With the announcement of Midnight Sun’s release this summer, Beth and I decided that this year we would read the same books. Yes, folks, we are revisiting the wonderful, terrible novels: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. This is the first time that Beth and I are reading the same books as part of the Pop Culture Homework Assignment! I am so excited! Please join us!
So, this is a romance I finished in January…. I know. I am the worst blogger ever and Beth keeps this place afloat. Feel free to roast me in the comments and on twitter. Now, we review!
Naya and Lachlan and step-siblings who have been kept apart by his domineering father. Lachlan is a famous chef. He’s won the awards, had a hot and trendy restaurant in New York, has the TV show and is known for his take-no-shit style of kitchen management. Naya and Lachlan want to be together, but can they be together now that his father is dead? The intrigue! The questions! The insanely steamy romantic interludes!
So, I picked this up because I had just read Tikka Chance on Me, which was so good and hot and cute and exactly what you’d want in a romance. I also really like Suleikha Snyder’s twitter and ig accounts, so I wanted to support an author and content creator I like. I was a little worried about this book because step-siblings in love/lust kind of creeps me out, but that’s just me, no judgement. And, this is heavy D/S, which…meh. But, this book was great. I wanted to know what happened next and I wasn’t mad about all the sexy bits. Not mad at all. They were great. (Which is a huge part of why you read romance on the more erotic end of the spectrum, right? I’m not alone in that, right?) Anyway, this was great and I will definitely read more things by this author.
Here is the description from amazon:
Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.
At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.
This book was terrible. So terrible I almost didn’t review it. The whole premise of the plot is that Ashley Davison has the same name as someone on the FBI’s most wanted list and the no-fly list and that’s a huge roadblock to her getting home for Christmas. This premise seems in poor taste, at the very least, because it does happen and hurts people, most often people who are racial and/or religious minorities in this country. I decided, for the sake of a quick Christmas read that I’d read it anyway.
I should have gone with my first instincts.
Ashley and Dash have sparks? I guess? But, It seems more like he’s the grown up looking after a well-meaning and slightly-irresponsible younger person. (And, for possibly obvious reasons, I really resent any characterization of a graduate student that way.) The FBI agents who follow them are ham-fisted and stubborn-to-a-fault. It is not a very flattering caricature. They also don’t seem good at their jobs? I feel like there were other clues that could have gotten them to Dash and Ashley faster, and while this would have made for a less exciting novel it also would have made for a shorter one and I would have been cool with that?
Oh, and they adopt a puppy at some point on their rental car road trip. This seems slightly irresponsible but big-hearted. Guess who’s idea it is.
The puppy is great. Not great enough that you should read it for the dog, though.
Ugh. this book. It was just terrible. I was hoping for something light and fun with a cute happily ever after and that’s not what this was. The nicest things I can say about this are that there was a dog and that it was a quick read.
Hoo boy, this book. This is the story of Lexi Jewell who returns to her hometown to help her father try to win his wife back and keep her from divorcing him. She keeps telling herself that its temporary and that she’ll go back to Chicago in a few weeks when everything back home is settled. For better or worse, she has the freedom to make this extended trip back to Colorado because she’s recently resigned her post at a big accountancy firm following a scandal. Of course, things are complicated back home by many things. Her father and her step-mother are prideful, cantankerous coots. The local Mountain Search and Rescue organization is having some financial difficulties and need an accountant. Oh, and her ex-boyfriend Austin is a park ranger and a member of the volunteer Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue organization and is stupidly hot.
So, shenanigans and many sexy bits ensue. There’s a heart-warming ending. This is exactly what I was looking for. Its a lovely, little romance novel. It is a series and I might even read the next one, which is about the Park Ranger’s best friend, who is the fire chief!
I finished my pop culture homework assignment, this month’s book group book, and I’m free! I can read whatever I want! So, I picked up something that was completely different from everything else I’ve read this summer. This book is about a park ranger and an account!
This book was really cute. It is the story of Sara, who comes to America, specifically to Broken Wheel, Iowa, to meet her pen pal only to find out that her pen pal has died. Sara and her pen pal Amy exchanged books and bonded over their mutual love of reading. Sara had worked for a bookstore in her home country of Sweden, but it has permanently closed its doors. So, she has the time to vacation and to decide what is next in her life.
Since Amy isn’t there to meet her, the town steps in. They set her up in Amy’s house (as Amy would have wanted) and get someone to drive her around (a couple of someones, actually, both of whom have their own little subplots). Everyone is so kind and generous to her that she decides she needs to find a way to pay everyone back. She finally lands on opening a bookstore in a store front conveniently owned by Amy and using Amy’s books. This, of course, changes the lives of many people in town. The book is quite long, but it has at least 4 sub-plots that are all resolved in the narrative and that takes time.
When I posted about this being my current listen, I said that I picked this book because it is set in Iowa and I was pretty sure it was written by someone not-from-Iowa. I thought that was a wonderful novelty. Having lived in Iowa many years, I’m always interested in hearing what people who haven’t had that experience think about the state. And, I have to say, I found it a little confusing. First, I was pretty sure that the town was supposed to be in Southern Iowa, but then it mentioned that it could be a bedroom community for Cedar Rapids, which is not in Southern Iowa. (And, is the next town over from where I went to high school). Second, there’s a gay kid who comes to town to investigate the bookstore and then make friends with the gay guys that run the local tavern because he has no other outlet for meeting gay people. But…he has a car and lives near-ish to Cedar Rapids and can’t make it to Iowa City which isn’t that far beyond Cedar Rapids and has an actual gay bar (not just a bar owned and operated by a gay couple) and has had a gay bar since the ’90s? Also, while we’re talking about the bar owned and operated by a gay couple, this book was set around 2011 and there was at least one comment about that couple and marriage, but gay couples could get married in Iowa in 2011. That bothered me a little. I was also a little bothered by some of the representations of Iowans. Like, I love the Iowans I know, but we’re super nosy and will tell people what we think, so I don’t know how its possible that no one knew Sara was coming and that no one made it clear to Amy beforehand that she had to A. tell Sara she was dying and B. make specific arrangements for Sara, should she be dead by the time of her arrival. (I admit it. I am often that person telling someone exactly what I think after I’ve nosed around a little.)
The audio book is read by Fiona Hardingham and Lorelei King and it had me wondering the entire way through, do people outside the US have an understanding that American accents fall into two categories: typical American and Southern? Do people outside the US think that everyone in rural American speaks with a Southern accent? Because, that is not true. There are features of Iowa English that make it unique (as is true of every regional area) but those features don’t really overlap with Southern English. They’re probably closer to Minnesota English (and Canadian English), Wisconsin English, and Indiana, Illinois and Northern Ohio than the South. You’re more likely to hear someone say the word “milk” and have it sound like “melk” then you are to hear someone say “pin” and “pen” the same way. Also, Iowans have all the r’s. This is something that interests me to no end and I may do a series on accents, language and representation in the things we’ve read here on this blog.
Anyway, it was cute. So, if you’re willing to go on a meandering little walk through a small town that’s allegedly Iowa (but that actual Iowans wouldn’t believe was Iowa) and you don’t mind a bunch of little divergences, then I recommend this. If that sounds irritating to you, then give this a pass.
This book was so stinkin’ cute! This story follows Dimple, ready to concur her first year of Stanford and get going on her life as a app/web developer. But, she still has to wait for the summer to be over. She’d like to spend that time at Insomnia Con, a summer learning experience where she can learn to develop an app with a partner. If she wins the Con, she’ll get to meet her hero, Jenny Lindt, who will also partner with her to finish the app and get it out into the market. She’s so stoked when her parents agree that she should go. Really, though, she should have seen that they had an ulterior motive.
Rishi is excited to meet the woman that his parents want to arrange for him to marry. He assumes that this lady knows what’s up, so he goes to Insomnia Con, requests to work with her as her partner on the app and… is surprised to find out that not everyone has been as forthcoming as his parents were. Even though he couldn’t give a toss about web development, he’s still determined to make it work, even volunteering his art skills for Dimple’s app.
Will it work? Will it all end in a disastrous pile of flames? Will they win? Does Dimple meet her hero? You should read it and find out. Or, listen to it, like I did. The book is narrated by Sneha Mathan and Vikas Adam and they did an excellent job. I recommend this, especially if you like light stories with well developed, complex characters. So good.
Unrelated, thanks to this book I feel like those four semesters of Hindi I took in college have finally found a use. Listening to the audio book, I was so happy to understand that bits and pieces of Hindi in the text. I still remember some words! Amazing! I was also pleased as punch to occasionally provide an explanation of something for my Mom, who was also listening to this with me. But, no worries if that isn’t something you have in your background. These small bits of text add to the story and they won’t create a stumbling block for you and your understanding. I don’t know what it’s like to grow up in a bilingual household, because I didn’t, so it is really neat to find fictional representations of what that might look like.
This is the second book I finished for the Asian Lit Bingo Challenge!
**This Review contains some Spoilers**
This series was meant to only be a duology and I thought it worked pretty well as just To All the boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You. So I was a little hesitant but excited when I found out that Jenny Han had decided to write one more book. On the one hand, I felt that Lara Jean’s story wrapped up nicely. Yes, it had an open ended ending but there was a sense that Lara Jean had finally started to find her Identity. And on the other hand, there was some unanswered questions, like were her and Peter really going to make it? What about their senior year? Would Kitty continue to be awesome? The answer is to that last questions is of course. Reading through this book and getting back to Lara Jean’s world of baking and arts and crafts, I was little disappointed to find that Lara Jean’s new found identity pretty much was all Peter. Her new friends were all his friends. Their plans mostly seemed to revolve around his schedule of Lacrosse games. To be fair, she did build friendships on her own with Lucas and Pammy but she wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for Peter. This became more apparent when they started to talk about college. Peter had already been accepted into UVA on a Lacrosse scholarship and Lara Jean had always wanted to go there. It’s a good school and only 15 minutes away so she could stay close to her family. Well, when she doesn’t get into UVA, there is a panic because now they have to deal with a long distance relationship. So she makes a plan to go to William and Mary for one year and transfer to UVA so they can be together. Things get even more complicated when Lara Jean who gets accepted into UNC after originally being wait listed. After a quick drive to Chapel Hill, Lara Jean is in love and it’s clear this is where she is meant to be. Now she will be 3 and half hours away instead of only 2. All this talk of college and what school would is the best, I can’t remember of any talk about what she wants to study. We know that she loves to bake and loves to crafting but what else in her life? Is she going to be an English major? biology? French? We have absolutely no idea who she is outside of her family and Peter but I could say the same thing about Peter too. As frustrating as Lara Jean’s behavior I started to realize that Peter’s identity is just as dependent if not more so on Lara Jean’s. He is very much the perfect boyfriend. He’s polite and good looking, athletic and charming. He organizes her father’s bachelor’s party to not only get on his good side but make her happy. He is also afraid of losing Lara Jean. Thanks for a moment of true honesty they seem to have finally found each other and where they want to go. They are going to try to make it work and I hope they do but where does it leave them. I sort of feel like we are left in the same place as were with the last book. They both are still growing and finding themselves as they should be at 18 and they are still together and going to fight to make their relationship work despite the distance but their future is still up and the air. I think it’s a very good development for Lara Jean to spread her wings and live on her own for once. Her life has always been about her family and then Peter. Finally in college she will be able to truly find her identity without them around and I think it will only make her stronger. It will make her relationships stronger and if her and Peter do work out them both stronger. Now, I hope in a couple of years, we come back to Virginia for Kitty, the high school years because I think that would be the most amazing story of all time.
I’m excited and nervous for this one. I thought the last book was the last book in the series and I thought it ended on a good note. I hope this one will too.