Currently Listening: The Switch

Currently I am listening to The Switch by Beth O’Leary while starting a new crochet project. I am now working on an afghan for my cousin (remember my yarn haul of a few weeks ago?)

The story I am listening to centres on Leena and her grandmother Eileen. Ordered to take a two month long sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother’s house. Once there, the two women decide to switch lives for the period: Leena takes over her grandmother’s life while Eileen, a 79 year old woman, goes to London to look for love and a change of pace. Stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected – ad leads them to learning more about themselves.

I am enjoying this 2 POV narration that is spot on. The narrators of the novel are perfect for the two generations of women in the story – their voices sound their age! I cannot stop listening as the storytelling just draws me in. I loved The Flatshare and I am enjoying The Switch just as much. Beth O’Leary has done it again in that she has created a relevant story for today’s times that is so different to the other stories out there.

What are you currently listening to?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This audiobook is the 105th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

Teaser Tuesday: A Girl’s Guide to the Outback

I follow many readers on Instagram who enjoy posting about the books they read. One person whom I follow wrote a review on A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate. I was intrigued, especially as she said the story had a Christian bent to it.

I enjoyed reading a romance that is unashamedly Christian. Throughout the novel there are references to Christian beliefs and values. There is one line that really stands out for me:

“Letting fear win also means you are refusing to trust God. That’s a slap in the face to Him.” (p333, Thomas Nelson, 2020)

These words can really hit home to the hearts of believers, especially in the light of recent events.

Do you enjoy reading Christian-themed books?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Book Review: The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

I was still in the mood for a little romance – it was the perfect genre to take my mind off of the strike action the teachers in the province are participating in. I decided to pick up The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa as the cover of the novel appealed to me.

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Blurb:

A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.

Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.

If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.

But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again… 

My thoughts:

The Worst Best Man is an pleasurable read with characters that a reader will enjoy spending time with. However, there is not much depth to the characters who are portrayed in a superficial way. No growth occurs in them as a result of their experience and I missed reading about characters who experience a significant change in their outlook. In writing this novel, Sosa has followed the traditional romance template instead of branching out into the more modern romance which focuses on the character growth of the female character.

Even though The Worst Best Man is an old-fashioned romance novel, it is the perfect read when you need something lighthearted to boost your mood. The novel contains some moments which made me smile and certainly was a pleasure for me to read. The novel is the first in the series and I will probably pick up the second to find out the story of the other characters in the story.

If you are looking for a novel that is a quick read with not too much detail, Sosa’s story is perfect. It will lighten your mood and leave you smiling.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novel was the 13th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

I had seen positive reviews of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Westman on Instagram so when I saw a copy of the book on the library shelves, I brought it home with me.

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Contemporary

Blurb:

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

My thoughts:

I expected much of this book because of the hype but I was low-key disappointed. Even though references were made to certain books (like Harry Potter), the title of the novel gave the expectation that there would be more bookish imagery. It was interesting for me to note that references were made to popular films (Star Trek and Star Wars) as well as TV shows (Friends).

The descriptions of LA, I do admit to skimming. I have never been to LA and Waxman’s mundane descriptions did not entice me to know more. I guess the writing for these moments were too prosaic and did not create an image in my mind of the streets Nina was walking.

The saving grace of the story is that Nina Hill does grow and develop as a character. She learns that being with the right people can calm her anxiety; and that she can accept the changes that have occurred in her life. She learns that the right people in her life can enrich it and make it more enjoyable. There is a little romance in the story; but the novel is focused on the story of Nina’s personal growth.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill was an enjoyable read; but it is one I will not read twice.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novel was the 6th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

Book Review: Twice In A Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

On Instagram many readers have been saying how good Twice In A Blue Moon by Christina Lauren is. When I saw the novel in the library, I took the opportunity to read the story.

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

My thoughts:

This story had been hyped up on Instagram and I started it with a sense of anticipation. I had enjoyed another novel written by this pair of authors (The Unhoneymooners) and was expecting this one to give me the same sense of enjoyment. I was, however, disappointed.

The story did not always hold my attention and I found myself often skimming paragraphs (not a good sign!). The story line was predictable and, I found, superficial. I felt no connection at all with Tate, the main protagonist in the novel. I saw no growth in her character and felt no empathy for her.

Twice In A Blue Moon was a disappointing read for me and, as a result, I will not be picking up any other if Christina Lauren books quickly.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️ 2 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novel was the 4th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

Book Review: Faker by Sarah Smith

I had seen positive comments about Faker by Sarah Smith on Instagram. When I saw the book had arrived at the library, I decided to put the novel on hold.

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Blurb:

Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self.

One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps…

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get…heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real. 

My thoughts:

The banter between the two main characters, Emmie and Tate, reminded me so much of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I loved it! It made me laugh and definitely encouraged me to read more than I had intended in one sitting. I loved that the author showed the tough side of the characters as well as their gentle side – this made the characters more believable to me – and I eagerly waited for the moment things would change between them.

However, the banter and the sexual tension between Emmie and Tate did seem to end too early – I wished it could have gone on for a little longer. When the novel segued into the next step of their relationship, I was a little let down as I had been enjoying the quips between the two. The next section of the novel went on a little too long, I found, as I kept waiting for that moment when their relationship would hit an obstacle. When it did hit an obstacle, it was resolved with finesse.

Faker is a lighthearted, sexy (but not too sexy!) and humorous read that will want you craving more. I enjoyed this debut romcom by Sarah Smith and I look forward to seeing what story she comes up with next.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 112th in my book pledge for 2019)

First Line Fridays: I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

“The trouble with me is, I can’t let things go. They bug me. I see problems and I want to fix them, right here, right now. My nickname isn’t Fixie for nothing”

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella (2019, Penguin Random House Canada)

The opening lines of Kinsella’s latest novel introduces us to Fixie, the main character. Throughout the novel we read how she continuously works to fix things and how she allows opportunities to pass her by because of this. And yet she has a chance to grow and to learn when to let things be. I enjoyed Kinsella’s latest rom-com and if you enjoy reading this genre, you will too. If you want to know more, you can read my review here.

What do you think of the introduction to the main character? Are you curious about her?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books and her One Line Friday challenge.)