Author: Sophie Gonzales
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: romance, contemporary, LGBTQ+
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

Summer love…gone so fast.

Ollie and Will were meant to be a summer fling—casual, fun, and done. But when Ollie’s aunt’s health takes a turn for the worse and his family decides to stay in North Carolina to take care of her, Ollie lets himself hope this fling can grow to something more. Dreams that are crushed when he sees Will at a school party and finds that the sweet and affectionate (and comfortably queer) guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High.

Will is more than a little shocked to see Ollie the evening of that first day of school. While his summer was spent being very much himself, back at school he’s simply known as one of the varsity basketball guys. Now Will is faced with the biggest challenge of his life: follow his heart and risk his friendships, or stay firmly in the closet and lose what he loves most.


Review

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, I received an eArc of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Ollie has a summer fling, but when a family emergency forces him to move into the town where his summer fling lives, things don’t go as expected. In fact, Will is cold towards him. Ollie can’t figure him out, but as he makes friends he realizes that he doesn’t have to compromise himself and fall in love with the guy. Right?

First off, I want everyone to read this book the moment it comes out. It deserves so much love. I absolutely adored it. I was grinning from ear to ear while reading it, but I was also frowning and honestly I had such an amazing time reading it. I loved it. LOVED. I couldn’t be happier. I think so much was done so well in this book, and I feel as if it was real. That I was actually there. This is absolutely a five star rating. No doubt about it. I can’t wait to go out and buy this book when it publishes.

First Ollie is adorable. I think Ollie is one of those characters that is easy to like. He isn’t annoying, he doesn’t say annoying things, and the choices he makes throughout this book are all reasonable ones! He felt like a teen, like a teen I might have been! I didn’t want to smack him once! (In terms of how sometimes I feel people portray little kids as teens or adults as teens.) In fact, I rooted for him the whole way through. He was a cute and quirky character and I loved that about him.

Will too, is a great character. Like Ollie is he is multifaceted and there is more than one side to him. It made the book more enjoyable to read that way. In fact, most of the characters had more to them than first meets the eye and I really appreciated that. I can’t express enough how much the representation in this book meant. It meant a whole lot. (I’m repetitive, I know. But seriously, my mind melted in a good way when I read this book.)

Ollie is desperately trying not to be consumed by his crush on Will, as Will seems to be a totally different person from the summer. But on top of that Ollie’s family is having some difficulties. And I really felt for Ollie. I honestly cried at one point in the book because it felt so personal. So many parts felt personal to me. And I loved that I connected with this book on so many levels. The plot is a slow paced one, the romance is “slow burn” and very complicated. It takes up much of the book.

The writing is also such a joy and a pleasure to read. I zipped through this book and just couldn’t stop smiling. There are some really fun feel good moments in this book interspersed with some sadder moments. This book was based in family, friendship and love. It covered all three portions of that in a lovely way. I don’t have enough good things to say about this book. In fact, I am running out of words!

Overall, I am super hyped for this book when it comes out. I love a feel good romance, and this checked all the boxes of things I could want!

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Author: Jenna Guillaume
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: contemporary
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

You know all those movies where teenagers have, like, THE SUMMER OF THEIR LIVES?

This summer is probably not going to be that.

Source: Everything that’s happened since yesterday …

The last thing sixteen-year-old Maisie Martin thought she’d be doing this summer is entering a beauty pageant.

Not when she’s spent most of her life hiding her body from everyone.

Not when her Dad is AWOL for Christmas and her gorgeous older sister has returned to rock Maisie’s shaky confidence. And her best friend starts going out with the boy she’s always loved.

But Maisie’s got something to prove.

As she writes down all the ways this summer is going from bad to worse in her school-assignment journal, what starts as a homework torture-device might just end up being an account of how Maisie didn’t let anything, or anyone, hold her back…


Review

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, I received an eArc of this book in exchange for a honest review.

I feel as if I went into this ready to absolutely love it, and came out of it not sure how to feel. There was just something about this book that I didn’t totally fall in love with. It was a good book, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t the five star read I was thinking it was going to be for me.

I’m always looking for the fat girl representation. In a lot of books I feel that the characters are just considered “fat” but are not actually. In this one the girl really is — there are several scenes that really set up she is a big girl — and I really liked those portions because it is so relatable for people like me who struggle to find sizes in stores that don’t look like brown paper bags.

I really appreciated the body positivity in this book — there was nothing in it that made me annoyed at that type of representation. There was quite a bit of diversity in this book, and I was pleased with that.

As I read this I felt just a bit disconnected at times, and I can’t quite put my finger on why that was. There was something that wasn’t there for me.

Other things I liked in this book were the descriptions of friendship, and how there are struggles and happiness.

As someone who went through a friendship situtation/body issues as a teenager, I really felt for Maisie. I could really connect with those feelings. Unlike Maisie however I have not met a friend who is so body positive.

The book was really about her journey over the course of a summer, and it was written in diary form. I think that was what really made me pause — I was having issues with the formatting of the diary, and it felt at times disconnected.

Overall, I think this was a light, fluffy read that a lot of people are going to enjoy!

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Author: Ashley Elston
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: comedy, romance, contemporary
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?


Review

I saw several blogs I follow reading this book this month/last month. And me being me, I hate missing out on anything. I searched high and low for a physical copy at both my libraries, I searched overdrive….and nothing. Nowhere to be found! HOWEVER I did find it on Hoopla. (Which in an of itself is amazing, since I can almost never get anything on it…) And of course I marked it as currently reading two days before I actually started reading it. But, I am glad to say I enjoyed it!

At first I was a little leery of it. I generally do like romances, and rom-coms to a certain extent. And at the same time I also don’t like them. I have very mixed feelings on it. So going into this one (despite hearing how funny it was) I was a little worried. I’d just read a few excellent YA contemporary romances, and I hoped that this one wouldn’t break my streak of enjoyable books.

To my delight, it did not!

10 Blind Dates is hilarious and sweet all at the same time. There are some harder moments thrown in, but for the most part it is pure light-hearted fun. And I love that in books, especially done in a good way. And it was done well – the characters were delightful, and Sophie was truly wonderful. This book was less the plot and more of a character driven book, it was all about Sophie and her feelings. And I think Elston did a fabulous job of depicting them. Sophie’s choices are never straightforward: she second guesses herself, she worries, she even breaks rules! It felt alive and purposeful.

The side characters were a blast as well, and about 90% of them were family. Her cousins were great, and it was clear from the start that they had been really good friends, and that might have changed over the years. This book wasn’t just about the romance and dates Sophie was going on, it was about family, and how families are. And none of the family members were perfect, and I think it helped offset the often saccharine sweetness this book was infused with. (Don’t get me wrong, I loved that about it.)

Even the end guy was quite obvious from the first moment. And I liked that feeling – knowing what was likely to happen, and still being delighted when it does. I didn’t feel anxious or stressed out while reading this. I didn’t skim pages, and I didn’t skip whole chapters because I was bored. I kept reading because it kept me entertained.

The writing like everything else was delightful, and I honestly enjoyed it.

And this is the problem: I’m having trouble rating it. I really enjoyed it, like I laughed multiple times throughout this book. I liked it more than other books I’ve read, but less than others. I’m absolutely struggling with how to rate it. I said “three stars” which is my automatic “I liked this book! Cute! Might read again!” response. Yet, at the same time I laughed. Which, a lot of times I don’t have a lot of responses during books – and yet somehow, I was laughing and smiling with this one, which makes me want to rate it a four! I mean, I don’t really having anything negative to say about this book at all. Which is why I am going to give it a four star rating.

If you like cutesy, saccharine sweetness rom-com books, you’ll likely love this one.

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Author: Nina Kenwood
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: contemporary, romance
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.


Review

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, I received an eArc of this book in exchange for a honest review

I feel like for a long time I was suffering through romance books I didn’t enjoy – for the most part I couldn’t get into them. Everything felt unreal – even when I was a teen. Those teens were glorious and immortal, and for a long time I thought I was the odd one out. It has only been in recent years when reading YA romance that I started to see some of what I wished I could have read reflected in new books. And I mention that because this book was relatable on a whole new level. It felt real and it felt honest.

First off, this book did make me remember what my teen years were like. I never dated myself, but Natalie goes through some of the same thought processes and situations that I often thought about or encountered. Not the all girls school part, but a lot of it. Natalie has a chronic condition that affected her appearance and she always felt ugly and unlovable. And I was overweight (still am) and so I really connected with that feeling. The feeling that no one would ever like me for who I was – and it felt so great to see that reflected in this book. I about swooned when we get more in depth with Natalie’s condition. She isn’t perfect – but her personality is amazing.

I love Natalie as a character. I think we see a wonderful character arc for her. We see her start to grow up, but we also see her struggle with her emotions, and her life and everything else. I found it very touching and was moved at moments in this book. Both with pity and laughter. There were some great moments in this book that made me chuckle and I really liked the bits of humor interwoven with more serious issues.

I liked the supporting characters as well, they fell into the friends category and they pushed the story forward, but they too also had little plots set in their own world that Natalie slowly uncovers. And I loved Alex.

I loved Natalie’s relationship with love and romance and it was beautiful to see it unfolding. As I said previously: tears and laughter. This is honestly a lovely book on so many levels. I don’t think I can say enough good things about it, other than I flew through it in a few days between working.

Kenwood’s writing is also stellar. I was invited in and drawn into the book with this writing. This was an amazing book, and it is one I definitely would like to own once it is published!

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