Book Reviews

You Have a Match by Emma Lord

Bookish Life Lesson, You Have a Match edition: If you’re getting a DNA test, know that it might reveal some skeletons in your family closet.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

But it isn’t the knowing that matters. It’s the feeling that does.

Emma Lord

It feels like I just came off the high of reading Tweet Cute by Emma Lord, so imagine my happiness when I was approved for an ARC of You Have a Match! Emma Lord has easily slipped into being a top tier YA Contemporary author, and any worries that she may have been a one-hit wonder, died out when I was reading this book.

We follow Abby Day (many a pun are made about her last name, it’s hilarious) and Savvy, the older sister she never knew she had. After being coerced into taking a DNA test by her besties Leo and Connie, Abby and Savvy’s worlds are thrown upside down in trying to figure out exactly why Savvy was put up for adoption a year and a half before Abby was born. It’s so wonderful to read this book as it unfolds. Mostly because, even though there is some romance between Abby and a certain adorable chef-in-training, the main focus of the story is on Abby and Savvy and their budding sisterly relationship. A relationship, btw, that isn’t all sunshine and rainbows despite just finding each other. They have all out fights and bickering matches that only sisters a year and a half apart could have. (Something I’m not that familiar with since my sister is 10 years older than me, we never fight, and she’s my bestie).

I particularly loved the Parent Trap-esque feel to the family dynamics as the mystery of Savvy’s adoption came further into the light. You quickly find yourself rooting for the 2 sets of parent’s to figure their shit out so they can all be one happy family. But don’t worry, if you are in for the romance, there is plenty of that too!

This book is easily recommendable for YA Fans, especially fans of Tweet Cute. I’ve already made a mental note to send a copy of it to my sister when it releases.

Book Particulars:

  • Page Count: 320 Pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
  • Edition Read – eBook, thanks to St. Martins, Wednesday Books, and NetGalley for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
  • Release Date: January 25, 2021
  • Dates Read: October 20th – October 22nd

Book Synopsis:
When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.

But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.

When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents—especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.

The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby’s growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.

But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones.

Book Reviews

The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sometimes the best heroes are the ones in your head—but that doesn’t make them any less real.

Ashley Poston

When I first read the first book, Geekerella, I fell in love with the story. It came out a in April of 2017, but I didn’t get a chance to read it until August of 2017. In June of 2017 my father passed away suddenly and I spent the following month doing what I could to keep his legacy alive. So, when I picked up Geekerella, I sobbed my way through it. I had no memory of ever connecting to a story that much. After that I tucked it into my shelf, not knowing until 2 weeks ago that it was turning into a series. Imagine my delight and happiness when seeing that the book that had gotten me through the darkest time in my life, was just a launchpad for more nerd love.

And that’s exactly what The Princess and the Fangirl truly is. More nerd love. Not just love between nerds, but love FOR nerds. The book is a love letter to those of us who live and breathe stories set in the Stars (Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate, BattleSTAR Galactica, etc). The book is littered with so many amazing pop culture references (although I do admit that could be a detractor for some people) it was like fuel for my TMORD* heart.

We follow two characters, Jessica Stone (whom we met in Geekerella) and Imogene Lovelace. The two girls are from different worlds, but look nearly identical. Identical enough that through a chain of events, Imogene goes from accidentally being mistaken for Jessica, to actually intentionally impersonating her for the duration of ExcelsiCon. There is a steep learning curve for both girls, as they realize the other didn’t have it as easily as first it appeared. I loved following both storylines, and I love how Ashley weaves LGBTQ+ relationships into her stories. They feel so natural and I ship all of them so much.

I didn’t love this one quite as much as I loved Geekerella, but I think the latter just will always have a special place in my heart because of my own life experiences at the time. If you are a fan of modern retellings and any type of nerd culture, this series is for you. But I recommend starting with the first one. While this one can be read as a standalone, there are callbacks to the first one that wouldn’t make sense otherwise.

Also – special note. Clearly Ashley has been or WELL researched cons that take place in Atlanta (like Dragon Con), because multiple times the carpet is described as memorable, and if you’ve been to Dragon Con you KNOW what she’s talking about.

*TMORD – imaginary language(?) my sister and I created and identify with: TV-Movie Over Reference Disorder.

Book Particulars

  • Page Count: 320
  • Publisher: Quirk Books
  • Edition Read: Hardcover
  • Release Date: April 2, 2019
  • Dates Read: October 14 – 20

Book Synopsis

The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after. 

Book Reviews

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Bookish Life Lesson – Tweet Cute Edition: When reading a book that focuses on a Grilled Cheese themed Twitter war, make sure you have snacks on hand, so you don’t binge eat multiple Grilled Cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Tweet Cute Cover

It’s weird, how you have no idea how far you’ve come until suddenly you can’t find the way back.

Emma Lord

Every year, typically during the summer, I go on a YA RomCom kick. It’s a good palette cleanser from the typical YA/NA/Adult Fantasy binges that I go on for the rest of the year. This summer, however, it got delayed and I didn’t go in until the very tail end of September. First book up on the docket: Tweet Cute.

Tweet Cute was an adorable kick off for my month or two of RomComs. With a definite You’ve Got Mail vibe, I found myself sucked into the story easily. The two main characters Pepper and Jack engage in an all out Twitter war for their parent’s business. Pepper on behalf of the big chain Big League Burger, and Jack for his family’s small local deli Girl Cheesing. The bickering that Jack and Pepper do from the get go is great. They have such natural chemistry that you easily start to ship them from the get go. One aspect that I loved particularly, is the range of emotion that Jack presents. It’s so refreshing to see a male character cry and show emotion. Being a teenager is so raw at times, and often teen males aren’t shown having the full range of emotion, even in the privacy of their own rooms.

But every RomCom needs it’s friction, in this books case, it came from Jack’s father and Pepper’s mother. This was the only part of the story that didn’t mesh as well with me. While the explanation at the end totally wraps it up well, the build up for that area of the story felt a little over the top.

Overall, this book was a fun read, and I’m eagerly anticipating Emma Lord’s next book, You Have A Match, releasing in January 2021. I’d give this a solid 4/5 (maybe even a 4.5/5).

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Book Particulars:

  • Page Count: 362
  • Edition Read: Kindle via Libby
  • Release date: January 21, 2020
  • Read Date: September 30th – October 1st

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming―mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese―that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life―on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate―people on the internet are shipping them??―their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Random

A Very Bookish Mental Health Week

Next week is Mental Health Awareness week. As a result, I thought I would write about my own experiences dealing with my mental health. And mixed in I will have book recommendations for novels (mostly YA) that deal amazingly with mental health.

I grew up in a household where mental illness was common knowledge. I always knew that my sister, 10 years my senior, struggled with mental illness. I didn’t realize until later that my father did as well. When I was around 8 or 9 my parent’s did try and “shield” me from the worst of my sisters cycles. At that point she was going on 19, diagnosed bi-polar (still the label at the time), and about to enter what we now refer to as her “dark years.” Mostly because she doesn’t really remember what happened during those years. My belief as to why they hid it from me was I was in a “copying Kate” phase. I think the worry was I would intentionally try and be like her, even in her depressive cycles.

When We CollidedWe are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…
Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.
Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.
Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.
In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

Fast forward about 5 years. I was a sophomore in high school when the anxiety started really kicking in. The feeling like I wouldn’t ever fit in. My friends joked that I was like the chameleon. Every day at lunch I would hang out with a different friend group. Constantly worrying that if I spent too much time with one group they would realize just how out of place I was. That I didn’t really work with them. So I jumped from group to group and never let anyone get too close. That became my norm.

Turtles all the way downSixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

The thoughts I had about myself seemed completely normal to me. “Maren, you are so ugly.” “Maren, you are so fat.” “There is no way that guy would like you, look at the all the way prettier and skinnier girls that are in this show too.” “Why would they possibly invite you out? You are so boring.” Every day these thoughts would swirl through my brain. No matter how many times I had friends that would ask me to sit with them, or go out with them on weekends, the thoughts persisted. By my senior year in high school these thoughts were part of how I lived. I didn’t realize that they were part of a mental illness. I completely believed them to be true.

In college the anxiety worsened, and the depression that had been simmering for years on the back-burner started to boil. No matter what I did, the thoughts and worries began increasing. My personal life took a serious toll. I never let anyone get close enough to do more than a first date. Friends left, either because I pushed them away or because they legitimately sucked. My family went through a significant downfall (this one luckily figured itself out after many months). Because of everything I couldn’t keep a lid on the depression anymore.

But I did.

For years and years I compartmentalized everything in my life. Every few months I would go through, what I referred to as, my compartments “busting open.” For a few days or a week all the self control I had would be decimated. I would avoid contact with everyone, going on a hermitage. I didn’t have interest in anything I loved. All I could do was binge watch TV and go to the beach to stare at the ocean.

Fast forward 8 more years. My ability to maintain control on the anxiety and depression has deteriorated significantly. I “break” far more often. I promise those around me that I will get help, but I never do. I promised my father that I would follow his recent example and finally get the help I deserved. Not only for me, but for those around me that loved me. A couple of months later, I hadn’t followed through on that promise, and my father died suddenly of a heart attack. The next few months were a blur of emotions. By September I had, unknowingly, slipped so much further down than I ever had in my life.

They Both Die at the EndOn September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.
Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

 

 

The wake-up call came during one of my late night runs. I had taken to running at 10 o’clock at night, which came with it’s own dangerous behavior. I collapsed at my 2 mile mark in the middle of a park and thought to myself “Gods, this would be such much easier if I was just dead.” That thought scared the shit out of me. Through all the years of battling depression I never once went to a suicidal place. It was a point of (ridiculous) pride for me. But here I was, wishing I was dead. And I didn’t just think it once, I thought about it a lot, over several weeks. I scared the shit out of my best friend, who felt so upset that he was all the way across the country and couldn’t help me. I scared my sister. I scared my husband. So, in honor of my dad, I finally did it. I made an appointment with my doctor to get a referral for a psychiatrist. The first step of many. My psychiatrist put me on medication and it seemed to get so much better, after a month of insane side effects.

13 Reasons Why.jpgYou can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Two weeks ago my multiple jobs became a little busier, and my anxiety/depression began to skyrocket without my realizing it. I was working 80 hours a week and sleeping 3ish hours a night. Until 4 days ago. I had a day long panic attack. I spent the day crying and hyperventilating at random intervals, shaking, a million thoughts racing through my head all at once. Until that night when my husband and my mother rushed me to the ER because they were sure I was going to pass out from erratic breathing. Doctors and nurses kept coming in to ask me if I had a “plan” for suicide. They were taking away my phone (which for me is a big deal), talking about putting me on a 72 hour hold, and I had no control over what was happening. Needless to say this didn’t help the anxiety. Luckily, the ER psychiatrist finally determined I was not a danger to myself or others, so they let me go.

Over the past few days since then, my family has forced me to give up commitments. To get myself down to a 40 hour work week (or as close as I could manage on such short notice).

My struggle with mental illness is far from over. But that is exactly what it is. An illness. And this illness is something I can fight, as long as I have the strength to make myself do so. I hear some people say “Being sad is a choice.” I say, fuck that. For those with depression and other mental illnesses being sad isn’t a “choice.” But I can amend the statement. Doing everything I can to fight the sad, that is a choice. And it is the choice I am taking every day.

Random

April Wrap-Up!

As I mentioned in one of my most recent blogs I am just getting back into reading. As a result I haven’t read a ton of books this month by my old standards, but I did get back into the swing of it! Hopefully I will be able to write reviews of these too, or at least some of them. 🙂

Books read in April:
Stalking Jack the Ripper
Stalking Jack the Ripper
  • Review to come 🙂
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
  • I loved this book! 4.5/5
The Season
The Season
  • Fun retelling of Pride & Prejudice
Illuminae
Illuminae
Gemina
Gemina
Obsidio (currently reading)
obsidio
  • Review of the entire series to come when I finish this last book!