All The Right Mistakes by Laura Jamison Review

Summary (from the publisher):

alrFive college friends have arrived at forty in very different circumstances, but with at least one thing in common: they are among the more privileged in society. Elizabeth and Sara are lawyers, Martha is a doctor, Carmen is a wealthy and well-educated homemaker, and Heather, the most successful, is a famous tech executive―and after more than two decades of friendship, they know one another better than anyone.

Then Heather writes a women’s advice book detailing the key life “mistakes” of her four friends―opting out, ramping off, giving half effort, and forgetting your fertility―that becomes wildly popular, and Elizabeth, Sara, Martha, and Carmen all feel the sting of Heather’s cruel words. Despite their status, these women face everyday obstacles, including work problems, parenting challenges, secondary infertility, racism, sexism, financial stress, and marital woes―and as they weather their fortieth year, each one can’t help but wonder if their life might have been different if they had followed Heather’s advice.

 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Laura Jamison’s debut, All the Right Mistakes, was the first book I read while floating around the pool this summer – and it was the perfect choice! I’m always ready for any book about female friends from college, especially having been obsessed with Elizabeth Ames’ The Other’s Gold last summer. 

Ever since their first move-in day at Dartmouth, Elizabeth, Sara, Martha, Carmen, and Heather have been best friends. Instead of bonding over sorority rushes and homework like they used to, the women are now more likely to talk about their struggles with work-life balance and motherhood over anything else, despite having found success in their own ways. But when Heather, a famous tech executive, publishes an advice book based on her friends’ ‘mistakes,’ the other four begin to question each other’s friendship and all the choices that they’ve made since. 

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BEST READING MONTH OF 2020: July 2020 Wrap Up

July was a weird month. It wasn’t bad in the least bit – I had plenty of days floating around the pool, I was finally able to hang out with friends from college whom I hadn’t seen since we left campus in March, went to the beach every week, celebrated one of my best friend’s 22nd birthday, AND got a new T-Swift album! At the same time, I was really busy with grad school this month, and I feel like my uncertainty for the rest of this year really set in.

I’m really content with the amount of books I read July, having read 14 in total! I feel like I’m really in my summer reading groove now – I find that I basically binge read 2-4 books every week between Thursday through Sunday! I read books that I LOVED this month, but I also had a few misses. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read so many good books this year and a few that have become all-time favorites, but I don’t really have any big expectations for the second half of my 2020 reading year just because of the way life IRL is right now.

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The Dare (Briar U #4) by Elle Kennedy | 4/5 Stars

The Dare was another fun installment in the Briar U series (review is coming in August!), but it wasn’t my absolute favorite in the series.

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee | 4.5

The Idea of You was so, so worth the read – if you need a scandalous romance this summer, pick this one up!

Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein | 5/5

I’ve been really excited to read Head Over Heels soon, so I figured I should try Hannah Orenstein’s debut, Playing with Matches, beforehand and I LOVED it!

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo | 4/5

I’ve made it my mission to read all of Elizabeth Acevedo’s books this year, and I started with her latest release, Clap When You Land. It was such a unique story, and I loved Elizabeth Acevedo’s writing.

Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl | 5/5

I want to put Have a Little Faith in Me in the hands of every reader looking for a summer camp read or YA book with tons of sex positivity and discussions.Read More »

BEST YA SUMMER CAMP READ: Have a Little Faith in Me Review

Summary (from the publisher): 

417JivBqhwLWhen CeCe’s born-again ex-boyfriend dumps her after they have sex, she follows him to Jesus camp in order to win him back. Problem: She knows nothing about Jesus. But her best friend Paul does. He accompanies CeCe to camp, and the plan—God’s or CeCe’s—goes immediately awry when her ex shows up with a new girlfriend, a True Believer at that.

Scrambling to save face, CeCe ropes Paul into faking a relationship. But as deceptions stack up, she questions whether her ex is really the nice guy he seemed. And what about her strange new feelings for Paul—is this love, lust, or an illusion born of heartbreak? To figure it out, she’ll have to confront the reasons she chased her ex to camp in the first place, including the truth about the night she lost her virginity.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:
I think almost every YA contemporary fan craves a book set at camp during the summer. Sonia Hartl’s puts such a unique spin on the YA summer camp setting with Have a Little Faith in Me. In Have a Little Faith in Me, when her born-again boyfriend breaks up with her after they have sex, CeCe decides to follow him to Christian summer camp to win him back. Problem? CeCe knows nothing about Jesus or Christianity, making her best friend Paul go along with her. When CeCe gets to camp, she discovers that there’s a lot more for her untangle about her relationship with Ethan than she thought. She also soon finds out that her fellow female campers and cabin mates could use some advice when it comes to relationships and sexuality.

Although there is seriousness surrounding sex and faith, Have a Little Faith in Me was such a funny read. A lot of its humor came from CeCe and Paul. Their friendship screamed instant chemistry from the get-go. I loved all of their ‘that would make for a great band name’ jokes and stories. Everyone knows that I love a well-executed fake-dating trope, and Paul and CeCe’s fake relationship totally sold in Have a Little Faith in Me. I also loved how their fake relationship and budding feelings for one another didn’t take the entirety of the novel.Read More »

Anticipated Releases Tag: 2020 Edition 

I can’t believe it will soon be time for me to share my Fall 2020 anticipated releases lists! I plan on having one or two posts dedicated to the rest of the 2020 releases I’m excited about towards the end of August or in early September, but today’s Anticipated Releases Tag will give a sneak peek of the books I’m most excited about! I first did the anticipated releases tag back in 2019. The tag was originally created by Ellyn of Allonsythornraxx.

81VNTxfWaCLMost Anticipated Release 

I’m currently the most excited about Majesty by Katherine McGee, the sequel to American Royals. American Royals was in my top 3 favorite books of 2020. I’ve basically been waiting for the sequel to come out since last summer, especially because of it’s ending! I think I’m going to reread American Royals in August to re-familiarize myself on this book following the AMERICAN royal family. 

 

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A Book You’re Not Anticipating 

I probably will pick it up at some point, but I’m not super excited for Marissa Meyer’s Instant Karma. I’m so for reading any genre from Marissa Meyer, but I’m not that interested in the slight magical realism aspect.

 

Most Underhyped Release 

I’m so excited for Laura Taylor Namey’s A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, especially because I loved her debut, The Library of Lost Things. 

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FAVORITE YA ROM-COM: Today Tonight Tomorrow Review

Summary (From the publisher):
Today Tonight TomorrowToday, she hates him.

It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time.

Tonight, she puts up with him.

When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other.

As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.

Tomorrow…maybe she’s already fallen for him.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

 My Thoughts:

I usually save the following statements until the end of the review but here it goes: Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon is one of my new favorite YA books!

Today Tonight Tomorrow follows high school rivals Rowan and Neil. Rowan cannot stand Neil whatsoever, and after Neil is named class valedictorian, Rowan only has one thing left to win: Howl, a senior class game that takes the graduates around Seattle in a competition to win a big cash prize. Rowan’s dream of winning the money to put the money towards college, where she’ll hopefully be able to keep working on her secret romance novel, is put on hold when she’s forced to partner up with Neil for the game. As they play, Rowan and Neil learn a lot about each other and try to figure out why they were always rivals and maybe not something more… 


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LOVE & MATCHMAKING:Playing with Matches Review 

Summary (from the publisher): Sasha Goldberg has a lot going for her: a recent 51HNhvj2d4Ljournalism degree from NYU, an apartment with her best friend Caroline, and a relationship that would be amazing if her finance-bro boyfriend Jonathan would ever look up from his BlackBerry. But when her dream career falls through, she uses her family’s darkest secret to land a job as a matchmaker for New York City’s elite at the dating service Bliss. 

Despite her inexperience, Sasha throws herself into her new career, trolling for catches on Tinder, coaching her clients through rejection, and dishing out dating advice to people twice her age. She sets up a TV exec who wanted kids five years ago, a forty-year-old baseball-loving virgin, and a consultant with a rigorous five-page checklist for her ideal match.

 Sasha hopes to find her clients The One, like she did. But when Jonathan betrays her, she spirals out of control—and right into the arms of a writer with a charming Southern drawl, who she had previously set up with one of her clients. He’s strictly off-limits, but with her relationship on the rocks, all bets are off.

 

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Contemporary romance or adult contemporary has been the name of my reading game over the past few weeks, so I’ve been on the hunt for any fun & flirty books in those genres. Between enjoying Hannah Orenstein’s Love at First Like last summer (it wasn’t my all-time favoriteeee read, but I thought the premise was executed well!) and my excitement to pick up her recent release, Head Over Heels, I decided to read her debut, Playing with Matches. While I do still have to read and have high expectations for Head Over Heels, I can say for now that Playing with Matches is my favorite book by Hannah Orenstein because I am absolutely obsessed with it!!If you were just as obsessed as I was with Indian Matchmaking on Netflix this weekend, this book is a must-read! 

I also just want to take a little moment to say that Hannah Orenstein has some of the BEST covers for her books! She recently did a Q&A on her Instagram story talking about how her publishing team makes sure that her book covers, colors & illustrations included, all compliment each other and really match the feel of each story.

Playing with Matches follows aspiring writer and recent NYU grad, Sasha, who finds herself working as a matchmaker in her first full-time, post-college job. I know that there are a few books out there with characters as matchmakers, and I have read a few books where the characters are set up, but this was my first time reading a book with a main character as a matchmaker. Playing with Matches felt like such a current take on this job role, as Sasha uses all kinds of real dating apps to help her clients find potential partners. The book also takes place in NYC, so it was really fun to experience Sasha hoping all over the city to help her clients and made for the perfect setting for this kind of story. It added to the book’s sense of charm and adventures in dating. 

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PERFECT SUMMER ROM-COM: 10 Things I Hate About Pinky Review

48425002Summary (from the publisher): Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rock stars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny-tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.Samir Jha might have a few . . . quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.

Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions (aka boyfriends) she’s made, she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy, Samir—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer. As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they’ll never forget.

 

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

I’ve been counting down the days to the release of 10 Things I Hate About Pinky for over a year! The latest book in the Dimpleverse companion novels, 10 Things I Hate About Pinky is such a fun culmination of the fake dating trope meets frenemies-to-lovers. The book follows Samir and Pinky, Ashish’s best friends from There’s Something About Sweetie. After losing his summer internship and Pinky needing to prove to her family that she’s not as troublesome as she seems to be, she convinces Samir to spend the summer at her lake house and pretend to be her perfect boyfriend. 

I devoured 10 Things I Hate About Pinky while floating around the pool and sitting on the beach. It is a truly a perfect book for summer, as Pinky and Samir do all kinds of summertime things on the fictional Ellingsworth – picture Martha’s Vineyard/Cape Cod, but less touristy. There’s days spent on the lake, visiting lighthouses, and of course, Boggle tournaments with Pinky’s whole family. 

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Pinky and Samir are complete opposites. Samir only has heart eyes for his daily planner and future spot at Harvard Law, whereas Pinky is more focused on the now, protesting and advocating for raccoon hospitals and persecuted rock stars. While Samir wants to spend some of the summer impressing Pinky’s parents enough to bring him on as a law intern, Pinky’s summer project is rehabilitating a opossum, much to her parents’ delight. As expected, as Samir and Pinky spend more time with one another pretending to be a couple, they slowly begin to figure out that the things they hate about each other might just be the things they love about each other. As also expected, there has to be some things that keep the couple separated, which mostly comes down to their misinterpretations of what the other said and fear about dating someone with the complete opposite personality. I think the predictability is ultimately what prevented me from LOVING this one, but I do think that the fake dating and enemies-to-lovers tropes were still well done 

10 Things I Hate About Pinky also focuses on family, especially Pinky’s relationship with her mother. Pinky’s mom is also quick to blame her daughter for anything that goes wrong, given Pinky’s tendency to rebel and her history in some not-so-great situations. There is also some discussion around Samir’s relationship with his mom, as Samir is starting to seek more independence while still valuing their relationship. Pinky is quick to criticize Samir being a goody-goody and mama’s boy. However, she begins to understand why as Samir shares more about his past and his mother’s cancer. Pinky’s cousin, Dolly, is also spending the summer at the lake. Dolly is often seen as the perfect version of Pinky, although Dolly is testing the waters this summer with dating a lake boy. I really liked having Dolly as the couple’s sidekick and working through her own character development- does this mean we’ll get another book all about her??

All of the Dimpleverse books are a play on some classic rom-com movies, with 10 Things I Hate About Pinky playing on the movie, 10 Things I Hate About You. I watched 10 Things I Hate About You a few weeks before picking up that book, and I definitely saw the inspiration! I don’t want to be too spoilery, but there is a list involved and a scene towards the end that echoes Kat’s poem at the end of the movie. 

Although I think There’s Something About Sweetie will always be my favorite Dimpleverse book, I now have much love for 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. I’m really hoping that we will at least get another novella – or maybe a full-length book?? – following the three couples. Overall, if you’re in need of a frenemies-to-lovers romance or a book to compliment your summertime feels, I highly recommend picking up 10 Things I Hate About Pinky!

10 Things I Hate About Pinky comes out on July 21, 2020.

This review is based on an advance reader’s copy provided by the publisher. By no means did this affect my thoughts or opinions. 

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Is 10 Things I Hate About Pinky on your TBR? What’s your favorite Sandhya Menon book? Share in the comments!

A 2020 YA FAVORITE: More Than Maybe Review

Summary (from the publisher):

48672877._SY475_ 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-jealousy-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 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 singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?

 

 My Rating: 5/5 Stars

 My Thoughts:

 More Than Maybe solidified Erin Hahn as one of my favorite YA contemporary authors. This book is easily one of my favorite contemporaries of the year! It had everything I love in my YA contemporaries: personal growth, relationship development (aka romance), family, and friendship. More Than Maybe also stole my heart for its music inspiration and how well music was used in the plot and characters’ personalities.

 Having enjoyed Erin Hahn’s debut novel, You’d Be Mine, last summer, I was really interested in More Than Maybe because its premise sounded like it also had music at its heart (which I can now confirm is true). More Than Maybe and You’d Be Mine have different moods. You’d Be Mine is definitely the darker of the two books. The two main protagonists/country music stars deal with the loss of their loved ones and various pressures and struggles. While More Than Maybe’s characters face come personal stuggles, mostly involving their confidence and family dynamics, it had such a lighter and absolutely swoon-worthy mood surrounding Vada and Luke’s relationship.

 More Than Maybe is told from both Vada and Luke’s perspectives. I can happily report that I loved them both equally! The only time Luke enjoys being in the ‘spotlight’ is when he’s costarring on his podcast with his twin brother, Cullen. The son of a famous punk rock star, Luke loves music and song-writing, but hides away his singing and composition talent. Like Luke, Vada has a love for music no one can understand, especially her father, who refuses to help pay for Vada’s upcoming college tuition bill to study music journalism in California. Vada has a plan: become a night manager at her stepfather’s infamous Michicgan dive bar, go to college at Berkeley next year, and score a dream position at Rolling Stone. What’s not in her plan? Falling for Luke.

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YA CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL FICTION: July 2020 Mini Reviews

My summer reading mood is definitely on, which means I have a lot of reviews coming! Today I’ll be talking about a few of my reads from June & July, focusing on some diverse YA contemporary and historical fiction.

Clap When You Land  by Elizabeth Acevedo 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

51VlHTCDDkLElizabeth Acevedo has always been one of those authors whose books I’ve been meaning to read for what feels like forever. Everyone’s love and praise for her latest release, Clap When You Land, made me pick this one up ASAP – it was actually the first book that I’ve read on my Kindle! Written in verse, Clap When You Land is told from the perspectives of sisters Camino and Yahaira, who don’t know they’re sisters until the father dies in a tragic plane crash. I love YA books that highlight events that are often forgotten in public memory. I had never heard of flight AA587, so it was really interesting reading Elizabeth Acevedo’s inspired story.

The novel really works up to the moment to when Camino and Yahaira discover that they’re sisters, with the novel focusing on their individual grief over their father’s death, the struggles they experience at home, and both of their attempts to untangle the meaning of family. Camino and Yahaira experience drastically differently lives, Camino having grown up in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira in New York. While dual narratives can be hit or miss for me, I really appreciated having both sisters’ narration in Clap When You Land. Although their daily lives are very different, the girls do have a lot in common and it was interesting to read their different reactions to finding about one another. Throughout, the story maintains its focus on family and sisterhood. While yahaira does have a girlfriend, it was really refreshing to have a story that is truly about a pair of sisters and the family and secrets they share.Read More »

Favorite Books of 2020 So Far

It’s hard to believe that summer is halfway over, let alone 2020. I’ve read 60 books and 2 novellas so far (mid July) this year. I’m pretty content with how much I’ve read given the varying states of everyday life in 2020. 60 books was actually my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal, but my personal reading goal is to read 100 books. Again,  given 2020, I won’t be too upset if I don’t reach 100 by the end of the year, especially because I feel like I’ve read so many quality books. 

Since we’re reaching the midway point of summer and 2020 this week, today I’ll be sharing some of my favorite books of 2020. I won’t be going into too much detail because I’ve already gushed over so many of these in reviews & other posts, and there will of course be a 2020 favorites reads post or two by the end of the year.

Favorites 

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

You Deserve Each Other is the funniest & most sarcastic enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance I’ve ever read! It features an engaged couple, Naomi & Nicholas, who maybe want to cancel their upcoming wedding but neither wants to be stuck with the nonrefundable bill. 

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read is seriously the must read (beach read) of the summer. Beach Read combines so much of what I love in contemporary romances and in all of my contemporary reads: summer, the beach, writing, enemies-to-lovers, self-growth, and a romance scene or two. 

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

There are SO many amazing YA books on this favorites list, but I think my YA heart belongs to Rachel Lynn Solomon’s upcoming Today Tonight Tomorrow.

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