Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren


Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books – Gallery Books
Genres: General Fiction (Adult); Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: December 4, 2018

BLURB: Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

I thought this story was a cute and fluffy story. Millie and her four friends decided to sign up on a dating website to get dates for their work social event. When Millie uses an alias Catherine, she connects with a date and they hit it off online.
Some specific phrases that her online guy used led Millie to deduce that her online mystery man was in fact her best friend Reid. Millie had found Reid physically attractive but they had never connected in this way before. Millie is torn on whether to continue the charade or tell Reid that she is Catherine. Meanwhile, the online couple gets closer and closer, prompting Reid to want to meet face to face.

The group of friends was my favorite part of the group. They were funny, they teased each other but they were supportive as well. The writing was entertaining and flow was pretty consistent. I loved Reid and Millie together and wondered why they didn’t put all their cards on the table sooner. There was a part of them that saw the other, they just didn’t communicate honestly and allow themselves to be vulnerable. It was angst enough to give the story an emotional kick. I love how Millie redeemed herself and the role the friends played in it all. Overall, an enjoyable and fun read for those who enjoy romantic comedy or contemporary romances.

Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, New Adult, Review Books

A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner



The biggest problem I had with this book (besides the terrible narration) is that Jame and Breck NEVER seem to learn from their mistakes. They make bad decision after bad decision from high school well into adulthood. I don’t want grown characters doing the same thing they did as 17 year olds. I like stories where there is growth, maturity and a genuine attempt to a decent human being.

When the heroine Breck (“B”) stated in first couple of paragraphs that she saw him FIRST, I already knew there was about to be some violations going on. I knew the Girl and Bro Codes would be trashed and they certainly were. It is commonly understood (but not always followed) that a girl or guy shouldn’t date or have sex their best friend’s ex. But B and Jamie weren’t respecters of boundaries and ended up creating too much collateral damage.

17yr old Breck and her best friend where on the beach when they met Jamie. For whatever reason, Jamie chose to pursue and date the best friend. When her best friend breaks up with Jamie, B and Jamie admit their feelings and make a romantic connection. Then they dropped the ball. A couple of years later in college, when B is dating Jamie’s roommate, B and Jamie reconnect in secret. They chose to be deceptive instead of being honest to B’s boyfriend. Again, we ended up with collateral damage to their “undeniable” connection to each other.

A few years later after college and during their separation, Jamie meets a girl he describes as wonderful. While he maintained a friendly relationship with B, Jamie proposed his girlfriend. When Jamie is about to get married, B finally admits that she still loved Jamie and its clear that both have unfinished business. She comes to his bachelor party and engages in “private, insider jokes” that only Jamie and herself can enjoy. She also goes into his tent during his camping trip and their attraction explodes as they pounced on each other. Do they have to deal with the consequences of their years of indecision and tent betrayal? NOOOO. Because the author gives them an out with a lame plot twist. SMH at Kandi Steiner, thats where you lost me!

Again, the universe gave Jamie and B had an opportunity to embrace their epic love but that didn’t happen.

Three years later, B got engaged to be married and here comes Jamie professing his undying love for the umpteenth time. To make a long story short, another heart is broken at the altar of Jamie and B seesaw relationship.
At the end, I didn’t have respect for them or their feelings. I am not shipping them or this story.

Audiobook, Book Club, Fiction, Monday Book Club, Reading Plan, Suspense & Thriller

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

BLURB: How long can you protect your heart?

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

I didn’t love this story like others did. I did love this story as a testament to survival and human resilience. Kya Clark grew up in an abusive home with an alcoholic father who beat the mom and later the siblings. Eventually the mom and remaining siblings all ran away leaving a 7-yr old Kya alone with an alcoholic father. She managed to survive even after he dad, dodging CPS sent social workers and managed to live on her own at the marsh. She became friends with Tate and later with Chase, the murder victim. Both relationships have profound effects both positive and negative on her development and her life. But it was her relationship with Chase that landed her on trial for his murder.

The writing of the character Kya was interesting. I felt sorry for her for most of the novel, but she wasn’t a victim or maybe she started out as a victim but adapted to her circumstances. While she was lonely, Kya was able to actually thrive in her circumstances. I do think the author’s story became too unbelievable both in Kya’s abilities but in the apathy of the small community. I mean, No one cared that a little 7-year-old girl was by herself? She came to get groceries or books by herself and no one asked her how they could help her or if there was an adult around. I didn’t buy it. 

Nevertheless, this story wasn’t a love story but there was love, true love here. I saw this book as Kya’s Journey without much guidance from a mother or father, but learning to navigate society by spying from the outskirts. Learning how to be a woman from watching others etc.
That’s what I enjoyed most about this book.
View all my reviews

Audiobook, Fiction, Review Books, Suspense & Thriller

My Sister, the Serial Killer by by Oyinkan Braithwaite


My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaithe
Pages: 240
Blurb: Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.
Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a deliciously deadly debut that’s as fun as it is frightening. 


I went into this book expecting to laugh or at least get some chuckles. I mean, look at the title! But from the very first page, any notions of a humorous/satirical novel was quickly dispelled.

The book starts off with sister Korede cleaning up a room after her sister Ayoola stabbed the boyfriend for yelling at her. One stab to the heart, two more to ensure he didn’t get. While Korede, the nurse, was cleaning and talking to Ayoola, it was clear that this has happened before.

What resonated with me (as a Nigerian) was the expectation that you protect family above all. So Korede is protecting her sister even though she’s simultaneously aiding and abetting a murderer and disposing a body and tampering with a crime season.
I also smiled at the descriptions of the Lagos, from hailing a taxi, to the calling of the trunk of the car “boot”.

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel captures the way sisters are treated and pitted against each other unknowingly in the descriptions of their beauty and value.
Korede KNOWS her sister Ayoola is more beautiful and valued. Korede resents that her needs and desires take a back seat but she’s come to accept the role until it’s tested when Ayoola sets her sight on the doctor that Korede has been in love with. Korede struggles with protecting the doctor by letting him know to avoid her sister or loyalty to blood.

Honestly, this audiobook wasn’t the smoothest I’ve heard. The story should have had an epilogue or a better explanation at the ending. I struggled to understand Ayoola who never seemed to feel bad for killing her beaus. No remorse other than the feigned emotions when the family of her victims asked if she knew anything about their whereabouts.
What I liked was the way the author captured the culture and her descriptions gave me visual memories of Nigeria. That connection is what I related to and what I loved. Overall, the story was entertaining. But just be aware, it’s not funny. It’s a straight up suspenseful crime story.