2019 Book #27 – The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

5124XuOubiL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
Date finished: 5/13/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Kiss Quotient series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss 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:

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.

My rating: 4.75 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.

cd7f8ca0-82e4-4004-b23a-54147e55e5b7._CR0,0,970,300_PT0_SX970__

I have heard a lot about this author since her last release, The Kiss Quotient. I was excited to check out her most recent release and I’m so glad I got the chance to read this one! It’s so good, I read the whole thing in a day because I just couldn’t put it down! This book was so entertaining – Khai as a main character was super funny and endearing. I loved the chemistry between Esme and Khai too – it was emotional and intense, but at the same time so very sweet. I especially appreciated that the author wrote the story from both Khai and Esme’s points of view. I have found that reading pieces from both points of view allows readers to see into each character’s mindset and understand both of their character development better. I loved all the side characters too, Quan and Michael’s interactions with Khai were especially entertaining. And I didn’t even realize that Michael was the main character in the author’s first book, The Kiss Quotient, and now I can’t wait to read that one too! There were some kind of cheesy parts to this book, and the ending came together a little quickly for me. I thought that the author could’ve lingered in the resolution to the story a little but who knows. I really enjoyed this book, it was so good that I immediately wanted to start reading it again. I would recommend it!

Link to author website

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

2018 Book #44 – Rainwater by Sandra Brown

51e7-ojnKiL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Rainwater
Author: Sandra Brown
Date finished: 6/2/18
Genre: Historical fiction, romance, suspense
Publisher: Gallery/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: November 3, 2009
Pages in book: 245
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Purchased from Book Outlet!

Blurb from the cover:

Ella Baron runs her Texas boarding house with the efficiency of a ship’s captain and the grace of a gentlewoman. She cooks, cleans, launders, and cares for her ten-year-old son, Solly, a sweet but challenging child whose busy behavior and failure to speak elicits undesired advice from others in town. Ella’s plate is full from sunup to sundown. When a room in her boarding house opens up, the respected town doctor brings Ella a new boarder―the handsome and gallant Mr. David Rainwater—but Ella is immediately resistant to opening up her home to this mysterious stranger.

Even with assurances that Mr. Rainwater is a man of impeccable character, a former cotton broker and a victim of the Great Depression, Ella stiffens at the thought of taking him in. Dr. Kincaid tells Ella in confidence that Mr. Rainwater won’t require the room for long: he is dying. Begrudgingly, Ella accepts Mr. Rainwater’s application to board, but she knows that something is happening; she is being swept along by an unusual series of events. Soon, this strong-minded, independent woman will realize that the living that she has eked out for herself in the small bubble of her town is about to change, whether she likes it or not…

Racial tensions, the financial strain of livelihoods in cotton drying up into dust, and the threat of political instability swirl together into a tornado on the horizon. One thing is certain: the winds of change are blowing all over Texas—and through the cracks in the life that Ella Barron has painstakingly built. This is the story of a woman who takes her life’s circumstances in both hands, but who will be forced to reckon with the chaos of her circumstances…

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review:

I am a huge fan of Sandra Brown so I thought it would be fun while on my Retreat this weekend to fit in a book by her. I am way behind on my schedule but this one was a quick read and I hadn’t read anything historical from Brown in a long time so it seemed like a perfect pick. This one turned out ok, it was interesting and honestly it had such a great plot twist at the end. The writing overall was just a little rough and it was hard to connect with the characters a little. And it was just so freaking sad. Plus there was some weird stuff in there, with the heroine wishing she had milk in her breasts so she could nurture the guy she’s having sex with, just weird stuff. Other than that though, the plot was very good and interesting, there were many different issues included that could appeal to different readers. There was bullying, racism, cancer, autism, action, romance, etc. Something for everyone! And it was a quick read. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a quick read with something more than the usual fluff. Good read!

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

2016 Book #74 – The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

51Y0eAmT1xL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Rosie Project
Author: Graeme Simsion
Date finished: 8/14/16
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Pages in book: 295
Stand alone or series: There is a sequel to this, The Rosie Effect
Where I got the book from: Purchased (I believe from Book Outlet)

Blurb from the cover:

The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.
Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (August). This book follows a part in the life of Don Tillman, a genetics professor who has recently decided to try and find a wife to share his life with. Since Don is not skilled at social interaction (he is autistic), he decides to use a questionnaire to help him weed out any unsuitable candidates. The double sided 16 page questionnaire covers many topics, including mathematics, daily habits and personal interest. Rosie Jarman is definitely not what Don would call a suitable candidate: a barmaid, a smoker, and a woman currently experiencing many emotional issues. She is everything Don is trying to avoid in his search fora wife. But while he is helping her with a genetics project, he finds himself drawn to her personality on a number of occasions. But can he convince her to love him for who he is, eccentricities and all?
Overall I really greatly enjoyed this book. Don as a character was witty, charming, and entirely captivating. I loved the intricacies of Don’s character and how truthfully he was presented as an autistic lead role. It was really interesting to see how his character progressed through the story and how his relationship with Rosie changed his outlook on many different aspects of his life. The antics he gets into throughout the book due to his different mental abilities are hilarious. I loved this book and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

The bottom line: I loved this book from beginning to end. Don was an entertaining and endearing character and I found his antics very humorous. I can’t wait to read the sequel, The Rosie Effect. An excellent and engaging read, I would most definitely recommend!

Link to author website

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

2015 Book #19 – The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

81kFqSva68L

Title: The Bookseller
Author: Cynthia Swanson
Date finished: 3/8/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: Stand alone, her first novel actually!

Blurb from the cover:

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . .
Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.
Then the dreams begin.
Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.
Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?
As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?

My rating: 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “2015 Debut” square. I had seen this book being promoted in many different places but I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it. It’s a hit or miss many times with debut authors, some take a few novels to really hit their stride and others hit it out of the park right away. I have to say this book just floored me. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I haven’t felt so deeply and cried so much while reading a book since I read A Walk To Remember (back in high school I think) and yet the emotions in this book stemmed from a completely different place, the one I connected to most being love and loss of family.
This book was just fascinating. Katharyn and Kitty alternate between the two worlds in which they live, both lives feel so real and yet they are so completely different (they even exist at different points in time) that they can not possibly be connected. At first Kitty is sure that the life Katharyn leads is the dream, but as time goes on she has more and more trouble deciding what is real. She is losing memory of blocks of time, sometimes days, in both worlds. I don’t want to give away the end of the book but both Katharyn and Kitty end up forging one person in the end, reminding each what the other had lost and who they want to want to be as a person overall.
There were some slower parts in the beginning of the book that I found myself struggling through but the last 100 pages of the book I was riveted, you couldn’t tear me away from the story. There were so many emotions in this book; guilt, fear, loss, despair, love, compassion. The amount of feelings that you as the reader obtain from this book is just overwhelming. This was a great book and I can’t wait to see more from this author in the future.

The bottom line:  EVERYONE READ THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY. SO MANY FEELINGS. (P.S. make sure you have a box of tissues handy)

Link to author website
Link to Amazon