Book Review: Stay a Little Longer

Stay a Little Longer book review

I received an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of this book courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Stay a Little Longer by Dawn Lanuza
Published by: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: New Adult
Pub Date: May 28, 2019
ISBN: 9781524851057
Price: $14.99 (USD)

They were perfect strangers—all perks, no strings. Until they weren’t.

Elan wasn’t supposed to meet Caty. She lived halfway around the world, and he barely left Manila. Yet here he was, giving her a ride to the airport. Convinced that they would never have to see each other again after that day, Elan and Caty started to bond over truths, dares, stolen kisses, and games in hotel rooms and bars.

With brief encounters that turned them from acquaintances to friends — tipping to the point of lovers, always — will Elan and Caty keep settling for a day, or will someone finally dare to stay long enough to discover: Is this love?

What I Loved:

» A Filipino author!
I never made a concerted effort to read Japanese or Filipino authors until recently. I specifically want to read my ethnic background. It’s easy to find English text of Japanese authors, but difficult of Filipino authors. I stumbled onto this title through pure luck of browsing and I couldn’t be happier.

» Building of Elan & Caty
I hated Caty at first. I hated Elan and Caty interacting. Their dialogue was so clunky and stilted. Caty was so immature and brash, while Elan was such a doormat. I almost DNF-ed the book so many times in Part 1. But then at the end of it, she shows she’s self-aware of how awful she can be.

Then, they get to know each other better. They both share more of themselves and I began to understood why she’s like that and why Elan is overly patient with her. As Elan and Caty open up to each other, their dialogue becomes more fluid and natural. After Part 2 I was full-on rooting for them.

» The Dance Scene
LOVE! I could see it in my mind and I loved it.

» The Long Distance Relationship
My husband and I met by chance and spent almost 2 years in a long distance relationship before we got married. Even after we got married, we spend a lot of time separated because of the military. So the angsty goodbyes and the awkwardness of seeing each other for the first time in months made complete sense. There’s a part when Caty doesn’t know how to handle having Elan in her space and it really resonated with me. When Cass came home from his first deployment, I didn’t know how to exist with him physically in my life again. Lanuza did a great job of capturing those feelings and the difficulty of articulating them to Elan.

What I Wished For:

» More of their pasts
They give each other the quick rundown of their complicated pasts, but I wanted more details. I get the gist of how these events from their pasts have effected them, but I wanted just a little more. Especially from San Juan. Caty talks about how everyone gossips about her. I wanted to see more of that.

» More of Jules
She’s friends with both Elan and Caty and I wanted more of her in their story. They talk about and around her, but she doesn’t have much a presence until a chapter toward the end.

» More info in the epilogue
[Spoiler alert! Highlight over the blank section below to read]
There were very real reasons why Elan lived in Manila and Caty in Toronto/New York. They didn’t address how they were going to bypass Elan’s mother’s health problems and Caty’s career aspirations. Elan felt all that pressure to take care of his mom because his sister had a daughter and her husband worked on a freighter and was gone a lot. Caty was building a styling career in New York and was gaining some traction. They were such huge reasons throughout the story and they felt swept aside with no real explanation.

Realistic long-distance love story with great character development

Book Review: I Owe You One

I Owe You One book review

I was tired, but I wasn’t sleepy so I started reading thinking I’d fall asleep part way through and finish it in the morning. I accidentally stayed up all night reading this in one sitting…lying…whatever. There was a chaotic Shakespearean quality to the story and I just had to find out how everything is sorted out in the end.

What I Loved:

» How slimy Jake (Fixie’s older brother) & Ryan (the boy she’s been in love with forever) are
They’re so easy to hate. They’re the type of guys who never really say anything, but always have something to say. They rely solely on their charm, looks, and money. They’re all flash. It was fun to be able to have someone to completely hate and root against because they really had no redeemable qualities.

» Easy to read
Like I said, I read it in one go and it didn’t feel like it. I looked down to see my progress and was shocked that I was over halfway and next thing I know I was at 90%.

» Sebastian
I’m not going to say too much because it’s fun to be introduced to him and learn more about him as you go along. But I love the name (mostly because of Sebastian Stan) and I love what he stands for and the way he runs his company.

What I Wished For:

» More of Fixie fixing things
There was mostly moments of her meddling and trying not to. I wish there were more small moments throughout the book where she’s fixing something. Don’t get me wrong, they’re there. I just wanted more.

» More of the late Mr. Farr
They talk a bit about him. Mostly that he was charming, level-headed, and put family first. But I wanted more anecdotes and fond memories of him in the store and with them as children.

» A bit of a longer ending
The ending felt rushed through and I had to reread a few sections because I was a little lost in all the flurry of the windup.

Fun chick lit with some infuriating chaos. Easy to read; I read it in one sitting.

Book Review: The Heirs

The Heirs book review

This got a lot of comparisons to The Nest, which I enjoyed, so I was excited about this. I also have a weird fascination with inheritance and how people have a strong sense of entitlement to someone else’s money.

Personally, I would be grateful if my parents left me anything, but I’m not going to demand it or hire a lawyer because I don’t feel like their money is my money. So when legal battles get ugly over money because someone feels like they deserve it, even if they weren’t included in the will, I’m like, “Get the popcorn!” Because greed is ugly and it’s a curse and if you’re going to create a spectacle over it, you deserve to be watched like the drama you are.

What I Loved:

» The Writing
I couldn’t stop reading. I could have easily read this in one sitting if I didn’t have life happening…or two needy dogs. I loved Rupert and Eleanor and their sons and all their friends and their sons’ friends and their sons’ families.

» The Characters
I feel like I know these people. Like they’re real people and I know them. Even though the book introduces a ton of different characters, the story really revolves around Rupert and Eleanor and how each person relates to them.

» All the Different Perspectives
With each new person and chapter, more little anecdotes and memories were released. Sometimes with this kind of story telling I get lost and frustrated because I want to stick with a particular story line. But this was masterfully done and I went along with whatever piece of the story Susan Rieger wanted to tell me.

The Heirs quote

What I Wished For:

» More of the Sons
Did I miss chapters on Tom and Jack? They seemed skipped over. Maybe that was the point since they were the youngest. Aren’t kids more and more overlooked the more that you have? I don’t know, I don’t have kids and I’m the oldest so I have no idea.

» More Eleanor
I don’t know what more I could want of her, but I do! She’s fascinating and I couldn’t get enough of her.

» A Glossary of Characters
You don’t even know how many characters are introduced. I really needed a list of all the characters and how they’re related to the family. At the end, there were some people that were touched on that I still can’t remember who they were or how they knew Eleanor.

Loved it, great writing, couldn’t get enough of Eleanor.

Book Review: Last Night in Montreal

Last Night in MontrealThis book came to me from a Twitter book rec thread.

I actually picked up a lot of really great books from that thread and I keep going back to it to see what else has been added. I immediately grabbed 3 books on Overdrive and have been steadily adding titles from this thread to my TBR on Goodreads.

What I Loved:

» @MollyMcKew was right when she described the writing as “haunting”
I enjoyed Station Eleven so I was kicking myself for not reading anything else by her. So this was the first book from that Twitter thread that I picked up and I read it immediately. I really love the way Emily St. John Mandel writes. It evokes a certain kind of mood and feeling that I can’t describe. Read Station Eleven and you’ll get what I mean.

» The mystery
Where is Lilia? Why is she running? Will Eli find her? What happens if he does find her? What happens if he doesn’t find her?

» Lilia’s name
If I do end up having a baby, I have both a girl and a boy name already. But if I somehow end up with two girls, Lilia will be at the top of the list for Baby Girl 2.

» Montreal
I didn’t know anything about Montreal until now. Is the city really so pro-French/anti-English? I’m curious and want to visit, but the locals will hate my English speaking. However, according to some reviews from people from Montreal this wasn’t a 100% accurate portrayal of the city. So I guess I’ll have to visit to judge for myself.

What I Wished For:

» More depth to Lilia
As is, she is giving me Manic Pixie Dream Girl vibes. Her need to run. Her habit of collecting and abandoning lovers everywhere she goes. Love-struck Eli chasing after her. The Eli chapters were very reminiscent of Q chasing Margo in Paper Towns.

» A character I could root for
I guess I was rooting for Michaela. But I really didn’t care much about any of them. At a some point, I realized I reading because I was enjoying the writing rather than the story itself.

» More Michaela. More of Lilia’s father. More of Simon.
Basically I wanted more of side characters. They were the ones who intrigued me the most. I wanted to see how Michaela went from who she was when we first meet her to who she is at the end.

Great writing, but not my favorite story or characters.

Book Review: All We Ever Wanted

Not gonna lie…I thought this was a fluffy read and I was super in the mood for one of those. I completely judged the book by the cover and I judged so wrong. I’m kicking myself for not knowing better, but it ended up being a good read despite my mood for something different.

A high school prank/joke gone wrong creates a controversy at an elite private school (Windsor Academy) and, by extension, the upper-class community of Nashville. On one side is Lyla, a sophomore scholarship kid from that part of town and her over-protective single father, Tom. On the other side is Finch, the handsome senior who just got into Princeton and his mother, Nina, who comes from humbler roots and is realizing that her family’s money may be corruptive.

What I Loved:

» Nina doesn’t bury her head in the sand
She knows there’s something wrong with her marriage, her husband, and her son. Her husband is old money who makes his own fortune selling his tech company. She understands that her son isn’t the innocent child she raised and that he’s capable of making bad decisions. She also sees that letting her husband handle the situation may be the easiest solution, but not the best.

» Tom doesn’t bend to the will of his daughter
Lyla just wants to put her head down and wish nothing happened, but Tom refuses to let her. He advocates for her and stands up for her, even when she begs and demands that he doesn’t.

» The different perspectives
I enjoyed seeing how Tom, Nina, and Lyla approach the incident from their perspectives. They come at it in different ways and work together and separately to work past it.

» This quote:

“Minigolf,” she said with stone seriousness, “is a metaphor for life.”
I smiled and said, “Oh, really?”
“Yes. I mean, think about it….Do you take it seriously? Too seriously? Do you enjoy it? Do you keep careful score? Do you get upset when you lose? Do you cheat? And if you do cheat, how do you react when you’re busted? Are you sheepish? Sorry? Do you do it again?”

She’s not wrong. It’s a good way to judge someone’s character.

What I Wished For:

» Finch’s perspective or the subtraction of one of the perspectives
It seemed so lopsided to hear from 3/4 of the most involved parties. Halfway through, I was screaming to get a glimpse into Finch’s thoughts. If Finch isn’t going to be included, I wish we could take away one of the others. Either Tom & Lyla as the father/daughter duo going through this together, Tom & Nina as the parents trying to deal with their children’s predicament, or Lyla & Nina as women from two generations and two different families. It would have created a much better balance to have two in any combination.

» A less rushed ending
After so much build up, the ending seemed rushed. I couldn’t keep up and I had to reread parts to make sure I caught everything.

» Better closure
I know the ending was very much how real life goes, but I wished for more closure than that. That epilogue seemed a little too disconnected from where the story ended.

If you want a quick read with a heavier subject handled with a medium weight and an open-ended conclusion, you’ll enjoy this book.