Monday 16 December 2019

Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan

Unpregnant (Unpregnant #1)Veronica is top of her class - and somehow she's found herself gazing in disbelief at a positive pregnancy test. Even worse, her ex-best friend and the high school's legendary malcontent, Bailey, is the only one there to help. In this warm and darkly funny road trip story, Veronica and Bailey drive a thousand miles to an out-of-state abortion clinic - rediscovering their friendship in the process.

Hooked by the premise of a bonding-style road trip and the emotional roller-coaster of seeking an abortion, I was surprised at how much I loved and laughed at this book. Basically, Ronnie discovers she’s pregnant and her dreams of Ivy League university crash and burn, along with her parents’ and friends’ image of perfect Veronica. After her boyfriend tries to propose, spilling that he already suspected she was pregnant, Ronnie needs to go to another state to get an abortion as she is under 18 and can only turn to her ex-best friend Bailey to drive her nearly 1000 miles.

I thought I knew what to expect: tough emotional moments debating an abortion, telling (or not telling) the parents, the boyfriend’s reaction, and cute bonding moments on a cross-state road trip with old friends. Instead, I got a creepy-as-all-hell boyfriend who poked holes in the condom and followed them to try and convince Ronnie to not go through with it; I got Bailey in all of her Gothic, sarcastic, trespassing glory; and I got a ridiculous and hilarious journey involving a stolen car, a strip club, pro-life fanatics and a giant statue of an elephant. To name but a few!

I absolutely adored this, it was funny and insane but also raised great questions about consent, growing up, relationships and responsibilities. Plus forgiveness and the importance of true friendships, as Ronnie and Bailey grow closer after years of separation while Ronnie developed her “perfect” image. The whole story was just brilliantly written, heartfelt with insane laugh-out-loud moments. Highly recommended.

Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen

Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance

Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exact circumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day. 

Set in one of my absolute favourite periods of history, Georgian England: the finery, the manners, the drama! I adored this, it was a great mix of romance and mystery. 

Vicky was a pretty cool heroine – considering the limitations of the period, all she wanted to do was help run her family’s estate. She was headstrong and romantic and had learned all her life lessons so far from Jane Austen novels, which isn’t necessarily helpful when life proves to be far more difficult than Miss Austen had suggested. Between her older sister returning home from an abusive husband and a mysterious person trying to take over her family’s estate, Vicky suddenly has more on her plate than looking after the flock of sheep. Now, she must navigate the season and find an eligible gentleman to help her save the house and grounds, but that is surprisingly difficult. Apparently, even two hundred years ago, bachelors were a terrifying mix of trustworthy and absolute monsters! 

The characterisation and the setting was just incredible, and I completely fell into Vicky’s world of dances, trying to find love and surprising fisticuffs. It was really easy to read and I immensely enjoyed the tension and the stakes of Vicky needing to find a husband. Plus, it showed a side of the era that we rarely see, one with fighting for divorce and the intricacies of running an estate, especially as a woman. It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it for fans of historical romance, duels at dawn and love in surprising places.

Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.