READING HYPED YA: The Selection Series Review

I noted in my April Book Haul that one of my many reading moods right now- they honestly alternate on a daily basis – is catching up on YA series I’ve ignored reading over the past few years. In The Selection’s case, this read has been 8 years in the making. I would also like to again note that I purchased The Selection the night BEFORE the Netflix film adaptation was announced – because yes, while this book came out in 2012, I need to claim some sort of book hipster status. Blame it on my newfound interest in The Bachelor and in Kiera Cass’s 2020 release, The Betrothed, (not to mention my need for binge-readable books right now) for finally picking up this YA classic. The Selection is YA dystopian meets The Bachelor, as the main character, America, competes with 34 other young women to be the Crown Prince’s heart.

The Selection

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

sI still can’t get over the fact that I didn’t read The Selection until 2020 because I was absolutely obsessed. Yes, I definitely have more reading time because I’m not at school and not hanging out with friends, but I still managed to read this one in less than two days while working on two final presentations and projects. I now completely understand what all the hype is, as I could not seem to put this book down at all. I ordered The Elite and The One before I even finished the first book. It was a complex enough world to explore without being difficult to understand how the country came to be – it was both interesting and scary to read how the U.S. transformed into Illéa. I’ll honestly mention The Hunger Games a few times in this post, but the interviews with The Selected reminded me both of Caesar Flickerman & THG and Chris Harrison & The Bachelor.Read More »

YA, ROM-COM, & THRILLER FEELS: April 2020 Mini Reviews

As per usual, my April reading was filled with contemporary books, but I did manage to squeeze in a thriller. Today I’ll be sharing my thought on a YA contemporary, a way-more-popular-than-I-thought thriller, and a recent contemporary romance.

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon 

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

youll-miss-me-when-im-gone-9781481497749_hrRachel Lynn Solomon’s You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone had been on my TBR for what feels like forever. Between my excitement for her upcoming release, Today Tonight Tomorrow, and my need to buy all the contemporary books, I decided to finally pick up a copy! You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone follows twin sisters, Tovah and Adina, who are not the best terms in the slightest bit. Having completely different personalities and passions (viola for Adina, science for Tovah), the two decide to take a genetic test to see if they test positive for Huntington’s Disease, which has wrecked their mother’s health over their high school careers. While one twin tests negative, the other tests positive.

I enjoyed You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone for its plot and focus on family and growth. I also enjoyed Rachel Lynn Solomon’s writing style and see myself diving into the rest of her books! This book is truly a growing up story, as Tovah and Adina are forced to reanalyze their plans for college and the future in light of what they learn from the test. I haven’t read a book before that featured a character with Huntington’s Disease, and I felt like I learned a lot. The book had really great and in-depth Jewish representation. Adina and Tovah’s family are conservative Jewish. While Tovah embraces her faith and traditions, Adina struggles to do so in light of all the hardship her and her family has experienced over the years.Read More »

COMPLICATED COMEDY: Brunch and Other Obligations Review

Summary (from the publisher):

image002The only thing reclusive bookworm Nora, high-powered attorney Christina, and supermom-in-training Leanne ever had in common was their best friend, Molly. When Molly dies, she leaves mysterious gifts and cryptic notes for each of her grieving best friends, along with one final request: that these three mismatched frenemies have brunch together every month for a year.

Filled with heartwrenching scenes and witty prose, Brunch and Other Obligations explores the intricate dynamics of girlhood acquaintances who are forced to reconnect as women. This upbeat novel reminds readers that there’s hope for getting through the hard times in life―with a lot of patience, humor, and a standing brunch date.

 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 My Thoughts:

Books about female friendship always peak my interest, including Suzanne Nugent’s debut novel, Brunch and Other Obligations. Its synopsis  reminded me of the fifth book in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, Sisterhood Everlasting, although Brunch and Other Obligations takes on a comedic tone. This women’s fiction read follows the lives of three friends – or should I say, forced-to-be friends –  after the death of their best friend, Molly. Molly leaves Nora, Christina, and Leanne each with mysterious gifts and one thing to be shared amongst the three of them: monthly brunches for an entire year. Christina, Nora, and Leanne have always been forced to be acquaintances since Molly was their best friend, but they begin to discover that they actually may be able to revitalize their friendship. Even if it takes a lot of coffee to do so.

I breezed through Brunch and Other Obligations. The chapters are on the shorter side, and the writing style is really easy to just fall into. I really think the book would also make for a great one-sitting read because Suzanne Nugent creates a cast of characters that you grow to root for with each chapter.

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The story is mainly told from the third person perspective of the three friends. An element I really loved about Suzanne Nugent’s writing style is that we get a peek into the inner thoughts of all the characters involved. Like the book itself, this made for both many funny moments and emotion-filled ones. The chapter on Maeve and Christina thinking about Lilly was especially a tearjerker. Between the flashbacks featuring Molly and the girls’ conversations about her, I felt like we got to understand Molly as character and her role in the overall story. The premise of Brunch and Other Obligations is sad and there were definitely some emotional moments. The first time Christina really lets herself grieve over Molly’s death was when I lost it. On a brighter side, the novel does have some really funny dialogue. My favorite moments tended to come from Christina – I loved her greeting to someone in a big scene near the end of the book – , but Nora had some great one-liners.Read More »

CONTEMPORARY READS & REALITY TV MOOD: April 2020 Wrap Up

April was another month filled with ups and downs. I’m super grateful for my health and safety right now, but I am definitely missing college life and like everyone, wondering when we’ll be able to get back to some state of ‘normalcy.’ This month, I technically finished my undergraduate work (online), had some fun Zoom sessions and reunions with friends, and again had so many books and TV shows as comfort.

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The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee | 4/5 Stars

The Thousandth Floor was the first book of April that fit my ‘let me catch up on all the YA dystopian contemporary (trust me it’s a category)’ and shortly after reading, found myself buying books #2 and #3.

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Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams | 5/5

Undercover Bromance was such a great companion sequel to The Bromance Book Club. It also made me realize how much I need a book featuring the Russian.

Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent (ARC) | 4/5

It had been a while since I picked up a women’s fiction book, but I enjoyed Brunch and Other Obligations for its slightly comedic twist.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris | 3/5

My sister finally got me to read Behind Closed Doors in April. It definitely wasn’t the best book ever (sorry sis), but at the same time, I couldn’t seem to put it down. 

Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher | 4/5

I took a little break from (adult) contemporary romances in April , but I’m glad I still read Not the Girl You Marry. Despite the mixed reviews for this one, I thought it was a cute & funny read.Read More »

Fangirl News Round Up #3: Upcoming Books, TV, & Event Updates

I didn’t plan on having another bookish news round-up posted in April, but keeping up with book and other fandom news, TV and events included, has been one of my favorite ways to distract myself lately—even though some of the following changes have been caused by the current state of the world. My first and second round-ups are titled as ‘Bookish News,’ but I decided to change this series to ‘Fangirl News’ because I want to talk about things other than books. I am going to discuss some more changed dates today, but this round-up thankfully has more good news than bad!

Bookish News

New Release Date for Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch | Release Date: November 10

The third book in Jenna Evans Welch’s Love & Gelato series, Love & Olives, will now be released on November 10, 2020. Love & Olives was originally scheduled to release in July. I think this will such a great summer escape read this winter because the book takes place in Greece!

Love at First Fight by Sandhya Menon | Release Date: June 1/June 30

Sandhya Menon will be publishing another Dimpleverse e-novella, Love at First Sight! While I’m not the biggest novella fan, I absolutely adored Sandhya Menon’s first e-novella, As Kismet Would Have It, featuring Dimple & Rishi and Sweetie & Ashish. Love at First Fight will again include those two couples, but also Pinky and Samir- the leads of 10 Things I Hate About Pinky (July 21, 2020). This new e-novella does not contain spoilers for 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. Love at First Fight technically has two release dates. If you register for an account at rivetedlit.com, you can access the e-novella for free starting on June 1. It will then be available to purchase as an e-novella on June 30.

New Jenn Bennett YA Book | Release Date: Fall 2021

Jenn Bennett announced on her social media that week that she has another YA contemporary published by Simon & Schuster coming in Fall 2021! As one of my all-time favorite authors, this is such exciting news to begin with, but especially since Jenn Bennett’s 2020 release, Chasing Lucky, was recently pushed back to November 2020. The Fall 2021 release’s working title is Always June, but Jenn said in her Instagram announcement that the title is likely to change.Read More »

FOODIE ROM-COM: Tweet Cute Review & Inspired Recipe

Summary (from the publisher):

81AFV9waKfLMeet 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.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

You’ve probably had everyone and their mother screaming- or tweeting- over their love for Emma Lord’s YA debut, Tweet Cute, on your timelines this year… and now it’s my turn!!

There are a few early 2020 releases I need to get to, but Tweet Cute was on the top of my list because it spoke to my bookish and foodie soul so much. The book is told from the perspective of high school seniors, Pepper and Jack. In between being swim team captain, overall overachiever, and running a baking blog with her sister, Pepper pretty much runs her family’s fast chain’s Twitter account. Her classmate, Jack, class clown and secret app developer, does the same for his family’s NYC classic deli, Girl Cheesing. When Big League Burger starts selling a grilled cheese sandwich very similar and with the same name as Girl Cheesing’s specialty sandwich, a Twitter war breaks out with Pepper and Jack running the show.

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I guess Tweet Cute ultimately does fall into the hate-to-love category, but Pepper and Jack really don’t see each other as ultimate enemies. There are some tense moments between Jack and Pepper, but there’s never any true animosity or rivalry between them. Their chemistry is instantaneous, and their banter carries throughout the story. It was just so refreshing and was such a YA enemies-to-lovers romance done absolutely right! I don’t want to spoil it here, but their ultimate ship name was just so, so clever and fit the book perfectly.Read More »

STRESS PURCHASES, ARCS, & LIBRARY HOLDS: April 2020 Book Haul

I’ve been buying more books lately for a variety of reasons including:

  • I want to be supporting the book industry as much as I can right now
  • I don’t know when my county public library will be re-opening. I live in regret that I didn’t put more on hold or borrow more books before everything shut down
  • I need so many, aka ALL, the new releases immediately
  • I have a love for stress buying
  • I live in fear of running out of books to read on-hand
  • I apparently enjoy ignoring the books I do already own and still haven’t read
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I thought about dressing up for this photo, but it’s an honest  depiction of my quarantine outfit: sweatshirts everyday and sunglasses for reading outside!

While I did buy some books in March, I decided to keep my book-buying momentum going in April. I knew I wanted to buy more books in this month (see reasons above) and while watching one of Jessica of Peace Love Book’s April book hauls, she noted that she had ordered books from Better World Books. Better World Books is a company that sells used or donated books and then matches the amount of books you purchase to donate to non-profit organizations. They also have new editions available. I thought this was a great way to buy books while supporting a good cause and saving some money- let’s be honest, buying multiple print copies from a retailer can quickly add up. I ordered four books and they all came in pretty great condition – I think all four came from libraries and it was fairly simple to take off the library plastic covers off the three hardcovers. There’s some glue stuck on the inside, but you can’t tell from the outside and the dust jackets stayed in great shape. My only ‘complaint’  that obviously makes a lot of sense (especially right now) is that they don’t have many new books available at used/bargain prices.

Additionally, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive some really exciting upcoming releases for review. You probably know that I am not the biggest e-book fan, but I’ve been changing my ways lately and have started using Netgalley- despite having an account for two years now,oops! I use an iPad to read e-books, either through Kindle or Aldilko – I tried setting up my Netgalley copies with Kindle and it wouldn’t work. If you’re an e-book reader or want to branch out into them, I’ve been telling everyone IRL to check out Libby, which synchs up to your local library and provides their e-book and audiobooks.

Purchased Books

The Dazzling Heights and The Towering Sky (Thousandth Floor #2 and #3) by Katharine McGee –  The Thousandth Floor series falls into a bunch of my reading moods combined: books I should’ve read a while ago, author whose earlier works I want to check out (PSA TO PLEASE READ AMERICAN ROYALS), and books with a lot of drama and extravagance that are bound to distract me for a while. I read The Thousandth Floor earlier this month and really enjoyed it. I see myself reading the next two books back to back.

The Selection by Kiera Cass – I would just like to note that I ordered The Selection BEFORE the Netflix adaptation was announced. I feel like I’m in this reading mood at the moment where I want to catch up on all the classic YA or hyped reads that I haven’t read. I also really want to read Kiera Cass’ upcoming release, The Betrothed, which isn’t related to The Selection, but I want to read something of hers before that comes out in.Read More »