Destination Wedding| Arc Review

Happy Saturday, friends! I wanted to hop on and write this review, so as not to run into my next couple of reviews because I am determined to knock out a few more arcs before June is over!

destination wedding by Diksha Basu

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What could go wrong at a lavish Indian wedding with your best friend and your entire family?

Tina Das wants to belong, but she just isn’t sure where. India or America? Brooklyn or Bombay? Manhattan or Delhi? Or start from scratch in London–she still has fond memories of her one-night stand with Rocco Gallagher, the handsome Australian, as they traipsed through Covent Garden and Seven Dials, but he never called back so maybe it’s time to let that dream go, and focus on finding the next big story for her streaming network instead.

She’s hoping she’ll find it at her cousin’s lavish, weeklong Delhi wedding, and has taken her best friend Marianne Laing along for the ride to Delhi’s poshest country club, Colebrookes. Marianne has always had international tastes, in life and in love, yet can’t help but think of sweet, steady, khaki-clad Tom back home in New York.

Also in attendance are Tina’s divorced parents: her mother, Radha, who’s bringing her American “boyfriend,” David, to the wedding, and her father, Neel, who’s using the visit to India to explore the idea of dating again, only to discover it and he have both changed completely in the decades he’s been away.

Infused with warmth, charm, and wicked humor, Destination Wedding grapples with the challenges of work, love, and finding the people who make a place feel like home. 

Firstly, I would like to thank Netgalley and Ballantine Books for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review of Destination Wedding.

You know how sometimes you breeze through a book in a matter of hours or days? And sometimes, a book takes weeks or even longer?

Well, this book has been on my kindle for a couple of months and I have been reading a chapter here and there. The premise is everything I’d love in a book. Tina was born in Ohio, but doesn’t feel like she belongs or identifies as American. Her family is from India and she used to visit there in the summer, but also feels like an outcast. Now, in her early 30s, Tina, her family, and her best friend flies to India for a big lavish wedding, where Tina goes through an identity crisis.

It seemed like it would be a fun quick read; however, this book started quite slow for me. I originally wasn’t sure if I would finish it. I kept picking it up and putting it down. It took me a while to really get into the book because the chapters are a lot longer than I’d like. I like short chapters because I tend to zone out, so books with long chapters just generally drag for me.

I did not get invested in any of the characters, which is another reason why it took so long for me to finish. The characters all felt underdeveloped. It also jumps around multiple POVs within the chapter instead of alternating them by the chapter. This made for a confusing read at first because it is quite a few characters being introduced. However, once you meet all the characters, it flows better and makes more sense. Basu also has a creative way of inserting subtle humor throughout the book. It made reading the chapters more bearable and fun.

One of the things I really did love about this book was that with the story being based in India, Basu incorporates Indian rituals and cultures and that made the book feel more authentic.

Overall, while there were bits and parts of the book I enjoyed, it fell flat for me. I honestly think this would probably have been better as a movie instead of a book.

Book Details:

Title: Destination Wedding
Author: Diksha Basu
Publication Date: June 30, 2020

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I honestly really hate leaving low rating for books, especially for arcs that publishers and authors are so generous to send out. Does it ever get easier or how do you go about leaving reviews for books you don’t connect with?

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

Synopsis

A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking.

Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist–it is chocolate cake, after all.

Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble–not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?

I have read every book in the Wedding Date series that Jasmine Guillory has written, because I am a sucker for a cute, light-hearted rom-com. Like all of the other books in this series, Party of Two did not disappoint. If I am being completely honest, the synopsis got me at chocolate cake, regardless of who wrote the book!

I had planned to read this book when it was released, however I saw it on Netgalley and thought why not take a chance, and to my utter astonishment, they accepted me and I could not be happier about it!

One main thing I enjoyed about this book, just like all of Guillory’s, is the fact that it is told from dual POVs. I feel like this adds so much more to a book, especially in a romance novel, so that you get the whole story from both perspectives.

I really enjoyed Olivia as a main character in this novel. You got a small glimpse at her in the first book, The Wedding Date, but this story shows you how strong and independent of a woman she is. She is risk adverse and spends most of her time strategically planning out her next move. In contrast, Max is a charming, spontaneous and intelligent senator.

As I have stated in a few of my other rom-com reviews, I tend to have a hard time if the male love interest comes off as controlling or overbearing. Luckily, Guillory seems to have it down and as always, Max was such a delightful male love interest and one that I found myself swooning over a time or two.

Lastly, the most surprising thing I loved most about this book was all the food talk. I am not sure you could go a single chapter without some sort of food being talked about. As mentioned before, the chocolate cake reeled me in from the synopsis and it made a few appearances throughout the book that made me want to run to the store and get one for myself!

So with all that being said, I would highly suggest this book to anyone who enjoys a good, light hearted rom-com. Also, this book is technically part of a series, but can definitely be read as a standalone.

Thank you so much to Netgalley, Berkley Books and Jasmine Guillory for providing me with an ebook review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Book Details:

Title: Party of Two
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Publication Date: June 23, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read any of Jasmine Guillory’s books? Or do you have any other rom-coms that you would recommend? I am always looking for more light-hearted reads!

Thank you as always for stopping by our blog! We appreciate all the support and love having you here!

What lies between us by john marrs [book review]

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SYNOPSIS

Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies. 

UM, HOLY GUACAMOLE, YOU GUYS!

I am currently at a loss for words, because John Marrs has once again rendered me speechless. This is my third John Marrs’ book, and they seriously get better and better. Like, seriously, what did I just read?!

Told through alternating POVs spanning with flashbacks from over the course of two and a half decades to current day. We are introduced to Maggie and Nina’s dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. John Marrs takes you on a roller coaster ride as we learn why Nina keeps her mother a prisoner in their own home.

This book was completely addictive as it is unhinged and insane. Twists after twists are thrown at you left and right as the story unfolds leaving you shell-shocked. I was at the edge of my seat reading this! Do you ever catch yourself talking to yourself or gasping so loud, the person next to you gives you a weird look? Because I did that with this book. Sometimes I would think I figured something out (YAY ME!), then John Marrs would say “haha, jokes on you. PLOT TWISTS.”

So, without giving anything away- I promise you guys will not be disappointed if you pick this up! With so many thanks to Netgalley, Amazon Publishing UK, and John Marrs for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Book Details

Title: What Lies Between Us
Author: John Marrs
Publication Date: May 15th, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Do you have an author whom you’ll pretty much read anything by without looking at the synopsis?

I have so many, and I know this will come as a shocker, but John Marrs is one author I’ll read anything by, lol! I’m pretty sure I immediately requested this book as soon as I heard John was releasing a new book. SO- I’d love to hear about the staple authors in your library!

The Honey-Don’t List

Synopsis:

Carey Douglas has worked for Melissa and Rusty Tripp, famous home remodeling and design team, for about ten years. The couple works together to create designs and has built up an empire of Netflix remodeling shows. They are beloved across the country, with only one problem, they don’t actually like each other. With Carey as Melissa’s assistant she is tasked with making the couple appear more than what they are.

James McCann is an MIT graduate that was hired by the Tripps to be a structural engineer. However, James soon realizes this job is not what he was anticipating.

Carey and James must accompany the Tripps on their book tour to keep the “happy couple” in line. They must work together to keep their bosses’ secrets and to secure their own jobs.

Review:

I have come to realize that I will most likely read anything that this duo puts out! I absolutely fell in love with their book, The Unhooneymooners, and felt overall happy with Twice in a Blue Moon and Roomies. This duo writes some amazing and witty rom-coms that have you up past your bedtime trying to finish. So when I saw that they were coming out with another one, you know your girl had to go hit up Netgalley to try and get an early release copy. Not only was I lucky enough to snag an ebook copy, so was Thi! Since we both received a copy, we decided to have ourselves a buddy read.

When we finished this book, we both found that we generally agreed on our star rating for the book, as well as our overall feelings. So with that being said, consider this review to be a joint endeavor!

From the outset I found Carey to be one of the most relate-able female leads in a story. Someone who has invested so much time and energy into a job and watching it succeed that it starts to consume your daily life. She puts her all into making sure that her boss Melissa is happy, that she hasn’t taken the time to see if she is happy. I enjoyed watching her grow into a strong independent female.

On the flip side, James was not like most male love interests in a rom-com. I am tired of reading about men that think that they always know what is best for the female in the story. That they are somehow entitled to be with that person for the mere fact that they exist. James from the start was passionate about what he wanted for himself out of life and his career, while also being understanding of other people. He was an excellent addition to this cast of characters and I don’t think he could have been written in any better.

The fun, witty banter that Christina Lauren writes is always a pleasure to read and they did not disappoint in this novel either. I loved the different types of relationships and dialogue between all the characters throughout this novel and I also think important topics of discussion were brought up that provided insights into unhealthy relationships and learning to value yourself.

I have been looking for the next good rom-com that I can wholeheartedly recommend to everyone, and this one fits the bill! This book releases on March 24, 2020 and should be read by any and everybody who loves a fun, quick romance.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving us the chance to review this book in return for our honest review!

Book Details:

TITLE: THE HONEY-DON’T LIST
AUTHOR: CHRISTINA LAUREN
PUBLICATION DATE: MARCH 24, 2020
PURCHASED/GIFT/LIBRARY/BORROW: e-ARC FROM NETGALLEY
GOODREADS: The Honey-Don’t List

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Christie/Thi

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird Review

Synopsis:

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible. But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened. Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

Review:

After falling in love with Josie Silver’s debut novel, One Day in December, I knew she would be an author I’d read anything from. When I saw Two Lives of Lydia Bird available to be requested on Netgalley- I didn’t even read the synopsis. I just sent a request and hoped I’d be approved. And man, she knocked this book out the ball park!

I tend to alternate between being a mood reader and a book list reader. Up until the earlier part of this year, I was able to create a monthly stack and keep to a very precise reading schedule. Over the last two months, I have been all over the place with my reading. I’d pick up a book and decide I no longer wanted to continue it. Two Lives of Lydia Bird just clicked with me and gave me ALL THE FREAKING FEELS, Y’ALL!

I was already sobbing within minutes. It is as much an endearing novel as it is raw and touching. It is a story about grief and the ups and downs that coexist with it. We follow Lydia after she loses her fiance (whom she has been with for over a decade) as she learns to navigate her life and tries to make sense of everything. In the midst of it all, Lydia has found a loophole that allows her to live a double life. One where she and Freddie can still be together. We watch as she learns to juggle between the two lives.

It is a beautiful story with many wonderful supporting characters. From her mom to her sister to people at work, she has an entire of village supporting her every step of the way as she learns to find her own strength. The characters and the emotions are heart-achingly beautiful. I tend to gravitate towards more emotionally-drawn novels because they are relate-able and there is always a lesson to take out of them. I found myself crying throughout the novel because it felt so real. We all know there is no one direct process to cope with grief and definitely no time limit. I appreciate Josie Silver for including all the struggles and hardships, as well as, the strength and willpower it takes to make it to the next day.

This is truly a story that will stay with me forever. I loved it so much I have already ordered a physical copy through Book of the Month. I know many have and will ask how it compares with One Day in December and I just wanted to make a quick comment. To me, both novels are completely different. Whereas One Day in December is a romance novel, Two Lives of Lydia is not. There are some mentions of romance, but overall it is a story of grief and of finding and believing in yourself. So don’t go into The Two Lives of Lydia Bird expecting a grand romance. Instead, have tissues ready!

Book Details:

TITLE: THE TWO LIVES OF LYDIA BIRD
AUTHOR: JOSIE SILVER
PUBLICATION DATE: MARCH 3, 2020
PURCHASED/GIFT/LIBRARY/BORROW: eARC NETGALLEY
GOODREADS: THE TWO LIVES OF LYDIA BIRD

Rating: 5 out of 5.

With many thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird releases March 3, 2020! If it’s not already in your cart, preordered, or wishlist- DO IT NOW 🙂

Over and out.

Thi