Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Rating: 4 out of 5.
  • New adult, contemporary romance
  • Fiction
  • Paperback
  • 310 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 4.34

The day before Fallon is moving across the country, she is saved from a disastrous lunch with her father by Ben, an aspiring novelist who is having lunch at the same restaurant by sheer coincidence. They spend Fallon’s last hours in L.A. together and decide to let each other live their lives, but meet up every year on the same date, November 9th. After 5 years, they will either stop or decide to be together, but a lot can happen in 5 years.

This was definitely NOT my favourite CoHo so far. Every new CoHo book I read is automatically my new favourite CoHo, except for this one. I thought it would be,I have been so curious about this book for ages and I was really, really looking forward to reading it. I did actually end up finishing it within 12 hours and it completely had me under its spell for hours and hours, BUT… the ending. I was so disappointed. But we’ll get back to that.

Let’s start with the dual POV; I loved it. CoHo is the queen of dual timelines and dual POV’s, she knows exactly how to use them to add extra drama and tension to the story and make sure you want to keep reading. Sadly, CoHo decided to incorporate a little miscommunication trope in this book, which I think is pretty common in dual POV stories, since you can see into the minds of multiple people. Miscommunication is one of my least favourite tropes because of the sheer frustration it comes with (“But she secretly loves you, why can’t you see that! Don’t run off with someone else because you think she isn’t interested anymore!”). So I wasn’t a big fan of that, but it is not the main trope, so I could kind of ignore it.

I absolutely loved the November 9 thing. I am a very impatient woman, so I love books that cover a larger period of time. That way you don’t have to wait 400 pages to find out what happens to them over the years. I mean, I want to know about Fallon’s life, but I like getting a recap more than having to read through an entire year of her life. I think it really kept up the pace of the book and made it fun to read.

Let’s talk about the plot. CoHo never ceases to amaze with the originality of the plot. She always seems to find the perfect balance between writing a romance worthy of envy and a story that is deeply disturbing on so many levels. In characters too, she finds the perfect balance between perfection and flaws. She managed to do it in this book as well for like.. 90%, until you get to the end and the level of toxicity just.. I don’t even have words for it. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that throughout the book, Ben gives off a few red flags that probably would’ve made me very uncomfortable and likely would’ve made me run for the hills. But since it’s CoHo, you accept it, because she probably has a completely reasonable explanation for all this.

Which brings us to the ending. Let’s just say the explanation wasn’t exactly reasonable. I personally feel like the ending is definitely on the wrong side of the toxic line. I really wish she had either changed Bens motives or had let Fallon make a different decision, because this was just disturbing.

I know a lot of people love this book, including the ending, but the ending was just too toxic for me. The entire book was a definite 5-star read, but the last few pages just ruined it for me. Maybe the 4 stars are still a little generous, but I really did enjoy reading the book very much. Except for those last 10 pages.

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Mini Review: The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

Mini Review: The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

Rating: 2 out of 5.
  • Christmas Romance
  • Fiction
  • Paperback
  • 433 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 3.63

Since this was a DNF for me, there’s not really a point in me writing a full on review, so I’m just going to keep this short. I DNF’ed at about 63%, I guess. The book really wasn’t at all bad, but it was literally the slowest romance I have ever read. I started reading this just before Christmas, but underestimated the length of the book, so I tried to finish it for about 4 months after Christmas, but I just couldn’t work my way through it. It’s like Bayliss thinks she is fricking Tolkien, describing every single snowflake and leaf in the book.

The concept of the book is pretty cool. Kate signs herself up for a program called “The Twelve Dates of Christmas”, which makes her do 12 dates with 12 different guys that have all been screened for compatibility. This sounds like a lot of fun, right? Yeah, except it takes FOREVER to get through the dates. Especially since I was pretty sure I already knew who she was going to end up with. I finally got tired of working my way through pages and pages of irrelevant information and decided to just check if I was right about the ending and then DNF. For the record: I was right.

The book was kind of fun, so if you’re a quick reader and you have plenty of patience, you would probably enjoy this. If that does not describe you, pick a different Christmas romance, something quicker and sweeter. I’ll make sure to recommend some before the Christmas reading season starts.

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All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

Rating: 5 out of 5.
  • Fiction
  • Contemporary Romance
  • New Adult
  • Paperback
  • 305 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 4.31
  • TW: mental health, infertility

Quinn and Graham meet in an entirely improbable way that is probably not the best base for a relationship. Nevertheless, they get together and they are the absolute perfect couple. For a while, at least, until Quinn and Graham start trying to have a baby and it’s just not happening. They stop talking to each other and only have sex for the purpose of having a baby. But every month Quinn will get her period and fall apart all over again.

“If you only shine light on your flaws, all your perfects will dim.”

Colleen Hoover, All Your Perfects

Where do I even start? There are so many good things about this book. This is only my second CoHo book and I am absolutely blown away. First of all, the story is so original. The way that Quinn and Graham meet stirs up so many emotions, it really sets the tone for the rest of the book. Hoover writes her story and her characters in a way that makes you feel like you completely understand what infertility feels like without actually having experience it (luckily). It absolutely broke my heart to read about Quinn’s struggle with not being able to get pregnant. Everything that happens in this book is so well thought out. There is a box that is referred to in the story every once in a while and that keeps you curious (“What’s in the box!”). You eventually find out and it is absolutely perfect. If you must know, yes, I cried.

I’m a sucker for books with dual timelines. It keeps the story exciting and gives you exactly the information you need in a way that doesn’t get boring. Also, it keeps you from needing a therapist. Hoover has a gift for balancing the heartbreaking main story with lighthearted fun stuff from the beginning of Quinn’s and Graham’s relationship.

I came across some writing tips on Pinterest a while ago on how to write a character for your book or story. The main thing that stuck with me was that you shouldn’t make your character too perfect. An interesting character has flaws. Well, Hoover definitely has Pinterest too, because man, her characters have flaws. I’ve never written a book, but I’m guessing that creating characters is probably the most tricky part of writing. If the characters are too perfect, nobody will care, if they’re too flawed, everyone will hate them. The characters in All Your Perfects are perfectly imperfect, if that makes sense. Quinn’s mental issues that derive from not being able to get pregnant and her inability to communicate about it with Graham make her an amazing main character to a heartbreaking book. The imperfectness of Hoover’s characters is what makes this story so perfect.

Colleen Hoover is probably the most talented romance writer on earth. Her books are completely unique, unlike anything I’ve ever read before. After I read It Ends With Us, I thought “Okay, this is really good. Maybe I’ll read more CoHo books in the future, but I’ll probably only be disappointed, because nothing can match this.” I was wrong. This book was incredible, absolutely mind-blowing. If you can get your hands on this book or any CoHo book for that matter, do it. Buy it, read it, tell me what you think.

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Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Rating: 3 out of 5.
  • Fiction
  • Contemporary romance, chick lit
  • Ebook
  • 384 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 3.86

In Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert, Chloe Brown sets herself a challenge to.. well, get a life. Chloe is a chronically ill computer geek who finally moved out of her parents house after almost dying and composing a list of six directives to help her get a life. Number one was moving out: check! Now she has to enjoy a drunken night out, have meaningless sex and go camping, among other things. She has no idea how she’s going to cross all those things off her list, until she meets the building’s superintendent, Redford Morgan. Red is an artist in need of a website and Chloe just so happens to make websites. Could they make a deal?

Get A Life, Chloe Brown had a few things that I liked and a few things I didn’t like. The plot and the characters were definitely original, that’s one thing I liked. There aren’t many romance books out there with a disabled or chronically ill main character, so it was refreshing to read about Chloe and her fibromyalgia. The main characters weren’t very likeable, though, which made it really hard to relate to them. Chloe is just a flat out bitch in the beginning of the book and Red is not much better. Both characters get a little better throughout the book, but they still felt a little flat. The dual point of view gives you a little peek into Redford’s mind every now and then, but he is just not layered that well. He has some kind of anger and trust issues that come from a bad relationship, but he just kind of shuts down and then turns back on again which seems a little flat. The constant going back and forth between “oh she likes me” and “no she hates me” was also a little frustrating and annoying. He would constantly jump to conclusions in a matter of nanoseconds and take it out on Chloe. Chloe’s sisters seemed like a lot of fun, though. They’re pretty much the only likeable characters in the story. Which is good, since the other two books in the series are about them.

The book was definitely funny, amusing and quirky for most of story. Hibbert has a gift for making you giggle out loud. The interactions between Red and Chloe are witty and Chloe definitely has a sharp tongue that makes her interactions with Red fun to read about. These interactions with Red and her sisters are the only reason that this book still gets three stars.

My least favourite thing about this book were the extremely graphic sex scenes. Maybe graphic isn’t really the right word, the fact that it’s graphic isn’t really the problem. The bluntness of the language used and the lack of romance is the problem. I don’t mind a little spice, but the spicy scenes in this book just weren’t tastefully done at all. Why did it need to be so graphical, why did there have to be so much sex in public places and elaborate descriptions of Red jerking off and stuff like that. There is literally no need to write entire paragraphs on how Red really has to jerk off after every time he sees Chloe, because he likes her thighs or her ankles or something. It was just too much. A lot of the scenes made me plain uncomfortable. I would not even call them spicy, some of them were just plain disgusting. I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone under 16.

If someone would ask me whether or not I would recommend this book, I wouldn’t know what I would say. It was enjoyable enough, I guess, but the blunt, distasteful sex scenes just really bothered me. If you’re used to the use of the words “cunt”, “shaft” and “pussy” and you don’t mind scenes where public sex happens out of the blue with no real motivation or cause in a phase of the story when nothing romantic has happened yet, then I would definitely recommend it. If that’s not your thing, don’t read it. I haven’t read the sequels yet, so I can’t tell you if it gets any better, but I’m not really a fan of struggling through a book just because “it gets better” anyway. That’s like 8 hours of your life we’re talking about. Spend them reading something you actually like.

I’m going to keep on reading the series because the next two books are about Chloe’s sisters and they were actually my favourite characters from the book, but I do really hope that the other two books are much less graphic and focused on sex. If the series keeps going in this fashion, it’s going to be a DNF for me. This one already almost was.

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Heartstopper Volume 1-4 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper Volume 1-4 by Alice Oseman

Rating: 4 out of 5.
  • Graphic Novel
  • Young Adult
  • LGBTQ+ Romance
  • Ebook
  • Goodreads ratings: #1 – 4.51, #2 – 4.59, #3 – 4.61, #4 – 4.67,

The Heartstopper series is a LGBTQ+ Romance delivered in a graphic novel. The novels follow Charlie, a teenage boy who was accidentally outed last year, as he is falling in love with Nick, a boy he thinks is straight. Charlie and Nick become good friends and start hanging out together more and more, until Charlie kisses Nick at a party and Nick has to figure out how he feels about that.

I bought the first two volumes in digital edition for 0.99 cents each because I had been seeing them all over Instagram. I bought a bunch of other ebooks as well, but I figured that I’d go through Heartstopper pretty quickly, since it’s a graphic novel, so I decided to read that first. It was indeed a quick read and I went through the first one in about an hour or an hour and a half. The second one took me about the same amount of time. I waited a bit to buy volume three and four, since they were 4 or 5 euros per book and I was hoping for them to go on sale, since 5 euros for a book that I would finish within an hour seemed like a bit much. I ended up buying them for that price after all, since I loved the first two so much and I wanted to read the next two as well. I don’t regret paying the full price, since I loved both of them and Oseman obviously put a lot of work in them. So even though all four volumes can easily be read in one day, they’re definitely worth the price.

This entire series is so incredibly cute. The drawings are cute, the story is cute, the characters are super cute. It’s just so much fun to read. Oseman did a really good job with the drawings and the story is pretty well balanced. Even though it is meant for a younger crowd, it is still very enjoyable as a twenty-something-year old or an adult (I’m still in denial about adulthood).

I loved how Oseman inserts the importance of Mental Health and especially the existence of Anorexia (among boys) into her novels. Considering that her target audience is still pretty young, I think it’s important to address mental health issues in this way. No judgement whatsoever, just an explanation as to what anorexia is and how it feels. I’m not an expert on anorexia since I’ve luckily never had anorexia, but I’m no stranger to other mental health issues and I can tell you from experience that they are so much easier to deal with when the people around you have a certain understanding of what you’re going through. So yay to Oseman for addressing mental health in an accessible way.

The only thing that started to bother me after a few books, is that there is not a single straight couple in any of the graphic novels. The only people who are straight are the bullies and the parents, everyone other character in all four of the books is either gay, bi or trans. I get that we don’t need more straight propaganda, but I’m guessing that the goal of these novels is to show young adults that being gay or bi or trans is perfectly normal and the best way to do that is probably to make the characters relatable. If not a single one of these characters is straight, then straight kids will have nobody to relate to and I think you might not reach as many kids. Of course I’m no expert on psychology and it’s the artists choice in the end, so please don’t take this the wrong way. Plus telling an artist to put more straight people in their LGBTQ+ romance novel is probably kind of missing the point. It’s mostly my personal opinion that I didn’t have a character that I related to.

I gave the Heartstopper series an overall score of 4 stars. I also gave all of the individual novels 4 stars. It is pretty consistent in quality and enjoyableness (if that’s even a word), which I always appreciate a lot. I hate it when the quality of a series is not consistent. “The second book is not that good, but the third one gets way way better!” just doesn’t do it for me, so luckily the Heartstopper series was pretty consistent. If you have not read this series yet, I would definitely recommend it. It’s a series you can easily read on your Ipad or Kindle or something and it’s light and fun in between other reads. Don’t expect hours and hours of entertainment, because it’s a pretty quick read, but definitely worth your money!

Heartstopper Volume 5 comes out somewhere in 2022, so we’ll have to wait a bit for the story to continue. There’s a Netflix series based on the graphic novels coming out soon, though!

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