Recents

Happy January dear friends! I am currently at one of my favorite cafe spots and being so I’m done with the school work I am going to do for the day, I wanted to check in and share what my recent reads are.

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So far in the month of January I have read 13 books. I have been craving authors who bring me comfort, romantic comedies and paranormal romance. Are we friends on Goodreads? We should be, I’d love to keep up with you and your reading. If we aren’t, click here for my profile. I am determined to write reviews (regardless of how much or little I have to say) for everything I read.

  • Lucky In Love by Jill Shalvis was my first read of 2021 (and last read of 2020, hah!)
  • Hot Demon Nights by Elle James was up next! It was a short, paranormal romance that I enjoyed. and yay! I can finally say I’ve read a romance with zombies in it.
  • At Last by Jill Shalvis
  • Forever and A Day by Jill Shalvis–so yeah, I had a Saturday where I binged two Jill Shalvis romances in a day. While I love this author and am enjoying making my way through this series, I don’t know if binging a small town romance series like this is the best idea I’ve ever had. After reading these two in the same day, it felt like I’d been reading the same.exact.story!
  • Santa Baby by Cassandra B aka my love, Aubree Pynn. If Aubree wrote my grocery list I’d read it and love it! She’s amazing. I was in the mood for holidays but quick! and Aubree delivered!
  • The Off Limits Rule by Sarah Adams
  • It Had To Be You by Jill Shalvis
  • Ghost Moon by Kathryn Knight which I have had downloaded on Audible since October when I was determined to read before mood-reader-brain kicked in and I was no longer feeling it!
  • Eight Naughty Nights by Nicole Falls. One of the best first sentences in a book that I’ve read in a while!
  • You Up? by J Nichole A very sexy guy next door erotic novelette!
  • Always On My Mind by Jill Shalvis
  • The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult This was my first Jodi Picoult. This book has me written all over it! It should have been a five star read but it was a bit slow at times and I think the author tried balancing one too many storylines, that it was difficult at first to keep up!
  • How To Catch A Queen by Alyssa Cole
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I hope you’re well! I hope you’re safe. Let me know what you’re currently reading.

Sunday Coffee

Hello dear friends. It has been such a long time since I’ve typed a Sunday Coffee, so I’m a little nervous but I missed these posts. I’ve really missed blogging in general but trying to balance blogging with motherhood, college, kids doing school at home and all the other things that hold the universe up on a day to day basis became a bit much. Who knows what this year has in store and if things will be any better, but I want to make rekindle my love affair with blogging.

So I am currently on a break from school until the 11th of this month. I was accepted into my college’s Masters in Teaching program which I’m very intimidated, nervous and excited about. Things happen so fast. One moment I’m retiring from the military and becoming a stay at home mom and full time college student and in the blink of an eye my Bachelors is completed and I’m faced with what now? For about five minutes I was hit with the anxiety of, I’m 34 years old and am completely starting over, wtf! I did the military since I was 18 years old and now that phase of life is completely over. Honestly, I’m scared shitless to start over in a career that I’ve always wanted to do but veered from that path for a while. I’m really hoping that the nervousness will ease with now being in a degree program designed for teaching. *cheers to making moves this year*

Reading wise, I binged two romances by one of my favorite romance authors yesterday, Jill Shalvis. I have slowly been making my way through her Lucky Harbor series. I read books five and six so I’m smack dab in the middle of the series now and am antsy to see if I can finish the whole thing before school starts back. While I’m enjoying the series, I’m not enjoying it as much as the Heartbreaker Bay series which was my first series by her. This series is older though and in a lot of ways just feels different, hits different, lands differently than Heartbreaker Bay did. Lucky Harbor is a literal small town with small town antics and Heartbreaker Bay was in a big city that felt like a small town but one thing Heartbreaker Bay had that I’m missing with Lucky Harbor was the humor. Maybe that’s just something that came with time. Maybe I started in the wrong place? Maybe I should’ve started with the old and worked my way up to the new..I don’t know, what do you think is the smartest way to tackle an author’s bibliography? Start from the beginning and work your way forward or vice versa? I think starting with one of Jill’s new series is what hooked me! I fell in love with her as an author. I think maybe had I started with her older stuff, I may not have fallen so hard for her. I may not have been convinced..

happy Sunday.

the great 2020 reading realization

Hello dear friends. We made it to another year. Though I am greeting 2021 with open arms, I am also giving it the side eye and greeting it with a dash of hesitation and nervousness because let’s be honest; 2020 was a crap show! Being a reader, I turned to reading a lot in 2020. It wasn’t about the escape really, it was mostly that comfortable companionship I’ve always felt when I spend time reading a book. I needed that last year. hah, literally yesterday! And while it did what it was supposed to do, I have thoughts! and now that we are in a new year, I definitely want to do better at things.

Case in point #1..yesterday I took a trip to Barnes and Noble. I didn’t have anything in particular in mind to buy but wanted to go browse their shelves. I’m in the mood for romantic comedies and chick lit and wanted to go see what they had. Well, I can’t enter Barnes and Noble and completely ignore the shelves smack dab in the front of the store upon entering. I can’t ignore shelf upon shelf of beautiful hard cover releases, I have to look. So, look I did! And a few titles actually caught my eye. What’s the issue? Summaries may sound good, the cover may be intriguing, it may even be an author I have been interested in giving a go. So, how do I ruin this perfect opportunity of possibly reading a new favorite book? I whip out my phone, go to goodreads, type in the title and start looking at the ratings and reviews. Here’s the thing: I love reviews. I have a select few reviewers who I trust and will legit haul or not haul a book based off what they have to say but, my issue is..this unsettling feeling that I am possibly missing out on a book that I could truly love all because I turned to the opinions of someone else to justify my buying the book or not. As someone who truly believes a group of us could read the same book together, but we are all going to read different books and get different things out of it..how did I become so reliant on the opinions and reviews of others?

From time to time, I like to go into books knowing the bare minimum but I’m also a mood reader so I mostly read the synopsis to be sure the book is what I’m in the mood for. I miss the days where the synopsis was all I needed to decide to pick up the book. I wasn’t looking to find out what other readers had already said about it. If it sounded good, I read it. I want to get back to that. It sounds very cliche but honestly, a lot of my reading goals for 2021 center around taking it back to basics; attempting to be as much of a “normal reader” as possible.

My current reading mood is paranormal and romantic comedies. It just kind of hit me towards the end of November..I really wanted to read both of those subgenres so I am going to focus a lot of my reading on those for a while. Paranormal is definitely transporting me to other worlds and giving me the much needed mental escape and romantic comedies give me the dose of humor I need. I read over 250 books in 2020 but only had 12 saved as favorites. I am really hoping that by taking my time, savoring and spending time with books I’m truly in the mood for, that I will have more favorites this year. Maybe, maybe not; but in 2020 I rushed through so many books that again, I feel like I potentially missed out on new favorites.

I realized I was so focused on hustling through books to try and reach my 115 book goal and to constantly have a new book to talk about that I was picking up quick reads not necessarily because I wanted to read them but because they were quick and I wanted to feel accomplished. I wanted to feel that satisfaction of finishing something. 2021 is going to be all about going with the flow; if it takes an entire week to finish a book then so be it! Who cares? No one is telling me I have to finish a book a day. I’ve come to realize that no one is pressuring me to do anything. the pressure has all been pressure I’ve put on myself. so, cheers to taking it easy this year.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Her Inconvenient Christmas Reunion

“He was the man he had left her to become.”

Her Inconvenient Christmas Reunion by Nina Singh is the childhood sweethearts second chance Christmas romance with a dash of travel and the ONE BED trope sprinkled on top..one bed in a romantically decorated Parisian hotel-between Izadora and Zayne. These two were a thing once upon a time..until they weren’t. One day Zayne just left with no explanation. Well, he’s returned to his small Napa Valley town after his aunt has passed away and left him her winery, but only half of it. The other 50% belongs to Izadora aka Izzy. She leaves them both the message that they “need each other.”

I don’t really have any cons with this one. It’s less than 200 pages, a Harlequin romance, so I went in knowing what I was going to get. We get straight to the point to make everything come together in a short amount of time. For so long, Izadora has harbored the hurt and disappointment of the love of her life just leaving with no explanation. As the reader you are privy to why Zayne left and this secret looms for basically the entire book; Izzy doesn’t learn the reason why until the end–I’ll give you a hint; small town bad boy falls in love with the driven, determined smart girl and could totally be a distraction. Zayne goes away and gets his shit together to become the kind of man Izzy deserves but because of the LIES about himself he has grown to believe based off how he was raised; absent father, mother who took off to travel the world leaving him to be bounced around from family member to family member-even though he has his crap together there is this fear of still not being good enough for her.

For Izzy, she’s this character who has been living her life with the cards being dealt to her without really knowing the cards were even being dealt. Decisions that affected her, were made for her without her even knowing it.

“her insides were shaking. He was really here, standing before her. Her first love, the one who’d crushed her heart when he’d just up and left town on a sudden whim. She hadn’t been enough to keep him nearby.”

This is what this book tackles and so much more in less than 200 pages. It’s a story with a lot of threads to it and everything comes together nicely in the end. I really have come to adore second chance romances especially when it has that childhood sweetheart spin to it. I’m definitely looking forward to more from Nina Singh.

Rated: 4/5 Stars on Goodreads

Happy Friday

Happy Friday Friends! I hope you are doing well, I hope this week was amazing for you and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that your weekend is even better. This past week was my second week of Early Fall Semester and I’m taking my Introduction to Historian’s Craft course and an English class, Literature of War. Why didn’t anyone warn me that saving an English class for the end of undergrad when my history course work was going to become more difficult, wasn’t the smartest idea? Jeez! For my English class I had to read Starship Troopers, answer two questions and write an essay this week. For my History course I had to do a bunch of library research work in preparation for my final research paper. It was a lot but I was determined to have my weekend be mine and got it all finished yesterday. So cheers to the freakin weekend!

This morning I began reading A Heartfelt Christmas Promise by Nancy Naigle which I have out from Netgalley. I am literally only one chapter in, so I don’t have much to report on it just yet. On my nightstand I have Sunrise Cabin by Stacey Donovan which I have been gradually (aka, slowly) making my way through the past couple of weeks. The story is set during September, and has a gorgeous fall cover; so if you’re looking for something early fall specific, I think it is a good choice. I also have The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis which is book 2 in her Lucky Harbor series. I read and enjoyed book one recently, so I am definitely looking forward to diving back into a new town with new people (new to me) created by Jill Shalvis.

It’s been a few weeks now doing distance learning with the kids and we have found ourselves in a groove. I was a little nervous; wondering, can we do this? Can I do this by myself on days when my husband has to work? We received an email recently though that their school has had a student with a confirmed case of covid so our decision to keep them home was the best thing we could have done. It is crazy to think that we are in September and we are still living with this invisible killer surrounding us whereas in other countries life seems to be back to normal.

Things that have been making me happy recently:

Crock Pot meals- this week I made taco soup one day and chicken noodle soup the next day, both in the crock pot. I use my crock pot a lot throughout the year but I go a little crazy with usage during this time of year. There is just something about fall and winter that screams dump a bunch of meals in the slow cooker and go to me!

Criminalia Podcast

I honestly can’t remember how I stumbled upon Criminalia but I did and I’m so thankful I did! I am hooked on this podcast. In the podcast’s first season they are discussing women who used poison throughout history to commit murder. Each episode is between 30-45 minutes and the hosts end it with a poison of choice, which is basically a cool drink they discovered. I love it, and can’t recommend it enough especially if you’re a history nerd (like me) and specifically interested in women’s history and criminology.

Another podcast I’ve recently begun listening to is The Horror! (Old Time Radio) and the most recent episode I listened to is The House With A Past. I am really hoping to get more into listening to old radio shows. I think it is this part of history that is slowly fading away. I know radio is still very prevalent and hey-now we have podcasts, but there is something about listening to an acted out horror script or comedy that I feel like I missed out on. I definitely recommend checking it out if that’s something you’re be interested in.

As far as this weekend, I am planning to read and watch movies. I’d love to maybe make a batch of cookies (I’m not the best baker) so we shall see how that goes. I really try to make this time of year fun of the kids. We watch a lot of scary movies and do popcorn. I’ll buy little pumpkin sugar cookies at the grocery store and we’ll eat those. We don’t have a ton of extra money but I try to do what I can to make it a special time for them because it’s a special time for me.

I’d love to know how your week went and if you have any cool weekend plans. If you have any podcast recommendations, please send them my way! Take care of yourselves, xx!

Home For The Holidays by Sara Richardson

Thank you to Forever Publishing and Netgalley for the opportunity read and review Home For the Holidays early. It’s expected publication date is 22 September 2020. *all opinions are my own* I rated it a 4/5 Stars

In, Home For the Holidays we follow three sisters; Rose who is engaged to this guy Gregory in Savannah who comes from a very prominent, snooty (sorry, not sorry!) family-whom honestly if she marries into, she’ll be miserable; Magnolia who has a loving husband but the couple has been experiencing infertility issues and it’s causing a strain on their relationship and Dahlia who is divorced with two kids but her ex still relies on her A LOT.

The sisters are all spread out across the country, and each receive a message from their Aunt Sassy in Colorado to come visit her during Christmas. This message reaches all of them during moments where they realize they could really use a break from it all and time with one another. So they all go, and the story goes from there.

READER EXPECTATIONS I went into Home For The Holidays expecting a women’s fiction novel and while in the beginning the journeys of each woman felt very prevalent, had you rooting for each of them and had me thinking this was going to be a very strong women’s fiction novel, it did wind up being more of a romance. As a romance reader, I’m cool with that though the path we were on in the beginning was so strong, I would have been fine had the romance aspect been nixed. Sounds crazy coming from a romance reader, right? I guess what I’m saying is that in the beginning I felt we were in a certain lane and I was like HELL YEAH, DOWN FOR THE RIDE, then we switched lanes and that was cool but I kept eye’ing the other lane..like..it wasn’t so bad over there. (it makes sense in my head, okay?)

Once the girls are in Colorado with Aunt Sassy they try to piece together why their Mother and Aunt Sassy’s relationship as sisters came to an end amidst both Dahlia and Rose having romances. I really liked Dahlia’s romance with Ike; she was the very typical woman/mom who made her family her priority for so long that she never stopped to realize that she has to have a life too so it was cute to see things between her and Ike bloom. I liked Ike. He’s the towns doctor and just a really good guy. With Rose’s situation with Colt-it doesn’t register at first why he is so standoffish to her in the beginning but despite whatever feelings may be growing, she is still engaged to Gregory, who does show up in Colorado with the intentions of packing her up and bringing her back to Savannah. I have some thoughts about the sister Magnolia which will be in the spoiler section so I’ll leave you with this for now-This should definitely be on your 2020 Christmas reading list if you’re a lover of Christmas romances. It was Nice to see a romance author dipping her toe a tad into women’s fiction. I loved the descriptions of the Colorado snow and I will never tire of our main character (s) inheriting something. I love that trope/story line in stories.

SPOILERS
The reason this book isn’t a five star read for me: The sister Magnolia and her husband Eric have been having infertility issues and brace yourself…..she finds out she’s pregnant in the book. I know christmas time is the time for happiness, and joy and miracles and I want every woman in the world who wants to experience Motherhood to have that experience BUT I think the plot twist of “oh the one time we “made love” rather than “having sex because the doctor gave us this window” is the time we actually got pregnant” can be really hurtful to women who that doesn’t happen to. Eric expresses to Mags in the beginning that he doesn’t want to keep trying anymore-not because he’s an asshole but because he’s tired of seeing his wife hurting. He’s tired of seeing what the constant failure is doing to his wife. She goes to Colorado and finds out that she’s pregnant. I think this book had the opportunity to really bring hope and shed light on the fact that there are other options to becoming parents OR coming to the understanding that for now let’s take a break or let’s be happy ever after as just us. I think it could have done so many other things, but to give us the OH, I’M PREGNANT, while hopeful, is also just now how it goes for a lot of women who experience this kind of difficulty.

Happy Friday

What a week it has been! My kids kicked off a new school year, doing distance learning from home on Tuesday and it has been a ride! My oldest two are 5th graders (I can’t believe it!) and my youngest is in kindergarten. With my oldest two I am really trying to use this year to instill more independence in them; get up on your own, get yourself ready without me hovering, make your breakfast and then we’ll get started. I have definitely been the hovering Mom for the longest and it’s time I put some of the responsibility on them; it’s taken multiple conversations with my therapist about this before it really sunk in.

Last night I finished another book I was granted the opportunity to read early thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley. It is a 2021 release called The Lost Manuscript by Cathy Bonidan. You can read my full review here. It is full of plenty of gorgeous quotes and quotes that had me in the feels such as:

“I’m sure there are many of us who are still holding on to the memory of interrupted love affairs, left dreaming of what might have come next, unable to live it.”

“We dreamed of a text that would divert the anger of wounded hearts, that would shatter the hatred we feel for the unknown, chase away the clouds that leave premature wrinkles on still-young faces, a text that could provoke unbelievable and unforgettable encounters between people.

The story is told entirely in letter format and while it kicked off pretty strong for me, along the way I lost interest mostly because it became a bit hard to keep up with who was who and how they factored into the story. This should absolutely be a five star read for me, so when it comes out I will be snagging a physical copy to give it a reread.

Things that have been making me happy this week

  1. 2020 has been a complete dumpster fire of a year. Literally one thing after another, you don’t have much time to process one hard thing before something else happens. I ordered a Bible Journal and have been following Bible Journalers on Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration but really, it’s your thing! Do it as you choose. I have different Bible Study plans on Pinterest and read a different scripture every night. I mention this to say, this has given me something to look forward to at night before I go to bed and I hope you have something you do for yourself at the end of the day, even if it is only 5-10 minutes.
  2. It’s no secret that I’m a huge lover of Hallmark and I’m obsessed with their Podcast, The Bubbly Sesh! Shawl, who is one of the hosts of The Bubbly Sesh has started a Podcast of her own called Feel The Good Podcast. Shawl has already released three episodes for us to listen to and if you’re in the need for positive conversations to brighten your day, I can’t recommend it enough. Check her website out here for more information and subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen to them.
  3. Chatting with my girlfriends! I don’t think my girlfriends know how much our random chats about books, dinner ideas, jobs we’ve had in the past and whatever other random topics we come up with, mean to me! Knowing that they are only a message away makes this life of self-isolation not so bad.

As for this weekend, I start back to school on Monday so I want to live it up! aka, movie marathoning, coffee and tons of reading! I have about 5 Hallmark movies on dvr I need to get to and a Jill Shalvis romance on my nightstand.

I hope your weekend is amazing! Until next time, take care of yourselves. xx

Cock & Bull by Laura Barnard

Happy Friday Babes, I had the opportunity to read Cock & Bull by Laura Barnard and am excited to chat with you about it.

Cock & Bull

By Laura Barnard

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Goodreads Summary:

Who knew that owning a pub would come with so many extras?
When Phoebe and Ella Bellerose left England behind to run the Irish pub they’d inherited, it sounded like a great adventure… until they saw for themselves what a wreck they’d been left.
With no experience, a severe lack of money, and a rival pub owner threatening to ruin them, the two girls aren’t convinced they can actually make this work.
Not until they meet Clooney Breen, who just so happens to be packed with charm, charisma, and barman skills that could help them all survive. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s the son of Cock & Bull’s biggest rival, and he’s desperate to help Ella and Phoebe teach his father a lesson.
But can mysterious Clooney, with his obvious secrets and desire to be their saviour, really be trusted? Or are they being played by this handsome lothario who seems too good to be true? Their problems only seem to grow and grow, until Phoebe discovers a ‘gift’ of her own that changes everything for all of them…

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I love a ROMANTIC COMEDY BABY! Cock & Bull is laugh out loud, hilarious. It’s so refreshing and just what I needed during such a dirty trash bag of a year we’ve had. I will never get tired of reading the story line where the heroine in the story inherits something. Ever. It is one of my favorite plots to read. In Cock & Bull, the heroine inherits a pub which is something totally different from what I’ve seen. I see a lot of bed and breakfasts and restaurants but this was my first pub which was super cool to see. Cock & Bull is the name of the pub in Ireland that Phoebe and her sister Ella, inherit from their Aunt Breda who passed away.

Who wouldn’t want to move from London to Ireland? I mean both sound like amazing options, but Ireland sounds like a dream. I would love to live in one and have the unexpected opportunity to move to the other.  It totally transported me from the realms of self-isolation life.

Once in Ireland we meet Clooney and the chemistry between him and Phoebe was off the charts. Their back and forth banter had me hooked on every word and I love some witty dialogue.

I loved that everything with the pub isn’t all perfect; it’s a complete dump and needs as much attention and clean up as it can get. I expected the girls to arrive to a warm welcoming too and that was a nice surprise; Phoebe and Ella don’t arrive to the sweet welcome to town you’d think.

This is an amazing, fun story of Phoebe trying to turn the pub around, bring it back to life and trying to not fall for Clooney..while falling for Clooney.

 

Paris Is Always A Good Idea

Hello Friends! I’m back! Like I think, a lot of readers, I went through a crazy long reading slump. Really, it was about two weeks, but it felt like forever for me. It put such a damper on things but I am back reading, closing up loose ends and ready to binge write some reviews. A book I am excited to chat about today is Paris Is Always A Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay.

Paris Is Always A Good Idea

By Jenn McKinlay

Released July 21, 2020

Published by Berkley

Paris

Goodreads Summary:

It’s been seven years since Chelsea Martin embarked on her yearlong post-college European adventure. Since then, she’s lost her mother to cancer and watched her sister marry twice, while Chelsea’s thrown herself into work, becoming one of the most talented fundraisers for the American Cancer Coalition, and with the exception of one annoyingly competent coworker, Jason Knightley, her status as most talented fundraiser is unquestioned.

When her introverted mathematician father announces he’s getting remarried, Chelsea is forced to acknowledge that her life stopped after her mother died, and that the last time she can remember being happy, in love, or enjoying her life was on her gap year. Inspired to retrace her steps–to find Colin in Ireland, Jean Claude in France, and Marcelino in Italy–Chelsea hopes that one of these three men who stole her heart so many years ago, can help her find it again.

From the start of her journey nothing goes as planned, but as Chelsea reconnects with her old self, she also finds love in the very last place she expected.

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This was my first experience of being familiar with an author but due to their writing in another genre. I was super excited when I saw Paris Is Always A Good Idea was authored by Jenn McKinlay because I am a total fan of her cozy mysteries.

I tend to forget to mention trigger warnings: death of a parent; death of a sibling; cancer; brief mention of self harm

I really liked Chelsea though it does take some time to warm up to her a little, but before I knew it, I was completely invested in her and her story. Now, more than ever when everyone is in self-isolation, Chelsea’s story is the kind of story we need. I will never get tired of self-discovery and I think regardless of age or where you are in life, Chelsea’s story is a reminder that we are constantly discovering and becoming who we are meant to be. I love the travel aspect to this book. We tag along with Chelsea as she travels to a small town in Ireland, the big city of Paris in France and a dreamy vineyard in Italy to reconnect with the three men she fell in love with seven years ago before the death of her mother. There is also a rivalry with a handsome co-worker of hers. All tropes I am a huge fan of! The different locations were so fun and the will they-won’t they had me on the edge of my seat in regards to will she link up with these old flames?

I thought the familial aspect was done really well. Chelsea’s father comes to her one day with the news that he is getting remarried to a woman he only met two weeks ago and Chelsea is, understandably upset.

2020 has been ridiculously stressful, a complete dumpster fire. Paris Is Always A Good Idea is a well written, amazingly structured story of self-discovery, finding love along the way and honoring those we’ve loved and lost while moving on with life with them always in our hearts. Jenn McKinlay did a phenomenal job at capturing Chelsea’s loss and grief and determination to find herself again. I am so excited for more than just her cozy mysteries now, she can do no wrong at this point!

 

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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