ARC Book Review: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Thank you to Berkley / NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital copy in exchange for an honest review! 

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Published 11/5/2019 by Berkley

ISBN: 9781984806093

339 pages (Goodreads says there is 320 pages, but the copy I’m reading goes to 339)

Genre: Contemporary Romance | Rom-Com

Rating: ★★★★☆

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

The first rule of this book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

Review:

*I am late with my review, but any quote(s) used are from the finished copy.

“I’m the kind of baseball wife who still isn’t sure the difference between a no-hitter and a perfect game, and you know what? It doesn’t matter. Because I didn’t marry baseball. I married Gavin, a man with more integrity than you could ever dream of having.”

I’m quite behind on writing reviews. I’ve hit some sort of reading sprint, and I can’t stop. I finished two books in one weekend, which never happens to me. I’m slowly getting all of my thoughts together for each book.

Characters | 

The characters were all pretty interesting. I thought that the members of the book club were funny. They all had their flaws though, and some bothered me more than others.

I started out hating Gavin, then Thea started showing her true colors. Her mothering skills were fantastic. She treats her daughters like they matter, which I don’t see very often in novels. She has a semi-strong bond with her sister, which is great. I just don’t like how she treats Gavin. If you don’t want to give him the light of day, then just end it right then and there. Instead, she eggs it on. That kills me! The reader understands why, like, right at the end of the book. I get that she has a depressing past, but that doesn’t mean you need to take it out on other people. I just didn’t end up liking her that much, unfortunately.

I didn’t care for Liv and the way she treated Gavin. It wasn’t any of her business as to why Gavin was still staying at the house. I understand she was trying to take care of her sister but, there are boundaries. She was probably my least favorite character, other than Mack, who is part of the book club.

Story |

I would consider this a slow-burn romance. Nothing steamy happens until closer to the end, but I’m into the rom-com novels. This could totally be a movie! I would watch it.

The story focuses on Gavin and his desire to keep his marriage together after he supposedly tore it apart. The issue is that they both play a pretty big role in what path their marriage is going down. The reader learns a lot about Thea’s past and her relationship with her parents. I won’t spoil that for you since it’s a significant piece of information in the novel. I’m sure it won’t be a surprise to anyone who reads/watches rom-coms.

I loved this so much. This is romantic, but it also has a lot of familial dynamics. Thea and Gavin have two twin daughters, Ava and Amelia, who make it even harder to make a decision regarding their marriage. Oh yeah, did I also mention Thea’s sister, Liv? She plays a role in the whole ordeal too. She also has a lot of turmoil with their parents. Thea and Liv stick together. Let’s just say that Liv isn’t a fan of Gavin and vice versa.

My issues with the story: There was a point that I just wanted it to come to an end. This isn’t a very long book, but it does get redundant, I guess. It is still very fast-paced, regardless. It was a five-star read up until around page 260. I found myself not wanting to continue on, or just skipping to the end to see what happens.

I also found myself not wanting to read the excerpts of the novel. Obviously, the two stories are similar to one another, except one is from the 1800s and one is present day. The situations are different. I just didn’t care about those characters. Thank God that doesn’t show up too often.

Writing | 

I found the sex scenes to be very well done! They are scarce and short-lived, but they were 10/10. Good description of everything!
This is a romance novel, so don’t go into this expecting it to blow your mind. I found it to be a bit more sophisticated. The book club members have a very diverse vocabulary, which surprised me.

Overall | 

I would totally buy this for my shelves! I enjoyed it a lot, and I recommend it if you’re interested or if you need a funny, steamy, fast-paced read. This is the type of book that will lift you out of your reading slump, for sure! Go pick it up and show it some love.

“Love is enough.”
“It’s always enough.”


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ARC Review – The Naked Truth: A Memoir by Leslie Steiner

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.

The Naked Truth: A Memoir by Leslie Steiner

Published on May 21, 2019 by Simon & Schuster

272 pages (Hardcover)

ISBN: 9781501174100

Genre: Non-fiction/Memoir

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

SYNOPSIS:

This is about Leslie’s adventure into a life of connections and sex. She is recently divorced after a twenty-year marriage. Her ex-husband was horribly mentally abusive and rude to her that she was finally free to love herself. Her plan is to find five lovers in a year to bring back the feminine side in herself.  

She managed to find men in many different places such as the airport, yoga class, and high school reunions. She did all of this without the hassle of a dating website. In the end, she discovers what it is like to be a middle-aged woman living in the world today. 

REVIEW:

I said this in my Goodreads review, and I’ll say it here. I am not rating the experience this author had. I am not rating her life in any way. I am rating how well she told her story. It’s incredibly infuriating to read a nonfiction book and it be written horribly. 

I’m sure that this was a bit controversial for some readers. I am not sure if this is more accepted today, but I will say that I don’t find the concept controversial. There are some parts in this story that I didn’t agree with. Having relationships with someone that is dating/married to someone else is obviously something I don’t like reading about. I had no idea about that before going into the book. I didn’t read any reviews. If you don’t like reading about that, then I probably wouldn’t pick it up. 

►Her previous marriage that lasted twenty years was horrible. The only good thing that came out of it was the two kids. I felt so much sympathy for Leslie. Her ex-husband made her feel like she didn’t matter. There was so much mental abuse that I am surprised she bounced back so fast. I feel like I would suffer for a long time. Kudos to her for working on herself. It’s actually quite impressive.

I found all the men that she had flings with to be annoying. None of them were right for her, and it made me angry. I think I was expecting her to fall in love again and live happily ever after. 

►The writing wasn’t my favorite. I’m happy that she didn’t try too hard, but it wasn’t anything special. I am always in search of a nonfiction book that blows me away with the story and the writing.

►If you are looking for an entertaining read, then pick this up. It’s fast to read and quite entertaining. It is a story you never read about. I thought it was a very interesting concept. I wouldn’t read it again, but I don’t regret that I read it in the first place.

This is where I would put quotes, but it was an ARC and I don’t have a finished copy to compare it to.


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ARC Book Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Thank you to Netgalley and of course, Dutton Books, for letting me read this ARC for an honest review! 

The Last Time I Lied

By: Riley Sager

ISBN: 9781524743079 (Hardcover) I read the kindle version.

Publishing Date: July 3, 2018 by Dutton Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Rating: 3/5

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | My Goodreads Review


Synopsis:

When Emma Davis is thirteen, she is taken to a camp where all the rich parents take their kids and drop them off for the summer. It’s called, Camp Nightingale. She arrives late the first day and is shoved in a cabin with three other older girls. Their names are Vivian, Natalie and Allison. Vivian takes Emma “under her wing” and shows her all the ins and outs of the camp. One night they all play two truths and a lie, and the next morning Vivian, Natalie and Allison are missing. They were never found.

Fifteen years pass, and Emma is now a painter. While showing her artwork at a gallery, a familiar face shows up. Franny Harris-White, the owner of Camp Nightingale. She thinks that fifteen years has been long enough and she wants to open the camp back up. She tells Emma that it wouldn’t be the same without some of the old campers. The old campers could be instructors for the new kids. Emma agrees, only because she knows this is her only chance to figure out what happened to the three girls. She ends up bunking with three younger girls this time around, and things happen similar to what happened fifteen years prior. There are cameras, clues in diaries, insane asylums and a lot of mistrust and miscommunication. At some point Emma realizes that her hunt to solve the mystery has become deadly.


Writing Style:

I really enjoyed how the novel was written. There was conciseness while still keeping the mystery alive. The story is told in the present and in the past which kind of helped debunk all the myths and rumors as the story progressed. Sager definitely knows how to pull your leg. Sometimes it seems like Emma has solved everything, and then it just ends up crashing down all at once. This novel won’t blow your mind, but I think it would be a good mystery thriller to start out with. It’s very easy to read and it does keep the suspense.

Characters:

You don’t learn a lot about the majority of the characters in the novel. It mostly focuses on Emma and Vivian. Vivian is the pretty, popular, manipulative camper (that’s definitely the harmless way to describe her). Emma is very smart but very vulnerable. One has a ton of confidence and the other doesn’t, and therefore they “get along.” Again, not a ton of description or back story. You do learn some things about Vivian’s past and her family, but I will let you learn all of that when you read it. I would say that the story is more about the setting rather than the characters. Camp Nightingale itself played a huge role in solving the mystery.

Disclaimer: Emma does deal with her mental health as she gets older. Her paintings definitely let all of that shine through. I did find it quite interesting because I don’t read a lot of books where the person struggling with mental health turns to art. Besides Eliza from Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. My dream while I was going through high school was to be some sort of artist. I also had my issues such as; staying home all the time, not coming out of my room, only have a few friends, having zero self-confidence. I turned to art like Emma did, and I could definitely relate.

Overall:

I think it’s worth a read whether it be just for fun or if you want a decent mystery. I definitely didn’t have it figured out by the end, but I had an idea. It does drag a little bit in the middle, but it gets better. The ending also leaves you hanging a little bit, which I hated but enjoyed at the same time. I enjoyed it enough to maybe try out Final Girls by Riley Sager. So, I recommend giving it a try!

Have you read this yet? If so, let me know down in the comments what you thought of it.

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Mini ARC Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary

By: Stephanie Garber

451 pages

ISBN: 9781250095312 (Hardcover) by Flatiron Books

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 2/5 stars

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Goodreads Synopsis:

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.


I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and I appreciate Flatiron Books for the opportunity to receive an ARC.

I think that since Young Adult is not quite my favorite genre anymore, I went into this book with too high of expectations. I thought Caraval was fantastic when I read it, but if I think if I read it again I wouldn’t like it as much. I still read Young Adult, but I am much more critical. I know when I read a good book, and this didn’t quite do it for me, unfortunately.

The story was strong in thought, but mediocre in practice. I found most of the characters to be annoying and repetitive (Tella especially). There was a lot of romance between Tella and Dante. I’m down for a little romance, but this just didn’t do it for me. With all of those elements combined it also didn’t have a lot of action. I figured after reading 70% of the book that something would transpire, but nothing ever really did. The “big reveal” was obvious from the beginning. I wanted so much more, and I was very disappointed.

The book has a pretty solid rating on Goodreads, so it might be the book for you. I’m sensing that Stephanie Garber just isn’t the author for me. I am glad I read this book though. It has been on my TBR since I first noticed that there was even a sequel to Caraval. If there is a next one (which I’m sure there will be) I’m kind of on the fence about reading it. I guess we will have to wait and see!

If you have read the book, let me know your thoughts and opinions!

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