Book Review

ARC Book Review: Begin Again by Emma Lord

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Emma Lord
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 24th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

As usual, Andie Rose has a plan: Transfer from community college to the hyper competitive Blue Ridge State, major in psychology, and maintain her lifelong goal of becoming an iconic self-help figure despite the nerves that have recently thrown her for a loop. All it will take is ruthless organization, hard work, and her trademark unrelenting enthusiasm to pull it all together.

But the moment Andie arrives, the rest of her plans go off the rails. Her rocky relationship with her boyfriend Connor only gets more complicated when she discovers he transferred out of Blue Ridge to her community college. Her roommate Shay needs a major, and despite Andie’s impressive track record of being The Fixer, she’s stumped on how to help. And Milo, her coffee-guzzling grump of an R.A. with seafoam green eyes, is somehow disrupting all her ideas about love and relationships one sleep-deprived wisecrack at a time.

But sometimes, when all your plans are in rubble at your feet, you find out what you’re made of. And when Andie starts to find the power of her voice as the anonymous Squire on the school’s legendary pirate radio station–the same one her mom founded, years before she passed away–Andie learns that not all the best laid plans are necessarily the right ones.

Filled with a friend group that feels like family, an empowering journey of finding your own way, and a Just Kiss Already! romance, Begin Again is an unforgettable novel of love and starting again.

Thank you Wednesday Books for the eARC!

LOVED, AS ALWAYS.

Emma Lord books just hit different. They are everything I wish I could have read at the young adult age. Filled with promising outlooks, taking on new challenges and letting go of things holding you back, Begin Again was yet another beautifully crafted read.

I adored Andie. Yes, she definitely was making some poor decisions, but character arcs are my jam and I LOVED her self revelations and discoveries about how she had been handling many facets of her life. I found myself teary every time these books come to a close because they’re just so GOOD. I love the parent discussions, the formation of life length friendships, and falling in love (with the right guy).

College plots need more books. I thought it was a lot of fun with the broadcasting segments, finding ribbons, work/study jobs and more. There were all of these little aspects of the setting that I know contributed to my love of this book.

And the romance was so sweet!! It was a slowwww burn. But the development from friendship to relationship was wonderful. Filled with the tender moments and then (when the time was right) realizing that those feelings had become more. Milo was an absolute gruff sweetheart and I LOVED IT.

I’ll just be sitting here waiting for the next book from one of my favorite auto-read authors.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a mother from cancer (off page, mentioned), cheating, loss of a father from a car wreck (off page, mentioned)

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Priyanka Taslim
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Release Date: January 3rd, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets Pride and Prejudice in this delightful and heartfelt rom-com about a Bangladeshi American teen whose meddling mother arranges a match to secure their family’s financial security—just as she’s falling in love with someone else.

Zahra Khan is basically Bangladeshi royalty, but being a princess doesn’t pay the bills in Paterson, New Jersey. While Zahra’s plans for financial security this summer involve working long hours at Chai Ho and saving up for college writing courses, Amma is convinced that all Zahra needs is a “good match,” Jane Austen style.

Enter Harun Emon, who’s wealthy, devastatingly handsome, and…aloof. As soon as Zahra meets him, she knows it’s a bad match. It’s nothing like the connection she has with Nayim Aktar, the new dishwasher at the tea shop, who just gets Zahra in a way no one has before. So, when Zahra finds out that Harun is just as uninterested in this match as she is, they decide to slowly sabotage their parents’ plans. And for once in Zahra’s life, she can have her rossomalai and eat it too: “dating” Harun and keeping Amma happy while catching real feelings for Nayim.

But life—and boys—can be more complicated than Zahra realizes. With her feelings all mixed up, Zahra discovers that sometimes being a good Bengali kid can be a royal pain.

Thank you Book Club Favorites and Simon and Schuster for the gifted copy.

REAL SWEET.

I adored this! I LOVE that it fits perfectly into the young adult category. I know I’m far past that, but it goes to show that it can be a well loved book for all ages too.

Zahra went on a coming of age journey through a dash of a love triangle and I was pleasantly charmed. Not one to generally be a fan of love triangles I liked the way this one worked out. Both boys helped Zahra realize some things about herself and ultimately led to a lot of growth for all parties. I do wish there was a little more romantic relationship development, but that’s really the only thing I needed more of.

Even when I found the mom/daughter dynamics frustrating, I loved how caring they were. Both sides looking out for one another and having that true, real relationship between them. I love supportive and kind families and this had a great one.

The plot moved steadily and I don’t remember being bored with any of it. It’s got a great level of dramatics that only add to the flair of the storyline. I loved Zahra’s friendships and how those weren’t just for show. Growing those relationships, even as things are changing, is such an important aspect of life.

Beautiful debut. I loved learning more about Bangladeshi culture and loved the coming of age tale. Can’t wait for more!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent (off page, prior to book), low income situations

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Book Review

Book Review: Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 364 pages
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 28th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Hating Game meets Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by way of Morgan Matson in this unforgettable romantic comedy about two rival overachievers whose relationship completely transforms over the course of twenty-four hours.

Today, she hates him.

It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time.

Tonight, she puts up with him.

When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other.

As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.

Tomorrow … maybe she’s already fallen for him.

BETTER THAN EXPECTED.

I honestly didn’t know what to think about a book that takes place in roughly 36-48 hours. That’s short, ya know? But I looooved the way this was developed and how it all unfolded.

I adored Rowan and Neil. They are a classic high school rivals to lovers and the forced proximity of the last day of school helped them realize all of those connections. I think some of the drama was a bit dragged out and I could have done with a little less of that in the end.

There’s a lot of great discussions throughout on multiple important topics. And mixed in with a really neat scavenger hunt idea this was a hard book to put down. I enjoyed the audio version and had no issues with the narrator. This is fast paced, coming of age, taking those steps into adulthood kind of YA read. Add a dash of a sweet romance and it’s a good book.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: brief open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: anti-semitism, misogyny, domestic abuse mentioned, car accident mentioned, bullying

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Do-Over by Lynn Painter

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 304 pages
Author: Lynn Painter
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: November 15th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this riotous young adult romp for fans of Recommended for You and A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, a teen girl has the worst Valentine’s Day ever—only to relive it over and over again.

After living through a dumpster fire of a Valentine’s Day, Emilie Hornby escapes to her grandmother’s house for some comfort and a consolation pint of Ben & Jerry’s. She passes out on the couch, but when she wakes up, she’s back home in her own bed—and it’s Valentine’s Day all over again. And the next day? Another nightmare V-Day.

Emilie is stuck in some sort of time loop nightmare that she can’t wake up from as she re-watches her boyfriend, Josh, cheat on her day after day. In addition to Josh’s recurring infidelity, Emilie can’t get away from the enigmatic Nick, who she keeps running into—sometimes literally—in unfortunate ways.

How many days can one girl passively watch her life go up in flames? And when something good starts to come out of these terrible days, what happens when the universe stops doling out do-overs?

Thank you to Simon Pulse and Netgalley for an eARC.

THIS WAS FUN.

Painter really does a great job with young adult contemporaries. They have the right vibe I love and the book is filled with some seriousness but also a lot of light and fun that brings a smile to my face.

“I fell in love with you on Valentine’s Day, Emilie, but I need more than just seven minutes.”

Groundhog day plots can go multiple directions for me. This one was super fast paced so before I got bogged down in repetitiveness the story moved on to the next day and the fallout arose. I was overly amused noticing all of the little Taylor Swift lyrics thrown in here. And there were a bunch of Ferris Beuller-esque antics that I enjoyed.

Emilie took her life by the steering wheel of the car she couldn’t stop crashing into Nick with and was able to really exhibit some good character growth. I liked that she found the strength to stand-up to her parents and speak her mind about changes she wasn’t fully in control of. Being a child of divorce I felt a lot of these sentiments.

It was a gorgeous story and the romance was SO GOOD. I adored Nick from the get-go. He was kind and a cinnamon roll. Totally obsessed with them. Totally obsessed with Painter’s books. This is easily another one to love on y’all!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: car wreck (nobody is injured), death of a sibling (off page prior to book, recounted), depictions of grief, divorced parents

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