Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

Summary:
Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life.
Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.
Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?
Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.

Cool for the Summer

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Cool for the Summer is the book I never knew I needed. This book spoke to my soul in a way that no book has for a long time. I firmly believe that is Cool for the Summer had been published 10 years ago, when I was in high school, I would have realized I was bisexual much sooner.
Cool for the Summer follows Larissa in the past and the present. It starts on her first day of her senior year in high school. She’s just had an amazing summer and really gained some confidence in herself. That confidence shows and the boy she’s been crushing on for years notices. Chase is finally noticing her and it’s like all of her fantasies are coming true, so why isn’t she happy? This is where the flashbacks come in. Over the summer, Larissa spends her time in the Outer Banks staying at her mom’s boss’s house. It’s here that she meets Jasmine. Everything gets more complicated when Jasmine shows up as a new student at Larissa’s high school.
I loved this book so much. As I said above, this book spoke to my soul in a way that hasn’t happened with any other book in a long time. Larissa is trying figure out what she’s feeling. She really likes Chase. He’s a genuinely nice guy and she doesn’t understand why she isn’t happier. She also has no idea what the problem with Jasmine is. Jasmine hasn’t really even tried to talk to her and suddenly she’s best friends with Shannon, one of Larissa’s best friends. This story did an incredible job of making me feel Larissa’s emotions and confusion. It’s written in the first person. So, we’re getting all of Larissa’s thoughts as she’s thinking them. I think telling the story this way was a really great way to get the reader to feel and experience Larissa’s emotions alongside her, which is exactly what I did.
I loved that even though Larissa felt like there wasn’t anyone she could talk to, she still had friends (Kiki) that saw through her and could see what she was going through. The best kind of friends are friends that support you and manage to say the right thing even though they don’t know exactly what the problem might be. And once Larissa didn’t finally talk to her friends and her mom, their reactions were so positive and I loved that for Larissa. I definitely shed a tear or two when she finally started talking to her loved ones about her feelings for Jasmine.
Overall, I feel like this review is absolutely incoherent but this book changed me. I wish this book existed ten years ago so that I could have had my moment of self-discovery alongside Larissa. Please read this book. It’s full of diverse characters, self-discovery, and friends that don’t always say the right thing at first. I’m going to go now because I feel like I’m getting more incoherent the longer I type this.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon

GoodReads Summary:
Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.”
High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.
Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. Unfortunately for Annika, Hudson’s moving not just into her office building, but into the office right next to hers. And he’ll be competing at the prestigious EPIC investment pitch contest: A contest Annika needs to win if she wants to keep Make Up afloat. As if it’s not bad enough seeing his irritatingly perfect face on magazine covers when her own business is failing. As if knowing he stole her idea and twisted it into something vile—and monumentally more successful—didn’t already make her stomach churn.
As the two rival app developers clash again and again—and again—Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson Craft’s fast-paced, high velocity, utterly shallow world. Only, from up close, he doesn’t seem all that shallow. Could it be that everything she thought about Hudson is completely wrong? Could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?
Make Up Break UpReview:
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me this eARC in exchange for an honest review. Make Up Break Up was a really fun (and diverse!) romance that was hate to love and an office (sort of) romance.
We follow Annika as she’s trying to get her app, Make Up, off the ground. Her concept is to create an app using an AI that will learn the people using the app to help them resolve relationship problems. It seemed to me almost like a therapist on your phone specifically for couples. I thought this was such a cool concept and I was so sad for Annika and all of the struggles she and June were facing while trying to get this project going. I loved that this was a story about a woman-owned and run company. But I also loved how Annkia’s backstory was a part of her motivation. Her parent’s love story is what inspired her idea and I thought it was beautiful.
Then there’s Hudson, a man that Annika had a short fling with, but also what she sees as her biggest rival. I knew right away that this was going to be a case of miscommunication from Hudson’s behavior. He was clearly interested in her right from when we first met him. I also liked him despite the company he owned. Break Up is an app that people use to break up with others. The person wanting to break up sends someone via the app to break up with their significant other. I thought, like Annika, there was some real potential for this app to be used callously, but I thought there was also the potential for this to be used thoughtfully. It was clear that Hudson didn’t really believe in his project anymore, just the success it was having. I liked that Hudson just seemed like a good dude (example: Annika was drunk and tried to kiss him and he declined because he didn’t want her to regret it later. Because he wanted her to want him when she was sober.)
Overall, this was a fun romance. There was drama and lots of tension. There was strong female women and really nice family aspects too. I liked that Annika’s dad was included and the development of their relationship gave me the feels. I definitely think a lot of people will like this. There weren’t super descriptive sex scenes that I enjoy, but there was still great romance and chemistry between the characters.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons

GoodReads Summary:
When 16-year-old poetry blogger Tessa Dickinson is involved in a car accident and loses her eyesight for 100 days, she feels like her whole world has been turned upside-down.
Terrified that her vision might never return, Tessa feels like she has nothing left to be happy about. But when her grandparents place an ad in the local newspaper looking for a typist to help Tessa continue writing and blogging, an unlikely answer knocks at their door: Weston Ludovico, a boy her age with bright eyes, an optimistic smile…and no legs.
Knowing how angry and afraid Tessa is feeling, Weston thinks he can help her. But he has one condition — no one can tell Tessa about his disability. And because she can’t see him, she treats him with contempt: screaming at him to get out of her house and never come back. But for Weston, it’s the most amazing feeling: to be treated like a normal person, not just a sob story. So he comes back. Again and again and again.
Tessa spurns Weston’s “obnoxious optimism”, convinced that he has no idea what she’s going through. But Weston knows exactly how she feels and reaches into her darkness to show her that there is more than one way to experience the world. As Tessa grows closer to Weston, she finds it harder and harder to imagine life without him — and Weston can’t imagine life without her. But he still hasn’t told her the truth, and when Tessa’s sight returns he’ll have to make the hardest decision of his life: vanish from Tessa’s world…or overcome his fear of being seen.
100 Days of Sunlight is a poignant and heartfelt novel by author Abbie Emmons. If you like sweet contemporary romance and strong family themes then you’ll love this touching story of hope, healing, and getting back up when life knocks you down.
100 Days of SunlightReview:
I was provided a copy of this book to read via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 100 Days of Sunlight was so sweet and full of sunshine. I really liked this book.
We follow Tessa after she’s been in an accident. She’s lost her eyesight, but it’s likely going to come back in 100 days. She’s angry and sad and seems to be really struggling. She’s a writer and a blogger (I loved this!) and her grandparents put an ad in the newspaper to hire someone to come and help her get back to writing. She rejects everything about this.
Enter Weston. He won’t give up, even when Tessa is kind of horrible to him. He knows how she’s feeling. He lost both of his legs, but Tessa doesn’t know this. I loved hearing his story and how strong he was after losing his legs. His infectious optimism had me grinning. I loved his relationship with Tessa, but he really made me mad toward the end of the book.
I really enjoyed the set-up of this book. There are five parts, each based on the five senses. Weston tries to show Tessa that there is a whole world still out there that she can experience with her other senses until she gets her sight back.
Overall, I loved this. I hope that Abbie Emmons continues writing because I devoured this book. I highly recommend it to anyone that loves some romance alongside a little bit of struggling and life lessons.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

GoodReads Review:
From one of the most followed booktubers today, comes Again, but Better, a story about second chances, discovering yourself, and being brave enough to try again.
Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?
Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!
Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.
Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.
Again, but BetterReview:
I was very kindly provided this ARC via NetGalley to read in exchange for an honest review. I’m an avid BookTube watcher and Christine is one of my favorites to watch. She’s just so full of energy and personality. I was very excited to see that she was coming out with a book.
Christine’s personality is very much present in this book. The main character Shane is definitely someone that reminds me of Christine, from what I know of her as an outside perspective. It also sounds like some of this was taken from her own experiences of studying abroad. This kind of annoyed me in the beginning, but I kind of enjoyed it by the end of the book. Shane was very young and even sometimes a little annoying at times in the first half of the book. She was quirky, but almost too much so. She definitely made me laugh a few times. And I really understood the struggle with her family. But I thought she had a little too much annoyance for her cousins and I’m glad of how she amended that in the later half.
I was surprised by the second half of this story. It went in a direction that I certainly did not expect. I really liked the second half. Everything about it was better. Shane had grown, the writing was better. It was just all around more enjoyable.
I’d say this was an average debut novel. I’ve already preordered it and I’m happy to support Christine. I’m excited to see her writing grow and get better the more that she writes.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Summary:
The Carls just appeared. Roaming through New York City at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship – like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor – April and her best friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life.  News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world – from Beijing to Buenos Aires – and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.
Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. All eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.
Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how social media is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring from the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye. The beginning of an exciting fiction career, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a bold a
Review:
I’m going to start off by saying that I am without a doubt 100% (probably more) a total fangirl when it comes to the Green Brothers. Whether it be Hank or John, I will read ALL their books and watch ALL their videos. I have been watching VlogBrothers since they were Brotherhood 2.0 only communicating to one another via YouTube videos. So when I found out that Hank Green was writing/had written a book, I quite literally screamed out loud. I knew I would buy it and love it. I even preordered it through Waterstones (which is in the UK and I live in the US) because they were the first that I saw to announce they had signed copies). I ALSO bought the Barnes and Nobel special edition because I participated in the book club where this book was chosen. To read about that click here!
Okay, now to talk about the actual book. This is considered an ‘adult contemporary’ novel, but it definitely has some science-fictiony aspects to it. I’m not going to say anything more about that for fear of giving spoilers. I knew I would like this story, but I actually surprised myself by absolutely loving it. It had me laughing out loud and even shedding a tear or two.
April May is our main character and our narrator. She’s telling us the story in the first person as if she’s actually speaking to us and telling us the story. (This is one of my favorite kinds of narrators.) So we get the story as April May experienced it with little tidbits of what she knows or how she feels now. April was honestly so fricking relatable. There were definitely some times where I said, woooah what did you do that for? But more often than not I found myself saying, yup I’ve been there I understand where that’s coming from. She’s a character with countless flaws but she recognizes each and every one of said flaws. She knows she’s not perfect but keeps moving forward anyway. She’s very critical of herself, something that most people can relate to. With a tendency toward self-destructive behavior, she acknowledges what she could or should have done differently but knows she can’t change the past. Even when she got a bit too intense I liked her because she’s also funny and genuinely entertaining. She was a relatable kind of girl and I love characters I can relate to.

I Have No Idea Why I Can’t Ever Shut The Fuck Up: The April May Story.”

Andy was a great supporting character. I came to see him as April May’s sidekick of sorts that after a certain point was just along for the ride. He was a better friend than April might have deserved. He was there when she needed him even when she was kind of being a jerk. I liked how down to earth and just genuinely excited Andy got about everything happening.

“Just because someone has power over you doesn’t mean they’re going to use it to hurt you.”

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing was such an interesting and unique story I couldn’t put it down. I actually waited until a month after it was released to read it because I needed to make sure I could read it in one sitting and not be disturbed by my newborn baby. So after putting the baby to sleep, I spent five hours on my couch fllyyying through this story. I loved the perspective because I feel like it was almost like we were getting to know what Hank goes through being a well known YouTuber. (Obviously not to the extent of April May, but a sense of what his life is like.) I could just feel how parts of this story came right from Hanks real life experiences. I thought that was awesome. It’s such a unique perspective, one that so few people have, so it was cool to learn about it.

“The power that each of us has over complete strangers to make them feel terrible and frightened and weak is amazing.”

One of the best things about this book was all of the serious and relevant topics it hit on. Now, I’m going to say right now that I’m a straight white female that grew up in a middle-class family so, I am not the right person to be judging if these portrayals were accurate, but I mention them anyway because they were certainly thought-provoking to me. There’s discussion about race, sexuality and sexual preference, terrorism, cyberbullying, so many things that are constantly being discussed in today’s world. Hank’s characters were diverse and interesting. They were flawed and so realistic. They talked about real-world problems in real ways that made me seriously think about these issues.

“This is what humanity is, solidarity in the face of fear. Hope in the face of destruction.”

The last thing I want to mention is that while yes this is technically an adult novel. I definitely think some readers on the high end of young adults could read this and enjoy it. Those readers that are about to enter adulthood could definitely read and learn from this book because the worse thing is really the extensive swearing (but cmon what 15-18-year-old doesn’t swear, I know I did.)
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a new favorite of mine for sure. I will be reading this book many times in the future. I loved everything about this story. I loved all the twists and turns. I loved every surprise. This was a well written, creative and funny story that I would love to recommend to anyone.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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