Review: California Girls

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours as part of a review tour. 

This was my first time reading a book by Susan Mallery and I enjoyed it. 

This book was a classic chick lit novel. 

I loved the dynamic between the sisters. That felt very real and organic. The sisters did have their differences but were still able to come together when it mattered. 

I also loved how each of their stories were different. Even though they all had the commonality of getting dumped at the same time, they all went down different paths. I thought that was really important to show because everyone is different and deals with things in their own way. 

The one thing I didn’t like was how some of the situations that the characters found themselves in weren’t that realistic. For example, the way Finola found out about her husband’s affair (her husband told her right before she went on air, plus the mistress was the pop star she had to interview, who also confronted her about the affair). But this is a chick lit novel so I can look past that. Part of the fun of reading chick lit is the over the top scenarios that happen. 

Overall, this was a solid chick lit book perfect for reading while sunbathing in the warm California sun.


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SYNOPSIS:

The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…

Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

Review: The Lost Coast

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Rating: ★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Candlewick Press) in exchange for an honest review. 

I had such high hopes for this book, but it ultimately did not live up to my expectations. 

Let’s start with what I did like. 

I liked the diversity. There was a lot of sexual (lesbian, ace, etc.) and racial diversity. One of the girls was Filipino which I was super happy about since I’m Filipino. I love seeing Filipino representation.  

I also liked the aesthetic of the book. The descriptions perfectly captured that foggy, mystical, Northern California vibe. 

Now on to what I didn’t love. 

There were a lot of point of view changes throughout the book which really made it difficult to understand especially in the beginning. Each POV would last for only a few pages so it ended up being a bit jarring and all over the place. 

As for the storyline, it wasn’t exciting. It felt kind of blah to me until the end which is when things finally got interesting. 

I also wished the book focused more on June and Hawthorn. They were my two favorite characters and I wanted to explore more of their backstory. 

Overall, this book had some good moments (Queer POC witches for the win!), but didn’t reach its full potential. 

Review: Boardwalk Summer

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a TLC Book Tour.

I absolutely loved everything about this book! 

I was so excited to read this because it takes place in Santa Cruz, California. I just so happen to live in nearby San Jose (which is mentioned in passing a few times in the book) and have been to Santa Cruz and the boardwalk myself. It was really cool reading about a place that I was familiar with. The beach boardwalk was the place for end of the field trips while I was in school. Whenever the Giant Dipper or the carousel was mentioned, I got exited and  was like, I’ve been on that! 

This book has dual storylines: Violet’s story which takes place in 1940 and Mari’s story which takes place in 2007. I found both stories to be very compelling and I liked how they were connected. Usually when it comes to dual storylines, I’ll end up liking one story more than the other, but with this book, I loved them both! 

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I was so happy to see that Mari was Mexican American. It gave the book a realness that was refreshing. There are a lot of Mexican Americans in the Bay Area so it was nice to see that representation. 

The whole tearing down the gazebo and building condos storyline in Mari’s part was so accurate. That happens so much in the Bay Area especially since the Silicon Valley tech boom. Developers are constantly trying to tear down things that have been here forever in order to build stuff the city doesn’t even need. I could relate to Mari’s opposition to it so much! 

As for Violet and her storyline, I enjoyed how it portrayed the reality of Hollywood. It showed both the glamour and the grime of it. It especially important now because of the #MeToo movement. 

Overall if you’re looking for a California beach read, then look no further, this book is for you! And from a local perspective, this was spot on!


Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 
Author Links: Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
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About Boardwalk Summer

• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 19, 2018)

In this new novel from the USA Today bestselling author of The Dressmaker’s Dowry, two young women two generations apart discover the joy and heartbreak of following their dreams. Aspiring Hollywood actress Violet makes a shocking choice in 1940, and seventy years later, Mari sets out to discover what happened on that long ago summer.

Santa Cruz, Summer 1940: When auburn-haired Violet Harcourt is crowned Miss California on the boardwalk of her hometown, she knows she is one step closer to her cherished dream: a Hollywood screen test. But Violet’s victory comes with a price—discord in her seemingly perfect marriage—and she grapples with how much more she is willing to pay.

Summer 2007: Single mother Marisol Cruz lives with her parents in the charming beach cottage that belonged to her grandfather, Ricardo, once a famed performer on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Drawn to the town’s local history and the quaint gazebo where her grandparents danced beneath the stars, Mari sells raffle tickets at the Beach Boardwalk Centennial Celebration, and meets Jason, a California transplant from Chicago.

When Mari discovers the obituary of Violet Harcourt, a beauty queen who died too young, she and Jason are sent on a journey together that will uncover her grandfather’s lifelong secret—his connection to Violet—a story of tragedy and courage that will forever transform them.

About Meredith Jaeger

USA Today bestselling author Meredith Jaeger was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the daughter of a Swiss father and an American mother. While working for a San Francisco start-up, Meredith fulfilled her dream of writing a novel, the result of which was The Dressmaker,s Dowry. Meredith lives in Alameda with her husband, their infant daughter, and their bulldog.

Find out more about Meredith at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.