adult fiction, book review, coming of age, historical fiction, paranormal, romance

The Beautiful Ones | ARC Review

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: The Beautiful Ones

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 327

Publication Date: 4/27/21

Categories: Romance, Paranormal, Alternate Historical Fiction

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a sweeping romance with a dash of magic.

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.

But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina — and
himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.

  • This is the first novel I’ve read from this author, though I have Mexican Gothic on my TBR list and I fell in love with this story as it just pulled me in and didn’t let go. I don’t know what I really expected from it, but I found the writing so engaging, and beautiful.
  • I became a reader through romance novels so this was everything I want in a romance. I really was swept away and could not put the book down. There is passion, jealousy, betrayal, romance and love. I felt like my heart was being squeezed by the end of the story but in a good way.
  • I liked how this was an alternate historical fiction story, even though the places resembled high society in England some time in the early 1900’s perhaps, whatever time period where motorcars were being introduced. The characters attended balls, a season of parties, socializing and summer in the countryside. A fun twist is that Nina and Hector both could do telekinesis. In this world of The Beautiful Ones, it’s an extraordinary skill but looked down upon in high society. It makes Nina stand out in unpleasant ways, whereas Hector thrives with the skill being a performer. The two feel less alone when together.
  • Nina isn’t beautiful like her cousin’s wife Valerie, but she comes from a well known family. Unfortunately she’s too different, she talks when she’s not supposed to and it’s usually about inappropriate things like bugs, plus she can do telekinesis. She’s never made friends easily because she is different but I like how it didn’t stop her from being who she is and enjoying life. And thank goodness for her supportive family who loves her just as she is.
  • I love how Nina and Hector’s love grow. Their love is not quite a slow burn because Hector has been burning for Valerie, Nina’s cousin-in-law. I liked how the story explored burning passion and love versus something that forms into friendship and grows steadily into love.
  • Valerie ~ she is hateful but her character was done so well. So well that I hated her. Here was this woman who had the love she always wanted but he was poor. As a woman she had to marry well and she did, breaking the heart of her first love in the process. When he comes back to her, she revels in his obsession with her, they are both obsessed with one another, but whereas Hector believes it’s love, for Valerie, it’s possession. Nina is the innocent miss but Valerie is the hard, calculated woman and I was fascinated with her downward spiral.

The Beautiful Ones swept me off my romantic feet. I was hoping Nina would get some satisfaction over Hector and Valerie’s games and she does come out triumphant. This story is emotional, tragic, hopeful and everything I want in a romance. I am a new fan of this author and look forward to reading more books from her.

🦋 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, contemporary, romance, Teen Readers, Young Adult

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega | Book Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Author: Crystal Maldonado

Format: eBook – borrowed (Overdrive Library)

Pages: 308

Publication Date: 2/2/21

Publisher: Holiday House

Categories: Teen/Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Body Image, Family, Friendship, Dating, Coming of Age

Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard. 
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though. 

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter. 

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.

  • Love the message for girls and guys in here about body image and loving yourself no matter what size you are, no matter what skin color you are, no matter who you love. Charlie has to live with a mom who has chosen a fitness lifestyle and is trying to get Charlie to do the same. It causes Charlie’s self-esteem to take a beating and her relationship with her mom is strained. It was very relatable. It’s hard growing up in a family that points out every time you gain weight, I can definitely relate!
  • Charlie deals with a lot of body issues but the one thing she excels at is her writing, which is fantastic. I love that she has that outlet for her creative ideas and she’s good at it.
  • Charlie and her best-friend Amelia have an amazing relationship until Charlie finds a boyfriend. But they have a long hard talk about what came between them and I love that they had this moment. Charlie needed to speak her truth and Amelia as well. I love that even though they took some time apart, the came back together, maturely and talked it out. That’s what makes a friendship grow, when you can get through the rough parts.
  • Charlie’s romance with Brian is sweet because it starts as a friendship and I love that for her. Even the drama that came with it was realistic, especially because Charlie has some emotional issues to deal with that have nothing to do with Brian.
  • The cast of characters are quite diverse in this story, Charlie is half white/puerto rican. Brian is Korean with two mothers, and Amelia is black and pansexual.
  • Triggers: grief, fatphobia
  • Charlie’s mom really gets on Charlie to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to lose weight. It comes between them a lot. At times her mom seems to understand where Charlie is coming from and then the next scene it’s back to normal, shoving diet drinks in Charlie’s face. Even after Charlie lets her know how she feels, I felt like her mom didn’t truly get it.
  • The beginning was slow for me, it was turning out to be just an okay read for me because it seemed liked a story that was only about Charlie’s self-image but the second half of the book is where it gets really good and emotional.

Charlie Vega, despite her weight and self-image issues comes out shining in this story. She goes through some challenges with her mother, her first attempt at dating and best friend drama but she gets her happy ending. This book is great for teens and young adults because it’s totally relatable. I enjoyed this one, even though I thought it had a slow start, the second half came through with lots of emotion.

💛 ~ Yolanda

Quotes from the book:

book review, coming of age, contemporary, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Slingshot | ARC Review

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: Slingshot

Author: Mercedes Helnwein

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: 4/27/21

Categories: Young Adult, Mature Situations, Romance, Family, Abuse, Boarding School, Coming of Age, Contemporary

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

An exciting debut contemporary young adult novel perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Mary H. K. Choi 

Grace Welles had resigned herself to the particular loneliness of being fifteen and stuck at a third-tier boarding school in the swamps of Florida, when she accidentally saves the new kid in her class from being beat up. With a single aim of a slingshot, the monotonous mathematics of her life are obliterated forever…because now there is this boy she never asked for. Wade Scholfield.

With Wade, Grace discovers a new way to exist. School rules are optional, life is bizarrely perfect, and conversations about wormholes can lead to make-out sessions that disrupt any logical stream of thoughts. 

So why does Grace crush Wade’s heart into a million tiny pieces? And what are her options when she finally realizes that 1. The universe doesn’t revolve around her, and 2. Wade has been hiding a dark secret. Is Grace the only person unhinged enough to save him?

Acidly funny and compulsively readable, Mercedes Helnwein’s debut novel Slingshot is a story about two people finding each other and then screwing it all up. See also: soulmate, friendship, stupidity, sex, bad poetry, and all the indignities of being in love for the first time.

  • Grace is a MESS. She’s 15, at a boarding school, unlikable, mean, a jerk, lacking social skills, says whatever she wants to say usual not caring about the consequences and she doesn’t believe in love. In a way she’s courageous, for not giving a crap but in lots of ways she’s afraid (of love) but wouldn’t admit it out loud until Wade and even Beth comes into her life. Also, she and her mom are her dad’s secret family so it’s no wonder she doesn’t believe in love. The blurb says “acidly funny” and all that acid comes from Grace haha!
  • Watching Grace navigate all her emotions was riveting and I could not put the book down. She’s all over the place. This girl is in love with her teacher then hates him when she finds out she was basically delusional about it. She pretty much scars a guy she hates, then sleeps with him and then unknowingly breaks his heart. If she went to my high school, this girl would have been getting into a lot of fights – she’s that girl. Despite her psychotic tendencies – I related to her thoughts about relationships, falling in love and sex because the relationships I saw growing up were totally dysfunctional too.
  • As for the romance with Wade ~ they start off as unlikely friends. Then best of friends into the possibility of something more and then into love. So it wasn’t instant which was nice, because Grace has a lot of issues but it was a sweet spot in the book. Wade is a good guy but we don’t know much about him until almost the ending. His life is complicated too.
  • Bittersweet ending – in true fashion, Grace falls for Wade, has this amazing time with him and it all comes crashing down. One thing is for sure with Grace, who basically hates everyone…she doesn’t hate Wade. And because Wade is so good, she learns to open up a bit…even make some friends and let some in. It’s not a total happy ending but realistic? I think so.
  • Triggers: student/teacher crush (one-sided), abuse, bullying
  • Grace crushes on her Bio teacher – hard. She thinks he reciprocates her feelings but ugh…he surely does not. And she basically does crazy stuff to him because she’s angry at him (breaks his pencils, writes him notes, tells him off) ~ this is how we are introduced to Grace and honestly from then on, I knew she needed therapy! This might turn people off to this book right away but seriously, it’s all one-sided.
  • Kind of bummed that Grace let all her grades go because of that whole teacher crush heartbreak – obviously this girl is SMART just lacking so much social skills and is almost hungrily studying others around her, hating them, judging them, needing praise (even it’s from some random guy like Derek who she hates) – dooming herself to loneliness because in the essence of it all she thinks her father never wanted her. Doesn’t love her.
  • I felt called out when Grace says she was into older music like 80’s/90’s and starts jamming to Smashing Pumpkins and Rage Against the Machine. 🤣 Talk about nostalgia – that was the music of MY high school years! Yes I’m old, but damn it the music was good!
  • This book totally could be a tv series, it’s quirky and dark enough, and Grace is so problematic.

Do not be fooled by this pink, happy book cover…this is not a fluffy, cutesy love story. Grace is a mean, cold, hurt, lost teenager trying to navigate all these feelings of love, sex, and friendship. She takes it out on everyone around her, and then Wade comes along and she tries to be better, for him. This story will not be for everyone, Grace has no filter ~ but she reminds me of someone I befriended in my younger years and things turned out okay for my friend. Moral of the story, we are all flawed, the teenage years are angsty and emotional, but we can still turn out okay.

🖤 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, E-book, Mystery, romance, thriller, Young Adult

Firekeeper’s Daughter | Book Review

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: Firekeeper’s Daughter

Author: Angeline Boulley

Format: eBook and hard cover (own)

Pages: 496

Publication Date: 3/16/21

Publisher: Henry, Holt and Co.

Categories: Mystery, Young Adult, Romance, Family, Friendship, Drugs, Native American, Suspense, Thriller

Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange. 

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother. 

The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation. 

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. 

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

  • What drew me to this book was the cover first, the description second because I love that it was a young adult story about a native teen. I haven’t read many books about Native Americans in all the decades I’ve been reading and it’s about time, or more like overdue. We need more books like these.
  • I’m not a big fan of mysteries and didn’t realize this story was a mystery at first. But I was sucked into Daunis’ history, and her story of owning her identity. We learn Ojibwe tribe history, customs and current issues natives go through in their communities. We get to see them experience discrimination, racism, drugs, the role of the elderly, and just how their communities are so tight. I learned about the casinos on reservations and how enrolled tribal members earn per cap and how someone can even be enrolled as a member ~ I learned so much from this story.
  • Daunis’ life is complicated but she navigates her life using her tribe teachings and it really centers her when things get rough. And things get dark and sinister in this story which I didn’t expect. Another thing about Daunis which I adored was her intellect and scientific mind. Her western science knowledge and tribe healing practices collide in this story to help her with the investigation and I thought that was really cool to see.
  • I love all the family aspects in this book, as complicated and as hurtful as they are, Daunis stays very strong in the face of criticism and hate. I also loved so much how this story features the elderly community because they really should be honored and taken care of. It reminds me of how in my filipino culture the elderly are taken care of by family members, young and old, and I loved that. It made me realize how fortunate I was to be able to grow up with one set of grandparents and help take care of them before they passed. Daunis reveres the elders in her family and community and it is beautiful.
  • I thought the ending was beautiful and bittersweet. ❤️ Daunis is the best of her community, she embodies all the complications that natives and half natives live and feel day in and out. And no matter what challenges come, she deals with them with intellect, grace, strength, bravery, respect and knowledge from her Anishinaabe kwe upbringing.

Triggers: drug use, suicide, homicide, sexual assault, rape, kidnapping

  • Everything about this story is complicated including Daunis’ love life which is a fake relationship with blurred lines. I think it ended realistically since in reality she didn’t even know Jamie’s real name ~ I LOVE how Daunis was so mature enough to know that both of them needed time to grow a but before maybe pursuing something. And I adore the dream prophecy about her future as well.
  • This story is full of trauma. There are family scandals, tribal scandals, drug use/abuse, suicide murder, sexual assault, the history of native kids being taken to boarding schools without their parents consent, stories of women being abused, so much grief and trying to just heal from the injustices native people have endured for so, so long.
  • There is mention about Hawaii (a James Michener book I read in high school), and then UH Hawaii at Manoa and I loved seeing our state college get mentioned!

Everything about Daunis’ story in the Firekeeper’s Daughter drew me in and I cared about her and her family, no matter how complicated it was because the love is real. I love that we get to experience life through Daunis, a half white/half native young adult who wants the best for all the people she loves and the best for her community. I learned a lot about native life, some of the cultural aspects like pow wows and tribal council votes, casinos and per cap payouts. But underneath all that information you feel the struggle native americans feel to try and exist on the land their people had stolen from them with violence and oppression. I hope we get more native stories in books, tv and movies because their stories are important and need to be told. This is an honest and powerful story that is multi-layered, and must be read.

🔥 ~ Yolanda

Book Quotes:

book review, coming of age, contemporary, E-book, fantasy, magical realism, urban fantasy

A Song Below Water | Book Review

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Title: A Song Below Water

Author: Bethany C. Morrow

Format: eBook (own)

Pages: 288

Publication Date: 6/2/20

Publisher: Tor Teen

Categories: Urban Fantasy, Black Lives Matter, Young Adult, Coming of Age, Identity, Magical Realism

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

  • I love the cover – it is gorgeous!
  • I really liked the concept of this urban fantasy world where sirens, sprites, eloko, mermaids and gargoyles. I’ve always been fascinated with sirens and gargoyles. The fact they are here together in one book is awesome.
  • This book was released in 2020 when the tensions in the USA was at an all time high with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so much more. The pandemic was going on, Black Lives Matters protests, it was volatile, and if you watched the news, Portland, Oregon was the home of many protest stand-offs. So this book being set in Portland with the death of Rhoda Taylor gracing the news – it definitely reflects our current time.
  • I really enjoyed the parts that brought in some creepiness like the sprites and their singing Red Rover…what was up with that? I did enjoy when the story went there towards the fantasy side so I want more of that.
  • Tavia and Effie are tight as can be – their bond is very strong which is beautiful.
  • Triggers: police brutality, racism, suicidal attempt
  • I was sometimes lost reading this book because there was a lot going on. Also at times Tavia and Effie were so tight, I couldn’t remember if I was reading Tavia or Effie’s chapter.
  • As much as I loved the fantastical elements in this book, I was confused a lot and this book is under 300 pages, which means I should have finished this quick. I didn’t, I struggled through it. I was probably expecting more fantasy and explanations about the different creatures living in this world.

I love the concept of this book but the execution didn’t work for me. I wanted more of the magical elements. I wanted the fantasy to blend better with the contemporary world with black lives matter dominating Tavia and Effie’s life because the issues in this book are relevant, important and need to be read. I’m reading the second book next since I have it as an arc from NetGalley so I hope that one is better.

🌊 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, contemporary, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Kisses and Croissants | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Kisses and Croissants

Author: Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 320

Publication Date: 4/6/21

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Categories: Romance, Ballet, Young Adult, Paris, Contemporary

As sweet as a macaron from Laduree, with writing as crisp as a freshly baked baguette, this romantic novel set in Paris about an American ballerina and a charming French boy is parfait for fans of American Royals and Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Sixteen-year-old Mia, an American girl at an elite summer ballet program, has six weeks to achieve her dreams: to snag an audition with one of the world’s best ballet companies. But there’s more to Paris than ballet—especially when a charming French boy, Louis, wants to be her tour guide—and the pair discover the city has a few mysteries up its sleeve.

In the vein of romances like Love and Gelato, this is the perfect summer adventure for anyone looking to get swept away in the City of Love.

  • Aesthetics ~ Paris, ballet and a romance? What’s not to like? And that cover too? It screams cuteness!
  • It’s set in Paris, I’ve been there once and it was way too short, but Mia’s romantic ideas about Paris is what I felt too when I was there. It’s a beautiful city and I was jealous at how many croissants she was eating in the book. Even Mia’s insta-romance with Louis was perfect because come on, it’s Paris.
  • I love ballet stories ever since I saw the movie Center Stage (remember that oldie but goodie?). And then there was Black Swan which was pretty wild. So my love for ballet started with movies and I could see this book turned into a movie or tv series. Ballet is so intense with competition between dancers but mostly the competition within oneself to be the best, it’s drama and always makes a great story.
  • Speaking of drama? I love Audrey and Mia’s relationship the best. When they finally get to know one another, they make realize they have made each other better dancers. I like seeing two top girls supporting one another! I really enjoyed their friendship journey.
  • As for the romance, Mia and Louis fall in love after 6 weeks. Quick? Oh for sure, but it fits Mia’s character, she feels about everything strongly, love and heartbreak equally. I enjoyed her adventure with Louis as they looked for Mia’s ancestors who maybe was in a painting by Degas.
  • This is a super quick, light and fluffy read which charmed me the moment Mia touched down in Paris. There were some issues Mia had to deal with like her mother not being supportive of her passion for ballet, but other than that Mia pushes forward because she knows what she wants.
  • I did like that Mia pointed out to Louis just because she knew what she wanted she had to remember some people are still trying to find out what theirs is. So true.

I really enjoyed this sweet story about a girl with a dream and chasing after it in Paris! Mia makes new friends, she improves her craft and her french. She even finds family and love. What more could you ask for? I felt as light as this book by the end and wish I could hop on a plane to Paris to eat some amazing croissants.

💘 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, E-book, fantasy, kindle unlimited, magic, paranormal, urban fantasy, Young Adult

Shadowspell Academy: Year of the Chameleon | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Shadowspell Academy ~ Year of the Chameleon

Author: Shannon Mayer

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 302

Publisher: Hijinks Ink Publishing

Categories: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Academy, Survival, Coming of Age, Cliff Hanger

I’ve made it through the Culling Trials, the test that proved my mettle against every possible challenge.

I assumed that meant things would settle down and I’d start truly learning.

No more danger.

No more death threats.

No more wondering who was out to get me.

Apparently, that was not to be.

I am what this supernatural world calls a Chameleon—a rarity even amongst all these monsters. And rare things are coveted and feared by the most powerful of all—The House Of Wonder.

It’s a good thing I have my crew at my back, because this Academy?

It’s about to get seriously ugly.

Which means this farm girl is ready to play by only one set of rules.

Her own.

  • I didn’t know there was going to be more to this series, but I am happy there is! Wild is back but this time she knows she’s a Chameleon, someone who exhibits all the powers of each House.
  • It starts off right away with something happening to all the Houses so they are holed up at House of Wonder, it’s where the mages rule. There is a mystery to figure out – what is going on with the Houses being attacked except for Wonder? Or are they wrong and something happened to Wonder as well?
  • Wild is always a fun character – she has her own crew of misfits from each House. She’s outspoken and brave. She holds her own even when getting her butt kicked in training but that’s what makes her a cool person, Wild doesn’t give up.
  • Since Wild is a teen surrounded by some hot guys at the moment, yes there are options – and her options are wide open in this one! She can’t seem to figure out her feelings for certain guys, but there are other things to focus on at the moment like the Shadowkiller roaming around somewhere, and the attack on the houses.
  • It’s a very quick read and a great book to just lose yourself in – pure escape!
  • Like I mentioned, Wild can’t seem to figure out her feelings with these cute boys around her. It’s not quite a love triangle – we shall see what happens with that situation.
  • The ending is a cliff hanger but the next book comes out soon, in 3 weeks actually, which is great – I love when the wait isn’t too long!
  • Also the ending switches to Wally’s POV! She is Wild’s best friend and a Necromancer, something happens at the end where it seems that Wally will have to take over the leadership role, which is exciting. Can’t wait to see her shine.

Shannon Mayer does Academy books very well – it has action, a little flirtation and romance here and there, a strong heroine who has all the special powers but she learns them, fails at her gifts too but never gives up. There is drama, humor, heartfelt friendship and in this one, some visits from ghosts in Wild’s life. I look forward to seeing what happens next!

🥰 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, contemporary, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Five Ways to Fall Out of Love | ARC Review

My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Title: Five Ways to Fall Out of Love

Author: Emily Martin

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: 3/16/21

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Categories: Romance, Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways…

Aubrey Cash learned the hard way not to rely on love. After all, Webster Casey, the new boy next door she’d been falling for all summer, stood her up at homecoming in front of everyone with no explanation. Proving her theory that love never lasts seems easy when she’s faced with parents whose marriage is falling apart and a best friend who thinks every boy she dates is “the one.” But when sparks fly with a boy who turns out to be Webster’s cousin, and then Webster himself becomes her lab partner for the rest of senior year, Aubrey finds her theory—and her commitment to stay single—put to the test.

As she navigates the breakdown of her family, the consequences her cynicism has on her relationship with her best friend, and her own confusing but undeniable feelings for Webster, Aubrey has to ask herself: What really happened the night Webster stood her up? And if there are five ways to fall out of love…could there perhaps be even more ways to fall back in?

  • Oh the drama of misunderstandings! This whole book is about miscommunication. Webster and Aubrey’s friendship falls apart because of a misunderstanding. It takes them a whole year to even discuss what really happened, but honestly they would’ve stayed enemies if Webster’s cousin Holland didn’t say something about it. I thought the drama was realistic. I can think of a lot of moments in my teen years when misunderstandings and miscommunication or lack of communication turned into some drama.
  • Aubrey’s parents have been fighting for years but it’s coming to the point where it is unbearable and they are separating. It’s no wonder Aubrey is so wary about love and very unsure what it means to be in love. Aubrey is cynical and she uses a scientific theory to gauge love.
  • My favorite thing about this book is Reese, Aubrey’s best friend. Their love for each other is apparent and Reese helps Aubrey loosen up. She made the story fun because the two of them together is comfortable, just like it should be with a bestie.
  • Triggers: divorce
  • I usually don’t mind love triangles but the one in this story made me cringe because Aubrey is basically into Webster and his cousin, Holland who is just a nice guy. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Poor Holland, he totally deserved better. It was just messy and so could’ve been handled better.
  • Webster is bi-sexual but for some reason the way Aubrey discusses this with him left me feeling uncomfortable. Aubrey tries to bring up college and how their relationship could change if he meets a guy. I mean…I guess she wasn’t worried about him meeting another girl…but a guy is problematic? It was awkward.
  • Some mature content: the characters do some sexual exploration like fondling and even masturbation, which is very realistic. I’m glad it didn’t shy away from that.

This book is more like a 2.5 star read for me but I did read this in one night, so it did keep my interest but mostly because I wanted to see if Aubrey’s character would grow. If you are more of a cynic about love or tend to lean that way, you may enjoy this one. I think I’m pretty cynical as an adult haha, but in my romance novels, I want it to be pretty hopeful and optimistic. I appreciate this story being realistic though but in the end it was just an okay story for me.

💙 ~ Yolanda

book review, coming of age, contemporary, netgalley, New adult, Young Adult

Yolk | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Yolk

Author: Mary H.K. Choi

Format: eBook (NetGalley)


Publication Date: 3/2/21

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Categories: Young Adult, New Adult, Eating Disorder, Cancer, Family, Healthcare, Contemporary

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.

On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying.

  • Mary H.K. Choi is a must-read author for me because her stories are complicated and real. Also she just knows how to really get into the scary, vulnerable places of her characters’s mind.
  • World Building: this book is an ode to New York City and a little bit of Texas too. In her last book Permanent Record and now Yolk, New York City is a character. Jayne is enamored of all things New York City, but is struggling to make ends meet there.
  • Characters: Jayne is hurting herself. She is a bulimic. Jayne is trying to run from events in her past and the story shows flashbacks of what happened that could have started her eating disorder. June is her older sister who is smart and successful but now she has cancer. These two sisters have such a tense history. I thought it was funny how they fought, because…siblings fight dirty sometimes! But it was also painful to see because you know they both love each other.
  • This is about Jayne and through her we see New York City, we see how lost she is about school and her goals for the future. Jayne is traumatized by her past: uprooting from South Korea to move to America, her strained relationship with her mother, growing up Korean in America, and trying to figure out how to attain all the riches and dreams of New York City – her ideal American dream. Right now her dream is unattainable.
  • Triggers: cancer, bulimia
  • Obviously, there are hard topics in this story with Jayne having bulimia and June having uterine cancer. So proceed with caution – this is not a happy story. Some parts are funny, but for the most part, it’s heavy reading.
  • There is a little bit of romance but it’s definitely not the main thing about this story. It was realistic too and it didn’t dominate the story.

This story is dark, complicated, emotional, layered and real. I was hooked and yet scared for Jayne as she went through her life lost and in pain but hiding it so well. But one person sees through her mask, her sister June. I loved how these crazy sisters fought, because siblings fight – and I love how New York City comes to life through the author’s words. When everything comes to a clash: Jayne’s past, her present, cancer, family and bulimia – that’s when the hard work starts as these sisters grind through the surface of their tense relationship and find the love that’s been hiding under there all along.

💛 ~ Yolanda

Blog tour, Book Excerpt, book review, bookish, coming of age, contemporary, Teen Readers, Young Adult

BLOG TOUR } Girlhood: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices

Welcome to the book blog tour for Girlhood: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices by. Masuma Ahuja!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: GIRLHOOD: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices

Author: Masuma Ahuja

Format: ebook (NetGalley)

Pages: 256

Publication Date: 2/9/21

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Categories: Non Fiction, Girls

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

What does a teenage girl dream about in Nigeria or New York? How does she spend her days in Mongolia, the Midwest, and the Middle East? 

All around the world, girls are going to school, working, dreaming up big futures—they are soccer players and surfers, ballerinas and chess champions. Yet we know so little about their daily lives. We often hear about challenges and catastrophes in the news, and about exceptional girls who make headlines. But even though the health, education, and success of girls so often determines the future of a community, we don’t know more about what life is like for the ordinary girls, the ones living outside the headlines.

From the Americas to Europe to Africa to Asia to the South Pacific, the thirty teens from twenty-seven countries in Girlhood share their own stories of growing up through diary entries and photographs, and the girls’ stories are put in context with reporting and research that helps us understand the circumstances and communities they live in. This full-color, exuberantly designed volume is a portrait of ordinary girlhood around the world, and of the world, as seen through girls’ eyes.

  • It is wonderfully multi-cultural! So many different girls from around the world are featured in this book. I love the full color pages of the girls, it’s wonderful to see their smiles.
  • I love the diary entry format and scrapbook style of the book. This is the kind of book I would have loved to read when I was a teenager. It’s inspiring and makes me want to travel to experience the different cultures out there.
  • Showcasing different girls around the world and their own thoughts makes one feel not alone. Though the girls come from different places and live unique lives, there is something relatable about each girl whether it’s how they feel about school, friends, their family and the future.

This is a wonderful collection of stories and thoughts from girls all over the world. It is inspiring and relatable and perfect for young girls to add to their book collection!

📚 ~ Yolanda

Author: Masuma Ahuja