The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Review)

32075671.jpgDIVERSE READ: Black protagonist / interracial couple

Rating: ★★★★★

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

My thoughts: The Hate U Give is officially one of the best stories that I have ever read for a wide range of reasons. The political commentary inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement is so thought provoking and hard hitting that it will leave you breathless from the moment you begin this story. I could not get enough of all the issues that Angie Thomas touched upon in a way that both educates and opens the eyes of readers young and old for years to come. If I were to tell you to pick up one book for the entirety of 2017, I’d implore you to pick up The Hate U Give because it is such a relevant topic to our times and must not be ignored.

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Checkmate: This is Reckless by Kennedy Fox (Review)

unnamed (2).jpg33868343.jpgRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Summary: Drew Fisher is the type of guy every girl wants.
Noble police officer by day, charming prince by night.
He has no idea the effect he has on women, especially me—his little sister’s best friend.

I’m the blonde Southern belle who lives up to the cliché, except I have my own quirks. I’m smart as a whip, can change my own oil, and recite The Pledge of Allegiance backward, but he doesn’t see that girl.

It’d be easier to forget him if he wasn’t my roommate and if the first thing I saw in the morning wasn’t his shirtless body covered in tattoos. I’ve crushed on him since the day we met, but he’s made it perfectly clear where we stand. Just friends.

I know I need to move on and accept that his feelings will never be mutual, but every day he smiles at me, I’m left dreaming of what if.

He has girl issues, and I’ve got a crush I can’t deny.
We’re friends, but I want more.

One drunken hookup leaves us with much more than a platonic friendship. Pretending it never happened proves to be more difficult than anticipated.

A crazy ex-girlfriend, a dangerous war of stolen glances, and passionate kisses leads to the most reckless battle yet. I won’t be a pawn in his game, but I’ll play by his rules if it will show him I’m the one worth breaking them for.

Checkmate, Prince Charming.

My thoughts: Kennedy Fox has done it again! They managed to make me get completely immersed in their latest love story until I finished Checkmate: This is Reckless in one sitting. I am always a sucker for a good love story that is brewing with tension and longing gazes, and that is exactly what this book had! This story follows the lives of Courtney and Drew who are both roommates and best friends. Courtney is head over heels in love with Drew while he is oblivious to her advances. That is until one night they end up getting drunk together which causes a chain of events that will change their relationship forever.

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Delicious Satisfaction by Sabrina Sol (Review)

34031049DIVERSE READ: Puerto Rican main character, Mexican love interest #OwnVoices

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 / 5 stars)

Genres: Romance, Contemporary

Summary: As LA’s hottest up-and-coming chef, Alexa Montoya is known for her ruby red lipstick, award-winning arroz con pollo and a penchant for falling for the wrong kind of men. And when a confrontation with a loser ex-boyfriend lands her in some legal trouble, she’s forced to call her long-time friend, Dante Perez, to bail her out. Only this time, Dante seems different, somehow. More gorgeous, more sexy, more…mouthwateringly irresistible. Suddenly she’s tempted to give the lawyer much more than a simple thank you…

Dante is tired of seeing Alexa with guys who only know how to steal her money and break her heart. He’s watched–and waited for–her long enough. Helping with her legal situation will finally give him a chance to win her over for good. His plan? He’ll seduce her into finally believing that there’s something deliciously right between them…

Despite their chemistry, Alexa can’t trust that Dante won’t leave. But Dante knows how to win a case. And he’ll do whatever it takes to convince Alexa that she’ll always leave him hungry for more…

My thoughts: As a Cuban-American girl, finding a cute contemporary novel representing Latinx characters is incredibly difficult. Some books don’t have good representation, and other books don’t represent Latinx characters at all.  So when I found Delicious Satisfaction, I fell in love with this adorable  novel starring two Latinx protagonists. It tells the story of a hot-shot Puerto Rican chef who gets into a bit of legal trouble and seeks the help of her cute Mexican lawyer. Soon enough they strike a deal to become more than friends which attracts more feelings than they originally planned. 

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10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac (Review)

31019571.jpgDIVERSE READ: Main character dealing with anxiety, f/f realtionship 

Genres: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Summary: Think positive.
Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.

Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?

My thoughts: 10 Things I Can See From Here is a heartfelt contemporary novel showcasing the life of Maeve who struggles with anxiety. She is sent to live with her father, and his family, for six months which flares up a lot of nervousness within Maeve. Her life isn’t always happy and steady. Things are always changing despite her best efforts to keep them the same, and she is constantly suffering from thoughts that cause her to panic during every day situations. So living with her father for six months is sure to cause some issues.

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Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith (Review)

32048554.jpgRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Summary: Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

My thoughts: Jennifer E. Smith always crafts the cutest contemporary novels that give you those warm fuzzy feelings inside whenever you pick one up. And Windfall is no different. From the moment you dive into this story, you’re taken on a journey with Alice and her best friend, Teddy, who won a large sum of money. Their story showcases both the pros and cons on becoming rich as well as deeply rooted family issues that stick with young adults as they grow older and have to make tough decisions in life. Smith combines both a cutesy romance and a hard hitting commentary on grief and being let down in a story that will leave you smiling at the pages the entire time.
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Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey (Review)

banner-133037374Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Romance, New Adult

Summary: Lucas Thatcher has always been my enemy.

It’s been a decade since I’ve seen him, but our years on opposite coasts were less of a lasting peace and more of a temporary cease-fire. Now that we’re both back in our small town, I know Lucas expects the same old war, but I’ve changed since high school—and from the looks of it, so has he.

The arrogant boy who was my teenage rival is now a chiseled doctor armed with intimidating good looks. He is Lucas Thatcher 2.0, the new and improved version I’ll be competing with in the workplace instead of the schoolyard.

I’m not worried; I’m a doctor now too, board-certified and sexy in a white coat. It almost feels like winning will be too easy—until Lucas unveils a tactic neither of us has ever used before: sexual warfare.

The day he pushes me up against the wall and presses his lips to mine, I can’t help but wonder if he’s filling me with passion or poison. Every fleeting touch is perfect torture. With every stolen kiss, my walls crumble a little more. After all this time, Lucas knows exactly how to strip me of my defenses, but I’m in no hurry to surrender.

Knowing thy enemy has never felt so good.

My thoughts: The hate-to-love trope in romance novels is my favorite plot device, and I will never get tired of it being used. This story was no different. The petty animosity between Lucas and Daisy was hilarious and addictive to read about, knowing both characters were incredibly attracted to one another. Their banter and insults thrown at one another as they both try to rise to the top of a doctor’s practice in their hometown completely sucked me in. Yet again, R.S. Grey wrote another novel full of angst that I devoured in one day. 

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The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak (Review)

30753698.jpgRating: ★★☆☆☆

Genres: Young Adult, Coming of Age

Summary: A dazzling debut novel—at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story—about what happens when a fourteen-year old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.

Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.

At its heart, The Impossible Fortress is a tender exploration of young love, true friends, and the confusing realities of male adolescence—with a dash of old school computer programming.

My thoughts: The Impossible Fortress is a story about three teenage boys in the 80’s trying their hardest to get a copy of a Playboy magazine because- well, they’re teenage boys. What seemed like an easy mission turns into one that seems impossible for them. Enter Mary, the key to getting the Playboy magazine because her father owns a store that sells them. Billy reluctantly befriends her in hopes of getting closer to the treasured magazine only to realize that Mary has the same love for computer programming that he does. They begin to work together to create a video game in the midst of Billy’s mission with his best friends which changes his entire mindset. It creates a series of obstacles for Billy to get over once he begins to realize that maybe his crush on Mary is more important than the magazine. 

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