Book Review

ARC Book Review: What’s Not to Love by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: April 20th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An academic enemies-to-lovers YA with all the nerdy drama, high school antics, and heartpounding romance of the Netflix original series Never Have I Ever

Since high school began, Alison Sanger and Ethan Molloy have competed on almost everything. AP classes, the school paper, community service, it never ends. If Alison could avoid Ethan until graduation, she would. Except, naturally, for two over-achieving seniors with their sights on valedictorian and Harvard, they share all the same classes and extracurriculars. So when their school’s principal assigns them the task of co-planning a previous class’s ten-year reunion, with the promise of a recommendation for Harvard if they do, Ethan and Alison are willing to endure one more activity together if it means beating the other out of the lead.

But with all this extra time spent in each other’s company, their rivalry begins to feel closer to friendship. And as tension between them builds, Alison fights the growing realization that the only thing she wants more than winning…is Ethan. 

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

MY FAVORITE TROPE.

This was a fun ride! I enjoyed this one much more than their last (but not as much as my favorite, If I’m Being Honest).

I am always here for an enemies to lovers trope and this brought the heat in that department. The snarky banter and high-jinks that Alison and Ethan got into just to prove a point had me both laughing and eye-rolling. Oh teenagers! I liked how their relationship progressed once they finally started to admit some feelings. I wish it had happened sooner because it was adorable after that point.

There were some missed opportunities for character growth, especially for Alison. Dealing with her sister being home and trying to be the best at everything I was hoping to see some understanding and maybe relaxing a little on her grip. By the VERY end I could see that change starting. It would helped me love Alison’s character more if this had started sooner and we got to see that play out in her interactions.

The competitive nature was almost too far to come back from and I’m glad it ended when it did. It did create some clear tension and heat between Ethan and Alison. I liked that at times, it did deviate from the expected and some exploration of self was occurring. Honestly, I think it would be fun to follow these two to college to see what happens next. I enjoy that these books have clear teenage characters who are growing into themselves and make mistakes and remind me of that time in my life too.

And I always love a good run-in with old characters!

Overall audience notes;

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses, heated make out (with some clothing removed)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult mystery
Length: 384 pages
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION.

Well this held my attention from the get-go.

How trippy to find out you’re all of a sudden an heiress because someone decided to give you all of their money? WhOa.

What a wild mansion. I loved that there was so much to the entire house. The random tunnels, hidden spaces, the amount of rooms, all of it. Without such a obscene amount of rooms to create this land there wouldn’t have been a story. It added many adrenaline pumping moments and times where I was taken by surprise.

The riddles were brilliant and well put together. I love when I can’t solve things right away because it really adds to the mystery and suspense of the novel.

Throw in a group of four brothers with hidden pasts and their own issues and we’ve got a ourselves some side characters. I loved these Hawthorne brothers!! What didn’t I love? That dang love triangle. Boooooo. It wasn’t too much of a distraction, but the stronger feelings became the more I was hoping things would go one way or another.

After that bomb drop of an ending I’m invested. I want to know how this sequel works out because I have twice the amount of questions.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult mystery/thriller
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: guns, physical, someone passing away from a heart condition

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Majesty (American Royals #2) by Katharine McGee

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Dystopian / Contemporary
Length: 370 pages
Author: Katharine McGee
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Is America ready for its first queen?

Power is intoxicating. Like first love, it can leave you breathless. Princess Beatrice was born with it. Princess Samantha was born with less. Some, like Nina Gonzalez, are pulled into it. And a few will claw their way in. Ahem, we’re looking at you Daphne Deighton.

As America adjusts to the idea of a queen on the throne, Beatrice grapples with everything she lost when she gained the ultimate crown. Samantha is busy living up to her “party princess” persona…and maybe adding a party prince by her side. Nina is trying to avoid the palace–and Prince Jefferson–at all costs. And a dangerous secret threatens to undo all of Daphne’s carefully laid “marry Prince Jefferson” plans.

A new reign has begun.

THIRD BOOK PLEASE?

That’s what I need after seeing how this one ended. Book three. THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE.

I thought this was a good follow-up to American Royals. The drama is wild as ever and so many things continually happen that keep you turning pages. Not to mention, I love the shorter chapters and quick pace.

I adored Beatrice’s story line. Without a doubt the best story in here. Beatrice came into her own as a queen. I loved that she got to say a proper good-bye to those who deserved it and made a true love connection with Teddy. They were precious and I absolutely ship them. Both of them together are such a match. I would have loved a longer book just to get more of their (and other’s) relationships.

Daphne Deighton. I can’t even talk about her. I hated the way her story ended. I got the vibe of it and why it was written that way, but it still screwed over too many people and I just want her to get her due. She just drags down this book.

Sam’s story was positive and I’m grateful for her character arc because whoa, I was struggling with her attitude. I love that she really grew up and fought for what she wanted. Sam worked things out well and I love her relationship with Marhsall.

Nina’s POV fell by the wayside here. She kinda fit into everything, kinda didn’t. I did like the way things ended up for her and that she took time to figure out what she wanted before making a decision. I think if there’s more to the story we’ll get even better insight for Nina.

This installment was shorter than the first when I think it needed to be longer. There was good stuff here, just needed some longer stories to really connect with everything rather than flying by.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia / contemporary
  • Language: some light
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a closed door scene
  • Content warnings: grief from losing a parent

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 391 pages
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

I LIKED THIS ONE.

This was a cute read, tackling some difficult topics, and really giving me the dreamiest ending. The audio was a great way to read this too!

I liked Bailey as a protagonist. I am very much like her, with dodging awkward conversations and the like. She was quirky, knew herself, and really grew over the book. Enter dreamy Porter and we have a sweet match. I adored Porter. With his banter and softness. Oh goodness, I was smitten right off the bat.

Everything was predictable and cheesy, and that’s something I occasionally need from a book so I didn’t mind. Yes, the romance-y sections still make me cringe a bit, but I found mostly less in your face as Bennett’s newer books [sidebar: I’ve read 3 of her newer books and came back to this back list one].

Maybe towards the end the unbelievable way Bailey was the last person to know about Porter was a bit ridiculous, but I don’t think this would have had the same umph at the end if it wasn’t dragged out a bit. I remember anxiously waiting for her to see him so things could finally start clicking together.

I liked the friendships and most of the side plots. Getting to know her Dad better, making new friends (and learning to be a good friend), allowing oneself to let go of the past. Lots of good nuggets even amongst the comical.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs, nudity, little detailed closed door scene
  • Violence: shark attack, physical altercations
  • Trigger warnings: underage drug use/addiction; shark attack, attempted armed robbery

Instagram || Goodreads