Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: 6 Times We Almost Kissed by Tess Sharpe!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that 6 Times We Almost Kissed by Tess Sharpe published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!


Recommended: sure
For a low-key sad love story, for teen caretaker stories, for grief and trauma and pain

Summary

Penny and Tate have always clashed. Unfortunately, their mothers are lifelong best friends, so the girls’ bickering has carried them through playdates, tragedy, and more than one rom-com marathon with the Moms. When Penny’s mother decides to become a living donor to Tate’s mom, ending her wait for a liver transplant, things go from clashing to cataclysmic. Because in order to help their families recover physically, emotionally, and financially, the Moms combine their households the summer before senior year.
 
So Penny and Tate make a pact: They’ll play nice. Be the drama-free daughters their mothers need through this scary and hopeful time. There’s only one little hitch in their plan: Penny and Tate keep almost kissing.
 
It’s just this confusing thing that keeps happening. You know, from time to time. For basically their entire teenaged existence.
 
They’ve never talked about it. They’ve always ignored it in the aftermath. But now they’re living across the hall from each other. And some things—like their kisses—can’t be almosts forever.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: 6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) by Tess Sharpe (1/24/23)

6 Times We Almost Kissed by Tess Sharpe
Expected Release: January 24, 2023

Recommended: sure
For a low-key sad love story, for teen caretaker stories, for grief and trauma and pain

Summary

Penny and Tate have always clashed. Unfortunately, their mothers are lifelong best friends, so the girls’ bickering has carried them through playdates, tragedy, and more than one rom-com marathon with the Moms. When Penny’s mother decides to become a living donor to Tate’s mom, ending her wait for a liver transplant, things from clashing to cataclysmic. Because in order to help their families recover physically, emotionally, and financially, the Moms combine their households the summer before senior year.
 
So Penny and Tate make a pact: They’ll play nice. Be the drama-free daughters their mothers need through this scary and hopeful time. There’s only one little hitch in their plan: Penny and Tate keep almost kissing.
 
It’s just this confusing thing that keeps happening. You know, from time to time. For basically their entire teenaged existence.
 
They’ve never talked about it. They’ve always ignored it in the aftermath. But now they’re living across the hall from each other. And some things—like their kisses—can’t be almosts forever.

Thoughts

This is one of those books where even though characters are in and around love of all kinds, it sort of breaks your heart the whole way through. It’s not often a buoyant, easy love of light. It’s a quieter, maybe more desperate love tinged with their shared histories and pain. A perfect quote to sum up the vibe:

Scratches give it character. Nothing in life comes out unscathed.

As you can probably guess from the title, there’s a good amount of tension in their interactions given the six times they almost kiss. It’s told in two timelines, with the current-day taking up some of it, and the reflections on past near-kisses and other dominating events alternating in. This worked for me in this story because it broke up some of the fear and worry of the current-day narrative with their moms getting surgery.

Continue reading “ARC Review: 6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) by Tess Sharpe (1/24/23)”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Sorry, Bro by Taleen Voskuni (1/31/23)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is
Expected Release:

Why wait on this one?

  • I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with Armenian main characters so I’m always a fan on learning about cultures I’m not familiar with. Considering Nar’s mom is forcing her into some cultural events in the city, I think I can have my chance to learn vicariously!
  • Surprise love! I’m all in for it! Although I think there will be some really painful aspects for Nar navigating her decision to come out to her family (or not), I’m already rooting for her.
  • This book seems like it’ll be a sweet mixture of touching and heartfelt moments combined with self-aware humor and lighthearted joking. I mean, come on, did you read the title? I cackle inwardly every time I read it. If that’s what I can expect from the rest of it, then it’ll be perfect. ^.^

Summary

When Nar’s non-Armenian boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her in front of a room full of drunk San Francisco tech boys, she realizes it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance.

Enter her mother: armed with plenty of mom-guilt and a spreadsheet of Facebook-stalked Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend Explore Armenia, a month-long series of events in the city. But it’s not the mom-approved playboy doctor or wealthy engineer who catches her eye—it’s Erebuni, a woman as equally immersed in the witchy arts as she is in preserving Armenian identity. Suddenly, with Erebuni as her wingwoman, the events feel like far less of a chore, and much more of an adventure. Who knew cooking up kuftes together could be so . . . sexy?

Erebuni helps Nar see the beauty of their shared culture and makes her feel understood in a way she never has before. But there’s one teeny problem: Nar’s not exactly out as bisexual. The clock is ticking on Nar’s double life, though—the closing event banquet is coming up, and her entire extended family will be there, along with Erebuni. Her worlds will inevitably collide, but Nar is determined to be brave, determined to claim her happiness: proudly Armenian, proudly bisexual, and proudly herself for the first time in her life.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Summary

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

Thoughts

Why was I avoiding reading this book for so long? I think it was partially because of how hyped this book was, which is usually a sure way to keep me away from it. Even though I had already read her other two books and enjoyed them. Even though I had been interested in this one. I avoided it still.

Well I finally read it for a challenge read, my first of 2023! And I was admittedly a bit grumbly to myself about making a book I was reluctant about to be the coveted first read and review of the year. But hey, it was actually quite good. Maybe next time I won’t hold back on her book?

It didn’t blow me away, but I enjoyed it. It read fast, too, so if there were any things I didn’t love
(there were) it was pretty easy to move past them to something better in short time.

Continue reading “Review: Book Lovers by Emily Henry”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!


Recommended: sure
for a sweet story of figuring out what’s right for you, for healthy and balanced looks at teen / first-time sexuality, for really lovely friendships that are important as well

Summary

Cameron Carson has a secret. A secret with the power to break apart his friend group.

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….

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos

The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos

Expected Release Date: January 3, 2023

Recommended: sure
for a sweet story of figuring out what’s right for you, for healthy and balanced looks at teen / first-time sexuality, for really lovely friendships that are important as well

Summary

Cameron Carson has a secret. A secret with the power to break apart his friend group.

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…

Thoughts

Maybe we weren’t all into the same shit, but we were all geeks about something, so maybe we were all idiots for acting like we were so different from each other just because the object of our geekery was different.

The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos (arc copy text)

What stands out to me most in this book is that there’s a boy who is hesitant about having sex because he’s unsure he’s emotionally ready for it, and a girl who enjoys sex and appreciates a partner who ensures she’s satisfied and taken care of as well. Both of these are SO IMPORTANT AND HEALTHY! I feel like these are almost complete opposites of the usual tropes, where boys are portrayed as having no emotional involvement in sex and just want sex with anyone anytime, and women are not enjoying it (or at least not supposed to talk about enjoying it) and not empowered to do anything to change that.

Continue reading “ARC Review: The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos”
Posted in Reviews

Review: How to be Married by Jo Piazza (nonfiction!)

How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents about Building a Happy Marriage by Jo Piazza

Recommended: absolutely
for people who do or do not want to get married, for people who are already married, for people who are interested in people, for good advice on creating healthy and loving long term relationships of any kind, for a really lovely read about love around the world and from different people

Summary

At age thirty-four, Jo Piazza got her romantic-comedy ending when she met the man of her dreams on a boat in the Galapagos Islands and was engaged three months later. But before long, Jo found herself riddled with questions. How do you make a marriage work in a world where you no longer need to be married? How does an independent, strong-willed feminist become someone’s partner–all the time?

In the tradition of writers such as Nora Ephron and Elizabeth Gilbert, award-winning journalist and nationally bestselling author Jo Piazza writes a provocative memoir of a real first year of marriage that will forever change the way we look at matrimony.

A travel editor constantly on the move, Jo journeys to twenty countries on five continents to figure out what modern marriage means. Throughout this stunning, funny, warm, and wise personal narrative, she gleans wisdom from matrilineal tribeswomen, French ladies who lunch, Orthodox Jewish moms, Swedish stay-at-home dads, polygamous warriors, and Dutch prostitutes.

Written with refreshing candor, elegant prose, astute reporting, and hilarious insight into the human psyche, How to Be Married offers an honest portrait of an utterly charming couple. When life throws more at them than they ever expected–a terrifying health diagnosis, sick parents to care for, unemployment–they ultimately create a fresh understanding of what it means to be equal partners during the good and bad times.

Thoughts

For perspective, I don’t want to get married. I’m in a long term relationship and plan to stay with this person, but as for marriage? I’m not interested, and I’d say I’m even somewhat against it (for myself). One of the biggest reasons for that was always a bit hard for me to express properly, but this book put it into simple concise words for me:

There was something appealing about actively choosing your partner again and again.

Continue reading “Review: How to be Married by Jo Piazza (nonfiction!)”
Posted in Reviews

Review: Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

Recommended: yep!
For a cute little love story about love, for characters who are mostly lovable and only ocassionally idiots, for a personal tour of the island 🙂

Summary

Laura’s business trip to the Channel Islands isn’t exactly off to a great start. After unceremoniously dumping everything in her bag in front of the most attractive man she’s ever seen in real life, she arrives at her hotel only to realize she’s grabbed the wrong suitcase from the airport. Her only consolation? The irresistibly appealing contents of the case: a copy of her favorite book; piano music; and a rugged, heavy knit fisherman sweater only a Ryan Gosling lookalike could pull off. The owner of this suitcase is Laura’s dream man–she’s sure of it. Now, all she has to do is find him.

The mix-up seems written in the stars. After all, what are the odds that she’d find The One on the same remote island where her mom and dad had first fallen in love, especially as she sets out to write an article about their epic romance? Commissioning surly cab driver Ted to ferry her around seems like her best bet in both tracking down the mystery suitcase owner and retracing her parents’ footsteps. And if beneath Ted’s gruffness lies a wit that makes their cab rides strangely entertaining, so much the better. But as Laura’s long-lost luggage soulmate proves difficult to find–and as she realizes that the love story she’s held on a pedestal all her life might not have been that perfect–she’ll have to rethink her whole outlook on love to discover what she really wants.

Thoughts

It has now been several months since I finished this, and I still am remembering it fondly, which really could be my entire view in one sentence. However, I am verbose, and will add more. 😁

The overall premise and plot of the book are excellently done and play with tropes and expectations in a really fun way. I think fun is honestly the perfect word to sum up this book. With it you get a lot of smiles and silliness, but also maybe some things that could have been done better (which were sacrificed in the same of more fun). Looking back at my highlights, there are a lot that I had highlighted just because they made me smile. In the whip played with the tropes and expectations, I was somehow surprised in little moments along the way but not at the overall turnout. Granted when you read a rom-com, you kind of know what to expect at the ending most of the time.

Continue reading “Review: Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens”
Posted in Reviews

Review: Pride, Prejudice, and Turkish Delight by K.C. McCormick Ciftci

Pride, Prejudice, & Turkish Delight by K.C. McCormick Çiftçi

Recommended: yep!
for a cute story with parallels to a classic lit story, for an adventure story, for a story about taking risks and finding yourself, for lots of teaching pedagogy and moments that teachers will fully resonate with, for career and friendship and romance decisions

Summary

Having led a safe (admittedly boring) life until now, Eliza Britt wasn’t about to turn down the opportunity to work in Antalya, Turkey. With the Mediterranean calling, she was excited to help lead the university’s English department and to finally have a little adventure in her life.

On arrival Eliza soon realizes that her new posting won’t be all cerulean waters and exploring a new culture. Instead she’s faced with Deniz Aydem. Forced to work together, Eliza isn’t sure she will be able to ignore his arrogance or the unexpected attraction she feels for him.

Eliza and Deniz differ in every way. She’s American, he’s Turkish. She embraces her sense of humor, whereas Deniz has a serious disposition. But regardless of all their differences, something is simmering beneath the surface of their interactions. Whether it’s love or just an intense dislike for each other remains to be seen.

Thoughts

The title alone makes it clear that this is meant to be a bit of a parallel to pride and prejudice, but it definitely can stand on its own. There are certainly parallels to Austin’s story, but they are more like little fun bonuses if you know what to look for. For anyone not interested or not familiar with pride and prejudice, this will still be a fun read.

As a former teacher, I enjoyed the realism with which the profession was portrayed. There are so many struggles faced, and I would say that the struggles of from the admin side are not usually the perspective we see. It’s clear for teachers how administration can make daily life harder, but rarely is there a story where the admin making life harder is the protagonist. I appreciated the sensitive insight here and the learning that the main character does in regards of her career and how her decisions affected her teams and teachers and ultimately her students.

Continue reading “Review: Pride, Prejudice, and Turkish Delight by K.C. McCormick Ciftci”
Posted in Reviews

Review: The Upside of Falling by Alex Light

The Upside of Falling by Alex Light
Recommended: not really
for a simple teen fake-dating story, not for much memorable, for vague teenage lessons

Summary

It’s been years since seventeen-year-old Becca Hart believed in true love. But when her former best friend teases her for not having a boyfriend, Becca impulsively pretends she’s been secretly seeing someone.

Brett Wells has it all. Being captain of the football team and one of the most popular guys in school, he should have no problem finding someone to date, but he’s always been more focused on his future than who to bring to prom. When he overhears Becca’s lie, Brett decides to step in and be her mystery guy. It’s the perfect solution: he gets people off his back for not dating and she can keep up the ruse.

Acting like the perfect couple isn’t easy though, especially when you barely know the other person. But with Becca still picking up the pieces from when her world was blown apart years ago and Brett just barely holding his together now, they begin to realize they have more in common than they ever could have imagined. When the line between real and pretend begins to blur, they are forced to answer the question: is this fake romance the realest thing in either of their lives?

Thoughts

Well it’s been almost six months since I finished this in June, which isn’t great as far as review-writing-memory goes. I’ll keep this one short, because I didn’t take great notes and I don’t remember it well. Honestly though, that to me is usually all the review I need: if I don’t remember anything about it six months later, it probably wasn’t that great.

Continue reading “Review: The Upside of Falling by Alex Light”