Some Kind of Misogyny : Some Kind of Magic by Mary Ann Marlowe

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In this sparkling debut novel, Mary Ann Marlowe introduces a hapless scientist who’s swept off her feet by a rock star—but is it love or just a chemical reaction?…

Biochemist Eden Sinclair has no idea that the scent she spritzed on herself before leaving the lab is designed to enhance pheromones. Or that the cute, grungy-looking guy she meets at a gig that evening is Adam Copeland. As in the Adam Copeland international rock god and object of lust for a million women. Make that a million and one. By the time she learns the truth, she s already spent the (amazing, incredible) night in his bed

Suddenly Eden, who’s more accustomed to being set up on disastrous dates by her mom, is going out with a gorgeous celebrity who loves how down-to-earth and honest she is. But for once, Eden isn’t being honest. She can’t bear to reveal that this overpowering attraction could be nothing more than seduction by science. And the only way to know how Adam truly feels is to ditch the perfume—and risk being ditched in turn

Smart, witty, and sexy, Some Kind of Magic is an irresistibly engaging look at modern relationships why we fall, how we connect, and the courage it takes to trust in something as mysterious and unpredictable as love.

Source: Goodreads

I am so fed up of books that feature a Plain Jane MC who hates anyone with boobs and even though she’s really plain manages to catch the attention of Mr. Handsome and falls instantly in love with him.

This is that sort of book.

To be honest, I picked this book up mostly because it reminded me of that old 90’s movie, Love Potion Number 9. If you haven’t seen that movie it’s pretty is like Amy Farrah Flower played in this case by Sandy B  and Sheldon Cooper played by Tate Donovan uses some formula that makes her attractive to everyone.  Though, they do it in the name of science and aren’t as socially awkward as Shamy.

wiojaldy1ywco

Here though, the whole Love Potion Number 9 angle is hardly played with.   Well, it might be later on considering I only read about thirty pages of the book before calling it a day.

I have noticed this year, that my tolerance for bad books or at least books I don’t like-since reading is subjective- has decreased drastically.  Used to a book like this and its tropes usage would’ve only gotten a couple of groans from me and I might’ve been able to tolerate it to the end but I just can’t anymore.

I really don’t know what it was that ticked me off so much about this one if it was the use of tropes of the lack originality that made me roll my eyes.

Or the fact that a grown woman would describes herself as being ridiculously responsible would randomly fall into a one night stand with a rock star without knowing him.

I just couldn’t…

It’s the same feeling I felt when I read that said grown woman constantly trashes any woman who looks better than her and bemoans about her own looks because she’s not blonde.

And she’s supposed to be a grown professional woman.

You know, maybe a few years ago I would’ve been okay with this but I can’t now.  I just can’t.  I thought we were beyond books like this.

And okay, I know that Fifty Shades of Puke managed to get published but that was years ago.  AND more importantly that was an outlier.  This sort of shit really has lost any sort of originality it has and I just don’t understand how it could make it past the slush pile.

But whatever.

It didn’t make it past my slush pile and I certainly don’t recommend it.

Overall Rating: DNF

 

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer

A brilliant, hilarious, and touching story with a Texas twist from Liza Palmer, author of Conversations With The Fat Girl (optioned for HBO)

Queenie Wake, a country girl from North Star, Texas, has just been fired from her job as a chef for not allowing a customer to use ketchup. Again. Now the only place she has to go is home to North Star. She can hope, maybe things will be different. Maybe her family’s reputation as those Wake women will have been forgotten. It’s been years since her mother-notorious for stealing your man, your car, and your rent money-was killed. And her sister, who as a teenager was branded as a gold-digging harlot after having a baby with local golden boy Wes McKay, is now the mother of the captain of the high school football team. It can’t be that bad…

Who knew that people in small town Texas had such long memories? And of course Queenie wishes that her memory were a little spottier when feelings for her high school love, Everett Coburn, resurface. He broke her heart and made her leave town-can she risk her heart again?

At least she has a new job-sure it’s cooking last meals for death row inmates but at least they don’t complain!

But when secrets from the past emerge, will Queenie be able to stick by her family or will she leave home again? A fun-filled, touching story of food, football, and fooling around. 

Source: GoodReads

Liza Palmer’s book Seeing Me Naked is one of my favorite books of all time.  I’ve been meaning to check out her backlist for awhile and picked up Nowhere But Home on a whim.

The result.

Mixed.

The writing itself is enjoyable and as readable as ever.  Palmer knows how to make a book readable that in itself gave the book a huge plus.

On the downside though, the story itself is extremely trite.  I could predict almost everything that was going to happen before it did.  And there was nothing surprising or unusual to set the book aside from the blandness that it was.

Even the character development was lacking.

Arguably, you could say that Queenie’s arc was decent character development.  The thing is though, is that I thought a lot of her character’s development felt rushed and unrealistic at best.  Especially how things wrap up.

That was a big fat no for me when I read that Queenie went through with that, I was like are you shitting me?  Because who in their mother fucking right mind would cook their mother’s murderer’s last meal.

And yes, I know that was her job at the prison where she was working, but come on.  No one would do that, but I had a bad feeling when I found out about Queenie’s mom’s death and her new job this was what Palmer was going to do.

And it didn’t work.  It was stupid.

Much like the love triangle in this book.  Honestly, Queenie’s whole romance could’ve been scraped all together and the book might’ve been better off for it.  I get that Everett was a part of her past, but in the present he barely makes an impression on me throughout the whole story so how things got resolved between them seemed a little WTF to me.

Really, all the character development was like that.  All the secrets that were to come out, apparently didn’t need to come out since everyone knew them already.  It was like what’s the point.

You read the book for the reveal and the reactions of the reveal, and the reveals had already been done.

To be fair though, a part of me really did enjoy this one.  Like I said, the writing was good and as unrealistic as the town Queenie lived in felt, for what it was worth it was atmospheric.  I did get emerged in the setting, but from my experience with Texas and small towns that town would likely only exist in a Hallmark movie.

I’m being honest here.  I just found it so difficult to buy some of the conflicts that went on with the community and the added bonus of Texas big hair made it feel even faker.

I guess what I’m saying is even though I had a lot of problems with Nowhere But Home, is that if you can look passed all the cliches and a plot that doesn’t surprise you, you might want to give it a try.  Like I said, Palmer does have a quality about her writing that makes is charming and hard to put down.  But if you are one to get swept up into decent writing and you start noticing all the flaws you might not like this one that much.

Overall Rating: A C+

Oh Boy: The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot comes the sweetly humorous story of a man who has to face his past in order to find his future.

Sometimes to move forward, you have to go back…

One post. That’s all it took to destroy the care free, glamorous life of pro golfer Reed Stewart. One tiny post on the Internet.

Then again, it’s not like Reed’s been winning many tournaments lately, and his uncle isn’t the only one who says it’s because of the unfinished business he left behind back home in Bloomville, Indiana—namely Reed’s father, the Honorable Judge Richard P. Stewart, and the only girl Reed ever loved, Becky Flowers.

But Reed hasn’t spoken to either his father or Becky in over a decade.

Until that post on the Internet. Suddenly, Reed’s family has become a national laughingstock, his publicist won’t stop calling, his siblings are begging for help, and Reed realizes he has no other choice: He’s got to go home to face his past . . . the Judge and the girl he left behind.

Becky’s worked hard to build her successful senior relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed—which hasn’t been easy, considering he’s their hometown’s golden boy, and all anyone ever talks about. It was fine while they were thousands of miles apart, but now he’s back in Bloomville. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him—until his family hires her to help save his parents.

Now Reed and Becky can’t avoid one another…or the memories of that one fateful night.

Can the quirky residents of Bloomville bring these two young people back together, or will Reed and Becky continue to allow their pasts to deny them the future they deserve?

This warm, thought-provoking book, told entirely in texts, emails, and journal entries, is as much about the enduring bond of families as it is about second chances at love, and will delight as much as it entertains.

Source: GoodReads

I have an addiction to Meg Cabot books. I’ll be the first to admit it. I think it’s in part because it was her books that really got me back into reading after going through a Harry Potter draught period—the wait between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix was a little ridiculous. So, thanks Meg. Thank you for giving me the joy of having my first book boyfriend in Jesse de Silva, and for opening me up to the world of feminism.  Even though there are some of her books and series I like better than others, I always end up picking up her new stuff save for maybe her kiddie series that aren’t related to any of her YA and adult series.   That’s quite a commitment if you think about it, considering that I have been reading her stuff for over a decade and have read several others books in between. Anyway, one of the favorite series I read by her was her Boy books and I recently did a recap of them in order to prepare for The Boy is Back.

This is an old photo that I took with Meg way back when Princess Diaries 10 was a new book.

This is an old photo that I took with Meg way back when Princess Diaries 10 was a new book.

Note, you really don’t have to do the reread if you don’t want too. There are a couple of Easter eggs for people who loved those books, but it’s not like crucial. Like those books, this one isn’t in traditional pose and is written in phone conversations, Amazon reviews, Facebook posts, and e-mails. Which means it’s totally hilarious—well, sort of.

The book actually deals with a sort of painful subject: aging, hoarding, and elder abuse. It’s actually something I can really relate to at the moment since I just lost my grandma this weekend and we’re in the process of going through her stuff—she had a penchant for collecting or should I say hoarding valueless figurines and other clutter that she thought were collectibles so it really hit home for me. I did like how Meg made this subject matter seem a little less depressing than it actually was, and how during family emergency there are often glimpses and moments of humor there.

Like in most of the boy books, the romance really plays a secondary role to a degree. I would say that in the series Becky and Reed aren’t my favorite couple but they are interesting and cute enough. Although, I did think they got together fairly easy despite all the crap that went down between them. However, I think that’s just me having binged too many Judith McNaught books earlier this year and being full of four hundred pages of angst before getting the fucking happy ending. Oh, angst.

Another issue I have with this book, and note they were minimum, is I was easily able to see the Cabot tropes throughout this book. Tropes that were similar to other Boy books. Like the evil lawyer sibling who uses the fact that she’s the executrix (yes, executrix editors—it’s the feminine form of executor and some lawyers/judges get pissy if you use the wrong form, at least that’s what Barbri told me when I submitted my Wills practice essay when I was studying for the bar) of her parents will throughout the book. The parents aren’t even dead yet and it’s not like the executrix would have that much power since a will has really no value until the parents are dead. And having a joint will…

Yeah, I know. I’m going off on a tangent like I do whenever I watch Law and Order. And I get it, not all writers are lawyers—thank God— but the fact that this is used as a threat by an attorney throughout the book made me laugh. At least Reed eventually called her out on it. And honestly, it’s not this that annoyed me it’s the fact that we had to go the evil lawyer sibling route again when Cabot had already done that in a previous book in the series (Boy Meets Girl). But least in that book we had Mitch to balance out the Fucker.

Unrelated side note, if Stewart and Amy got a divorce in the interim I think he and the evil lawyer sibling in this book would hit it off big time. I’m just saying.

Another similar trope was the cool siblings with lots of kids that having a Granger-Weasley bicker like relationship. Again, seen that before in two books of the series (Boy Meets Girl and The Boy Next Door). It’s not that repeating these tropes is necessary a bad thing, but I don’t know could we have the evil lawyer sister at least be smart enough not to use the executrix threat.

Because seriously.

That aside, I really loved this book. Again, it was very (scary and sadly) relatable given my current situation and I did enjoy the romance and characters for the most part. If you haven’t picked up the Boy series you should. Yes, there are some issues here and there, but for the most part it is a very well done and cute series.

Overall Rating: A B+ again the executrix threat and repeated tropes were really my only points of annoyance.

Why I DNF A Book in Under Forty Pages; The Return of Brody McDouche by Jennifer Ryan

The black sheep of Fallbrook is back . . . and he’s in for the surprise of his life.

Former bad boy, now-decorated Army Ranger Brody McBride is home and on a mission: Find the woman he never should have left behind and right the wrong he did eight years ago.

When the man she loved broke her heart and skipped town, Rain Evans picked up the pieces. But along with heartbreak, Brody left her something infinitely better than she could have imagined: two beautiful daughters. One she gave birth to, and the other she rescued from the woman who helped destroy her relationship with Brody.

Brody is shocked to discover he’s a father, and he’s more determined than ever to win back Rain and protect his girls. Can they rekindle the love they once shared and become the family they were always meant to be? Or will a danger from their past return and ruin everything?

Source: GoodReads

I have been having a slew of DNF’s lately but The Return of Brody McDouche  McBride broke a world record of DNF’ing in under 40 pages!  Usually, I make it at least past the fifty page mark.  But I thought I’d list the reasons why I DNF’d Brody McDouche (yes, it really should’ve been named that).

  1. Secret baby plot:  It’s an annoying trope, but I’ll be willing to put up for it if it’s different and the girl doesn’t like give up her entire life for the baby.  Doesn’t happen here.
  2. Double secret baby plot with multiple women knocked up at the same time: Ew, ew, ew.
  3. Women randomly is able to adopt second child from the Evil Bitch-Slut! character despite having no familiar connection: Maybe it was threw illegal means or something, but generally the adoption goes through blood relatives first when someone’s parental rights are revoked.   There was a blood uncle to kid 2 here, so I didn’t get it.  This is one of those times you wish you didn’t have some experience in family law.
  4. Characters having weather and seasonal names: The female MC’s name is Rain her biological daughter’s name is Dawn.  Gag reflexes yet.  And Dawn’s half sister’s name is Autumn so there’s seasonal, weather, and dish soap names here.  It’s annoying it’s obnoxious.   And if you have those names I’m sorry, BUT….whatever. Combined its hideous.
  5. Brody McDouche says that Rain is his woman despite having no contact with her for eight years, and because of that not paying her the requisite amount in child support: Yeah.  He’s a McDouche.
  6. Brody McDouche’s brother is a caring uncle who is also a lawyer that seems to have never told Rain about maybe she should seek child support: Despite the fact Rain is pretty broke because she’s raising two kids as a single mom and doesn’t seem to be making much money, he doesn’t suggest informing McDouche even though McDouche would probably owe her a good chunk of his earnings because um, child support.
  7. Brody McDouche is rich despite working for the government for eight years: Because being rich is a requisite for a romance novel and somehow being deployed makes you an expert at the stock market or wherever McDouche got his money?!?!?!?!
  8. Demonization of Roxy (the other woman) being a complete bitch: Never mind it takes two to tango, and Brody McDouche willingly went into Roxy’s bed.
  9. Rain still dreams about Brody McDouche besides the fact that he abandoned her and she was forced to raise both of his children without child support: ew
  10. The fact that Brody McDouche is the hero: Enough said.

And that is why I DNF this book.
Simple enough, huh.  Sad thing is, that the other titles in this series don’t look that bad.   I just, I just don’t know if I want to touch it with a ten foot pole after Brody McDouche.

Oh Boy: The Boy Series by Meg Cabot

I probably reread a few-a lot-of Meg Cabot’s books each year.  Meg’s books are like good comfort food.  And yes, I find that even if I have had a God awful week, and this week has been full of stress they’ll make me smile.  It’s good to know that whenever there’s no chocolate or if I don’t want to exercise I can always pull out a Cabot book and get the requisite endorphins from it.

Although, like I said in my previous Cabot binge some of the rereads are better than the others.  Fortunately, The Boy series was one of those series that held up better-save for the fact that they’re titles are so similar that I start getting them confused.  Really, I have probably referred to Boy Meets Girl as The Boy Next Door more than I’d liked to admit.  Though surprisingly, I don’t have the same problem with Every Boy’s Got One.  And to make things more confusing another boy book-The Boy is Back is going to be released later this year so I am going to be more confused than ever.

Whatever.

It’s another Meg Cabot book to read and by that time I’ll be depressed or need cheering up and like I said before her books are better for you than chocolate or wine.

Gossip columnist and single New York City girl Mel lives in the most exciting place in the world, yet she’s bored with her lovelife. But things get interesting fast when the old lady next door is nearly murdered.
Mel starts paying closer attention to her neighbors—what exactly is going on with the cute boy next door?
Has Mel found the love of her life—or a killer?

Source: GoodReads

In a lot of ways this is the best one in the series.  The reason why, the relationship is the most developed and I love the Trents.  Though, the Hertzogs are just as amusing but a lot more dysfunctional-and that’s saying something since Daddy Trent is in jail.

I think the style that this book is written in-emails, notes, phone messages, etc. really works well for it. I don’t know if it-or its sequels-would work well in any other style.  I often wonder if I would’ve like her vampire series better if it had been written in this style, because there is really something perfectly done that most authors never can get right but Meg Cabot does.

Yes, there are the typical Cabot tropes that are used throughout the book.  And yes, there are a lot of shaking your head this is totally unrealistic moments but I don’t care.   There is just so much charm in this book that it makes you smile throughout reading it.

The supporting characters aren’t that bad either and they do seem to have their own lives-well, some of them.  Some like Dolly Vargas are definitely one note characters, but their one note-ness isn’t bad at all.   I didn’t even mind the ditzy model character, Vivica, and her weirdo obsession with driftwood sculptures.

If you like cute light reads that will perk up your mood, you should pick this one up.  It’s not the most serious book by any means, but I wouldn’t want it to be serious.

Overall Rating: An A-.  I really liked it.  Yeah, there were some things that could’ve been developed and changed a bit but not much.  I highly recommend it.

Meet Kate Mackenzie. She:

– works for the T.O.D. (short for Tyrannical Office Despot, also known as Amy Jenkins, Director of the Human Resources Division at the New York Journal)
– is sleeping on the couch because her boyfriend of ten years refuses to commit
– can’t find an affordable studio apartment anywhere in New York City
– thinks things can’t get any worse.

They can. Because:

– the T.O.D. is making her fire the most popular employee in the paper’s senior staff dining room
– that employee is now suing Kate for wrongful termination, and
– now Kate has to give a deposition in front of Mitch Hertzog, the scion of one of Manhattan’s wealthiest law families,who embraces everything Kate most despises … but also happens to have a nice smile and a killer bod.

The last thing anybody — least of all Kate Mackenzie — expects to find in a legal arbitration is love. But that’s the kind of thing that can happen when…

Boy meets girl.

Source: GoodReads

Back in the days before I found out I could not eat wheat without bad things happening to me-don’t ask-in addition to reading this book I used it as a cookbook.  Since the days I have been forced to make bake goods with glutten free flour and xantheum gum (I so did not spell that right) this book has collected dust a bit but I just pulled it out for its story and remembered why I liked it so much in the first place.

Plot wise, this is in a lot of ways my favorite.  I like Kate and Mitch too, but the actual development of when they got together was a little too rapid for my liking.

Seriously, they only went out on like two dates and slept together like once when he asks her to move in.  And yes, this is a Meg Cabot book and you know they’re going to live HEA.  But you would think after being homeless because of a break up Kate would be a little more hesitant to move in with a guy so soon again.

You know what, I really don’t care because at the end of the day I still love this book.  Like I said in the previous while the Trent family is lovably eccentric with a couple of relatives in jail, the Hertzogs are just so dysfunctional and not all of them-save for Mitch, Stacey, and Sean are likable.  In fact, I pretty much wanted to stuff Stewart and his mother’s head in a toilet throughout most of the novel, especially in that bit where they wanted to send Sean to a conversion camp.

So, so, wrong.

But I like the fact that the fact that good people can have horrible families were addressed and there were realistic consequences for everyone-meaning the TOD marries Stewie and they live miserably ever after.

Oh yes, the TOD how could I forget about her.  She is probably one of the most despised characters that Cabot has created to date.  I don’t think Lana even when she was in full brat mode was this bad.  The character would fit right at home in that basket full of deplorables.  I think that’s all that needs to be said about her.  But wow.

I think having her be such a horrible person was in a lot of ways what made the book and its whole story so good.  You wanted this character to get her just desserts and she did in a fairly realistic way.

Overal Rating: B+.  Like I said, enjoyed it and I did like Kate and Mitch’s chemistry but man did they get together fast.  So, so, fast.  Also, if you can eat wheat try those recipes.

Cartoonist Jane Harris is delighted by the prospect of her first-ever trip to Europe. But it’s hate at first sight for Jane and Cal Langdon, and neither is too happy at the prospect of sharing a villa with one another for a week–not even in the beautiful and picturesque Marches countryside. But when Holly and Mark’s wedding plans hit a major snag that only Jane and Cal can repair, the two find themselves having to put aside their mutual dislike for one another in order to get their best friends on the road to wedded bliss–and end up on a road themselves … one neither of them ever expected.

Source: GoodReads

This book has gotten better with reread. I  remember liking, but not loving it the first time I read it but surprisingly I liked it a whole, whole, lot this time around.  Cal and Jane have some fantastic banter. The love hate vibes were pretty much spot on and reached the level where I can insert a Pride and Prejudice gif without cringing.

Yeah, they did get together sort of suddenly towards the end but in a lot of ways I’m sort of glad it was sudden because the hate/love banter was so good.

The setting is also divine.  I really like it when Cabot does Europe.  The first Queen of Babble in my opinion is the best in part because of the setting.  She describes Italy just as well as  rural France, though I do wonder about the wi-fi signal at the villa.  Because really, they have that good wi-fi in the mountains in the middle of nowhere in Italy.  Because I remember my wi-fi being bad in my urban Ireland apartment.

Whatever.

I did like how while we moved away from The New York Journal, there were still references to the paper and the previous books.  It was just enough of a departure where it wasn’t a complete departure and there were Easter eggs for fans of the previous book.

So yes, I liked it.  As much as the other books….yes but in a different way.

Overall Rating: B+

 

 

Fun But a Bit Disjointed Revisit: Queen of Babble Series by Meg Cabot

Ah, Meg Cabot, my YA gateway author. If you read this blog, you know that I own pretty much all of Cabot’s full novels—I gave up trying to collect the short stories years ago, unless they involve a character that I adore from a book or series. Needless to say I was a Cabot-aholic back in the day though I’ve sort of weaned off of her books a bit since I started blogging. Still, I find time each year to binge read on a few (or a lot) of her books. Sometimes the reread is fantastic (see Mediator and Princess Diaries reread mini-series) sometimes not so fantastic, see reviews on How to be Popular and Pants on Fire. Since I was in the process of cleaning out my shelves, I recently reread the Queen of Babble series. The result—uh, I didn’t hate them but there was a real disconnect between the first book and the rest of the series. Honestly, to sum up my feelings, if Cabot hit autocorrect and changed Lizzy and the rest of the cast’s names she could’ve had a standalone and a duology. Still though, there was some nostalgia there. Let’s get looking at this trilogy shall we:

 

What’s an American girl with a big mouth, but an equally big heart, to do?

Lizzie Nichols has a problem, and it isn’t that she doesn’t have the slightest idea what she’s going to do with her life, or that she’s blowing what should be her down payment on a cute little Manhattan apartment on a trip to London to visit her long-distance boyfriend, Andrew. But what’s the point of planning for the future when she’s done it again? See, Lizzie can’t keep her mouth shut. And it’s not just that she can’t keep her own secrets, she can’t keep anything to herself.

This time when she opens her big mouth, her good intentions get Andrew in major hot water. So now Lizzie’s stuck in London with no boyfriend and no place to stay until the departure date written on her non-refundable airline ticket.

Fortunately, there’s Shari, Lizzie’s best friend and college roommate, who’s spending her summer in southern France, catering weddings with her boyfriend, Chaz, in a sixteenth-century château. One call and Lizzie’s on a train to Souillac. Who cares if she’s never traveled alone in her life and only speaks rudimentary French? One glimpse of gorgeous Château Mirac – not to mention gorgeous Luke, the son of Château Mirac’s owner – and she’s smitten.

But while most caterers can be trusted to keep a secret, Lizzie’s the exception. And no sooner has the first cork been popped than Luke hates her, the bride is in tears, and it looks like Château Mirac is in danger of becoming a lipo-recovery spa. As if things aren’t bad enough, her ex-boyfriend Andrew shows up looking for “closure” (or at least a loan), threatening to ruin everything, especially Lizzie’s chance at ever finding real love…

Unless she can figure out a way to use that big mouth of hers to save the day.

Source: GoodReads

So, set aside this one really works even after eight years.

Yeah, its pop culture references are a little dated, but not as dated as Princess Diaries. I actually sort of liked Lizzie in this one. Yes, she was dumb.

Oh, how will I be saying Lizzie is dumb throughout most of these reviews. The character is just innately stupid. I mean, while her so called major is cute. Really, fashion history??!?!?!?!? And she justifies it because she had free tuition.

Uh, no.

Whatever.

In the real world, Lizzie would probably be lucky if she could get a job at Kohl’s. Just saying.

Anyway, this is your fairly typical girl goes to Europe and falls in love stories that are nice to read about in the summer. Really, the series is sort of an inverse of British chick lit where a British chick goes to America and does pretty much the same thing Lizzy does ( see Shopaholic series sequel and the whole concept of I Heart New York, oh and that Jemima J book). Seriously, I mean there’s even the stereotypical set up: one book establishing the character, one making it in the big Apple, and one that focuses on getting married…okay, sort of getting ahead of myself and not all those books I listed follow that exact format.

But a lot of them do.

The point is, the plot is generic but cute. You know what you’re getting into and the book is by Cabot so that is sort of an added bonus. And as for a predictable book, I really liked it. Like I said, Lizzie is as dumb as a box of rocks but she is endearing in this book. The babbling thing makes sense enough, and I liked the set up with her and Luke even though it was a little too much of a coincidence to happen in real life.

The thing I did not like though, is that when I was rereading this book I kept thinking of the rest of the series and shaking my head. Because unlike Insatiable, where I sort of figured who the love interest was going to be—and boy I think he’s probably one of Cabot’s worst heroes—it wasn’t so obvious here. Even on reread, yeah, there might’ve been a few hints of what was yet to come but it wasn’t that obvious and I can get why some fans of this series would be hurt.

Still though, if you really like certain aspects of this book give it a try. I mean, you can always act like the book is a standalone. Really, I basically autocorrect Lizzie’s name to Izzie  for books 2 and 3, Luke into Duke, Chaz into Chad, and Sherri into Sheryl. It works people. Totally works.

Overall Rating: I’m giving the first book a B+. It holds on it’s own but is a little predictable.

Lizzie Nichols is back, pounding the New York City pavement and looking for a job, a place to live, and her proper place in the universe (not necessarily in that order).

When “Summer Fling” Luke uses the L word (Living Together), Lizzie is only too happy to give up her plan of being postgrad roomies with best friend, Shari, in a one-room walk-up in exchange for cohabitation with the love of her life in his mother’s Fifth Avenue pied-à-terre, complete with doorman and resident Renoir.

But Lizzie’s not as lucky in her employment search. As Shari finds the perfect job, Lizzie struggles through one humiliating interview after another, being judged overqualified for the jobs in her chosen field—vintage-gown rehab—and underqualified for everything else. It’s Shari’s boyfriend Chaz to the rescue when he recommends Lizzie for a receptionist’s position at his father’s posh law firm. The nonpaying gig at a local wedding-gown shop Lizzie manages to land all on her own.

But Lizzie’s notoriously big mouth begins to get her into trouble at work and at home almost at once—first at the law firm, where she becomes too chummy with Jill Higgins, a New York society bride with a troublesome future mother-in-law, and then back on Fifth Avenue, when she makes the mistake of bringing up the M word (Marriage) with commitment-shy Luke.

Soon Lizzie finds herself jobless as well as homeless all over again. Can Lizzie save herself—and the hapless Jill—and find career security (not to mention a mutually satisfying committed relationship) at last? 

Source: Goodreads

See, a lot of people really hate the third book in this series but to me the second book is the worst. I mean, by the third book you know that the series is headed for a train wreck but the second book really just sort of gives you whiplash because everything is just so different from the first book.

First there’s Lizzie, who I even think got dumber between books. I don’t know how she did that too, because she was almost at Bella Swan level of stupidity in the previous book—I mean, really walking around commando in an airport (ew).

But I relent, in this book she is so oblivious to what’s going around her. I often wonder if her relationship would’ve been salvageable had she actually had the intelligence to speak out and not focus on trying to hide the extra weight she gained in Europe in Spanx.

Okay, off side note, but upon rereading these books and the Heather Wells series I can’t help but get annoyed how many body image issues these characters have. I get that we all complain about our weight—and for Heather’s sake her series does sort of address her weight in the title so she sort of gets a break—but the lifestyle these characters live are just plain unhealthy. Lizzie constantly complains about the size of her butt and then eats like five thousand calories in the next paragraph. I seriously, wondered if there was some sort of over compulsive eating disorder there but luckily Cabot never went there—though it was alluded to enough.

Size of Lizzie’s fictional butt aside, it just annoyed me that this character was just focused on the superficial things when her life is fucked up.

She’s in New York, a fresh college graduate. An undergrad at that and not really a graduate since she still has that pesky thesis—we never find out through the series if she got the diploma, I’m assuming she didn’t since the dean or whoever read it probably cringed too much about Ancient Egyptians using crocodile dung as birth control—to complete and needs to find a job.

And yeah, honey, could’ve told you Vera Wang wasn’t going to hire you. But even though she gets rejections things are ridiculously easy for her when she’s hired for Chaz’s dad’s law firm for twenty fucking bucks an hour.

Okay, as a legal professional I can tell you some lawyers don’t even make twenty freaking bucks an hour when they first start. Oh yeah, some entry level salaries suck ass—I’ve seen like ten dollars an hour in some job ads, and grads will do it because the market is so saturated.   Law students and new grads will even do receptionist work just to get  into the firm, so a idiot like Lizzie who is more focused on the size of her butt than doing her job would likely not get hired based on her skill set let alone for twenty fucking bucks an hour with benefits for fucking part time work. Especially since she can’t keep her trap shut and it’s a freaking family law firm.

Sorry, but having gone through this process it’s a little hard not to roll your eyes at someone like Lizzie working in big law.

The revelations in this book—Sherri being bisexual and Chaz being in love with Lizzie are just randomly thrown there and I’m just like really, really, how did we get there? Especially the Chaz thing, as far as the Sherri thing goes there were at least some allusions to the fact a jack ass character in the previous book thought she might be gay. Though, him being sort of right is just sort of….I don’t know weird. I mean, the guy was a jack ass. I thought it was cool that Sheri was bi, but sort of didn’t like the fact that the jack ass called it. As for Chaz and Lizzie FORCED.

Sorry, but though the pairing improves quite a bit in the last book it just comes out of nowhere. Now, I know that parts of the trilogy are based on real life events—I think I read an interview or two that Cabot mentioned Lizzie getting together with Chaz was sort of how she got together with her husband—with notable fictionalization occurring. It’s just that, I don’t know, if she wanted to do a story like that it might’ve been just as well if Lizzy had ended up with Andrew in the first book OR you know before suddenly exchanging saliva with Chaz, there had been some exploration there.

The pairing, like the book just didn’t work for me.

Overall Rating: Uh, a C- for being a downer it was an entertaining downer.

 

Big mouth. Big heart.

Big wedding. Big problems.

It’s the wedding of the century!

Things are looking up at last for Lizzie Nichols. She has a career she loves in the field of her choice (wedding gown restoration), and the love of her life, Jean-Luc, has finally proposed. Life’s become a dizzying whirl of wedding gown fittings—not necessarily her own—as Lizzie prepares for her dream wedding at her fiancé’s château in the south of France.

But the dream soon becomes a nightmare as the best man—whom Lizzie might once have accidentally slept with . . . no, really, just slept—announces his total lack of support for the couple, a sentiment the maid of honor happens to second; Lizzie’s Midwestern family can’t understand why she doesn’t want to have her wedding in the family backyard; her future, oh-so-proper French in-laws seem to be slowly trying to lure the groom away from medical school and back into investment banking; and Lizzie finds herself wondering if her Prince Charming really is as charming as she once believed.

Is Lizzie really ready to embrace her new role as wife and mistress of Château Mirac? Or is she destined to fall into another man’s arms . . . and into the trap of becoming a Bad Girl instead?

Source: GoodReads

Often called the worst in the series, I don’t exactly hate it. Don’t get me wrong, it was illy paced and rushed and the ship was a bit sudden. But as sudden as the ship came, it wasn’t detestable. In fact, I liked Lizzie and Chaz though both of them are just as fucked up as Luke

I get that Cabot kept trying to do—lessen the blame game, especially with having Luke being revealed to be what he was at the end of the book. But come on, it doesn’t lessen what Lizzie and Chaz did. And sure, I don’t really give a flip one way or the other about the cheating, but I think it was just a cheap shot to villainize Luke so that Lizzie wouldn’t feel that bad about being a “Bad Girl”

Seriously, Bad Girl. That’s what Lizzie calls herself throughout this book because she wants to get into Chaz’s pants while judging others.

It should be noted, that this time upon reread I wanted to throttle her.

Full disclosure, when I first read this book eight years ago, it was during a very painful period in my life. I thought that some of my reaction to the plot might’ve because I was experiencing a similar situation. But nope, years of distance I still feel as disgusted as before.

Also the blatant Paris Hilton character wannabe even annoyed me now upon reread especially since she seemed like a pretty irresponsible Chihuahua owner and since I own like the two best Chis ever—because seriously Pinky and Brainy rule and then some—I get pretty pissed when people treat the dogs like their toys. They’re not.

Brainy is NOT a toy.

Brainy is NOT a toy.

In fact, Pinky and Brainy hate it whenever I have to pack them in their snoozer to get groomed or whatever. Forget about me trying to put them in a purse at any time, Pinky might kill me.

Dont doubt this innocent stare he could hurt him.

Dont doubt this innocent stare he could hurt him.

Yeah, so making the Chihuahua act like a toy in a book—um, not so much.

God, I didn’t think I would rant about Chihuahuas in this review.  There are like ten thousand other things to rant about like the blatantly obviously slammed down moral lesson that I can’t quite pinpoint what exactly it’s supposed to-maybe being true to yourself?-but it makes it presence known especially with how smug and successful Lizzie is at the end of this book.

Look, I like happy endings more than the next person BUT….

Yeah.  It was a little too unbelievable.

I think one of my biggest issues with this one is that I felt like the main character never had to deal with her fuck ups.  Sure, she’d mope for ten pages or so but somehow they’d be miraculously resolved.

Overall Rating a C+ but an entertaining C+

 

 

The First Romance Novel I Ever Read: Perfect by Judith McNaught

A rootless foster child, Julie Mathison had blossomed under the love showered upon her by her adoptive family. Now a lovely and vivacious young woman, she was a respected teacher in her small Texas town, and she passionately lived her ideals. Julie was determined to give back all the kindness she’d received; nothing and no one would ever shatter the perfect life she had fashioned.

Zachary Benedict was an actor/director whose Academy Award-winning career had been shattered when he was wrongly convicted of murdering his wife. After the tall, ruggedly handsome Zack escaped from a Texas prison, he abducted Julie and forced her to drive him to his Colorado mountain hideout. She was outraged, cautious, and unable to ignore the instincts that whispered of his innocence. He was cynical, wary, and increasingly attracted to her. Passion was about to capture them both in its fierce embrace…but the journey to trust, true commitment, and proving Zack’s innocence was just beginning….

Source: GoodReads

Perfect is one of those dreaded rereads that you realize you’ve outgrown what you thought was a good book and said book SUCKED.

To be fair, there were some things that I enjoyed about Perfect and that I’ll always enjoy about the book. I’ll probably reread certain things again, but in 2016 there are things about the twenty some odd book that are ridiculously dated that make me wonder if they were even okay in the 1990’s because some of this shit I don’t think it would’ve flied back then.

The premise is one to raise eyebrows, the Stockholm Syndrome trope. As a feminist, or as a decent human being, I don’t like the trope still I like the wrongfully convicted movie star angle when I was fourteen and I thought it’d be a fun one to revisit. However, it wasn’t.

I started drafting this review halfway through the very long reading process of this book and finished it after I got through its unicorn dropping of an ending (FYI, for sanity purposes you should really think about skimming the last hundred or so pages and going straight to the epilogue or at least the wedding scene). I knew I’d have a lot to talk about, so I thought it be better to start my ramblings off early than later in the drafting process—the grievances ended up being a whopping total of over 1800 words (or the equivalent of a small undergrad essay).

1) The Main Characters—specifically Julie, Zack to a lesser degree.

 God, I wanted to deck Julie and then some. McNaught heroines are always borderline Sues. I sort of give some of them a break—like Meredith in Paradise she might look perfect have an idyllic life, but at least there are flaws there and she’s just as much to blame with her relationship issues as Matt. With Julie, while little Ms. Perfect can’t do anything wrong.

Save for the first twenty pages of the book where she’s a little homeless wraith, but of course she changes her evil wiles of being a thief. FYI, the backgrounds on the character are nice and all but don’t really add much to the story. With Julie, I could refrain for her digging out dead fish out an aquarium since it didn’t really add that much to the story. The pickpocket thing could’ve been utilized, but wasn’t.

Besides the useless flashbacks, another issue I had with this character is she’s so damn preachy. I just wanted to smack little Ms. Perfect and her judgmental ways. I wanted someone else to mention that she was a little bit of a bitch towards Zack, but they were all like forgive Julie.

In fact, one of the little 1D dweebs she teaches calls Zack a jerk when he’s released from jail because he made Julie cry. God forbid. Even though Julie was the fucking one who got him trapped AND beaten by the police.

Zack is no saint either, but at least his motivations make sense. Dude was locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. While I didn’t like how fast his relationship with little Miss Perfect developed—personally, I wish he would’ve reconnected with an old lover than Ms. Perfect Virgin at least his motivations made sense. Though, even Disney did more developing Belle and the Beast’s relationship—since they had him give her a library and try to woo her with dinner before he even thought about getting her to kiss him, let alone bed him. Furthermore, is a little bit ridiculous how much name dropping that McNaught did to pump up this character to A-list celebrity status especially since unless you watch a lot of films from this era when this book was published you’re not going to recognize some of these names. By the way, Barbara fucking Streisand sings at their good old country church wedding of all things.

2) The Side Characters—Save For Matt and Meredith (and even then seemed to talk unnaturally)

 Other than Matt and Meredith who developed happily ever speech (speech that sounds unnatural by couples who are living blissfully in book-ville) I didn’t enjoy any of the side characters. And Meredith, I got annoyed with you for defending Julie Sue.

First, there’s Julie’s dipshit brother who is a sexist and then some—but again it’s his ex-wife’s fault their marriage failed apart because she didn’t know how to cook, wanted to live in a nice house, and got into a riding accident which resulted to a miscarriage. This is an annoying subplot that is quickly solved within 360 pages of the book where she admits she’s wrong and they live happily ever after in a crappy apartment. It’s still annoying though because if you cut out that crap I could’ve gotten through with some of this torture a little quicker.

The other brother, the minister father, and mother are all equally bland. Save for this annoying scene at the end of the book where the minister dad goes on one of those stupid save yourself for marriage rants and we get a weird quasi Christian romance scene of the couple reconnecting and Zack getting randy because he can’t have sex with Julie till they get hitched. Hell, he can’t even be in the grown ass woman’s house alone with her. Oh, and her father’s one of those people who calls their wives “Mother” that is always a freaking pet peeve of mine so it’s additional fictional knee in his nuts from me.

Me when thinking about some of these characters.

See, talking about these people is getting me violent.   It really makes me concerned why my fourteen-year-old self loved this book (probably because Zack is hot).

And God, even since the reread I’ve skimmed that part—the last one hundred pages—with good reason.

Other than them, there are some annoying locals that maintain the pristine—piss poor annoying values of their cookie cutter American town. FYI, if you sleep with someone before you’re married and a woman they’ll gossip about you to no end.  And there’s these two annoying geriatric twins that dress alike, one being nice one not so nice, where there’s yet another subplot involving one of their love lives.

I hated them all.

3) Plots and Subplots Fail Flat

 For 700 pages everything better be damn well resolved, right.

Oh, dear blog reader, you’d be wrong. Oh, so wrong. There are so many holes in this book it isn’t funny.

I think a part of the problem is we have so many extraneous storylines: whole killed Zack’s wife, is Zack going to get his freedom, is Julie going to betray him, the Katherine/Ted drama, will Matt ever get his nap with Meredith, and most importantly if the community of Keaton is the community that Dump uses in his idealistic view of what used to make America Great since it seems to be full of WASPs and Julie looks like a supermodel.

Rather than focusing on what’s important, meaning who really killed Rachel—Zack’s wife—or for that matter working the shit out that happens between Julie and Zack appropriately, the murder mystery is solved very randomly and not by even the main characters. If any plot is resolved, it’s that Keaton gets this big fat moralistic info commercial at the end and like I said before.

Skip it.

Unless you want to see a town full of jerks whose faces you want to punch—Julie’s included. God, did I want to bitch slap Julie.

Again, McNaught, why were we stuck with her as a MC?

When rereading this, I was sort of shocked how ill paced this one is. It is over seven hundred pages and yet parts that needed to be fleshed out weren’t fleshed out at all. And as for Matthew and Meredith, while I liked them in there I sort of wanted them to be how Cam and Amelia were utilized in Seduce Me at Sunset, meaning we get longer meatier scenes with them to get rid of some of the bullshit—aka Julie and her town full of hypocrites with their little forgiveness message that doesn’t only extend to Princess Perfect but Zack’s God awful relatives who disowned him and left him to fend for himself on the streets when he was fucking eighteen.

Forgiveness, my ass.

And for the love of God, kill Ted and Katherine with fire, McNaught.

4) Feminism—It Ceases to Exist

 Remember the 1990’s woman?

If you watch a lot of movies from the era you’re told that the 90’s woman can have it all and conform to the standards that were established by men—i.e. being their babysitter. In this book, we’re constantly told how horrible Katherine is because she didn’t learn to cook and clean and wipe Ted’s butt.

Julie is deemed as wholesome and we get some virgin worship for her, while McNaught hotly contends that evil women such as Rachel and Katherine to a lesser intent are evil because they have sex, don’t want babies, and want careers.   Also, anyone who has had an abortion in this book is treated like tainted goods. Hell, Julie even had to ask Zack permission to write a fucking book (which FYI, is sort of a product placement for the fucking book your reading—no wonder Julie is a such a Sue).

I find it so odd that this is the same woman who wrote Paradise where the main character is very career oriented. Sure, there were some gender issues in that book but they were handled more tactfully and you understood the motivations towards the various upsets. Here though, people are merely called a slut in the good town of Keaton if they don’t listen to the great Reverend Nuts-I-Must-Kick rants about virginity.

No wonder Julie is so fucked up.

Really, her social worker should ashamed of his/herself. Then again, I don’t think they had much choice but to but her with Nuts-I-Must-Kick after his shrink relative—who we never see after her first appearance—makes her appeal about what loving people they are.

That aside though, I am really surprised with how much woman hate there was in this book it seems like everyone—aside from Julie—can find some way to insult someone of the female sex.

Really, this book should just go for the fat pigs and talk about their periods because I think it sort of wants too with the amount of hate that spewed from it.

A part of me knows I’m not looking at the book in it’s historical contents, it is over twenty years old and because of that it is dated, but somehow Paradise didn’t seem to get on my nerves as much as this.

The thing is, is even though parts of this dragged and I rolled my eyes I didn’t hate it. There were some scenes that worked. I loved seeing Matt and Meredith again, and Zack wasn’t that bad. Julie though—I went from being fairly sympathetic to hating her guts.

First Read: An A. It was my first romance novel, but second read I’d probably give it a C+ if I’m being generous. Therefore, rounding up the reading experience to a B. Like I said, hideously dated some poor messages but there is something at least interesting about it.

 

 

Romance-cation: My Favorite Book of ALL Time

Corporate raider Matthew Farrell had come a long way from the poor, scruffy kid of Indiana’s steel mills. A long way from the country club where, feeling like an outsider, he had dared to fall in love with a beautiful blonde named Meredith Bancroft, and known a once-in-a-lifetime passion and betrayal that sill haunted his memory… Now world leaders courted him, the media watched his every move, and he was ready to move in on the Bancroft empire.

A cool, poised executive in her family’s legendary department store chain, Meredith had once defied her father for the sexually magnetic, intense Matt Farrell — and their brief, ill=fated marriage was the disastrous outcome. Now, as the Bancroft firm is threatened by a hostile takeover, Meredith is forced to confront Matt. As tensions build between them, bittersweet memories rise to the surface, leaving them suspicious, restless, and uncertain. Will they be able to believe in each other — and grasp the tender miracle that is before them?

Source: GoodReads

This is probably my favorite romance novel of all time, though it’s companion sequel-Perfect-is a close second.  This book contains a lot of my favorite tropes and is the king of angst.

It’s over 700 pages so McNaught has plenty of time to torture her characters, and torture is what she does to them here.

I have read Paradise maybe a couple of times in the past twelve or so years that I have known about it.  This is the first time I’ve read it in several years though, and it has surprisingly held up well.  While I do think the fat book could’ve been cut down a little bit-because no one really likes reading about mergers and acquisitions it is still a good book.

And after going to law school, I am able to pick up on thins that sixteen-year-old me didn’t understand.

Yay me!

The characters are pretty well formed.  Initially it might seem like Meredith is a bit of a Mary Sue, she is described as a Grace Kelly look alike BUT McNaught fully forms her with flashbacks starting from the time she’s 14 to when she turns 30.

Matt Farrell is drool worthy and not a complete ass, which is a problem that a lot of McNaught’s men have.  Yes, he does have jerkiness moments, but as far as moments of asshole-ness go his asshole-ness has motivations.  And in the end–sigh.

The one character that I had issues with upon reread was the father character.  God, did I hate this SOB.  I really don’t understand why McNaught gave him as happy as an ending as he got, he needed his ass kicked and then some.   But instead he is basically given a slap on the wrist.  After causing eleven years of angst for our leads, you’d really think McNaught would allow us readers to have moment of sweet vengeance.

But no.

It amazes me how always quick of a read this one is.   Like I said, over 700 pages but I can usually finish it within a day or so-this time it took me three days but I was doing work, chores, and errands during all of it.

There are parts of the book that do feel a little dated.  It was written in the early 1990’s after all.  Many of the fashions, decorations, etc. described as being extremely modern by McNaught are now fairly garish.  But still…

This book is worth it’s weight in paper.  It always will be a favorite of mine, though the flaws are more apparent.  Paradise still holds well and will always be the bar I set for reconciliation stories.

Overall Rating: A freakng plus.

Poor Lady Avery: Brown Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

Wedding planner Avery Crosslin may be a rising star in Houston society, but she doesn’t believe in love–at least not for herself. When she meets wealthy bachelor Joe Travis and mistakes him for a wedding photographer, she has no intention of letting him sweep her off her feet. But Joe is a man who goes after what he wants, and Avery can’t resist the temptation of a sexy southern charmer and a hot summer evening.

After a one night stand, however, Avery is determined to keep it from happening again. A man like Joe can only mean trouble for a woman like her, and she can’t afford distractions. She’s been hired to plan the wedding of the year–a make-or-break event.

But complications start piling up fast, putting the wedding in jeopardy, especially when shocking secrets of the bride come to light. And as Joe makes it clear that he’s not going to give up easily, Avery is forced to confront the insecurities and beliefs that stem from a past she would do anything to forget.

The situation reaches a breaking point, and Avery faces the toughest choice of her life. Only by putting her career on the line and risking everything–including her well-guarded heart–will she find out what matters most.

Source: GoodReads

I started reading the Travis series way back when the first book was released.   I didn’t think that the last brother, Joe, was going to get his own story but low and behold when this book showed up on my GoodReads feed one day and I preordered it.

Some eight months later, I actually read it-yeah, things have been busy lately-and it did give me some feels of nostalgia, but I didn’t exactly love Brown Eyed Girl like I loved Blue-Eyed Devil or Sugar Daddy.

It wasn’t bad though.

There is something that is just charming about Kleypas books.  Somehow, I can always guarantee that I will immerse myself in their worlds. I found myself immersed in Avery’s world, but I didn’t love her like I loved other of Kleypas’s heroines.

In comparison to Haven, or to Liberty, or even Ella’s; Avery’s journey to a happily ever after is much less dramatic.  Which isn’t necessary a bad thing, but it had me rooting for her a bit less.

I mean, when you have horrible things happening to a heroine you wish for their happy ending a lot more.  Look at poor Lady Edith from Downton Abbey  if you need an example.  All of her problems and hardships made her happiness a lot more appreciated.

That being said because Avery’s problems are so minuscule compared to the other characters, I really couldn’t help but roll my eyes when she whined about her life-her main problem was that she wore frumpy clothing and had quasi daddy and mommy issues.

I feel like if some of her family inadequacies were explored more, I might have cared for the story more.  But as it was written it just seemed all very fast.

That didn’t mean Brown Eyed Girl wasn’t an enjoyable read though, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.

Overall Rating: A B-

Get On With It: The Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.

Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev’s debut is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity.

Source: GoodReads
I had a weird relationship with A Bollywood Affair a part of me did like it better than Dev’s other book, The Bollywood Bride, but on the other hand it suffered just as much if not more than her latest book.
I want to start the review positively so I will state that I did enjoy the premises.  It explored child marriages, something you don’t see in Western culture and I liked looking at all the various facets of such an issue.  I also liked that the book focused on Eastern not Western culture and that there was no culture appropriation in the book, that’s something very hard to find in books these days.  Especially romances.  And I did feel like I learned a bit, if only on the surface about India, Bollywood, etc.
However, while this book had a wonderful premises it failed on a lot of other avenues.
The pacing was just wretched.  Pacing is a difficult thing to do, especially in romances but here I was just shaking my head.   A lot of time is spent on buildup but the resolution is minuscule at best.   For such large problems, they are resolved fairly quickly.
Also, the character development seemed to be blah to me.  I liked the two leads,but I didn’t feel like either of them quite reached their potential.  In fact, Samir still came off as a jerk to me at the end of this book.
It was easy to look over those flaws though because of that premises.  At least when I was reading it, but after I finished I sort of felt deflated.
I think I would still recommend this one, but with some major reservations.  I liked the fact that it took a look at a culture that is often diminished in Western culture and I liked the set up, but there was much needed work here.
Overall Rating: A C+ likable, but just not that good.