Book Review – I Hate You, Fuller James

Title: I Love Hate You, Fuller James
Author: Kelly Anne Blount
Published: March 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 3 stars
Cover: It’s okay

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Synopsis:

I hate you, Fuller James.

I hate your floppy hair and your lopsided grin and those laughing blue eyes that always seem to be laughing at me.

I hate that you’re the most popular guy in school and I’m still the girl who sneezed and spit out her retainer on someone at the middle school dance. It’s just such a cliché.

I hate that I’m being forced to tutor you in English and keep it a secret from everyone. Because otherwise it might put our basketball team’s chances at winning State in jeopardy, and even though I hate you, I love basketball.

I hate that it seems like you’re keeping a secret from me…and that the more time we spend together, the less I feel like I’m on solid ground. Because I’m starting to realize there’s so much more to you than meets the eye. Underneath it all, you’re real.

But what I hate the most is that I really don’t hate you at all.

Happy book birthday to I Love Hate You, Fuller James by Kelly Anne Blount! Thank you Entangled Publishing and Blount for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

A hate-to-love romance AND a sports romance? Two of my favorites. Bring. It. On.

Wren and Fuller actually have a lot in common, they just never knew until they were thrown together in an annoying tutoring set up. Both put family above all else, both are very driven to pursue college and their future careers, both live and breathe basketball. The only difference is, they live in two completely different worlds.

Fuller is the best basketball player this school has ever seen. He’s also part of the popular crowd and the reason Wren gained a horrible nickname and lost her best friend in middle school.

Wren doesn’t mind being an outsider anymore. She’s worked HARD to move past all the bullshit and has two best friends and her family that would do anything for her. Next step is to leave the rest of the people from high school in her dust.

I really loved seeing inside each of their worlds, particularly through the dual perspective writing. Their romance is whirlwind and exciting, I just wish there was a little more build up from Fuller’s side first. We see a glimpse of his tough guy act, but we don’t really see enough to know why it’s there in the first place, or to give more meaning to his softened personality when he starts falling for Wren. He’s fully able to recognize that he’s a big jerk and possibly has a history of being shallow, but why? I wish he had been a little more introspective, and that we had gotten more of a look at his daily life before Wren got stuck with him.

I thoroughly enjoyed two of my favorite tropes wrapped in one for this YA romance. While I wanted more depth and character growth, I still had a lot of fun with this book.

Book Review – The Bookworm Crush

Title: The Bookworm Crush
Author: Lisa Brown Roberts
Published: October 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 2 stars
Cover: Like it

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Synopsis:

Shy bookworm Amy McIntyre is about to compete for the chance to interview her favorite author, who hasn’t spoken to the press in years. The only way to win into step out of the shadows and into the spotlight, but that level of confidence has never come easy.

The solution? A competition coach. The problem? The best person for the job is the guy she’s secretly crushing on…local surfer celebrity Toff Nichols.

He’s a player. He’s a heartthrob. He makes her forget basic things, like how to breathe. How can she feel any confidence around him?

To her surprise, Toff agrees to help. And he’s an excellent teacher. Amy feels braver–maybe even brave enough to admit her feelings for him. When their late night practices become less about coaching and more about making out, Amy’s newfound confidence wavers.

But does Toff really like her or is this just another lesson?

Thank you Entangled Publishing and Lisa Brown Roberts for an eARC of The Bookworm Crush in exchange for an honest review. I’ve had this sitting on my kindle for a few months now because it was forgotten in the midst of wedding planning, but I actually picked it up as motivation to go to the gym (haha). I think this made me like it a little bit more than I would’ve otherwise because it helped distract me from the fact that I was sitting on a stationary bicycle, sweating my guts out.

I love that there is another book about book lovers for book lovers, and this one with an unconventional match: the surfer god. Amy and Toff’s friendship-to-lovers relationship is cute and flirty and fun. Unfortunately, we don’t go much beyond that. The characters had little glimpses of depth, but we never camped out there, it was mostly just mentioned in passing. The plot was a bit dry in parts, as well, making me wish for more meat to it. I’m still a little confused about why Amy asked Toff to help her with a book contest, but reading about them working together was enjoyable.

One thing I really struggled with is the overuse of pop culture and book references. Obviously some book references would be expected of a girl who spends her life between pages, especially books that are helpful for the plot or character development, but the titles were thrown about willy nilly, making me feel like the author just wanted to see how many book references she could cram in. I’m also really not a fan of frequent name dropping in pop culture references because I feel like it has the potential to age the book badly.

The writing was chunky and a little juvenile for a book with older teens with an active sex life. I have several sentences that I highlighted because they were awkward or just didn’t make sense (the editor in me–oops), but I eventually gave up. Since I was reading the eARC, I really hope more edits were made before the final print, but I was not able to connect enough to this book to have any desire to find out myself. Amy and Toff were a fun, surface level glance, but not engaging enough to think about them after the book is over.

Book Review/Blog Tour – Tweet Cute

Tweet Cute_Blog Tour Banner Onsale

Title: Tweet Cute
Author: Emma Lord
Published: January 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: Like it

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Synopsis:

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming—mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese—that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life—on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate—people on the internet are shipping them??— their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

“It’s the thousands of miles and winding roads that stand in the way of Pepper now and Pepper then, and I’m not even sure who either of them are anymore.”

Happy book birthday to Emma Lord’s debut novel, Tweet Cute! Special thanks to Emma Lord and Wednesday Books for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review! This may be a debut novel, but I’m ready to line up for Lord’s next book!

Pepper has been the new girl at her super competitive private school for a couple years now, ever since her parents split and her mom moved her from the small town vibes of Tennessee to the heart of New York City. The only way she feels she can fit in and catch up with her classmates is by pushing herself the be the best. She’s neck to neck as the best in school, she’s swim captain, and she’s even the best (or trying to be) at being a mediator between her bitter sister and her mom. She’s even the best at helping her mom with her family-restaurant-turned-coorporate-company, especially with witty tweets when the social media “specialist” struggles.

Jack just wants to be recognized as himself instead of being confused with his mega popular, diving team captain brother. His parents have been grooming him to take over the family restaurant for forever, and he’s positive it’s because they don’t think he’ll go as far in life as his twin. What will they say when he tells them he’s got other interests? Specifically of the app development variety. When he discovers that a chain burger company has stolen his beloved grandma’s secret grilled cheese recipe, it’s too much to stuff away on top of all his self-doubt. This means war—of the meme category.

Pepper and Jack’s spit-fire personalities will keep you engaged from the first page. They are both dedicated to their respective parent’s restaurants, to the point that their school work and college applications might take the hit. Yikes. While they juggle all the moving pieces in their lives, you can’t help but root for them to figure it all out, while melting from the budding romance.

Lord writes a very current storyline without too much name dropping that will cause it to age badly. It’s a sweet coming-of-age story about two teens who are learning who they are and what they want instead of what’s expected of them. The writing was engaging and endearing, taking the reader on a fun emotional ride.

Purchase Link

About the Author

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Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online on Twitter.

Book Review – Stuck With You

Title: Stuck With You (The First Kiss Hypothesis #3)
Author: Christina Mandelski
Published: September 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: It’s Okay

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Synopsis:

When Caleb Gray heads to the Texas coast to mentally prepare for a future he isn’t sure he wants, the last person he expects to see is Catie Dixon. Yeah, their mothers have been planning their wedding since they were born, but he and Catie are most definitely not friends. He can’t see her as anything but the annoying kid who followed him everywhere. Except, it’s really bothering him that everyone is staring at her in that bikini…

Catie got over her crush on Caleb ages ago. So why can’t she see past his ripped body or how unsettled he seems? She’s got her own problems, though. Her future has been set for years and now she’s dreaming of pulling the plug. A week at their families’ beach house is just what she needs to pull herself together, and she has no intention of letting Caleb back into her heart…which would be a whole lot easier if he’d put on a shirt.

But a forced week of togetherness full of beach parties, waterslide mishaps, bonfires, and rollercoasters sparks more than an understanding. What do you do when the person standing in the way of your future is the one person you grew up hating…but now don’t?

 

“All my life I’ve been hiding behind my easygoing self–only Catie saw through that. Only Catie saw that I was scared” (chapter 25)

Happy book birthday to Stuck With You by Christina Mandelski! Thank you Entangled Publishing for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Caleb is about to go to college. He’s got his whole life mapped out, so things should be going great for him. Why does he feel uneasy about everything suddenly? A little trip to his family’s beach house will help him clear his head and get him back on track. Only thing is, apparently Catie, the daughter of the other family that co-owns the house, had decided to sneak off to the beach house before he got there. It looks like they’re stuck together for the week, forced to remember all their good memories from growing up, and all the reasons they hate each other now. It seems a year apart is making them both reconsider that hating part, though…

Such a real part of life is learning what you want to do with yours, and how that fits in with others’ expectations of you. I love that Mandelski faces this common struggle for teenagers head on in such a raw way. Caleb and Catie have both grown up with expectations placed on them regarding their future career aspirations. Both of their parents own a business together, so both kids are expected to go to college for business and then take over. But what should they do about their individual dreams that they have been trying to forget about?

Caleb  and Catie are both very blunt with each other and care about each other in such sweet ways. Watching their relationship change and they help each other navigate this confusing season of life was so heart warming and genuine. I hope to soon get a chance to read more of Mandelski’s beautiful character developments in her other books!

Book Review – Irish Magic

Title: Irish Magic
Author: Susan B. James
Published: August 2019
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 2 stars
Cover: It’s okay

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Synopsis:

She needs a hero. He needs a break.
A four-leaf clover, a leprechaun with a mission, and a matchmaker may have other plans for them.

What do you do when everything goes wrong?
Make a wish to a four-leaf clover, right?
There’s no other logical way out of it!

A bitter end to her engagement turned novelist Kate Carnahan’s hero into a snarky disaster. With a deadline looming, Kate’s willing to try anything to find a new hero even wishing on a four-leaf clover.

But a clover wish is a heart wish. Everyone knows that! When part leprechaun, Bradley Flynn, is charged with finding Kate’s true love for her, he calls on Essie O’Callaghan, the Hereditary Matchmaker of Cluhalaugh who happens to have a mission of her own.

Dr. Michael Walshe had a ring in his pocket when he walked in on his girlfriend sleeping with her costar. He wants no part of Essie’s plan to find him a wife.

Fate – or something more leprechaun shaped – has Kate and the doctor bumping into each other wherever they go in Ireland. Will Kate realize that Michael could be far more to her than the cure to her writer’s block?

Thank you to Susan B. James, Soul Mate Publishing, and Xpresso Book Tours for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I love stories that take place in the beautiful island of Ireland, and I was excited for a magical element through some leprechaun lore. Two people who are down in their luck somehow end up running into each other every turn they make on their individual vacations. Both have experienced a series of hurtful experiences that make them both lackluster toward the idea of new love, but with the help of a very friendly leprechaun who isn’t allowed to use his magic, they might just learn to embrace the wonderful unknowns of a new relationship.

While there was so much potential for a truly magical story, it just needed a ton of work. Much of the dialogue was awkward, transitions were missing, and changes in emotions weren’t followed well. I wish there had been more fact checking–one part in particular that stuck with me was the fact that the characters said Nintendo doesn’t exist anymore and they played Mario Kart on an Xbox. I texted my fiancé immediately when I read this, and he started laughing. I’m guessing James is hoping her audience doesn’t play video games?

For being a predominantly romance-driven book, I found the scenes where the sexual tensions build to be lacking. The sex was extremely fast and there is even a part where one character believes the only reason she could be so sexually attracted to the other character is because she’s been possessed by a random ghost that made an appearance a page or so ago.

I found myself wanting to read more about what’s at stake for each of the characters, or even understand more of the half-baked side romance stories. Kate is the character who gets the most background in this area, but I wanted more from the others instead of reading Kate go through the same exact internal struggle every few hours. I think the reason I am being so critical is because I see so much potential for this story, I just wish it could’ve gone through several more edits before it arrived here.

Book Review/Blog Tour – Announcing Trouble

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Follow the rest of the tour HERE!

Title: Announcing Trouble
Author: Amy Fellner Dominy
Published: August 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: It’s okay

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Synopsis:

I may know everything there is to know about baseball, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Or like him. Garrett Reeves: sidelined player and the embodiment of everything I’ve learned to hate about baseball. He’s gorgeous, he’s cocky, he’s laser-focused on getting back in the game, no matter the cost.

When he convinces me to call games alongside him, our chemistry heats up the booth. We’re good together, whether I want to admit it or not. I’m finding that I like baseball again, but even worse, I’m liking Garrett. A lot.

But when he has to decide between our future and a new shot at his dreams, I know baseball will win out every time.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book has tons of hilarious banter, lots of sexual tension, and a hero who will throw a wild pitch right at your heart.

Thanks to Amy Fellner Dominy, Entangled Teen Crush, and Chapter by Chapter for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. I can’t get enough of these sports romances–and this one is BASEBALL!

Josie lived and breathed baseball until the day it caused her heart to walk out the door without a backward glance. It’s taken a while for her and her mom to pick up the pieces and move on with their lives, sans baseball of course. When Josie turns 18, she’ll officially become a partner in her mom’s business–it’s what they’ve been talking about and working toward, it’s what helped get them through the dark time.

When Josie’s best friend (somehow) drags her to a baseball game, she can’t bare to hear the awful color commentary, no matter how much she now hates the game. She barges in to give him a piece of her mind and somehow Garrett, an ex-baseball player who is dedicated to call the plays at their high school baseball games, convinces her to take the job as his partner.

The banter between Josie and Garrett is honestly AMAZING. I just wanted to read about their conversations for much longer than the book provided. Garrett was such a sweetheart who was a genuine optimistic. You’ll definitely be swooning over these two!

You all must know by now that I love my hate-to-love books, but it was truly special reading about this transition in the love of the game. Dominy’s writing showed this beautiful progression, building up the tension and pulling heart strings. This baseball romance is a win in my book!

Purchase Links:

Amazon| Amazon Australia| Amazon UK| Amazon Canada| B&N| iBooks| Kobo

About the Author

Amy Felnner Dominy
Amy Fellner Dominy is the award-winning author of books for teens, tweens and toddlers. An MFA playwright, Amy’s novels include The Fall of Grace; Die for You; A Matter of Heart; Audition & Subtraction; OyMG and the picture books series, Cookiesaurus Rex. Amy was recognized in 2017 by the Arizona Library Association with the Judy Goddard Award. Her novels have been recognized as Bank Street College of Education Best Book Selections, and OyMG is a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens. Amy lives in Phoenix with her husband and a puppy who is training them.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram • Goodreads

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Book Review/Blog Tour – Just My Luck

Title: Just My Luck
Author: Jennifer Honeybourn
Published: July 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 3 stars
Cover: Like it

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Synopsis:

Marty has terrible luck and she knows exactly why. While working as a housekeeper at the ritzy Grand Palms hotel in Maui, Marty made it a habit to steal small items from the guests. What better way to stick it to the rich snobs they have to clean up after? Marty knows how to turn her luck around — she just has to return all of the items she stole.

When Marty meets Will, a new guest who is staying for the summer, she does the one thing she always promised herself she’d never do — fall for an out-of-towner. But Will’s special, different from the other guests at the hotel. Maybe Marty’s luck is finally turning around.

After a string of misunderstandings and accidents threaten Will and Marty’s relationship, Marty has to find a way to fix her luck for good — or say goodbye to Will forever.

Happy book birthday to Jennifer Honeybourn’s Just My Luck! A big thank you to Honeybourn, Swoon Reads, and Xpresso Book Tours for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. You can click the banner above to follow the rest of the tour for more reviews and excerpts.

The only explanation for all the things going wrong in Marty’s life is karma. What else could explain the fact that, in one day, she broke her tooth, a tree fell on her car, and she ruined a good pair of slippers because someone didn’t clean up after their dog? She needs to put things right and that doesn’t include being distracted by an out-of-towner that she’s being forced to show around the island, thank you very much.

Honeybourn writes a humorous and sweet story about love, luck, and learning how to move forward in life. All of Marty’s misadventures kept me glued to the page in happy expectation. While the story was lighthearted and fun, I found myself craving more depth from the characters. Will and Marty are the only characters in the story that are fleshed out, and still there was more to be desired. If you’re looking for something feel good to make you laugh after a heavier read, this is a good option for you!

Purchase Links:

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

About the Author


Jennifer Honeybourn works in corporate communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, happily-ever-after love stories. If she could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, she’d have high tea with Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and her nana. She lives with her husband, daughter and cat in a house filled with books. Wesley James Ruined My Life is her first novel.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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