Satisfaction Guaranteed – Karelia Stetz-Waters

Selena and Cade. I have a lot of love in my heart for these two young women. These two imperfect human beings who are oh-so-different, and yet oh-so-meant-to-meet. And what an interesting first meeting they have—at Cade’s aunt’s funeral, where Selena pours her heart out in front of everyone. I knew right then and there that impulsive and emotional Selena and reserved and controlled Cade would have quite a few intriguing moments together.

This is a slow-burn. It’s a book that is meant to be enjoyed slowly, with a few cups of tea (and biscuits, can’t forget those). This is a good thing, because it makes Selena and Cade’s relationship seem to progress naturally and without rush. Even if they only have a month together, and a month is definitely not enough to know everything about someone, it is enough to get a feel of who they are and whether they bring out the best in us. What is beautiful is that Selena and Cade’s differences and shortcomings complement each other.

While I found their relationship to feel natural and progress in a realistic and effective way, I did not necessarily find the storyline itself and some of the characters and scenes to be all that realistic. Sometimes, it felt like the author wrote some characters or scenes or dialogs for humour purposes, than because it made perfect sense to the story or was the right element to include. For example, everyone fawning over Selena was a bit over-the-top, as was Cade’s entire family and the whole Alex business. I’m not saying that these elements could not exist in real life, just that all of them combined in one story was a lot.

The best thing about this story is Selena and Cade’s relationship, which is good because this is a contemporary romance so that’s pretty much the most important element of all, so if you are looking for a cute lesbian romance, you are knocking at the right door and do not hesitate to jump right in (don’t forget the tea and biscuits, though!)

Thank you Hachette Book Group Canada for the free copy in exchange for an honest review!

Made in Korea – Sarah Suk

Love the colours.

Let me just start by saying that I would have loved to have gone to Valerie and Wes’s high school, which is so delightfully pro-entrepreneurship. At their high school, students are encouraged to start and promote their own businesses, with approval from appropriate staff members and an assigned mentor of course. Valerie shares a Korean beauty business with her cousin Charlie, and so far, they are running the school. Everyone loves their products, including me to be honest.

But Wes, the new kid, is starting a beauty business of his own, which proves to be quite exciting for their high school population, so much so that Valerie’s sales are quickly dwindling. Yet Valerie can’t afford to lose customers because she has a very specific goal she is trying to accomplish and she won’t allow anything or anyone to make her lose sight of her goal. Wes, too, has a plan for the money he is quickly accumulating, and soon enough, the two of them become fierce competitors. Enemies, even, depending on who you’re asking.  

This would make for a good Netflix movie. No doubt about that. It’s fast, it’s focused, it’s developed in a coherent way and, most important of all, it’s quite cute and romantic at times. There are some cheesy scenes, like being stuck in a room with your crush or seeing them through an empty book spot at the library that made me feel like the author could have been more unique. However, overall, I had an enjoyable time with Valerie and Wes. If you are the type to become completely enraged by miscommunication, you might want to keep this book a mystery forever. Otherwise, have fun!

Thank you Simon & Schuster for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. MADE IN KOREA will be out on May 18th, 2021! 

Better Than the Movies – Lynn Painter


When I think of ‘‘Better than the Movies,’’ the movie Clueless comes to mind pretty much immediately. Throughout the story, the main character Liz Buxbaum discusses plenty of romantic comedies and tropes and I simply cannot help but associate this book’s ‘‘vibe’’ to that of Clueless’. The two may have few elements in common and Liz may be rather different from Cher, and yet.  

Liz is not a top girl (popular and cool) and yet she kind of needs to be to attract the attention of Michael, a childhood friend who has moved back home and who Liz believes belongs with her. She’s also not particularly shallow, and yet when it comes to love, she idealizes, overthinks, deceives and avoids. Loves does make us crazy, but to Liz it seems to make her crazy and immature and delusional and a really bad friend.

So why did I actually like her? I have to say that I’m not lining up to sign up as her new best friend anytime soon, based on how she is treating hers throughout the story basically, but the part of me that enjoys rom-coms and wants to believe that romantic love is an ethereal kind of special that deserves being consumed and being let to consume us could not help but slightly encourage Liz in her questionable endeavours.

That does not mean that I fell head over heels for the miscommunication, best-friend and step-mother mistreatment or the unrealistic scenes. I guess, just like visual romantic comedies, there is content worth smiling at, swooning over, questioning and rolling our eyes at. Is it better than an actual rom-com movie?  Well, no. There is more ideation than heartfelt emotion for me to really have felt the love. But I did feel the character and relationship developments, which does matter. So what I’m saying is that if you’re looking for a written rom-com, you are welcome to take a shot at this one, just try to go along with Liz’s idealistic romantic expectations as much as possible. That will certainly improve your reading experience.  

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending a copy of the advance book. On sale May 4th, 2021!

The Garden of Small Beginnings – Abbi Waxman

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The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: 2017
Publisher: Berkley Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Realistic Fiction, Grief, Contemporary, Romance, Siblings


I jumped on the chance of reading this book after finishing The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and absolutely loving everything about it. The Garden of Small Beginnings is a whole other interesting beast, but a flawed one despite its entertaining elements. It deals with grief, but because the main character has a dry humour and prefers to bury her real emotions for the sake of her children and her own psyche, I had difficulty understanding what Lilian was feeling at times. Continue reading

The Unhoneymooners – Christina Lauren

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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Simon & Schuster Canada
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Humour, Drama, Family


My friend Jennifer said it best when she said that this feels like two books in one because I read the first one hundred and so pages thinking this would be a wonderful romantic comedy from start to finish, but alas drama llama made an appearance and did not want to leave the premises. It’s as though things started to become a bit too ‘‘real’’ because instead of relaxing on her fake honeymoon Olive started stressing out about everything and anything. Continue reading

Hope and Other Punchlines – Julie Buxbaum

Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, 9/11, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Coming of Age


This is my third book from Julie Buxbaum and frankly I don’t know if I should continue with her stories. The first book I read from her, Tell Me Three Things, I couldn’t finish. The second book, What to Say Next, I enjoyed but I remember disliking the love interest or not feeling particularly moved by the romance. Well, same thing happened here. Abbi and Noah are definitely a good match because they don’t annoy one another and simply care about each other tremendously. I know, my expectations regarding soul mates are not very high nowadays. Continue reading

The Silver Cage – Anonymous

38193155The Silver Cage by Anonymous

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
First Published: January 2018
Publisher: Self-Published
Recommended Age: 16+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, M/M Romance, Dark, Faith, Self-Harm, Sexual Identity


A bitter, mysterious author. A young and naive journalist. A tragic past, a dark secret, and an unforgettable tale of passion and love.

WARNING: The Silver Cage is intended for mature readers; it contains graphic sensuality and strong themes including suicide, sexual identity, and self-harm.

Anonymous is a pseudonymous international bestseller. The Silver Cord, a companion novel to The Silver Cage, will be released in the first half of 2018. Continue reading

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone

30339479You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
First Published: January 2nd, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Siblings, Contemporary Romance, High School, Disease, Music, First Love, Family Drama


Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon. But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules. When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive. These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving? Continue reading

Love, Life, and the List – Kasie West

35068742Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
First Published: December 2017
Publisher: Harper Teen
Recommended Age: 11+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Light, Contemporary Romance, Art


Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances. Which is where the list comes in. Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself. Continue reading

The Wedding Date – Jasmine Guillory

33815781The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: January 30th, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Relationships, Light read


Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist. On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend… After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other… They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want… Continue reading