Book Review/Blog Tour – The Secret Recipe for Moving On



Title: The Secret Recipe for Moving On
Author: Karen Bischer
Published: March 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

 Rating: 4 stars
Cover: Don’t like it

Synopsis:

When Ellie is dumped by her boyfriend, she’s forced to make new friends (while watching her ex swoon over his new girlfriend) in The Secret Recipe for Moving On, a smart and funny YA debut from Karen Bischer.

Ellie Agresti’s not sure anything could be worse than being dumped by her boyfriend, Hunter, the first day of senior year.

But sharing a “life skills” class with him and his new girlfriend, Brynn? AND getting partnered with a “family” of misfits (A.J., the loudmouth; Isaiah, the horse-racing obsessive; and Luke, the tattooed stunt-biker)?

It’s a recipe for certain disaster…until an in-class competition allows Ellie to channel her angst into beating Hunter and Brynn’s team, and she unexpectedly bonds with her own group–especially Luke–in the process.

But as Ellie soon discovers, it will take more than classroom triumphs to heal her broken heart–and find herself again.

“I guess some life skills you don’t learn in home ec” (chapter 18).

Happy release week for Karen Bischer’s book, The Secret Recipe for Moving On! Thank you Entangled Teen, Xpresso Tours, and Bischer for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. What a sweet journey this book is!

The story opens up with Ellie feeling a little insecure in her relationship and with his friends. Cue the first day of school and she gets quite the slap in the face when her boyfriend, Hunter, breaks up with her to be with one of his long time friends. Suddenly Ellie doesn’t belong anywhere as she’s quick to learn her “friends” were more situational than true. To make things worse, she has to sit through home ec with Hunter and his new boo practically breaking the PDA meter. After realizing how torturous being in the same group with her ex and ex-friends would be, she quickly joins the “misfit” group and starts plotting revenge. 

Cue the misfits: the sweetest, quirkiest group of boys you can find. Each of them have their own personality traits that keep them from the popular crowd, but Ellie quickly learns that they’re not quite as odd as first impressions hinted. As Ellie gets to know them, she learns about what it means to be a true friend, how to work together as a team, and who she is apart from the life she felt was taken from her.

While I did find Ellie’s character growth inspiring, Luke was probably my favorite character, even though, *groan,* he has a girlfriend already. Or maybe AJ? Honestly, the boys are all so wonderful, it’s hard to pick. I do feel like Luke was supposed to be intimidating because he has a couple tattoos and he’s into bike stunts, but he never really was for me. I wish Bischer could’ve built up that reputation better in the beginning so that, when Ellie learns about how goofy and sweet he is, it’s a much bigger deal.

Bischer writes such a sweet story about how preconceived assumptions about people don’t tell the whole story. The family Ellie becomes a part of are all flawed, real, and kind. With a team like that in anyone’s corner, there’s no telling what you can do. I’d definitely read this again just to hang out with the characters more.

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Karen Bischer has written short stories for Girls’ World and Animal Tales magazines and currently works as a copyeditor. She lives in her native New Jersey, where she has never encountered Bruce Springsteen in the wild, but does have a cat named after a member of the E Street Band.

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Book Review – Amelia Unabridged

Title: Amelia Unabridged
Author: Ashley Schumacher
Published: February 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 5 stars
Cover: Love it

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Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college.

In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future.

When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s flight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along. Ashley Schumacher’s devastating and beautiful debut, Amelia Unabridged, is about finding hope and strength within yourself, and maybe, just maybe, falling in love while you do it.

“I’m crying, silent tears that don’t leave me gasping for breath or needing to rip books in half but that taste almost sweet in their saltiness. When did emotions start having emotions of their own, and how do I make it stop?” (p. 174).

Thank you Ashley Schumacher and Wednesday Books for a free eARC of Amelia Unabridged in exchange for an honest review. I have been sitting with this story ever since I read it almost in it’s entirety on February 16th. This story filled me to the brim and I’ve been struggling to find the words to capture the experience reading it was for me. As soon as I finished it, I texted my husband that I was utterly enchanted and I so deeply wanted to own a physical copy of it–which he was so kind to tell me to buy it, even though he truly cannot understand why I want to own books I’ve already read. That’s real love, my friends.

The book opens up on Amelia’s less than stellar home life (her father leaving for a younger woman, her mother in complete shock and depression) and ushers her into a friendship that helped her discover her value. Jenna and her family welcome Amelia in as a surrogate family member, and Amelia spends her high school years wanting for nothing and cherishing the worlds found in the pages of her books with a wonderful friend. Suddenly Amelia’s world is shattered when she gets the phone call that Jenna has died in an accident. The last thing they had said to each other was a fight. Jenna had their lives together all mapped out, how was Amelia supposed to do this alone? After a mysterious and rare copy of the girls’ favorite book arrives for her, Amelia goes on a journey to find out if Jenna was behind it. On the way, she discovers a whole new cast of quirky book lovers like her who welcome her in and give her space to discover who she is on her own.

Once Amelia makes it to Michigan, it’s clear that she’s battling so many things internally. She doesn’t know whether she should continue to pursue the life Jenna had planned for her, which means she would have to allow Jenna’s parents to pay for the college she’d otherwise be unable to afford in order to study for a career she’s unsure she wants, all while keeping up appearances as Jenna’s replacement almost in a family that’s not biologically hers. But what is there for her if she doesn’t do this? And how can she possibly let down her best friend and her family by changing the plan after Jenna’s death? How can she continue reading books when the very person who taught her to love them is gone? How can she be a complete person without the person that helped shape her?

There are so many different forms of grief throughout several characters, which I feel like makes everything more relatable and tangible. Amelia’s grief and anxiety throughout the book is attached to images of whales she pictures in her head that bring her peace. I thought this was such a beautiful way of writing Amelia’s thought processes as a creative individual who spent so much of her life in other worlds. After she meets Endsley, she uses these pictures in her head to relate to his anxiety. 

Everything about this story is just so wonderfully done. The cozy acceptance of an environment for book lovers, the sweet and very quirky friendships Amelia discovers in Michigan, and the tragically beautiful relationship she builds with Endsley. There’s even a wonderful dog who’s always in everyone’s space. I truly felt this was such a perfect illustration of true friendship being more than being there for each other in the convenience, but being an unwavering force in the inconvenience and uncertainty.

Schumacher’s writing is poetic and enchanting right from the beginning. Truly one of a kind. It was so difficult to put down or tear myself away for even the smallest thing because I didn’t want to leave this wonderful place she painted for me. I felt like I was there, on this journey of self discovery with Amelia, rooting for her, crying with her, and rejoicing with her. One thing that really stuck out to me about Schumacher’s writing is that she so beautifully crafted a world of book lovers without name dropping and shoving as many references as she could fit in there. All of the book references were so gently entwined into the story that it was more like a treasure hunt to see if I could figure out the reference instead of being pulled out of the story with a name drop. I don’t think I’m explaining it well, but this is something I struggle with in books because I often find name dropping so inorganic. Schumacher mastered this.

After all this rambling, I still feel like I only touched the surface of how wonderful this book is. And to think it’s only Schumacher’s debut? Sign me up for every book she comes out with ever, please and thank you? I will be fervently recommending this book to anyone and everyone possible.

Blog Tour – The Ice in Our Hearts

Title: The Ice in Our Hearts
Author: BC Powell
Published: August 2020
Genres: Romance, Sports, Young Adult

Bryce is a snowboarding sensation, a cocky teenager from California with a giant chip on his shoulder called Type 1 diabetes. He competes because he has something to prove.

Daria is a rising star in figure skating, a withdrawn teen from Russia with a tragic past. She competes to provide her family with a better life.

Primed to overthrow archrivals who dominate their sports, they’re both headed to the Winter Olympics. But soon after arriving at the Games, a flurry of ill-timed setbacks threatens to shatter their dreams.

When two teens from halfway around the world meet, they discover an unlikely but undeniable connection. As they gear up for their final shots at medals, they help each other realize the greatest barrier to the top of the podium might be hiding inside their minds.

Take a breathtaking ride with Bryce and Daria as they find true understanding, try to overcome the bitterness of their pasts, and share a romance more meaningful than winning gold.

Written by the parent of a child with Type 1 diabetes.

After the eleven competitors before Bryce had completed their first jumps, Ryan Jones had logged the highest score. Bryce finalized his trick with Mike and strapped his board to his feet. With one hand on Bryce’s back and the other on his hip, Mike pushed Bryce across the snow to the starting area. As Bryce looked out at the Olympic flags over the massive crowd, he momentarily lost his breath. His heart beat faster and faster until it was like a drum roll inside his chest.

He’d been so focused on how his body was feeling through the practice jumps that he hadn’t thought about where he was. This was the medal round at the Olympics. The big air starting area was much different than the one in slopestyle where you couldn’t see or hear the crowd at the bottom of the run. Trying to keep a sudden onslaught of nerves in check, he bent down and rested his hands on his knees. As he inhaled a few deep breaths, Mike leaned down beside him.

“It’s just you and the jump,” Mike said. “That’s all there is.”

After Bryce nodded his head, Mike stepped back from the starting area. When the official starter told Bryce to drop in, he returned to upright. Focusing his eyes on the lip of the kicker, he tried to blur out the enormous crowd in the background. He visualized his take off in his mind and shook his arms by his side. He’d need a lot of speed for this trick.

He suddenly sprang into the air, twisted his body to the right, and hit the steep slope with his left foot forward. Zooming straight down the center of the ramp, he kept his board as straight as he could to max out his speed.

As he sank low to his board, the crowd disappeared behind the kicker. He sailed through the swoop at the bottom of the slope while the radar gun that showed his speed to the spectators flashed eighty-four kilometers per hour—fifty-two miles per hour. He blocked out every sound and narrowed his vision so that only the top of the kicker was in his sight. The only thought in his mind was his timing off the jump.

He hit the lip, burst straight up from his crouch, and twisted to the left. Throwing his shoulders backwards, he rifled his board over his head. He reached his right hand behind his waist and then back through his legs until he snatched the toe edge of his board. Cramping his body in a tuck, he pulled the center of the board as close to his face as he could while hiding his left hand behind one of his boots.

Flipping backwards, his body fluidly spun through the air. He counted the inversions in his head and marked his height over the slope each time it came into view. As he tumbled for the fourth time, he let go of his board and uncoiled his body.

Wrenching his hips to straighten out his board, he waved his arms by his sides to keep his balance. He knew he’d traveled way down the slope, but he was even farther than he expected. When the tail of his board grazed the snow, it was at the last blue line.

Like firm, controlled springs, his legs absorbed the jolt from the landing. With one hand out in front of him and the other extended to his side, he sped towards the finish zone. On the flat span of snow, he rose from his crouch and swung the tail of his board around so his back was to the crowd. Cascades of snow sprayed out from underneath him while he screeched to a stop. As though a mute button switched off in his mind, bellowing cheers hit his ears.

“A quad underflip nine-hundred!” the loudspeaker announcer shouted.

Goodreads / Amazon

BC Powell is a fantasy author from Los Angeles, CA. Described as “a stunning fantasy adventure,” “incredibly original,” and “a wild ride,” his debut science fiction fantasy novel “Krymzyn” was published in October, 2014. “The Infinite Expanse”, the highly anticipated second book in “The Journals of Krymzyn” series, was released in March, 2015.

Powell has a diverse background, having held several creative positions in the entertainment industry, including an executive role at ABC-TV, but writing fiction has been his lifelong passion. “The Journals of Krymzyn” represents, in his words, “finally finding the amazing story I want to tell with characters who are able to bring the story to life.”

He dual majored in journalism and philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. When he’s not writing, he can often be found hiking the hills of Southern California, daydreaming on the beach, or ocean kayaking. He credits his three sons, two currently in college and one in high school, as his inspiration for writing in the new adult genre.

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Book Review – More Than Maybe

Title: More Than Maybe
Author: Erin Hahn
Published: July 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: Like it

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Synopsis:

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealously-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on a music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke’s singing about some mystery girl on their podcast, and she really, really wishes it was her?

“I’d rather lose myself in a sea of strangers than find myself one-on-one with an acquaintance” (chapter 4).

Hi, Wednesday Books? I’d like to place a preorder for all of Erin Hahn’s books as soon as she writes them. Please and thank you. Also, thanks for the free eARC in exchange for a review, but really, how am I supposed to convince my husband that I need to buy these books now? What have you done?

Luke is in introverted, shy artist, and Vada is confident dreamer, they’re as different as can be. Yet, both have deeply dedicated ex-musician dads, which means their upbringing and their very blood is made up of rock music. It’s the thing that connects them, and it helps them work through their fears and disappointments. Music brings the world together, and Vada and Luke are no exception.

I kinda didn’t enjoy Luke’s brother, Cullen. He was very pushy and didn’t respect his brother. He performs a “self-less” act by leaking Luke’s VERY personal song, but honestly, the fact that he didn’t listen to Luke’s desires made it feel way more like it was about what Cullen wanted. I mean, I guess typical teen stuff, a lot of teens are learning to look outside of themselves and their small world, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. I wasn’t able to attach myself to Cullen like I was to basically everyone else.

Two published books into her career and I already know that I am going to care about every single main character (and most side characters) that Hahn writes. I feel almost like a mama bird, I just want to tuck them all under my wing and tell them everything is going to be alright. I know life seems like a lot to handle right now, but trust me, Erin Hahn has it all figured it, babies. You’ll be alright. The only thing that would just nail me in as a fan girl for life is if I could actually listen to the songs her characters write. However, MAJOR plus, guys. More Than Maybe IS basically a big ol’ playlist. Next time I read this (yeah, you heard me), I’m going to read it slower and listen to every song listed.

Book Review – You’d Be Mine

Title: You’d Be Mine
Author: Erin Hahn
Published: April 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 5 stars
Cover: It’s okay

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Synopsis:

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when  your bad boy image turns into a bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing Youtube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and she isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

 

“I’m not good enough for her,” I say.
Lindy’s lips spread into a blinding smile, and she taps the table with two fingers. “That’s the best thing you could’ve said. Never forget it. If she chooses to love you anyway, don’t you dare let her go” (chapter 25).

I received a eARC of You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn through Netgalley during a time when I didn’t actually have time to read things. So I’ve been slowly making my way through some of those titles. Well, gonna give myself a good ol’ pat on my back for feeling slightly guilty because I’ve found a 5-star book! Y’all. Y’ALL! I loved this book. Loved.

Clay and Annie are compared to Johnny Cash and June Carter (LOVE!) but real life doesn’t look the same as it does on stage. They have a whole mess of things they’re working through, which means they should stay far away from each other, right? Just focus on their music and making the label happy. As the tour progresses and they start opening up about their hurts and their pasts, it become harder and harder to keep priorities straight.

You’d Be Mine is all of the swoony, sunshiny, romantic, sad, deep country sounds all wrapped up into one sweet story that sticks with you (like a country song–duh). It has angst, heartbreak, forgiveness, and new love. Even just thinking of the story is like being reminded of a friend. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go put this book on my wishlist and listen to “I Love You This Big”, which was our first dance song, because country music makes me think of my husband.

Book Review – How to Quit Your Crush

Title: How to Quit Your Crush
Author: Amy Fellner Dominy
Published: May 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover:
It’s okay

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Synopsis:

Mai Senn knows Anthony Adams is no good for her – no matter how hard she might crush on him. She’s valedictorian; he’s a surf bum. She’s got plans; he’s got his art. Complete opposites in every way. Vinegar and baking soda, they once joked. A chemical reaction that bubbled.

Yeah, they bubbled. Maybe still do.

Good thing Anthony’s got the perfect plan: two weeks to prove just how not good they are together. Whoever can come up with the worst date–something the other will seriously hate, proving how incompatible they truly are–wins.

Like take a snake-phobe to the Reptile House at the zoo (his idea).

Or a cooking class where they don’t even get to eat the food (her idea).

It’s all about the competition, and it’s meant to help them finally crush their crushes. But it wasn’t supposed to be so hot. Or so fun. And when Mai’s future becomes at stake, will she be able to do the right thing and quit Anthony forever?

“But if you live afraid, you’re not really living. That’s no future at all” (chapter 39).

Thank you Entangled Teen Crush and Amy Fellner Dominy for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review. You can read my review of Amy’s first book in this universe, Announcing Trouble, here.

I read this in a day. Honestly, I don’t even think I put it down after I picked it up. The premise was really new and fun for me, and the depth behind the characters and the things they wish for or are scared of was very engaging.

Mai’s has some trauma in her past that she holds tight to and allows to define what’s important to her. Her family doesn’t seem to realize this because they encourage this behavior with their overbearing ideals instead of encouraging her to discover who she is and give her space for that. As a result, she has a bit of an identity crisis as she starts transitioning into adulthood after graduating high school. What would her life look like without carefully laid plans she’s created with her family? And would being different make her adoptive parents not want her anymore?

Anthony doesn’t fit in Mai’s carefully laid plans, even though she can’t help but practically drool over him. He doesn’t want to think about the future, he doesn’t want to make plans, he doesn’t even want to go to college. He’s definitely not someone she could ever bring home to her parents. Anthony is fully aware that they just don’t fundamentally work. So why can’t he get her out of his head? Why does he want to kiss her so bad?

The two agree that they need to let this crush burn up by having a fling to effectively make themselves unattractive to the other. They plan dates with the intention of turning the other off, but it ends up being way more fun than annoying. In trying to have something light to turn each other off, they end up digging in deep and understanding each other’s fears. I never wanted to stop reading about these two. Their chemistry and their vulnerability really won my heart.

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

Tweet Cute_Cover

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/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

Just_My_Luck_final_cover

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!

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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.

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Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
Print copy of Just My Luck
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Book Review/Blog Tour

Title: Risking It All
Author: S.M. Koz
Published: June 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: Like It

Risking

Synopsis:

A high-achieving teen who’s determined to become a fighter jet pilot is matched up with an accused criminal at an elite military boarding school in SM Koz’s YA novel, Risking It All.

Paige knows exactly what she wants—to graduate from Wallingford Academy and become a pilot in the US Air Force. She’s inherited her father’s no-nonsense attitude and whip-smart intelligence, all of which have made her the perfect Wallingford cadet.

Wallingford Academy is the last place in the world Logan wants to be. But after his girlfriend borrows his car and commits a crime, Logan takes the fall and ends up there with hopes of striking a decent plea bargain. For him, graduation can’t come soon enough.

When Paige is asked to mentor Logan, it’s the perfect opportunity to prove her leadership skills—but she doesn’t account for the feelings that start to develop or the baggage from Logan’s past which could threaten both of their futures.

A very happy book birthday to Risking It All by SM Koz! Thank you to Koz, 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 tour for more reviews and excerpts.

Paige has had her whole life planned out for as long as she can remember. All she wants in life is to follow her fathers footsteps…well, almost. Being a student and cadet at Wallingford Academy is everything she could ask for to help her achieve her dreams. While Logan doesn’t have his whole life mapped out, or really any of it, Wallingford is the exact opposite of what he wants. His bad attitude could really hurt his chances in court, but how else is he supposed to respond to this torture?

Paige and Logan are as opposite as can be, but that’s the best part. The more time they’re forced to spend together, the more those differences help round out each other’s personalities. They are able to learn things from each other that neither expects. The character growth in this story is absolutely captivating to watch–and it really feels like you’re right there in the sidelines, watching. As each hurtle comes, Paige and Logan find themselves learning more and more how to loosen their closed hands and open themselves up to new perspectives.

I’ve read one other book by Koz, so I was not surprised how engaging the writing was. The military aspect of this story was a very cool addition; I haven’t read any books about this career area, but it was quite the enjoyable premise. It allowed for situations that really helped flesh out the characters and helped me connect with them. I was on board from chapter one. There were moments where I would get frustrated at Logan for not coming clean, and therefore digging himself in a hole more and more. But if he had come clean, we wouldn’t have this beautiful story between him and Paige. This hate-to-love is a win for me.

Purchase Links:
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

 

About the Author

SM Koz was born in Michigan, but moved to North Carolina for college and never left. She enjoys traveling, camping, hiking, photography, reading, spending time with foster kids who call her house home, and learning new things. When she’s not creating online training for pharmaceutical companies (her day job) or writing, Koz can be found at the local community college taking courses on various topics ranging from digital art to HTML to desktop publishing. SM Koz has written six novels. Although her stories differ by genre, ranging from contemporary realism to sci-fi to fanfiction, two things they all have in common are a young or new adult focus and romance. If you’d like to learn more about SM Koz, check her out on social media.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
Print copy of Risking It All
a Rafflecopter giveaway