Book of the Month Review: Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

It’s been a while since I wrote a Book of the Month review, so I decided to start the week off with one. This month, I picked out Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert.

Get A Life Chloe Brown is about Chloe, who suffers from fibromyalgia. At the beginning of the novel, Chloe experiences a near death experience. At that point, she decides that she was going to get a life. She constructs a list, and she begins to get a life.

Well, kinda.

She first starts out by moving out of her parents’ house.

She then meets Red, the building superintendent by day and an artist at night. Chloe spies on him every night and watches him paint. At first, the two don’t get along. Over time, he looks over her list, and of course, the two fall in love with each in the process.

Now, let’s talk about the book. What I liked about this book is that it’s definitely a novel that is more diverse. I loved that it talked about fibromyalgia, which is something that definitely isn’t talked about more. I came away from the novel knowing a lot more about the disease. That is something that I truly love about reading – that I come away from the novel knowing much more than I did going into it.

The relationship between Chloe and Red was amazing and well done as well. I swooned as he began to fall for her, and as the two progressed in the relationship. At first, the two hated each other. Overtime, the two began to fall for each other – which was an amazing thing for the reader to see. However, what I liked about it is that it wasn’t overdone. Some novels the romance can be over kill, but this definitely didn’t have it.

I also loved how the two had a troubling past that they had to overcome. For Chloe, it was falling in love with Red and trying to grasp the fact that he’s not going to leave despite her disease. For Red, it’s learning to let go of his past and realizing that it’s okay to love again.

I also loved how nerdy Chloe was. Out of all of the books that I read this year, Chloe Brown was one of my favorite characters. She has this disease, yet she also designed websites and still managed to live independently.

One thing that I wish the novel portrayed more was the relationship between Chloe and her sisters since they were so close. I get it that it’s her point of view, but I thought that would have been interesting to see them interact.

Overall, I loved this book. If you’re looking for a good romantic read, be sure to check out Get a Life Chloe Brown.

 

Book of the Month YA: Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

In addition to getting a Book of the Month subscription, I also get a YA Book of the Month. Now, this month, I had a hard time picking out which book to get. It was a cross between Frankly In Love by David Yoon and Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi. The reason why I chose this novel was because I read Choi’s other novel, Emergency Contact, and wanted to check out her latest read. (And, side note: I have Frankly In Love on my Kindle to read next).

Summary:

Dating a pop star is every man’s dream. That dream becomes reality for Pablo Rind. When he runs into pop star Leanna Smart, he falls madly in love with her. And, the love becomes mutual.

However, Pablo isn’t exactly the greatest on paper. He is a college dropout and faces thousands and thousands of dollars of credit card debt. At the start of the novel, he is behind on rent and works nights at a deli.

Over the course of the novel, he of course falls madly in love with Leanna – to the point where he neglects all other responsibilities. Of course, that’s the stereotypical love story, isn’t it? Soon, Pablo begins to ignite change.

Review:

I loved this book, and almost cried at the end of it. No, I’m not going to give the ending away. But, I will give you one little hint – the novel doesn’t have the standard Hallmark ending. Which is something that I liked about it.

Social media is a huge part of this book. Pablo constantly posts photos of foods on his Instagram. Many of the characters often discuss it. And, it’s a priority to check it constantly. This shows how Instagram has become a huge priority of millennial culture. Which is true. How many of us – myself included – are checking Instagram throughout the day? How many of us constantly post photos on our stories and on our pages? I mean, I’m guilty of it too. Social media has changed us – our relationships, and how we communicate. It also is a huge time suck. This novel also demonstrates it. And, furthermore, it also shows how one can make a living just by posting.

Now, let’s talk about Pablo. I thought he was kind of an awful character. He was pretty lost at the beginning of the novel. That happens. However, it frustrated me that he didn’t want to do anything about it. It also bothered me how self-centered he was, especially while dating Leanna Smart. His brother was having crisis after crisis and really needed support. Instead of being there for him, Pablo took off to be with Leanna. He also neglected important meetings, and even his job. I almost wanted to jump into the novel and say “get your life together, for heaven’s sake!”

Furthermore, you also get an inside of fame, which isn’t surprising since Leanna was a celebrity. I liked her methodology of dodging paparazzi and the real moments she shared with her grandmother. She also craved privacy in her relationship with Pablo.

This leads me into my next point. I think that Choi did an outstanding job demonstrating the relationship between the two. Leanna often ditched Pablo because of work and left him hanging out in a hotel room. She couldn’t even follow him on Instagram without eyebrows being raised. She did what she could to hide Pablo. However, she treated him to expensive things that he couldn’t afford. All of these things are hallmarks of the celebrity relationship.

With that being said, I did enjoy the novel. What I like about Choi’s writing is that it’s real. It’s about real relationships, and the characters feel real. I mean, many millennials are having to face the issues that Pablo is facing – crippling debt, trying to figure out what to do with the future, etc. This novel feels relatable, which is something that I liked most about it.

Overall, if you see this novel lingering in your local bookstore and you love YA, be sure to pick it up. Trust me, you will love it.

Book of the Month: Bringing Down the Duke

I’m not going to lie to you all – I’m not always the biggest fan of historical fiction. Every now and then, I will dabble into it. This month’s Book of the Month pick was one of the first historical fiction novels I read in a while. That novel is Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore, which is the first novel in the League of Extraordinary Women Series. It is Dunmore’s first novel.

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Summary:

It is England 1879, and Oxford is at least allowing women to attend classes. Annabelle Archer leaves her cousin’s responsibilities behind to become a student and a suffragist. During one of her outings in the attempts of recruiting men to her side, she finds herself face to face with the Duke of Montgomery. However, the meeting doesn’t go well.

Annabelle falls ill, and is forced to spend her holidays at Sebastian’s castle. The two begin to develop a Mr. Darcy/Elizabeth Bennett style relationship, and soon fall in love. They soon face a predicament that is greater than creating a law – which may change their course forever.

Review:

I loved this book. As I mentioned earlier, the relationship between Annabelle and Sebastian reminded me so much like the relationship between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. This novel has quite a bit of similarities to that classic. For instance, there are themes of class — and different classes.

However, there is an additional theme of feminism in this book. I mean, the reason why Annabelle met the Duke in the first place was because she was getting support in the attempts to abolish the English Marriage Law of 1870, which was basically a woman losing all of her assets when she got married to her husband. The concept? What’s the husband’s is the wife’s.

It’s kind of crazy to see how things were for women back then and how little rights that they had. I mean, when the novel began, Annabelle was going to Oxford, and was one of the first women to be allowed to attend. To me, that’s crazy. But, the reality is sadly that’s how it was.

With that being said, I want to move on to discuss the relationship between the Duke and Annabelle. In the late 1800s, I get it. It is a completely different time from the way relationships are today. Back then, you have things such as social class and standards thrown in. For instance, if you’re not pure or from a certain social class, you’re deemed as damaged goods. And, if you’re over 20 and divorced, you might as well forget it.

Reading this made me frustrated, but then again, that’s how it was.

You see that a lot in the relationship between Annabelle and the Duke. For a good chunk of the book, the Duke said that he’s unable to be with Annabelle because of who he is expected to marry as a Duke. Which is completely awful, but that’s a sign of the times. He wanted to draw a relationship contract with her, which Annabelle declined (good for you Annabelle).

However, I can’t help but notice that the two have a relationship that mirrors Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. At the beginning, the two can’t stand each other. Of course, that changes throughout the book. But, seeing that displayed made this book a romance that I could not put down.

Overall, while I am not a huge fan of historical fiction, this novel served up a delicious romance that makes me excited for the sequel.

 

Book of the Month: Things You Save In A Fire

So, I am a little behind on my Book of the Month reviews, but I decided to dive in with July’s pick, Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Carter.

Before I begin to review the novel, I will first start off by saying that I had a hard time choosing this month’s book. However, being the rom-com book nerd that I am, I went with this choice.

And, I wasn’t sorry.

The novel is about Cassie Hanwell, an award-winning firefighter who is just one of the guys. At the opening of the novel, Cassie wins an award that was handed to her by none other than a senator who she’s had a run with in her past. The senator tries to grab Cassie’s butt, only for her to punch him.

The morning after, Cassie gets a phone call from her estranged mother, who asks if Cassie can come to Cape Cod to take care of her for a year. Between the scandal and this, Cassie is forced to relocate.

Cassie enters a firehouse that is completely different than the one that she left behind in Texas. In this firehouse, she is the first woman to be a firefighter. Needless to say, it’s a man’s world full of hazing and dirty jokes. Cassie begins to prove herself.

What Cassie expects is to prove herself and show that she is better than any one of the guys. But, what she didn’t expect is to fall in love with the Rookie that she starts with.

As I said before, I picked this book because it looked really good. I had never heard of Katherine Carter, nor did I know what to expect. But, after reading the novel, I began researching her other books.

Let me start off by saying this: I absolutely loved this book. This is the type of book that you can get lost in and read in one single sitting. The writing keeps you engaged, there’s romance, and there’s even some heartfelt moments of forgiveness.

Oh, interesting!

What I loved about the book is Cassie. She is a flat-out badass. The fact that she is an award winning firefighter that got fired for hitting a senator for grabbing her ass and refusing to apologize for it? I honestly have so much respect for her. Furthermore, what made me love her even more was that she stopped at no end to prove herself to her coworkers. Naturally, she succeeds, which is awesome.

Then, there’s her relationship with the Rookie. Cassie flat-out fell for him. And, this is a woman who has not dated anyone since one ill-fated night in high school. Their romance is the classic one — tried to stay away from each other, only to fall madly in love. They of course worried that they would get in trouble with their co-workers. However, I was pleasantly surprised that they were extremely supportive of the relationship.

Overall, this book is awesome. I am so glad that I picked it up, because I became an instant Katherine Carter fan and want to read all of her books (I may have ordered one while writing this if I’m being honest). Therefore, I highly recommend this book to anyone out there who is looking for a super awesome rom-com read that you can read during one single beach vacation.

Book of the Month Review: the Bride Test by Helen Hoang

This month’s Book of the Month pick was a book that I have been waiting to come out for a while. That book is called the Bride Test by Helen Hoang.

Summary:

Khai Diep lacks the ability to have emotion — that is any emotion that is not annoyance. Due to this, there is one important one that he lacks the ability to process. That is grief. For years, Khai has become aloof and closed off to his family and friends thanks to that inability and his Autistic diagnosis.

Esme Tran is a hotel maid from Ho Chi Minh City. She works endlessly to support her mother, grandmother and daughter and dreams of the America where opportunity is prosperous. One day, Esme is given the chance to go to America by a mother who just wants her son to meet a nice girl like her.

That woman’s son? Khai.

Once in America, Esme and Khai begin to scratch the surface of emotion. But, with a deadline of two months looming before Esme is sent back to her home forever, the two feel the pressure of romance immediately. However, over time the two begin to fall for each other — all while shedding the skin of their troubled past.

Review:

As I said earlier, I was anxiously anticipating this book’s pub day for a while. I read the Kiss Quotient last December, and loved it. Like The Kiss Quotient, this book talks about the challenges of falling in love with someone who is Autistic. Both books do a great job with not only describing those challenges, but also work to break the stigma towards them.

What I loved about the book is how the relationship between Khai and Esme had blossomed over the course of the book. At first, Esme was attracted and Khai was awkward. Over time the relationship grew. Khai would show little ways to show her how much he loved her — whether that was picking her up when she sprained her ankle, helping her try to find her father, and tried to make sure that she had the best opportunity available. Seeing the relationship and that trust build was an amazing thing to see.

Furthermore, I also loved how over time, Hoang reveals more about the characters. At first, we don’t know why Khai freaks out when Stella tries to ride his motorcycle. Later on, it’s revealed. Furthermore, we also learn more about Stella’s past as well — such as how her daughter was conceived, etc.

Finally, what I really liked about the book was that it had Stella and Micheal, who were the characters from The Kiss Quotient. Spoiler alert: you got to se their wedding, which was awesome.

Overall, I loved this book. It was the perfect romantic comedy that wasn’t overly cheesy, but just packed the right amount of sweetness. The story moved quickly, and held my interest the entire time. So therefore, if you’re looking for a summer romance to heat up your beach chair, then The Bride Test is the book for you.

Book of the Month: Normal People by Sally Rooney

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I am a bit late in reviewing April’s Book of the Month pick. However, better late than never right?

This month, I read Normal People by Sally Rooney. The novel is about Connell and Marianne. At the start of the novel, Connell is the stereotypical, well adjusted popular kid with little money, and Marianne is the outcast. The two developed a connection, then an exploratory relationship.

Over the course of the novel, you see them blossom from teenagers to young adults. Readers will see Connell go through a deep depression, and Marianne in a relationship that is pretty much abusive. All along though, the two maintain a bond — while readers cheer on the sidelines that the two end up together.

So, here’s my thoughts on the novel. It’s a very realistic love story. In many of the novels that I read — ahem many by Nicholas Sparks or Sophie Kinsella — the characters get their act together at some point and ride off into the sunset together. Not going to lie — I am a huge fan of those books. But, with that being said, it’s not always real life.

This novel keeps it real about what it’s like to be in college in the early 2010s — and the relationship that millennials such as myself would share with each other. I liked that the novel kept it real, as spoiler alert, they do not end up together. I liked that brutal honesty, because it felt very real.

Although they did not end up together, I felt almost as though they might eventually do so since the two share a strong bond, a good connection, and they love and care for each other. Therefore, I do have faith that they may end up together.

Now, mental health is one of the major themes in this novel. We see Connell deal with depression — something that is extremely common in relationships. In some ways, Marianne has her own struggles to deal with, as throughout the book, readers get the sense of that when seeing her relationships.

So, what did I think? Overall, this was a good novel. For me, it was sort of in the middle — not the worst that I read, but not the best book that I have read this month. That is partly because I have been reading a ton of Christina Lauren and Colleen Hoover lately — all are books that I just can’t put down.

 

Book of the Month: Daisy Jones and The Six

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For those of you who didn’t know, I am a huge fan of classic rock music. So, when Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest novel, Daisy Jones and The Six was one of my choices for this month’s Book of the Month, I knew that I had to chose that one. Now, I’ve always wanted to read her other book, the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, a book that was all of the rage on bookstagram and recommended to me by several friends. Hopefully, I will get to reading that. Anyways, I figured in the meantime, I can get a taste of Reid’s writing by diving head first into this wonderful book.

The novel is about Daisy Jones, a wanderer who just wants to make it in the music business. It is also about the up and coming band, the Six. The two come together on a song entitled Honeycomb, and soon they decide to create an album. However, when lust, drugs and of course, ego gets in the way, it is nothing short of a disaster.

Now, the novel is told in an interview format where each of the characters were interviewed over a period of eight years. I liked that format, because it made the novel go through quickly. What I also liked about the format is that it felt like I was watching a classic rock documentary. That format of writing helped me visualize the story, which I really liked.

I also liked that format, because it helped me see each character’s point of view of the story, whether it may be the chemistry of Daisy and Billy, the commentaries about the music, and so much more.

Furthermore, what I also liked about the book was that it felt like it was an authentic documentation of the ‘70s rock era – you have big egos, hookups and temptation and drug addiction. Addiction rang heavily throughout the novel. You have Daisy’s addiction to the party scene and drugs. You have Billy who struggled with breaking sobriety all while keeping a family. The novel chronicled those addictions and showcased that struggle in a way that was believable.

Overall, I really loved this book. It introduced me to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s work, and made me hunger for more. But, then again, that’s what I love most about Book of the Month – you get to try a little something new. Now, I can’t wait for the TV show. . .