Hey there!! I hope you are all doing well today! Welcome to another recent reads and mini reviews. It feels like such a long time ago that I read these three books that I’ll be talking about today. For today, I’ll be talking about Love and Other Words, Next Year In Havana, and The Bride Test.
All my thoughts are spoiler free
Title: Love and Other Words
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating: 3 stars
Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.
But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.
Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.
I really wanted to love this book. I thought it had a lot of potential. This book was so different from other Christina Lauren books I’ve read. However, Love and Other Words just wasn’t for me. The reason behind them not talking/seeing each other for many years was not shocking to me. I felt like there was a lot of build up for a mediocre plot. Also, the teenage sex scenes made me super uncomfortable. I skimmed over those parts because I do not want to read about teenagers humping. The writing was well done and the chapters from past to present were also well done. I found it odd how one particular character acted towards the situation that the MC was going through. I expected more turmoil. Overall, it was a cute book. It just didn’t impact me as much as I thought it would. The writing in this book is definitely a lot better than Christina Lauren’s previous books.
Title: Next year In Havana
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
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.
CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THIS BOOK FOR A MOMENT?!?!?!? ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS. I DID NOT SEE THIS ONE COMING!! I seriously thought it was just going to be another read but this book right here?!?!? This one is everything. I will talk about it forever. The writing, the politics, the romance, the family relationships, the plot, EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT! The Cuban representation was perfectly executed and I honestly feel like that has to do with the fact that the author is Cuban herself. This shows how important own voices really is. This book was a masterpiece. We got rich detail of Cuba, Cubans, their culture, their food, their history. I found myself crying, happy, sad, and transported to this world. It’s politically heavy, however that’s what I loved even more about it. The two perspectives from both Grandmother in 1958 and Granddaughter present day was well done. I enjoyed both parts equally. Even if I had to stop mid chapter, once I opened the book, I knew which chapter I was in. I would like to add that this book is very quotable. I highly recommend Next Year in Havana with all my heart.
Title: The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2)
Author: Helen Hoang
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley Books
Rating: 2.5 stars
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
The Bride Test was my May Book of The Month pick. I heard that you do not have to read The Kiss Quotient in order to read this one which is exactly what I did. I was excited to read this book after hearing so much praise for The Kiss Quotient. I was excited to read a cute contemporary romance with Asian Representation. However, I disliked this book a whole lot. I had a lot of problems with it. The Asian and Autistic representation was spot on, my problems lied with the plot/storyline. I felt uncomfortable with all the forced interactions, all the awkward mentions of his dick, and lastly my biggest problem; the secret that Esme was hiding from him. The secret she was hiding from him was something that really made my time reading this book unenjoyable because of personal reasons. It was hard to read this book objectively when my anxiety was yelling in frustration lol. In the end, I felt this book was very rushed. The Bride Test is only 296 pages. However, it could’ve lasted a little longer when throughout the book problem after problem was reoccurring and all of a sudden we get a ta-da moment. Overall, writing was good and so were the characters, the plot/storyline were my biggest problems.
Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts on them? Let’s chat in the comments!