5 Books (Only) in Early February

When I said work was crazy before, I’d like to think that I had crossed the border on how I defined crazy. Surely I never thought that it was possible to cross the line even moreI never even contemplated the idea that it could stretch. So yeah, as you might have already guessed, it's been more than a week since I last read a book or had some time to myself. The last few days of February marked the official start of peak season in my company, and I haven't been able to do anything but work, eat, and sleep since (8 to 8 sounds heavenful now compared to the reality of what is actually happening: 8 to 1, or 12 if I'm lucky).

Well, at least I have some good news to share: before having too much on my plate, I was able to complete five new books (I knew it was too good to be true. Ten books in two straight months? What a generous amount). 

Following the story of a new librarian in the Little Bridge Island named Molly Montgomery and the island's new sheriff John Hartwell, this book is a combination of light mystery and romance. When Molly discovers an abandoned baby in her library restroom, her life changes. Her fondness for criminal stories, followed by the fact that she feels responsible for the discovery, brings her into one of the most talked-about investigations on the island. That's when she meets John, the grumpy sheriff with blue distracting eyes. Meanwhile, John, recently divorced with one teenage daughter called Katie, is having a hard time adjusting to singlehood life. It's also not helping that the Highschool Thief cases haven't been handled well under his leadership. When another case happens in the old library, John is quick to investigate the scene. That's when he meets Molly, the new librarian with the biggest, roundest eyes he has ever seen.

Initially, I thought the premise sounded so interesting. A romance story between a sheriff and a librarian was quite new to me, and the idea of them solving cases together actually seemed promising. Who doesn't want a little mystery with an avid reader as the main lead? Well, little did I know that No Offense would turn out to be my least favorite Meg Cabot's book ever. No Offense could have been much better if the characters weren't so much of a meddler (it's annoying, Molly) or a Molly-pleaser (talking about you, John).

The Alchemist tells the adventure of a shepherd named Santiago that touches the topic of spiritual self-discovery. It all starts with Santiago’s recurring dream about finding treasure in the Pyramid of Egypt. When an old man convinces him that he has to find his Personal Legend and that the search for the treasure might be it for him, Santiago decides to sell his sheep and begin the journey to the desert. Everything doesn’t fall into place instantly though: he is robbed, lost, and he eventually let go of his dream. But the omens keep indicating the opposite, and Santiago has to learn to listen to his heart and recognize the Language of the World in order to survive.

Albeit short, this book felt full somehow: full of hidden messages whose impact I sadly didn’t get, good proses that made me want to keep reading, and interesting turns of events like the ending which I surprisingly liked. It's nice to be able to admit that Santiago’s journey in hunting the so-called treasure was quite absorbing also, even if everything felt too made-up and it felt like he bore no real problem. While The Alchemist is not a book for me, it may be the one you're actually looking for. If you like interpreting life's hidden messages or are into spiritual self-discovery journeys, it may be a book you'd like to try reading.

This book follows the story of Bree Camden who has been in love with her best friend since, like, forever. But the thing is, Nathan Donelson is no ordinary man. He is the star quarterback in NFL with fans all over America, and most importantly, he doesn't seem to look at Bree that way. When Bree accidentally spills her guts to a reporter over too much tequila one day, the world quickly assumes that the two are getting together. A strange opportunity then arises for Bree to get more money and for Nathan to get an even better image: they just have to fake date until the Superbowl is over. But it's really hard for Bree to remember that it's all just a charade when Nathan is being too close and overly flirtatious.

It's very easy to like a book when the main characters are lovable, and fortunately, both Bree and Nathan in The Cheat Sheet easily fall into that category. Bree was a fun, panicky character, while Nathan was that sort of too-good-to-be-true guy all women need. Even if the two seemed too kind and perfect, and their oblivion about their mutual crush seemed stupid at some point (I mean, secretly in love with each other for six years was crazy...), I still enjoyed the friends-to-lovers trope a little bit too much. In conclusion, I would recommend The Cheat Sheet if you are in the mood for something fun and fluffy. The romance might not be steamy, but you would be surprised by how swoon-worthy the relationship was. 

Following the story of the quirky, chaotic Hazel Bradford and the quiet, get-it-together Josh Im, this book starts with a thorough explanation about why Hazel and Josh are not compatible hence they never date. Having known each other since college, they accidentally meet again seven years later in a barbecue party at the Goldrich's residentwho knows that Hazel's new best friend, Emily Goldrich, is actually Josh's little sister? When a cheating girlfriend leaves him for another man, Josh is devastated. To cheer up her new best friendsor so she hopesHazel sets him up with some of her friends, letting Josh do the same to her. Double blind-date night becomes a regular thing for them, and the next thing they know, they both become very comfortable with each other... But relax, it's not like they date or something.

I have officially put Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating on the imaginary shelves inside my head specialized for favorites only. Everything about this book was hilariously entertaining. In conclusion, I enjoyed this book so much that for a second there I was thinking about rereading it directly from the start. If you love finding a quirky character as opposed to a calmer, reserved one, this book might be good material for your next read. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did if not more.

The conflict in My Favorite Half-Night Stand starts when Millie and Reid decide to hook up one night. Assuming that it would be better if their relationship remains strictly platonic, the two agree that they will keep the half-night stand a secret from the gang. What's not so secret is the question about who to bring to a black-tie gala the university holds. Currently not dating anyone, they are determined to find a plus-one from a dating app called "In Real Life", also known as IRL. It all turns chaotic after that. Millie's second account under the name Catherine matches with Reid's. What started as an innocent attempt to prank Reid soon turns into a serious pen-pal-ship over time. Reid, not knowing it is Millie all along, starts to become comfortable with Cat's openness and vulnerability, while also sensing something growing between him and Millie in real life.

I think this book would be much better with more chemistry and more endearing quirks. All the characters, the main ones included, felt flat to the point that I didn't even think they were annoying among other thingsI literally felt nothing. While the plot had so much potential, the way it was managed just didn't live up to it. The catfishing was not funny and obviously didn't help either, but I quite liked Millie's character development in the end.