Book Reviews

Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3)

Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3)

By: Lyssa Kay Adams

Blurb:

Alexis Carlisle and her cat café, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan.
 
Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush. 
 
Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.

Review:

Alexis is a survivor of sexual assault. You met her in a previous book when she came forward to accuse her celebrity boss of the assault. This is about a year or so later, and she’s come a long way. During this time, she’s made a best friend in Noah. They were able to bond over their geeky hobbies and the fact that they both lost a parent young.

Pretty much since the beginning of their relationship, Noah has had a crush on Alexis, but he doesn’t want to destroy the relationship they already have to pursue something more. She is the best friend he’s ever had. They’re almost codependent, and it feels like they’re already in a romantic relationship without the sex.

In the beginning, he’s not a member of the Bromance Book Club, but he’s friends with several of the members and always hanging out with them. They spend most of their time with him trying to get him to join so he can get out of the friend zone. There were several good moments with the book club that I enjoyed. Listening to them explain toxic masculinity and push to form healthier relationships with each other were some of the book’s best parts. By far, my favorite scene was when they were at the spa. I laughed soooooooo hard.

The big conflict in the book was Alexis’ family drama.

BEWARE SPOILERS AHEAD

Alexis was raised by a single mom and never knew her dad. She didn’t feel like she needed to know him, even though there was a part of her that wanted a family. One day a woman comes into her café and tells Alexis that she’s her sister. Then the real bombshell, their father is dying, and he needs a kidney. I knew as soon as this happened, Alexis was going to give him the kidney. The man did not deserve it. He’d known about her for three years and hadn’t attempted to reach out. He’d sent flowers when Alexis’ mom had died, but that was it. Now he was asking for a kidney. The rest of the family wasn’t any better. The sister was weird, and the brother was a dick. That plotline was the worst part of the book, and I’m taking away a whole star because of it.

I could never be a romance heroine because there is no way I’m giving a long lost relative a vital organ. Other people in my life have first dibs on that shit. Alexis was nice and was supposed to learn to stand up for herself, and she kind of did, but not in something as huge as organ donation. It was disappointing, but I’m petty. If you aren’t, you might not care.

Alexis and Noah were a cute couple, but there was a lot of angst since there was no getting to know you period. I liked seeing the other members of the book club, but there were a few things that I didn’t like about Crazy Stupid Bromance. However, the spa scene alone is worth reading the book for.

3.75

Side note: The geeky references were clearly written by someone who knew some of nerd culture, but not enough to make the type of references that were made. There was always something just a bit off, not in a way that can be pawned off on a creative license. There weren’t many of them, so it didn’t hurt the book’s quality. It was just something I noticed.

A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2)

A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2)

By: Evie Dunmore

Blurb:

Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.

Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smouldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.

As Lucie tries to out-manoeuvre Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…

Review:

I was two-thirds of the way through this book before I started liking it. It was well written, and I enjoyed parts, but it didn’t live up to the previous book.

Lucie, the heroine, was not very likable. She was dedicated to the Cause to the detriment of everything else. She was furious, and rightfully so, but several times she lashed out at people who didn’t deserve it. She also wasn’t as smart as she was described.

Lucie maneuvered things so that her people were in an incredible position to change things, but instead, she wanted to burn it all to the ground in one move. It wasn’t until I was two hundred pages into the book that she finally realized the position she was in. I want to say she wasn’t thinking long term, but she was, so it was frustrating that she didn’t in this one area.

Maybe I’m too critical of her. I wanted to like her, but her stubbornness, and often time’s meanness, pushed me away. She was resistant to anything that wasn’t her way.

Tristan was your usual rogue rake. He was ridiculously handsome, tortured, and had hidden depths. He was also very privileged, and it took him several moments of that being blatantly pointed out before he realized just how much. His own life was difficult, so it was hard for him to see how much better it was than others.

There were several things I thought A Rogue of One’s Own did very well, specifically, Tristan’s moments of realization. It also seemed very well researched when it came to the suffragette movement. I liked how the book ended, as well. It allowed the couple to be together without Lucie abandoning her convictions. They were a nice couple, in the end, and I intend to read the next book in the series. I’m less excited about it than I was previously, though.

3/5

Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2)

Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2)

By: Sarah Morgenthaler

Blurb:

Lana Montgomery is everything the quirky small town of Moose Springs, Alaska can’t stand: a rich socialite with dreams of changing things for the better. But Lana’s determined to prove that she belongs…even if it means trading her stilettos for snow boots and tracking one of the town’s hairiest Christmas mysteries: the Santa Moose, an antlered Grinch hell-bent on destroying every bit of holiday cheer (and tinsel) it can sink its teeth into.

And really…how hard could it be?

The last few years have been tough on Rick Harding, and it’s not getting any easier now that his dream girl’s back in town. When Lana accidentally tranquilizes him instead of the Santa Moose, it’s clear she needs help, fast…and this could be his chance to finally catch her eye. It’s an all-out Christmas war, but if they can nab that darn moose before it destroys the town, Rick and Lana might finally find a place where they both belong…together.

Review:

I don’t put up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. I don’t watch Christmas movies until then either. That rule does not apply to books. I really love Christmas books and movies, but I’m not able to stop myself when it comes to books.

Mistletoe and Mr. Right was just as cute as the previous book in the series. Lana is in control of herself in a way that I will never be. She’s gorgeous and driven. She’s a huge success in her business life, but she is incredibly lonely.

Rick’s ex-wife has left him scared to get into another relationship. It’s taken him three years to be ready to date again. He gets completely tongue-tied around Lana and has been harboring a crush for her for years. It’s adorable.

They decide on a holiday romance, but you know it’s never going to last. They are everything the other has always wanted. Their second date is freaking hilarious and the best date I’ve read all year.

The book did end up being a sweet romance, so there was nothing graphic. I would also not recommend reading this unless you’ve read the first. All the previous characters are there and play a pretty significant role, as well as the town. You’d have a lot of catching up to do if you started here.

The next book in the series comes out in January, and I’ve already pre-ordered it. I did that with this book too. If Morgenthaler had written anything else, I’d be binging it all. It’s a few days early, but I’m definitely in the holiday spirit.

5/5

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

By: Garth Nix

Blurb:

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.

Review:

Finally, a book I loved. It’s been so long I was starting to think something was wrong. I’m a Garth Nix fan, but I don’t always love his books. Sabriel was one of the first female-led fantasy books I read, and I still go back and re-read it.

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London starts with a great tagline on the cover, “Authorized to kill, and sell books.”

Set in 1983, Susan is in London, the summer before university starts, to search for her father. It ends up being a lot more complicated than she previously thought.

At the beginning of her search, she meets a member of a family of booksellers. He also happens to battle mythic and legendary creatures. His world is complicated and scary, but Susan handles it very well. She was calm and cool, with the occasional what the hell is happening moments. It’s a fine line to balance, but Nix did a great job.

There are very few lulls in the story, with something almost always happening. It managed not to be exhausting, though. There was a nice little romance between two of the characters and an entertaining family dynamic that helped with the pace. I thought it was cool that Merlin was gender fluid or non-binary. It was never explained; it was just who he was. It was the first time I’ve read a character like him.

The book didn’t get as dark as Sabriel does, but there is still a satisfying climactic conclusion. It’s written like a standalone book, but I would love to see more. The world of the booksellers was fascinating, and I liked all of the characters.

4.5/5

Goodreads Choice Awards Final Round

It’s the final round! We’re at the point of the awards where I just vote for books from authors I like or skip whole categories. The only category I’ve read more than two books is romance. Sadly, Ilona Andrews Emerald Blaze did not make it.

My nominations:

Mystery & ThrillerWhen No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Fantasy The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Romance Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Sci-FiAxiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis

Food and CookbooksModern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

Graphic Novels & ComicsFangirl, Vol 1: The Manga by Sam Maggs, Rainbow Rowell; Illustrated by Gabi Nam

Middle Grade & Children’sThe Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan

Picture BooksThe Seed of Compassion: Lessons from the Life and Teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama by Dalai Lama XIV; Illustrated by Bao Luu

Alright, so I’ve read three of the above books. The library has the graphic novel Fangirl waiting for me to pick up, so if I’m able to pick that up before the deadline, I could change my vote. Unless I absolutely hate it, I don’t see that happening. All the other books were books from authors I’ve enjoyed in the past.

This is pretty normal for me when it comes to the Goodreads Choice Awards. Usually, I end up finding a lot of books that I hadn’t heard about that I’m interested in, but not this year. I’ve been in a very critical mood lately, and there ended up only being a couple of books that I added to my list.

In my opinion, the Goodreads Choice Awards needs some changes. I was pleased to see more diversity, but I would love to see the categories changed. Why is Biography not in the same category as Memoir and Autobiography? Having one category for romance is ludicrous. Why are books that aren’t even published yet allowed to be included? The Pioneer Woman cookbook doesn’t even come out until tomorrow.

There are so many illustrated covers. I liked the trend, to begin with, in romance, but I’m starting to miss beautiful women in elaborate gowns draped over bare-chested men.

Anyway, there you have it, the conclusion to the Goodreads Choice Awards.