2016 Book # 118 – Love Connection by Camilla Isley

51hgvyeybll-_sx326_bo1204203200_Title: Love Connection
Author: Camilla Isley
Date finished: 12/15/16
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: September 23, 2016
Pages in book: 240
Stand alone or series: #1 in the First Comes Love series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Have you ever wondered what might have been?

Gemma Dawson is at the airport, staring at two plane tickets to two different cities. Two different weddings. Two possible futures. She’s at a crossroads.
Be maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding or crash her ex’s?
Gemma’s decision, unknown to her, hinges on a delayed flight and a chance meeting. Now her life is about to go down two parallel tracks–will Gemma fly toward a life with her first love or a future with a man she’s not even met yet?
In concurrent storylines, Gemma lives out the consequences of each journey. Different stories unravel with unpredictable outcomes for Gemma and her loved ones. As the alternative realities run their course, humor and romance intertwine raising questions about fate and chance. Will these parallel universes converge? Is true love meant to be? Is everyone destined to have a soul mate? Or are one’s cards just a choice away from reshuffling?
Love Connection is a romantic comedy about one woman, life’s infinite possibilities, and the destiny that lies beyond two different choices. First Comes Love is a series of interconnected romantic novels. However, each book in the series can be read as a standalone novel.

My rating: 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Gemma Dawson, who we first meet at the airport when she’s trying to decide whether she should fly home for her best friend’s wedding, in which she’s supposed to be the maid of honor, or crash her ex-boyfriends wedding to tell him that she still loves him. It is from this first decision that the story forks into two different paths, each one following Gemma after that first choice. In each life Gemma is faced with crises and both love and heart break. The two story lines overlap in some interesting ways and we meet up with many of the same characters in both lives, just at different times. Through it all though, can Gemma find her happily ever after in both worlds?
Overall I just loved this book. The idea behind the plot line was so interesting and while it reminded me a lot of another book I read last year (Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid) I actually liked the way that this one ended better. And I loved all the characters in this book. I have to say I especially loved the fortune teller detail in the story (I’m not going to spoil it for you readers) it was so creative to add that piece and I thought it really did a great job of tying both stories together. I couldn’t put this book down once I started it, I think I finished it in less than 24 hours. It was a great read and I would most definitely recommend! And I can’t wait to see what else the next book in the series will bring!

The bottom line: I just loved this book, the story line was so different and unique. And I loved the way the story lines intertwined and how much fate ended up being involved. And what a great ending!! Just loved this book, I would definitely recommend.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book # 117 – Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

41l0bsfq7yl-_sx309_bo1204203200_Title: Vinegar Girl
Author: Anne Tyler
Date finished: 12/14/16
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Hogarth
Publication Date: June 1, 2016
Pages in book: 240
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.
Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.
When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Kate Battista, a 29 year old woman who has gotten herself into something of a rut. After getting expelled from college, she moves back home with her father and her much younger sister Bunny. Kate ends up getting a job at a local preschool as an assistant and between that, taking care of her father’s household, and basically parenting Bunny, all of a sudden she realizes she’s 29 and has been stuck in the same routine for years. Really what wakes her up is a ridiculous idea that her father comes up with – for Kate to marry his research assistant, Pyotr, to keep him in the country. Pyotr’s visa is about to expire and Kate’ father is desperate to find a way to keep him so they can finish an important research project. At first Kate rejects this idea, thinking she deserves better, but as she spends more time considering Pyotr’s offer and the freedom it would afford her, Kate realizes this might be just the change she needs in her life.
Overall I liked this book. It was interesting how the book turned out, it didn’t end how I expected but I really enjoyed the ending. This book is a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and since I haven’t read that one previously, I’d really love to read it now especially to see how parallel the story lines are. I did find Kate to be a hard character to connect with, I didn’t really understand why she put up with a lot of the things that she puts up with in the book but everything seems to work out ok in the end for her. Her cast of supporting characters (her father, Bunny, her aunt, etc) all seemed very self-absorbed and were only interested in what Kate was able to provide for them. It made for an interesting story though and I can feel Shakespeare’s influence in it even if I haven’t read this exact comedy of his before. This was an interesting book and was a fairly quick read, I would recommend it!

The bottom line: This was an interesting read, it was definitely different than my normal book choice. I think it would have been better if I had already read The Taming of the Shrew and could connect the stories. It was still a good read though, I would recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page