everything
Author: Jill Mansell
Date finished: 6/18/18
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

All it takes is one email to end her relationship, get her kicked out of her apartment, and just about ruin her life. Essie Phillips never meant for her private rant about her boss to be sent to everyone in her address book, but as soon as it goes viral, her life as she knows it is over. Solution: move to a new town, find a new job, make new friends. If only it were as simple as that…

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

The plot for this book was kind of all over the place, there were a lot of characters and there was a lot going on in the story. This definitely helped hold my interest since there was something new going on all the time but there was also a good amount to keep track of. Luckily the characters were all pretty good. I especially liked the development of Scarlett’s story, she is such a  caring and generous person and it took awhile for all her layers to peel back in the story. This book had a lot of serendipitous moments for many of the characters, gave it kind of a magical feel to it. There were also a lot of sub stories about people that Zillah was helping and they were all so heart-wrenching and sad. Everything turned out the way that I wanted it to though and pretty much everyone had a happy ending which is always nice. I liked this book a good amount and I thought it was a good summer read, I would recommend it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #99 – The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot

51nmz4qlfrl-_sx330_bo1204203200_Title: The Boy Is Back
Author: Meg Cabot
Date finished: 10/18/16
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

In this brand new stand alone novel for adult readers, a scandal brings celebrity golfer Reed back home to the small town, the crazy family, and first love he once left behind.
Reed Stewart thought he’d left all his small-town troubles-including a broken heart-behind when he ditched tiny Bloomville, Indiana, a decade ago to get rich on the pro golf circuit. Then one tiny post on the Internet causes all of those troubles to return with a vengeance.
Becky Flowers loves her small-town life, her small-town business, and especially the small-town wedding she’s planning. She hasn’t thought about her no good high school ex, Reed Stewart, in years. Until suddenly-thanks to a news story that goes viral on every gossip site on the Internet- Reed comes bursting back into her lifelike an Indiana summer twister.
Now everything Becky and Reed thought they knew about themselves (and one another) has been turned upside down, and they – and possibly the entire town of Bloomville – will never be the same, all because: The Boy is Back.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Becky Flowers, owner of a moving consultant company in rural Indiana. Becky’s life is going along fine, she’s in her late twenties, owns her own business, and has a devoted boyfriend. If things are going so well though, why can’t she stop thinking about her high school boyfriend Reed Stewart? And even worse, when he comes back to town to help his parents, why can’t she seem to resist being near him?
Reed Stewart hasn’t stepped foot in his hometown in 10 years, ever since his father told him to leave and never come back. All this time though he’s kept tabs on Becky through online and through his family to make sure that things are going well for her, never thinking much of his need to keep track of her. But when he comes home to help his family through a crisis, he must come face to face not only with Becky but also with his lingering feelings for her.
Overall I just loved this book. It was hilarious, I was laughing out loud the whole time I was reading. I really just love Cabot’s sense of humor in this book and the other two similar novels she’s written about Boys.I also really just so much enjoy the epistolary style of writing and I think Cabot specifically does a great job at this, compiling a variety of written mediums to form a well-rounded novel. The cast of characters was endearing and entertaining, especially Becky and Reed. I also really liked Cabot’s use of some specific pop culture items like auto-correct and Facebook. This was a great read and I would definitely recommend!

The bottom line: I loved this book, I couldn’t stop laughing! This is one of my favorite writing styles too, similar to her other books Boy Meets Girl and Every Boy’s Got One. Great read and I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #23 – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

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Title: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Author: Mindy Kaling
Date finished: 3/28/15
Genre: Humorous commentary
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Pages in book: 222
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “POC MC” square, which I had to ask to discover but this means Person of Color Main Character.  I decided to give this book a try because I love Mindy’s character on The Office and I loved her in that movie with Natalie Portman where they are nurses that live in an apartment together. Unbeknownst Mindy is actually a writer for the show The Office. I had no idea of the extent of her genius! She comes off as cocky in some parts of the book but she should be! She is hilarious! I fought this book to be witty and very entertaining.
This book is a humorous look at the many different parts of Mindy’s life that have made her the Mindy she is today. Its also a commentary on many different things including dating and other general life areas. I thought it was really funny.

The bottom line:  I thought this book was really funny, witty and interesting. Of course I like her sense of humor. I would recommend to people who laugh when the watch The Office. Not that she just talks about The Office or is defined by her work on The Office. But she writes some of the scenes for The Office. So. Whatever.

Memorable Quotes: 
“Going on and on in detail about how stressed out I am ins’t conversation. It’ll never lead to anywhere. No one is going to say, ‘Wow, Mindy, you really have it especially bad. I have heard some stories of stress, but this just takes the cake.” (page 75)
As a follow up to this, your life is always going better than someone else’s at any given point. Unless you’re being murdered. That you should probably get to bitch about.

Link to Wikipedia website about author
Link to Amazon