Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2020

February was a pretty good reading month! Because of the holiday and my participation in the Bookish First’s Valentine’s Day Bingo, I read a lot of contemporary romance and I believe that’s why I had such a great time with books this month.


44280868ALL THE STARS AND TEETH: This a fun, adventurous story about the heir to a kingdom joining a cast of vastly different characters in order to prevent an evil force from destroying their world and regaining what they’ve all lost. This book was not short on action, that’s for sure. And the pacing was executed perfectly. It never felt like the plot was stalling or that unnecessary pages were spent on passages of time.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★½

49366204._SX318_SY475_THE BEST LAID PLANS: Ladies and gentleman, I don’t believe it’s too early to say that I have found one of my favorite reads of the year. The Best Laid Plans was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more. Basically, all you need to know is that it contains best friends-to-lovers, unrequited pining, delicious drama and lots of angst!  ARC provided by the publisher through BookishFirst.  [review]  ★★★★★

AlwaysNever_BOM_4p.inddALWAYS NEVER YOURS: Wherefore art thou, Romeo? I loved that Megan was unapologetically flirtatious and “boy-crazy”. Every relationship she’s been in ends with her boyfriend finding the love of his life while they’re dating, and instead of being bitter and feeling sorry for herself, Megan is carefree and just has fun with her dating life. Which makes it even more special to see the bond that develops between her and Owen.  [review★★★★

39216077._SX318_EMBER QUEEN: This was such a great finale to a series that I have absolutely loved. The hard part about trilogies is that many times one of the books either lags or weakens, but that never happened with the Ash Princess trilogy. The third book finished strong and wrapped up the plot in a way that felt complete yet realistic. For a book that is 500 pages long, I was actually surprised as to how fast the plot moves. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.  ★★★★

49538360UNDERCOVER BROMANCE: As with The Bromance Book Club, the idea of a book club for men who unashamedly enjoy romance novels and use the “knowledge” they learn from said romance novels to better their love lives is amazing and Lyssa Kay Adams knocks it out of the park. This story totally changed my opinion about Braden Mack: there’s definitely more to him under the surface of easy-going charm and we need more men like him in the world!  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

44646004._SY475_THE WILL AND THE WILDS: This was such a unique fairytale fantasy story! After enlisting his help, a young woman works together with a demon to break the magical pact they had created to save both their lives. I flew through the pages. I loved the built up romance between Maekallus and Enna and how it stemmed from the trust and understanding they had to slowly develop first. I think this is my favorite Charlie H. Holmberg book!  ★★★★

40950392THE STARS WE STEAL:  My favorite thing about this book is the sci-fi retelling of Jane Austen’s novels. I have to admit that I’ve never read Persuasion, but that didn’t stop me from understanding the plot of this story or the nods to the original. I think that Alexa Donne did a fantastic job writing a unique and clever twist on the classic novel and making the story her own. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys subtle Jane Austen retellings.  ★★★

46404345CHASING LUCKY: Usually I really enjoy Jenn Bennett’s books, but this one was very disappointing. I didn’t like any of the characters, the plot failed to keep my attention, and I found parts of the story a little ridiculous. Some parts were still really cute and I enjoyed, which is why I didn’t completely hate it, but it was definitely not my favorite and fell short to the other stories I’ve read by this author.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★½

45891343THE UPSIDE OF FALLING: This book is about two teenagers who decide to fake being in a relationship for their mutual benefit. I mean, is there anything better than a fake-dating that turns into real feelings kind of book? Unfortunately, although I loved the premise of the story, the rest of the book didn’t do it for me. The first major issue was that the pacing was extremely fast, especially for such a short book. My other issue was there wasn’t enough to convince the reads as to why they need to be in a fake relationship. It happened just for the sake of the book.  [review]  ★★½


OTHER

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Favorite YA Contemporary Romances

Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️ I think I’ve mentioned before that I hate Valentine’s Day, but you know what I don’t hate? Romance. And Books. Specifically romance IN books. Recently I’ve really gotten into reading more and more YA and adult contemporary romances, and I think it’s because they’re such feel-good stories and provide a sense of hope for the reader. So for this year’s Valentine’s Day post, I decided to share all of my favorite YA contemporary romance novels! Enjoy! 💋


TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE

15749186I mean, I couldn’t start this post without beginning with this book, which is basically the gold standard to which I hold all YA romances. First of all, fake dating is one of the best romance tropes out there. Please reference this post if you don’t believe me. Also, Peter Kavinsky is the best book boyfriend ever and I dare you to convince me otherwise.


THIS BEST LAID PLANS

49366204._SX318_SY475_Oh BOY are you guys in for real treat once this book is released. Prepare to be swept off your feet by Andrew Reed who is completely swoon-worthy and gave me a series case of the butterflies. I stayed up all night to read this after literally only getting 3 hours of sleep the day before because I worked a 16 hour double overnight. Basically, this book > sleep and it needs to be on your TBR!


THE DUFF

6931356When I first read this book I was not expecting how vastly different it would be from the movie, and it such a good way! I read the entire thing in one sitting with zero regrets. A secret enemies-with-benefits relationship in which one or more parties develops feelings for the other? Sign me the f**k up. And besides the romance, the book has a really important message about the power of words and the meanings we give them.


IF I’M BEING HONEST

IIBH_Reveal.inddThis story revolves around the main character, Cameron, enlisting the help of someone she once ridiculed to help “tame” herself for the boy she’s been crushing on. On top of the amazing character growth she experiences, I absolutely loved watching opposites attract as Cameron and Brendan reluctantly form a friendship, and then watching that friendship blossom into love.


ALEX, APPROXIMATELY

30312700This is apparently a twist on the movie You Got Mail, which I can neither confirm nor deny since I’ve never seen that. However, I can confirm that this book is a magical, heartwarming story about two characters that meet in real life, after unknowingly talking to each other online for months, and slowly falling in love. This book makes an absolute perfect summer read so if you’re looking for something fun for the warmer months, this is for you!


ALWAYS NEVER YOURS

AlwaysNever_BOM_4p.inddWherefore art thou, Romeo? Ignoring the fact that Romeo and Juliet is arguably the worst of Shakespeare’s plays, this book was amazing. I loved that Megan was unapologetically flirtatious and “boy-crazy”. Every relationship she’s been in ends with her boyfriend finding the love of his life while they’re dating, and instead of being bitter and feeling sorry for herself, Megan is carefree and just has fun with her dating life. Which makes it even more special to see the bond that develops between her and Owen.


1O BLIND DATES

43885673Reading this made me immensely glad that my big meddlesome Italian family is not as meddlesome as Sophie’s. This book gives readers warm and fuzzy feelings and is reminiscent of those wholesome, heartwarming Hallmark movies. It’s impossible not to cheer for Sophie and hope she finds the perfect New Year’s Eve date. Definitely recommend this for anyone who wants to read a cheerful story about family and friendships with happy endings.


TWEET CUTE

45045129I needed a trip to the dentist after finishing this book because it was so sweet and fluffy. Is there anything more fun to read about than two people engaging in Twitter warfare over the internet but falling in love in real life after learning how much they have in common with each other? The answer is no. And of course the fact that Pepper and Jack started out as unfriendly classmates and had a bit of animosity between them at the start of the story made it that much sweeter.


 

 

Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2020

Welcome to 2020! 🎆 I hope everyone’s year is off to a good start. My reading is going good so far! It’s also my last semester of nursing school so I’m both nervous and excited about the next few months 😬


41150487._SY475_RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE: This was such a warm, amusing story about self-discovery and an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance between the son the President of the United States and the Prince of England! Alex and Henry were such soft, tender-hearted men and I felt giddy the entire time as their relationship and feelings unfolded between them. Some parts of the book dragged and some of the political aspects were exaggerated and unrealistic, but otherwise I really enjoyed this book.  [review]  ★★★½

34213299THE KINGDOM OF BACK: I was expecting a fantasy story with musical aspects something along the veins of Wintersong, however, this story more focused on the bond between the siblings Wolfgang and Nannerl Mozart as they discover and cultivate their prodigious musical talents together. Honestly, I was a tad disappointed by the lack of fantasy elements, but enjoyed the history lesson this book provided regarding the Mozarts.  ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.  [review]  ★★★½

43521785BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE: There’s so much to praise about this book. The wonderful characters, the simmering attraction between Annabelle and Sebastian, the witty banter and humorous writing. Everything came together perfectly to create this very compelling story. The author did a fantastic job writing the tension and passion between Annabelle and Sebastian. This was another historical romance written by a debut author that was nothing short of a fun, page-turning story.  [review★★★★½

44890039LOVE HER OR LOSE HER: This was a second-chance romance and falling in love all over again with your spouse. I loved watching Rosie and Dominic “relearn” each other’s love language and figure out how to better communicate and what needed to be changed in order to grow together and fix their marriage. I didn’t end up loving this one as much as I was hoping because I struggled with Dominic’s character.  [review]  ★★★½

44281049LUCKY CALLER:  I’m usually a huge fan of Emma Mills’ books, but this one was just okay. It centers around a group of students forced into a group for their class project and working together to form a radio show for their high school. I did really enjoy the relationship between Nina and Jamie, but I wish the angst and tension between them had been built up a bit more. All in all, not my favorite, but still a heartwarming story.  ★★★

46404266THIS VICIOUS CURE: It pains me to admit how unsatisfied and disappointed I was with the conclusion to this trilogy. I absolutely LOVED the first two books in the series. I really disliked reading half the book through Jun Bei’s POV, and the complete lack of interaction between Catarina and Cole left a lot of unresolved tension and plot so I finished the book feeling immensely sad, not hopeful.  [review]  ★★½

45045129TWEET CUTE:  This was such an adorable story! Two teenages pitted against each other on opposing social media accounts but falling for each other in real life? Yes, please! The story was told through both Pepper and Jack’s POVs and I thought it was an excellent choice. I loved reading the story from both their perspectives. I highly recommend for anyone looking for a fun, quick, heartwarming book!  [review]  ★★★★


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REVIEW: Love Her or Lose Her – Tessa Bailey

Title: Love Her or Lose Her (Hot & Hammered #2)
Author: Tessa Bailey
Rating: ★★★½

What is this book about? Love Her or Lose Her is about second-chance romance and falling in love all over again with your spouse. The story focuses on Rosie and Dominic, who we were introduced to in Fix Her Up, and the desperate attempts they make to save their crumbling marriage. 

What did I like? My favorite part of Love Her or Lose Her is the hopeful message. Contemporary romances featuring characters trying to save their marriage and falling in love again with their spouses are such a sweet spot for me. I loved watching Rosie and Dominic “relearn” each other’s love language and figure out how to better communicate and what needed to be changed in order to grow together and fix their marriage. 

What didn’t I like? I didn’t end up loving this one as much as Fix her Up, and I think it’s because I struggled with Dominic’s character. I understand that he’s not meant to be a touchy-feely talkative guy, but I feel like 99% of the problems could have been solved quicker and with less heartbreak had he just talked to Rosie. There were also moments where he was very overbearing towards Rosie. 

Overall thoughts: An enjoyable contemporary romance about second chance romance and going to the extreme to save your marriage, but it didn’t wow me as much as Fix Her Up