Title: No Offense (Little Bridge Island #2) Author: Meg Cabot Rating: ★★
This is the first time I have been disappointed by a Meg Cabot book, and no one could be more sad than me. No Offense can only be described as bland. From the characters to the story, there is no substance and no depth. I’m not even sure why I continued to read because it was clear from the beginning that I felt absolutely no connection at all to this book. Perhaps in hopes that it would get better (it didn’t).
Both Molly and John have zero personality. Entirely none at all. Molly’s “personality” is that she is a librarian and likes books. John’s “personality” is that he is a Sheriff and a single dad. That’s literally all I learned about them throughout this entire book. We don’t learn anything more in depth than their occupations. And therefore, I found the two of them to be completely bland.
On top of their lack of personality, there was not a shred of chemistry between these two. I don’t even know why they were attracted to each other because it’s never explored. There’s no build up of tension or emotion. The single sex scene that occurs was devoid of any kind of passion.
In a nutshell No Offense bored me. There is no spark between the characters and both Molly and John have the personality of a doorknob. If you’re going to read a book from this series, stick with No Judgements.
Title: My Favorite Half-Night Stand Author: Christina Lauren Rating: ★★★★
The last couple of Christina Lauren books I’ve read have left me wanting, so I was extremely pleased to find myself really enjoying this one! My Favorite Half-Night Stand was fun, flirty, and angsty. It was exactly the kind of light pick-me-up I was looking to read in the summer!
Millie was a protagonist worth reading. Throughout the book, I found myself slightly frustrated with some of her thoughts and behavior. But when I really analyzed her character, I found it because I see a lot of myself and my insecurities in her. Once I made that realization I was able to fully understand and connect with her. Her emotional guardedness and difficulty opening up resonated with me, even though I wanted to strangle her on occasion for not being more forthright.
“I’m lonely because I don’t tell people what I need or what I want, and then get hurt when they don’t figure it out on their own.”
I absolutely loved her relationship with Reid! It’s no secret that I enjoy friends-to-lovers tropes and My Favorite Half-Night Stand nailed it. I thought the authors did a fantastic job convincingly writing two friends who come to the the realization that their feelings for each other differ from their other friendships. It was also super refreshing that here, it was the man that wanted the emotional depth, the tenderness, the sharing of one’s soul with a partner in this conflict.
As much as I enjoyed this book, I do have a major gripe. The entire premise of My Favorite Half-Night Stand revolves around their group of friends needing to find dates for an upcoming dinner event for the university they work at. However, we never get to see that party! I was really looking forward to some prom-style drama at that dinner and honestly thought that would be where the climax of story happened. So to say I was slightly disappointed would be an understatement.
My Favorite Half-Night Stand is classic Christina Lauren. From the flirty banter, angst-ridden relationship, and light-hearted fun, this is the perfect summer read for fans of contemporary romance and rom-coms!
Title: You Lucky Dog Author: Julia London Rating: ★★½
ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.
I never thought a book about dogs would disappoint me so greatly. At first glance, You Lucky Dog seems like everything I could ask for in a book: an accidental dog switch leading to a romantic match between their owners? Sign me up. However, between the lukewarm romance and the writing, I was pretty indifferent towards the story.
I am never a fan of long passages of text and exposition, and unfortunately You Lucky Dog was full of them. I can’t tell you how many chapters were dedicated to painstakingly describing every minute of Carly’s day in detail. I don’t care and it lends absolutely nothing to the story. I also wasn’t a fan of Max’s internal dialogue. Max is a neuroscientist, yes, but I found it super pretentious and annoying whenever he would think something like, “the norepinephrine levels were increasing throughout my body at the thought” instead of simply, “the thought was exciting me.”
The book does shine a light on autism awareness which was really appreciated. The author did a great job showing some of the challenges of living with someone/having a family member with autism. Max’s brother, Jamie, plays an important role in this book and it felt honest and realistic.
As a dog lover, I was really looking forward to You Lucky Dog. Who could resist that cover or the synopsis? But when it came down to it, I did not enjoy the writing style and the story itself was mediocre.
Title: Beach Read Author:Emily Henry Rating: ★★★★★
ARC provided by Berkley through Edelweiss.
“When the world felt dark and scary, love could whisk you off to go dancing; laughter could take some of the pain away; beauty could punch holes in your face.”
January is a romance writer who no longer believes in happy endings. After moving into her deceased father’s beach house, she’s struggling with writer’s block with an impending due date for her publisher. As if matters couldn’t get any worse, she finds out her next door neighbor is no other than Gus, her college crush/nemesis.
The writing in Beach Read is incredible. The dialogue between the characters was smart, witty, and realistic. From the first chapter I was absolutely captivated by the story. The way Emily Henry writes January’s character it’s impossible not to empathize with her and feel her pain and confusion. Beach Read appears to be a cute, heartwarming summer rom-com, but it also has moments of darkness and emotional pain that pulls the reader even harder into the story.
Gus and January were fantastic characters. They’re relatable, complicated, and realistically written. I could not get enough of their amusing interactions and growing attraction. At first they seem like opposites: January has always believed in love and happy ever afters, and Gus has a pessimistic outlook on life, but as the book goes on it becomes clear how much these two have in common.
“Let me prove I’m right. Let me prove I can love you forever.”
Beach Read is a moving, entertaining, story full of heart. This is beautifully written feel-good book about love and grief. Reading this book was the equivalent of being wrapped in a warm blanket. Do yourself a favor and add this to your summer TBR.
Title: You Deserve Each Other Author: Sarah Hogle Rating: ★★★★★
What is this book about?You Deserve Each Other is about second-chance romance. It’s basically lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers, which may or may not be my new favorite trope. The story follows Naomi and Nicholas, who are engaged to be married in a few short months, as they come to a startling realization: they don’t want to get married and don’t even really like each other anymore.
What did I like?Earlier in the year, I read Love Her or Lose Her which is another romance book about second-chance romance and relearning your partner’s love language in order to have a successful relationship. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was missing until I read You Deserve Each Other. This rom-com hit the ball out of the park.
I loved everything about this story. My absolute favorite thing about it, however, was the gradual change between Naomi and Nicholas. The story begins with discontent and anger, and slowly over the course of the book, we begin to see changes between them. They become friends again and work great as a team. They reconnect on a deeper and more emotional level. They relearn how to speak each other’s love language and rekindle their relationship.
What didn’t I like? The synopsis promised me pranks, but under delivered on that aspect. Honestly, I was expecting a book of two people trying to one-up each other with pranks and manipulation, but it was really more about miscommunication and falling back in love again. I mean, clearly I completely loved the book anyway, I was just looking for more shenanigans a lá To Love and To Hoax.
Overall thoughts: I absolutely recommend You Deserve Each Other to any romance or rom-com lover. Sarah Hogle blew me away with this story and had me swooning over Naomi and Nicholas’ rekindled love.