November 9 by Colleen Hoover – A book review

November 9 by Colleen Hoover – A book review

I rarely write about books that didn’t work out well for me, especially if it were a hyped one. But then I come across a book that everyone raved about and I could not not rant about it. So here is my book review on November 9 by Colleen Hoover.

About November 9

November 9 by COlleen Hoover

Book Name: November 9

Author: Colleen Hoover

Genre: Fiction – RomanceYoung adult

Characters: Fallon O’ Neil, Benton(Ben) Kessler, Jordyn

Setting: Los Angeles, CaliforniaThe USA

Plot Summary of November 9

On November 9, Ben and Fallon meet at a restaurant and they have an instant connection. Ben is an aspiring writer and Fallon an actress and an avid reader.

But Fallon is moving across the country the next day and also she feels she will not be ready for a serious relationship for the next 5 years (until she turns 23).

So they decide to go on with their lives and date other people but only meet each other every year on November 9. And they would have no more contact with each other other than that one day of a year.

But do their attraction stand strong with just that one in 365 days? You will have to read November 9 by Colleen Hoover to know more.

Book review of November 9

The plot immediately reminded me of One Day (and one of the character mentions it even), but I have tried to overlook that while reviewing.

The book follows the time that the duo spend together, year after year and we get an alternating POV for both characters of the same date. We do not hear more about the characters’ lives apart from that.

November 9 was my first book by Colleen Hoover, an author I had been meaning to read for a long time and my expectations were quite high.

True to her fame, CoHo’s writing hooked me right at the first chapter and the banter between the characters worked out mostly. The characters Ben and Fallon were fleshed out well.

And honestly that is all that I could muster to speak in the pro section.

“Why would a girl care to find herself when she’ll never be able to make herself feel as good as a guy can?”

I understand the heat of the moment and all, but I think this quote from the book made double take. I understand that Fallon is insecure about herself and is generally melodramatic but this is NOT OKAY at all.

I hated how Ben consistently disregarded Fallon’s consent, objectified her, stalked her and ordered her around. And Fallon’s father is not a saint either. To make matters worse, she forgives both of them instantly and starts a good relationship with them at the end. Well why did I even read it?

Also what is with Ben’s obsession about Fallon’s scars sexually? Especially, after knowing his secret (that he was the one who started the fire (intentionally) which left her scarred and disfigured and he knew who she was the whole time) his behavior was just disgusting.

What worked for me

  • I loved Colleen Hoover’s writing and the banter kept me going and hooked.
  • Though the plot seemed similar to One day, it takes a different turn once you get over it.

What may have been better

  • BEN! I wish influential and best selling authors like Colleen Hoover would pay more attention to their characters and what they do.
  • I disliked that Fallon forgave her father too easily.

Content warning

Male ignoring non consent, arson, parent suicide,

Bottom line

November 9 by Colleen Hoover was a well written contemporary New age romance. While it seems to have some HUGE red flags, you can still pick a copy based on the other 4+ star ratings on Goodreads.

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How did you like November 9 by Colleen Hoover? Did you have these issues with the characters or is it just me? Should I read other books by the author before I give up? Let us talk.

November 9 by Colleen Hoover – A book review

Virgin River by Robyn Carr – A book review

Virgin River by Robyn Carr is the book chosen for the month of Aug’20 by Maureen’s book club and it is the first book of the club too. The Netflix series adaptation is already out and I hear it is good. Let’s see how the book turned out for me, alright?

About the book

Virgin River cover

Book Name: Virgin River

Series: Virgin River #01

Author: Robyn Carr

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Characters: Jack Sheridan, Melinda Monroe, Preacher Joey, Mark, Doc Mullins, Joy, Connie

Setting: Virgin River, CaliforniaThe USA

The plot

Melinda Monroe devastated by the sudden death of her husband, uproots her entire life and career as nurse/midwife in LA and moves to Virgin River, California. When she first arrives, she has been duped by old Mrs McCrea about the town and doesn’t even have a decent place to sleep.

She understands that her move was a huge mistake and can’t wait to leave the town. But an abandoned baby, local women who definitely would love her expertise and a particular ex-marine turned bar owner change her mind.

Jack Sheridan is not one for long term commitments, well until he meets Mel. But how much is he willing to give up for a woman who is still in love with her late husband? Whose baby was it and the rest forms the story of Virgin River by Robyn Carr.

My initial thoughts

I have not seen the Netflix series but I have heard lot of good things about the author and have been meaning to pick one of hers soon.

I love books with a small town set up with zany people with their eccentricities, so Virgin River was a good choice for me. And I really liked the small town characters like the Doc and the friendship between Joy and Connie.

Jack was a great guy, who genuinely liked helping people and contributes to the town and they love him back.

I am not a huge fan of the love at first sight trope, so I had a hard time understanding why and how Jack started falling for Mel.

On the other hand, I loved the way the Ms Carr had handled Mel’s grief and trauma over her loss, and how she overcomes them. I am glad that Mel and Mark had a happy backstory and that had a huge impact on her relationship with Jack.

What worked for me

  • I liked the small town scene and I wish I had met more people. But I guess that should be happening in the other books in the series.
  • It is always a pleasure reading about men who genuinely want to help others and be good to the society. Undoubtedly, I liked Jack, despite having issues with the “insta love” trope.
  • To be honest there are not many conflicts in the plot and it is a book that is straight sweet romance.

What may have been better

  • The graphic teen age sex scene between a 14 and 16 year old was completely unnecessary to the story and should turn off anyone who reads.
  • Motherhood, pregnancy and men “loving” pregnant women form a huge part in Virgin River. While I understand that Mel is a midwife and thus it makes sense, consider this as a warning if it were something you would avoid reading.

Bottom line

If you are looking for a small town romance that has a very few conflicts and is quite fun to read, Virgin River by Robyn Carr should be your pick. Maybe check the Netflix adaptation which I heard was better.

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Have you read Virgin River by Robyn Carr? What other books from Ms Carr have you liked and which one would you recommend? Let us talk.

November 9 by Colleen Hoover – A book review

The Bride test by Helen Hoang- A book review

You know I loved The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang last year and I knew I was gonna love The bride test too, given the raving reviews it has been getting from all around. Can we get on with the review?

About the book

Bride test by Helen Hoang Cover

Book Name: The bride test (The Kiss Quotient #2)

Author: Helen Hoang

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Characters: Khai Diep, Quan and their mother, Esme Tran, Michael

Setting: San FranciscoThe USA

The plot

Esme Tran is a self made woman, a single mother from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, who has been recruited by a rich lady to meet her son and win his heart, in a year. And in return, she gets a chance to the USA to look for her American father and help her family financially, if things go well.

Khai Diep leads a perfectly efficient life and he is not big on emotions. He usually ignores his mother’s nagging to get married as harmless, but when she brings in a woman to stay with him at his house, he is completely taken aback.

Did his mother’s plan work? Can Esme win Khai’s heart and more importantly, understand why he is not like everyone else? Is he really not like everyone else? Read The bride test by Helen Hoang to find out more.

My initial thoughts

I LOVED The bride test and I am going ahead to say I am gonna pick any book by Helen Hoang in the near future. She knows how to write characters that are fully developed and complex. Here is Khai who has made his mind up that he is above emotions and Esme can marry him only if he feels what she feels for him.

And both the families are rooting for them. His brother Quan goes a step ahead and even tries to speed things between them in his own way. I don’t remember the last time I laughed out loud reading a book.

I loved Quan and I can’t wait to read a book about his story. Interesting fact: If you have read The Kiss Quotient, you might remember Quan, the protagonist Michael’s cousin, who recognizes that Stella is autistic, because he had an autistic brother. That brother is our protagonist, Khai Diep. And Michael plays a cameo too.

The only problem I had was with dishonesty and omission.

Esme and Khai’s mother explicitly hide the fact that she was doing the whole arranged marriage for her own gains and the fact that she has a child back home in Vietnam. In fact, they agree to wait for him to fall for her, before telling him the truth.

And again, his mother omits telling her that Khai is autistic. I understand Esme turned out to be a great support to him and all. To be fair, doesn’t she have the right to know before agreeing to the deal? Go figure.

What worked for me

  • I loved the OWN VOICE representations, as the author being autistic and a Vietnamese herself
  • Oh the romance and chemistry! And it has been a while since I felt this invested in any fictional romance. Again, great writing.
  • The humorous and witty dialogues help the the Bride Test from being a steamy or sappy romance. Stellar combo!
  • I loved that all the characters, not just the protagonists, are full developed, with emotional depth.

What may have been better

  • Some people may find all the deception and disregard to Khai’s feelings off putting.

Bottom line

If you are looking for a steamy, happily-ever-after with great Own voice representations, The bride test by Helen Hoang is your go to choice. You will not regret it. It comes close to being The Kiss Quotient !

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November 9 by Colleen Hoover – A book review

Joy luck club, The – A book review

I reading about China in The Joy luck club last year without knowing that I would be spending a month in Macau (a country that is still a part of Chinese government) soon after I finished it! Has this ever happened to you? So how did it fare on my chart? Let us find out.

About the Joy luck club

Book Name: The Joy luck club

Author: Amy Tan

Genre: Fiction –  HistoricalDrama

Characters: Jing-mei (June) Woo, Suyuan Woo, An-mei Hsu, Rose Hsu Jordan, Lindo Jong, Waverly Jong, Ying-ying St. Clair, and Lena St. Clair

Setting: San Francisco, The United States of America and China

Plot Summary of the Joy luck club

Following her mother’s death (Suyuan Woo), Jing-mei (June) Woo replaces her in the monthly Mah jong game. Suyuan and her friends started this tradition years ago when they moved into San Francisco as way to keep in touch with their Chinese culture and history. Through the years, the four mothers share their festivals, their daughters’ birthdays and achievements during the game.

While the mothers tried to preserve the culture, their daughters chase the American dream and lifestyle. They do not have the patience or interest in knowing their mother’s history and they scoff at the Chinese superstitions. Despite living under the same roof for years, the mothers and daughters live a life separated by their culture and life experiences. 

The harder their mothers are on them, the harder the daughters rebel in their own way, without realizing unwittingly they are following their mothers’ path. They also are quick to leave behind their Chinese culture just like their mothers had. 

During their game, Jing-mei finds out that just before her death Suyuan had traced her two other daughters that she had to leave behind during the World war II. And her mother’s friends urge her to take her mother’s journey to meet her long lost relatives who are still in China. Did she take that journey and find her sisters forms the rest of the story in The Joy luck club.

Book review of the Joy luck club

The Joy luck club is one of those classic cult hit when it was released in 1989. While it does feel a little bit dated, her major themes on mother- daughter relationship and generational gaps, especially between the first and second generational Chinese-Americans still holds good. 

The Joy luck club contains sixteen short stories narrated by four Chinese born mothers and their respective daughters who make it a point not to learn Chinese over half a century! While it was fun to try to read this structure, the truth was it was a little difficult to remember all the secondary characters. 

I loved how the daughters who scoffed at their mothers and their traditions in their childhood and well into their marriages, turn around as they mature and even get closer to them. And how their mothers in turn, learn to adapt into their new roles over the years. To be honest, The Joy luck club made me stop a moment and examine my own relationship with my mother. 

Things that worked for me

  • I loved the friendship/co-dependency between the mothers.
  • The stories about the mothers before coming to the USA were haunting and so historically rich. I loved them.

Things that didn’t work for me

  • Did the author somehow help the strict, cold Asian mothers and absentee Asian fathers stereotypes?  (UPDATE: upon reading other reviews -YES SHE DID, AND FACED A SEVERE BACKLASH)
  • I wish the book’s structure was a bit easier to follow through.

Similar reviews you might like

Bottom-line

The Joy Luck Club is culturally and historically rich, even though it plays a bit to the stereotypes or even went to setting those stereotypes in the first place. If you are looking for a literary / historical fiction The Joy luck club by Amy Tan is a good choice. 

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November 9 by Colleen Hoover – A book review

Kiss Quotient, The – A book review

I hope y’all still believe in “better than late never“, because I am talking about a book that many of you have read and spoken to death about. Yes, I am talking about The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. And if you are one of those rare souls that haven’t read this yet, let my review convince you!

About the book

Book Name: The Kiss Quotient

Author: Helen Hoang

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Characters: Stella Lane, Michael Phan

Setting: Silicon Valley, CaliforniaThe United States of America

The plot

When her mother forces her to get married, the autistic Stella Lane hires a male escort to teach her the ways to please a man. Stella is a highly intelligent econometrician who is socially inept and hence generally poor in understanding people and thus relationships.

Micheal Phan works as an escort on Fridays to pay his ailing mother’s huge hospital bills. He is good at what he does and he is strict about not rebooking his clients, even if they pay well. Well everything changes when he is hired by Stella. 

There is an instant connection between them but they resist because professional boundaries and miscommunication. Do they or not end up together forms the rest of The Kiss Quotient.

My initial thoughts

I took the book right from the first page. It is a story that we have all heard before but what makes The Kiss Quotient a good book are the protagonists.

The characters are so well thought and developed with depth. None of the cardboard stereotypes that are a dozen a dime in the Kissing Quotient. Both Stella and Micheal made me laugh and cry when they did. 

I liked the fact that the author didn’t cheapen autism or oversell it. Even I, who have very little personal experience with autism, could understand a lot about the spectrum and Stella as a person. I would consider that a win for Helen Hoang. 

Yay for the representation (autism, Asian (Vietnamese) characters and a male sex worker)! And extra credit for not shaming the sex work in anyway.

Things that worked for me

  • The writing is so easy to read and I couldn’t put the book down at all.
  • I loved the well developed characters. 
  • The Kiss Quotient is kinda smutty but it works so well. Kudos to the author!

Things that didn’t work for me

Definitely not a young adult novel, as some believe it to be. Lots of steamy scenes. So beware. 

Bottom-line

If you are looking to beat the boring afternoons during the lock down, pick The Kiss Quotient without a doubt. This racy, funny romance will steal your heart away for sure!

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Have you read this one? Do you like steamy romances? If yes, suggest me similar books please. What are you currently reading? Let us talk.