Book Review | The Do-Over by Lynn Painter

Title: The Do-Over
Author: Lynn Painter
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: November 15th, 2022
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: ⭐⭐✨

“After living through a dumpster fire of a Valentine’s Day, Emilie Hornby escapes to her grandmother’s house for some comfort and a consolation pint of Ben & Jerry’s. She passes out on the couch, but when she wakes up, she’s back home in her own bed—and it’s Valentine’s Day all over again. And the next day? Another nightmare V-Day.
Emilie is stuck in some sort of time loop nightmare that she can’t wake up from as she re-watches her boyfriend, Josh, cheat on her day after day. In addition to Josh’s recurring infidelity, Emilie can’t get away from the enigmatic Nick, who she keeps running into—sometimes literally—in unfortunate ways.
How many days can one girl passively watch her life go up in flames? And when something good starts to come out of these terrible days, what happens when the universe stops doling out do-overs?” (Goodreads)

I thought I would give this author another try after feeling neutral/liking another of her books. I feel like this one was about the same as that but maybe I liked this one less. I think it had to do with the whole groundhog day thing. I’m not really sure.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Emilie. She is reliving the worst Valentine’s Day ever and she just wants it to end. I thought it was an interesting concept and have not a read a book with this type of premise before but I have seen the movie Groundhog Day. Not a favorite but I will give anything a try!

I think that Emilie could be pretty clueless when it came to her boyfriend and easily brushed aside red flags for the sake of wanting to still be with him even if she knew in her heart it wasn’t going to work out. I can understand not wanting to give up but the signs were clearly there. I can’t say I ever felt bad for her boyfriend because he was a dillweed.

Her other love interest, Nick, was a sweet guy. He was kind of stand offish at first but he does warm up and she definitely warms up to him because when the same thing is happening, it is bound to happen. I think that their chemistry was fine but I do think that it was kind of rushed, obviously more for him than her due to the whole groundhog thing but still.

I just really never felt totally invested in the story and I think it’s just the writer in general. Her writing never wows me and that’s okay. It happens. I am glad others have enjoyed her work.

Overall, not for me but it could be for you! The narration was well done though and I would definitely recommend the audiobook.

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Book Review | The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos

Title: The Wrong Kind of Weird
Author: James Ramos
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2023
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

Cameron Carson, member of the Geeks and Nerds United (GANU) club, has been secretly hooking up with student council president, cheerleader, theater enthusiast, and all-around queen bee Karla Ortega since the summer. The one problem—what was meant to be a summer fling between coffee shop coworkers has now evolved into a clandestine senior-year entanglement, where Karla isn’t intending on blending their friend groups anytime soon, or at all.
Enter Mackenzie Briggs, who isn’t afraid to be herself or wear her heart on her sleeve. When Cameron finds himself unexpectedly bonding with Mackenzie and repeatedly snubbed in public by Karla, he starts to wonder who he can truly consider a friend and who might have the potential to become more…” (Goodreads)

This was a cute YA Romance!

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Cameron Carson. He finds himself in the middle of two girls that are very different from one another. I wouldn’t say that it is your typical love triangle, but it does cause a lot of problems for Cameron.

Through the hookup with Karla and getting to know Mackenzie better, he learns what he wants from a relationship and also how to be himself. Karla comes from a different group of friends and Cameron hasn’t always got along with them because they seem him as that weird, nerdy kid. I could definitely relate to him on that front because I was that kid in high school. Mackenzie brings out the best in him and he can be more of himself. He doesn’t have to change who he is and that is the kind of message I enjoy reading about!

There were only a couple things I wasn’t a fan of, but this is just personal taste. There was more sex talk than I like in YA as well as jokes that just don’t fit my humor. These two details won’t be an issue for others so definitely take it with a grain of salt!

Overall, this was a nice YA romance. Cameron learns a lot about himself and I think many teens will be able to relate to him. It’s also a very quick read too!

Book Review: Out of My League by Sarah Sutton

Title: Out of My League
Author: Sarah Sutton
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: June 16th, 2020
Publisher: Indie
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

It’s all fun and games until someone catches feelings.
Sophia Wallace is convinced her life is over when her high school cuts the journalism program. Without the elective, she loses her chance to intern with the biggest newspaper company in the county, and why? All because the baseball team needs more funding.
To make matters worse, her boyfriend publicly dumps her at a party, which is mortifying. But the icing on the cake is when the captain of the baseball team and the most popular guy at Bayview High, Walsh Hunter, decides to be chivalrous. He jumps in, throws his arm around Sophia, and declares his undying love for her. In front of everyone.
Suddenly, Sophia is thrown into a world of fake relationships and undercover journalism, and she realizes she’s way, way out of her league.
Good thing she’s got the team captain to teach her how to play. But faced with choosing between saving her journalism class or her newfound feelings for Walsh, will she strike out or hit a home run?” (Goodreads)

I saw a reel for this one on Instagram and decided it would be up my alley since it had my favorite trope, fake dating.

This book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Sophia Wallace. She is considered a nerd at her high school. She has a love for journalism and will do anything to save the program from losing its funding. Her boyfriend at the time doesn’t find any of these qualities appealing. Dillweed alert? Am I right? Sophia will do anything to keep journalism alive, even if that means finding out secrets about the baseball team.

Sophia has a lot going on besides the whole journalism thing. She deals with a lot of family dysfunction. Her parents can’t decide if they want to make a marriage work or not and it really takes a toll on her. It’s definitely not the best environment to be living in. In this way, she can also relate to Walsh Hunter. He doesn’t have the best home life either. It was nice to have them be able to listen to one another when it came to their feelings.

I did like the romance in this book. It was sweet and of course it had my favorite trope. They obviously weren’t friends in any way before this so there is a bit of banter as well. Sophia isn’t a fan of him and baseball is definitely a sport she can’t get behind, especially when it’s taking away her journalism haha. I loved seeing them get to know one another and learning about the person they thought they wouldn’t have anything in common with. The speed bumps in their path weren’t overly dramatic and fit into the plot well.

Overall, this was a cute read and I am glad I gave it a chance!

Audiobook Review: Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke

Title: Love Times Infinity
Author: Lane Clarke
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: July 26th, 2022
Publisher: Poppy
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“High school junior Michie is struggling to define who she is for her scholarship essays, her big shot at making it into Brown as a first-generation college student. The prompts would be hard for anyone, but Michie’s been estranged from her mother since she was seven and her concept of family has long felt murky.
Enter new kid and basketball superstar Derek de la Rosa. He is very cute, very talented, and very much has his eye on Michie, no matter how invisible she believes herself to be.
When Michie’s mother unexpectedly reaches out to make amends, and with her scholarship deadlines looming, Michie must choose whether to reopen old wounds or close the door on her past. And as she spends more time with Derek, she’ll have to decide how much of her heart she is willing to share. Because while Michie may not know who she is, she’s starting to realize who she wants to become, if only she can take a chance on Derek, on herself, and on her future.” (Goodreads)

I picked this one up after finishing my latest audiobook. I had seen a lot of reviews for it when it first came out and knew it would be one I would want to read eventually.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Michie. She is a high school student who has plans for college and where she would like to be. Besides that, she is in a therapy group for those that have parental issues. Hers being that her mother had told her she wished she had never been born. Abortion is not just talked about in that context, but it also is brought up when it comes to someone at her school. It was interesting how it was done and I do think that it is an important topic and was well done. I liked learning about Michie’s thoughts as well as those in her group. They were, for the most part, a close knit group and I liked seeing them all communicate with one another.

Michie deals with a lot, as mentioned above, but also finds what it means to have family or those in your corner that aren’t blood related. She learns to love and have people care for her throughout the book. Michie even goes on to confront her mother which in a way opens a door but also closes one at the same time. She also gains a boyfriend who was great! Through all of this, she is strong and learns to lean on people. I enjoyed her journey.

The romance is very much a slow-burn, but I loved it. They become friends and gradually continue on, especially taking the step of meeting parents. It was cute when they hung out!

Overall, this was an enjoyable book. It talks about a difficult topic and makes it the center of the book. I liked learning about Michie and her journey and understanding what it means to love and be loved by the end.

Audiobook Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: Ya Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: May 5th, 2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Rating: ⭐⭐

Some summers are just destined to be pretty.
When each summer begins, Belly leaves her school life behind and escapes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer of her life. Not only does the beach house mean home away from home, but her favorite people are there: Susannah, her mother’s best friend, and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been chasing Conrad for as long as she can remember, and more than anything, she hopes this summer will be different. Despite distractions from a new guy named Cam and lingering looks from Conrad’s brother, Jeremiah, Belly’s heart belongs to Conrad. Will he offer his to her? Will this be the summer that changes everything?” (Goodreads)

My sister had been wanting to read this one so she figured why not do a buddy read with me, haha. Although, I listened to it.

The book is much different than this author’s other series, To All the Boys, and personally I liked that one a lot more. The writing style for TSITP was very wonky and the narration for it felt like it made it worse in my opinion. I’m not sure how others felt about the narration, but my sister did agree that the writing style was just hard to get into.

It is all told from one point-of-view and it comes from Belly. She is wanting to have a good summer and it only gets more complicated when it involves cancer and two brothers. I am usually one for a love triangle but I just didn’t love this one. I did think the characters were fine and I have no complaints there.

There are relationships, more so outside of the circle of friends, but also hints at ones starting. I am not invested enough to continue on and googled what happened. Oopsie!

Overall, this one just didn’t work for me and that’s fine. I think I would have loved it if I was younger.

Arc Review: Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho

Title: Salt and Sugar
Author: Rebecca Carvalho
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: November 1st, 2022
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Rating: ⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

The grandchildren of two rival Brazilian bakeries fall in love despite their families’ feud.
Trust neither thin-bottomed frying pans nor Molinas.
Lari Ramires has always known this to be true. In Olinda, Brazil, her family’s bakery, Salt, has been at war with the Molinas’ bakery across the street, Sugar, for generations. But Lari’s world turns upside down when her beloved grandmother passes away. On top of that, a big supermarket chain has moved to town, forcing many of the small businesses to close.
Determined to protect her home, Lari does the unthinkable—she works together with Pedro Molina to save both of their bakeries. Lari realizes she might not know Pedro as well as she thought—and she maybe even likes what she learns—but the question remains: Can a Ramires and a Molina truly trust one another?” (Goodreads)

I wanted to love this one but I feel like I have read too many books lately that have been similar to this one and it just didn’t pan out for me.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Lari. Her grandmother has just died and now her mother must decide what to do with the bakery. There is a lot of history with the other bakery on their block and it’s never pretty when they are together. I definitely would have liked to see Pedro get a point-of-view and maybe it would have helped with understanding both sides a bit more.

Lari isn’t a bad character and she does have a heart of gold. She wants to see her grandmother’s bakery strive and if that means taking baking classes then so be it! Lari also wants to see the feud squashed and I give her props for following through and trying to be friends with Pedro. It takes a lot of guts to disobey the family.

The plot is filled with a lot of cooking and drama. I am always down for a book talking about food even if it makes me hungry. I feel like I can smell it right off the page. The feud drama was okay but felt a bit childish. Lari had the most sense and everyone else kind of acted like middle schoolers. It didn’t work for me and I just had a hard time getting into that part of the plot.

Overall, this was an okay read. It could be just my mood with this one since I have read books similar to this one recently. Who knows! If you like books about food and feuds then definitely give this one a try.

Book Blog Tour: Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto (Book Review) | 10-2-22

Title: Well, That Was Unexpected
Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

—->Click Here For Tour Dates!<—-

An outrageous, laugh-out-loud YA rom-com about a girl who’s whisked from LA to her mother’s native Indonesia to get back to her roots and finds herself fake-dating the son of one of the wealthiest families there, from the author of Dial A for Aunties.

After Sharlot Citra’s mother catches her in a compromising position, she finds herself whisked away from LA to her mother’s native Indonesia. It’ll be exactly what they both need. Or so her mother thinks.
When George Clooney Tanuwijaya’s father (who is obsessed with American celebrities) fears he no longer understands how to get through to his son, he decides to take matters into his own hands.
To ensure that their children find the right kind of romantic partner, Sharlot’s mother and George’s father do what any good parent would do: they strike up a conversation online, pretending to be their children.
When the kids find out about their parents’ actions, they’re horrified. Not even a trip to one of the most romantic places on earth could possibly make Sharlot and George fall for each other. But as the layers peel back and the person they thought they knew from online is revealed, the truth becomes more complicated. As unlikely as it may seem, did their parents manage to find their true match after all?” (Goodreads)

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

I grew up going back and forth between Jakarta and Singapore and consider both places my homes. I was fortunate enough to do my Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford, which is surely one of the most gorgeous places in the world.

I am passionate about women’s rights and diversity in publishing. I regularly do giveaways where I critique queries or the first few pages, and I am especially interested in helping writers from marginalized communities. If you are a writer from a marginalized community, do hit me up! I love hearing from other writers, even if it’s just to say a quick hello.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook

This was a very unexpected read! I guess you can take the title literally, haha.

The book is told from two point-of-views and they come from Sharlot and George. One thing they have in common is that they both have meddling parents. I will say that this author always writes great families. I enjoy getting to know them and the meddling is always hilarious. Through their parents, they come into an arrangement to fake date. It’s a good trope and I think that it is done well in the book. It’s very awkward and dealing with family and fans don’t always go well which adds to the plot overall.

Sharlot and George felt like typical teenagers. They did things that any one would do and I feel like they will be relatable for a lot of people. Although I don’t think there was anything wrong with them, I felt like some of the things they did felt weird to talk about, especially one scene in particular with his dad and sister present. The humor wasn’t entirely for me, but I also have a different sense of humor than most. Again, I don’t think this will be a problem for most!

Their romance was very cute and I liked to see them put in different situations throughout their fake dating experience.

The author does a great job at talking about social issues and cultural aspects. It adds to the plot and gives a more serious note to balance out the humor. I don’t know much about Indonesia and I feel like I learned a lot while reading this book.

Overall, this was a fun read and I would recommend it to those who like a lot of humor, fake dating, and meddling families!

Arc Review: Talk Santa to Me by Linda Urban

Title: Talk Santa to Me
Author: Linda Urban
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance / Holiday
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“Francie was born in a stable. Really. Granted, it was the deluxe model with the light-up star on the roof, one of the many Christmas items for sale at her family’s Hollydale Holiday Shop. Their holiday gift empire also includes the Santa School, which was founded by Francie’s beloved grandpa, who recently passed away.
Francie’s always loved working in the shop, but lately Aunt Carole has been changing everything with her ideas for too-slick, Hollywood-inspired Santas and horrible holiday-themed employee uniforms. Aunt Carole’s vision will ruin all the charm and nostalgia Francie loves about her family’s business…unless she does something about it.
But this winter is about more than preserving the magic of Christmas. Francie is saving up for a car and angling to kiss the cute boy who works at the tree lot next door—hopefully it will be good enough to wipe her fiasco of a first kiss from her memory.
As the weather outside gets more and more frightful, can Francie pull off the holiday of her dreams?” (Goodreads)

I love a good Christmas themed book! It really gets me in the mood for the season, even if I’m not exactly reading it in the right season. 😂

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Francie. She has been in the business of Christmas since her birth. I liked the story of that which was included as a prologue. It was a nice touch! Her family runs the business and since the loss of her Grandpa who played Santa it just hasn’t been the same. Her aunt doesn’t help either because she is more of a Scrooge than anything! This was also another good inclusion because there is always that one family member who isn’t like the others and it adds to the dismay that Francie deals with when it comes to working at the family business.

Francie wasn’t a bad character but I wasn’t a fan of her journey to love. I thought that the book would have more romance with the guy at the tree lot but it didn’t start until halfway through the book. She also seems to spend more time worrying about her first kiss and wanting to know if she is a good kisser so she kisses other people so that they can rate her. It just wasn’t a plotline that I very much liked.

The other characters in the book are fine. I don’t think any really stood out besides her friend. They had a good friendship and I liked seeing them interact. The others were a tad bit flat and were there to help add to the plot but not in a big way.

The best part of the book was the Christmassy vibes! It made me ready for the season.

Overall, this was a good book. I liked a majority of it and only had a couple issues with the rest.

Arc Review: Seoulmates by Susan Lee

Title: Seoulmates
Author: Susan Lee
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: September 20th, 2022
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

The last person Hannah wants to see is her former best friend, Jacob. Until blackmail and a bucket list, along with two meddling mamas, push them together for a summer worthy of a K-drama…
Hannah Cho had the next year all planned out—the perfect summer with her boyfriend, Nate, and then a fun senior year with all of their friends.
But then Nate does what everyone else in Hannah’s life seems to do—he leaves her, claiming they have nothing in common. He and all her friends are newly obsessed with K-pop and K-dramas, and Hannah is not. After years of trying to embrace the American part and shunning the Korean side of her Korean American identity to fit in, Hannah finds that’s exactly what now has her on the outs. 
But someone who does know K-dramas—so well that he’s actually starring in one—is Jacob Kim, Hannah’s former best friend, whom she hasn’t seen in years. He’s desperate for a break from the fame and someone to trust, so a family trip back to San Diego might be just what he needs…that is, if he and Hannah can figure out what went wrong when they last parted and navigate the new feelings developing between them.” (Goodreads)

I am not usually a fan of childhood friends-to-lovers but this was great and gives me hope that I will enjoy this trope in the future!

The book is told from multiple point-of-views, mostly coming from Hannah and Jacob. I liked the dual perspective for their relationship because each one is going through something on the side, whether it be a break-up or dealing with an entertainment agency. It brings a wedge between them, but it was nice to see Hannah and Jacob try to make it all work even if they felt like it was all hopeless at times.

Hannah is also dealing with the craze of K-Pop and K-dramas. It has affected her relationship and even her friend group. She talks about always trying to hide away her Korean identity and wanting to just be American. She wanted to just fit in with everyone else. I feel like that can hit home for a lot of people. Hannah also feels like everyone she cares about eventually moves on and away from her. It’s a sting that is hard to let go of.

Jacob is pushed around by his agency and even his co-star. He has no time alone but feels like he must do what he does to help his family out after his dad died suddenly. That’s a lot for a kid to have on his shoulders. It’s all so often that a child becomes the head of the household and never gets out of the mentality, never having a childhood.

It was tough to read about both of their experiences, but it was also nice to seem them work through it and decide for themselves what they needed going forward. I think it helped to have each other back in their lives. It gave them a push!

Their mothers were hilarious and I also enjoyed Jacob’s sister! They meddle a lot and I was never disappointed when they graced the page.

The plot is filled with a lot of drama and so if you like K-dramas then this would be perfect for you! If you aren’t one for drama, I think that it is milder compared to others. I am not one for excessive mindless drama and this plot didn’t feel like that at all. It had me hooked and I finished it within a day!

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I loved the childhood romance and can’t wait to see what else this author writes in the future.

Audiobook Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

“Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family—and from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitating toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.” (Goodreads)

I have been meaning to read this one but haven’t got around to it until now. It did help that I noticed the Netflix sticker, haha. Since I didn’t have an audiobook going on I figured why not give this one a try.

The audiobook has two different narrators, one for Dimple’s chapters and the other for Rishi’s. I did like how this was done as it was easier to tell who’s point-of-view it was.

Both of the main characters had something they enjoyed doing and we get to see it flourish throughout the book, especially with each other’s help. I would say that I liked Rishi more only because Dimple was very wish-washy and it kept going on even when there was only 5% left of the book. I understand that they both had to make sacrifices but I do think that Rishi was willing to let go of more than Dimple. This could also just be how their personalities are.

The romance, which is a lot of the book, was fine. They had their sweet moments but since it is all done in a span of one summer program it does go quite quickly and the word “love” is thrown out. I would say for Rishi it was instant-love and Dimple took more to convince. It’s not bad just anything that has to be instant is not a favorite.

There are a couple side characters that stayed around for a lot of the book. Dimple’s roommate was kind of the opposite of her and let peer pressure bring her into questionable situations. Rishi’s brother was funny and I liked him. I believe the next book is for him so I may give it a go.

Overall, this was good and had it’s moments. I did like the narration and thought it was well done.