Pulp Review

PULP coverI have never read a Robin Talley book before Pulp, but after reading this one I may want to start. I like the synopsis that the book has and feel that it is the best way to describe the book. So I am going to copy and past it down below for you to read before getting into he review.

Synopsis: “In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself—and Marie—to a danger all too real.

Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym ‘Marian Love,’ and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity.” – Synopsis Link 

I really enjoyed this book and read it actually in a few hours even though it is pretty lengthy.

The first thing I enjoyed about this book is the discussion of the past & present. I enjoyed how this book looks at being gay in the 1950s and comparing it to now. I don’t feel that there are enough historical fiction books about the LGBT+ community. So having a book that is both contemporary and historical fiction about young lesbian women is really cool. I also enjoyed that the book discusses lesbian pulp fiction novels. These novels were both good and bad in the fact that they were books featuring women who loved other women, but to be published the books required the women to either die (usually by suicide) or “realize” they were actually straight. These pulp fiction novels are not ones that I usually see discussed or are really well known to many people. So being able to learn more about them through this book and to be able to help others learn more about them is phenomenal.

Something else I enjoyed about the book is the relationships we get to see the characters have, especially Janet. I really liked the friendships we see Janet make with the people she meets in her area who are gay and also in New York. I really like the relationship she has with Marie (without giving away too much the ending of this book for me in bittersweet regarding the rest of Janet’s life…the bitter part being specifically about her and Marie). I enjoyed Abby’s story too with the research she does and all the people she meets.  I love seeing Abby’s complicated relationship with her family and her mentorship regarding her advisor. The relationships in this book are not only fantastic regarding the exclusivity of the past and present, but in the fact that they all seem to come together in the end.

If I had to say something I didn’t like in the book I guess it was that I felt there was a little too much filler at times and that certain parts took longer to get to than need be. I wished the book had been quicker to get to certain parts of the story and that SPOILER ALERT

 

the relationship between Marie and Janey had worked out & they ended up together. Those are honestly though my only real complaints.

 

Overall this was a pretty good book. I think it discusses topics not talked much about and has a really interesting way of combining the past and present. I enjoyed the characters, especially the relationships and friendships we get to see them make over the years. I only wished it had been a little shorter and that a certain relationship had worked out. While I know not everyone has access to the ARC if you have access to an eARC or physical ARC of this book then I would read it especially during PRIDE month. For everyone else make sure to pick this up at your local library or book store in November.

4 out of 5 stars

**** out of *****

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Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pulp book cover link 

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A Long Goodbye Review

ALGDo you ever watch a movie and you are really hating it, but you need to see how it ends. Or you watch a TV series that ends up getting bad, but you want to stay with it till the end to see what happens. That is what reading this book was like.

Anthony L.E. Moignan’s A Long Goodbye is the story about three people. Emma is a woman who works at a care home. Emma’s husband, Michael, is always away ever since he got a high up corporate job with the care home. Simon, a former accountant, is a man who is suffering from Early Onset Alzheimers. When these three people meet all of there lives with be changed forever.

Oh there may be spoilers in this so be fair-warned.

I usually start off with what I liked about a book, but with this book It was kind of hard to think of. I will say it did have me hooked most of the book. Even if I disliked the characters and most of the story it still kept me interested with the drama and what would be happening next. I also thought it was nice of Simon to pay for a homeless teen to live in his apartment when he goes to the care home. That was one of the only scenes I really liked in the story.

Now onto the bad. And I am sorry to say that there are a few different things that kept me from liking this book. The first is the characters. Now I can read characters that are unlikeable, but this book makes these characters have very little remorse from me. Simon wasn’t that bad (though he knowingly gets into a relationship with Emma even though she is married), but Emma and Michael were down right despicable. They cheat on each other (in Michael’s case with multiple women) and then get made at the other person for cheating. It feels extremely hypocritical and annoying.

Something else I didn’t like about the book (Warning big spoiler ahead)

 

 

Is the death of Simon. I couldn’t tell if he knew he was going to die and wanted to go on one last run? Was it a Me Before You Situation where he decided to voluntarily die because he didn’t feel he had much to live for or long to live? It was extremely confusing and possibly offensive. I could tell it was coming and I will admit the scenes leading up to it made me kind of sad, but other than that I really hated the ending of this book with Simon dying and Michael and Emma getting back together. Actually maybe it is okay for Michale and Emma to get back together because they are both terrible people who deserve each other. I just feel bad for Emma and Simon’s child. Which leads me to just say that another thing about Simon’s character is he is kinda used to give Emma a child cause she can’t have one with Michael. Which I kinda of predicted, but was still disappointed in.

Finally, I really wasn’t too happy with the writing style. There was a lot of talking at you in this book rather than dialouge. This is especially true for the beginning. A lot of the beginning of the book is telling you exposition and giving you backstory through mainly text rather than integrating dialouge into it. The first 15 pages or so felt almost like a recap of the first book if this book had been a sequel to something. It was a bad start and really did not make me excited about reading the rest of the book.

Overall, this book just wasn’t entertaining for me. The characters were awful, the ending was dumb, & I didn’t like the writing style. Maybe there is someone out there who will enjoy this book, but I am sorry to save that I wasn’t one of them.

2 out of 5 stars

** out of *****

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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Thank you so much.

Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Picture Link 

Q & A With Author: Karole Cozzo

Karole CozzoHi Everyone!

I have a great treat for all my readers. I am happy to announce I was able to do a Q&A with a local author who wrote a book I read recently called The Game Can’t Love You Back. I really enjoyed this book and would totally recommend it. Karole Cozzo was kind enough to do this Q&A with me and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

 

So without further ado…

 

Q: What made you want to be an author?
A: I’ve been writing stories since elementary school. During the summer I used to sit down with my father’s ancient typewriter with the aim of finishing a novel (I didn’t at the time, btw!) When I was in my mid-20s, I got the bug to see if I could actually write a complete manuscript. At the time, I didn’t really believe I could write a book! Once I realized I could take a story from start to finish, I started researching how a person goes about getting a book published. It took almost tens year of trying, but by 2015, I finally had a book on the shelves. Now that I am an author, it’s hard to imagine not writing. It’s an extremely tough industry with a lot of setbacks and frustrations, but at the end of the day, the love of the craft keeps us all coming back. The love of the craft, and the readers.
Q:  In The Game Can’t Love You Back many of the characters are baseball players. Were you a baseball player in high school too or did you have previous experience with the game?
A: No and no! When I first presented this story idea to my husband, he may or may not have laughed out loud. I’m not particularly sporty and I don’t really follow area teams. However, I did play sports in high school and I kept score for the baseball team at Spring-Ford, which my dad used to coach. I’m very competitive in other ways, and I’m extremely stubborn, so I felt like I understood my main character, even if I didn’t know everything about baseball. I consulted with my husband a lot and tried to so my research, and hopefully it ended up feeling authentic.
Q:  What is your favorite part of writing?
A: Oh, I have a few favorite parts – dreaming up bits of scenes and dialogue while drifting off to sleep, the anticipation of writing a scene I’m really eager to write, and when I FINALLY get to share my stories with others. It’s about a year between a publisher purchasing a story and it hitting the shelves, so there’s a lot of waiting. Touching readers with my words is one of the best things about being an author, so obviously I relish release day!
Q: The Game Can’t Love You Back is set in Eastern PA and the book includes many references to places in the area. Why did you set it in this area and what made you pick certain locations to reference?
A: I grew up in Limerick! Most of my stories are set locally, and even though I create fictional schools, I always end up picturing the lobby and cafeteria of the school I went to. Also, this story was inspired in part by Mo’ne Davis and her amazing performance in the Little League World Series. Since she’s a local girl, I definitely wanted to keep the story local. I always weave in familiar places, because to me that’s just part of making it authentic.
Q:  The Game Can’t Love You Back isn’t your only book to reference sports, but it is your only book that has the main character participating in a sport as the main or one of the main premise(s). Do you feel you’ll want to write another book with a heavy emphasis on a sport? If so, what sport or sports do you believe you’d like to explore in your future books?
A: Hmm, I’m not sure yet? I can definitely see myself circling back to “sports romance,” but it’s probably not next on the list. Because I’m a runner myself, even though it’s not a sport that necessarily comes naturally to me, I can imagine writing a story about a runner. Or maybe soccer. It’s not a sport I played, but my daughter is really involved, so I spend a lot of time on the soccer sidelines.
I want to thank Karole for allowing me to ask her questions for this post. If you want to learn more about Karole please visit her website here.
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Until next time dear readers.
-Jessica

May Book Wrap Up

I feel that doing a Wrap Up post is something I’d like to start trying to do. I read a ton of books in May and wanted to share my thoughts about them, but without doing a huge review for each one. This seemed like the perfect solution.

Note: I will list, but not really talk about the books that I wrote reviews for already. If you want to see my thoughts on those books there should already be reviews on my blog about them.

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Leah On The OffBeat by Becky Albertalli: 3/5 stars. I had a few unpopular opinions about this book, but still had some good things to say about it. You can read my full thoughts about it here.

The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts: 4/5 Stars. I enjoyed this book and it definitely made me want to read more Lisa Brown Roberts. You can check out my review for it here.

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker: 2/5 Stars. I really had high hopes for this book, but it was honestly pretty dull and nothing really happened in my opinion. The characters also were not very likable (which I don’t have a issue with sometimes, but in this case it just annoyed me). Even when the part of the book that was supposed to make me feel sad happened, I didn’t feel the emotions and had predicted it since the first few chapters. I did want to like this book, but it just felt like a 1.99 purchase that I regretted. I am happy to say at least I didn’t pay for a regular price of this novel.

Animus by Antoine Revoy : 3/5 stars. This was the first graphic novel I read in a while and I thought it had both positive and negative aspects. I did a guest review here for Meredith at Pandora’s Books that I’d love for you to check out.

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel: 3/5 stars. This book took me a while to finish. I can’t really remember much about it, but I do know that it wasn’t as emotional and appealing as the premise made it out to be. It was an okay book in the end, but I really wished it had been something more.

Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages: 4/5 Stars. This book is possibly one of the best middle grade books I’ve ever read. I loved everything about it. My only complaint is that I wished it had been longer and given us a little more closer, but maybe they’ll be a sequel. If you want my full review please click here.

Girls Can’t Hit by T.S. Easton: 3/5 Stars. This was a pretty interesting read. Some parts were a little dull, but I still enjoyed the premise and other aspects of the book. If you want to see the full review I did for Pandora’s Books please click here.

From Twinkle With Love by Sandhya Menon: 4/5 Stars. I really enjoyed When Dimple Me Rishi and her newest book was just as enjoyable (though I may have liked WDMR a little better). I wrote a full review of it here.

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne: 4/5 Stars. I am not usually a huge science fiction reader, but this book was extremely entertaining, romantic, intriguing, suspenseful, sweet, sad, and so much more. I wrote a review of the book and believe it should be available to read on my blog by now.

The Traveler by L.E. DeLano. 3/5 Stars. I have always been intrigued by the concept of time travel & want to read more books about it. So when I got the chance to read this book I jumped at it. This was book was overall an okay book. I am not sure if I want to read the sequel, but at the same time I kinda want to see what happens next. I did really ship the main pairing and enjoyed the story, even if It was confusing at times. I think that if you like science fiction mixed with contemporary you’ll enjoy this read, though I think Invictus by Ryan Graudin was a better YA time travel book.

Spies, Lies, and Allies by Lisa Robert Brown: 4/5 Stars. After reading The Replacement Crush I wanted to read more of Brown’s work. I am happy to say the second book I read by her didn’t disappoint. I really enjoyed the main character’s internship, I really liked the fellow interns and the bond they share, The Star Wars references, and just so much more. While the culprit of the mystery of the book was not really a twist & the romance was a little meh, I still enjoyed the story and would definitely recommend it.

Skylarks by Karen Gregory: 3/5 Stars. This book wasn’t really what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it regardless. I thought the romance between Annabel and Joni was sweet and the side plot regarding the eviction was interesting and relevant. I thought the book was a little slow at times and that it was going to deal more with Joni and Annabel’s relationship more than it did…I was sadly wrong. However, I do think it is at least worth checking out.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson: 4/5 Stars. This book was fun & feminist. I really enjoyed the main character and the plot of her being a witch. I really liked the way the author mixed fantasy and realistic fiction together. I think this book would be a great read for both contemporary and fantasy lovers, especially during Halloween.

The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde: 4/5 Stars. I really liked Queen of Geeks (Jen Wilde’s last novel) and while I think I liked that more than this one, I still thoroughly enjoyed The Brightsiders. I really liked the diversity especially regarding sexual and gender identity. I think this book really makes you feel for the character’s, especially the main character in regards to her home life and being in the spotlight. This would be a great read, especially during Pride Month.

Out Of Left Field by Kris Hui Lee: 3/5 Stars. I read three baseball YA books this month and this was probably my least favorite. It wasn’t really a bad book, but I feel it could be really slow at times and the romance wasn’t that great. The liar reveal trope gets pretty old and is something that I didn’t really like in this book. It was pretty predictable and just not all that enjoyable. I still liked the baseball aspect and showing Marnie’s life being affected by it, but that really wasn’t enough to make me love it. I think that if you are a big baseball fan and YA fan you’ll enjoy this, but I don’t know about anyone else.

Life Inside My Mind Edited by Jessica Burkhart: 4/5 Stars. I had put this book down for a long time because one of the stories had kinda affected me a lot regarding the anxiety description. I did eventually go back to the book though and decided to try and finish it all the way through. And for the most part I liked it. I think having YA authors share their stories regarding mental health and mental illness was a great idea. Some stories I liked better than others, but that it is to be expected in anthologies. This was a pretty good book overall and something I am glad I read for Mental Health Awareness month.

The Game Can’t Love You Back by Karole Cozzo: 4/5 Stars. I love finding connections with books that I never expected and that’s especially true with this book. This author is from an area around me & the book takes place in my home state so having her reference different stores or places that I visit frequently made me smile. I also really loved this YA girl on boy’s baseball team story better than the last one I read (though Klages’s Out of Left Field book was still the best baseball YA book I read this month and maybe ever). I liked the dueling narrative and getting to see each person’s perspective. A lot of times when I read two different points of view in a book I always want to go back to one or other character’s chapter instead of what I am read, but that wasn’t really the case here. I really enjoyed what is explored in this book and think that any reader of this book will like it too.

The Trouble With Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante: 4/5 Stars. This book was a short and touching read. The author puts so much into the story in so little time. I really loved the relationship the main character forms with her new neighbor and the little boy from the floor below her. It is a very short read, but an enjoyable and emotional one.

Once Upon a Kiss by Robin Palmer: I have seen Robin Palmer books for years now. So when I was given the chance to read one I decided to go for it. I am so happy that I took that chance. This was such a sweet contemporary book and also somewhat of a sweet science fiction book too. I really liked that this reminded me a lot of 13 Going on 30 and that it had the main character being frequently confused and learning new things about living 30 years later. Without giving away the ending it is a really nice ending and something I actually found totally unexpected. It may have been one of my favorite parts of the story. I am glad I finally read a Robin Palmer book and am happy to say that it definitely won’t be that last one I read.

What’s you think of my list? Do you have any recommendations for me? Should I do another one of these wrap up posts? Please let me know in the comments below and please like this post and follow my blog for alerts on more content from me.

Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit Link 

Brightly Burning Review

Brightly BurningI am not someone who reads many science fiction novels. In fact, I have probably only read a handful of them. It is not because I hate science fiction (far from it actually, I love superheroes and science fiction movies like Star Wars). It is just I tend to stay in my contemporary comfort zone and I can sometimes find myself being confused or uninterested in the fantasy and sci-fi genre when it comes to books. This is not to say that I hate every science fiction or fantasy book I’ve ever read. I just mean that I am very picky about about the fantasy and science fiction books that I read. I do try to keep an open mind though. So when I was given the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review I thought the description sounded and interesting & I thought : “Why not?” Little did I know that this book would be one that would give me a story I devoured, one of the cutest book ships ever, and a mystery that I couldn’t wait to be solved.

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne takes place in a futuristic world where people live on ships in space. The earth is inhabitable due to extreme cold & people are waiting for the day that they will be able to go back to earth. Stella Ainsley has just been given the chance to leave her job as an engineer & impoverished ship The Stalwart for a new job: a governess for a young girl aboard The Rochester. The two ships could not be more different in the luxury, technology, and access to books. Stella also meets the young Captain Hugo who may end up being more than her boss. However, as soon as Stella arrives she starts to notice strange noises and occurrences on the ship. As days pass by on The Rochester and strange happenings begin to become more and more suspicious Stella will have to figure out not only what is going on, but who she can trust…including Hugo.

The first reason I loved this story was because of the romance. I really loved the relationship between Stella and Hugo. They both appreciated books and had some other things in common regarding their family history. I could see the connection between the two characters and really enjoyed their chemistry. I don’t want to give away the ending, but I thought it was pretty fitting and nice the way that the two characters ended up. Their romance was something I adored in this book and I think other readers will find just as charming and enjoyable.

Another reason I loved this book was the story telling & narrative. This story was told from first person POV and from Stella’s point of view. The book may be science fiction, but it was pretty easy to follow. Even some of the more technical aspects of the story I found myself understanding pretty well. Like I said I am not a huge science fiction reader, but I really appreciate when a book can somewhat combine a contemporary narrative and science fiction narrative. The terminology and language of this book felt enough like a science fiction book to still be able to fit the genre, but also was written so that readers of any experience with sci-fi could pick it up. I don’t think that was the author’s intentions, but none the less I really appreciated it and felt extremely happy that I was able to enjoy a book genre I wasn’t sure I would.

Finally, I really loved this book because of the characters. The characters in this book have interesting backstories &/or characteristics and for the most part are pretty multidimensional. There was even a character in the story that I disliked earlier in the book, but ended up having more of an understanding or appreciation for in the end. I don’t technically feel this character was my new favorite, but I did like that the author gave this character some development and did not make her character entirely a mean jealous girl trope.

If I had to say one thing that kept me from giving this 5 stars is I didn’t feel like the book had to be as long as it did. While I really did like the very end, some parts before that felt very dragged out and the book felt to me like it could’ve been about 20-30 pages less.

Overall, I enjoyed this book  more than I thought. This book is based somewhat off of Jane Eyre and to be honest it even made me want to read Jane Eyre. I think this book will be a great read for sci-fi fans and non sci-fi fans alike. It has an interesting story, understandable narrative, sweet romance, multilayered characters, and more. Even if you are not a big science fiction fan I urge you to pick this book up and check it out.

4 out of 5 stars

**** out of *****

This ARC was given to me in exchange for an honest review from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books For Young Readers.

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Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Photo Source 

Press Release: We SAY #NEVERAGAIN

Thank you PRHCB  & Dominique Cimina for allowing me to share this press release with all of you. This book is on a very important topic and about tragedies that I hope will be reduced (and hopefully nonexistent) in this country. I don’t know what the exact answer is to these terrible acts of violence, but the least we can do is listen to these students who not only wrote and edited this novel, but have personally been affected by senseless acts of gun violence. Please read the press release below and consider purchasing or borrowing this book from your local library once it is released.

 

CROWN BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS TO PUBLISH WE SAY #NEVERAGAIN BY PARKLAND STUDENT JOURNALISTS THIS FALL 2018

 

New York, NY (May 22, 2018)—Edited by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) journalism and broadcasting teachers Melissa Falkowski and Eric Garner, WE SAY #NEVERAGAIN: Reporting from the School That Inspired the Nation, a collection of first-person accounts, richly researched and reported articles, and photographs by and about the students at MSD will be published by Crown Books for Young Readers on October 2, 2018.

 

The book will be divided into three parts: Activism, MSD Strong, and What Comes Next, with chapters within each part that include hard-hitting, passionate, and topical writing on activism, recovery, the national response, and most important, the way forward. Through their reporting, essays, and documentary photography and filmmaking, the students detail their thoughts, fears, dreams, and strategies for a better future.

 

Student contributors include Ryan Deitsch, David Hogg, Christy Ma, Nikhita Nikoola, Delaney Tarr, and MSD students from the school newspaper, The Eagle Eye, and the school TV station, WMSD.

 

“Writing this book is empowering the journalism students at MSD to capture their experiences, both positive and negative, since the tragic events that unfolded at our school on February 14,” says Falkowski. “We hope that writing these stories will inspire others to take up issues that are important to them and work toward positive change.”

 

The book will show what it has been like to be in the middle of a swirling controversy that is driving a major public debate—all while recovering from trauma and tragedy. Students will share what they’ve learned about how to articulate their message, mobilize, energize, rally, and make themselves heard so that others can do the same with the issues that they care about.

 

With this publication, Random House Children’s Books will make a donation to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Proceeds will be donated by the contributors to the school journalism programs at MSD.

 

An audio edition will be published simultaneously by Listening Library.

 

Emily Easton, VP, Publisher, Crown, negotiated the deal for North American rights with Rachel Horowitz of The Bent Agency, and will edit.

 

WE SAY #NEVERAGAIN: Reporting from the School That Inspired the Nation

Edited by Melissa Falkowski and Eric Garner

Written and photographed by Parkland student journalists

HC: 978-1-9848-4996-0 / GLB: 978-1-9848-4997-7 / EBK: 978-1-9848-4998-4 / Ages 14+

 

 

From Twinkle With Love Review

FTWLLast year I read Sandhya Menon’s debut novel: When Dimple Met Rishi. That book was so good that I not only gave it a 5 star rating, but also had it take a spot on my top 10 favorite books ever list. So when I was lucky enough to receive Menon’s next book I was so happy and I happy to say that this book didn’t disappoint. However, I am not sure if I like it as much as When Dimple Met Rishi.

From Twinkle With Love ,or FTWL, follows the story of a girl named Twinkle Mehra. Twinkle is an aspiring filmmaker who wants to go on to tell stories of those who don’t always get to see themselves in film. When Twinkle is asked by Sahil Roy, a film fan like Twinkle, to create a movie for a school festival she sees this as an opportunity to have her work seen by a an audience of more than her Youtube channel and get close to her crush Neil aka Sahil’s twin brother. When Twinkle begins to get mysterious emails signed by somebody named “N” she thinks that Neil could be contacting her and wanting to be with her. However, as Twinkle begins to work more on the movie she stars to wonder if she could be having feelings for Sahil. All of this plus dealing with parents who worry about money, an ex-best friend she wants to get back, etc. Will cause Twinkle to change and possibly not for the better. Can she figure out her feelings about who she likes, her friendships, and her future in filmmaking before it is too late?

The first thing I really loved about this book was having Twinkle be involved in filmmaking. I really loved seeing this passion in Twinkle and how much she loved filmmaking & her reasoning behind wanting to do it. You could see how much she knew about the industry and what she wanted to do.  On top of this the book is written in a style of letters to female filmmakers. A decision I feel was a great bonus for readers and really helped to show more of Twinkle’s passion for filmmaking. I just really love seeing protagonist in books have things they are passionate about and that they work hard for. This was similar to in When Dimple Met Rishi in regards to the characters having passions for technology and artistry. I loved it in that book and really loved it in this one.

The next part of this book that I enjoyed was the relationships in this book. First of all the relationship between Sahil and Twinkle. Menon’s writing always seems to be on par with a great romantic comedy (and I mean that in best possible way) and FTWL had so many great moments between these two characters. I found myself shipping them as much as I did Dimple and Rishi. I really loved the moments between the two characters especially during the thunderstorm scene. They were an extremely cute couple & one that I was rooting for throughout the story. Another relationship I really liked seeing was Twinkle’s family. I really liked her grandmother or Dadi (which is Hindu for paternal grandmother) and her relationship with Twinkle. Something that honestly broke me was Twinkle’s fear that her mother blamed her for her mom not being able to visit her mother in India. Knowing that Twinkle felt that way and seeing all that fear and regret in Twinkle’s character was heartbreaking. I really liked the way that the plot point was resolved and the moment between Twinkle her parents and grandmother, as well as the one on one scene between Twinkle and her mother. Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to discuss the relationship with Twinkle and her ex-bff Maddie. Their falling out and trying to get back to the way they were is something that I have dealt with in my life. Sometimes it has worked and other times it hasn’t. I really appreciate this kind of story in a YA book though cause it isn’t something I see all the time in regards to friendship issues in books. I am not saying it is a huge issue that need to be addressed, but it is something I really related to and was glad that Menon decided to put in her latest book. I do have a little issue with the storyline, but I will save that for my negatives.

Finally, I really liked the ending of the book. Without giving too much away there’s a lot of different payoffs in a variety of different ways. And not just for Twinkle. I really liked how everything wrapped up so nicely. It may be a kinda cliche trope to wrap up everything in a nice little bow, but I always love a happy ending and this book didn’t disappoint in that department. I especially loved the payoff for Twinkle involving the responses from her film. I don’t want to spoil too much, but just know that it really does make for a great ending to a great book.

So now for the things I didn’t like about this book. Now I don’t want anyone to think this is bad book or something they shouldn’t read due to my notes. These are just my personal opinions & I don’t feel like these particular examples of what I didn’t enjoy in FTWL should sound like I am saying this is a bad book. Anyway, on with my two negatives.

The first issue I had with this book is the reasoning behind the friendship issues between Twinkle and Maddie. I understand a lot of it had to with Hannah, but a lot of the reasoning behind it felt kinda contrived and not as explained as It could have been. I also wanted Maddie to realize sooner about the hurt she caused Twinkle like Twinkle did with Maddie, but the fact that she couldn’t see it after a few different chances had me pretty annoyed.

The second issue I had was with Twinkle wanting to expose her classmates via the interviews they completed for the end of the film. While she does realize how wrong this is later on, I felt like Twinkle should have realized it sooner than later. Even with the way Twinkle was acting it still felt a little out of character for her to take so long to realize that. Again, it felt a little too contrived and something that was just written to make the book longer or fill up the story.

Overall, I really liked this book. I can’t say I loved it as much as When Dimple Met Rishi, but it was still an amazing book. I really loved seeing Twinkles story and her passion for filmmaking. I also enjoyed the romance, family dynamics, and so much more that this book offered in the form of plot and characters. My only two issues had to do with some contrived plot lengths or unresolved drama, but those are not things that should turn anyone away from such a great book. I know that Menon has another book coming out in a year or two that will have to do with Rishi’s brother and I can’t wait to read that. This story was fantastic and a book I will definitely be recommending for a long time. If you can get your hands on this remarkable story please do. I think everyone should get to know Twinkle and the great lengths she goes to make her filmmaking dreams come true.

4 out of 5 stars

**** out of *****

 

I received this book from Simon Pulse  (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Out of Left Field Review

Out of Left Field Book CoverLately, I have been reading & observing more and more female main characters in books involving sports, especially Baseball. Now while I am not a huge fan of sports, I do enjoy certain media about them especially when it comes to women in sports. For instance, a movie I personally love is A League of Their Own and learning more about Billie Jean King in the American Girl Julie books made me want to actually go out and try to play Tennis (which I still do from time to time in the Spring & Summer). I love learning more about history too so when I read a book about sports I always appreciate when that book has a historical aspect rather than just being for pure fictional entertainment (though I adore those books too). I am happy to say that Out of Left Field has both.

Out of Left Field, written by Ellen Klages, is about a girl named Katy Gordon growing up in the 1950s. When she is told that she can’t play on the local Little League because she is a girl this sparks anger in Katy and a need to do something about it. So when a school project gives her the opportunity to help learn more about female baseball players and possibly allow her the chance to play in Little League after all, she jumps at the chance. Will Katy be able to show the world that girls should have the same rights to play baseball or will she end up with even more than she could have ever imagined?

First of all, Something I really appreciated in this book was the amount of history that was put into it. Not only does this book include history about baseball, but also racism in America, the Space Race, racism in baseball, and more. I really liked that the book incorporated these parts of history into a historical fiction book like this. There are many times that I will read a historical fiction book about a certain subject where only that specific subject is really brought up or talked about in any detail. This book did not just discuss historical aspects regarding sports & feminism in the 1950s, but also taught me and I am sure other readers lessons about all different historical events or practices during that time. I think if a historical fiction book can both teach reader and entertain them, then that book is doing something incredibly right.

Something else I really liked about the book was the subtlety involving the writing. The book alludes to a few different common practices or possible secrets that needed to be kept in the 1950s due to the safety of those people. For instance, there is a line in the book possibly suggesting that Katy’s Aunt Babs could be more than friends with the woman that she is living with. While being gay today is not as taboo in America (though there is of course still discrimination of the LGBT+ community in the USA and other parts of the world), in the 1950s people were especially discriminatory and did not even discuss it. So having that in there felt like a nod to that and I do hope that if the author writes a sequel that the story will dive more into that. Another subtle line that I felt was really well done was when Katy was talking to her father on the phone about the space race. When she mentions that her teacher is a man Katy’s father acts like he will understand the science he is discussing even more and that is was “even better.” It was a just a short line, but the fact that the author placed it in the story at all shows the historical context of the times and the clever writing of Ms. Klages.

Finally, I really feel that the author’s research showed in this book. The different historical topics brought up in the book and/or combined to help show the reality of the 1950s was exceptional. Not only that, but the author also included at the end of the book some author notes and little additions to help readers learn more about the history of baseball, feminism, the 1950s, etc. I can’t always say that when I read a book I read past the end of the actual story, but with this book I can proudly say I read every word of both the story and the additional information that the author included at the end of the book. I found it to be wildly interesting and I hope other readers will feel the same way.

The only negative I have about this book was that I feel there were some loose ends that should have been tied up that weren’t. For instance, somewhat of a payoff is given to Katy regarding her fight to be allowed to play in Little League. However, we do not actually get to see this occur even though it was something that I was really waiting for and hoping we would see. While we did get payoffs for Katy’s actions in different ways this opportunity that Katy is given at the end is something that I feel would have really been great to see. I hope that this book does get a sequel since I would read it in a heartbeat.

Overall, I really liked this book and hope that other will too. It was a informational, entertaining, and all around great book. I really do hope there is a sequel in the future due to some of the loose ends that I’d like to be tied up or explored further in another novel. I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially young history buffs or sports fans, especially female baseball lovers.

4 out of 5 stars

**** out of *****

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. 

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Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Replacement Crush Review

The Replacement Crush CoverI love reading romance books, especially contemporary YA romance. So when I had the opportunity to read this one I am happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. It was a the perfect amount of cuteness I was looking for. It did have a few problems here and there that lowered my score, but for the most part I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts tells the story of Viv a book blogger and lover of romance novels. Viv loves books and even works in a bookstore her author mom owns and runs a romance book club at the store. After Viv’s summer romance turns bad when her crush decides to pretend the summer never happened, Viv decides she needs to find a way to deal with her sorrows. Enter the Replacement Crush list, a list that Viv will make to help her find someone she deems to be a “safe crush” who won’t be able to break her heart like her last crush. When a new boy moves into town named Dallas and her mother hires him to help update their computer system at the bookstore, will all of Viv’s plans end in tragedy? Or could this new boy be the happily ever after she didn’t know she was looking for?

The first thing that I really enjoyed about this story was Viv’s love of romance and books. I rarely read books where the protagonist are bibliophiles and I have never read a book before this one where the main character in a book blogger. I really liked that and the fact that we got a peek into Viv’s blog and her rating system. It was a unique part of the novel and something I appreciate the author adding in.

The next things I really liked was the romance between Dallas and Viv. Whenever I read romance books or books that have a romantic subplot I either:

A) Screaming from page one for the two characters (who obviously will get together in the end) to get together in the end

B) Find the romance problematic and am hoping the main characters gets with someone else or the supporting character gets with someone other than the main character.

C) Am just not really into the romance as much as the author would hope I, as a reader, would be.

 

This book was definitely choice A. From when Dallas and Viv first met I thought they were adorable together and were going to make the cutest couple. They had so much in common and even learned things from each other throughout the story.

The next thing I really liked about this book was the setting and the platonic relationships sprinkled into the book. The setting a beach town was really cool and made for some great imagery and a fun setting. I also really liked the subplots regarding celebrities hiding in the town, Viv working for the school newspaper, and the Star Trek references…lots and lots of Star Trek references. The relationships and friendships in the book that were not romantic were also really enjoyable too. I especially really liked the relationship between Viv and her mother. It kind of reminded me of Rory and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls. 

Lastly, I love the romantic comedy aspect of the book. I do not want to give too much away, but the grand finale of the book includes a celebrity appearance, a musical grand gesture, and so much more cute things that I can’t even begin to explain. You’ll have to read it for yourself.

Okay, so now that I have told you what I liked… let’s discuss what I didn’t like.               First of all there was an issue with the “replacement crush” aspect of the book. I really wanted to find it cute and intriguing, but for the most part I felt bored whenever that part of the plot came up in the novel. It was not really all that interested and a little confusing at times as well.

Second, I really didn’t think the book needed to be as long as it was. While I get there was a lot of information, plot, subplot, character development, etc. to get through in the story, it felt a little too much at time. While I liked that the book had different plots besides romance, overall I really felt like the story could have been a little shorter. There were a few times I felt like skimming or skipping ahead due to the text just not being very interesting or necessary. As much as I enjoyed this book I do think it was a little more lengthy than it needed to be. There were definitely parts that could be cut out or cut down.

Finally, I really wish that there had been more put into Viv and her mom’s storyline. The relationship between the two of them is something I really enjoyed while reading this book and wanted to see more of. I kept waiting for Viv to tell her mom about Jake (her ex-boyfriend and the summer romance that sparked her replacement crush idea) and his treatment of her, but even though she said she would be telling her it did not happen or at least on the page. I really liked Viv and her mother’s relationship and wished that there had been more time spent on that in the book.

 

Overall, I though this was a pretty decent romance book. I really loved the romance between Dallas and Viv and really liked the interest that the author gave Viv. While the plot with the “replacement crush” list wasn’t as interesting as I hoped it was, other parts of the story made up for that. I think if you’re in the mood for a cute romance between a book lover and “nerd-hot” trekkie than you’ll want to read this book.

3 out of 5 stars

*** out of *****

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Until next time dear readers.

 

-Jessica

I was sent this eARC from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

 

 

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Leah On The Offbeat Review

LOTOBSo this book is a book I have been looking forward to for months. I loved Simons Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (Simon) & thought Upside of Unrequited (Upside) was good too. However, similar to my issues with Upside Leah On The Offbeat (or Leah as I will refer to it from time to time in this review)  suffers from the “not as good as first book syndrome,” but also some other things that kept me from loving it as much as I would hope. Do not get me wrong this is still a good book and I think it is fantastic that we have a book with both bisexual and fat female rep in it as a #1 bestseller. I also want to state again that I don’t think Becky Albertalli is a bad person for writing this book, nor do I think the book is any of her books are awful or shouldn’t be read. On the contrary, Becky seems lovely and I totally encourage anyone who hasn’t to read Simon or Upside or Leah if they wish. However, that doesn’t mean that this books doesn’t have problems or things that sadly made it less than stellar.

Leah On The Offbeat follows Leah Burke: bisexual, fat, drummer and resident Senior at Creekwood High. You may remember her from Simon as she was one of Simon’s best friends in the book. Leah is dealing with so many things from her sexuality (her mother is the only one who knows she is bi) to her mom’s love life to money to graduating and more. As the months go by and graduation gets closer, Leah will have to learn how to say goodbye to high school, but also open herself up to new new possibilities.

 

Lets start off though with what I liked about Leah. First of all this book started off really strong and had so many good one-liners throughout it. I can understand why some people may not enjoy Leah’s attitude in the book, but seriously some of her quips and one-liners were perfection. I love her comparison to Rory Gilmore, the truthful statements regarding money and being confused how people can spend so much for trips to different places (this was especially relatable to me), every Harry Potter reference, and of course my favorite line in response to her bandmate saying everyone loves Journey and that is why they need to perform Don’t Stop Believing:

“People love Meth. Should we start doing Meth?”

Leah’s narrative is a mixed bag for me, but when it works it definitely works.

Another thing I loved in the book was the rep. While there were some issues I had that we will get to later, I did enjoy seeing so many different representation in a book. This is especially true to the main character and the person the main character gets together with in the end. I really enjoyed the author discussing issues regarding people talking about weight and how hurtful it can be. I also loved the bi rep that we get to see in two characters and also the truth behind life with student’s and money problems. The issues with money was something I could kinda relate to a little at least when it came to trying to save money and the feelings regarding other people paying for me so I really appreciated that. I really appreciated that I feel that many other readers will really enjoy the fat rep and possibly the bi rep.

The third thing I loved about Leah is being able to revisit the Creekwood high kids and get a look more into their stories. We get to see Simon again and so much Simon/Bram adorableness. We also get to see what happens to these character’s regarding colleges, relationships, etc. I really liked the fact that this was still Leah’s story, but Becky was able to put the other characters into the book as well and give them stories and development throughout the plot. There is even a nod to character’s in Becky’s other book, Upside.

Lastly, I don’t want to give away who the love interest is for Leah even in the spoiler section. So I will refer to sed person as D (also the letter has nothing to do with the character’s name). While I did have some issues with the relationship that I will get into in the problems section, I really thought in the end they were extremely cute together. I loved them interacting and just their relationship overall felt like something that fans would ship and think it wouldn’t happen, but it becomes cannon…and I mean that in best possible way. I did have some issues with the way Leah acted in regards to something this person says and some other scenes with them, but that is for the next section. Overall, Leah and D were as cute as could be & right up there with other Simon Verse couples like Simon & Bram and Molly & Reid.

 

Now onto the things I did not really enjoy too much. Now this could be getting into possibly spoilers if you want to 100% not know the LI, but I feel that if you have read this far into the book you may be able to guess. Either way I just want to warn everyone that I will be using some quotes and/or paraphrasing of scenes so be forewarned that this may get into potential spoilers.

So the first reason I didn’t like this book as much as I wished was the fact that I felt like there was a lot of filler. This isn’t the problematic parts, but I will talk about those in a second. I did want to say one of the issues I did have was that there was some filler in this book or scenes I thought went on too long. There were things in this book I really wanted to see and other things I really didn’t care too much about so having time spent more on one than the other or longer or short felt irritating to me. It also wasn’t something I really remember having issue with in any of the other books by this author so I am not sure what to think when putting it in that perspective.

That is just a smaller issue though related to two of the other more problematic parts I disliked. The first was the kiss between the love interest and Leah. I really did not like the kiss between D and her as it felt like it was more “experimenting” than it was for the other. While D doesn’t know about Leah and hasn’t admitted at the time the truth regarding her own sexuality, it felt like the kiss was just two “straight girls” kissing for the heck of it (which one of the characters actually states when she says: “We’re pretty good at this for two straight girls”). Then Abby gets mad at D when she tells her she isn’t straight and D is upset and admits she wanted to kiss her, but she thought Abby was straight. The whole thing just read kinda messy to me. And D kissing Abby felt like she was just using Abby and thinking she could turn her (which she does apologize for but still). Basically the kiss just felt very confusing and sort of problematic. It also begged the question if the problem was more the writing of the scene by the author or the character’s reactions/reasoning or both. It is hard to explain why this rubbed me the wrong way, but for some reason it just did.

Lastly, here is a part that I feel I can much better explain that did annoy me. It’s a problematic part that I’m happy to see more people talking about and that I think should be known. So basically Leah decides to say that D is wrong for labeling herself “a little bi.” Now D feels comfortable with this label, but Leah compares it to being “a little bit pregnant” and basically says she can’t be that. I really hate when people tell someone else that they cannot be who they are or label their sexuality in a way that is right for them. D saying she is a “little bit bi” wasn’t something that D should be made to feel ashamed of. That is the label she feels fits her. A person should be able to label themselves how they see fit and not have to worry about being shamed for it. Leah basically makes D feel awful for this and then never apologizes or brings it up again. It actually isn’t brought up again in the entire book. I knew about this part right before I got to it thanks to a post I saw. I was already half way through the book so I figured I might as well finish for this review, but let me tell you it annoyed me just as much before, during, and after I read that part. I had hoped we’d get at least an apology or acknowledgement that is wasn’t good to police other people’s sexualities but we did not. And that was kinda the nail in the coffin for me for my rating for this book.

Overall, I don’t think this book was necessarily a awful book. I did have some cute scenes, quotes, and enjoyable character development. The rep (for the most part) was good and I really liked how we got to see relationships grow, characters develop, and more in the Simonverse. Sadly, the parts that were bad or problematic kinda overshadowed the good in my opinion from the filler to the first kiss scene to the policing of labels. Leah On the Offbeat is a book that I think people should know all the facts about going in and I can 100% understand the importance of. However, that does not mean that there are not any issues with it and that isn’t totally with problematic elements. The hope is that people who really see themselves in the book will enjoy it, but also admit the problematic elements & that people who find harm in the book will be able to say so without fear and hopefully find another book that they enjoy more.

Another thing to also note is that I think almost all of Becky’s books have a little bit a problematic element to them that have rubbed me the wrong way. Especially in Simon with there being basically no consequences for Martin outing Simon. I still like Simon, but it is important to tell people about the problematic elements in a book. The reason I am saying this and ending my review on that is because I think a book can still be good despite problematic elements or seriously ruined by these elements. I don’t feel it is my job here to tell you that these types of things should ruin a book for you or not be important to you. Maybe you still want to read Leah and find a great deal of comfort and joy from the representation, characters, and story. As long as you still admit & mention the problematic parts I see no harm in that. Maybe you read the parts that were problematic and they turned you off from reading the book. I think as long as you don’t act like the book is the most problematic & awful book on the planet (because I don’t believe it is and I still think it is important to highlight the good rep that is in it, as well as the bad due to its importance to people) or try to attack the author or those who like the book I say you do you. Everyone should be able to have their own opinion of a book, but also be aware & alert others of the harmful things or good things in a story to try to give people the best recommendation that you can. That isn’t to say people won’t make mistakes or not see things that others may have seen, but it’s important to listen and then try to figure out what is best for you as well as giving as much of the good and bad to another person to let them make the same judgement. I understand the importance of this book, but at the same time I do feel and agree with others regarding some of the more problematic or less than stellar aspects of this book. I think both are valid. However, I do think it is important to highlight both and then let readers decide what they are comfortable with.

3 out of 5 stars

*** out of *****

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Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LOTOB