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)

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

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

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: The Party (London Prep #5) by Jillian Dodd

Rating: ★★
Audience: NA Contemporary Romance
Length: 332 pages
Author: Jillian Dodd
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: October 19th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

It’s my first week as an official student at Kensington School, and things couldn’t be more chaotic. I’m living in a hotel, trying to recover from the news of my parents’ move to London, and working to make things right with Harry, Noah, and Mohammad.

Mohammad says I’m back in the boys’ club.

Harry tells me that he wants me back in his life.

And Noah, well, he’s always been complicated.

But after a too-generous gift from Harry and a heated moment with Noah on my birthday, things seem to change. Noah is flirting with me again and Harry shows me he’s serious about us being friends when he asks me to be his date to his parents’ party.

Everything feels like it’s back to normal—until the party.

Because Mohammad somehow ends up with two dates.

Harry asks me to pretend to be his girlfriend for the night.

And Noah tells me he likes me. A lot.

In the midst of meeting Harry’s parents and helping Mohammad navigate a potential disaster with Naomi, Noah says that I need to show him how I feel. But what he’s really asking for is for me to make a choice.

OVER IT.

Five books.

That’s how long I made it through this love triangle.

I’m not typically a fan, but I really was into all of the drama. The push and pull, will they won’t they kind of nonsense. The first two books were great. Third, eh. Fourth, pulled me back, and now I can say I’m okay with putting this series down. Maybe I’ll read a spoiler of the last book (whenever that is) to know who the main character ends up with.

There’s some great friendship scenes and being there for those you love. I like all of the nuances of that and working together and enjoying each other’s company. This group is a mix of all different personalities and quirks and make for a good time.

Noah was even a big flirt this time (FINALLY). And I loved all of those moments too. I guess I was hoping for a bit more? The plot/layout of this book is unique so it reads somehow slow and fast all at the same time.

Anyways. I’m moving on!

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: heated make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: underage drinking, mentions of abusive parenting

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Morrighan: The Beginnings of the Remnant Universe (The Remnant Chronicles #0.5) by Mary E. Pearson

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 256 pages
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: November 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A richly illustrated and romantic origin story of Mary E. Pearson’s Remnant universe, the world of the BookTok sensations Dance of Thieves and Vow of Thieves and the New York Times-bestselling Remnant Chronicles.

Before borders were drawn, before treaties were signed, before wars were waged anew, before the great kingdoms of the Remnant were even born and the world of old was only a hazy slate of memory told in story and legend, a girl and her family fought to survive.

And that girl’s name was Morrighan.

Discover the origin story of the Remnant universe, penned by the New York Times–bestselling master storyteller Mary E. Pearson, in this lush collector’s edition prequel with lavish illustrations, a romance for the ages, and a magic that stirs the heart.

Thank you to PRHAudio for the complimentary audiobook.

AS EXPECTED, STUNNING.

I have been a Pearson fan from the get-go and I know this novella has been around for a little bit and I am kicking myself for not giving it a go sooner. ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. Even with a condensed storyline, I felt all the swoon, all the romance and tension and heartbreak that came from these pages.

It’s been a few years since I read The Remnant Chronicles so unfortunately I don’t remember some of the nuanced details of the Morrighan influence in that trilogy. I didn’t have a problem loving this book even with that fact because this story stands really well on its own. I think you could read before or after the series and it would be just fine either way.

I loved these characters and the emphatic passion they had for protecting each other. Faced against some unlikely odds Morrighan and Jafir rose above. I love the writing style, world building and everything in between.

This is a must read for TRC fans!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance Novella
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: closed-door
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, physical abuse, small battle themes, weapons violence

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph