Book Reviews: The Cheat Sheet, Remarkably Bright Creatures & Counterfeit

The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

goodreads blurb: Hi, my name is Bree Camden, and I’m hopelessly in love with my best friend and star quarterback Nathan Donelson (so is half of America, judging by the tabloids and how much the guy dates). The first step is admitting, right? Except, I can never admit it to him because he clearly doesn’t see me that way, and the last thing I want is for things to get weird between us. Nothing but good old-fashioned, no-touching-the-sexiest-man-alive, platonic friendship for us! Everything is exactly how I like it! Yes. Good. (I’m not crying, I’m just peeling an onion.) Our friendship is going swimmingly until I accidentally spill my beans to a reporter over too much tequila, and now the world seems to think me and Nathan belong together. Oh, and did I mention we have to date publicly for three weeks until after the Super Bowl because we signed a contract with…oops, forgot I can’t tell anyone about that! Bottom line is, now my best friend is smudging all the lines and acting very un-platonic, and I’m just trying to keep my body from bursting into flames every time he touches me. How am I going to make it through three weeks of fake dating Nathan without anything changing between us? Especially when it almost-sort-a-kinda seems like he’s fighting for a completely different outcome?

Send help.
XO Bree

My take: 3.5 out of 5. A perfectly ok romance, and I went back to it after having read When in Rome from Sarah Adams which I really enjoyed. This was good, it was just too predictable. When the only tension in the book is lack of communication it starts to get grating. ON the plus side, Nathan is kind of adorable and perfect so that was a big + in that column.

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Goodreads blurb: After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago. Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors–until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova. Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.

My take: 4.5 out of 5. This book had one negative thing going for it – very high expectations. If I had picked it up without knowing anything I might be raving about it now, but having heard so much positive buzz that made me run to get it (or have a very long wait in the library for my copy) the bar was high. And I have to say it crossed it, it was just not as amazing as promised. Don’t get my wrong it is a gorgeous book, with a beautiful story. It is also an unpredictable book and the characters are weird, flawed and engaging. However you know how things are going to end up and I hate those books because I’m stressed as to why we are not getting there faster. Sometimes I prefer not knowing so that I am surprised and my patience is less tested. Additionally for all the buildup the ending feels rushed like we finally got to where we need to be an there are only 5 pages left and i needed a better ending. Marcellus is amazing and the absurd and brilliant use of him to kind of set a lot of things in motion is really good. I want to have a Marcellus in my life. Definitely read this book for an unconventional pick me up read.

Counterfeit by Kristin Chen

Goodreads blurb: Money can’t buy happiness… but it can buy a decent fake. Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home–she’s built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava’s world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn’t been used in years, and her toddler’s tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point. Enter Winnie Fang, Ava’s enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business–someone who’d never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences. Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an axe to grind. Peering behind the curtain of the upscale designer storefronts and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced, Kirstin Chen interrogates the myth of the model minority through two unforgettable women determined to demand more from life.

My take: 2.75 out of 5. There has been a lot of disappointment in this month of reading. I usually hold Reese’s book picks in very high regards but this was a total dud. I Wanted it to be a thriller style crazy rich Asians, and what I got a was a bit of a boring crime show. I really didn’t care that much about the characters, on the contrary they were a bit annoying. Even though there is a cool “twist” to the story, it just wasn’t impactful enough to warrant the rest o the boringness. It’s not a terrible book, its just not a great page turner and it had so much potential. Good thing it is a very quick read.

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