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Category Archives: Contemporary

With the Fire on High

Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Type: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary
Pages: 388
Rating: 5/5

“Trust. Yourself, mainly, but the world too. There is magic working in your favor”

I was immediately drawn in by this gorgeous cover. It’s absolutely stunning! The story did not disappoint either. With the Fire on High is a coming of age story about Emoni Santiago who became pregnant as a freshman in high school. She always makes the best decisions for her daughter and her abuela who raised her. The one place she can break free and let loose is the kitchen where she makes elaborate meals for friends and family. When she is a senior in high school a new culinary arts elective because available and she feels like it’s a great opportunity. Emoni wants to work in a kitchen when she graduates high school but with a daughter she feels that dream might be impossible. It’s a story about growth, love and cooking!

This story is a masterpiece and I highly recommend you read it. There was not a single character I didn’t like, they were all well developed. I loved the descriptions of the food, it made my mouth water. I also loved how when people ate Emoni’s meals they connected the flavors to a memory or emotion. I also feel like Emoni is a powerful role model for readers who are just like her, single young moms trying to navigate the world. This is probably one of my favorite reads this year and my review isn’t doing it any justice. Check it out!

Category Archives: Contemporary

The Vanishing Half Review

Title: The Vanishing Half
Author: Brit Bennett
Type: Literary, Historical, Contemporary  
Pages: 343
Rating: 5/5

Whoa! Words can not describe how amazing this book is! This is my first book by Brit Bennett and it won’t be my last! First of all, look at this gorgeous cover!

Desiree and Stella Vines are idential twin sisters, born from a black mother and white father live in Mallard, Louisanna, a town where you are judged based on how dark your skin is. At 16, they decide they want a better life and head to New Orleans. Soon after, Stella disappears, deciding to live her life as a white woman. After 10 years, Desiree returns to Mallard to live with her mother. The book goes between past and present as well as points of view from the twins’ daughters. During this beautifully woven story we learn about the lives each sister and their families. Stella pretending to be something she’s not, afraid the past will catch up with her. Desiree accepting true self wondering what happened to her lost sister.

The author touches on some really tough topics like, racism, gender identity, privilege, colorism, family relationships and coming to terms with who you are. The chapters were long but I found myself being unable to put the book down.

Add this to your to-be-read list now. You will not regret it!

Category Archives: Contemporary

Beach Read Review

Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Type: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 361
Rating: 5/5

Oh what a cute, quick and fun read this was! I loved all the characters in this book so much. January Andrews is a writer of romance and happily ever after endings. Augustus ‘Gus’ Everett is a write of literary fiction. The only thing they have in common is that they are both suffering from writer’s block. Oh and they happen to be living next door to each other for the next three months. They strike a bet. During those three months, Gus will write a rom-com book and January will write the novel of a lifetime. They spend weekends doing research trips together. The research will help them on their novels. Whoever writes and sells their book first, wins. The only rule they have, do not fall in love.

This book was fun, sexy, and so cute! I couldn’t put it down and found myself wishing I could continue to follow these characters and their life after I finished. I loved how these characters brought out the best qualities in each other. I loved that the author took time to develop the romance. The building of the relationship is my favorite part of any romance. I have nothing but good to say about this book! It’s perfect for summer!

Category Archives: Contemporary

After Elias Review

Title: After Elias
Author: Eddy Boudel Tan
Type: LGBT, Contemporary
Pages: 296
Rating: 4/5

Thank you NetGalley and Dundurn Press for the opportunity to read this book early in exchange for my honest review. After Elias releases October 6th.

Both heartbreaking and beautiful, this story lets us into the life of Coen who travels to Mexico ahead of his partner Elias. They are to be married when tragedy occurs. The plane that Elias is piloting crashes killing everyone on board. He has one final message that leaves everyone, including Coen confused and looking for answers. Coen must confront his past, as well as Elias’ to move forward.

For the most part I enjoyed this story. It took me longer to read it than normal but I did love all the characters and the detail of the Mexican landscape and buildings were vivid in my mind. I felt as if I was there within the story looking at the same trees and flowers. I felt so much heartache as Coen moved though his grief and leaned on his friends and family for support. I loved how the author took the time to develop each character and relationships between these characters as well. Lastly, I love how this author ended this story and I feel like this story touched on so many difficult topics that can be hard to write about. I look forward to more novels by this author.

Category Archives: Contemporary

Everything Here is Under Control Review

Title: Everything Here is Under Control
Author: Emily Adrian
Pages: 272
Rating: 4/5

**Thank you NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing the opportunity to read this book early in exchange for an honest review.

Beautifully written story about motherhood, friendship and family dynamics. Everything Here is Under Control tells the story of Amanda, a new mother who has a fight with her partner and decides to jump in the car. She shows up at the home of her childhood best friend, Carrie, who she has barely seen or talked to in over 10 years. Their lives were so different that last summer after high school. Carrie had a baby and Amanda moved to New York with her partner. The birth of her son compels Amanda to face the reasons she left Carrie behind and the trauma of childbirth makes her want to repair the damaged friendship. The story is raw, complex and relatable.

The writing style of this is a little different than I am used to but I also feel that it was beautiful. The story feels as if it’s written inside the head of Amanda. I felt like I was listening to her inner dialogue. I fell in love with Amanda’s character because she was relatable in the beginning. As a mother myself, the experiences Amanda had took me right back to those first few months as a new mom myself. The death stares to my partner as they snoozed at 3am. The constant worry that something bad was going to happen. The constant fear you are doing something wrong. Covered in baby spit up, no shower and lounging in sweats while completely exhausted due to sleep deprivation. I think many new mothers can relate. I didn’t really see the main plot twist that happens about halfway through the book but I feel like each character and the experiences they had were beautifully woven together. I don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone but I highly recommend this book. I would also love to see the same story but written from Carrie’s point of view.

Category Archives: Contemporary

Happy & You Know It Review

Title: Happy & You Know It
Author: Laura Hankin
Type: Chick Lit, Contemporary
Pages: 384
Rating: 4/5

These characters are certainly relatable to a degree. As a mother myself, I constantly feel pressure to be the perfect parent/mother often time worry if others are judging the choices I am make. These mothers are rich privileged ladies who invite struggling musician, Claire, into their playgroup to aid in their children’s development through music. Claire, motherless herself, is accepted into their clique but quickly finds out all their dirty secrets. The book definitely gave off a Big Little Lies vibe and is also told in multiple viewpoints. The storyline and plots are good enough to keep you guessing and wondering what’s going on. I definitely didn’t see the plot twist coming. Great read that explores female relationships and talks about the struggles and happy times of motherhood.

Category Archives: Contemporary

Red, White & Royal Blue Review

Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Type: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, Male/Male Romance
Pages: 421
Rating: 4/5

Alex, son of the first female President of the United States and Henry, a Prince in England have always seemed to be enemies. Then a situation happens between them and both England and the US need to do damage control. Henry and Alex must pretend to be friends for the press but the more the act like friends the more their relationship blossoms. Theres silly banter, there’s flirting, both are crushing each other hard and then they fall in love. They feel they must hid their relationship for fear of disrupting their countries. I loved how Henry and Alex’s relationship progressed throughout the book. It wasn’t an “instant love” or “instant lust” type of situation. It was cute, funny and sweet. One of my favorite parts of the story was how Alex and Henry brought out the best in each other and how they were there for each other during difficult times. The development of both of these characters and their relationship was amazing! I don’t want to share to much more but I’m definitely happy I read this. The only thing that bothered me was that the chapters were kind of long. Not a deal breaker but I found it hard at times to pick up and read it because I knew I didn’t have enough time to read 30 pages and I hate stopping in the middle of a chapter and try to avoid that at all costs.

Category Archives: Contemporary

Writers & Lovers Review

Title: Writers & Lovers
Author: Lily King
Type: Literary Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5

I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to read this book because the cover wasn’t super appealing to me and the synopsis wasn’t super exciting but this was a pick for Jenna Hager’s book club a few months back and while I have not participated in her online book clubs, I have enjoyed quite a few of the books she has picked in the past. I decided to give it a go.

This book did not disappoint me at all! I am so glad I read it. Casey is a struggling writer who has tons of student debt. Her mother has recently passed away and she isn’t super close to her father. She has a few close friendships and is in and out of romantic relationships. She wants nothing more than to write her own novel and be a successful writer. She feels like she will never get there.

I absolutely loved the development of Casey’s character throughout this entire book. I loved the relationships she built with those that came in and out of her life as she worked hard to make her dream become a reality. I feel like Casey’s story is one that many can relate to. If you are looking for a book about not giving up on your dream then this is a book for you.

Category Archives: Contemporary

The Boyfriend Project Review

Title: The Boyfriend Project
Author: Farrah Rochon
Type: Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Chick Lit
Pages: 268
Rating: 3/5

I want to start with what I liked about this novel. I liked that there were some strong female characters. I liked that this book represented people of color. The story was easy to follow and could easily be adapted into a film.

All that being said, I feel like thing story had so much potential and it fell short. The first few chapters started out strong for me but I was underwhelmed with the rest of the novel. There were so many good ideas in this novel but I feel like the author struggled to tie it all together. The big thing it lacked was the relationship building between Samiah and Daniel and it’s a romance book. They went from meeting when Daniel started working for the same company as Samiah to being in a relationship really quickly which didn’t fit her character at all. Samiah’s newly formed friendships with Taylor and London followed the same pattern. Theres the secret Daniel is hiding and Samiah working on an ap she’s been dreaming about for years. All great ideas but poor delivery on bringing it all together. I wish I could share more about the last few points but don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who would like to read it.

I struggled with what to rate this. I kept going between 2 and 3 stars. I decided to bump it to a 3 because the book did have potential and I feel like I am an early reviewer.

Category Archives: Contemporary

Beartown Review

Title: Beartown 
Author: Fredrik Backman
Type: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 418
Rating: 3/5

What is this book about?
Beartown is a town that is dying. It has one thing. Hockey. The town lives, breaths and sleeps hockey. The junior team is about to compete in a national championship and a win would put Beartown on the map. It all rests on the shoulders of a few boys in town including Kevin, who has the potential to play in the NHL. Right before the championship, something happens that rocks the town. No one wants to believe the event happened because that would mean the end of dream. The event leaves no stones unturned and it impacts everyone in the town.

What did I think?
I found this story to be extremely slow in the beginning. It felt like it took forever for something to happen. I both loved and hated the writing style. There were A LOT of characters introduced at the beginning of the story and it was hard to keep track of them all because it would jump around a lot. That being said, the characters were well developed so after about a third of the story I had a better idea of who was who and what was going on. Overall the story was beautifully written but I feel like I was bored for most of the story. I also felt like this story touched on a tough issue that happens often in our society. I would probably rate this 3.5 stars if that were an option on Goodreads.

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