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)

Book Review: A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

I received A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan to read and review from Harper Collins Canada. I was excited to read this Christmas-inspired story and decided that I would enjoy it during the month of December. The cover looked like it would be perfect for this time of year.

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Blurb:

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding. First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret of their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister, Katie, is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself! If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiancé but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived—how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget!

My thoughts:

This novel is a perfect read for this time of year. And the bonus is that it centres on three romantic relationships: that of Maggie, Rosie, and Katie. What I enjoyed especially in this novel is that one of the relationships that Morgan describes is that of an older couple. I do not see this too often in romance novels.

Even though romance is a thread throughout the novel, A Wedding in December is more than just a romance. Instead it is a novel that suggests to the reader that a woman has the ability to change her future – all it needs is for her to have the courage to take the step that will change her life. All three women in this story come to a moment of self awareness at different times in the novel that allow them to take a step forward to changing their lives.

The three women in A Wedding in December have different personalities as well as different experiences. As such, their goals and moments of self reflection are different. Personally, I connected with the older woman in the story (Maggie) because some of her experience is what I have felt in my life too. I loved that this novel compasses the experience of so many different women.

I enjoyed Sarah Morgan’s novel and have now put her other novels on my TBR list. I may even head out to pick up another one her stories to read this month! If you enjoy reading stories about women with hints of the Holiday spirit sprinkled in the pages, A Wedding in December is one novel you need to pick up.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 111th in my book pledge for 2019)

Book Review: 25 Days ‘Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander

I did not think it was too early for Christmas stories when I picked up 25 Days ‘Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander. I love stories that are Christmas themed and I thought this book would be a perfect addition to the Christmas themed movies I have been watching on Netflix.

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction, Holiday

Blurb:

Kate Potter used to love Christmas. A few years ago, she would have been wrapping her presents in September and baking mince pies on Halloween, counting down the days and hours to Christmas. But that was before Kate’s husband left for the army and never came home. Now she can hardly stand December at all.

Kate can’t deny she’s lonely, yet she doesn’t think she’s ready for romance. She knows that her son, Jack, needs a Christmas to remember—just like Kate needs a miracle to help her finally move forward with her life. So she’s decided if there isn’t a miracle on its way, she’ll just have to make her own.

As Kate’s advent countdown to the best Christmas ever begins, she soon realizes that even with the best laid plans, you can’t plan for the unexpected. For when the path of the loneliest woman in town crosses with that of the loneliest man, these two destined hearts might find a way to save the holiday for both of them.

My thoughts:

I enjoy reading Christmas stories and this one fit the bill perfectly! The story follows the structure of an advent calendar and depicts the changes in Kate’s life – some of them initiated by her, and some of them not. As the days leading towards Christmas pass by, the reader sees the changes in Kate as well as the struggles she experiences.

Kate is a person who is slowly coming out of the fog of grief that has surrounded her since her husband’s death. Moving forward with her life has been hampered by the day to day struggle of keeping herself and her son afloat. One cannot help but admire what she has done to keep going both emotionally and financially. Her frustrations are perfectly described and I often felt those frustrations for her. As a woman and as a mother, I sympathised with Kate’s experience and wished that her circumstances would change.

The romance between Kate and her beau is a slow one. He is not seen as the knight who comes rescue her – though he does push her into the right direction. Instead, he is seen as someone who supports her, and who accepts her and Jack for what they are. I love how Kate manages to come to her own conclusions – and that Daniel helps her once she has made her own decisions.

The novel 25 Days ‘Til Christmas is a perfect story to read this time of year and is a heartwarming one that will stay with you over the Holiday period. The bonus? It is the ideal novel to read while cuddled under an afghan with a hot cup of tea.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 106th in my book pledge for 2019)

Book Review: The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

I had seen a lot of positive posts on Jasmine Guillory’s novels on Instagram and when I had a chance to read her latest, The Wedding Party, I decided to pick it up.

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Blurb:

Maddie and Theo have two things in common:

1. Alexa is their best friend

2. They hate each other

After an “Oops, we made a mistake” kiss, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking.

But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love. 

My thoughts:

I have read and enjoyed the hate-to-love romance tropes in the past (my favourite being The Hating Game by Sally Thorne). Because the novel by Jasmine Guillory was highly recommended on Instagram, I did expect The Wedding Party to be on par with my favourite romance of this trope. The novel, however, did not meet my expectations. even though I did enjoy the story and the budding romance between the two characters, Maddie and Theo.

The beginning of the relationship between the two main characters did remind me a little of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in that both Maddie and Theo prejudged one another and exhibited prejudices towards what each person presented to the world. Their prejudices made me think of how often we may be missing out on potential relationships because of the preconceived ideas we may have of certain people.

I enjoyed reading the slow change of the relationship between the two – and sometimes had a laugh at their expense. There were moments when I felt irritated with Maddie as she kept up the pretence – and breathed a sigh of relief when she realised a change in her relationship with her nemesis. In order for her to come to this realisation, she does go through a little personal growth.

The Wedding Party was a fun read and perfect for rainy, cold days. The story was not original but was well written and presented in an amusing way. It is certainly a novel to pick up if you are looking for a light romantic read to lift your spirits.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 104th in my book pledge for 2019)

Book Review: No Judgements by Meg Cabot

I decided to continue reading my library stack and picked up No Judgements by Meg Cabot. I looked forward to reading this one as in the past I have enjoyed Meg Cabot’s novels.

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Blurb:

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

My thoughts:

What I enjoy about Meg Cabot’s novels is that the heroine learns something about herself when she meets a man that is suitable for her. During the story, Bree learns what it is that is important to her. In her past she has followed a path that has been expected of her and, with her small rebellion of staying on the island during a hurricane, she comes to realise what it is that is important to her. During her stay, she also finds the strength to stand up for what it is that she feels is right – and to follow through with actions of her own.

Bree Beckham is definitely my kind of heroine. She is an ordinary woman faced with the chance to change her future. She is at a crossroads in her life and needs to find the courage to grab the happiness offered to her. I do admit to enjoying the moment when she definitely decides – I will not say too much about it as it is a turning point in the novel. What I can say is that I loved the incident as it showed Bree standing up for herself.

Even though No Judgements is a romance, it is also a story about a woman who begins to believe in herself – and who has the courage to change her path. It is the perfect story for this time of year and left me smiling. The story encouraged a sense of happiness in me while I was reading it. If you are a pet lover, you will certainly enjoy the addition of pets in this story – they add another dimension to the characters of the story. This is definitely a feel-good story that you will not regret picking up.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 103rd in my book pledge for 2019)

Library Stack

My current library stack definitely reflects my mood for light, romantic reads. Two are of authors I have previously enjoyed (Jude Devereaux and Meg Cabot), one is recommended on Instagram (The Wedding Party) and the other (25 Days of Christmas) reflects my enjoyment of Christmas stories at this time of year.

I am currently partway through the books I have borrowed from the library. I am hoping that this week some more of my holds will come through.

What books are currently on your library stack?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Book Review: Met Her Match by Jude Devereux

I enjoy reading Jude Devereux’s novels and when I saw the library had a copy of her latest novel, Met Her Match, I knew I had to read it.

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Blurb:

Terri Rayburn is a girl with a reputation. She doesn’t deserve it, but having grown up on the outskirts of Summer Hill, Virginia, she knows how small towns work. The only way to deal with vicious gossip is to ignore it. So she keeps to herself as she runs the summer resort on Lake Kissel.

When she returns home from a short trip to find a handsome stranger living in her house, she smells a rat. Someone is trying to fix her up, and she has to admit that Nate Taggert is just her type. However, Nate is engaged to the daughter of the mayor and strictly off-limits.

Nate and Terri form an unlikely friendship while he throws himself into life at the lake. As Nate starts to hear rumors about Terri he’s confused. Knowing how smart, beautiful and strong she is, he’s determined to discover the source of the gossip. Terri doesn’t want to revisit the past, but Nate won’t stop until he discovers the truth—even if the truth might be more than either of them can handle.

Set in the beloved fictional town of Summer Hill, Virginia, Met Her Match examines the tensions between the wealthy townspeople, the summer vacationers and the working-class people who keep the town and resort running.

My thoughts:

Met Her Match was perfect for my mood in that it is a light romantic read that brought some smiles to my face. As with all of Devereaux’s novels, it is a well written story that keeps your interest with realistic characters and moments.

I, myself, have never lived in a small town but I can imagine the ostracism that can take place. It is this ostracism which Terri has experienced for most of her life, and yet it has not made her any less of a person. Instead she is hard-working and loyal – character traits which I can relate to. I definitely liked Terri as a character and was behind her all the way. I could not help but smile how Nate upends her world; and a few of their encounters brought forth a chuckle.

If you are looking for a light read, Met Her Match is perfect. This book enabled me to read during the stressful time of report card writing and it definitely helped to take my mind off of my responsibilities. Once again, Jude Devereaux does not disappoint.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 102nd in my book pledge for 2019)

Teaser Tuesday: No Judgements by Meg Cabot

I am currently reading No Judgements by Meg Cabot, an author whose books I have enjoyed in the past. I look forward to reading a little romance this week, especially as it is cold and dreary outside.

The story is about Bree Beckham who needs to start over and decides to do so at Little Bridge – a tiny island in the Florida Keys. Things are ideal until a Category 5 hurricane bears down on the island. Bree has no intention of leaving and has access to a landline and plenty of supplies. She refuses her ex’s offer to fly her off the island but when the storm proves devastating she begins to worry – not for herself but for the pets people have left behind during evacuation. She begins a rescue operation with the help Drew Hartwell, the town’s resident heartbreaker.

I have not yet read much of the book. My teaser comes from early on in the novel when Bree’s friends and family and trying to get her to eave the island before the hurricane hits.

“But then I’d arrived in Little Bridge, and suddenly I hadn’t felt the urge to run any more. I wasn’t exactly sure where in the world I belonged, but at least I was done running … for now. And despite what my mother said, I wasn’t being stubborn – or maybe I was being stubborn, for what felt like the first time in my life. I was standing up for myself, which meant running towards something. I didn’t know what, exactly … but maybe that’s why I was still here.” (p 51, 2019, Harper Collins Publishers)

I am hoping for some smiles in this one.

Have you read any of Meg Cabot’s books? 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

Teaser Tuesday: The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

I am currently reading The Wedding Party, a romantic comedy by Jasmine Guillory. After all of the thrillers I read in October, this novel is perfect to relax with.

The novel centres on the relationship between Maddie and Theo who are both best friends with Alexa – but they hate one another (despite the simmering attraction beneath the surface). Now that Alexa is getting married, they are thrown together as they both form a part of her wedding party.

For some reason, Maddie had hated him on sight. Okay, he was pretty sure part of the reason was the stupid way he had asked about her job the frst time they’d met. He hadn’t meant to sound like such a jerk. Fine, he had sounded like a jerk, but she hadn’t even let him back up and explain what he’d meant and had basically called him a pompous asshole. Whatever, he and Maddie would never have gotten along anyway. She was the cool, hot, party type, and he was the kind of guy everyone thought watched C-SPAN in his spare time.” (p 11, 2019, Penguin Random House)

I am hoping for some smiles in this one.

Have you read any of Jasmine Guillory’s books? 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

Teaser Tuesday: After Kilimanjaro by Gayle Woodson

I was accepted to read and review the following novel by BookSparks: After Kilimanjaro by Gayle Woodson. I was happy that my application had been accepted for two reasons: the book was set in Africa; and it dealt with basic women issues.

The novel is interesting so far and centres on a young woman doctor, Sarah Whitaker, who has travelled to work in Tanzania for a year. What she sees and experiences opens her eyes to the reality of the country she is in. The extract I am sharing describes one of the patients that she encounters:

” An awful stench floated in the next patient as she shuffled in with her head bowed. The chart said she was twenty years old, but she looked ancient. Her name was Charmaine. She was a victim of genital mutilation and a pregnancy gone wrong. The baby was tepees by scarring and after four days of labor, a dead infant was delivered in pieces. Charmaine was left with holes in her bowel and bladder and continually leaked urine and faces.” (p 107)

The content of the novel certainly makes me grateful to be living as a woman in a more modern society.

What do you know about female mutilation? 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)