Review: Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2)

Title: Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2)
Author: Sonali Dev
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors comes another, clever, deeply layered, and heartwarming romantic comedy that follows in the Jane Austen tradition—this time, with a twist on Persuasion.

Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen? 

Rico Silva, that’s what.  

Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster. 

FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her. 

But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico.  Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…? 

In Recipe for Persuasion, Sonali Dev once again takes readers on an unforgettable adventure in this fresh, fun, and enchanting romantic comedy. 

Review:

Ashna Raje is the chef and owner of Curried Dreams, her father’s restaurant. The restaurant is failing, so when her best friend offers her a chance to be on the new reality show Cooking with the Stars, she decides she must do it to get the money for the restaurant. Rico Silva is soccer player who went into an early retirement following a knee injury. When he finds out that Ashna is going to be a chef on Cooking with the Stars, he knows he must be the celebrity to cook with her. He wants to get the closure from their relationship that ended suddenly 12 years ago when they were teenagers. The tense competition brings back their feelings, opening up many old wounds.

I read Persuasion by Jane Austen years ago. I loved the book. This story is a great retelling, like the first book in the series, Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors. It’s an updated version of the classic Austen story, with more contemporary themes.

This story was much darker and more serious than Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors. There are some trigger warnings that should be included, such as suicide, substance abuse, and rape. These things were addressed, though they didn’t directly happen in the story. It was realistic to show these things happening, even though they were upsetting to read. The characters hadn’t addressed these things in the moment that they happened, due to the stigma around mental health problems. Those were tense moments in the story, and made it a much more serious book.

This is a great Persuasion adaptation.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel

The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read Recipe for Persuasion? What did you think of it?

Review: Just a Boy and a Girl in a Canoe (I See London, I See France #2)

Title: Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sam’s summer isn’t off to a great start. Her boyfriend, Eli, ditched her for a European backpacking trip, and now she’s a counselor at Camp Blue Springs: the summer camp her eleven-year-old self swore never to return to. Sam expects the next seven weeks to be a total disaster.

That is, until she meets Gavin, the camp’s sailing instructor, who turns her expectations upside down. Gavin may have gotten the job just for his abs. Or that smile. Or the way he fills Sam’s free time with thrilling encounters—swimming under a cascade of stars, whispering secrets over s’mores, embarking on one (very precarious) canoe ride after dark.

It’s absurd. After all, Sam loves Eli. But one totally absurd, completely off-the-wall summer may be just what Sam needs. And maybe, just maybe, it will teach her something about what she really wants.

Review:

Samantha and Eli are spending their summer apart, after their freshman year at NYU. He is going backpacking through Europe with his cousin and she is going to work as a counselor at a summer camp that she went to as a kid. They can’t communicate very much because she doesn’t have good cell reception at the camp. Right away, Sam notices a boy from the camp who was there when she went before. Gavin is now the hot sailing instructor. As the summer goes on, Sam starts to wonder if it would really be that bad if she should have a summer fling with Gavin, since Eli is probably having his own fun with girls in Europe.

This book is a sequel to I See London, I See France. It isn’t about the same characters, but some minor characters make an appearance. That book was about girls who backpacked across Europe. They met Eli and Gavin’s girlfriend, Kat. I wasn’t sure how much these books would be connected because it’s been a couple of years since I read I See London, I See France. They could each be read as stand-alone novels. However, since they are connected and happening simultaneously, they may contain spoilers for either book.

This book was actually pretty funny. Sam’s campers in her bunk were young kids, around 7 or 8 years old. They said some funny things when they had no filter. I think this is a great book for right now, since many summer camps will be cancelled. This story can fill that gap in the summer, so we can still read about summer camps. Though there were kids in this book, the audience should be in their late teens, not children. It’s an older young adult, or new adult, book.

I saw some negative reviews for this book for the theme of cheating in the book. What Sam does when she wants a fling with Gavin is wrong, and she acknowledges it. She had a boyfriend, so she shouldn’t have been interested in another boy. At the same time, she’s a teenager, and everyone makes mistakes. It would be unrealistic to say this would never happen. I don’t think this book is condoning that kind of behavior because it is a fiction story, not a how-to book.

I really enjoyed this summer camp story!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

I See London, I See France (I See London, I See France #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe? What did you think of it?

Review: Say Yes Summer

Title: Say Yes Summer
Author: Lindsey Roth Culli
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 12, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Perfect for fans of Morgan Matson and Netflix/Hallmark Channel rom-coms, this is the story of a girl who decides to give in to the universe and just say yes to everything, bringing her friendship, new experiences, and, if she lets her guard down, true love.

The perfect book to kick off summer! For as long as Rachel Brooks can remember, she’s had capital-G Goals: straight As, academic scholarship, college of her dreams. And it’s all paid off–after years of following the rules and acing every exam, Rachel is graduating at the top of her class and ready to celebrate by . . . doing absolutely nothing. Because Rachel Brooks has spent most of high school saying no. No to dances, no to parties, and most especially, no to boys.

Now, for the first time in her life, there’s nothing stopping Rachel from having a little fun–nothing, that is, except herself. So when she stumbles on a beat up old self-help book–A SEASON OF YES!–a crazy idea pops into her head: What if she just said yes to . . . everything?

And so begins a summer of yes. Yes to new experiences and big mistakes, yes to rekindled friendships and unexpected romances, yes to seeing the world in a whole new way. This book is a fresh and fun take on the coming-of-age novel that explores the quintessential themes of growing up: taking risks, making mistakes, and, of course, love. And who knows? Lindsey Roth Culli’s hilarious and heartwarming debut may just inspire your own SAY YES SUMMER.

Review:

Rachel has always had a crush on the most popular boy at school, Clayton, but he hasn’t ever noticed her. After Rachel gives her valedictorian speech at graduation, Clayton starts talking to her. Rachel finds a book in her grandmother’s things that is about saying yes to every opportunity. She has spent her whole life saying no to other people, while focusing on her grades and family, but she’s ready to start having exciting experiences. Rachel starts hanging out with Clayton, but she’s not sure about his relationship status, so she also spends time with her childhood best friend Miles. Saying yes to everything leads Rachel into two complicated relationships.

Rachel’s story was kind of a modern fairytale. The boy she had always liked suddenly liked her too. Her childhood friend, who also would be a good match for her, likes her as well. Suddenly the girl who didn’t have many friends has two potential boyfriends. It was exciting in the moment, but someone was bound to get hurt in the love triangle.

This story showed how it’s easy to think that someone else’s life is perfect, from a distance. Rachel thought the popular kids in her school were perfect and didn’t have any problems. She would stalk their social media and see the perfectly curated lives they showed on there. She ended up discovering that they had a lot more problems than she thought, though they were good at putting on a brave face online.

This is a great summer romance!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally

Have you read Say Yes Summer? What did you think of it?

Review: Four Days of You and Me

Title: Four Days of You and Me
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A new swoon-worthy romance following a couple’s love story on the same date over four years. 

Every May 7, the students at Coffee County High School take a class trip. And every year, Lulu’s relationship with Alex Rouvelis gets a little more complicated. Freshman year, they went from sworn enemies to more than friends after a close encounter in an escape room. It’s been hard for Lulu to quit Alex ever since.

Through breakups, make ups, and dating other people, each year’s class trip brings the pair back together and forces them to confront their undeniable connection. From the science museum to an amusement park, from New York City to London, Lulu learns one thing is for sure: love is the biggest trip of all.

Review:

Every year, the students at Coffee County High get to go on a special school trip. The trips get larger each year, starting with a museum outing in their freshman year and ending with an international trip in their senior year. Each of these trips marks a pivotal moment in Lulu and Alex’s romance, such as their first kiss on their freshman trip. Each of the following trips pushes them together, leading them to make important decisions about their relationship.

This story shows just a few snapshots in their relationship. It covers about four days, with a few other brief scenes from throughout the year. It was amazing to see how their relationship is defined by their actions in these few days. Their relationship and feelings changed so much throughout the book that I wasn’t sure if they would end up together at the end.

This book brought back so many high school memories for me. We went on a bunch of school trips, though none as lavish as the later ones in this book. Lulu and Alex, as well as their friends, deal with the complicated feelings that come along with first loves and discovering yourself. It made me laugh and it made me cry. This book has all the feels!

This was a great high school romance!

Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Have you read Four Days of You and Me? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Summer Villa

Title: The Summer Villa
Author: Melissa Hill
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Three women. One summer reunion. Secrets will be revealed…

Villa Dolce Vita, a rambling stone house on the Amalfi Coast, sits high above the Gulf of Naples amid dappled lemon groves and fragrant, tumbling bougainvillea. Kim, Colette and Annie all came to the villa in need of escape and in the process forged an unlikely friendship.

Now, years later, Kim has transformed the crumbling house into a luxury retreat and has invited her friends back for the summer to celebrate.

But as friendships are rekindled under the Italian sun, secrets buried in the past will come to light, and not everyone is happy that the three friends are reuniting… Each woman will have things to face up to if they are all to find true happiness and fully embrace the sweet life.

An epic summer read about food, friendship and the magic of Italy, perfect for fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Susan Mallery.

Review:

Six years ago Kim, Collette, and Annie ran away from their lives and ended up in the same villa in Italy. They didn’t know each other and came from different countries: the U.S., England, and Ireland. Though they had different backgrounds and different reasons for wanting to escape their lives for a few weeks, they all connected that summer. Now it is six years later and Kim is hosting a grand reopening of the same villa, which she has transformed into a wellness retreat. It seems like the perfect time for the three women to reunite, but they each bring their own personal problems back to Italy, where it all began.

This story alternated perspectives between then, six years ago, and now in the present. It also alternated between each of the three women. Things were slowly revealed in each timeline, but some details were held until the end, which built up the tension and surprise. I was shocked at some of the twists that I didn’t see coming.

One thing that this story demonstrated is how things in life can change so quickly. The women were struggling with life before they went to Italy the first time, but they each had life changing events happen there. These events changed the course of their lives in ways that didn’t seem possible at the beginning. This shows that even if you think you’re going through a difficult time in the present, there is no way to predict how your life will change years from now.

I really loved this story!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Summer in Sorrento by Melissa Hill

The Temptation of Gracie by Santa Montefiore

About the Author:

MELISSA HILL lives in south Dublin with her husband and daughter. A USA TODAY and international #1 bestseller, she is the author of 13 novels, including The Gift of a Charm and A Gift From Tiffany’s. The Gift of a Charm was a USA TODAY bestseller. Hailed “the queen of the big plot twist,” she combines all the warmth and humor of contemporary women’s fiction with plots that keep readers guessing from page to page. Melissa also cowrites forensic thrillers with her husband, Kevin, under the pseudonym Casey Hill, featuring crime scene investigator Reilly Steel. For more information, visit www.caseyhillbooks.com.

Have you read The Summer Villa? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Secrets of Love Story Bridge

Title: The Secrets of Love Story Bridge
Author: Phaedra Patrick
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Park Row
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A single father gets an unexpected second chance at love in the heartwarming new novel from the author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper It’s summer in the city and passions are soaring along with the temperature—for everyone but Mitchell Fisher, who hates all things romance. He relishes his job cutting off the padlocks that couples fasten to the famous “love story” bridge. Only his young daughter, Poppy, knows that behind his prickly veneer, Mitchell still grieves the loss of her mother.

Then one hot day, everything changes when Mitchell courageously rescues a woman who falls from the bridge into the river. He’s surprised to feel an unexpected connection to her, but she disappears before he can ask her name. Desperate to find out her identity, Mitchell is shocked to learn she’s been missing for almost a year. He teams up with her spirited sister, Liza, on a quest to find her again. However, she’s left only one clue behind—a message on the padlock she hung on the bridge.

Brimming with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and a sparkling cast of characters, The Secrets of Love Story Bridgefollows one man’s journey to unlock his heart and discover new beginnings in the unlikeliest places.

Review:

Mitchell Fisher is raising his daughter by himself after his wife died years ago. He works for the city council and cuts off the locks that people hang on bridges in his town to represent their love. One day when he’s leaving work, he sees a woman attach a lock to the bridge, then fall into the river below. Mitchell jumps in after her to rescue her, but they get separated after he rescues her, and he never learns her name. His daughter’s teacher sees an article about the rescue, and recognizes the woman he rescued as her missing sister. Mitchell and Liza, the sister of the missing woman, search for clues to find the woman, unraveling many secrets along the way.

I loved the premise for this book. It had so much mystery surrounding the woman’s disappearance. There were only a few clues that were left behind so it was difficult for her family to figure out what happened.

I liked seeing so much emotion in the character of Mitchell. He’s had a difficult time since his wife died, and he is constantly blaming himself. He wasn’t afraid to show his emotions, which made him appear stronger in my opinion. I haven’t seen many male characters like that, especially in women’s fiction.

I didn’t really like the explanation behind the woman’s disappearance. I can’t say too much about the ending without giving it away. There was so much tension leading up to it, but I didn’t feel that same tension in the reason that she disappeared. The genre of the book played into this kind of ending. Since it was a lighter story, not a gritty thriller, it had a more positive ending.

This is a great summer story.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Have you read The Secrets of Love Story Bridge? What did you think of it?

Review: Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (The Rajes #1)

Title: Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (The Rajes #1)
Author: Sonali Dev
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Retelling
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

·       Never trust an outsider

·       Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations

·       And never, ever, defy your family

Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.

Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.

As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…

A family trying to build home in a new land.

A man who has never felt at home anywhere.

And a choice to be made between the two.

Review:

Trisha is an acclaimed neurosurgeon, so DJ Caine brings his sick sister to be treated her. Trisha can treat her, but at a high cost. Meanwhile, DJ is a chef who gets some important jobs with Trisha’s well-known family. Trisha and him get off on the wrong foot when they first meet, with Trisha coming off as prejudiced. A series of secrets mixes them up with each other and threatens their relationships with their families.

This is an amazing adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Even though the same general events happen as in the original book, things are slightly twisted so it isn’t an exact copy of Pride and Prejudice. DJ, the Darcy character, is an orphan who struggles to look after his sick sister. Trisha, the Elizabeth character, is from a wealthy, royal Indian family. In this story, “Darcy” is the poorer character, while “Elizabeth” is wealthy.

The storyline is flipped from the original Pride and Prejudice, so the story was still a surprise. Since some of the characteristics were given to the opposite characters, it wasn’t obvious what would happen. Some of the events were similar, but treated in a slightly different way. For example, in Pride and Prejudice, Darcy’s sister is chronically ill. In this story, DJ’s sister has a brain tumor. Darcy’s sister is vulnerable and ill in both versions, just in different ways.

I really got to know all of the characters, so I’m excited to read the next book, which comes out in a few weeks!

What to read next:

Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2) by Sonali Dev

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Have you read Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors? What did you think of it?