Book Review

One to Watch

One to Watch

By: Kate Stayman-London

Blurb:

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.

Review:

I’ve got some thoughts about One to Watch. First, I want to say I did enjoy the book, but I’m leaning toward not giving it above a three-star. Second, I cried a fair amount while reading this book. Probably more than your average reader. I’m a crier, but this also hit some body image issues I have so fair warning.

Bea is a plus-sized fashion influencer. Initially, she comes off as very confident and sure of herself, but that is completely obliterated once the story starts. She’s spent a significant portion of her adult years obsessed with a man that ends up using her. At first, I wasn’t sure if he was using her or if she saw more into things. Then, when things are cleared up, I end up being less sympathetic to Bea. That all happens pretty early on, so she had an uphill battle for me.

I’ve never watched the Bachelor or any show like it. I’m aware of them. I know the general premise. It’s just not the type of show that appeals to me. That being said, if it’s like what this book is and if I had people to watch it with, people like the book shows through snippets, I could see myself getting into it. Potentially.

The decisions made by the show regarding dates and men seemed pretty realistic, especially their rating obsessed decisions. My main problem there was that Bea was always so forgiving to the producer. Forgiving is the wrong word. Bea seemed to be acting like Lauren was her friend a lot of the time. There was no reason why Bea should have acted that way. By the end, it seemed like the author was setting it up for the sequel to be about Lauren. Not a fan.

I will say that I had a hard time figuring out who Bea would wind up with. It was obvious who she wasn’t going to end up with, but the other side was harder to figure out. Mainly because the author was going out of her way to make it that way. Bea would have misgivings about someone but still pursue them, and then their issue would be revealed. It should have been obvious who she would wind up with, but she had pangs of uncertainty and trouble believing everyone.

I found the ending to be a little underwhelming. I’m assuming if this had been a reality show, I would have been thoroughly entertained, but I was just glad of the way the author wrote it because it minimized the awkwardness. Obviously, Bea ended up with one of the men. She had a connection with him, but because of the format of the show, she barely spent any time with him. She had connections with multiple men to the point where I wondered if she would choose more than one. I hate love triangles, so I would have enjoyed it more if it went that way.

I guess my issue with the book is that the reality show format is not something that appeals to me. My main focus when picking this book up was that it had a plus-sized heroine front and center. Maybe if there had been more romance and had less time having Bea doubt herself and men being absolute horrors to her, I would have enjoyed it more. I don’t know. Once again, I felt like the blurb promised me one thing, but the book gave me something else entirely.

My feelings for the book are complicated. I had no issues with the writing style. I really enjoyed the bits in between from social media. Loved the inclusion of Chris Evans. I ended up not being a fan of a lot of significant parts, though. After writing this review, I’m not even sure I enjoyed it anymore. I’m bummed now.

2/5

Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City #1) By: Penny Reid

Neanderthal Seeks Human

Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City #1) By: Penny Reid

Plot:

This is a full-length, 110k word novel and is the first book in the Knitting in the City series. There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn’t know how to knit. After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can’t help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can’t afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can’t refuse.

Review:

Janie is a bit weird, but Quinn is a bit secretive, so a match made in heaven. In the book Janie thinks she’s the Neanderthal, she seems to think that she’s not attractive, even though she’s gorgeous, and he’s evidently physically perfect. She has a hard time believing someone like him would be into her.

I’m not overly fond of characters that are supposed to be beautiful, but don’t know it. I’ve yet to meet anyone that is beautiful and doesn’t know it. Most people know their level of attractiveness.

Quinn is clearly the Neanderthal by most people’s definition. He’s a bit overbearing, always ordering for Janie at restaurants, putting security on her without her permission, and making her use a cell phone. Janie just takes it and fights the most against a cell phone. Normally her submissiveness would bother me, but it didn’t in this book because it didn’t come off as submissive. It was more she was lost in her thoughts and let him do that because she didn’t care.

There were so many hints that Quinn was more than what Janie thought he was, but she just never connected the dots. I didn’t have any problem forgiving him for not forcing the issue because it was so clear. I’m not a fan of that in most books, but again there were just so many hints it was crazy she didn’t figure it out on her own.

I liked the book, even though it had things I don’t normally enjoy. The way it was written avoided what I dislike most out of those situations. Definitely going to read more.

4/5

Caribou’s Gift (Kodiak Point 3.5) By: Eve Langlais

caribous gift

Caribou’s Gift (Kodiak Point 3.5) By: Eve Langlais

Plot:

Damn it, a man had his pride and a caribou a certain majestic presence, all of which could wind up ruined if he abased himself to play a simple-minded reindeer in the town’s Christmas parade. No way was he wearing damned tinsel in his antlers. Like hell was he sporting a red nose and pulling a sleigh. But he changes his mind when he meets the woman in charge of the event. Single mom, Crystal, is doing her best to offer her daughter the best Christmas ever. It’s their first in Kodiak Point, and she’s not about to let some vain jerk ruin it for her little girl. If playing dirty is what it takes…then bring on the Christmas games. As Crystal and Kyle butt heads—and lips—they discover more than goodwill this holiday season. They’re gifted with a second chance at love.

Review:

This was such a cute, sweet story. It was just a novella so the story was fast paced and got right to the point. Kyle fell so fast and hard that I couldn’t help but love him. Crystal was a good single mom and she resisted because of past mistakes but she quickly realized that there was no need with Kyle.

I liked the pacing and that there wasn’t much heming and hawing they both fell quickly and didn’t fight it much.

Gigi was adorable.

There was also a nice little magical Christmas moment that brought the holiday cheer. Love this series.

5/5

Holiday Abduction (Alien Abduction #6) By: Eve Langlais

Holiday Abduction

Holiday Abduction (Alien Abduction #6) By: Eve Langlais

Plot:

Vhyl is determined to acquire a certain lost artifact, but when he lands on the forbidden barbarian planet known as Earth, he finds more than expected. An attractive human female is in possession of the priceless object, and she’s agreed to hand it over—for a price. Apparently she doesn’t know of his reputation…or doesn’t care. Intrigued by her fearless nature—and her luscious cocoa skin—this acquisition expert can’t resist stealing a kiss. But before he can take more, his enemy arrives to stake a claim. It seems Vhyl isn’t the only one interested in Jilly’s treasure—and Jilly herself. On the run not only from Earth forces but his enemies too, they must fight to survive and evade capture. However, he can’t escape the effect the human has on him. In the end, Vhyl has to make a choice—Jilly or the priceless treasure he came for?

Review:

I love how fast paced these books are, and I have no idea why, but purple aliens are somehow super hot.

I eagerly await every installment in this franchise and I have never been disappointed. The story always has a strong female lead, as well as a ridiculously hilarious, macho, male lead that never fails to entertain.

Have I mentioned I love these books?

The addition of the holiday setting did not diminish all the things I’ve come to expect, it just added a nice little festive note. There was also a little present at the end, a short story that was a peek into the first Christmas with the abducted women and their aliens.

Hopefully this isn’t the last installment in the series because I’m not sure if my desire for purple hunks will ever be satisfied.

5/5

Armada By: Ernest Cline

Armada

Armada By: Ernest Cline

Plot:

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?
Review:

This book was ridiculous, right now I’m not sure if it was a good or bad ridiculous, though.

Even though the book started with Zack seeing an alien ship it seemed to take forever for anything to actually happen. There was a lot of explaining about the fact that his dad was dead and how that had impacted his entire life and Cline walked you through Zack’s levels of obsession over his father.

*Spoilers*

A lot of very farfetched things happened in the book, which is fine, sometimes that’s fun, but I think some things went too far overboard. The aliens in this book acted like video game aliens, which Zack realized but no one else seemed to pick up on. Well a couple other people but they hadn’t done anything about it which considering the whole world was in the balance seemed very irresponsible and stupid.

The ending was filled with needless death and while I was crying at the loss I was also pissed off. A lot of people made some very stupid decisions considering they had literally decades to think up solutions. Are we really that stupid as a species?

I think the icing on the cake of over the top ridiculous was when Zack’s mom gets pregnant after one bout of sex with her long dead husband. Seriously? That was unnecessary and more than a bit stupid.

The way the book ended it could very well lead to more books and the creation of a series but that’s exactly how Ready Player One ended and so far we’ve got nothing. The last thing I read was that Cline wanted to write something similar to Catcher in the Rye, but that could have been a joke. God I hope it was. Other places are saying he’s working on a sequel to RP1 so we’ll see what happens. He’s not a particularly fast writer so we have some time.

Anyway, I knew going in that this book wasn’t going to resonate with me like Ready Player One did, the plot just didn’t do it for me, but I loved RP1 so much that I wanted to like this one. All in all I felt like it was okay, but not something I have to own or would likely recommend to people. It’s an idea that’s been done before and I honestly don’t think Cline brought enough new to the table.

I look forward to more by Cline, but I’m keeping my excitement in check for now.

3/5