What I’ve Been Reading Lately: Belated Book Talks Of Spring Releases I Read

book recommendations and books to read

 

 

I have been reading soooo much (7 books ahead of my Goodreads challenge WHAT!) before I had Riley and I even started this post a few days before we went into the hospital…and then promptly never finished this post. SOOOO…a super dee duper long overdue post about all the Spring 2017 releases I read — which was basically all contemporary YA because that seemed to be mostly all I was in the mood for.

 

 

Done Dirt Cheap book

Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

I received this book  from the publisher for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

About In A Sentence or Two: Tourmaline, daughter of the president of a local biker gang who was responsible for sending her mother to jail as a kid, and Virginia, a girl sold into the services of a drug-dealing lawyer at 15 by her mother, become friends when Virginia is sent on a recon mission to get close to Tourmaline and the Wardens to help take them down from the inside.

Quick Thoughts: Done Dirt Cheap showed up on my doorstep unsolicited and at first glance I didn’t know if it was my thing but then I was REALLY craving a contemporary that seemed different than my normal fare. This was it! I quickly fell into the biker world and watching the emerging friendship between Tourmaline and Virginia — even though Virginia was initially on a recon mission to help destroy the Wardens. These girls were badasses in a very male dominated scene and I was so here for it. There was drama and romance and it was overall a good read despite motorcycle gangs not seeming like a thing I would be into.

 

Rating:

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Days Jeff Zentner

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

 

About In A Sentence Or Two: One sent text message destroys everything that Carver ever knew and takes the lives of his three best friends in a car crash. Carver blames himself for their death and so do a lot of other people — so much so that a criminal investigation has been opened up. As Carver contends with his grief/guilt, Blake’s grandmother has an idea to spend a Goodbye Day together in which they share their memories of Blake and honor him with a proper goodbye — something some of the other families decide they also want to do.

Thoughts: Jeff Zentner’s debut, The Serpent King, SLAYED me and was one of my top books the year it came out. So needless to say I was VERY excited for this book and the emotional damage I knew Jeff would inflict on me (glutton for punishment right here!). And boy was it a doozy on the emotional front — which was probably a bad idea for me to bring on my 4 hour pregnancy glucose test! I immediately felt for Carver’s situation and his guilt surrounding his best friends deaths was palpable — and then add to that the blame from former classmates/friends and a mounting criminal investigation against him surrounding the accident. I really loved the flashbacks to his time with his friends, his family who was super supportive and Blake’s grandma who is the one who introduces the idea of a Goodbye Day. Those Goodbye Days were so hard to get through and tore through my heart up. I LIKED the romance but didn’t really LOVE it to be honest but the rest of the story made up for that.  The writing was strong and held passages that I just had to read more than once because of how profound or beautiful or raw they were. Just how this book explored grief and guilt and how intertwined they can be just wrecked me because it felt so spot on. I carried guilt after my mom’s death for VERY different reasons than Carver and it’s a heavy burden. Speaking of guilt — I really loved how REAL the grief felt in the other characters too. There is a scene between one of the boy’s father and Carver that wrecked me. SO SO GOOD.

Rating

 

 

 

 Fireworks by Katie Cotugno review

 Fireworks by Katie Cotugno

I received this book  from the publisher for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

About In A Sentence Or Two: Two best friends on a journey to popstardom together when they both get picked to be in an all girl pop group — this being one of their dreams they’ve worked so hard for and an unexpected adventure thrown at her for the other. Set in the 90’s!!

Thoughts: I gotta be honest…I LOVED Katie’s first two books. Like how I plastered my room with posters of JTT and Andrew Keegan when I was younger kind of LOOOOOOVE. But I only liked this one — thought it was solid.  It just never went beyond that for me and that makes me sad because I wanted to love this in the way that I very enthusiastically love her first two. I really enjoyed the 90’s setting especially because it was centered around a girl group/boy band. I loved how the majority of the book was focused on them training and learning the moves and songs and trying to get themselves together to break out into fame rather than them catapulting into fame instantly. I think it helped in showing how the bff-ship between the two main characters changed slowly during this transition process when they had a lot of time to think about how their lives were changing. It was hard to watch their friendship crumble and the cattiness that abounded  but Katie is always so good at writing stuff like that especially when the reason they start to splinter is because of a crush on the same boy. In another author’s hands it could have been cliche but Katie always does imperfect and messy the best. I think where this stayed at a LIKE level, and not a love level, is that I just never felt much for Dana. I think the other thing was how I realllyyy had to suspend my disbelief a little too much as to how they BOTH get added to the group and while reading it I struggled with Dana’s feelings towards being it…though that all did make sense with the story.

Rating

And this is where I stopped writing this post before Riley came so these are going to be suuuuuuper short because my brain has been put through the ringer since I read these books in the Spring.

 

When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

I received this book  from the publisher for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

About in a sentence or two: Dimple and Rishi both have ideas for their future but their parents have other ideas which include making sure they both are attending the same summer program where Rishi is to woo an unsuspecting Dimple.

Thoughts: Oh man this book is the perfect YA rom com! It was absolutely charming and funny! I freaking loved the characters — Dimple is so full of attitude and I want to be her friend and Rishi is just the sweetest and I love what a hopeless romantic he was. I loved that they were opposites — those are some of my favorite kind of romcoms…where they don’t exactly fall for each other at first especially for Dimple because their parents are trying to set them up. I loved learning about their culture and watch Dimple try to get her parents to understand her views and I looooved that it mostly took place at a summer camp for web development — not enough STEM in YA!! Seriously, if you are looking for a feel good rom-com…look no further!

Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

I received this book  from the publisher for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

About in a sentence or two: Molly has had all sorts of crushes but they’ve mostly been pretty secret and all have gone unrequited — mostly to keep herself from being rejected. When her twin sister’s new girlfriend introduces Molly to her super cute bff, Will, Molly thinks maybe this could be it and she could finally have her first kiss and maybe her streak of unrequited love could end. Also enters Reid…her new co-worker who doesn’t seem like crush material at first but just may be.

Thoughts: It’s always a good thing when you end a book with an audible happy sigh. A most darling romance and a memorable cast of friends and family who will just win you over so quickly! I looooved Becky’s debut (Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda) and was scared that I wouldn’t love this as much but NOT THE CASE AT ALL. It’s the epitome of the heart eyes emoji.

 

windfall by jennifer e smith review

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

About in a sentence or two: Alice and Teddy have been best friends for a while now and have been there for each other through some really hard stuff in their lives and their relationship was almost at the brink of something more…until a small birthday gift turns into a big fortune when they become lottery

Thoughts: I liked this one! I LOVED The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight but then her last couple of books have only been alright for me. This one was better for me though still not a LOVE. I liked the characters, kinda EH OKAY on the romance and the concept was interesting. The real thing that I loved was the family dynamics but overall it wasn’t super memorable for me.

 

Jenny Hann Always and Forever Lara Jean

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

About in a sentence or two: The conclusion to Lara Jean’s story (check out my review of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before)

Thoughts: AHHHHH I love this series and this was a fabulous way to end it for me. I have not felt so satisfied with a series ending in a long time. I didn’t want to say goodbye to these amazing characters. Totally shed some tears. Selfishly I want Jenny to basically write about Lara Jean for forever. ALSO my favorite character, Stormy, I WANT A WHOLE BOOK ABOUT HER. If you haven’t read this series and love cute contemporary YA, you are missing out!

 

 

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

I received this book  from the publisher for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

Thoughts: MAN I had a really good streak this spring of YA contemps by authors I’ve already read and Julie Murphy’s Ramona Blue was NO exception! Ramona and Freddie were such great characters (also Freddie’s grandma was the best!!). I loved how it explored sexual identity and how it can be fluid (Hattie identified as a lesbian and she has to grapple with her feelings for her childhood friend Freddie and what that means for her). I also loved that it featured a character who was poor as I don’t think we get that POV much in YA. Ramona is just one of those amazing resilient characters who has so much strength.

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think?! Any of these going on your TBR? Tell me what you’ve been reading!

 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I loved When Dimple Met Rishi and Always and Forever, Lara Jean! They’re definitely two of my favourite books from this year 😍 And I REALLY want to read The Upside of Unrequited. I loved Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda so I’ve been really looking forward to this one 😊

    • I hope you love The Upside of Unrequited too!! And omg are you as excited about the Twinkle book from Sandhya as I am??

  2. I read all but two of these, with When Dimple Met Rishi being my favorite of the bunch. I do really want to read the JES book, because I love her so much, but I get what you are saying. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between was a little on the melancholy side, though the ending brought happy tears to my eyes, but it did not compare to This is What Happy Looks Like for me.

    • I don’t get it with JES sometimes because her books are solid and are everything I like but some of them just seem to miss for me? Like I EXPECT them to just be MORE than they are? I don’t know…it’s so weird and it’s a pattern with her books for me which makes me sad bc I want to love them more than I do! SIGH.

  3. I’ve yet to read When Dimple Met Rishi and it’s eating me up inside. I really WANT to read it but just haven’t gotten around to it. I HAVE to add it to my November TBR.

  4. I’m relieved to hear that The Upside of Unrequited was so good. I’ve been a bit wary of picking it up in case I was disappointed with it, so PHEW!

  5. It sounds like you read some fantastic books! I absolutely adored When Dimple Met Rishi, Ramona Blue, and Always and Forever Lara Jean as well, and I recognized most of the rest as well. I love contemporary, sometimes all you need is a good, somewhat cheesy, heart-warming romance to perk you right up. 🙂