Category Archives: contemporary

The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig – Blog Tour and Book Review

Summary

Title: The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig

Author: Don Zolidis

Pages: 352

Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pub Date: October 2, 2018

Summary

1994 – Janesville, Wisconsin (cold in the sense that there is no God)

The worst thing that’s ever happened to Craig is also the best: Amy. Amy and Craig never should’ve gotten together. Craig is an awkward, Dungeons & Dragons-playing geek, and Amy is the beautiful, fiercely intelligent student-body president of their high school.


Yet somehow they did. Until Amy dumped him. Then got back together with him. Then dumped him again. Then got back together with him again. Over and over and over.


Unfolding during their senior year, Amy and Craig’s exhilarating, tumultuous relationship is a kaleidoscope of joy, pain, and laughter as an uncertain future-and adult responsibility-loom on the horizon.


Craig fights for his dream of escaping Janesville and finding his place at a quirky college, while Amy’s quest to uncover her true self sometimes involves being Craig’s girlfriend, and sometimes doesn’t.

Seven heartbreaks. Seven joys.Told nonsequentially, acclaimed playwright Don Zolidis’s debut novel is a brutally funny, bittersweet taste of the utterly unique and utterly universal experience of first love.

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From Twinkle, with Love – Book Review

Title: From Twinkle, with Love

Author: Sandhya Menon

Pages: 328

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Published: May 22, 2018

Summary:

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

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The Wedding Obsession – Book Review

Title: The Wedding Obsession

Author: Madeline Ash

Pages: 199

Genre: New Adult, Romance

Publisher: Tule Publishing

Published: August 27, 2018

 

Summary:

Emmie Morgan woke up from heart transplant surgery, saw her best friend Brandon Tan sitting by her bedside, and promptly asked him to marry her. If there was a faster way to ruin a friendship, she didn’t know it.

One year on, Bran has returned home to open a restaurant and Emmie adds trying to make amends to her already chaotic life. She’s also running her own music venue, battling survivor’s guilt—oh, and secretly tending a wedding obsession sprung from her near-death experience.

Bran needs answers. But all Emmie has are problems. Hating that he couldn’t help her last time, he resolves to ease the trouble in her eyes. He sets aside their attraction and awkward past and tries to focus on being friends again.

If she would just stop trying on wedding dresses…

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What If It’s Us – Book Review

Title: What If It’s Us

Author: Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Pages: 448

Genre: YA, Contemporary, LGBT

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publishing: October 9th, 2018

Summary:

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date… or a second first date… or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

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The Impossibility of Us – Book Review

Title: The Impossibility of Us

Author: Katy Upperman

Pages: 320

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Published: July 31, 2018

Summary:

The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village.

When Elise meets Mati, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town too, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.

But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan.

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Love & Luck – Book Review

Title: Love & Luck

Author: Jenna Evans Welch

Pages: 320

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Published: May 8th, 2018

Summary:

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

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Review:

Give me all of the YA travel/contemporary romances, because I am obsessed with them. There’s something about reading a book that features travel that I just love to read in the summer. I love a good summer vacation as much as the next person, when I get the chance to take one, I jump on it. And for the times that I can’t, I read as many books with a travel story as I can.

I thought the idea of Addie following this guidebook for getting over heartbreak while in Ireland was absolutely hilarious. The fact that such a guidebook would exist was oddly specific and I found the whole concept to be ridiculously funny. I think that some of the advice in the guidebook actually wasn’t half bad, either.

This book focuses on a real issue that a lot of girls, and sometimes guys, face all too often. She trusts someone with something incredibly personal and private, and that trust is betrayed, and shared with everyone. It’s such a terrible thing to have happen, and Love & Luck shows how difficult it can be to deal with, and not just from Addie’s perspective.

While I was really hoping to love this book just as much as Love & Gelato, it didn’t quite live up to all of my expectations for it. That’s not to say that I didn’t still love this book, but I had really high hopes for it that just weren’t quite met. That being said, I still gave Love & Luck 5/5 stars because I really enjoyed the story and the setting, though it did feel a bit ultra-touristy at times.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

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Now a Major Motion Picture – Book Review

Title: Now A Major Motion Picture

Author: Cori McCarthy

Pages: 400 (paperback)

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Published: April 3, 2018

Summary:

Iris Thorne wants to blaze her own path. That’s easier said than done when you’re the granddaughter of M. E. Thorne, famous author of the Elementia series, hailed as the feminist response to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. And with a major motion picture adaptation of her grandmother’s books in the works, Iris can say goodbye to her dream of making her own way in the music industry.

So when Iris and her brother get invited to the film set in Ireland, she’s pretty sure the trip will be a nightmare. Except Iris can’t deny the rugged beauty of the Irish countryside. And brushing shoulders with the hot, young cast isn’t awful, especially the infuriatingly charming lead, Eamon O’Brien. Iris even finds the impassioned female director inspiring. But when the filming falls into jeopardy, everything Iris thought she knew about Elementia—and herself—is in question. Will making a film for the big screen help Iris to see the big picture?

Review:

Now a Major Motion Picture was such a fun read, and had me dreaming of going to Ireland and exploring all of the beautiful places that are described in this book. Iris Thorne wants nothing to do with her grandmother’s famous fantasy novels, or the film adaptation that’s in the works. Her little brother desperately wants to go, and their father decides Iris will go and chaperone him, much to her dismay.

Throughout the book, Iris grows a lot, and learns what it means to be Iris Thorne on her own terms, and not based off of her father’s expectations for her. Iris meets a lot of strong women who help her to come into herself, and learn who she really is. The cast of characters in this book is really strong, and so diverse, which is always a positive in my book. The world needs ALL of the diverse books.

NAMMP does a great job of showing the other side of fandom and fan culture. The fans of Elementia are extremely passionate, and they have no issues making their thoughts known. I think a lot of people can relate to the fans in this book, wanting an adaptation of a book to be just right, and scared that it won’t live up to their expectations. I’d never even thought about what that would be like from the actor’s perspectives until I read this book. It was an interesting perspective that I had never considered.

One of the things that I love most about Cori McCarthy is that their books are all so different. There’s Breaking Skywhich follows group of badass pilots, and You Were Hereabout a girl who goes through a tough time after her brother’s passing. Cori’s writing is so versatile, and everything they write captivates me and keeps me flipping the pages. I really loved Now a Major Motion Picture. I give it 5/5 stars, and you should definitely go pick it up when it hits shelves.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

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Prince in Disguise – Book Review

Title: Prince in Disguise

Author: Stephanie Kate Strohm

Pages: 320 (hardcover)

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Published: December 19, 2017

Summary:

Someday I want to live in a place where I never hear “You’re Dusty’s sister?” ever again.

Life is real enough for Dylan-especially as the ordinary younger sister of Dusty, former Miss Mississippi and the most perfect, popular girl in Tupelo. But when Dusty wins the hand of the handsome Scottish laird-to-be Ronan on the TRC television network’s crown jewel, Prince in Disguise, Dylan has to face a different kind of reality: reality TV.

As the camera crew whisks them off to Scotland to film the lead-up to the wedding, camera-shy Dylan is front and center as Dusty’s maid of honor. The producers are full of surprises-including old family secrets, long-lost relatives, and a hostile future mother-in-law who thinks Dusty and Dylan’s family isn’t good enough for her only son. At least there’s Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsman who might just be the perfect antidote to all Dylan’s stress . . . if she just can keep TRC from turning her into the next reality show sensation.

Review:

Oh my goodness, I loved this book so much! I need at least a dozen more like it! Prince in Disguise has everything I never knew I wanted in a contemporary. It has travel, sassy Southern belles, and sexy Scots. Dylan and Jamie’s dynamic is so hilarious and cute, and at times it just makes you cringe how awkward and obvious things are between them.

There is also a reality tv element to this book, and I think it really added to the drama and hilarity of the book. I’d like to think that some of the things that the production crew in this book do are so far-fetched that they couldn’t possibly be true, but I majored in broadcast communications and did a lot of reading about reality tv production in school, and I don’t doubt for one second that every thing that’s mentioned in this book has happed on some reality show.

One thing that I absolutely love about books set in foreign countries is that it really makes me want to travel more to see all of the amazing sights our world has. I’ve wanted to go to Scotland for so long now, so reading a book that is set there almost gives me that experience, at least enough to hold me over until I actually can convince someone to go with me. I swear, I don’t just want to go because I love Outlander so much…

Prince in Disguise is a fun, quick read, perfect for getting you out of a reading slump, or when you’re looking for the right book to enjoy on a beautiful rainy day. It’ll definitely make you swoon and wish that you were in Dylan’s situation. I would absolutely love to see a sequel to this book, because I am dying to know what happens to all of the characters! I give it 5/5 stars.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Starry Eyes – Book Review

Title: Starry Eyes

Author: Jenn Bennett

Pages: 432 (hardcover)

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Published: April 3, 2018

Summary:

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

Review:

I am a big fan of contemporary books taking on tough issues. A lot of times, contemporaries can be just sweet and “fluffy,” for lack of a better term. There’s obviously nothing wrong with this, as I’ve read more than my fair share of these kinds of books. In fact, they’re kind of my guilty pleasure. But when a book can touch on tough topics that are incredibly relevant in today’s world, such as cheating and divorce, I absolutely love it.

Zorie is faced with a lot of tough decisions throughout the course of the book, that really give her a chance to grow and discover who she is outside of a family setting. Zorie is a character who typically plans everything down to the tiniest of details, so when things start going wrong and throwing her plans out the door, she has to decide if she can learn to roll with the punches.

I did not expect this book to make me nostalgic for camping, but it sure did, and now I feel the need to go camping this summer. Starry Eyes has a lot of fun and hilarious moments, and I absolutely devoured it. I felt like the characters were extremely easy to relate to, and they show a lot of growth and character development. I gave Starry Eyes 5/5 stars. It’s a perfect summery read.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Hope Nation – Blog Tour and Excerpt

Title: Hope Nation

Editor: Dr. Rose Brock

Pages: 304

Genre: Young Adult

Publisher: Philomel Books

Published: February 27th, 2018

Summary:

We all experience moments when we struggle to understand the state of the world, when we feel powerless and—in some cases—even hopeless. The teens of today are the caretakers of tomorrow, and yet it’s difficult for many to find joy or comfort in such a turbulent society. But in trying times, words are power.

Some of today’s most influential young adult authors come together in this highly personal nonfiction collection of essays, poems, and letters, each a first-hand account that ultimately strives to inspire hope.

Like a modern day Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul or Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens, Hope Nation acknowledges the pain and shines a light on what comes after.

Authors include: Marie Lu, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Renee Ahdieh, Alex London, Julie Murphy, James Dashner, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Sarah Mlynowski, Jeff Zentner, Ally Condie, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Romina Garber, Angie Thomas, Howard Bryant, Aisha Saeed, Margaret Stohl, Ally Carter, Nic Stone, I.W.Gregorio, Kate Hart, Atia Abawi, Libba Bray

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