Recent Reads and Mini Reviews #3

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


img_0011Title: Love and Other Words
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:
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.

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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.

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34374628Title: Next year In Havana
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis:
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.

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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.

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39338454Title: The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2)
Author: Helen Hoang
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley Books
Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis:
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.

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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.

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Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts on them? Let’s chat in the comments!

Instagram: @chicnerdreads
Twitter: @chicnerdreads

WWW Wednesday

I haven’t done one of these since October of 2017
so please forgive my rustiness lol

Hi everyone! I thought I would participate in WWW Wednesday today. This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. You can link your blog post to Sam’s website that way we can interact and find other bloggers =)

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?


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40121959I am currently reading an Adult Mystery/Thriller novel titled Miracle Creek by Angie Kim. I’m only about 50 pages in. However, I’m really enjoying it. It’s told by different perspectives but still maintaining a 3rd POV which is really interesting. It has me intrigued enough to want to know what’s going to happen next.

Synopsis:
A literary courtroom drama about a Korean immigrant family and a young, single mother accused of murdering her eight-year-old autistic son

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first . . .

In the small town of Miracle Creek, Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.

Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. An addictive debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng, Miracle Creek is both a twisty page-turner and a deeply moving story about the way inconsequential lies and secrets can add up—with tragic consequences

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42961506.jpgI finished Baptized in Moonlight, a poetry collection, written by Morgan Scott. I do plan on reviewing this book so stay tuned for that! This was a 5 star read!

Synopsis:
In this collection of poems, Morgan Scott depicts the story of a young girl turned ferocious woman, and ties her growth to the phases of the moon. Written with the intimacy and unflinching honesty of an untamed spirit scorned and reborn, Baptized in Moonlight is a book for anyone who has ever felt as if the odds were stacked against them. Filled with painful acknowledgments of broken relationships – and the hope of a life lived with wild passion – you will dive to the depths and ascend to new peaks as you begin your own journey through the lunar cycle. This collection is part heartbreak story, part coming of age, part love song, and part battle cry. You will find yourself among the pages, and be spurred to get to know yourself on a deeper level.

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35209847I also finished Sanctuary (Beards and Bondage #2), a Romance novel with a sprinkle of Erotica, written by Rebekah Weatherspoon. This is a companion novel to her first book, Haven. I loved the characters in this one but I definitely was expecting a little more. I feel like there wasn’t a smooth transition to the romance and them being together sexually. I rated this book 4 stars.

Synopsis:
When she needs a sanctuary…

Targeted by a sadistic former client, attorney Liz Lewis needs a place to lay low. When a friend offers her his family farm as a safe house, she eagerly accepts, unaware that she’ll have to share the farm with her friend’s brawny, beautiful brother, Silas McInroy.

…she invades his…

Weary of a world that doesn’t understand him, Silas just wants to be left alone to grow the best produce upstate New York has to offer. Still, he’s not going to toss a woman out when her safety is on the line. But the only way to explain her presence on his farm is to claim that they fell in love online…and the last thing he needs is a fake relationship that threatens to become more and more real every day.

With her world turned upside down and danger on her trail, Liz knows that this temporary refuge can’t last forever…but leaving the comfort and ease of Silas’s arms and farm to face the reality of her life may be the hardest thing she’s ever had to do.

*** WARNING: This book contains scenes of mild bondage and domination between a gorgeous lawyer and a sexy farmer who is terrible with women. And five farm dogs with varying degrees of loyalty to both the hero and heroine.***

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40236964My next read will be Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, a collection of short stories. Thanks to the author and Penguin for sending me a final copy of this book. I plan on seeing Kali next week Monday during her book tour here in NYC. I am really excited and would love to read this book before the event.

Synopsis:
A haunting debut story collection on friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands, centered on Latinas of indigenous ancestry that shines a new light on the American West.

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s magnetic story collection breathes life into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry and the land they inhabit. Set against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado–a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite–these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.

In “Sugar Babies,” ancestry and heritage are hidden inside the earth but tend to rise during land disputes. “Any Further West” follows a sex worker and her daughter as they leave their ancestral home in southern Colorado only to find a foreign and hostile land in California. In “Tomi,” a woman leaves prison and finds herself in a gentrified city that is a shadow of the one she remembers from her childhood. And in the title story, “Sabrina & Corina,” a Denver family falls into a cycle of violence against women, coming together only through ritual.

Sabrina & Corina is a moving narrative of unrelenting feminine power and an exploration of the universal experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home.

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Have you read any of these books or plan too? Let’s chat in the comments!


Instagram: @chicnerdreads
Twitter: @chicnerdreads