Posts Tagged: Contemporary

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Not Bennett’s Best: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

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Not Bennett’s Best: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Serious Moonlight
Jenn Bennett
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: April 16th, 2019
by Simon Pulse

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After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.
-A copy was provided by Simon Pulse for review-

I didn’t think I’d ever read a Jenn Bennett book I didn’t love but… unfortunately… Serious Moonlight just didn’t do it for me. It isn’t that it isn’t enjoyable but over the past five years, I’ve come to expect a lot from a Jenn Bennett book and Serious Moonlight just didn’t live up to those expectations for me.

I think, a big part of the problem was that I didn’t love the characters as much and therefore wasn’t as invested in their relationship. While Birdie’s personality and trust issues make sense given her extremely sheltered upbringing, it really started getting on my nerves when we were almost 400 pages in and still dealing with her trust issues. I also thought it was super weird that Birdie didn’t have a single friend???? I get that she is sheltered but… ummm… she was allowed out of the house. She can talk to other people even though she is a bit awkward sometimes.

Love interests in previous Bennett books have always had a significant presence and usually read like main characters but Daniel??? Daniel felt like a secondary character, playing a supporting role in Birdie’s life. I found it really hard to connect with him even though he seemed great on paper. I also felt really uncomfortable when in two separate instances, he blocked an exit and demanded Birdie give him an answer before he let her out. It seemed really off brand given his chill vibe and felt icky.

I was also sad that the secondary characters didn’t have a bigger presence? I wanted to get to know the people at the hotel better (or really, get to know them AT ALL!!!!), spend more time with the fams, and enjoy seeing Birdie and Daniel interact with people who weren’t each other. I did really enjoy the little time we spend with the fams and honestly, the fams made the book for me more than anything else.

The way Bennett incorporated Birdie’s experience with narcolepsy into this book, was also really cool. It felt authentic and well researched (which, I should warn that I don’t have any experience with narcolepsy so this observation is based on my instincts.)

While Bennett’s books tend to be romance driven, there is usually an exciting plot to follow that drives interactions and causes character development. I was so excited when it seemed like Daniel and Birdie would spend time solving a mystery but, the mystery gets forgotten about pretty quickly and makes a hasty reappearance right before the end.

This book is so so so centered on Daniel and Birdie’s emerging relationship that we just don’t get a feel for anything else in their world except for a lot of great sounding pie. We don’t get major secondary characters (except Daniel who is sort of a secondary character himself), we don’t get a feel for their workplace or other favorite places… we just don’t have much to work with to help us ground ourselves in the world of Birdie and Daniel.

Honestly, we don’t even get much reasoning because this book felt like a bunch of loose coincidences tied up in a nice bow. I think coincidences are sometimes necessary to drive forward plots but when every plot point is based on a coincidence, that’s a bit too much for me.

I realize that most of my review has been negative but I do think that Serious Moonlight is not inherently a bad book. I was still invested in outcomes even though I didn’t love the main characters as much as I wanted to. Bennett still writes really well and somehow manages to keep my attention for 400+ pages. Ultimately, even if I didn’t love Serious Moonlight, many many many people will because even at her worst, Bennett writes better than most people out there.

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

The Beginning of An Exciting Family Saga: The Takeover Effect by Nisha Sharma

The Beginning of An Exciting Family Saga: The Takeover Effect by Nisha Sharma

Posted by on 03/26/2019 • 0 Comments

I absolutely adored My So-Called Bollywood Life when I read it last year so when I found out that Nisha Sharma was writing another book, specifically an adult romance, I was all aboard. When I found out the series would follow a wealthy Sikh Punjabi-American family, I WAS EVEN MORE EXCITED (which I didn’t know was possible but whatever.)

The Takeover Effect is a quick read. The pages just sort of fly by. That said, it did take me more than half the book to actually be invested in the characters and the plot. I don’t know if I can even point out a specific reason why this was but I didn’t really click with the book until shit hit the fan.

And when shit hit the fan, IT HIT…

Entertaining but not Memorable: Field Notes in Love by Jennifer E. Smith

Entertaining but not Memorable: Field Notes in Love by Jennifer E. Smith

Posted by on 03/12/2019 • 1 Comment

Field Notes on Love is exactly what you would expect. It’s cute. It’s fluffy. It’s a quick read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the kind of book you seek out on a cold, winter day when you need some good vibes and miss the summer sun.

Hugo just broke up with his long-time girlfriend and is stuck with a non-transferable trip to the US of A. He needs to find someone with the exact same name as his ex so he can go on a trip of a lifetime and get away from his big, bustling family for the first time. So he does what anyone would do, he puts an ad on the internet. YAY.

Mae is an aspiring filmmaker. Unfortunately she didn’t get into the…

Incredibly Hilarious and Deeply Sad: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried

Incredibly Hilarious and Deeply Sad: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried

Posted by on 02/05/2019 • 1 Comment

So I was going to open this review on a whole tangent about how long I’ve been reading Shaun David Hutchinson but when I went onto Goodreads, I realized I haven’t even READ ALL OF HIS BOOKS because I am a terrible person. But, in some ways, opening an SDH book is so familiar and comfortable even though, including The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried, I’ve read all of three books by Shaun David Hutchinson.

The Past and Other Things That Should Say Buried is more reminiscent of some of Hutchinson’s earlier stuff in that it is more lighthearted but that’s not saying much when even at his most light hearted, Hutchinson never fails to punch you in the feels. The best way to really describe…

Chef Heroes & Road Trips: Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday

Chef Heroes & Road Trips: Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday

Posted by on 01/18/2019 • 1 Comment

Trigger Warning for eating disorders, drug abuse in the past

I had not read a single book by Jenny Holiday in the past (including the two other books that precede Three Little Words) but when I saw Nick shouting about it, I AM INTRIGUED. Chef heroes own my soul. Nick, who has known me long enough to know I am super picky with contemporary romances, said I would at the very least like Three Little Words SO of course I had to read it because CHEF HEROES.  So, I went in expecting to like it since Nick said I would but I ended up completely engrossed in the lives of these characters and finding a new author to binge. Three Little Words takes you on quite the journey – quite literally because…

Amazing Friendships: Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

Amazing Friendships: Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

Posted by on 01/11/2019 • 0 Comments

I slept on Emma Mills for AGES but with a little peer pressure, I finally binge read all of her published books last year. I can honestly say that it was life changing. Not necessarily because her books in of themselves changed my life but they were so good and I was so happy to finally have them in my life. WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY is that if you still have not read a single Emma Mills novel in your life, you need to fix that. If you have, then I am guessing you’re gonna pick this book up regardless of anything I have to say so hope you have a nice life. Here, have some cookies on your way out! I made them myself!

Lately, I feel…

Summer-y YA for Winter Blues Mini Reviews

Summer-y YA for Winter Blues Mini Reviews

Posted by on 12/19/2018 • 1 Comment

 

Love & Luck Jenna Evans Welch

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Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds…

A Fresh Take On P&P: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

A Fresh Take On P&P: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Posted by on 11/21/2018 • 1 Comment

I consider myself a ~connoisseur~ of Jane Austen retellings so when I heard about Pride, I was P U M P E D. As a ~connoisseur~, I realize that some of them are basically indistinguishable but Pride takes the best elements of Pride and Prejudice and transforms them into something unique. It is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in a Brooklyn neighborhood that is slowly becoming gentrified.

Zuri Benitez is not gonna be everyone’s favorite heroine. She is stubborn, hates change and is definitely the kind of person who likes to win an argument. BUT she is extremely loyal to her fam, sisters, friends and neighborhood. She is also passionate about the world around her and is determined to leave her mark on it.  While she isn’t…