Review: To Have and to Hoax

Title: To Have and to Hoax
Author: Martha Waters
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?

With charm, wit, and heart in spades, To Have and To Hoax is a fresh and eminently entertaining romantic comedy—perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory and Julia Quinn.

Review:

In Regency England, James and Violet met during her debut into society and instantly fell in love. They had a whirlwind romance and married right away. Now it is five years later, and they haven’t spoken for the past four years. They are still married, but they had a mysterious fight that ruined their relationship. Even though they aren’t close, when Violet gets the news that James has had an accident while horseback riding, she rushes across the country to be by his side. On her way there, she meets him, perfectly healthy and on his way home. Violet is outraged and decides to give him a taste of his own medicine by faking an illness. This sparks a competition between the lovers, with each trying to prove how much they dislike the other.

I love stories set in this time period, the early nineteenth century in England. The characters didn’t act in the way that characters in a book written during that time period would behave. There was lots of gossip, affairs, and sex. It was fun to see how James and Violet kept competing to prove how much they didn’t like each other. This included faking illnesses and having affairs.

I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. The characters were witty and quick with their responses. I especially liked Violet’s friend Diana. She was a widow who liked to speak her mind and had to know all the gossip. I’m so excited to see that she will be featured in a sequel.

This is a great Regency romance!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Have you read To Have and to Hoax? What did you think of it?

Review: Loathe at First Sight

Title: Loathe at First Sight
Author: Suzanne Park
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Avon
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 18, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Melody Joo is thrilled to land her dream job as a video game producer, but her new position comes with its share of challenges. Namely, an insufferable CEO and a team that consists of mostly male co-workers who make the term “misogyny” pale in comparison to their obnoxious comments. Then there’s the infuriating—yet distractingly handsome—MBA intern Nolan MacKenzie, a.k.a. “the guy who got hired because his uncle is the boss”. 

Just when Melody thinks she’s made the worst career move of her life, her luck changes on a dime. While joking with a friend, she creates a mobile game that has male strippers fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Suddenly, Melody’s “joke” is her studio’s most high-profile project—and Melody’s running the show. 

When Nolan is appointed a key member of her team, Melody’s sure he’ll be useless. But as they grow closer, she sees he’s smart and sexy, which makes Melody want to forget he’s her intern. As their attraction deepens, she knows it’s time to pump the brakes even with her Korean parents breathing down her neck to hurry up and find a man. But she’s here to work—and nothing more. All she has to do is resist the wild thoughts coursing through her mind whenever Nolan is near. Easy . . . or so she thinks.

With her pet project about to launch, Melody suddenly faces a slew of complications, including a social media trolling scandal that could end her career. She suspects one of her co-workers is behind the sabotage and is determined to find out who betrayed her. Could the man she’s falling hard for help her play the game to win—in work and love?

Review:

Melody Joo has her dream job as a video game producer. She has to deal with disrespectful and insulting remarks from men just because she is an Asian woman. When Melody and another female producer joke about making a game for women featuring male strippers, the CEO of the company decides to create the game to appeal to more female gamers. Melody is given the lead role for the game creation, with an almost impossible release date in six months. Melody has to work with the annoying intern, Nolan, who got the job because his uncle is the CEO. The details of the game are leaked from someone in the company, leading to Melody being harassed online and even getting death threats. Nolan becomes an unlikely ally for Melody throughout the development of the game.

This story explores sexual harassment of women who work in technology. I was shocked at some of the things that were said to Melody in this story. They were often said to her face by her coworkers. There was even a scene where they attempted to have a sexual conduct meeting, which failed miserably with the men calling Melody names. These scenes were quite disturbing, but unfortunately they were realistic.

The only parts of this book that could be changed are the title and cover. From the title and cover, I couldn’t tell that it was about video game production. I also didn’t realize that the main character was Korean. Her Korean heritage was mentioned a lot in the story with her hilarious parents calling her all the time. She was also recognized as a minority at her office, which the men thought was a great way to diversify the office, though most of the workers were white men. A different title and cover that shows the importance of video games in the story would give a hint to what the story is about.

This is a great story!

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

What to read next:

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park

Have you read Loathe at First Sight? What did you think of it?

Review: 10 Things I Hate About Pinky (Dimple and Rishi #3)

Title: 10 Things I Hate About Pinky (Dimple and Rishi #3)
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The follow-up to When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s Something about Sweetie follows Pinky and Samir as they pretend to date—with disastrous and hilarious results.

Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rock stars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny-tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.

Samir Jha might have a few . . . quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.

Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions (aka boyfriends) she’s made, she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy, Samir—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer. As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they’ll never forget.

Review:

Pinky is a rebellious, social justice warrior. She’s known for getting in trouble and dating delinquent boys. When the barn at their summer house burns down, her mom immediately thinks Pinky did it, rather than Pinky’s perfect cousin Dolly. To prove that Pinky didn’t do it, she tells her mom she couldn’t have been in the barn with a boy because she has a boyfriend. The only problem is that Pinky has to find a perfect boyfriend to keep up with the lie she told her mom. She invites Samir to stay with them for the summer, when she finds out he didn’t get the law firm internship that he applied for. In exchange for helping Pinky by being her fake boyfriend, Pinky promises Samir that her high powered lawyer mother will give him an internship next year. It all goes according to plan until Pinky and Samir develop real feelings for each other.

This is the perfect summer romance! Pinky was such a fun character. I loved her style, with her rainbow dyed hair. I imagined it as much more rainbow coloured in the story than is pictured on the cover. She was the opposite of clean-cut Samir, who was always dressed up. Even though they were opposites in looks and personalities, they made an adorable couple.

This is the last book in the “Dimple-verse” about these characters. Since Pinky and Samir were away from their hometown of San Francisco, the other characters from past novels didn’t appear in this novel, other than a brief appearance by Ashish. I usually don’t like it when books in a series don’t include all the characters, because they don’t feel connected. However, since Pinky and Samir were away from home in this story, it worked for the plot to not include their friends from home.

I loved this summer romance!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Love at First Fight (Dimple and Rishi #2.5) by Sandhya Menon

From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon

Other books in the series:

Have you read 10 Things I Hate About Pinky? What did you think of it?

Review: Her Royal Highness (Royals #2)

Title: Her Royal Highness (Royals #2)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, LGBT
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

Review:

American Millie Quint was accepted into an elite Scottish boarding school, which is accepting female students for the first time, but she’s torn about whether she should attend. When she catches her girlfriend kissing someone else, she decides to escape from her broken heart and move to Scotland. Millie gets off to a bad start with her roommate, Flora, which is even more complicated when she discovers that Flora is actually Princess Flora of the Scottish Royal family. Flora and Millie don’t get along, until they realize they have feelings for each other.

When I first read the description for this book, I thought it was a completely different story from Royals, the first book in the series. At first, I was disappointed because I thought it wouldn’t have any of the same characters. Though the main characters are different from the ones in Royals, they are related. Flora is the younger sister of Prince Alex, whose engagement is in the story of Royals. I was glad to see some of the same characters I loved in Royals.

I loved the queer representation in this story. Millie is bi, and she owns her identity in Scotland. Though she doesn’t talk about it much in her home in Texas, her friends and family know she is bisexual. Flora is a queer member of the royal family, which isn’t often portrayed in stories or real life. It’s great to see characters like this who can love and be accepted for who they are.

I love these stories. They have actually inspired my current writing project about fictional Royals. I hope there will be more books in this series in the future.

What to read next:

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Other books in the series:

Have you read Her Royal Highness? What did you think of it?

Review: Date Me, Bryson Keller

Title: Date Me, Bryson Keller
Author: Kevin van Whye
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

What If It’s Us meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this upbeat and heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance that feels like a modern twist on a ’90s rom-com! 

Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new–the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he’s never really dated before.

Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.

Kai Sheridan didn’t expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there’s more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he’s awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this “relationship” will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?

Kevin van Whye delivers an uplifting and poignant coming-out love story that will have readers rooting for these two teens to share their hearts with the world–and with each other.

Review:

At a New Year’s Eve party, Bryson Keller, the most popular boy in school, is dared to date a different person every week until Spring Break. The catch is that they have to ask him to date on Monday morning until Friday afternoon. When there are just a few weeks left to go in the dare, Kai Sheridan is paired up with Bryson for a drama project. On a whim, Kai asks Bryson to date that week. The rules said that a person had to ask him, not specifically a girl, though that was assumed. The problem is that no one knows that Kai is gay, so Bryson and Kai have to hide their fake dating for the week. Their new relationship becomes more than just a dare when they have to explore their identities.

I loved this story so much! Kai and Bryson were adorable together. The first two thirds of the story were filled with fun fake dating, where everyone was happy. In the last third, there was more conflict, but it was unavoidable with so many lies about the fake dating.

Kai and Bryson were so cute, but there was also a layer of lies since no one knew Kai was gay. He had to hide it from his friends and family, because he didn’t think they would accept him if they knew. He had a bad experience with a friend that he told when he was younger, so he was afraid to share his secret. The story addressed the way that everyone is automatically assumed to be heterosexual. Kai figures that any guy who he likes won’t like him back, because they are straight. Sexuality shouldn’t be assumed for anyone, but we often automatically make a decision based on how someone looks or who they date. Though Kai’s story is fictional and has a hopeful ending, it’s important to recognize that there are many people who don’t have such a positive life when coming out.

This is such a great story!

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

What to read next:

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Have you read Date Me, Bryson Keller? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: She’s Faking It

Title: She’s Faking It
Author: Kristin Rockaway
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Graydon House
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

You can’t put a filter on reality.

Bree Bozeman isn’t exactly pursuing the life of her dreams. Then again, she isn’t too sure what those dreams are. After dropping out of college, she’s living a pretty chill life in the surf community of Pacific Beach, San Diego…if “chill” means delivering food as a GrubGetter, and if it means “uneventful”.

But when Bree starts a new Instagram account — @breebythesea — one of her posts gets a signal boost from none other than wildly popular self-help guru Demi DiPalma, owner of a lifestyle brand empire. Suddenly, Bree just might be a rising star in the world of Instagram influencing. Is this the direction her life has been lacking? It’s not a career choice she’d ever seriously considered, but maybe it’s a sign from the universe. After all, Demi’s the real deal… right?

Everything is lining up for Bree: life goals, career, and even a blossoming romance with the chiseled guy next door, surf star Trey Cantu. But things are about to go sideways fast, and even the perfect filter’s not gonna fix it. Instagram might be free, but when your life looks flawless on camera, what’s the cost? 

Review:

Bree doesn’t know what she wants to do in life. She dropped out of college and works for a food delivery app, but she loses that job when her car breaks down. Then, her sister gives her a book by a lifestyle guru, which will help her achieve her ambitions. The problem is that Bree doesn’t know what her ambitions are. She makes an Instagram account, where she reposts images for her vision board. Things get more complicated when she starts a romance with a pro surfer, who has had his own social media scandal. Bree has to learn that things on social media aren’t always what they seem.

Social media is such an important part of life, yet it can also be fake. Things that are posted have been edited to look perfect, rather than reflect real life. In this story, Bree becomes a minor influencer. She gets offers to promote products, even though she doesn’t know or like the products. It’s so easy to get caught up in getting free products or promotions on social media. It’s important to stay true to yourself and your brand, rather than just gaining followers.

I liked how realistic Bree’s struggles were in this story. Bree was given opportunities in her young life, yet she didn’t know how to use them. She didn’t know what she wanted to study in college, which led to her dropping out. She struggled with debt and unemployment. This wasn’t a Cinderella story where she suddenly reversed her fortune at the end, but I liked how it reflected real life.

I really enjoyed this story.

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

What to read next:

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

About the author:

Kristin Rockaway is a native New Yorker with an insatiable case of wanderlust. After working in the IT industry for far too many years, she traded the city for the surf and chased her dreams out to Southern California, where she spends her days happily writing stories instead of software. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, and planning her next big vacation.

Where to buy:

Harlequin

Amazon

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Google Play

IndieBound

Kobo

Have you read She’s Faking It? What did you think of it?

Review: Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2)

Title: Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2)
Author: Talia Hibbert
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Avon
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Talia Hibbert returns with another charming romantic comedy about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him “rescuing” her from their office building goes viral…

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom. 

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse? 

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs. 

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

Review:

Danika Brown is a PhD candidate. She isn’t interested in romance, but she needs to have friends-with-benefits. When her friend, Zaf, rescues her from a building during an emergency drill, the video of him carrying her outside goes viral. Zaf is a former rugby player, who works as a security guard at the university. The sudden viral video brings a lot of attention to the mental health charity that he created after a tragedy ended his rugby career. Since Zaf needs the popularity of the viral video to promote his charity and Dani needs a new friend-with-benefits, they decide to start a fake relationship to help them both. However, their fake relationship becomes threatened when feelings get involved.

This was another steamy romance in the series about The Brown Sisters. Even though there was a lot of romance, there were also some important issues that were brought up in the story. Zaf suddenly lost his brother and father in a car accident, which ended his rugby career. He experienced anxiety and depression following that accident. He still has triggers that can give him panic attacks. One way that he dealt with that is creating a charity to help athletes with mental health. Dani was supportive of his mental health, which is so important.

One thing I loved about the first book in the series was seeing the three Brown sisters together. They were a lot of fun and supportive of each other. In this book, the other sisters only appeared a couple of times for short scenes. I wished they had gotten together more, because it was great to see their relationship. Hopefully in the next book, the Brown sisters will have more time together.

This is a great, steamy romance!

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

What to read next:

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang

The Wedding Date (The Wedding Date #1) by Jasmine Guillory

Other books in the series:

Have you read Take a Hint, Dani Brown? What did you think of it?

Review: How to Hack a Heartbreak

Title: How to Hack a Heartbreak
Author: Kristin Rockaway
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Graydon House
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Swipe right for love. Swipe left for disaster.

By day, Mel Strickland is an underemployed helpdesk tech at a startup incubator, Hatch, where she helps entitled brogrammers—”Hatchlings”—who can’t even fix their own laptops, but are apparently the next wave of startup geniuses. And by night, she goes on bad dates with misbehaving dudes she’s matched with on the ubiquitous dating app, Fluttr.

But after one dick pic too many, Mel has had it. Using her brilliant coding skills, she designs an app of her own, one that allows users to log harrassers and abusers in online dating space. It’s called JerkAlert, and it goes viral overnight.

Mel is suddenly in way over her head. Worse still, her almost-boyfriend, the dreamy Alex Hernandez—the only non-douchey guy at Hatch—has no idea she’s the brains behind the app. Soon, Mel is faced with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life, and friendships, or change her life forever.

Review:

Melanie Strickland works at the help desk for a company that works with startup companies. She is surrounded with men who don’t think she knows how to do her job. Even when she’s not at work, she encounters horrible men on the popular dating app, Fluttr. Melanie decides to make her own website to alert women to the disgusting men on Fluttr, so she creates JerkAlert. However, the start up entrepreneur who she starts dating, Alex, appears on her website. Melanie has to hide her identity as the founder of JerkAlert while also navigating her own relationship with Alex.

This story tackles sexism in the workplace. Melanie was treated horribly by the men in her office, and her male supervisors didn’t see a problem with it. It was actually upsetting to read at times, because the things they did and said were so inappropriate.

Even though Melanie had to deal with sexist men, she turned her life around. She worked very hard to push past the limitations that men put on her in the digital coding world just because she was a woman.

I really enjoyed this story.

Thank you Graydon House Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1) by Talia Hibbert

Have you read How to Hack a Heartbreak? What did you think of it?

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?