2020 Book #29 – The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Title: The Accidental Beauty Queen
Author: Teri Wilson
Date finished: 5/17/20
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Pages in book: 305
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:

In this charming romantic comedy perfect for fans of Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella, critically acclaimed author Teri Wilson shows us that sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone leads you to the ultimate prize.

Charlotte Gorman loves her job as an elementary school librarian, and is content to experience life through the pages of her books. Which couldn’t be more opposite from her identical twin sister. Ginny, an Instagram-famous beauty pageant contestant, has been chasing a crown since she was old enough to enunciate the words world peace, and she’s not giving up until she gets the title of Miss American Treasure. And Ginny’s refusing to do it alone this time.

She drags Charlotte to the pageant as a good luck charm, but the winning plan quickly goes awry when Ginny has a terrible, face-altering allergic reaction the night before the pageant, and Charlotte suddenly finds herself in a switcheroo the twins haven’t successfully pulled off in decades.

Woefully unprepared for the glittery world of hair extensions, false eyelashes, and push-up bras, Charlotte is mortified at every unstable step in her sky-high stilettos. But as she discovers there’s more to her fellow contestants than just wanting a sparkly crown, Charlotte realizes she has a whole new motivation for winning.

My rating:  4.25 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. I read this book as part of Bout of Books 28.

I hadn’t had a chance to read this when it came out back in 2018 but I had originally requested it because it sounded very interesting and the cover is so cute. I’ve never read anything by this author before but this book was great! This book was a perfect blend of Miss Congeniality, The Parent Trap, and Pride and Prejudice. There were so many great bookish references – lots of Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice references. This is a great read for a book lover! Overall it was a really sweet story and the plot line was well constructed and implemented. I thought that the ending all wrapped up a little quickly though. There was a lot of emotional growing that Charlotte went through during the book and I would’ve liked to witness more of the confrontation / result with Charlotte and her parents and also Ginny. This book was just so fun and entertaining, I really enjoyed it and I would recommend reading it!

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #39 – The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

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Author: Sarah Alexander
Date finished: 4/26/16
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Pages in book: 288
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:

Since her twin brother, Eddie, drowned five years ago, sixteen-year-old Elsie Main has tried to remember what really happened that fateful day on the beach. One minute Eddie was there, and the next he was gone. Seventeen-year-old Tay McKenzie is a cute and mysterious boy that Elsie meets in her favorite boathouse hangout. When Tay introduces Elsie to the world of freediving, she vows to find the answers she seeks at the bottom of the sea.

My rating:  3.25 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 Elsie Main. The story mostly centers around the history behind Elsie’s missing brother, Eddie. Eddie was either autistic or mentally challenged and walked off into the ocean at age 9 and hasn’t been seen since. Elsie starts remembering things about that day and when she starts “free-diving” at age 16 she starts having vivid recollections of time that had been missing from her memories of that day. During this time she begins to fall in love with a boy names Tay, who unfortunately is hiding a few things from Elsie.
Overall this was a good book. It was an interesting story and I liked learning about free-diving since I had never heard of it before. I think the story just didn’t really appeal to me and I had some trouble connecting with the characters and the story line. There were some good conflicts within the plot and goo amount of tension between characters, it just wasn’t one of my favorites personally.

The bottom line: I thought that the free-diving information in this story was interesting but other than that I had trouble connecting to the characters. Was a good story, just wasn’t one of my favorites. I would still recommend though!

Link to author website

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

2015 Book #34 – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Date finished: 4/20/15
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Pages in book: 433
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life–and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count for the challenge I am participating in for April, the#ReadingMyLibrary reading challenge. I checked out this book from the Simsbury Public Library. I saw this book awhile ago, can’t remember where, but it looked good so I added it to my TBR list. I saw it at the library and decided to pick it up. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but I have heard a lot of good things.
There were a lot of things I liked about this book. I loved almost all the characters in this story. All of them evolved so much through the book I felt like I was growing and changing with them. Cather is such a great character and I really connected with her on her anxiety issues since I suffer from similar issues a lot of the time. I couldn’t necessarily connect with her on her shyness with boys but overall she was just such an easy character to connect with. And oh my gosh, Levi. If I could pick any of the characters I’ve read about that I would want for a boyfriend, it would be Levi. He is just amazingly sweet and so happy its disgusting and awesome at the same time.
One of the characters I really just didn’t like in the book (mostly because I think I wasn’t supposed to) was the mom, Laura. She was so disinterested in her own daughters and she leaves them when they’re 8 and never contacts them again. But she goes on to get remarried and she has step-kids and that’s ok? And what the hell is with the thing that when she ended up with twins instead of one baby, she didn’t even pick a second name she just split up the one name she had already picked out (Cather + Wren = Catherine). I mean it ended up being cute names for the girls but the mom was just being lazy and it just makes me dislike her more.
There was a good amount of teen angst in this book which is why I stopped reading young adult books a few years ago, it just became too frustrating. This book was not overwhelmingly teen angst though and the story line I still found to be solid and interesting. I couldn’t put this book down yesterday, I was up reading til I finished it at 1am. Great story, great characters, great feels. I will definitely be reading more by this author in the future.

The bottom line: Great book, lots of feels. Sweet characters. I would definitely recommend.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #6 – Something Blue by Emily Giffin

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Title: Something Blue
Author: Emily Giffin
Date finished: 1/23/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: March 21, 2006
Pages in book: 338
Stand alone or series: Stand alone kind of but there is a related prequel, Something Borrowed

Blurb from the cover:

Darcy Rhone has always been able to rely on a few things: Her beauty and charm. Her fiance, Dex. Her lifelong best friend, Rachel. She never needed anything else. Or so she things until Dex calls off their dream wedding and she uncovers the ultimate betrayal. Blaming everyone but herself, Darcy flees to London and attempts to re-create her glamorous life on a new continent. But to her dismay, she discovers that her tried-and-true tricks no longer apply – and that her luck has finally expired. It is only then that she can begin her journey toward redemption, forgiveness, and true love.

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 “Blue Cover” square. I absolutely loved Something Borrowed, and after reading it I just couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen to selfish, narcissistic Darcy. I even left work early (8pm but that’s early by tax season standards) and went straight to Barnes and Noble to buy Something Blue because I could not wait one more day to start reading it! This is the second book I’ve read by Emily Giffin and I have to say I just absolutely love her books. I am excited to read her other books that she’s published as well. She infuses such emotion and depth into her characters. Even with this book, I went into it not sure what to expect since after Something Borrowed I couldn’t help but think of Darcy as a bad person. But her growth throughout the novel was astounding. And there is so much put into each characters’ personalities, I feel as if I know them. They become real to me as I read the story and I find myself unable to put the book down. I think it was a wonderful story about love, friendship, and how much a person can change for the right reason. Darcy was determined to become a better person for her sons and I am so glad that she found love.

The bottom line:  I would definitely recommend this book! I loved it! The previous book, Something Borrowed, is great too!!

Author website:
 http://www.emilygiffin.com/
Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Something-Blue-Emily-Giffin/dp/0312548079/ref=tmm_mmp_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1422112177

2014 – Book #60

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The past couple days have been a very difficult time for me. I find most that when I am working my way through a difficult time, I tend to turn to the escape of fiction more than I might at other times. There has been something inherently soothing today and yesterday about reading beside my grandfather’s bed as I struggle to say goodbye to him. And while this may not have been the best book I’ve ever read, I am profoundly grateful that for a few moments of time I can escape to a place where there is no pain, no sadness, and only happy endings. And as this was the book that I am meeting my goal with for the year, I can’t think of a better person to share this with than my Pop-pop. So I hereby dedicate the following blog post and my accomplishment of meeting my 60 book goal for 2014 to a man who watched over and cared for me my whole life, Henry Barnum.

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The sixtieth book I read in 2014 was Black Ties and Lullabies by Jane Graves. I finished this book on 7/25/14. I rated this book 3.0 stars out of a scale of 5. This book was about Bernadette Hogan, body-guard extraordinaire, and her current employer, multimillionaire Jeremy Bridges. Jeremy grew up in the slums and now that he is successful he allows himself every comfort and luxury possible. Bernadette on the other hand scrimps and saves to be able to take care of her aging mother. As his bodyguard, Bernie watches for years as Jeremy works his way through all the blonde starlets and models that life has to offer.

But on one evening Bernie decides she has had enough of trying to protect Jeremy’s life and quits. The argument and the flaring passion that ensue are unexpected and unplanned, as is the pregnancy that follows. At first Bernie decides she wants Jeremy to have nothing to do with their child, but as the weeks progress and Jeremy shows her how much this child and her both mean to him, she begins to think that maybe she was wrong about Jeremy after all.

Overall I didn’t love this book. I have liked the other books I have read by this author but this one I just couldn’t connect with. A millionaire sweeps in and says he’s just going to take away all your problems? How often does that actually happen?? And while it might be more realistic, both of the main characters had some serious insecurities that they needed to work on. That being said, it was a fairly good story and I was interested the whole time in how the book would play out. And the ending was sweet, if unbelievable.

Link to author website: http://www.janegraves.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lullabies-Central-Publishing-Contemporary-Romance/dp/0446568473/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1406318148&sr=8-1