REVIEW: 10 Blind Dates – Ashley Elston

43885673Title: 10 Blind Dates
Author: Ashly Elston
Rating: ★★★½

10 Blind Dates is an absolutely delightful book sure to give readers warm and fuzzy feelings. The foundation of this story is family, friendships, and rediscovering yourself. This book is perfect for anyone who enjoys watching those heartwarming, wholesome holiday movies on the Hallmark channel!

My favorite thing about 10 Blind Dates is the large, extended family of the protagonist, Sophie. As someone who comes from a very large Italian family, it was really easy to understand how important the holidays were to Sophie and the chaos that comes with many relations all under the same roof. Growing up, Christmas Eve was always my favorite day and it was amazing to get the same feeling of nostalgia and comfort from these pages.

The blind dates Sophie’s family puts her up to and the betting chart that accompanied the schedule was so fun! You can definitely feel some of the second-hand embarrassment she must have felt being put on the spot by her family. And the main romance that develops was really cute and well-written!

Overall, 10 Blind Dates is a light, heartwarming story about family and friendships perfect for the winter holidays coming up. I definitely recommend this for anyone who enjoys stories full of cheer and happy endings!

REVIEW: Call It What You Want – Brigid Kemmerer (ARC)

40653162Title: Call It What You Want
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Rating: ★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. 

Call It What You Want was a heartfelt story with an emotional depth that took me by surprise.

The premise was not anything new for a YA contemporary: two teenagers isolate by their peers find solace in each other. However, this book handled the trope in such a fantastic way. Rob and Maegan are each dealing with their own family issues, and after being forced to work together on a Calculus project, a friendship begins to form between them. I loved Rob so much! ❤️ He was so perfect! And it was really fun and satisfying watching his friendship to Maegan evolve from acquaintances to friends to something more. There were also a couple other great character relationships that develop as well with the side characters. In particular, I really enjoyed Rob and Owen’s friendship and Maegan’s relationship with her sister, Samantha. They were really important to the story and I was absorbed by their dynamics.

There were a lot of heavy topics brought up throughout the book, and Brigid Kemmerer wrote about them in a very compelling and realistic way. Some parts were so well written they made me feel a little emotional thinking about what some of these characters were going through. I absolutely love the fact that Brigid Kemmerer allowed the boys in the story to have emotions! You really don’t see enough of this in books, especially in the YA genre. Boys are allowed have emotions; to cry and to be upset and break down and not be any less masculine because of it. And when it did happen in the book, it wasn’t a huge focus and felt very natural and real. I honestly think it was one of my favorite aspects of the story.

Brigid Kemmerer really impressed me with this lovely book. I was not expecting the emotional depth and heavy topics brought up, but I thought they were brilliant and created such a wonderful story. Call It What You Want is a heartwarming, captivating book with some powerful messages.

Favorite Romance Tropes

We all have those tropes that make picking up a certain book a no-brainer. In the honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided to talk about all the romance tropes that I absolutely love in a book. If I detect a hint of any of these in a synopsis, you can bet I’ll be adding that book to my TBR. I’m also really mad because as I was writing this post, I was drawing some serious blanks and could not recall any books that featured a lot of these tropes. I need to go back and reread every book I’ve ever had and take notes.


ENEMIES TO LOVERS

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: hate-to-love romances are my bread and butter. There are so many great aspects to this trope: the heated arguments, the palpable angst, the sexual tension, the mixed feelings. Honestly, just give me two characters that hate each other and hint at an attraction and I’ll be good to go.

Favorite Examples: Cardan + Jude from The Cruel Prince, Eelyn + Fiske from Sky in the Deep, Magnus + Cleo from Falling Kingdoms, Matthias + Nina from Six of Crows, Anthony + Kate from The Viscount Who Loved Me


CHILDHOOD FRIENDS TO LOVERS

The next best thing to hate-to-lovers, is having two people who have know each other for forever and then eventually develop feelings – or better yet, discover the feelings have been there all along. I love everything about it: the history between them, the inside jokes, the established friendship, the moments of jealousy before they realize their feelings. 

Favorite Examples: Malyen + Alina from Shadow and Bone, Eril-Fane + Azareen from Strange the Dreamer, Elliot + Macy from Love and Other Words, Jay + Violet from The Body Finder


THERE’S ONLY ONE BED

You know this trope. The protagonist and love interest encounter a situation where they need to stay in a room with only one bed which – to my great delight – they end up sharing. Every time this happens in a book, I turn into giddy, squealing schoolgirl. I don’t know how this trope originated, but I would like to personally thank each and every author that’s ever utilized it. Bonus points if they hate each other. Extra bonus points if they end up cuddling by morning or the male love interest wakes up with a bit of a situation, ya know what I’m saying 😉

Favorite Examples: All of them. (but no seriously, I’m drawing a huge blank and cannot think of a single book with this trope even though I’ve read it so many times. If anyone can think of any specific YA books in which this happens, please comment below and put me out of my misery 😭)


FAKE RELATIONSHIP

I love me a good fake relationship, especially when the characters need to make it believable and act in love: hold hands, snuggling up, kissing. I know it’s probably redundant at this point, but the trope is even better when they don’t even really like each other at the beginning.

Favorite Examples: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Rogue Not Taken, Roomies


KISSING TO HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT

Ah, the infamous “the bad guys are looking for us, let’s kiss so they look the other way!” Or when two characters are in disguise and have to kiss to keep up the ruse. Classic. I love this trope, particularly because it always happens before either of the characters admit to any feelings. And also because kissing, duh.

Favorite Examples: Angelfall, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact, The Devil’s Thief, Rebel of the Sands


HUDDLING TOGETHER FOR SURVIVAL

This is such a good trope, and one that sometimes allows for our beloved characters to strip down in a totally nonsexual way and then cuddle for warmth (or survival). I think I like it so much, because usually they end up falling asleep in each other’s arms, and then it becomes very reminiscent to the whole “there’s only bed” trope which we have all learned by now is one of my favorites.

Favorite Examples: Grave Mercy, The Hunger Games, The White Stag, 


SHARING A HORSE

I’m total and complete trash for this trope. Like, in every fantasy story where there is some kind of horse riding going on, I always pray that some kind of situation arises in which the main character and the love interest have to share a horse for the duration of the rest of the journey. Whether they end up riding in front or in back, doesn’t matter it makes me swoon so hard. 

Favorite Examples: Each and every time it happens.


Are any of these tropes you enjoy reading? What are some of your favorite romance tropes? Or what are some tropes in romance you cannot stand to read? Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!