Book Review

Book Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 394 pages
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 27th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

DIDN’T JIVE WITH THE WRITING.

That would be my biggest issue. Nothing clicked quite the way I think it was supposed to. I kept reading because I was [mostly] enjoying the story, but things never changed. I thought things would randomly get political or twists would be thrown in that I didn’t think were necessary or helpful to the plot as a whole.

I did enjoy the interactions between Penny and Sam. I thought they were sweet and I love the modern era love story of getting to know each other through texts/phone calls. It was clever that she became his emergency contact. The college age setting was nice too. I wish there were more YA/New adult books set in college. This isn’t a slow-burn romance in anyway though. Mostly infatuation that turns into love all of a sudden.

This book seemed overly dramatic at times. Like it was trying to see how awful things could get before a resolution kind of came about. I don’t mind this usually in books because I understand the flow of the story. This came out a bit jarring and I was upset with how broken these characters were written out. Maybe I thought this was going to have a bit more sunshine.

I also felt like NOTHING HAPPENED. There was some focus on Sam’s documentary and on Penny’s writing class, but I never got to see the end of them? It was annoying to have a bunch of loose threads. I know it wasn’t the main part of the story, but it was definitely discussed more than enough to have needed things tied up.

Having someone as a friend, in whatever capacity that may be, was a great concept for this book though. We all need someone to lean on and I loved seeing Penny and Sam turn towards each other in their times of need.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary (college age)
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger warnings: alcoholism, page 290 – a moderately detailed rape scene (main character telling her story)

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Book Review

Book Review: 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Ashley Elston
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?

DEFINITELY CUTE.

Oh man. Well this was just precious.

I finally had a chance to read this book and I’m so glad I got to! It is the perfect little pick me up type of read when you need something light and fluffy.

The whole dating concept was a bit crazy, totally unwarranted, and the best part of this book. I love how the author was able to create unique dates each time and had unexpected things happen that would make me eyes widen. It took the whole idea of me worrying this would be stagnant away because each date brought another layer to the novel itself.

Sophie’s family ran me ragged sometimes, yet after talking to someone who had a family exactly like this, it made appreciate the scope of it all and the differences all of our families have. They were loud, in everybody’s privacy and quiet moments and they made me laugh and shake my fists in the air. I love that this book wasn’t only about dating, but also about reconnecting with family and enjoying the moments together too.

I really appreciated that the real romance came from someone Sophie genuinely knew and not a full stranger. It was heartfelt and those quiet moments between them made me shout at the book to KISS ALREADY.

This definitely has all of the Christmas vibes. I think I would have loved it even more if I had the chance to read it during the actual holiday season. I definitely recommend adding this to your Christmas TBR.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Trigger warning: pre-mature birth

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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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Book Review

ARC Book Review & Blog Tour: Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Anna Jarzab
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: May 19th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Susannah Ramos has always loved the water. A swimmer whose early talent made her a world champion, Susannah was poised for greatness in a sport that demands so much of its young. But an inexplicable slowdown has put her dream in jeopardy, and Susannah is fighting to keep her career afloat when two important people enter her life: a new coach with a revolutionary training strategy, and a charming fellow swimmer named Harry Matthews.

As Susannah begins her long and painful climb back to the top, her friendship with Harry blossoms into passionate and supportive love. But Harry is facing challenges of his own, and even as their bond draws them closer together, other forces work to tear them apart. As she struggles to balance her needs with those of the people who matter most to her, Susannah will learn the cost—and the beauty—of trying to achieve something extraordinary.

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

DEEP WATERS.

I picked this up on a whim for a blog tour because the summary had easily pulled me in. Add in a beautiful cover and I had some raised expectations. I really did end up enjoying this book and loved the tough messages it talked about.

Harry and Susie were a great match. I liked both of their characters and the relationship between them. It was unique to most contemporaries I read that in this case, the couple actually got together before the halfway point! I loved this. Gave me a lot of time to enjoy them, watch the relationship develop and grow as the months passed. Susie was a fairly well-rounded teenage character. I appreciated that when she made mistakes, she knew when to say sorry and also really had some enlightening moments for her. I felt like I got to see her really grow up and make some hard choices and thought it all was well handled. Susie never seemed childish (like some YA book characters), but like a older teen who was going into the real world soon and had to decide what would be best for her.

At times I felt there were a few misplaced moments. Namely, the love scene. I didn’t think it worked as well as intended. I know this book was a lot about growing up, yet it didn’t need a sex scene to culminate everything. It was also placed at an odd interval. This issue aside, the overall relationship, dates, etc. between Susie and Harry were lovely.

A big component of this book was mental health. Harry and Susie had to work through mental, physical and emotional situations to overcome the pressures of life. It addressed different conditions and treatments. And while the book did feel heavy at times, it also felt hopeful, knowing the sun would shine again.

I loved Susie’s family and her friend Amber. Incredibly supportive, occasionally awkward, and all around a lovely and tight-knit group. They made me smile and added another aspect that made me love this book more.

This book may [in general] be about swimmers trying to get to the Olympics, but it holds so many more gems than that. I loved the way the Olympic Trials were written and the way the author told Susie’s story in that moment. It allowed for a beautiful sentiment in doing what’s best for you and knowing you have to take care of yourself before you can help someone else.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; one love scene (very little detail, mostly a fade-to-black scene)
  • Trigger warnings: bipolar disorder, self-harm (specifically cutting), depression, anxiety, and verbally abusive coach

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Book Review

Book Review: The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Cameron Lund
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

It seemed like a good plan at first.

When the only other virgin in her group of friends loses it at Keely’s own eighteenth birthday party, she’s inspired to take things into her own hands. She wants to have that experience too (well, not exactly like that–but with someone she trusts and actually likes), so she’s going to need to find the guy, and fast. Problem is, she’s known all the boys in her small high school forever, and it’s kinda hard to be into a guy when you watched him eat crayons in kindergarten.

So she can’t believe her luck when she meets a ridiculously hot new guy named Dean. Not only does he look like he’s fallen out of a classic movie poster, but he drives a motorcycle, flirts with ease, and might actually be into her.

But Dean’s already in college, and Keely is convinced he’ll drop her if he finds out how inexperienced she is. That’s when she talks herself into a new plan: her lifelong best friend, Andrew, would never hurt or betray her, and he’s clearly been with enough girls that he can show her the ropes before she goes all the way with Dean. Of course, the plan only works if Andrew and Keely stay friends–just friends–so things are about to get complicated.

Cameron Lund’s delightful debut is a hilarious and heartfelt story of first loves, first friends, and first times–and how making them your own is all that really matters.

ADORBS.

This was a cute and heartfelt debut. I devoured it in practically one sitting and was all for this friends to lovers trope. And while that’s usually not my favorite trope, this one hit all the marks for a great book. I’m so happy I picked it up!

I absolutely couldn’t get over how adorable Keely and Andrew were. Utterly enchanted by the banter and flirtations between them. And they clearly had some chemistry. I felt like I already knew both of them and the intensity at which the protected and cared for one another made me care for them too.

Hannah and Keely had such a fantastic friendship. It’s something I love seeing in YA contemporaries. One where they actually want the best for each other and ever after a squabble know that their friendship is more important than a argument. The other side characters? Ugh, the worst. They felt overly high school. I get it, that’s the way it is sometimes, depending on what circle you run in, during school. But seriously, it was too much at times and they were incredibly awful to one another. The drama was turned up too high for me.

The ending was just like a cheesy rom-com and I was so invested in it. I thought it was precious and I’m so happy that Andrew and Keely got it all out there. Watching teens learning to have real and forward-moving conversations is always a wonderful bonus. What a beautiful debut and I can’t wait for more from this author.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a lot of general discussion about sex and partners, a few almost scenes (moderately descriptive) and one scene that’s very little descriptive
  • Trigger warnings: slut-shaming, bullying

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: March 2020

Does March feel like it’s been going on forever? Even more than January? While practicing social distancing for the last 2+ weeks, I honestly haven’t seen the inside of anything but my house. Hence, a lot of reading happened.

A lot.

I broke my monthly record and it 26 books in never-ending March. Unfortunately, I also dolled out more 2 stars than I ever have too. But you win some, you lose some! Still plenty of good reads.

My favorites this month: House of Earth and Blood (NO SURPRISE), Undercover Bromance, Dragonfly in Amber, Until it Fades, The Giver of Stars, A Voice in the Wind, and Aurora Rising.

My least favorites this month: Five Dark Fates, Lucky Caller, Of Curses and Kisses and The Stars We Steal

Reviews will be out in the coming months!

  • [ARC] A Temporary Boyfriend (The Fake Love Series #2) by Summer Dowell – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Windwitch (The Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Heart of Flames (Crown of Feathers #2) by Nicki Pau Preto – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Harvest (Call of the Sirens #1) by K.B. Benson – (☆☆☆)
  • House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Five Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns #4) by Kendare Blake – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • On the Fence by Kasie West – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Bloodwitch (The Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Until it Fades by K.A. Tucker – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Maybe This Time by Kasie West – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Lucky Caller by Emma Mills – (☆☆)
  • Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon – (☆☆)
  • More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost #2) by Brigid Kemmerer – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Don’t Go Stealing My Heart by Kelly Siskind – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [Re-read] Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Neighbors Like That (A Love Like This #1) by Carina Taylor – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • When You Ask Me Where I’m Going by Jasmin Kaur – (☆☆☆)
  • The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. #4) by Jonathan Stroud – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Dreamland by Sarah Dessen – (☆☆☆☆)

How did your month of reading go? Did we read any of the same books? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: Fame, Fate and the First Kiss (Love, Life, and the List #2) by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA contemporary romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Fan favorite author Kasie West delivers an effervescent story about chasing your dreams and following your heart, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Huntley Fitzpatrick.

Lacey Barnes has dreamed of being an actress for as long as she can remember. So when she gets the opportunity to star in a movie alongside one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, she doesn’t hesitate to accept the part.

But Lacey quickly learns that life in the spotlight isn’t as picture perfect as she imagined. She’s having trouble bonding with her costars, her father has hired the definition of a choir boy, Donavan Lake, to tutor her, and somewhere along the way she’s lost her acting mojo. And just when it seems like things couldn’t get any worse, it looks like someone on set is deliberately trying to sabotage her.

As Lacey’s world spins out of control, it feels like the only person she can count on—whether it’s helping her try to unravel the mystery of who is out to get her or snap her out of her acting funk—is Donavan. But what she doesn’t count on is this straight-laced boy becoming another distraction.

With her entire future riding on this movie, Lacey knows she can’t afford to get sidetracked by a crush. But for the first time in her life Lacey wonders if it’s true that the best stories really do happen when you go off script.

CUTE, BUT EH.

This was my first Kasie West book y’all. I feel I could have chosen better. This was a case of an audio book being available and I now realize my mistake. NOT enough to turn me off of picking up another West book, but to be more picky about it.

Audio notes: The narrator was fine, the only thing I didn’t love was that I felt she really played on the younger voice for the MC. Which in turn made me not love her as much. It made Lacy seem really young, rather than almost 18.

This was a cute young adult rom-com. Nothing flashy, nothing crazy, just a simple read. I did enjoy it. I was looking for more though. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something was missing.

I didn’t love Lacy as an MC. She did get better over time, it took a long time to get there though. Lacy was naive and purposely difficult while also trying to be everyone’s friend. It was an odd combo. I think Donovan in the picture helped her out. I did really love him (as I do usually prefer the book boyfriend). He was sweet, charming, and way more down to earth. I did love that this was a clean and young audience friendly romance. Some tender kisses was all this book needed to be pleasant.

Between each chapter were scenes from the movie Lacy was recording and I thought by the end I would understand why there were there…nope. Purely to add pages in my mind. I didn’t think they added anything other than us knowing what the movie was about, but it never pertained to the story. It would take me out of the real story every time it went to those scenes.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Trigger warnings: I felt like Lacy had an unhealthy relationship with food, a few sentences in there made me cringe about how she viewed food, this didn’t over take the book in anyway, just something I noticed

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