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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Book Review

Book Review: If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary + Romance + Retellings
Length: 362 pages
Author: Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Expected Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good.

In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…

But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.

READ IN ONE SITTING. YES IT’S THAT GOOD.

Ahhhhh, I absolutely loved this y’all.

First though, I know nothing about The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare. I know as much as the novel told me about and so I can’t really comment on how well this retellings went. I loved it though, so hopefully others thought it was great from the retellings perspective.

Cameron. Oh, bless her heart. Boy did she make me want to shake her sometimes. As she started off being completely terrible, I knew we were in for a great character arc. I was not let done. This was more than just a romance book. Watching Cameron learn about herself and what it means to be a true friend and being kind to others was almost more than my heart could take. She learned so much over this book and I felt I could really relate to these kind of struggles from high school. Working through who your true friends are, being with the guy you deserve to be with, dealing with iffy parents, the whole thing. I connected with novel y’all.

The romance though, was ABSOLUTELY JUST YAAAAAS. Oh it was SO CUTE. And the BANTER and the MOMENTS. ALL THE CAPS BECAUSE I AM OBSESSED. Cameron and Brendan forever. High school sweethearts PLEASE. Their romance was filled with forgiveness and tenderness that made it impossible to put this down because I needed to watch it unfold. I love the way it was done and seriously can’t stop gushing about it. This is the way a young adult contemporary romance should be written and I can easily say it’s one of (if not THE) top YA Contemporary I’ve read in 2019. I also adore that Brendan was a nerdy gamer and YOUNGER than Cameron because I feel like I haven’t seen that much in contemporaries and I was HERE FOR IT. All the heart eyes.

There is a much deeper message in this book. That it’s about second chances and how it’s not too late to decide the type of person you want to be. This bumpy road that Cameron went on was filled with hard choices that ultimately brought her to a state of peace.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary retelling + romance
  • Language: some throughout (occasionally strong)
  • Romance: a few kisses (it’s clean y’all, YAY!)
  • Violence/Trigger warnings: emotional and verbally abusive parenting, talks of cheating on someone

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