Thursday, November 5, 2020

Isn't It Romantic?

The Flip Side

James Bailey
Age/Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: William Marrow
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Penny wise or pound foolish? A heartbroken young Brit decides to turn his love life over to the flip of a coin—in this delightfully British rom-com in the vein of Jenny Colgan, Rosie Curtis, Nick Hornby, and David Nicholls.

To coin a phrase, Josh is suffering a quarter-life crisis. He just broke up with his long-term girlfriend, lost his job, and moved back home with his parents (shudder). Welcome to rock bottom in Bristol. As Josh starts questioning all his life choices, he has a mad thought: Maybe he would just be better flipping a coin. After all, careful planning has landed him homeless, jobless, and single.

What starts as a joke soon becomes serious and Josh decides to start putting his faith in the capriciousness of currency. He doesn’t have anything to lose.

But when the chance of a lifetime and the girl of his dreams are on the line, will the coin guide him to a rich love life or leave him flat broke?
In one day, Josh lost his girlfriend, his home, and his job. Questioning his capacity to make good decisions, he decided to let the flip of a coin take the guesswork out of things. But when it came to "Sunflower Girl", would Josh trust the coin or his heart?

This book started out with a savage break-up, but it was wrapped up in humor. That was pretty much how the entire book went. Josh was in such a life-limbo. He sort of lost everything and had to start again, but he was stuck. However, through all his "UGH" moments, I was either smiling or laughing, because the book was very amusing. I loved the characters and all their quirks, and the antics and shenanigans often had me laughing out loud. I must admit, though, that it really picked up for me when Josh met Sunflower Girl. 

His search for this mystery woman was a real turning point in the story. Running all over Europe looking for her was great and all, but it was also a time of growth for Josh. These experiences and the people he encountered in his search had such an impact on him. It was satisfying to see him make some progress in his life. Josh was definitely a different man at the end of the book than he was at the start, and I enjoyed tagging along on his journey. 

Things I Loved!

🗺️ Traveling
🙋 Pub quiz
😊 Fantastic friends
🐰 Jeremy 
👴 Pap
🤣 So much whimsy and wit
💑 Sweet romance

I had a wonderful time following Josh as he tried to get his life on track. He suffered some losses, failures, and embarrassments, but he also learned a lot, had the support of family and friends, and found "the one". Chuckles and giggles abounded as I read this story which was filled with tons of humor and lots of heart which left me with a smile on my face. 

How to Fail at Flirting

Denise Williams
Age/Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.

When her flailing department lands on the university's chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.

Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.

Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she's finally living again.
After escaping a damaging relationship, Naya decided shut out the world and throw herself into her work. Living her low key life was easier, but lonely and not very fulfilling. Armed with encouragement and a list of dares from her friends, she puts herself out there and met a wonderful man. However, being with Jake could destroy her professionally, and she was left to choose between her career and someone who could be the love of her life. 

I shed so many tears as I read this book. There were sad tears for everything Naya had suffered, tears from laughter as Naya stumbled back into the dating pool, and tears of joy when she reclaimed what "he" stole from her. I wasn't expecting this book to tackle such a weighty subject, but Williams impressed me with how well she blended the heavy and the light as she deftly navigated Naya's healing journey. 

What started as a silly dare turned into something so important for Naya. Though she was able to get out of an abusive relationship, she did so with many scars. Her ability to trust others and herself was damaged. Though it was a slow uphill climb, Naya began to gain more confidence in herself thanks to the support of her two best friends and Jake. I will admit, I loved so many aspects of this book, but Naya's comeback really resonated with me. I was excited for her and cheered her on the entire time, and I was truly happy every time something finally went her way. 

Yes, Naya was a survivor, and it was amazing watching her restored to the technicolor version of herself, but I also adored seeing her fall in love. It was hard to believe that she and Jake would work out given the early beginnings of their romance, but they were simply brilliant together. They were goofy and sweet and sizzling at times too. There was something special about the connection between them, and I felt like I had a personal stake in the fate of their relationship. Jake was spectacular, not perfect, but perfect for Naya. He was attentive, sweet, caring, and basically the opposite of Naya's ex, which was the most important thing. 

I am sure you won't be surprised to hear that I finished this book with tears in my eyes, but they were due to the overwhelming happiness I was experiencing. HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING was the total package for me. It was funny and sweet, heartbreaking and heartwarming. It made me laugh and cry, rage and swoon. So, thank you, Denise Williams, for this wonderful story.    

**ARCs received in exchange for honest reviews.

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  1. Ohhh Sam, these both sound like incredible reads! I love the humour The Flip Side, it reminds me a little of Ted's journey in How I Met Your Mother but obviously funny, the TV series became stale after a few seasons for me. How to Fail at Flirting sounds like a lighthearted title and I don't think it really does the book justice. It sounds empowering and tearful and one of the reads that has the potential to break you and piece you back together. I'll definitely be grabbing a copy. Beautiful reviews Sam, really enjoyed them.

    1. Yes! Now that you mention it, I can see the HIMYM vibes in The Flip Side. Flirting was a bit deceptive. It hit many rom-com moments, but with the abuse sub-plot, there were weightier moments.

  2. The Flip Side sounds very fun - I love when books can mix humor with deeper topics.

    1. I think both books did that. They had humor and depth, and both were emotionally satisfying for me.

  3. Both of these sound fun and like great escapes right now.

    1. I really enjoyed them both. I love a funny book, but I really like when the author can combine the heavy and light the way these two did

  4. How to Fail at Flirting sounds unexpectedly emotional! The illustrated cover makes it look pretty light hearted but it obvious that it really acted a punch. I like that it had it all for you - the emotion and the tears and the laughs. :)

    1. It's being billed as a rom-com, and it has a lot of rom-com nature, but Naya's past and how she deals with it was very emotional. I liked it a lot.

  5. Well it sounds like I need to add these to my TBR!