Beach Read By Emily Henry @PenguinRandomCA

** Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion **

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Pub Date: 05. 19. 20

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Here’s the thing about writing Happily Ever Afters: it helps if you believe them.

Here’s the thing about me: I did until the day of my father’s funeral.”

I’ve been on this horror, zombie, thriller sorta binge lately.
Lovey dovey reads was so not what I was in the mood for, but this. This ladies & gents was worth the read!

For those who haven’t read it yet, I suggest stopping right here and going in knowing as little as possible!

I buddy read this one with Norma @readinginthecountry and so glad I did!
I loved that we both had very similar thoughts and feelings about the story and the characters and their relationships.

I was definitely caught off guard by how hot and heavy this book got! 🔥🔥
It was blue ball territory.

“I dreamed about Gus Everett and woke up needing a shower.”

*gush* I really liked Gus! January was frustrating at times, but I loved watching her and Gus’ relationship develop.

Both Norma and I felt the last 25% of the book lost a bit of steam. Although loose ends were tied, I wanted more from the Sonya storyline. I just felt the whole point of January going to the beach house was to get answers and closure about her dad’s other relationship. Instead, that part was short and still left me unsatisfied. I would have also liked to hear her mother’s side of that story.

Overall, it was a wonderful story. One that would make an excellent book club selection.

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton @BlackstoneAudio @PenguinRandomCa

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

My Rating:

Narration: 4.5 ⭐
Story: 4 ⭐

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Audio: Blackstone Audio

🎶 Havana, oh na-na. Half of my heart is in Havana, oh na-na. 🎶

I did it! I completed a whole book on audio! It might sound stupid, but I’m quite proud of myself right now. I don’t typically do audio cause I zone out after a while, but I think I learned the trick to staying focused!! 😜

Cleeton paints such a vivid picture of both past and present day Cuba, I could literally imagine myself being there.

Marisol’s chapters were a bit slow and dull at times, but I liked the alternating time periods and really enjoyed Elisa’s POV.

To be honest, I normally hate insta love, but the story was beautifully written that I was able to look past it.

I haven’t agreed with majority of the books I chose to read which were Reese’s picks, but I actually enjoyed this one! I’m looking forward to reading the next 2 books!

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity–and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution…

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest–until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

**Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for my gifted copy **

Genre: Women’s Fiction

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you like:

✔ Multiple POV’s
✔ Newfound friendships, enemies to lovers
✔ Stories of personal growth

✔ Flawed characters

Yay! I did it! I finished the last book on my list for February! 🥳

This was a cute and charming read. The kind of book you can enjoy at a coffee shop. At one point, I actually felt like going to Monica’s Cafe, but had to remind myself that it was a fictitious place! Bummer!

I do have to be honest though..about a quarter way through the book was a bit slow and I started skimming a large chunk of it. However, the last 30-40% definitely pulled through for me and I loved the ending! Fair warning, it was a bit sad, but completely satisfying. You’d have to read it to know what I mean! 😜

MONICA

I swear I kept picturing Kate Beckinsale for some reason. I couldn’t help but want a happy ending for her. I also kept hoping she’d end up with Hazard.

HAZARD

Sure he was arrogant and an ass, but somehow I was still rootin for this guy to turn his life around.

JULIAN

Ahh..the ever eccentric Julian. I loved this old man! I feel like he’d be such a hoot to have at the dinner table.

RILEY

The Aussie with a beautiful soul! He WAS such a sweet boy ❤ Good man this one was.

ALICE

I think we could all relate to her on some level, whether you’re a mom or obsessing over your Instagram account.

LIZZIE

The nosy neighbour who wasn’t afraid to admit it either! I think we all have one of those! 😜

Overall, I enjoyed the concept of this story. I loved the six degrees of separation and idea of these characters being brought together by a journal called: The Authenticity Project.

Have you read it? Plan to read it?

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes–in a plain, green journal–the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It’s run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the others who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves–and soon find each other In Real Life at Monica’s Café.

The Authenticity Project’s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends–is by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness.

One Day In December by Josie Silver #BOTM

** Spoiler Alert **

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

His real downfall came at the end of the date; he escorted me home to Delancey Street and then kissed me in the style of someone trying to administer CPR. CPR with an entirely inappropriate amount of saliva. I made a dash for the bathroom as soon as I got inside, and my reflection confirmed that I looked as if I’d been kissed by a Great Dane. In the rain.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I don’t, but I do believe in finding “The One”. When it comes to storytelling, if it’s done well, it can be a great story.

I’m gonna be totally honest, I had to cast my cynicism aside for this one. To be fair, it wasn’t a bad read, but I didn’t love it like everyone else. Trust me. I really wanted to! I’ve read SO many rave reviews and I was in the mood for a chick flick type of read.

What I enjoyed..

– The characters. They were both loveable and infuriating, which makes for good writing.

– The love triangle. I thought the author did a really good job with this one.

– I loved the alternating POV’s between Louise & Jack.

What didn’t work for me..

– I found myself skimming..A LOT. Like through the entire book. There were many times I considered DNF-ing, but I wanted to see how Jack and Lousie would finally end up together (which is pretty obvious. No surprise there.)

Overall, it was entertaining with some laugh out loud moments.

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic… and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

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