The Trouble With Hating You

The Trouble With Hating You

by Sajni Patel

Published 12 May 2020 from Forever Publishing

5/5 Stars on my Goodreads

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The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel is the romance between Liya Thakkar and Jay Shah set in Houston, Texas. Liya is a successful biochemical engineer who was recently given a promotion within her company, she’s a hard worker and has her own. She goes to her parents house for dinner one night and in walks Jay and his mother. Liya learns that her parents have invited them to dinner as a setup because this is the man they hope she will marry. She hightails it out of there and at work the next day, she runs into Jay again! Her company isn’t doing so good and Jay is the lawyer they have hired to come in and try and help things stay afloat. These two get off to a rough start obviously; Jay and his mother were under the assumption that Liya set up the dinner so Jay thinks the way she ran out of it was disrespectful to his Mom so there is just tons of tension between these two in their now close proximity situation.

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Nostalgia was the past. The present held a different meaning, as was apparent when I parked on the street, providing plenty of room to escape.” The familial aspect to this story hauntingly looms throughout, breaks my heart but put so many pieces to the puzzle that is Liya together and into context. Liya and Jay are both of Indian descent and this story is heavily rooted in the Indian community. The author’s note mentions this, so it isn’t a spoiler but there is a sexual assault storyline in this story and I think Sajni Patel flawlessly depicts a woman who has had a history of assault and due to the strong religious influence in both her family life and community has had to deal with the victim blaming that tends to come from that. I have seen reviews of this book with people saying Liya is ‘rude,’ or ‘unlikeable,’ which I absolutely disagree with.

“I stepped into a position of power with boys, and then men. Things never went further than my realm of control, and most times, they never went far at all. I required full control. At all times. In all things.”

Liya maintains control of her situations at all times which plays into her romance with Jay. Jay comes in, they aren’t the best of friends initially but the more they work with one another she begins to realize he’s a good guy. This is hard for her because it would be so much easier for her if he were a bad guy.

“I hate you.”- “No you don’t.” – “I wish you were a Mike. This would be easier.” – “I will never be a Mike. And what we have between us isn’t going away.” 

Very slowly we see the walls come down bit by bit as Jay gives her no reasons to not give him a chance.  He knows some things, but only so much out of that insecure feeling Liya has of not being believed.

I feel like this review isn’t making any sense but Babes, I freaking loved this book. It is a brutal glimpse into a culture and how victims in society can be treated after a sexual assault ESPECIALLY if the other person is a person of power and add in the religious power this person holds! This situation made Liya the woman she is, she’s tough because she has to be. She’s opinionated because her opinions are her own and she refuses to be silenced anymore or allow people to take them from her. So much of this book lies in Jay, once learning, having to decide how he fits into her life. I like that other than the opening up aspect, and falling for him, Liya, as a person doesn’t change. I liked that, I loved this book.

The cover is beautiful but don’t be fooled. While it is fun and has some funny moments, it deals with some important topics and has some very heavy moments.

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No Faves in 2019

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Okay, let’s get the preliminaries out of the way before I start this post: About 98% of the reason I don’t have a worst or favorites list posted, is honestly out of procrastination and poor planning on my part. Lesson learned for 2020: do better at tracking favorites throughout the year. I have plans in mind to help me with better tracking because for real, when I sat down to start making a list of ‘favorites,’ I became extremely overwhelmed.  As I roamed through my 2019 reads on Goodreads, I realized that books I was positive I’d read in reading years prior, were actually read this year, I saw many titles I’d honestly forgotten about and there was a plethora of titles that I remember reading but couldn’t tell you a single thing about.

My reading goal for 2019 was to read 75 books and I’ve read over 150. As of today, I am less than 10 books away from reading 200 books actually. That is the bomb, and I am so proud of myself. (You know there is a ‘but’ coming) The issue for me is, as I browsed through my reads for 2019, I became aware that at some point during the year my reading became more quantity focused, instead of quality focused.

It is so motivating and inspiring being a part of the online book community and seeing how many books a week some of my friends read. It definitely pushes me and motivates me to step my game up and read more. This is cool. I like seeing how I can incorporate reading into my day to day. What I found myself doing was binging quick reads. Totally fine, but in the end this caused me to neglect so many books that have been sitting unread on my shelves.  Books that at some point sounded interesting enough for me to haul, but also may require a bit more attention and time.

I’ve come to rely heavily on audiobooks. I love audiobooks. Listening to so many though, when I pick up a book that doesn’t have an audiobook available, I cringe a bit inside at the thought of having to actually read the book myself. This is crazy to me, because once upon a time that is the only way I consumed a book. I have seen how many more books I am capable of reading with audiobooks available and how quickly, so thinking of how slowly I read without an audiobook messes with my mojo. It really became about picking up books I could make my way through fast so I could move onto the next book and make my way through it fast!

I remember reaching my reading goal earlier than I tend to. In years past, I typically hit my reading goal mid-June. This year, by the time June came, I’d already surpassed it and as much as I wanted to just chill, it became this rat race..can I hit 120? 120 turned into 150. I think challenging myself is fine, but I would get on audible escape and look for books less than 6 hours, or so many pages and go with that rather than something longer.

Did I read books this year that standout? Absolutely. Do I have favorites? Yes. I am not going to stress myself out though with curating a list this year. Most of the books I loved, have been mentioned either here on the blog, or numerous times over on my Youtube channel. I want 2020 to be the year of dedicating time to the books that blow my mind. Showing love to those slow but steadies. Making dents in those chunkers. I have so many titles that have been calling my name and I’m constantly putting them off, choosing instead, something I can read quicker. I want 2020 to be the year of quantity. I know, I know.. we don’t know what we’re in for when we go into a book. I get it, but I have so many neglected gems sitting on my shelves and I want 2020 to be the year I rectify that.

At the end of 2020, when asked for favorites I want to be able to rattle off titles without having to revert back to Goodreads. I want to just know off the top of my head, whereas with 2019, it really took some though and a few glances back to my Read Shelf.

I would love to hear what your 2019 reading favorites were. Was it an easy list to make?

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#Blogmas It Started With Christmas by Jenny Hale

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Let’s just preface this with saying that initially when I finished It Started With Christmas, I felt like the ending redeemed the rest of the book. As days go by though, I think my mind is changing..

It Started With Christmas follows Holly. Holly and her Nana go to their families cabin in the hills outside of Nashville, Tennessee expecting a girls getaway. Once they arrive though, there is a visitor already in the cabin who’d been renting it out and due to the crazy Tennessee snow storm, had to extend his stay. Joseph and Holly hit it off pretty quickly, and Holly’s Nana is a tad suspicious and isn’t really feeling him.

Okay, so after this initial meeting is when things get a little weird and remain weird basically the rest of the book. Joe is engaged. He is planning the wedding because his lawyer fiance is super busy with this big case she’s working on. It gets somewhat obvious throughout the book that Joe has feelings for Holly and vice versa, but..Joe is engaged. ENTER IN, blast from Holly’s past, Rhett, her childhood best friend, first love and things get even more crazy.

It Started With Christmas is kind of a mess.  On one hand I look at it like, what if the person you’re destined to be with, is currently with someone else? In a romance though, if cheating is not your thing, this book feels a lot like cheating. No, nothing happens, but meeting Holly definitely has Joe changing his mind about his relationship. Which, maybe they weren’t meant to be in the first place, but all we are able to go off is, he begins to change his mind, the more time he spends with Holly.

I got the point of Rhett being in the story and then I didn’t. He definitely threw in a nice wrench in the story..just when Holly and Joe’s friendship starts getting a little weird, the Tennessee winds blow in Rhett! His character had the potential to really add value to the story, but that didn’t happen. I feel like if you’re going to throw a wrench in the story, come harder and make the wrench meaningful.

I think this story would’ve worked for me had the focus solely been on Holly going and finding herself. I didn’t feel chemistry between Holly and Joe or Holly and Rhett. Maybe that was the point..? Sadly, this one was a disappointment. Initially after finishing it, it felt like a four star read or high three star, but as time continues to pass, I am rethinking my rating.

xx

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#Blogmas Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale

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Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale should absolutely be on your holiday tbr. This is the romance between single Mom, nurse Abbey who is trying to hold it all together and Nick. Nick is a millionaire, divorcee, who is hosting family Christmas at his place this year and is suggested to hire Abbey to come decorate and get things nice and festive for everyone.

Jenny Hale does an amazing job at creating and capturing conflict. Nick, who has always wanted to make his father proud, was handed down his dad’s business. He’s very business minded and his dedication to work and not wanting a family is a big reason behind his failed marriage. He wants none of that business again which obviously causes some issues as feelings between he and Abbey begin to grow.

It’s like these feelings are there, but can only go so far because Abbey knows Nick’s stance on certain things. She tries really hard to guard herself and her son but it eventually gets way too hard to.

I loved this book so much and can totally understand why Hallmark wanted to adapt it into a film. It is sweet and cozy. It is a reminder to slow down and that there are more important things out there than working all the time. Don’t miss out on those moments you won’t get to experience again.

Obviously, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s amazing.

xx

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#Blogtober What I Wish I Knew (As a New Blogger)

 

BlogtoberI am close to hitting my one year Blogging anniversary. I typed and submitted my first post during the fall of 2018 and began juggling my new love of blogging, with my current love (at the time) of creating bookish content on Youtube. I juggled both for a bit, then actually stopped blogging and made the decision to keep pushing on Youtube. I had a little over 3K subscribers and at the time felt like, if I already have a following here, why start all over again?

Long story short, at the beginning of 2019, I realized, I missed blogging, and was no longer in love with the process of creating on Youtube. Here we are. I thought today I would share some tidbits that I have learned so far in my blogging journey. Hopefully this reaches someone who may be starting out, or someone at home right now considering blogging..and if you have any tidbits you’d like to share with me I’m all for whatever guidance you have!

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Do your research. When I began blogging, I had no idea what I was doing. I jumped in with my eyes closed but with an eager spirit. I reached out to friends who were bloggers and picked their brains but once I really began to make the decision that I didn’t want to blog occasionally, but that I wanted consistent content posted I knew I had my work cut out for me. I say all that to say this: research, research, research! Fast forward to now and I am constantly seeking new tips on creating a successful blog. Allison Lindstrom is a successful blogger, who creates some amazing, informational videos for bloggers on Youtube here. I can’t recommend her videos enough.

Consistency is key and looks different for everyone. If you tell your readers they can expect one post a week, every Thursday, then that’s what you should give them. Communicate any changes. Currently, I have three posts a week which happened kind of accidentally, but I’m sticking with it because it works. The mentioning of three posts a week leads me into my next tidbit..

You know how meal prepping is a very real thing for some people? I treat blog posts the same way. Like I said, it happened kind of on accident. Back in April of 2019, I began prepping for an idea to have a blog post everyday in the month of May. While I didn’t quite reach the feat of having a post for every single day, I did have enough for three posts a week. May comes around and I realize, I could then begin typing posts for June. Staying ahead of the game is so helpful. It allows time to truly focus on reading and if you find yourself in a blogging funk, you’re taken care of because you already did the work.

Promote yourself. Take credit for your work. I still don’t go as hard with this one as I should. When I was in the early stages of blogging, I began paying more attention to some of the big Bookstagrammers I follow. They are constantly promoting their blog in their stories and their feeds. If you’re putting in the work, take credit for the work. Your opinion, what you have to say..matters. How are people going to find you if you’re not putting yourself out there for them to find? 

I really hope this helps. I look at my journey as constantly in motion, constantly evolving. I don’t have it all figured out, and probably never will..but for now, these things are working for me. Share with me some tidbits that you’ve learned and that have become important to your blog.

until next time, take care of yourselves. We will chat again soon.

xo.

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Love On Catalina Cove by Brenda Jackson

Love On Catalina Cove

by Brenda Jackson

Published October 30, 2018 by HQN

Goodreads Rating: 4.29 Stars

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Plot:

In her brand-new series, Brenda Jackson welcomes you to Catalina Cove, where even the biggest heartbreaks can be healed…

In the wake of a devastating teen pregnancy that left her childless and heartbroken, Vashti Alcindor left Catalina Cove, Louisiana, with no plans to return. Now, over a decade later, Vashti reluctantly finds herself back in her hometown after inheriting her aunt’s B and B. Her homecoming gets off to a rocky start when the new sheriff, Sawyer Grisham, pulls her over for speeding, and things go downhill from there.

The B and B, a place she’d always found refuge in when it seemed like the whole world was against her, has fallen into disrepair. When a surprising benefactor encourages Vashti to reopen the B and B, Vashti embraces a fresh start, and soon old hurts begin to fade as she makes new memories with the town—and its handsome sheriff…

But some pasts are too big to escape, and when a bombshell of a secret changes everything she thought was true, Vashti is left reeling. With Sawyer and his teenage daughter determined to see her through the storm, though, she’s learning family isn’t always a matter of blood—sometimes it’s a matter of heart.

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My Review:

Brenda Jackson is such an incredible storyteller, and I have no excuse at this point to not read more of her work. Love In Catalina Cove is my second read by her, and I adored it. I will admit, I followed along with the audiobook thanks to my local library, and it was a bit slow in the beginning for my liking. It took a few chapters to get into the slower paced narration.

Love In Catalina Cove is one of those examples of how romance novels have the ability to inspire hope in people. Our heroine, Vashti, is this small town Catalina Cove native, now living and working hard in New York City. The stars basically align and she finds herself both unemployed and the inheritor of the bed and breakfast back in Catalina Cove left behind by her Aunt.

Vashti is not excited initially about returning to the small town which holds so many secrets for her, but then she meets Sawyer and her mind begins to change.

Honestly, I can’t say much about this book without treading on the border of completely spoiling it for you. What Brenda Jackson does in this book is magical. We have our heroine who has basically been lied to by the most important people in one’s life. She is fresh out of a crappy relationship, has lost her job, and now has this inn that she didn’t really want. Vashti is all over the place and things are really messy.

The romance between Vashti and Sawyer is a slow moving one. In the beginning he writes her a ticket as she speeds into town, so it takes her a bit to see beyond that. He feels so perfect as you read. He is respectful. As Vashti points out at one point, ‘he doesn’t assume things,‘ he’s a good father, and he is written to sound so damn sexy. We see though later on in the book, that he is not perfect. The scene where we learn this was completely understandable though. I think Sawyer acted in a way that every other person whose found themselves in his situation probably would’ve acted.

Brenda Jackson can write a damn subplot. As the pacing picks up I found myself hooked. The secrets Vashti has to uncover will have you engrossed on every sentence, every word. I had speculations on where things were going, and I was totally wrong. This book is about so many things; family secrets, specifically how far family will go to protect their reputation, giving love a try (again) after saying you’re done, the depth of a lie someone will tell to keep the one they love, motherhood, sisterhood and what family looks like.

This romance completely filled my plot driven soul. I adored the characters but it truly was the plot which did it for me.

If you’re like me, and new to the writing of Brenda Jackson, I think this would be a great first read for you. It is a good insight into what’s to expect with her writing, and the way she crafts her stories. At the same time though, be prepared to have no idea what’s going on and allow her geniuses to unfold.

xo.

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Friday Reads

Happy Friday!

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The fact that we are in the middle of September makes me very happy. We will celebrate my youngest turning 4 soon and I have broken out cookbooks handed down to me from my Grandmother, on the prowl for fall soups and recipes to try. Specifically, I really want to try and make my own broth and tomato sauce. I make a lot of pasta..and would love to be able to make my own sauce rather than constantly rely on jars from the store.

I do have some school work I still need to do and turn in this weekend, but I do have a few reading plans.

I am currently reading The Bakeshop at Pumpkin Spice which is  a collection of 3 romance short stories by 3 different authors: Donna Kaufmann, Kate Angell and Allyson Charles. I have already read the first story, Sweet Magic, by Donna Kaufmann and really enjoyed it. It was the right mixture of small town sweet with angsty and magic. I really enjoyed it.

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I would love to finish Spirit of the Season by Fern Michaels which I have been reading via Netgalley. It feels like I have been reading this one for forever, which in reality, it has been a while. No fault of the book, I am actually really, really loving it. It’s just a nice read to pick up here and there, mostly at night in bed since I’m reading it on my kindle. our heroine in this one is Joy, who is from a small town called Spruce City, North Carolina but lives in Colorado where she is the CEO of her self made nail polish company. Her Nana passes away and leaves her bed and breakfast, Heart and Soul to Joy. Joy has to stay in Spruce City through the holidays for a total of 6 months before making the decision to give the business up or not. I am loving it! It is giving me all the sometimes you have to go home, Hallmark vibes!

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Lastly, what I plan to pick up this weekend and just read a chapter or two is, Moorhaven by Daoma Winston. I recently began listening to a podcast called Currently Reading, and the hosts have this Slow But Steady project which I am totally a Stan for. The idea is to have a book that you’re committed to just taking your time with. I love this idea because the online bookish world has a way of making you feel like you have to rush rush rush through your reads. You get in the grind of hustling through books, trying to read as much as you can in a month..and I would like to have a book here and there that I am in no rush to get through. Moorhaven is kicking this project off for me. It was published in 1973 by Avon and is a multigenerational family saga. The front cover says it’s, “The most sweeping romantic novel of our time!” So of course, I need to read it.

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I hope your week has been good to you and I hope your weekend turns out exactly as you hope! Let me know what you plan to read this weekend and we will chat again soon.

xo.

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