Book Review

Book Review: What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Marisa Kanter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Can a love triangle have only two people in it? Online, it can… but in the real world, it’s more complicated. In this debut novel Marisa Kanter explores what happens when internet friends turn into IRL crushes.

There are a million things that Halle Levitt likes about her online best friend, Nash.

He’s an incredibly talented graphic novelist. He loves books almost as much as she does. And she never has to deal with the awkwardness of seeing him in real life. They can talk about anything…

Except who she really is.

Because online, Halle isn’t Halle—she’s Kels, the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with covers and reviews. Kels has everything Halle doesn’t: friends, a growing platform, tons of confidence, and Nash.

That is, until Halle arrives to spend senior year in Gramps’s small town and finds herself face-to-face with real, human, not-behind-a-screen Nash. Nash, who is somehow everywhere she goes—in her classes, at the bakery, even at synagogue.

Nash who has no idea she’s actually Kels.

If Halle tells him who she is, it will ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. Not telling him though, means it can never be anything more. Because while she starts to fall for Nash as Halle…he’s in love with Kels.

REVEAL TOOK TOO LONG.

I finished this in a day, a testament to the quick-readability of a contemporary. And I enjoyed the first half, but started to find myself more annoyed as I went on.

Why you ask? Halle.

What started out as an honest mistake/nervous moment, quickly became something dragged on WAY TOO DANG LONG. I was cool with it up to a certain point because I love a good reveal moment, but all my hopes were dashed. It felt like a missed opportunity and a severe lack of communication between close friends.

Without that glaring issue, this book was pretty adorable. I loved the bookstagram / cupcake combination. It was fun to have elements I am currently immersed in. Nash and Halle were also cute themselves when they got to hang out and really get to know each other.

I thought that Halle DID learn a lot of about herself and her actions in-person and online. This really had some great aspects for a younger audience. It was clearly heavily geared towards them (as YA usually is).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-out

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance / Magical Realism
Length: 400 pages
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel &Friends
Release Date: November 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this young adult contemporary romance, a girl is suddenly gifted with the ability to cast instant karma on those around her—both good and bad.

Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to karaoke hecklers, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-around mortal enemy. Soon, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the audio book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

IT WAS CUTE.

Since I read this an audio book ARC, I wanted to mention my thoughts on the audio. I thought the narrator was great and found it to be easy listening. I kept it at 1.5x – 1.75x depending on what I was doing at the time while listening. Definitely would recommend reading it as an audio book if you enjoy that option!

I love Marissa Meyer’s books. I am a big fan of her fantasy books. Reading her first contemporary romance? ALL OVER IT.

This was a cute Beatles-inspired young adult romance. I loved the beach setting and marine ecology aspects. It felt relevant without being pushy and I learned a lot just from the setting alone. There was knowledge of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing multiple marine animals and the center goes about achieving their ultimate goal of getting these animals back to the wild.

Prudence was our dear main character. Oh, how I struggled with her for 80% of the book. I kept expecting some more character growth from her, but felt it happened too close to the end. She leaned towards selfish and so completely single-mindedly focused that I wanted to jump in the book and tell her what she’s missing. With all of the damage done before getting to some evolution in her character it became a bit of a let down.

Quint was precious. And I’m genuinely amazed he was cool with Prudence being rude to him over and over again. I loved his interactions and banter. Quint had a great back story and was clearly devoted to helping the sea creatures in his care. I loved his nature and passion.

I did love their initial at last they kissed moment. It came at the right time and was sweet. I would have loved a longer ending with more of them because by the time I was really feeling it, the ending had arrived.

It’s overall a fun book and I’m happy that I read it. I love Meyer’s writing and will continue to read all the books by her. I’m also hoping for maybe more books with Pru’s brother, Jude (who I adored) and maybe even her friends? I thought there was some open options for more contemporaries in this world and I would love to read those too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: very little and light
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: injured sea animals that washed ashore, someone breaking their leg from a fall

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult dystopia + romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: October 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

WELL THAT WAS INTERESTING.

What a unique book y’all. And yet…not? I did a buddy read for this book and we both were finding so many tidbits from other books in here that combined to form a whole new novel. It was definitely something different.

I liked how quick it was to read. I would look down and be astonished at how many pages had already flown by. The Grace Year keeps you involved and wanting to know what happens next. I had so many questions throughout it that kept me on my toes. Who was going to die? Why did this happen? Wait, is that what I think it is? Ah, I love a book that makes me question.

This was also a very odd world-system. I would have loved to know if this county’s system was more broad than just this small area, but I was creeped out by the system anyways. Sending the girls off because they have “magic,” was so barbaric I could barely handle it.

One aspect I really didn’t like that caused the 4 star rating was the love story. For someone SO INCREDIBLY ADAMANT they didn’t want to be married or committed in anyway to fall for someone else was a bit unbelievable. The way it was written made it seem like a shorter time period than it really was which also rushed the process. Tierney’s relationship could have used a lot more development, or flat out cutting this piece out.

I liked how everything ended. Michael was a saint and I can’t believe the compassion and forgiveness he had for what Tierney did (which was another piece of the book I didn’t love). Michael did everything for her and I was grateful to see them begin to work things out. I also loved that the usurper was close to home. It made the theme of this book clear, women need to support women and not tear each other down.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: very little detail fade to black scene, some kisses
  • Violence: murder, lightning strikes, punishments in the form of removing fingers/ear/toes/hair, poison, knives

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 346 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An irresistible story from Kasie West that explores the timeless question: What do you do when you fall for the person you least expect?

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her.

Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye.

As he and Autumn at first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

HARD TIME CONNECTING.

Didn’t see the day coming where I would not be into a Kasie West book. Hopefully this is a one-book case scenario.

I didn’t connect with this story or the characters. The time spent at the library was such a long chunk of the book that it caused the beginning of the story to drag. Then add on an accident I didn’t see coming that threw Autumn into a mess she didn’t plan for was complicated and hard to watch.

The relationship between Autumn and Dax was fine. I did like the way they worked together. Maybe could have had some more positive interactions. It felt like this book was trying to be more heavy in context, but struggled to really hit that note.

The expression of anxiety was a nice change of pace though. That’s not as often depicted in young adult books and as someone with anxiety, I can definitely see Autumn’s struggles. I appreciate how her friends responded, but do wish things were more out in the open in general between them.

Everything mashed in odd ways for this one and while this was a miss, I still plan of reading all of West’s books!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: car wreck (to a side character) resulting in a coma

Instagram || Goodreads