ARCs · Book Reviews

Where It All Lands by Jennie Wexler Review

Stevie Rosenstein has never made a true friend. Never fallen in love. Moved from city to city by her father’s unrelenting job, it’s too hard to care for someone. Trust in anything. The pain of leaving always hurts too much. But she’ll soon learn to trust, to love.


Drew and Shane have been best friends through everything. The painful death of Shane’s dad. The bitter separation of Drew’s parents. Through sleepaway camps and family heartache, basketball games and immeasurable loss, they’ve always been there for each other.

When Stevie meets Drew and Shane, life should go on as normal.

But a simple coin toss alters the course of their year in profound and unexpected ways.

Told in dual timelines, debut author Jennie Wexler delivers a heartbreaking and hopeful novel about missed opportunities, second chances, and all the paths that lead us to where we are.

Published on July 6th, 2021

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review*

Where It All Lands is a story about two best friends who fall for the same girl. A classic, right? Well, this book has a unique twist. At the start, the boys both want to ask Stevie on a date, but being best friends, they don’t want to step on the other’s toes, so they decide to flip a coin to determine who asks her out. The proceeding story is told in two parallel timelines, showing us the results of each side of the coin toss. I loved this format and found it to be very well crafted. The little things that remained the same or differed in each one were almost as compelling as the big differences and I honestly had a hard time deciding which timeline I liked better. I loved both Drew and Shane, and their friendship, and getting to read from both of their perspectives gave us so many different layers and discoveries about their characters. Stevie was the constant throughout both timelines and seeing how her relationships with both boys altered her in different ways was fascinating. There was a depth to all of these characters that impressed me and gave the book a serious yet youthful tone. It really makes you think about life’s choices and how seemingly little ones can make a big difference, leading your life down a new path. This book packed an emotional punch that I was not expecting but fully appreciated. I came in anticipating a teen love triangle romance but came out with a really beautiful and thought-provoking story.

ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC Review: Sunkissed by Kasie West

A lighthearted and swoony contemporary YA romance by fan-favorite author Kasie West about a girl who finds that a summer spent at a family resort isn’t as bad as she imagined…and that falling in love is filled with heartache, laughter, and surprises!

After being betrayed by her best friend, Avery is hoping for a picture-perfect summer. Too bad her parents have dragged her and her sister to a remote family camp for the entire summer. And that’s not even the worst part. Avery also has to deal with no internet, a cute but off-limits staff member, and an always-in-her-face sister.

But what starts as a disaster turns into a whirlwind summer romance as Avery embarks on an unexpected journey to figure out what she truly wants and who she wants to be.

Release Date: May 4th, 2021

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review. Thanks to Random House Children’s and Delacorte Press for the opportunity!*

Sunkissed is the perfect summer read. I’ve read a couple of Kasie West books before, but this one was my favorite. It was witty, sweet, and full of butterfly-inducing moments. I loved every single character in this book. They were all so fully fleshed out, even the really minor ones, and it made it feel real and allowed me to connect to the story more deeply. Avery was a delightful and relatable narrator and I was so invested in her journey of self-discovery and her budding romance. Brooks was super hot and their banter was swoon-worthy. I also loved seeing the relationship and dynamic between Avery and her sister, Lauren. The plot was cute and paced very well, and who doesn’t love a summer resort setting? Music also played a big part in this book, which I strongly related to. It can be hard to convey the qualities of music in writing, but I thought that this was done beautifully. I devoured this book so quickly, and think that anyone looking for a well-written summer rom-com will as well.

ARCs · Book Reviews

Perfect On Paper by Sophie Gonzales ARC Review

In Perfect on Paper, Leah on the Offbeat meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips:
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.

However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?

Released March 9th, 2021

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Thanks to Wednesday Books for the opportunity! *

Perfect On Paper has been one of my most anticipated releases this year because I absolutely adored Only Mostly Devastated. First of all, I just love Sophie Gonzales. I love her witty writing style, I love her characters, and I love the stories she chooses to tell, but what I love most about her books is the way she captures the complexities of human emotion and relationships. Her characters are so dimensional and their emotions are complicated- which makes them relatable and truthful. It is so easy to connect to them, even when they are going through something you personally have never experienced. This book explores all types of relationships from romantic connections to friendships to families, and shows how these characters learn and grow from their mistakes and experiences. It has a ton of different kinds of LGBTQ+ representation, none of which felt contrived, and I so appreciate that all of the characters were multi-faceted individuals who both fully embraced and yet were not entirely defined by their sexual/gender identities. The bi-rep in this book is especially amazing, and really explores the intricacies of what it means to be bi-sexual. All of this is wrapped up in a super cute rom-com that is both hilarious and poignant with a fun plot and a sweet romance. What more could you need?

Book Reviews

Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch Review

Santorini felt like an island holding its breath. As if it were keeping in a secret…

Liv Varanakis doesn’t like to think about her father much, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight, leaving her with just a few painful memories of their shared love for the lost city of Atlantis. So when teenage Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father, who explains that National Geographic is supporting a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and asks if she will fly out to Greece and help—Liv is less than thrilled.

When she arrives in gorgeous Santorini, things are just as awkward as she’d imagined. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. Liv doesn’t want to get sucked back into her father’s world. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo, her father’s charismatic so-called protégé, to witness her struggle.

Even so, she can’t help but be charmed by everything Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the sun-drenched villages, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series (although all can be read as standalones) Love & Gelato, but the second book, Love & Luck, didn’t quite match my excitement. I am so happy to say that this newest installment is my favorite of them all. First of all, the chapter structure was so clever and really helped guide the story. Like all of Welch’s books, this one did not disappoint in the wanderlust department, and the gorgeous descriptions of Santorini helped me escape the freezing cold I’m currently living in and travel vicariously with Liv. I loved Liv and instantly felt connected to her. You could see the effect her father’s leaving had on her growth and her pain and struggle with it are painted vividly for us. Watching her protective shell crack and her truest self emerge as the story and her newfound relationship with her father developed was extremely endearing. In fact, all of the relationships in this book were very well crafted and real. I loved Liv’s relationship with her family at home, especially her bond with her mom, and her budding friendship with Theo in Santorini was adorable and gave me a nice slow burning and believable romance. The whole story of Atlantis is absolutely fascinating, and I loved getting to learn about it. I thought the tie in of her and her father’s relationship with the mysterious city was heart-wrenchingly beautiful and brilliant. I ugly cried for probably the last 100 pages of the book and was left feeling both emotionally drained and happily fulfilled.

ARCs · Book Reviews

Love Spells and Other Disasters by Angie Barrett ARC Review

I didn’t know when I wrote the first love spell that it would actually make things happen. Like, actually make people fall in love with each other…

How could I have known something like that? I mean, magic isn’t real, right?

But here’s the thing—the spell does work and so does the next one and the next one…and suddenly I’m getting a whole lot of attention from everyone at my high school. Me, Blend-into-the-Walls, Please-Let-Me-Introvert-in-Peace Rowan Marshall. And not only that, but I’ve also caught the attention of Luca Russo, a godlike, football-playing hottie who claims he likes me just the way I am. Ummm…

But as I’m about to learn, playing around with things you don’t understand means when things go wrong—like really, very awfully wrong—you don’t know how to fix them.

Release Date: February 1st, 2021

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Thanks to Entangled: Teen for the opportunity!*

Love Spells and Other Disasters was a sweet and charming YA rom-com with a hint of magic. When Rowan gets paired with her nemesis, Abby, in a school business project, she gets pressured into selling love spells to her peers, knowing that they are just for entertainment… until they’re not. The spells she writes start working, forcing Rowan to face the consequences and her own abilities. I enjoyed the plot of this a lot. Magic chaos is always a favorite story element of mine, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it happen in an everyday context. Rowan’s life has always revolved around the paranormal with her mother’s career, and I thought the understanding of the unexplained was a good tie in with the reality of the magical elements and Rowan’s blossoming abilities. While I enjoyed the story, everything from the plot to the characters felt a little too surface level to me. I was intrigued by the ideas, but would have liked to get in deeper on every level- It felt like a bit of telling vs. showing. I connected with Rowan and loved her relationship with her mom, but her relationship with her love interest, Luca, was insta-lovey. He was almost too perfect and their romance escalated way too fast for me, even though it was sweet. I did appreciate the maturity and non-toxicness of their relationship though. I had trouble really connecting to any of the other characters, especially Rowan’s best friend, Ethan. He was not a very good friend to her, even when he wasn’t under a spell, and I wish I could have witnessed the strength of their connection instead of just being told that they were best friends. The events of the plot were great, but I wanted more depth to help suck me in and be able experience the story. That being said, this was a quick and fun read that I enjoyed and I finished it with a smile on my face.

ARCs · Book Reviews

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett Review

Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…

Released November 10th, 2020

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review. Thank you to Simon Pulse for the opportunity!*

Chasing Lucky was an incredibly cute rom-com. I’m a relatively new fan of Jenn Bennett, but I love her writing style. All of the characters were unique, quirky, and humanly flawed which made it so easy to connect with them. Josie’s voice as the narrator was very distinct, funny, and relatable and brought her character, and the others, brilliantly to life. While the plot was pretty light and fun, the relationships took the forefront of the story. Josie and Lucky had a ton of chemistry, and their banter was butterfly inducing. I loved the sweetness in their relationship as well as the fire. In addition to the romance, the family dynamics and relationships were just as, if not more, important to the story and Josie’s journey. All of this takes place in an idyllic, small-town, coastal setting to which I was transported with how vividly it was painted. This book definitely gave me beach-read vibes with the setting and its light-hearted nature, yet it still had a great amount of depth, which can often be lacking in YA rom-coms. To anyone looking for their next sweet, romantic read, Chasing Lucky is the full package.

ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor

From bestselling author Jillian Cantor comes a smart, edgy update of Jane Austen’s beloved classic Emma.

Emma Woodhouse is a genius at math, but clueless about people. After all, people are unreliable. They let you down—just like Emma’s sister, Izzy, did this year, when she moved to California for college. But numbers…those you can count on. (No pun intended.)

Emma’s senior year is going to be all about numbers, and seeing how far they can take her. When she and George, her Coding Club co-president, are tasked with brainstorming a new project, The Code for Love is born—a matchmaking app that goes far beyond swiping, using algorithms to calculate compatibility. George disapproves of Emma’s idea, accusing her of meddling in people’s lives. But all the happy new couples at school are proof that the app works. At least at first.

Emma’s code is flawless. So why is it that perfectly matched couples start breaking up, the wrong people keep falling for each other and her own feelings defy any algorithm? Emma thought math could solve everything. But there’s nothing more complex—or unpredictable—than love. 

Release Date: October 6th, 2020

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Thanks to Inkyard Press for the opportunity!*

Jane Austen’s Emma is one of my all-time favorite books, so I was really excited about the chance to read a modern re-telling. The Code for Love and Heartbreak was an adorable and light-hearted quick read. In this version of the classic story, Emma is a socially awkward math and computer nerd who creates an algorithm to match-make her classmates in order to win a coding contest. I thought this was such a clever way to bring the classic Emma’s meddling into modern times. I enjoyed Emma’s awkwardness, and her lack of experience in relationships was a perfect explanation for her misunderstanding of human emotions. I had a great time comparing the modernized versions of all of the characters to their original counterparts. They all had a fun, contemporary twist while staying true to the essence of the classic character. The relationships felt realistic and romantic, and I appreciated the diversity in all of the couples. The story was sweet and enjoyable to read, and while it isn’t the deepest of plots, there was still a nice journey and growth for our characters. The Code for Love and Heartbreak is a solid YA Rom-Com that both new readers and Emma fans alike will enjoy.

Book Reviews

Majesty (American Royals #2) by Katharine McGee Review

Is America ready for its first queen?

Power is intoxicating. Like first love, it can leave you breathless. Princess Beatrice was born with it. Princess Samantha was born with less. Some, like Nina Gonzalez, are pulled into it. And a few will claw their way in. Ahem, we’re looking at you Daphne Deighton.

As America adjusts to the idea of a queen on the throne, Beatrice grapples with everything she lost when she gained the ultimate crown. Samantha is busy living up to her “party princess” persona…and maybe adding a party prince by her side. Nina is trying to avoid the palace–and Prince Jefferson–at all costs. And a dangerous secret threatens to undo all of Daphne’s carefully laid “marry Prince Jefferson” plans.

A new reign has begun….

*Possible spoilers for American Royals below. Proceed with caution!*

I have been anxiously awaiting this release since I turned the last page of American Royals a year ago. I love these characters and this world so much and have been dying to get back to them. I am a huge fan of Katharine McGee’s writing and storytelling. She is the master of multiple POV’s and weaving plot lines, which she does again beautifully in Majesty. We left American Royals on such a high stakes cliff hanger for all characters involved, and that intensity was lost a little coming into the second book. Everyone seemed to move on fairly easily from the past events and didn’t lean into the drama that had been so brilliantly crafted, and I felt still had room to play out. The plot was entertaining, but it seemed very separate from the storylines and relationships in book one. I loved watching Beatrice come into her own as Queen and her growing relationship was surprisingly sweet and endearing. Sam’s new love interest was swoon-worthy, and I would have liked more steamy moments between them to really heat it up. Nina almost seemed like a side character in this book, there as a foil for Daphne, who by the way is my absolute favorite character, instead of the other way around. Daphne’s story in this book felt the most connected for me and she had the biggest character arc of all of them. Overall, it wasn’t quite as scandalous or dramatic as I was hoping for, but I really enjoyed being back in this world that I love so dearly with some of my favorite characters.

Discussion Posts

Guest Post: Peter Kavinksky Is My Boyfriend and I Don’t Care What Anyone Says by Allison Hunt

Peter Kavinksky is my boyfriend and I don’t care what anyone says.

I fully realize that I am an “adult” woman (I put “adult” in quotations because I still act like I’m 13 half the time) and Peter Kavinsky is a 16-18 year old boy. But when I read the To All The Boys I Loved Before trilogy, I pretend like I am Lara Jean…ok I promise you this is way less creepy than it sounds.

The thing is, I never had a real boyfriend until I was 24.  (Hewhomustnotbenamed does NOT count. I mean, sorry not sorry if you cheat on me twice and don’t even know what to do with the little you have, you deserve to be stricken from the record. WOW 2020 PANDEMIC #IDGAF ENERGY GOT ME PUTTING DEM BOIZ ON BLAST…but I digress.) Even though I had a late start to relationships, I have always been a bit boy crazy. 

I remember distinctly at the beginning of 6th grade thinking “ew boys have cooties and what’s that sticking up in Bobby’s* pants” and by the end of that school year I was dreaming of Ron Greenburg* sticking his tongue down my throat. That same year, a romantic side of me came out when Michael Edwards* let me know that he was moving to California. We started sending poems back and forth through AIM expressing our star-crossed “like” for each other. To be honest, I found most of these poems on myspace, which I now realize is plagiarism, but my 12 year old self was blinded with young love. Despite my middle-school popularity, I still left without the one thing I wanted more than anything: a boyfriend. 

Me wearing the cutest outfit that’s going to make all the boys fall in love with me on the first day of high school. Also pictured: My sister Jessica.

The summer between 8th and 9th grade could not end soon enough because I was so ready to finally start high school. I picked out the perfect first day of school outfit: black gaucho pants with a coral tank top over a black t-shirt paired with my grandma’s black beaded necklace (…I was truly a fashion icon in the making). I was excited to intermingle with Westlane’s, one of the other middle schools, hottest commodities, The Mike’s*: two beautiful blonde boys who were really good at soccer. I had actually attempted to hang out with them (and by hang out I mean just be in spatial proximity to them) at North Central High School’s Friday Night Football games. I had also been to the movies with them in a big group setting where I made sure to wear my darkest eyeliner and most revealing fishnet shirt…I told you, I’m a fashion icon.  

Middle school me very boldly taking a photo with one of The Mikes* at a HS football game. Look at my face- This is the best day of my life.

However, even with having constant daydreams about these two and their 6-packs at the age 15 (like how is that even fair), by sophomore year, I actually developed a big crush on another boy that carried me through the rest of high school. His name was Wesley Bennet*. We had many classes together throughout the years and he was kind of quiet but just so nice and cute. I had (…still have) a big personality and I remember doing anything to make him laugh. I had figured out how he was going to fall in love with me: He would come over and watch Disney’s 1998 classic Mulan. Our hands would inch towards each other and slightly graze before he held onto mine. He would pull me in for a kiss and tell me how he’s liked me for years. We would become high school sweethearts and then do long-distance throughout college. It would be hard but our love would keep us strong. Eventually we would both move to NYC: me to pursue my dream of being on Broadway and he to work on the democratic nominees campaign for State Senator of District 18.  I would land my big break just as he was making his first political run and eventual win. We would get married and live in a Brownstone in Brooklyn Heights or Park Slope with a yard, a dog, maybe 2-3 kids and live happily ever after. 

Well, as you probably already guessed, none of this pining ended with a boyfriend. So instead of being yet another sad, emo teenager blasting “Untitled” from Simple Plan’s 2004 album Still Not Gettin’ Any (…this title hits a little too close to home even now *insert laugh cry emoji here*), I turned to the world of YA Rom-Coms.

 For as long as I can remember, when I read a book, I not only play a pseudo-movie in my mind, but I am always putting myself as the main character (if you also do this, let me know in the comments because my friends have told me this is just me and it’s weird). The first book I can distinctly remember being obsessed with was Meg Cabot’s Avalon High. When I was reading this book, I WAS the lead character, Ellie, and actively falling for the main love interest, Will. It felt like her love story was happening to me. I devoured almost all of Meg Cabot’s canon and then continued to search and read any book about Prom or any retelling of Cinderella (Cindy Ella and Geek Charming by Robin Palmer both put me in my feelings). I loved the build up and (sexual) tension of these new relationships and even though I did not have one, I was able to “experience” them just by reading about them. So when I say now as an “adult” woman, that Peter Kavinsky is my boyfriend, I mean that when I am reading those books I am playing the story in my mind as if I am 16-18 year old Lara Jean. 

Despite the fact that I now have loved, lossed, and had many other life experiences both good and bad, I still come back to my YA Rom-Coms. One of my personal favorite feelings is nostalgia. My friends and I will get together and literally laugh for hours on end about stupid things from our childhood. As we have established, I never personally got to experience young love so I like to experience a revised version of the past as if I did. Not in a sad angsty way, but rather in a dreamy state of mind kind of way, ya know? 

Living back home in Indiana during this pandemic has definitely made me feel like I am a high schooler again. So it is only natural that I am reliving my romance with the captain of Adler High School’s Lacrosse team, Peter Kavinsky 🙂 .

*All the names of my former crushes have been changed in this piece. However, if you went to NCHS and graduated with me…it probably isn’t very hard to figure them out 😉 . If you figured it out and I wrote about you in this piece, I had a big glow up and am single so feel free to slide into those DMs because #YOLO…but not if you have a girlfriend or are married. That’s not cool bro.*

Allison Hunt is an actor/comedy writer and a lover of all thing books. She co-wrote and stars in her own comedy series, Untitled Millennial Project. She is a double Gryffindor sun and moon with a Ravenclaw rising. While she reads everything, her favorite genre is dystopian/ fantasy (…with a love story in it of course 😉 ). When she’s not reading, she enjoys a bougie workout class and a solid happy hour situation  (pre-corona obvi)…and might as well throw in Pumpkin Spice Lattes since this is all sounding #basic. 

ARCs · Book Reviews

The F List by Alessandra Torre Review

There was a lot I did to get to this point, to get 42 million followers. Some of it I was proud of, most of it I wasn’t.

There was a group of us, all internet celebrities, and everyone wanted in, which is how six of us ended up living in this mansion, a camera always on, the public always watching. Two months and nine carefully scripted TV episodes that would get us more of the three F’s we were desperately chasing.

Fame. Fortune. Followers.

I knew my role. I was Emma, the unlikeable one. The dark villain with the devious smile. The package of dynamite that would blow up any chance of peaceful living and harmony.

Cash knew his role. He was the good guy. The lovable one. The one that everyone, even the darkest cast member of them all, would fall in love with.

They were supposed to just be roles.
None of it was supposed to be real.

My heart didn’t get that memo.

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review!*

This book was an incredibly quick and fun read. It has an entertaining concept and gives us a peek into the world of influencers and fame. It could easily be a “read in one-sitting book”- it flew by for me! We get to see the rise of Emma from nobody to world-wide celebrity and the ambition that got her there. Emma was an intriguing character, as she wasn’t particularly likable as a person, but you couldn’t help but root for her success. Cash was set up to be a good love interest from the beginning, and he was the perfect Hollywood hottie. I love a good hate to love romance, and I liked their dynamic a lot. I could have used a little more smolder and connection between them to bring it to the next level. It was there, but I wanted more heat in the in-between moments to deepen their relationship. What I loved most about them was that they both seemed like real people with layers and we got to experience their complicated emotions. The plot wasn’t super action-packed, but it always featured a glamorous or dramatic situation that kept me hooked. I also appreciated the underlying commentary on fame and what it means to really “make it”. I don’t know how realistic this book is in terms of the real world of mega-influencers, but it made it seem like a crazy life, and it was sure fun to read about. If you want a quick and entertaining Hollywood romance, then The F List should be on your list!