Book Review

Book Review: Places We’ve Never Been by Kasie West

Rating: ★★☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: May 31st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A sweet and swoony contemporary Young Adult novel about a cross-country family road trip that puts one girl and her childhood best friend on an unexpected road to romance!

Norah hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Skyler, in years. When he first moved away, they’d talk all the time, but lately their relationship has been reduced to liking each other’s Instagram posts. That’s why Norah can’t wait for the joint RV road trip their families have planned for the summer.

But when Skyler finally arrives, he seems…like he’d rather be anywhere else. Hurt and confused, Norah reacts in kind. Suddenly, her oldest friendship is on the rocks.

An unexpected summer spent driving across the country leads both Norah and Skyler down new roads and to new discoveries. Before long, they are, once again, seeing each other in a different light. Can their friendship-turned-rivalry turn into something more?

MMM.

I go up and down with Kasie West books (big winners for me are P.S. I Like You and Sunkissed). This unfortunately fell deep in to the miss category.

The whole premise of the book is based off of a silly miscommunication between two friends who moved away from each other. That’s it. That’s the story. OH WAIT, alongside that is a sub plot about a parent choosing to hide information from her children (that, I understood to some degree, but didn’t love the way this went about). Both of these were red flags in my final opinions.

I did like the road trip antics. Those are fun, traveling in massive RV’s, eating by campfire, meet new friends. All good stuff. And there were some cute romance scenes too! Once both Norah and Skyler stopped acting ridiculous it was great. I thought they handled their relationship so much better after, ya know, COMMUNICATING.

We’ll see what the next West story holds.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a parent with cancer

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Book Review

Book Review: A Show for Two by Tashie Bhuiyan

Rating: ★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Tashie Bhuiyan
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: May 10th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Mina Rahman has a plan for her future:
• Finally win the Golden Ivy student film competition
• Get into her dream school across the country
• Leave New York City behind once and for all

Mina’s ticket to winning the competition falls into her lap when indie film star—and known heartbreaker—Emmitt Ramos enrolls in her high school under a secret identity to research his next role. When Mina sets out to persuade Emmitt to join her cause, he offers her a deal instead: he’ll be in her short film…if she acts as a tour guide to help him with a photography contest.

As Mina ventures across the five boroughs with Emmitt by her side, the city she grew up in starts to look different and more like home than it ever has before. With the competition deadline looming, Mina’s dreams—which once seemed impenetrable—begin to crumble, and she’s forced to ask herself: Is winning worth losing everything?

EXHAUSTING.

I adored this author’s first book and have been very excited to read book two. Unfortunately, this book left me feeling nothing but exhausted.

I was exhausted with the hateful parents (that we didn’t even get an ending or some kind of wrap up with??). A lot of this book was spent fighting. Over everything. And I thought the focus could have been a bit broader so character growth on all sides could be found.

Aaaand the romance. D*ickhead is not a term of endearment. I will not be accepting other opinions at this time. Full stop. I’ve overlooked smarta** in some books that have used it sparingly as endearing, buuut I can not even with d*ckhead. What started off as a name used when Mina and Emmitt get off on the wrong foot somehow turned into a “charming” word and I cringed every time I heard it. AND SHE WAS SO MEAN. That’s not how enemies/rivals/whatever to lovers is supposed to go.

It’s fast paced and they’re some good conversations about culture, expectations and passions. The small pieces in there kept this rating at a three star. I needed so much more from this than I was given and I too tired to continue.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: emotional parental abuse, depression, grief/loss depiction, death of a father mentioned

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Never Vacation with Your Ex by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Viking Books
Release Date: April 4th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Forgetting Sarah Marshall meets Crazy Stupid Love in a YA second chance romance from fan-favorite author couple #Wibbroka!

Seventeen-year-old volleyball star Kaylee Jordan lives a life of player rankings, constant training, and a carefully curated social media full of followers watching to see if she’ll go pro out of high school like her famous mom. Her one refuge, and the thing she looks forward to every summer? The vacation her family spends in Malibu with the Freeman-Yus. This year, there’s only one problem: Kaylee and their son, Dean, dated for the past three months, and Kaylee just unceremoniously dumped him. Hoping to spare them the worst summer ever, Kaylee comes to Dean with her unconventional solution: she’s going to walk him through her rules for getting over an ex. When Dean grudgingly cooperates, Kaylee’s got her work cut out for her. But helping Dean follow her own rules starts becoming difficult when the pressures of Kaylee’s family legacy and perfect life start to feel less like a plan and more like a prison…and amid warm California nights and stolen laughs, Kaylee feels herself falling for Dean for the same reasons and some new ones. With their trip coming to an end, Kaylee has to make the complicated choice between doing what’s expected and taking a (second) chance on love.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

I LIKED IT.

I feel kind of surprised by this one. Initially I didn’t know what I would think about it all, but in the end, I think it has a pretty good message and is set up really well for the audience (young adult!).

The pressure of perfectionism, especially in teens, was a big theme and WOW did I resonate with that. Kaylee struggling with trying to be the best volleyball player out there with the best image and everything else truly hit home. Everything in this vein was well written.

Now the otherside of that is the romance. I LOVED Dean. He was fantastic. Swoony, sweet and full of feelings. I love seeing his emotion and commitment to getting Kaylee to express some raw feelings. Kaylee though, I don’t love how she handled the whole situation. She didn’t come off in the best light and I wish she had been a little quicker to sensitivity.

Perfect beach, summery setting. Made me wish I was on a beach right this second. OH, lets talk about the PARENTS. I LOOOOOVE that there were present and active parents in this book y’all. It’s not seen enough. Even better, we saw that they weren’t perfect and made mistakes too. It was a great contrast to the young adults in the book making decisions too. A great cast all around.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: heated make-outs

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Book Review

Book Review: Last Chance Summer by Shannon Klare

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Shannon Klare
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: July 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In Shannon Klare’s fun and sexy YA novel Last Chance Summer, a teen is shipped off to work as a counselor at a summer camp―only to butt heads with her co-counselor.

Alex is a sheriff’s daughter with a less than pristine reputation. When she’s caught drinking at a party by her dad’s deputy, she’s in deep trouble. With an already incriminating incident in her past, Alex’s parents ship her off to her aunt’s summer camp to work as a counselor.

What’s worse than spending your summer deep in the mosquito-infested woods of Texas?

Being paired with an obnoxious co-counselor who wants nothing to do with you.

Alex is determined to make the best of her summer, even if it means putting up with Grant, who has secrets of his own that he’s determined to protect. Can Alex and Grant put their egos to the side and find the bright side of a summer that neither of them signed up for? 

SWEET SUMMERTIME.

An enjoyable backlist summer time read with allllll those camp vibes. I really liked this!

Alex and Grant had a solid enemies to lovers vibe, but yet sweet? I don’t know how to explain it. I loved the banter and the fun ways they got to know each other in a camp setting. They had maaaany super cute moments where I was cheering them on.

Alex had a lot to learn and explore within herself and this book did an alright job accomplishing that. I think there could have been a deeper dive into the entire story. It’s a short book and I felt much of it was surface level. The ending went kind of quickly with the bigger plots being wrapped up.

It was an engaging read I had a hard time putting down. It’s a simple read that’ll have you thinking of all things summer.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: drunk and underage driving (resulting in loss of life), loss of a parent, grief depiction

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