Book Review

ARC Book Review: What’s Not to Love by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: April 20th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An academic enemies-to-lovers YA with all the nerdy drama, high school antics, and heartpounding romance of the Netflix original series Never Have I Ever

Since high school began, Alison Sanger and Ethan Molloy have competed on almost everything. AP classes, the school paper, community service, it never ends. If Alison could avoid Ethan until graduation, she would. Except, naturally, for two over-achieving seniors with their sights on valedictorian and Harvard, they share all the same classes and extracurriculars. So when their school’s principal assigns them the task of co-planning a previous class’s ten-year reunion, with the promise of a recommendation for Harvard if they do, Ethan and Alison are willing to endure one more activity together if it means beating the other out of the lead.

But with all this extra time spent in each other’s company, their rivalry begins to feel closer to friendship. And as tension between them builds, Alison fights the growing realization that the only thing she wants more than winning…is Ethan. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

MY FAVORITE TROPE.

This was a fun ride! I enjoyed this one much more than their last (but not as much as my favorite, If I’m Being Honest).

I am always here for an enemies to lovers trope and this brought the heat in that department. The snarky banter and high-jinks that Alison and Ethan got into just to prove a point had me both laughing and eye-rolling. Oh teenagers! I liked how their relationship progressed once they finally started to admit some feelings. I wish it had happened sooner because it was adorable after that point.

There were some missed opportunities for character growth, especially for Alison. Dealing with her sister being home and trying to be the best at everything I was hoping to see some understanding and maybe relaxing a little on her grip. By the VERY end I could see that change starting. It would helped me love Alison’s character more if this had started sooner and we got to see that play out in her interactions.

The competitive nature was almost too far to come back from and I’m glad it ended when it did. It did create some clear tension and heat between Ethan and Alison. I liked that at times, it did deviate from the expected and some exploration of self was occurring. Honestly, I think it would be fun to follow these two to college to see what happens next. I enjoy that these books have clear teenage characters who are growing into themselves and make mistakes and remind me of that time in my life too.

And I always love a good run-in with old characters!

Overall audience notes;

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses, heated make out (with some clothing removed)

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Book Review

Book Review: The Boyfriend Project (The Boyfriend Project #1) by Farrah Rochon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Farrah Rochon
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: June 9th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true? 

GOOD OFFICE ROMANCE.

A solid contemporary romance y’all. Flew through it pretty quickly, enjoyed the characters. All good notes.

I really enjoyed the friendship between Samiah, London, and Taylor. I love how it was a show of coming together rather than tearing each other down over the initial situation. Add in the continuing moments of them supporting one another and I want that kind of girl gang in my life. Great camraderie.

Daniel was adorable and I loved him. He was sweet, focused, and an amazing support person for Samiah. I wasn’t hooked by their initial chemistry, but loved the way it worked out. As well know, rom-coms have a conflict somewhere between the couple and this was no different. What was unique was the set-up for it all. I haven’t read something like that in a romance which made for a nice change in the genre for me.

I loved the conversations on privilege and consent and what it means to be a POC woman working in the tech industry. The writing was easy and fun. Didn’t love the steamy scenes, but that didn’t wholly distract from the story. I did like Daniel and Samiah together as couple though which really brought the ending home. A bit cheesy, but totally cute and a nice happy ever after.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few open door scenes
  • Violence: mention of a bike & car accident

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Book Review

Book Review: Small Spaces (Small Spaces #1) by Katherine Arden

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Middle Grade Horror
Length: 218 pages
Author: Katherine Arden
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

New York Times bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price. 

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN. 

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.” 

And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

NO SCARECROWS FOR ME.

Wow this was SPOOKY for a middle grade read! Had me shivering a few times at the absolute creepiness of those scarecrows. Hard NOPE. I will not be hanging around a corn maze or pumpkin patch after dark, better believe that.

This was a good book though. A quick audio book read that kept me interested and worried for all involved. It was an interesting tale and strong characters. I enjoyed Ollie. She really fit the middle school narrative (in a good way). Ollie was coping with loss, friendships and finding a way to take on the fear in front of her.

It’s fast-paced and reminds me of why I love Arden’s writing [if you’re new here, The Winternight Trilogy is one of my favorite series EVER]. I will happily keep reading anything she publishes and this is no exception. An eerie atmosphere with budding friendships really brought this book home. I have definite plans to continue this series!

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle grade horror
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Content warnings: minor bullying, loss of a loved one, grief and depression

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Book Review

Book Review: The Temporary Roomie (It Happened in Nashville #2) by Sarah Adams

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 286 pages
Author: Sarah Adams
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: April 1st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What happens when you have to play nice with your greatest enemy? Revenge.

Drew Marshall may have let me move into his spare bedroom while my house is being renovated, but don’t think for one second his kindness comes without strings. Big, ugly, fake relationship strings.

That’s okay, though, Dr. Andrew. I’ll agree to your terms, move into your house, and act like
your girlfriend when the big day comes; but I also plan to make your life miserable—make you pay for what you did to me.

I may not be good at forgiving or forgetting, but I’m excellent at getting even.

Get ready to laugh until you cry with this sizzling, hilarious, closed-door romantic comedy!

NO SURPRISE, I LOVED IT.

Sarah Adams has officially become an auto-read author for me. I want all of her books all of the time. Adams books just make you feel GOOD. They’re not high drama, high intensity. They’re full of things to make you laugh (of which I did), swoon a bit (of which also happened) and have a fantastic time reading.

I’ve never read a pregancy trope contemporary romance. As my first one I can say I really loved the way it all played out. I didn’t know quite how the storyline would work but the journey Jessie and Drew went on was perfect. I love that this doesn’t have some huge conflict that causes a break-up. There’s honest conversations, raw emotions and genuine desire.

There’s even some more tropes you might love!! Enemies to lovers, only one bed, and fake dating. You can clearly see how easy it was for me to love it. The chemistry was FIRE. I cheered for them the entire time.

And that ENDING. I teared up. It was BEAUTIFUL. Not exactly how I imagined it and I didn’t care one lick. It was even better. I loved it. Adorable, memberable, and so very tender and sweet. I love Drew. I love Jessie. I love that this had the cutest happily ever after.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Langauge: none
  • Romance: kisses to implied closed door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: partner abandonment, loss of parent

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