Normally I only review three books at once, but one of these was a DNF so I figured it was only fair to put all four of these together for your reading pleasure. First up, we have Boyfriend Lessons by Sophia Singh Sasson, which is a Harlequin Desire that actually came out in May. Then we’ll talk about As Seen on TV by Meredith Schorr, which is the book I DNF’d, and is already out from Forever. Third is D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins from Carina Adores and the audiobook dropped yesterday, which I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of from Netgalley. Fourth, is An Island Summer by Jenny Hale, which is also already available for you to read and is on KU. So let’s talk about these!
Boyfriend Lessons by Sophia Singh Sasson
I really wanted to like Boyfriend Lessons because, like kissing lessons, the concept of dating lessons appeals to me on a deep level. However, it was just… fine. It didn’t really lean into the concept of boyfriend lessons as much as I would have liked. And really this was all about both characters having intense obligations to their family and that was mostly the full extent of the conflict. But, you know, it was fine. I’m sure a lot of people will really like it.
As Seen on TV by Meredith Schorr
So, I attempted to read this book because I was really excited about the ARC I had from Netgalley. I purchased the audiobook because I haven’t been in the mood to read with my eyes and I… did not like this at all. Not even a little. I know that romanticizing small towns is a thing. I get it. I love Hallmark movies too. What I don’t understand is banking your professional career on a view of small towns ENTIRELY based on Hallmark movies. And I kept telling myself that our main character would learn from her mistakes and get better, but there were so many things about this book grating on my nerves that I gave up at about 30%. Also there were a few discomforting things said offhandedly that struck me as being a little gender role rigid for lack of a better way to phrase that. Anyway, I hope this book finds the right audience, but unfortunately, that audience is not me.
D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins
Sometimes I can read a book with an obtuse and insecure main character who is extremely oblivious to the feelings the other person has for them and sometimes it grates on my nerves so much, I really should put the book down. Instead of doing that though, I pushed through because I was lucky enough to have an audio ARC copy from the publisher/Netgalley. (I’d actually already pre-ordered it on Libro.fm as well, just for full transparency.) As far as the narrator, I liked Rebecca Lee’s narration style, though I’m basically always going to wish that there were as many narrators as perspectives just from a personal taste sort of thing. But Lee puts the emotions into her performance and that’s really what makes a book for me.
As far as the book itself goes, essentially D’Vaughn signs up for this reality tv show so that she has like a vehicle to aid her in coming out to her family, particularly her mom, who is very religious. In some ways, I liked this aspect of things and on the other hand, if you’re going to set this part up like a conflict (which it was even beyond the introduction), then I’m kind of going to need you to carry through it the whole way. Instead, it was like Mom doesn’t react well and then they have a confrontation (kind of) and then we just fully move past it. If that’s real life, then awesome. But like… I don’t understand how D’Vaughn, who overthinks about literally everything, just lets that go entirely. Anyway, the premise of the reality show is that they pair you with a stranger (Married at First Sight like) and then you have to convince your family that you are in fact getting married in six weeks to this person you’re just now introducing them to. I’m generally always down for a reality show premise and I liked the vehicle the story was told in. I really loved Kris, who has come on the show to find love. She’s one of those true believer kind of people, but with this Butch energy that’s just… Top notch. I liked her energy so much. And her family? They’re wonderful. But again, there were things that just didn’t quite feel like they were fleshed out enough for me to really understand how we were getting from Point A to Point B.
That said, I love Chencia C. Higgins’ writing style generally, so I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
An Island Summer by Jenny Hale
An Island Summer is best considered a general fiction novel that would be for fans of like… the book January’s character is writing in Beach Read by Emily Henry. Like, maybe fans of Elin Hilderbrand maybe? This book is not for people who like for a book marketed towards romance readers to be an actual romance novel. That’s not say this book doesn’t have an HEA. It’s just to say that these two love interests make literally no sense together and therefore, you need to be reading this book for literally any other reason. I liked the idea of investigating the past timeline situation, but it wasn’t woven in quite well enough for me. Honestly, mostly this book just didn’t work for me in any way.
So… As you can see, not the most successful set of ARCs I’ve ever had. But that’s okay because there are plenty more books in the world. Share with me your thoughts on DNF reviews. Are they still helpful for you?