Marian Reviews Stuff: Pretend Girlfriend by Lily Craig

Pretend GirlfriendPretend Girlfriend by Lily Craig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really, really enjoyed this book. Each chapter switched between the two main characters, and I thought that was very effective. It took me a while to warm up to Celeste, but the layers of her personality were revealed over the course of the first several chapters and that helped me understand her better. She and Lane were both well-rounded and I soon found it easy to sympathize with them.

The Mediterranean setting was beautiful and evocative, and I enjoyed the way scenes hopped between ports as the yacht visited them. I was also very much caught up in the complex push and pull of Celeste and Lane’s relationship. There’s an event near the end that I found pretty sudden (I’m trying to be vague to avoid spoilers), and it pulled me out of the story a little. I was looking forward to finding out how Celeste and Lane were going to navigate the the challenges they were facing with each other, and that event kind of gave them an easy way out.

Still, I really got caught up in the characters and their journey, and I was ultimately happy with how everything turned out. It was a great read!

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Marian Reviews Stuff – Falling for Lucky by Giselle Fox

I really, really enjoyed this novel by Giselle Fox. I’ve read two of her other novels (the standalone ones) and I liked them a lot, but this one was just

Falling for LuckyFalling for Lucky by Giselle Fox

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve really liked the other books of Giselle Fox’s that I’ve read, but this one was just phenomenal. I started out thinking the series of events that kick off the story were a little too unbelievable, but soon I realized that that was the point. There’s a thread of luck and fate and weird coincidences that runs through the whole novel. It was very appealing and everything came back around and was tied up nicely at the end, which is something I really like in a story.

The setting was utterly gorgeous; Giselle Fox must really love Italy  🙂 I could practically feel the hot weather and taste the food and smell the gardens, and it was just very satisfying. The romance between Juliet and Leoni is beautiful, well-paced, and free from drama. The only thing that brought me out of the story occasionally were some really weird euphemisms during the sex scenes (“center seam” for the vulva? Seriously?? O_o I guess I sew too much clothing for that to sound sexy…) but otherwise, the writing was very good. And the end was so, so romantic. It was a real happy ending to daydream about.

Marian Reviews Stuff – Wind and Sea by C.L. Ryder

I just finished Wind and Sea by C.L. Ryder, and it was a very sweet beach romance. Here’s my review! There are spoilers in the second half, so I’ll put a couple of lines in case you want to avoid that.

Wind and SeaWind and Sea by C.L. Ryder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There were a lot of good things about this book! I really liked the setting and how the writing made me feel immersed in the beach culture of Orange County. The characters were fun, particularly Cammy’s little sister Abby. There was a sweet theme of destiny that ran through the story: Cammy’s dream led her to Lei and little details were woven together to show that Cammy and Lei were meant for each other. I thought that was pretty romantic. There were also some parts where I really couldn’t put the book down, which is unusual for me.

**Spoilers Below**

The only thing I didn’t like was the whole concussion/coma thing. Lei told Cammy she was absolutely straight, and then Lei hits her head on a rock while scuba diving, has to be put into an artificial coma, and when she wakes up…she tells Cammy she’s now attracted to women.

If Lei had woken up from her coma and the accident made her realize that she’d fallen in love with Cammy, that would’ve been fine and totally understandable. But it was treated like fact that a concussion and coma could change someone so that they were no longer straight. Especially since Lei’s parents, who were very conservative, immediately asked the doctor to “turn her back.” It made it sound like being queer is something you can change by surgery or injury, and it scares me that people might think that.

Over all, though, I enjoyed Wind and Sea. It was sweet and I liked being immersed in the beachy setting.

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Marian Reviews Stuff

Hello friends! I’ve started to be more active on my Goodreads account, and I thought I’d repost my reviews of books I’ve read lately here. So here are the most recent three I’ve done!

Galaxies and OceansGalaxies and Oceans by N.R. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was honestly one of the best romances I’ve ever read. It was full of high emotion, compelling and well-rounded characters, beautiful scenery… Everything I want in a novel. I have a special place in my heart for seaside communities, having grown up in one (although in Maine in the U.S. and not in Australia) and I loved the attention N.R. Walker gave to the setting. Also, Aubrey and Patrick’s relationship was so warm and soft and safe, and it constantly had me going “Augh, they are so CUTE together!”

I’m not sure it’s worth mentioning, but one of the characters has panic attacks, and they’re very skillfully described. So if you’re like me and essentially watching someone have a panic attack makes you start to have one, just know this in advance. Utterly worth it, at any rate.

The Haunting of Hill HouseThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of the weirdest, most interesting books I’ve ever read. I started out skeptical, because through the first chapters I felt like it was putting the establishment of the characters’ personalities over the plot. But as it went on, I was caught up in the bizarre and pretty horrifying atmosphere of Hill House. It wasn’t that I was looking for answers about what was going on in the house–I didn’t expect to get any–but I DID always want to know what would happen next. I guess that means I was more interested in the writing and action than in any explanation or resolution? Either way, it was definitely an experience.

Sunscreen & CoconutsSunscreen & Coconuts by Eliza Lentzski

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’d give this a 3.5. The writing was good and the tropical atmosphere was really evocative, but I just couldn’t get myself to sympathize with the main character. I did really appreciate the way the narration was so immersed in Mercy’s super-cautious outlook, though. It took good advantage of first person in doing that, but at the same time it put me off because I just wasn’t very interested in Mercy herself. I honestly didn’t find the arc of the romance very romantic. In the end, I think this was a well-written and well-constructed novel about characters and a relationship who just weren’t my type.