Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda | (Book 1 Creekside Series)
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Genre: Fiction | Young Adult
Synopsis from Balzer + Bray
Review: Be still my heart…Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a lens into Simon’s life, a boy in high school keeping a secret from his friends and family – he’s gay. A progression of emotions poured thru me as I listened intently to Simon’s story. I laughed (a lot!) at Simon’s humorous accounts, I was touched by the affection he voiced into the email exchanges with Blue, an anonymous gay classmate, and irked when fellow classmate Martin threatened to unravel Simon’s safety net – a vivid reminder of ‘that guy / girl’ we all had to deal with in high school!
When Simon formally declares he’s gay to his family and friends Albertalli brought a tender-hearted moment to the picture while keeping the spirit upbeat. The outpour of love and support was moving and as a spectator on the outside looking in this stretch right here enveloped the entire story in a warm, cozy blanket.
What an excellent modern coming of age story almost anyone can get on board with – highly recommended reading!
Title: Dating You / Hating You
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Romance
Synopsis from Gallery Books
Review: Oh my goodness, Dating You / Hating You was incredibly entertaining, witty, whimsical and wickedly sexy! I had no idea what this book was about but wish I had read it much sooner.
This is a window into the male dominated show-biz life where women are often downplayed and incredibly tolerant of sexism but portrayed in a light manner which keeps the vibe upbeat.
I laughed out loud so many times at the text messages and comical office antics. And it rings true when they say, ‘all is fair in love and war’.
This story is fresh and sweet and dished up with a heavy side of girl power – a true modern romance!
Title: Tell Me Lies
Author: Carola Lovering
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Women
Synopsis from Atria
Free copy provided by Simon & Schuster
Review: Junior poli-sci major Stephen, a charming sociopath with an insatiable sexual appetite sets his sights on freshman English major Lucy in Lovering’s sizzling and provocative debut, TELL ME LIES.
Stephen is an average looking slob – he’s unkempt and reeks of beer; Lucy is smart, beautiful and naive. How can two people so wrong for each other have such immediate, searing chemistry and utterly mind-blowing sex? Underneath Lucy’s perfect persona lies a girl with an unsettled past – her mother’s betrayal she can’t get over, a compulsive personality and tendencies toward eating disorder and cocaine use. Combined with Stephen’s ability to manipulate women for his own gratification they ooze toxicity.
Lucy’s obsession with Stephen spans five years consuming her life and throwing off her moral compass – she gives up a rare study abroad opportunity, lies to her family and friends, and becomes self loathing after sleazy sexual encounters with Stephen.
Underneath the infatuation, lies and diabolical plot is a subplot around a strained mother-daughter relationship. Lucy can’t overcome her sick addiction for Stephen until she forgives her mother’s betrayal, which is pivotal for Lucy to recognize the love she feels is illusional.
The ending wrapped up too conveniently for me and left me with a couple unfinished thoughts but overall this was dark, intense, obsessive and everything I want to read about in a twisted relationship.
Warning: This story is too relatable to anyone who has ever been in love (or lust) with the wrong person and why it’s engrossing and addictive!
Title: One Snowy Night | Book 2.5 Heartbreaker Bay Series
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Genre: Fiction | Romance | Contemporary
Synopsis from Impulse
Review: Jill Shalvis’ books are my go-to whenever I need a book that is upbeat, heartwarming and sexually charged – she never disappoints!
One Snowy Night, a holiday novella, is a quick and tidy fun page-turner from Jill’s Heartbreaker Bay Series, which I utterly and completely adore. Jill’s leading characters are always strong, charming and of course sexy which makes the chemistry undeniable.
Twenty-somethings Rory and Max (and Max’s dog, Carl) are stuck in a blizzard in Max’s truck en route to Lake Tahoe on Christmas Eve. Rory hasn’t seen her family since she was a teenager and the only ride available from San Francisco is with Max, the guy she’s had a crush on since high school. Max has had his eye on Rory also, bringing Carl into the grooming shop she works at a little too regularly. Naturally the ride starts off awkward but once the cute and sometimes funny banter begins sparks fly and what better way to kick off their romance than cozying up in Max’s truck.
This is a cute holiday-themed story that any contemporary romance reader will enjoy.
Author: Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Young Adult
Synopsis from Delacorte
Free copy provided by PRHC
Review: I really enjoy books with alternating narratives and Freshmen captures the unsteady first year of college according to Phoebe and Luke – the good, bad and ugly. Phoebe has had a crush on Luke all thru high school (and he never gave her a second glance) and now they are attending the same college. Phoebe has an agenda to redefine herself – she is going to be fun, party and ditch the curfew and Luke is freshly single, makes one good friend, joins the soccer team and is a bit lonely. The two cross paths at the first social function of the year and they hook up.
I found some of the episodes entertaining and a a mirror of my college experience – friendships, hookups, parties, dorm life and the occasional class, but I just couldn’t get behind the whole Wall of Shame / toxic masculinity part because it was plain awful and I thought the author’s downplayed it, which kept the vibe light on an incredibly sensitive topic. Phoebe and Luke are pretty self absorbed and I didn’t connect with either of them but knew where they were coming from.
Freshmen definitely has an exuberance about it that reminds me of experiences I had in college which was one of the best times in my life but overall it didn’t resonate with me and fell flat.