Book Review

Book Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 391 pages
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

I LIKED THIS ONE.

This was a cute read, tackling some difficult topics, and really giving me the dreamiest ending. The audio was a great way to read this too!

I liked Bailey as a protagonist. I am very much like her, with dodging awkward conversations and the like. She was quirky, knew herself, and really grew over the book. Enter dreamy Porter and we have a sweet match. I adored Porter. With his banter and softness. Oh goodness, I was smitten right off the bat.

Everything was predictable and cheesy, and that’s something I occasionally need from a book so I didn’t mind. Yes, the romance-y sections still make me cringe a bit, but I found mostly less in your face as Bennett’s newer books [sidebar: I’ve read 3 of her newer books and came back to this back list one].

Maybe towards the end the unbelievable way Bailey was the last person to know about Porter was a bit ridiculous, but I don’t think this would have had the same umph at the end if it wasn’t dragged out a bit. I remember anxiously waiting for her to see him so things could finally start clicking together.

I liked the friendships and most of the side plots. Getting to know her Dad better, making new friends (and learning to be a good friend), allowing oneself to let go of the past. Lots of good nuggets even amongst the comical.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs, nudity, little detailed closed door scene
  • Violence: shark attack, physical altercations
  • Trigger warnings: underage drug use/addiction; shark attack, attempted armed robbery

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this coming-of-age romance perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen, scandal and romance collide when an ambitious teen returns to her hometown only to have her plans interrupted after falling for the town’s “bad boy”—a.k.a. her childhood best friend.

Sometimes to find the good, you have to embrace the bad.

Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is.

Thank you to the publisher, Razorbill and Netgalley for the e-ARC. All opinions are my own!

I’D CHASE LUCKY TOO.

This was a more mature YA book. That’s what I kept thinking every time I was reading this. The main character was a high school senior and I kept picturing her as a college girl home for the summer. Take that for what you will, I still enjoyed the book.

There’s a lot of depth to this novel. It isn’t a super fluffy YA rom-com. The further I read, the more of the inner story unfurled in front of me. And I really like what I got from it. That communication is critically important to maintaining the bonds we value.

And usually, I hate when communication is clearly an issue and a brief conversation would solve all the problems. Bennett does a great job of not making me feel this way. While yes, I got frustrated with them (mostly Josie’s mother), I also understood the pain and heartache that each of the Saint-Martin women were struggling with. Another highlight, the fact that this was also heavily about a group of women in a family learning how to be together and not let differences tear them down. I liked the way reveals and emotions came out towards the end as the real picture of everyone’s past came to light. Josie took in a lot of information in a small amount of time. Did she make some mistakes? YES. Did she also learn from them? YES. And that’s what really sold this book for me.

The trope of choice for Chasing Lucky was childhood friends. Lucky and Josie knew each other back when she still lived in town, but after moving away, lost touch. Enter Josie coming back, enter cute Lucky 2.0. I, for once, dare say, I liked the way this trope was written. There was good banter, a little bit of angst as they figured each other out again and I felt the connection between them. I WILL ALSO SAY, I have rolled my eyes at love scenes in Bennett’s previous books, this was not the case this time. Oh it was so much better, and so much more realistic. I definitely adored this story a lot more because of it.

I constantly found myself wanting to pick this book up to read it. It was a solid YA book and I love the journey this story took me on. I appreciate the sentiments that were expressed and thought the conclusion was everything it should be.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses; one little detailed fade to black scene
  • Trigger warnings: someone being arrested for destruction of property; a secondary character posting and showing off a nude photo of Josie’s mother and using it for revenge; car wreck (no one is critically injured)

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Book Review

Book Review: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 426 pages
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Expected Release Date: April 16th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

MOSTLY CHARMING.

Unfortunately I read this one after finishing a five star YA contemporary that I adore now so this had a lot to live up to. And while I did find it cute, it fell flat in some spots.

Namely, was I reading a mystery novel or a romance? The plot this book surrounded was focused on Birdie and Daniel trying to find out who this mystery guy was at the hotel where they worked. I feel like this often took up too much page time and wanted to focus more on their relationship. It honestly would have probably made the book a bit shorter (which is fine).

I did love Daniel. I thought he was charming and cute. He was open to discussing his mental health and disability. I liked the way he approached things and his relationship with Birdie. I wish Birdie responded better to some of the information he told her, but I do understand it would be a lot to work through initially.

Though y’all. If you read my Starry Eyes review (linked!) and have read this book, then you know what I’m about to mention. HOW IN THE WORLD DID THEY GO THROUGH A BOX OF CONDOMS IN A NIGHT? And why is this a reoccurring theme in her books?! I’m sorry, until someone can tell me this is a usual and common thing that happens I refuse to believe otherwise. It just seems ridiculous, out of place, and not necessary information to what was initially a sweet love scene.

The expansion of grief, depression, anger, and resentment are a foundation in this novel. I liked that this hit on harder topics because this is what a lot of us deal with. I felt for Daniel and Birdie (and many side characters) at different times because life is hard sometimes (and I know that’s mild). It was nice to have it woven in with a tender happy-ending love story. There was a lot of depth from both of these characters, even if I found some decisions amusing.

Even though I had some issues with it I think the biggest factor was reading a book I really love prior. So please take this review in that light! You will probably enjoy this and I definitely plan on continuing to read her books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: some kisses, a remembrance of a night together (a little detailed), and another little detailed FTB scene, mentions of sleeping with each other and sex in general
  • Trigger warnings: discussion of a previous suicide attempt (chapter 19) and then it is brought up a few more times, depression, anxiety

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Publishing Day

Happy Publishing Day: The Girl the Sea Gave Back, The Lady Rogue AND Sword and Pen (It’s a great release day!)

Post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you choose to purchase something.

WHOA. I like to make publishing day posts to help hype up books I have been fortunate to receive as ARCs (thank you to the publishers and Netgalley). I somehow ended up with three ARCs that all happen to come out, TODAY.

Get your TBR ready folks, here are some good reads for you.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Find my review here!

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.


Now, while I may not have given this a super high rating (three stars) that doesn’t mean you won’t love it. It has a lot of great qualities and seriously, this cover is BEAUTIFUL. It’s also an option for BOTM YA this month if you’re interested in purchasing it that way!

Book of the Month YA

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for the eARC.

The Lady Rogue

Rating: 4 out of 4.

Find my review here!

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it. 


This one is filled with a second chance love, folklore about Vlad the Impaler (i.e. Dracula) and adventures over the Romania countryside. Jenn Bennett tries her hand at a more fantasy based book and it was good! Definitely enjoyable.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for the eARC.

Sword and Pen (The Great Library #5)

Find my review here!

Rating: 4 out of 4.

With the future of the Great Library in doubt, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone must decide if it’s worth saving in this thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.


Oh this was a great finale to a wonderful series! A very quick read that gave me everything I needed to close this book with satisfaction. Now that the entire series is out, it’s definitely time to get this on your TBR. You can binge all of the books at once!

Thank you to Berkley Books and Netgalley for the eARC.

It’s a great day for releases! I hope you’ve had a chance to look these up. I would love to discuss more about them in the comments if you have questions or thoughts! Happy release day Tuesday!

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