Review: Staci Hart’s Well Suited

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Y’all I’m back with another romance book! I have to thank Staci Hart for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Well Suited is the final book in the Red Lipstick Coalition series, although each can be read as a standalone. Prior to reading Well Suited, I had only read Work in Progress, the third book in this series. I went into this expecting a lighthearted, funny, rom com…and Staci Hart delivered. There were a few qualms I had, but overall I did have a lot of fun reading this one, and will definitely check out the earlier two books in the series.

Well Suited is the story of Katherine and Theo, who meet through Amelia (one of Katherine’s best friends) and Tommy (Theo’s brother) when they all go out for a night of dancing. Surprisingly, Katherine and Theo hit it off and end up spending the night with each other. Afterward, Theo is determined to keep their connection, but Katherine is determined to leave it in the past. Until she finds out she’s pregnant. Theo is determined to show her that they are well-suited — to co-parent, to be friends, and to be together.

You might like this book if:

  • you enjoy romantic comedies
  • you are fan of the accidental pregnancy trope
  • you enjoy female protagonists that have a unique point of view with a strong voice

You might not like this book if:

  • you dislike the accidental pregnancy trope
  • you dislike books where a majority of the conflict comes from characters’ lack of communication

I want to start with what I liked about Well Suited. My favorite thing about Well Suited was Katherine’s voice/perspective. Her voice was not one that I have seen in the romance genre before, and it felt refreshing. I loved that she did not act like a stereotypical female protagonist that we’ve come to expect in a romance. She prided herself on her independence and self-sufficiency. Her relationship with Theo was one of want, not of need.

I also enjoyed Theo’s characterization. From the very beginning he was passionate about becoming a parent and co-parenting. He never doubted his role in the baby’s life or the kind of father he wanted to be. What is not to love about that?

Now onto some of my qualms with this story. I first have to mention that on the whole, I am not a fan of the accidental pregnancy trope. 90% of the time a novel has this trope, I find  myself not connecting as much with the story. This time was not an exception. There is something about this trope that makes the relationship feel so forced (I mean it kind of does force it realistically, so this makes sense) that just turns me off to the story. However, this is just a personal taste “issue” with the book that you probably won’t have if you are a fan of the trope.

Another element that I wasn’t crazy for was some of the dialogue. While I loved Katherine’s character (how formal and rigid she was), it made for some awkward dialogue. While I can appreciate that her character was formal, the dialogue felt so rigid and just…unrealistic. It didn’t really make for a romantic comedy vibe (in my opinion). I cringed at times hearing how she talked about the pregnancy process and just some of her vocabulary in general felt so unnatural. It just brought me out of the romantic comedy mindset.

My biggest issue with Well Suited was the complete lack of communication between our main characters. I want to keep this spoiler-free but towards the end of the book, there is a major lack of communication between the two that could have easily been solved if they stopped to talk about what they both wanted from their relationship/each other. I was literately cringing because I was shocked one of the characters even made this decision before talking to the other.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It was great to see how Staci Hart ended the series, and I enjoyed reading through Katherine’s perspective. I related to her a lot in the way that she was closed off and required control due to her upbringing. I would say to pick this one up if you’re looking for a rom-com, but this ultimately just wasn’t my favorite. I gave it 3/5.

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Well Suited is new adult romance, and it is the fourth book in the Red Lipstick Coalition series. It was published on May 2, 2019. It is 217 pages and has a 4.47 rating on Goodreads. As of 5/5/19, it is on Kindle Unlimited.

get more info: visit Staci Hart’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Well Suited on Amazon

 

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. The author was kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Camille Pagán’s I’m Fine and Neither are You

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Y’all I had to take a week or two in order to digest I’m Fine and Neither Are You. Even after finishing it a few weeks ago, this book’s message has stayed with me. I have to thank Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing, and Camille Pagán for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’m Fine and Neither Are You tells the story of Penelope Ruiz-Kar. She’s a wife, a mother, a friend, the financial backbone of her family, and she’s barely keeping it together. To make matters worse, Penelope feels her life pales in comparison to her best friend, Jenny, who appears to juggle it all. After an unexpected tragedy occurs, Penelope realizes that her best friend’s life was not what it seemed. Determined to take control of her own life, Penelope vows to commit to total honesty in her own marriage. What she doesn’t realize is that total honesty will either save her marriage or tear it apart.

You might like this book if:

  • you enjoy books that are driven by character development
  • you are interested in books that cause you to become introspective upon reading
  • you are interested in the multi-faceted roles adults often play (partner, parent, friend)

You might not like this book if:

  • you prefer plot-driven novels
  • you dislike lengthy inner monologues
  • you prefer linear storytelling (this novel has flashback memories)

The reason I put off writing this review for so long is because I just wasn’t sure what I thought. There were elements that I loved and there were some that I hated. So, let’s break it down. I loved the title and the message that it conveys. How often do we say “oh, I’m fine” when it is far from the truth? Sometimes I’m just not fine (and neither are you.)

Second to the title, I loved the way this book made me feel. After reading, I couldn’t help but look and question my own life. Was I happy? Was I being honest? Am I fine or am I actually fine? Any book that forces me to become introspective is one that I’m interested in.

On the other hand, there were elements I just did not enjoy. While I generally go for plot-driven stories, I can appreciate well-written character-driven stories. With that being said, this character-driven piece had so much inner monologue. So much! I felt like I was being told a story the entire time without being shown. So much of the story seemed to take place in the Penelope’s thoughts/consciousness instead of the actual world. While I understand this may lend itself to character-driven stories, I thought it was too heavy handed.

Further, there was a lack of tension that made me feel a little…bored. While this book did tackle huge, emotional issues, it just lacked tension. Penelope’s life never seemed like it was at risk of ~actually~ changing. I normally need tension/conflict to make me afraid for my characters or nervous to see how it’s going to turn out in the end. I just didn’t feel that here. Although there was character growth – the story lacked tension. It was just a bit boring for me in that regard.

Overall, I have to say that I’m happy I read this one. I thought about this book long after I finished it. It made me think about what I can do in my life to change. Am I fine or am I fine? It was also refreshing to see a woman character that fulfilled so many roles (friend, employee, mother, spouse) and how she struggled to meet the requirements that each roll required. I’m here for any book that shows women in a complex, realistic way. I gave this one a 3/5.

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I’m Fine and Neither Are You is domestic fiction, and it was published on April 1, 2019. It’s 270 pages and has a 3.82 rating on Goodreads. As of 4/29/19, it is on Kindle Unlimited.

get more info: visit Camille Pagán’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find I’m Fine and Neither are You on Amazon

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. Netgalley and the publisher were kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project

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The Happiness Project is one of my favorite non-fiction reads. I received a copy of this graciously as a Christmas gift (thank you, Sarah!) and I knew pretty much immediately that I was going to love it. I actually spread reading this out over a few months in order to really digest the content. I started reading in early January and after reading the first chapter or so I was inspired to create this blog. Here I am, three months later, and I’ve finished the book and I couldn’t have made a better decision to start Whimsical and Witty. So for that, I have to thank The Happiness Project.

So what is The Happiness Project? The Happiness Project chronicles a year in Gretchen Rubin’s life as she explores what it means to be truly happy. How does one become happier? Well, Rubin takes a methodical approach and spends one year working towards measurable goals with concrete steps. She takes aspects of her life that are important to her (family, marriage, work) and divides them up into measurable goals that she can do to improve these areas. Every step Rubin takes is (hopefully) one step towards “happier.”

spoiler free: I loved The Happiness Project. It was a feel-good, inspirational read that had me analyzing and examining my own life. I was asking myself from the very first page – Am I as happy as I could be? In January, that answer was definitely no.

After reading the first few chapters of The Happiness Project, I was inspired to change things up in my own life. That’s one of the best things about this book. Although, Gretchen Rubin provides advice, examples, and overarching themes – the book is still ultimately her journey towards happiness. My journey, your journey, anyone’s journey is going to look different. The book is intended to inspire you to think about what would make you happier. The Happiness Project succeeded in this for me. I realized that I didn’t have anything to channel my passion for reading and writing. I was afraid to share my thoughts online. Why? It was a risk and I was afraid. What if no one reads it? What if someone I know in real life thinks it’s stupid? After reading The Happiness Project I didn’t have a good answer for this. The Happiness Project squashed these fears, because what if it’s something that really will make me happy? Thus, the blog, Whimsical and Witty, was born. Three months later, I couldn’t be more proud or happy with my decision.

Overall, I really loved this book. The author’s methodological approach meshed so well with my personality type. If there is any goal that I want to achieve, I’m automatically attempting to break it down into measurable steps. It’s how my brain works. So, when faced with something abstract like “happiness” sometimes I don’t know where to start. Gretchen Rubin’s book is great for this. By reading her story and seeing the small and big steps she takes to improve her life, you can’t help but feel motivated to inject more happiness into your own.

A small disclaimer though: The Happiness Project does not attempt to cure depression or any other type of mental illness. Gretchen Rubin herself admits that before beginning the project she is a relatively happy person. While I think anyone can benefit from reading her book, I still think this disclaimer is worth mentioning.

Overall, this was a fun and positive non-fiction read for me. I gave it a 5/5.

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get more info: visit Gretchen Ruben’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; explore the author’s podcast; find The Happiness Project on Amazon

Review: Carol Wyer’s The Dare

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Alright y’all I have got to talk about one of my new favorites, Carol Wyer. I actually came randomly across Carol Wyer’s The Dare while browsing on Netgalley, and was immediately intrigued by the premise. I of course had a blonde moment and requested the book without realizing it was actually the third in its series. (Side note: thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me early access to this ARC!) Luckily, I was able to read the story without feeling like I missed out on anything. Wyer does a great job of explaining any plot/character growth that may have occurred in the past that is relevant to know. I didn’t feel left out at all. Even so, I’m quickly going back and reading the first and second in the series, so hopefully I can eventually review the series as a whole.

Long intro aside, I loved Carol Wyer’s The Dare, the third book in the Detective Natalie Ward series.

spoiler free: There was so much that I loved in The Dare. First, I can’t praise Carol Wyer enough regarding the quality of writing. I genuinely felt as though I was a part of Ward’s investigation team. I actually felt as though I was in the midst of a serial killer. Wyer lets you (the reader) in on each stage in the investigation and it makes it feel hauntingly real. If you’re a fan of Law and Order, CSI, Criminal Minds or true crime/police investigations – you will love this book.

I also loved reading through the perspective of Natalie Ward. She was an amazing character to focus on. She felt so well rounded – like I could actually walk into a police station and find her sitting there. I also really enjoyed the contrast between the intense situation in her work life and the drama of her home life. Wyer shed light on just how difficult it is to have a demanding career and balancing the intricacies of being a parent (especially a parent to teenagers). Natalie Ward was complex, flawed, and fiercely dedicated. This made for a compelling main character.

Lastly, let us talk about, you know, the actual mystery here. I truly flew through his book – it had be hooked from the very first chapter. The plot is fairly complex, and I didn’t know the killer’s identity until the book revealed it (and then of course, I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it.)

During the middle of the book, the plot did feel a bit slow as the case felt somewhat hopeless as the team was left with so few clues. Yet, I felt this was intentional. It was slow and a bit frustrating as a reader, because it was slow and frustrating to the team. This just added to my connection with the story. I felt like I was in the thick of it with them.

Overall, I gave this one a 5/5. I recommend this fully, however if you’re new to Carol Wyer – I may suggest starting at the beginning of this series as I’m about to now!

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get more info: Visit Carol Wyer’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find The Dare on Amazon

The Dare is Carol Wyer’s third book in the Detective Natalie Ward series. It is classified as a thriller, and it releases on April 25, 2019. It is available for pre-order now.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. Netgalley and the publisher were kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Peter Swanson’s Before She Knew Him

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Hi y’all! I am happy to announce I am a proud new member of the Book of the Month (BOTM) club, a book box subscription. Each month BOTM chooses five (hardcover) books and allows each subscriber to choose the one they are most interested in reading. The book choices vary in authors and genres so there really is something for everyone.  It’s $14.99/month and shipping is always free and you can skip any month you want. What I love most about BOTM is the sense of community it creates. Seriously, check out Bookstagram. It’s flooded with BOTM choices. But, I digress. The point of this long intro is that Peter Swanson’s Before She Knew Him was my March BOTM and I was very excited about it. (*not sponsored lol*)

Before She Knew Him follows Hen. Hen lives with her husband, Lloyd, and they have just moved to a quiet suburb outside of Boston. Hen is an illustrator and artist, and she finally feels her life is at a point of peace. Oh, and she also suspects her neighbor, Mathew, is a murderer.

spoiler free: Before She Knew Him was an unconventional thriller read for me. I remember thinking within the first thirty or so pages that I knew everything there was to know about the story. I felt like the author let me in at every angle, so I always felt like the other shoe was about to drop. Around the fifty page mark, I remember thinking ok so I know x, y, z…where is this story headed? For me, that was exciting. I felt like the author freed up the second half of the book to go anywhere. It felt like a very fresh take on a whodunnit.

In that same vein though, I felt like the beginning of the book was a bit slow. The suspense really picked up in the last third and it was great. However, I felt like the suspense was a little lacking at the beginning just because of how much I (thought) I was “in on” regarding the story. But this was my only complaint.

I was impressed by the ending and truly did not see it coming. I think I was so focused on the fact that I (thought) I *knew* everything, that I was constantly waiting for something to pop up out of nowhere. Due to this, I felt like I missed so many signs that were right in front of me. I didn’t know the reveal until the author showed me, and that’s an impressive feat. I enjoyed the last 1/3 of the book the most.

Overall, I this was a 4/5 for me. I really did enjoy it and I can’t wait to read more from Peter Swanson in the future. The only reason it isn’t a full 5/5 is because the beginning was a bit slow for me, but I still highly recommend this one!

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Before She Knew Him is an adult thriller, and it was published in March of 2019.

get more info: visit Peter Swanson’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Before She Knew Him on Amazon; visit Book of the Month

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

Review: Frances Vick’s Two Little Girls

I want to say thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!

Two Little Girls tells the story of Lisa and Kirsty. They are Best Friends Forever. At least, they are until the day Lisa disappears. It’s 1985 and Kirsty, afraid for her friend and traumatized by her disappearance, helps provide evidence to put the killer behind bars. The killer even gives a confession. So why, ten years later, is Kirsty still haunted by the thought that she made a terrible mistake?

spoiler free: I really wanted to love this one, because I was so captivated by the premise of the novel and the first third of the book. The author wrote a compelling, chilling, and questionable friendship between two young girls. The first third of the book explored their warped friendship through a child’s POV and it was eerie.

I loved how from the very beginning we were introduced to the theme of real vs. fake. Lisa told so many lies that we were left, alongside Kirsty, to wonder what was real after all? I was excited to see how the author was going to play off this theme when exploring how time distorts memory and how the line between real and fake becomes blurrier as time marches on.

It was really the latter half of the book that fell flat for me. I just could not buy that Kirsty was so unconcerned that she potentially put away an innocent man on a murder charge. I kept wanting her to wake up with some drive or intensity to uncover the truth. That never really happened. Instead, Kirsty was pulled along throughout the book until the truth literately fell into her lap. This was unsatisfying.

Further, I felt like the author missed an opportunity to really play up the theme of memory distortion. There were some moments where Kirsty potentially misremembered aspects of her childhood, but she pretty much stood firm on what she saw as a child. I felt like the novel would have been so much stronger (and quite honestly Kirsty’s attitude more believable) if she were constantly questioning what she truly saw back then.

Instead, we were left with the (pretty much) absolute truth of her memory and this caused there to be so few characters to pick from when questioning who the murderer was. There was a minor red herring, but this was hardly strong enough to mislead the reader. Instead, the ending felt obvious and inevitable, which never bodes well for suspense/mystery.

Overall, this was a 2/5 for me. (I did not enjoy the book overall, but there was some aspects that were ok).

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Two Little Girls is an adult suspense/mystery. It releases on April 17, 2019 and it is available for pre-order now.

get more info: visit Frances Vick’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Two Little Girls on Amazon

Review: Elle Kennedy’s The Risk

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Alright, y’all – I loved this one. I’ve been eyeing up The Risk for quite some time now. Elle Kennedy is one of my favorite New Adult authors, and I fell absolutely in love with her Off Campus series. So I was super excited for her new series, Briar U. The first book in the series (The Chase) was also really good (hopefully will have a review on that one up soon!), but this one (the second) was amazing.

spoiler free review: There was a lot that I loved. First, Brenna was an amazing heroine. She was so confident and headstrong, and I loved that about her. Her perspective felt honest and refreshing. Jake is probably one of my favorite heroes (although basically no one can top Garrett from The Deal – sorry). Enemies-to-lovers tropes are always one of my favorites. Throw in some hockey, fun friendships, fake dating, and complicated family back stories and I am all in. Essentially this book was witty, fun, and it made my heart swoon. I think one of the reasons that I loved this one even more than the first in the series is that this book was somewhat slow-burn. Not as slow as say a Mariana Zapata book, but I loved the build up between the two characters and the push and pull of their friendship. Overall, I give this one a 5/5.

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get more info: Visit Elle Kennedy’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find The Chase on Amazon; find The Risk on Amazon; find The Deal on Amazon

If you’re looking for more on Elle Kennedy – read my mashup contemporary authors post.

The Risk is the second book in Elle Kennedy’s Briar U series. It is classified as New Adult. The Risk can be read as a standalone; however, I would suggest reading The Chase first so you’re introduced to all of the characters (and get to read another fun romance). Elle Kennedy is set to release the third book in the series, The Play, on October 7, 2019.

spoilers ahead: I really loved the chemistry between Jake and Brenna. I am an (admitted) sucker for the fake relationship trope, so as soon as Brenna proposed that her and Jake fake dating for her job – I was sold. There was something just…magnetic about the push and pull between them.

I will say that I wanted to bang my head on something when Brenna gave the bracelet to Jake’s friend assuming she would just give it to him…arg!! His friend’s motives were questionable at best and I was having anxiety thinking the bracelet wouldn’t make it to him. Luckily it worked out, but Brenna was so naive in that moment and I was screaming.

I honestly just can’t say nice enough things about this one. I love Elle Kennedy and think she’s an amazing writer. I cannot wait until her new release in October. GO BUY THIS BOOK!

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.