March 18, 2020

Mini-reviews: And They Called It Camelot + The Honey-Don't List + Undercover Bromance

pub 3/10/2020 by Berkley
Adult - Historical Fiction
Received e-ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars | After watching Jackie (played beautifully by Natalie Portman), I became extremely fascinated with Jackie Kennedy. I had planned to read a biography but of course, time got away from me and it never happened. So when I saw this historical fiction novel on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. And while I'm certainly no expert on that time period or the Kennedys, I truly felt the author had given a thoughtful and thorough look inside Jackie's life (I later found out that Thornton tweaked the timeline a bit but that didn't take away from the emotional impact for me). The novel starts with Jacqueline Bouvier and her beginnings as a would-be editor and how meeting JFK put her on the trajectory of wife, mother, and First Lady. But more importantly, how did she juggle that role of always standing next to Jack while maintaining her own sense of self, especially with all the opinionated Kennedys surrounding her. And of course, JFK's assassination and how she held her family and JFK's legacy together in the aftermath. The book really spans almost her entire life and while it did feel long at times, it truly was a fascinating read. I actually want to read a non-fictional account even more now having read this. But what tugged at my emotions the most was the more private side of Jackie as a wife, mother and woman and reading about her marriage (I know it's fiction but I don't doubt the kernels of truth in it).

Do I recommend? I do! If you've ever been curious about Jackie Kennedy, I think this is a great place to start.


pub 3/24/2020 by Gallery Books
Romance - Women's Fiction
Received ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars | I'm sorry but I have to say it – I miss Christina Lauren's books starting from Josh and Hazel through to their earlier works. Every book after that has consistently gotten 3 stars from me and I'd be lying if I didn't admit I've been disappointed. On one hand, I still find their books enjoyable but something is missing both emotionally and with the steaminess factor (please stop with the fade to black), which was certainly the case with The Honey-Don't List. It follows Carey Douglas and James McCaan who are the respective assistants of home remodeling and design superstars Melissa and Rusty Tripp (clearly based on Chip and Joanna Gaines, right?!). Carey started working at their first store when she was sixteen and what most don't realize is just how much she's contributed to the growth of their brand. Likewise, James was hired as a structural engineer but chafes at the idea of being an assistant. Together they have to travel with said couple on a launch tour for their new book and show and make sure nothing falls apart because––surprise surprise––their marriage is actually a disaster. It's while on tour that Carey and James go from disliking each other, to begrudging friends and then something more. Their relationship was sweet and I did like them as individuals, particularly Carey (who is the #1 reason I gave this 3 stars), but I just didn't feel invested? Neither did I feel invested in the situation surrounding them. In the end, it was still a fun book but it really needed more development all around.

Do I recommend? It's a cute read so if you're in the mood for something quick and entertaining, this is worth borrowing from the library.


Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams
pub 3/10/2020 by Berkley
Adult - Contemporary Romance
Received e-ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars | The premise of the Bromance Book Club series is just so much fun and I'm not-so-secretly hoping one actually exists in real life. I really do believe everyone should be reading romance and these guys certainly would agree. In Undercover Bromance, Braden Mack is inspired by the romantic suspense novel the club is reading. He wants to use it to help out Liv Papandreas, a talented sous chef who was working at Nashville's hottest restaurant. That is, until she caught the chef owner harassing a young hostess and is subsequently fired. She enlists Braden, who is a nightclub entrepreneur himself, to expose her ex-boss, but along the way their antagonistic (at least on her side) business arrangement makes way to something more. The story is told in alternating point-of-views and I enjoyed both. They clearly had different approaches to love and relationships which made their pairing so great. I definitely loved them together and how their friends and family meddled in ways that made me laugh. But what I appreciated most was the conversations sparked by the situation they were dealing it. Even more so than the previous book, the commentary on gender roles, consent, and how things have (or sadly, haven't) changed was well-said. What didn't work for me at times was Liv's attitude throughout the book (granted, she does experience character growth) and how the situation in general was handled at times.

Do I recommend? The first book is still my favorite of the series but I enjoyed this too! I'm looking forward to book three.

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