Book Review

ARC Book Review: Far From Normal by Becky Wallace

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 240 pages
Author: Becky Wallace
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: September 22nd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From Stealing Home author Becky Wallace comes a Devil Wears Prada-inspired YA romance, in which “normal girl” Maddie must repair the image of Major League Soccer’s bad boy to ace her internship. A perfect read for fans of Morgan Matson and Miranda Kenneally.

Maddie McPherson is sick of Normal—both her hometown of Normal, Illinois and being the ‘normal’ sibling. But when she lands a summer internship with a sports marketing firm, she finally has a chance to crawl out of her genius brother’s shadow. Not to mention, a glowing letter of recommendation could secure her admission to her dream college.

But Maddie’s nickname is “CalaMaddie” for a reason, and when the company tasks her with repairing the image of teen soccer phenom Gabriel Fortunato, she wonders if she’s set herself up for embarrassment. Gabriel is a tabloid magnet, who’s best-known for flubbing Italy’s World Cup hopes. As Maddie works with him to develop “pleasant and friendly” content for social media, she also learns he’s thoughtful, multi-talented, and fiercely loyal—maybe even to a fault. Falling for a footballer is exactly how CalaMaddie would botch this internship, but with the firm pressuring her to get the job done, perhaps her heart is worth risking?

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

UTTERLY ADORABLE.

I basically read this in one sitting because of how flippin’ precious it was. I was completely smitten with this book and am going to sing its praises in this review.

Originally concerned about the length (under 300 pages), I didn’t know what to expect for my first book by Wallace. BLOWN AWAY sounds about right now. I found this quick, fast-paced young adult rom-com exactly what I needed at the time and had me grinning and laughing throughout. Don’t let the length deter you, this is an absolute gem.

Madeline was a great main character. She was under some intense pressure from multiple forces in her life and at only 17! I liked the way she handled herself, but also still felt like a teenager. It was a great combination that made me feel for and understand Madeline’s motives.

Now the precious soccer player, Gabe? I am SO HERE FOR bad boys with a heart of gold. I’m easy to please when it comes to books with this nature. Gabe and Madeline’s relationship moved well and the pace was steady and absolutely sweet. I love the little dates they went on and the support they were both giving each other.

I love the Devil Wears Prada aspects and started to see them more after I finished it when I sat there unable to think about anything else. There’s plenty of allusions that are fun and quirky that make me think this should be a movie, and that I also need to re-watch TDWP.

AH. I am just in love with this book. Think its the perfect, sweet, YA rom-com you should definitely read if you’re even the tiny bit curious. I can’t wait to read more books from her!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: bike crash

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Book Review

Book Review: Lucky Caller by Emma Mills

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary
Length: 336 pages
Author: Emma Mills
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Release Date: January 14th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Nina decides to take a radio broadcasting class her senior year, she expects it to be a walk in the park. Instead, it’s a complete disaster.

The members of Nina’s haphazardly formed radio team have approximately nothing in common. And to maximize the awkwardness her group includes Jamie, a childhood friend she’d hoped to basically avoid for the rest of her life.

The show is a mess, internet rumors threaten to bring the wrath of two fandoms down on their heads, and to top it all off Nina’s family is on the brink of some major upheaval.

Everything feels like it’s spiraling out of control―but maybe control is overrated?

With the warmth, wit, intimate friendships, and heart-melting romance she brings to all her books, Emma Mills crafts a story about believing in yourself, owning your mistakes, and trusting in human connection in Lucky Caller.

NOT FEELING LUCKY.

This book let me down in a big way. It’s been awhile since I gave a two-star review because I had a hard time finding things I enjoyed about it. Lucky Caller was overall nothing I expected, and nothing I wanted.

Everything was cringe worthy, awkward, and stilted. The main character, her love interest, side characters, the plot, everything. I don’t feel like anything flowed that well and was extremely choppy. I’m usually a fan of short chapters. These chapters felt like each one was only ONE tiny scene and it was weird. Granted, it made for a very quick read (of which I was happy for), but that’s it.

There was also a portion of the book dedicated to a made-up kids game that Nina, Jamie and her sisters used to play together. I didn’t care one moment about this. I felt it brought it down and made it more juvenile. The background story as to why Nina and Jamie were continually so awkward could have been written out differently.

I don’t really want to raze on this more, it just wasn’t a match for me this time. Which I’m sad about because this gorgeous cover and cute synopsis had dragged me in.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: Love, Life, and the List (Love, Life, and the List #1) by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 374 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: December 26th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What do you do when you’ve fallen for your best friend? Funny and romantic, this effervescent story about family, friendship, and finding yourself is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings, Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list, she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being.

But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself. 

LOVED THE ENDING.

This is my third Kasie West book. And I feel like I will end up slowly making my way through all of them. I love how fast they are. How clean and age appropriate they tend to be. And by the end I am somehow smitten with the story.

I found no exceptions in this book. I often found the high school setting and characters a bit naive at times and a touch annoying. Positive this stems from the fact I am years out of high school and remember how ridiculous that time was. I try not to fault it for that fact because I do like the deeper story that’s often portrayed. Abby learned a lot about herself and her artwork during this book. Having to grow up, make some tougher choices, and have hard conversations. I do applaud her for the strength she showed.

Friends to lovers is the hardest trope for me to get behind. I tend to find it a bit dry and one sided. Unfortunately, I felt that way about Cooper for 80% of this book. I thought his friendship with Abby was all on her and that he led her on in a number of ways. When Abby finally stood up for herself I was stoked. Now, I will say the closing scenes of everything working out (because HEA are my jam) was so sweet. Ugh, I am always in for a Hallmark-y, confession of love scene.

Another short and sweet West book. These are cute and I’m glad I’m finally reading these books! I love the writing style and how easy it is to read one of these books. I love knowing that I’ll get a happy ending and that the characters are cute.

Overall audience notes

  • YA Contemporary romance (Friends to lovers trope)
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 330 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Point
Expected Release Date: July 26th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out.

WELL THIS WAS JUST THE FLUFFIEST BOOK.

This became a late night binge read when I was ignoring another book I wasn’t as into. And y’all. I LOVED IT. It totally took me by surprise and made my heart smile.

I love that this had mysterious notes passed in class without knowing who was who. I think it adds such a sweet flair to it all. Writing out your true thoughts and getting to know someone through letter writing. WHAT HAPPENED TO WRITING NOTES. Oh man, I miss those days. Texting has sped everything up.

These characters are in high school, so at times they do seem a bit naive. This never stuck out so much to ruin this book in anyway though. I love that there was some growth and maturity that came by the end. Lily and Cade both had their own personal conflicts that there were able to come together and form solutions.

Cade was so cute. Just, so cute. Lily’s perceived interpretation of him was entirely off and I appreciate her actually being open to getting to know him on a different level and seeing past his walls. The same goes for Cade. He took the time to show and prove to Lily he wasn’t the guy she thought. THEY WERE SO ADORABLE. I’m just happy to be here at this point because this book was all smiles.

I don’t really have a long review to continue with because there’s not much more to say. I thought it was precious and light-hearted. Made me smile and stoked to read some more Kasie West books. I’m happy that I took a second chance on her books because I knew there was one I would connect with and love.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses

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