Bite Sized Books // Two Very Different Books That I've Enjoyed Lately

08 May 2019

I have two very different books to review today. both released last week (although one of them has been around a little longer than the other) and I wanted to get my review up for both. I liked one a touch more than the author, but both are very awesome reads. First up is an amazing YA romance which
Published: 2nd May 2019 (UK)
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating:
Bollywood film fanatic Winnie has grown up believing the future is written in the stars. Her family's pandit predicted she would find the love of her life before her eighteenth birthday. So when her relationship with Raj collapses, despite him meeting all the criteria, Winnie is lost. This is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then fellow film geek Dev challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope: is taking the future into her own hands the way to find her happily ever after? To get the perfect ending, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family and, of course, a Bollywood movie star.

A fate-filled debut sure to dazzle fans of Stephanie Perkins, Maureen Johnson and Sandhya Menon.

First up we have My So-Called Bollywood Life and it was a young adult read in a run of them. It did mean I was a little harsher on this book than I might have been otherwise. That being said, I did really enjoy it and thinking back on it I am so impressed by it and am glad I read it. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a lighter romance read which will probably make you want to watch a Bollywood film (or five).

When you start this book it's with Winnie breaking into her ex-boyfriend’s house to steal back everything she had given to him after he cheated when they were on a break (yes, all I thought of was friends when I read that) and from that first moment, I knew I liked her. She was not shy or retiring, she was strong and she knew her mind. Raj seemed like the boy she was meant to fall in love with but he did so much wrong and she knew he wasn’t, no matter what others might think. But her family believes in the prediction from her family pandit since he got so much else right. So this is very much about family expectations and making your own destiny and I was cheering Winnie on to make her own choices because Raj sounded like he did not get her at all.

I loved that the whole book was filled with Bollywood references and films considering the book title. It was obvious many a Bollywood film was watched in the writing of this book and I was tempted to compile a list of some to watch given I'm a complete newbie to Bollywood films. I got Winnie's passion for Bollywood films and films in general. Not everyone can make reference to some of their favourite Bollywood films and follow it up with references to Pride & Prejudice or Never Been Kissed. It was little things like that which helped show the character of Winnie was well-written to show she wasn't some Bollywood fangirl (she was) but someone who was serious about film as a whole and willing to learn and watch everything in her quest to pursue her passion. It was that which made me so very frustrated by the character of Raj. He continually brushed off Winnie’s love of film and dreams of being a film critic as impractical but anyone who listened to her talk about films would have been blind to not see her dedication to it. I think that's why I was so pleased she continually turned Raj down when he kept trying to get back with her. As soon as someone is unwilling to support your dreams you have to cut them loose as they don't want the best for you.

And Dev! Now that boy was adorable. He was exactly right for Winnie. He challenged her but never held her back. He tried to get her to think of new things and wanted to help her move forward not to hold her back or change her. I loved seeing them together as they went through meeting each others family and got to know each other. I was sad when the inevitable separation happened as drama came to keep them apart but it made the ending all the more rewarding. But the separation portion of this book bothered me. I got why Winnie was annoyed, and I got why Dev was angry too, but I felt like the massive deal that was made out of the whole situation just to be able to have the dramatic reunion at the end. I knew it was going to happen but it just felt a little much. More talking was needed I think, but it’s a minor grumble.

I loved how involved Winnie’s parents and family was in her life as well. Her parents were so cute both scolding her and telling her to follow rules and be good but always pushing her to pursue her dream as well. I think because I've read a lot of books where parents are trying to force their kids to do something they don't want to do, especially in YA because the 'my parents don't understand me' trope is strong that seeing supportive parents was exciting to see.

I really enjoyed this book and it was such an easy read. I'm sad I kept comparing it to other books I read because honestly, it was really good and definitely one I think others should read too as it's better than at least 50% of contemporary YA books I've read. And it was fun.

Published: 2nd May 2019
Source: Netgalley/Author
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
Finding a family…
…with her ex?

In this Billionaires for Heiresses story, Autumn is stunned when Hunter Lee, her billionaire ex turned best friend, appears on her doorstep—with a son! Their relationship changed because she wanted a family and he didn’t believe he’d make a good father, but they never stopped loving each other. Now he needs her help. Will caring for baby Eli together make them realize how much they both want this little family…forever?
This was only my second Therese Beharrie book and I enjoyed it a lot, but I think the first one, Second Chance With Her Billionaire, was just that bit better so I was constantly comparing this to that one and that meant I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I might. It was still a really good book and I was wholly invested and wanted to give Autumn a big old hug on basically every other page because she was hurting, but the angst of the first book was stronger somehow. But me saying this doesn’t match up to the first is me just saying it was really good rather than amazing because that bar was set quite high.

I think it was the baby element that might have taken it down that notch. Or it could be the fact that the break-up reasons were way more Hunter’s fault and I got my back up a little that he then turned to Autumn for help when kids were one of the reasons the two split. I mean it did lead to an epic amount of emotional angst that was so satisfying to read as the two slowly worked through their issues but having your back up at the start of a book can occasionally lead to you thinking a little less kindly of some characters. Hunter won me over in the end, but that man had to work for it much like he did with winning Autumn over so I suppose he’d romanced us both by the end of the book hadn’t he? That just shows Therese Beharrie skill that I came out at the end having really enjoyed the book and love the ending.

Hunter and Autumn are so good together and they both had their issues to unpack which stopped them being able to be a successful couple. Autumn needed to work on accepting herself and not doubting the opinions of those around her and that they actually cared. And Hunter had both daddy issues and a huge amount t of grief and guilt to deal with and had no place being in a relationship when he had that to contend with. But the two had had a relationship and it ended badly. Hunter was too scared to commit and give Autumn the family and future she wished and Autumn found she couldn't keep twisting herself up trying to please Hunter and give him what she thought he wanted. But she also couldn't expect him to love her when she didn't love herself and allow others to love her without her doubting them. Like I said they had issues. But they worked through them using their words… and raising a baby together (sort of, the actual mom honestly is in the picture but you really should read to get the details on that). Them working together to help Hunter be a good dad and get over some of his issues meant that they also worked through their issues for why their relationship didn’t work in the first place.

This book did really well in making me care for the characters. Autumn and Hunter got together at the wrong time and they broke up for the wrong reasons but this baby coming into their life? It totally brought them together. I may have hated that Hunter’s first instinct when finding out he had a surprise baby was to call Autumn which was gutting to her as she so wanted kids, but also the fact that his first instinct was to do that really says everything. He loved her and when something major happened she was the first person he wanted to turn to for help. It was a book with a whole heap of angst, I mean, a lot, and so I looked away a lot because damn I hurt for them both, but I was smiling by the end and that’s the important part really.

Have you read either of these books? Do you find yourself inevitably comparing books to others and finding yourself being overly critical?
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