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Blog Tours Book Reviews contemporary ya fiction

When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes – Book Review and Giveaway

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Summary

Title: When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes

Author: Rayna York

Pages: 316

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Publisher: Toad Tree Press

Pub Date: July 2, 2020

What if losing everything you have is exactly what you need?

Kylie’s summer after high school graduation was supposed to be celebrated in Europe, not some podunk town in Ohio. But when the FBI shows up at her parents’ California beach house looking for her father, the life she’s known, suddenly disintegrates.

With the family assets frozen and her father on the run, the only place left to go is a dilapidated house that once belonged to her great-grandmother. Now her family is broke, her social status is in ruins, and the only internet access is at a café where a nerdy barista boy wants to be her new best friend.

But life has a funny way of teaching its lessons, and being catapulted into this new reality might be the help she needs to learn that sometimes you have to let go of everything you know to discover what is real.

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Categories
Book Reviews contemporary

Rules for Being a Girl – Book Review

Summary

Title: Rules for Being a Girl

Author: Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno

Pages: 304

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

It starts before you can even remember: You learn the rules for being a girl. . . .

Marin has always been good at navigating these unspoken guidelines. A star student and editor of the school paper, she dreams of getting into Brown University. Marin’s future seems bright―and her young, charismatic English teacher, Mr. Beckett, is always quick to admire her writing and talk books with her.

But when “Bex” takes things too far and comes on to Marin, she’s shocked and horrified. Had she somehow led him on? Was it her fault?

When Marin works up the courage to tell the administration what happened, no one believes her. She’s forced to face Bex in class every day. Except now, he has an ax to grind.

But Marin isn’t about to back down. She uses the school newspaper to fight back and she starts a feminist book club at school. She finds allies in the most unexpected people, like “slutty” Gray Kendall, who she’d always dismissed as just another lacrosse bro. As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and write her own rules.

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Review

Take two of my favorite authors, team them up for a novel together and what do you get? An amazing, thought provoking, rage inducing book, that’s what! Add the cherry on top that our main character is a student journalist, and they’ve created the perfect novel for me. It’s like they’ve written a cooler version of me from high school.

Rules for Being a Girl touches on all of the things that bothered me about the school system when I was in high school. Sexist dress codes, incompetent school officials, double standards, etc. Marin is a bright young girl, with dreams of going to Brown University upon graduation.

Things get challenging for Marin when her favorite teacher, the one most of the female students have a crush on, Bex, kisses Marin. Granted, some sketchy things happened leading up to this, i.e. Marin lets Bex drive her home, Marin hangs out with Bex at a coffee shop, but all of that aside, Marin is clearly not okay with what happened. Bex lets it go, but starts being extremely antagonistic towards Marin, causing a whole lot of drama at school.

The rage Marin feels at being treated this way causes her to see many things in a new light, including how all of the school’s reading list is written by men. She starts a feminist book club, and is surprised by some of the people who join—and by those who don’t.

Rules for Being a Girl is absolutely one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. Marin goes through many challenges and has a lot of ups and downs, which she doesn’t always handle gracefully. Her emotions and actions feel authentic, and she will not sit by while people tell her how a girl should behave. I give it 5/5 stars.

Categories
Book Reviews

American Royals – Book Review

Summary

Title: American Royals

Author: Katharine McGee

Pages: 448

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Pub. Date: Sept. 3, 2019

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown. 
Two girls vying for the prince’s heart. 
This is the story of the American royals.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American. And their country was born of rebellion.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

The duty. The intrigue. The Crown. New York Times bestselling author Katharine McGee imagines an alternate version of the modern world, one where the glittering age of monarchies has not yet faded–and where love is still powerful enough to change the course of history.

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Categories
Book Reviews contemporary romance ya fiction

Maybe This Time – Book Review

Summary

Title: Maybe This Time

Author: Kasie West

Pages: 368

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

Publisher: Point

Pub. Date: July 9, 2019

One year. Nine events. Nine chances to . . . fall in love?

Weddings. Funerals. Barbecues. New Year’s Eve parties. Name the occasion, and Sophie Evans will be there. Well, she has to be there. Sophie works for the local florist, so she can be found at every big event in her small hometown, arranging bouquets and managing family dramas.

Enter Andrew Hart. The son of the fancy new chef in town, Andrew is suddenly required to attend all the same events as Sophie. Entitled, arrogant, preppy Andrew. Sophie just wants to get her job done and finish up her sketches so she can apply to design school. But every time she turns around, there is Andrew, getting in her way and making her life more complicated. Until one day she wonders if maybe complicated isn’t so bad after all . . .

Told over the course of one year and following Sophie from event to event, this delightful novel from master of romantic comedy Kasie West shows how love can blossom in unexpected places.

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Categories
Book Reviews contemporary romance ya fiction

The Me I Meant to Be – Book Review

Summary

Book Cover - The Me I Meant to Be

Title: The Me I Meant to Be

Author: Sophie Jordan

Pages: 304

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: HMH Teen

Pub Date: January 1, 2019

Girl Code: Never date a friend’s ex.

Willa Evans has no intention of breaking the code. So what if she’s always secretly loved her next-door neighbor Zach? As her best friend’s boyfriend, he was always off-limits and it needs to stay that way, even though they just broke up. Even though every time she turns around he’s there, tempting her…

No keeping secrets from your bestie.

Flor Hidalgo has a lot on her plate: her breakup with Zach, her dad’s new dating life, and her struggling grades. So why can’t she stop thinking about her hot, know-it-all tutor? At least she’s got Willa, her constant in the chaos.

Breaking the code breaks friendships.

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Categories
Blog Tours Book Reviews contemporary romance ya fiction

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

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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Categories
Book Reviews contemporary romance ya fiction

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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Categories
Book Reviews contemporary romance ya fiction

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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Categories
Book Reviews contemporary romance ya fiction

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.*

Categories
Book Boyfriends Book Reviews contemporary romance ya fiction

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.*