People aren’t sure what to make of Susan Green—a prickly independent woman, who has everything just the way she wants it and who certainly has no need for messy emotional relationships.

Family and colleagues find her standoffish and hard to understand, but Susan makes perfect sense to herself, and that’s all she needs.

At forty-five, she thinks her life is perfect, as long as she avoids her feckless brother, Edward—a safe distance away in Birmingham. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits.

Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control.

When she discovers that her mother’s will inexplicably favours her brother, Susan sets out to prove that Edward and his equally feckless friend Rob somehow coerced this dubious outcome. But when problems closer to home become increasingly hard to ignore, she finds help in the most unlikely of places.

This sparkling debut is a breath of fresh air with real heart and a powerful emotional punch. In Susan we find a character as exasperating and delightful as The Rosie Project‘s Don Tillman. An uncompromising feminist and a fierce fighter, it’s a joy to watch her bloom.

The Cactus was a lot like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Except, here the protagonist Susan does not exactly have any mental illness. She just has an emotional range of a teaspoon and very little tolerance for bullshit. Add to that an unexpected pregnancy and a family drama regarding her mother’s will.

Susan is cynical and closed off. Her behavior is kind of hard to get used to at first. She lives an ordered life with a job perfect for her. Susan likes to live an isolated life with minimal social interactions. But then her unexpected pregnancy and a court case with her good-for-nothing brother over their mother’s will forces her to have to rely on others. What follows is a journey of growth.

I like how the author takes us through flashbacks to give us a better idea about why Susan is the way she is. For example, at first her bitterness and disdain towards her brother seems almost unwarranted. I found her to be unreasonably cruel towards her brother. But as we slowly get glimpses into her past, we discover that her behavior is not unreasonable after all.

I was not completely wowed by the ending. I had an idea about what the big secret was by the time it got revealed. I also could’ve done without the romance however little it was. My favorite thing about the book was Susan’s journey of self-growth. Everything else was not as impressive. I could not help comparing the book with Eleanor Oliphant and that made it less enjoyable for me. My bad.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆


Dr. Russell has a bad reputation around our hospital. The scrub techs say he’s cold-blooded, the nurses say he’s too cocky for his own good, and the residents say he’s the best surgeon in the world—really, just a swell guy!—on the off chance he’s within earshot.

I try to avoid him and his temper at all costs. It’s just as easy to admire his sexy, grip-it-while-he’s ravishing-you hair and chiseled jaw from a healthy distance, preferably from the other end of the hallway half-hidden behind a plant.

Unfortunately, my plan crumbles when my trusty ol’ boss decides to swap his white coat for a Hawaiian shirt. His retirement leaves me with two terrible options: switch specialties and spend months retraining, or take an open position as Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant.

That means I have to stand near him in the OR for hours on end and anticipate his every need without letting his biting words and bad attitude intimidate me. Oh, and as if that’s not difficult enough, my silly crush on him—the one I’ve tried to stomp on until it disappears—might just be reciprocated.

It’s fine.
I’m fine.

I take my job seriously. There will be no smoldering bedroom eyes across the operating table, no angry almost-kisses in the storage closet. (Well, no more of those.)

What’s the phrase? An apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Maybe I should go for a whole damn bushel.

I’d expected more from R. S. Grey. Hotshot Doc promised everything that I normally enjoy –  workplace romance and enemies-to-lovers trope. But it failed to live up to its promise.

I’ll start with the negatives. For one, I’d expected a more layered exploration of Matt’s character. We are told at the beginning that he is an asshole of epic proportions. And then he just suddenly starts being nice to Bailey. I was hoping for a slower transformation of his character.

There was one part that really irked me. Matt’s brother happens to meet Bailey at a club and  he finds out that she’s Matt’s surgical assistant during a conversation with him. And apparently, based on a small conversation, without ever even seeing Matt and Bailey interact, the brother decides that Matt has a thing for Bailey. And that’s all dandy and fine. God knows I’ve teased my friends about their presumed crushes. But the brother doesn’t stop there. He continues texting with Bailey and even goes on to invite her to a family wedding. Why? Just to see his brother’s reaction! All this based on one conversation with Matt?!

I think I’m at that stage of my life where – a couple of interactions between the main couple of a romance where the heroine happens to be the first one to challenge the hero is enough to soften him up – just doesn’t do it for me anymore. It was just too rushed for me.

Now, don’t think that I didn’t find Matt and Bailey sweet together. They had their cute and funny moments. But they could just not engage me. I think that’s the reason I am feeling even more annoyed about the romance feeling too rushed.

There was so much to like about the book. Matt is like the amalgamation of McDreamy and pre-accident Dr. Strange. Ain’t that the perfect idea for a hero? And a heroine raising her sister all by herself after her parents’ untimely death? Who would say no to that? Even that conflict at the end was compelling, but only for a couple that’s been together for a year, or even a few months – not a couple as new as Matt and Bailey.  It wasn’t even a bad book by any stretch. But I’ve come to expect so much better from R. S. Grey. So when I complain about this book, I do it because it had so much potential! I wouldn’t mind a do-over of this one for sure.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Top Ten Tuesday : Best Reads of 2018

Happy 2019, everyone!!! Here’s to a better and more amazing year to all of us. I was gonna do a separate post on my favorite reads of 2018. But I’m guess I’m gonna use the TTT topic this week for that, after all. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl for the unacquainted. Okay, here we go.

The Simple Wild

This was such a beautiful surprise of a book! I loved it for a lot of reasons. But mostly because of the setting that the author could portray so perfectly. I also loved the characters and the emphasis on the theme of family and self-growth.

You can read my full review here.




Another book that totally took me by surprise! Sadie is probably the best crime-suspense I read this year. Highly recommended

You can check my review here.



Look The Part

This wasn’t an easy read by any means, nor was it the most perfect book. But it captivated me with its flawed characters and their flawed decisions. One of my favorite romances of the year.




Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

This was released back in 2017 and became of my favorite reads of 2018. I loved it because it thwarted my expectations at every turn. I love Eleanor and this beautiful tale of her growth and an even more beautiful friendship.

You can check out my review here.




Another non-2018 release that I was a late to the party for. There are a lot of reasons I love this book. The main being Victor Vale.

Here’s my review.





The Cruel Prince

I’ve seen so many mixed reviews about this book! So I guess that it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. But I loved it. I know that people had a lot of problems with the protagonist and the (anti)hero. But I love this about the book that these characters are all flawed and fucked up. Makes the ride all the more interesting. I find that this series holds a lot of promise and I can’t wait for The Wicket King to come out next week!


Transcend Duet

I am not a fan of reincarnation tropes. Only Jewel E. Ann could convince me to give this trope a shot and love it. There’s a this feeling of yearning and ache in this duet that I just can’t get over. I also love that the covers actually have a meaningful story behind them.

Find my review here.


The Start Of Me And You

I read this 2015 release beginning of the 2018. I went through a phase of a lot of YAs back in January and February. This one remained as my most favorite of them.




Josh & Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating

Probably my favorite romance of the year. Christina Lauren does the friends-to-lovers trope so well here! I absolutely love Josh and Hazel. This one’s for the keeps. !

Here’s my review.




Muse of Nightmares

This is arguably my best read of 2018. I guess that sums it up.
Here’s my review.




I enjoyed this trip down the memory lane! Honestly speaking, I’m not entirely happy with my reading for 2018. I feel that I stayed in the safe zone and didn’t experiment too much. I hope to change that in 2019! Happy New Year again, everyone! And Happy Reading!


A faded photograph will lead one young woman to a ruined French castle where she will discover the truth of her own identity . . . and the enduring mystery of love.

Traveling to France on business, Alexandra Dawson has decided to seize the opportunity to explore a mysterious piece of her own heritage—a half-burnt picture of a woman who looks eerily like her, taken more than a hundred years ago in a local castle. In the charming rural village of Chandeniers, she discovers something else too—the gruff, ruggedly good-looking heir of the crumbled chateau.

Eric Lagnel is completely uninterested in Alex’s queries, until he realizes that she may have stumbled on a way to save the building. Their unlikely partnership is a surprise. But as Alex slowly unravels the secrets of her great-great-grandmother’s photograph—and the true history of the chateau—she begins to understand that no one is ever prepared for the ways love can heal old wounds and open the hardest hearts.

This is a dual romance set in France. The story jumps between past and present with entirely different stories. The past features Gabrielle, great grandmother of Alex, the protagonist of the present story-line. We even have Alex reading Gabrielle’s diary entries at the present time in line with the events as we see them happen in the past time.

I liked the past story-line slightly more than the present one. The point of contention for me was that Alex has a fiance who happens to me a good guy. Although, her and Eric’s relationship start off on a frosty note, they slowly warm up to each other and we still don’t see Alex telling him about her fiance, even as both of them start growing feelings for each other. I can’t describe the frustration I felt for her. The direction their story took ended up being predictable no matter how hard I wished the author to thwart my expectations.

Gabrielle and Thomas were a midge more enjoyable to read. But honestly, both the romances didn’t click with me. The writing felt corny to me, for lack of a batter word. I did like the conversations between both the couples as they get to know each other. I also loved the literary references. But this novel just failed to engage me.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Publication Date: 25th December, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)

Links –  Amazon| Goodreads | Barnes & Noble


Chance is a hitman with hippie roots and deep emotional wounds, disillusioned by life and stung by love—and his next target is the woman who rejected him. As he closes in on his victim, Chance struggles to rediscover the competitive edge that normally makes him so deadly. Meanwhile, the one safe haven Faye Lindstrom can rely on will only last until the end of the summer, assuming that the violence in her past doesn’t catch up to her first.

For lovers of Southern noir, Flamingo Lane is a gritty cat-and-mouse pursuit that ventures even further into the haunted territories of revenge and redemption first chronicled in Fever Tree.

Faye Lindstorm was kept as a sex slave by a man she fell in love with in Mexico. He turned out to be a overlord. She somehow managed to escape him but can’t escape her changed self. She decides to move to Florida to house-sit for a friend Dieter who is also an author in midst of writing a book of his own – Flamingo Lane – after his previous successful Fever Tree.

Unknown to Faye, an old acquaintance from Mexico – Chance has been assigned to kill her by none other than the Mexican overlord. Chance also happens to be someone who had an unrequited love for Faye back in their hippie days. But she had rejected him as she only ever saw him as a friend. Then there’s Dave, Dieter’s detective friend who gives Faye hope of starting over. However, Chance has followed her here too.

The characterization was spot-on. Chance, although a killer, was dealing with his own emotional scars that appealed to me. I found myself feeling sorry for him. I also rooted for Faye. She’s a mixture of vulnerable and strong that I always find welcoming in female characters. Dave, Dieter, Maggie and all the characters had interesting shades and made the read even more engaging.

The setting of the book made for a great Southern noir. I loved the environment that the author created. However, I keep making the same mistakes in that I didn’t know before starting it that this was the second book in a series. I’d have enjoyed it more if I’d read that one first. Also, that ending was quite predictable. But Flamingo Lane still wins for its narration and characterization.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Publication Date: 12th February, 2019.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)

Links – Goodreads | Target| QBD

BOOK REVIEW : My Favorite Half-Night Stand

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.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.

After being absolutely spellbound by her previous release (I still can’t get over Josh and Hazel’s adorableness), I was expecting to be wowed by Christina Lauren’s new release yet again. She’s such a favorite of mine that the expectations are always automatically heightened. But I was let down this time.

There’s a lot to love about My Favorite Half-Night Stand. I loved the friendship of the main group. All the characters had their own quirks. The banter and ribbing between the friends was fun and I could connect with their friendship. I also loved the texts between Millie and Reid. There was depth to it and I could feel the compatibility between them.

But Millie? I had MANY issues with her character. I get why she is the way she is. I also could empathize with her inability to open up. But I just could not understand the motivations behind her actions. She came off as whimsical and not at all in a relatable or adorable way. She totally played with Reid’s emotions. I found her to be emotionally immature but in a way that did not warrant any sympathy from me. I kept shaking my head in disbelief at some of the things she did and just so randomly.

Friends-to-lovers is my favorite trope but it failed to please me this time. Although, I loved the texts between Reid and Millie, I was not 100% convinced by their attraction towards each other. At one point, I wanted to see more of the friends than these two. I think that says a lot when the supporting characters interest you a lot more than the protagonists.

Although, I’m disappointed by the book, I am pleased with the world that the author created and want to see more of the characters. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the guys get their own stories. Fingers crossed that they live up to my expectations!

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Links – Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Book Review : HATE NOTES

It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress.

Something blue.

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed.

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after.

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined.

Something new.

But I have no idea how this one is going to end…

I have mixed feelings about this book.

I loved Charlotte and Reed together. They had a great chemistry and even greater banter.

What I didn’t love was how they met. That was just too overdone for my taste and I had a hard time believing the situations. I mean, I can buy that she drunkenly applied to see one of his real estates just out of curiosity. But you’re telling me that an extremely rich and busy guy like Reed would decide to indulge her, even knowing that she doesn’t have the means to buy the house and she was planning to waste his time. All because he wanted to catch her in her lies? Okaaay….

Then after Charlotte gets offended even though she’s the one who lied in the first place, she decides to tell her sob story to a random woman at the washroom. And that woman happens to be Reed’s grandmother who decides to hire Charlotte as an assistant? I’m sorry but that doesn’t fly with me.

I had a very difficult time getting into the story after Charlotte gets hired. Thankfully, I was really bored and decided to continue despite my reservations. I eventually got invested into the story when the main conflict was revealed. Reed’s secret gave the story a new dimension that excited me.

I was disappointed by the execution, though. Now, nothing makes me giddy like a little jealousy to fire the main characters up. But I’ve lost count of how many times we see Reed throw a jealous outburst and then go back to thinking he isn’t good enough for her until the next time he gets jealous. That kind of became a little too repetitive for me.

I wasn’t a fan of Charlotte. I started off liking her. But her actions and decisions, as we proceed with the story, started wearing off on me. I liked Reed but his indecisive and passive-aggressive attitude also got old too quickly.

There were parts of the story that I really enjoyed. I laughed out loud at many parts, and in others, I rolled my eyes. The tension between the characters was amazingly written.

I feel that the authors got carried away and overused some plot devices that took away from the story. And that’s a pity because this would be a 5-star read for me just with a few alterations here and there.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Links – Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Book Review : The Kiss Quotient By Helen Hoang

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

This was such a sweet story! Michael and Stella are the cutest together! If it isn’t obvious from the blurb, The Kiss Quotient is sort of a gender-swapped version of Pretty Woman with an autism twist.

I think the twist worked because the plot started off on a refreshing note for me. Stella’s character and her vulnerabilities appealed to me. I loved how she’s an Econometrician and doesn’t let her Asperger’s syndrome get in the way of pursuing what she wants.

Michael has a mixed Swedish and Vietnamese heritage. My favorite scenes all featured his Vietnamese family. The chaos borne from Stella interacting with his large and loud family were the highlights of the book for me.

Stella and Michael both suffer from insecurities – each letting their respective situations make them feel unworthy of the other. That’s why, it was beautiful to see Michael feeling cherished and valued by Stella, something he was unaccustomed to. But what made my heart swell the most was the way, in the end, Stella deals with what she feels are her shortcomings and comes to terms with them, without the help of Michael.

These little things made this story more than just a sweet romance. Truth be told, I think I made a mistake reading this book now. There were a lot of fluffy romantic parts with graphic details during which I found my interest waning. I should probably have waited for when I was in more of a mood for sweet old formulaic romances to start this book. But that’s on me. The book works perfectly fine as a romance as long as you know what you’re in for.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Book Review : Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Shoutout to Sara @bibliophagist for recommending this book to me!

First things first, I love pop culture references and this book had plenty of it. The conversations between Sam and Penny were my favorite part. I loved how they talked about anything and everything – from random idiosyncratic to profound matters. The author did a great job building up their connection. It was clear these two were meant to be.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with the trajectory of their relationship, though. SPOILER AHEAD – At one point, Sam & Penny don’t communicate for two weeks after Sam has a breakdown all by himself due to a shock. Penny doesn’t know that and thinks that Sam has moved on just because he doesn’t call her after promising to. It’s not until he gets his shit back together and sends her an e-mail with an apology that they get back to normal. I had a hard time reconciling the fact that Penny doesn’t try reaching out to Sam even once in two weeks and just resigns herself to the fact that their friendship is over.

I loved the fact that Penny is of Korean descent and Sam of German-Polish. Can I also say that Sam not having a perfect physique impressed me? But I was kinda hoping to see their cultural roots being explored more à la Lara Jean and was disappointed when that didn’t happen. But that’s fine. What’s fine isn’t how the character Penny is written.

Lord knows how much I love flawed characters. I’ve liked my share of rebellious, anti-social teenage characters. In fact, I look forward to such characters in YA. But Penny? She’s mighty flawed. She’s also equally unlikable. Her double standards pissed me off. She calls people out for being racist towards her but is herself judgemental towards almost everyone. In fact, the only character she was consistently nice towards was Sam. Her irrational disdain towards everyone just got on my nerves.

Penny is a teenager. She’s supposed to find her mom annoying and fight with her. That’s normal. But the way Penny is so judgemental of her mother? That’s not normal. At the beginning, Penny’s disdain made me feel that there might be more to the story here and that the mom might be abusive or negligent. But that wasn’t so.

There’s a part where Penny gets a call about her mom being in the hospital. She hangs up before the person can elaborate and panics the entire way to the hospital about her mom being possibly dead. Just when I thought she couldn’t get any more unreasonable, what she does after arriving in the hospital proved me wrong.

At the end, there is plot twist that is supposed to explain Penny’s attitude. But I think that this plot device could’ve been more effectively executed because I was left underwhelmed by the discovery and my feelings towards Penny remained unchanged.

The only times I liked Penny were in association with Sam and their cute conversations. I’d have loved this book a lot more if there was more of their cuteness together and less of Penny being a whiny brat.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

ARC Review : Close to the Bone (Widow’s Island #1)

FBI Special Agent Cate Wilde is back home on a remote Pacific Northwest island when she gets the call: a teenager’s skeletal remains have been found on a nearby island.

Together with Tessa Black, a childhood friend turned local deputy, Cate confronts dreary weather and bleak leads to make sense of the death. The complications pile up as Cate is distracted by the coroner on the case—and by nagging memories that draw her twenty years into the past. The remains suggest eerie similarities between this victim, and Cate and Tessa’s friend Samantha, who disappeared when she was fourteen.

Cate finds herself up against closemouthed locals, buried town secrets, and even her own heart. As the case unravels, will she be able to cut through the fog and find justice for the missing and the dead.

Close To The Bone is the first novella in a new series by Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh. These authors will be alternatively writing books for the Widow’s island series, which are all novella-length. This is their second collaboration after the Rouge River series which I hear had a few characters from this new series. I might check that out.

I am of the opinion that short lengths only do favors to a suspense genre. You get a faster pace and a tighter story-line. So, I had high expectations from this novella. But, in this case the length was the main problem with this book. It could’ve used a little more time for the plot and the mystery to build up and unfold.

To be fair, I think the characters were fleshed out pretty well, even in the short span of time. I liked the focus on the friendship between Cate and Tessa. I am curious about what’s ahead for the gang. Having said that, the potential romance between Cate and Henry failed to engage me. I found there to be a shortage of sparks between the main characters, something that I always eagerly look forward to in a romance.

My favorite part about the book was the setting. I loved the idea of Widow’s island with it’s fascinating history and background. An island where married men have a record of dying young? Color me intrigued! If nothing else, I’ll read the next book just to return to this captivating island.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Publication Date: 23rd November, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
Links – Amazon | Goodreads | Book Depository