#BookReview : Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli @PRHGlobal #SayYesSummer #YA #Contemporary

Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli
Publication Date : May 12th 2020
Publisher : Delacorte Press
Genre : YA Contemporary
Pages : 256

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Perfect for fans of Morgan Matson and Netflix/Hallmark Channel rom-coms, this is the story of a girl who decides to give in to the universe and just say yes to everything, bringing her friendship, new experiences, and, if she lets her guard down, true love.

The perfect book to kick off summer! For as long as Rachel Brooks can remember, she’s had capital-G Goals: straight As, academic scholarship, college of her dreams. And it’s all paid off–after years of following the rules and acing every exam, Rachel is graduating at the top of her class and ready to celebrate by . . . doing absolutely nothing. Because Rachel Brooks has spent most of high school saying no. No to dances, no to parties, and most especially, no to boys.

Now, for the first time in her life, there’s nothing stopping Rachel from having a little fun–nothing, that is, except herself. So when she stumbles on a beat up old self-help book–A SEASON OF YES!–a crazy idea pops into her head: What if she just said yes to . . . everything?

And so begins a summer of yes. Yes to new experiences and big mistakes, yes to rekindled friendships and unexpected romances, yes to seeing the world in a whole new way. This book is a fresh and fun take on the coming-of-age novel that explores the quintessential themes of growing up: taking risks, making mistakes, and, of course, love. And who knows? Lindsey Roth Culli’s hilarious and heartwarming debut may just inspire your own SAY YES SUMMER. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

Say Yes Summer was cute and fluffy YA Contemporary, a coming of age story of Rachel and her summer of saying yes to everything. It was about pros and cons of saying Yes or No that comes with opportunity cost, experiencing the world for the first time, friendship, family, and love.

Writing was simple, easy, and entertaining. It was super-fast paced, I finished this book within a day, which rarely happens with me.  It was first person narrative from Rachel’s perspective that made me understand her feelings and how she was seeing the world and experienced her summer adventure. Setting of Michigan and all beautiful touristy beach, Kalamazoo lake, Lake Michigan, Mt Baldhead and Rachel’s parents’ new venture cream cart and ice-cream gondolas (yum yum) gave the story whole summery vibe.

Plot was simple that started with Rachel suddenly realizing she missed out so much in four years of high school by saying No to everything except studies. Now she felt nobody knew her, she successfully made herself invisible and boring and now she wanted to change that. When she found her grandma’s self-help book ‘The Freedom to Say Yes’, she got idea of saying yes to everything and fully enjoy this summer. In doing so, she experienced many good things but also messed up lot of things.

It was interesting to read how Rachel came out of her shell, overcame her fears, rekindled friendship, found lovers, learned many things specially what it’s like to be free and live out in real world. It was pretty simple plot, I knew how this was going to end but at the same time it was cute and lovely to read Rachel’s summer adventure.

“I think balance is the key to finding out what you really, actually want. Not just what you’re forcing yourself to say yes to.”

I loved all characters specially Rachel. She was smart, caring and lovely person. We see her thoughts towards her classmates and friends, how she saw them through their social media life and gossips she heard but not by knowing and interacting with them in real but as soon as she started interacting with them, she learned how wrong and judgmental she was, how much she blocked out reality and picturized them how she wanted to see them. It was bit weird to see she was observing Clayton so much that she could tell what was going on in his life but at the same time she literally didn’t know what Miles felt whom she knew in real for her whole life both in school and at job at her parents’ restaurant. She was wrong about lot of things and I liked how she realized that. Her development was best part in the book.

Clayton was popular guy, Westfield’s Soccer star and so very handsome but he was nothing like those famous boys who act like they own the world. He was lovely, kind, and gentle soul. Rachel thought he was perfect guy but in reality he was normal human who had his own issues. I loved him for being true and real all the time, even when Rachel messed things.

Miles was Rachel’s childhood friend and worked at her parent’s restaurant. He too was going through his own issue, trying to get over grief and loss. He was not bad. I knew he liked her. I felt for this guy and his reaction to both loss and feeling for Rachel was genuine but still I wasn’t completely at his side.

Carrie was my favorite secondary character. She was wise and smart and lovely girl. I liked the way she helped Rachel and how they sorted their problems. Bethany and Rouxi, her family and Nona were also great.

Love triangle and dating two boys at same time didn’t work that long. Romance and two-timing was wrapped pretty soon. But there were cute moments that made me smile and I liked how they knew each other better in this short relationships.

I liked message in the book given through Rachel’s development- not judging people based on what they show out to the world, even popular girls and boys have their problem and behind all their fame they are normal human being; it’s never easy for anyone to be out in the world and experiencing the real world and life; even best laid plans can go wrong; it’s okay and to mess things but important to not to hurt anyone’s feeling and make things right later; going out of comfort zone is good but also should stay true to yourself; and most importantly it’s okay to say NO.

“Every choice has embedded within it an opportunity cost. Saying yes isn’t free. When you said no to parties and to boys, you were saying yes to your family, and to your friends, and to your responsibilities. And sometimes that- learning when to say no and especially what to say no to- is just as important.”

Climax was filled with lots of drama with boys and then with family. But then Nonna’s wisdom made Rachel gather all courage and make things right by apologizing for her royal mess. End was lovely with packing, time with friends and surprise gift from family and Rachel finding her love.

Why 4 stars-

It’s not like I don’t like love triangle but what makes me not so inclined for love triangle stories is protagonist always going with a boy I don’t like as much as I like the other boy. And that’s what happened here! And another reason was, I have read/seen something like this before. It sounded a bit clichéd and predictable.

Overall,

Say Yes Summer was fluffy, feel good, enjoyable, cute and coming of age YA contemporary with lovable characters. I recommend this to fan of this genre.

Books Links : Goodreads | Amazon

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I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about my review and this book, if you have read it already or going to add to TBR. What are your favorite fluffy contemporaries?

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview #Releasedayblitz : As Much As I Ever Could by Brandy Woods Snow @FillesVertesPub @brandy_snow #AsMuchAsIEverCould #YA #contemporaryromance

Hello Readers! It’s a release day of AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD by BRANDY WOODS SNOW and please to be part of Release Day Blitz. Check out book snippet and my review in this post.

Cover Designer: Jena R. Collins/JRC Designs

As Much As I Ever Could by Brandy Woods Snow
Publication Date : May 26th 2020
Publisher : Filles Vertes Publishing
Genre : YA Contemporary Romance
Stars : ★★★★★

Seventeen-year-old CJ Ainsworth doesn’t drive—not because she can’t, but because she won’t.

She’s been living with the guilt of being the sole survivor of the head-on
collision that claimed her mother’s and sister’s lives. It’s the reason she refuses to get behind the wheel. It’s the reason her father has nearly abandoned her. It’s the reason she’s sent to piddle the summer away at her estranged Memaw’s house in Edisto Beach. 

All CJ wants to do is isolate herself and make it to the trial at summer’s end, where she’ll testify against the stranger who couldn’t keep his car in its own lane.


She doesn’t expect to fall for a boy, especially not Jett Ramsey, a hotshot racing champion destined for greatness on the NASCAR circuit. 

CJ’s resolve crumbles when she loses a bet that puts her squarely in Jett’s
driver’s seat. While he patiently reintroduces her to driving, they confide in each other, and CJ learns she’s not the only one silently suffering through a loss.

As their connection deepens, Jett’s focus on the track is called into question. CJ can’t be the cause of another car crash, but her heart is broken either way. Can CJ learn to put her heart in drive? Or will she throw it in reverse?

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

A summer away at Memaw’s can’t rectify everything that fell apart in a single minute, but that won’t stop my dad from forcing it on me.

My fingers wrench tighter around the handle grip of Dad’s Ford Explorer as he hugs the center line, tires thumping over golden reflectors in waves and shooting vibrations through my seat. I glance over my shoulder to make sure the door lock is crammed to its neck into the tan vinyl interior. Not that it’d make a difference if he were to flip this thing head-over-end into the muddy goop of tidal flats along either side of the road. If a body’s going to exit a car in a hurry, it sure as hell won’t wait for an unlocked door.

These kinds of thoughts never shoved their way into my brain before the accident. Now they circulate like a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle.

I sigh and yank my phone off the dashboard. 4:15 PM. Only ten more minutes to get my summer of hell underway.

A notification blinks on the home screen. One new email from Trent Casey and all I can see of it is “CJ, things have changed so much this last year that I think…” Inbox preview cruelty at its finest. A little sneak peek of my on-again, off-again boyfriend kicking me to the curb because I’ve been too screwed up to screw him the past year. Not that I’d screwed him before, or anyone else for that matter.

I toss the phone in the cup holder and stare over at my dad in the driver’s seat, his eyes fixed and hooded as if in a trance. He hasn’t spoken in over a hundred miles, but I’ve strategically coughed from time to time to make sure there’s at least a reaction to the noise, and he’s not comatose or something. Plus, it’s easier than actually talking, and it warrants no response from him. Win-win.

Dad flips on the blinker, its dink-doonk, dink-doonk, dink-doonk signaling a right turn. Into where I have no idea, and unless Memaw has taken up living in a dilapidated open-air shack, he’s seriously misguided. He pulls into one of the ten open parking slots, demarcated by rows of conch shells instead of actual painted-on lines. How beachy of them.

Dad lets the engine idle, sliding his phone from the pocket of his polo and pecking out a text message without so much as a word or glance in my direction. I unlatch my seatbelt and open the door, easing out onto the hot, gritty sand, which creeps into my sandals and scratches at the skin.

“Where are we?” When he doesn’t respond, I step beside the open door, banging my hand on the window. “Dad, where are we?”

“Edisto Island, of course,” he mumbles, never looking up from his phone, his fingers still moving furiously over the screen.

I point to the rectangular banner draped atop the entrance with what looks like a hand-stenciled Welcome to Edisto Beach, SC! in blue paint. “No shit. I mean, what is this place?”

“Watch your mouth, CJ. I’m still your father.” He finally looks up long enough to glare across his steering wheel at the banner, squinting as if it’s written in some foreign language before looking back at me. He waves his hand around. “We’re obviously at the market.”

The entrance isn’t a single open-close door but one of those garage-style deals that pulls down from the ceiling. Oyster shell wind chimes tinkle in the breeze. I take a deep breath, the briny air expanding in my lungs and coating my skin, and somehow start imagining myself as one of those slugs we used to find on the back porch at home and pour salt over. Almost immediately, their slimy little bodies would foam up and implode, turning into a dried-up crispie we’d flick off in the grass the next day. Maybe that’ll happen to me, and I can simply shrivel up and disappear.

Dad gets out and lifts the back hatch, and I walk to meet him, giving an extra foot shake on each step to loosen the stowaway sand from my sandals.

“But why are we here?”

“This is where Memaw’s picking you up.” He hauls out my two large suitcases and sets them under the overhang. “She’s running late, but she’ll be here within the next twenty minutes.”

“And you’re just gonna leave me here?” I thumb over my shoulder.

He stares at me as if I’ve just asked for an explanation on the meaning of life, standing like a statue except for the front flip of his thinning auburn hair that tousles with the breeze. That hair, along with his chocolate brown eyes and freckles, are the only things we even share anymore. Everything else is gone. Evaporated.

“Don’t be dramatic, CJ. I have a long drive home.” He slams the hatch, walks to his still-open driver door and slides in behind the wheel. The passenger window rolls down part-way. “I’ll see you at the end of summer. Bye.” The words scarcely exit his lips before the window’s rolled up and he’s peeling out of the parking lot on two wheels as if he’s off to a five-alarm fire.

Wow. Truly heartfelt. I think he might miss me. I lock my jaw, forcing my quivering stomach back in its rightful place. Part of me loathes him for just dumping me here. The other part understands, though. He hates me for what happened and wants me gone too.

I can’t blame him for that.

  • Awards, Recognitions, and Reviews:
  1. Second Place, YA Contemporary – NEORWA’s Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest
  2. Second Place YA Contemporary – Music City RWA’s Melody of Love Contest
  3. “A swoonworthy summer read with a hopeful lesson about how to move forward without fear.” – Kirkus Reviews

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. Many thank to publisher. ***

As Much As I Ever Could was wonderful YA contemporary romance that revolved around CJ grieving loss of mother and sister in accident. It was about getting over loss, giving second chance to life and love, learning to love yourself again, accepting the reality than running away, forgiveness, friendship, family, and racing.

Writing was smooth, gripping, and emotive. Loved the setting of Edisto Island, community, and Memaw’s sea themed house and its description. It made me want to pack my things and move in with her for whole summer. There was everything one want in YA contemporary. There was drama, family issues, friendship, car racing, rivalry, teenage angst, romance, misunderstanding, and development.

As Much As I Ever Could started with CJ’s father dropping her at Edisto Island with her grandmother for summer and left without even a goodbye. She was there until the date of trial in August. She expected to spend summer locked in room with her guilt and try not to think about accident. But it didn’t turn out as she thought. Within few minutes she made new friends (Gin and Bo), met hot dude (Jett) who was trouble, and grandma full of life who gave new house rules- Live life, get drunk, and fall in love. It made me instantly like her grandma. She was fun. When CJ lost bet with Jett, made her spend more time with him, and learning to drive again, slowly they formed a connection and fell for each other. I was curious to see where this new found relationship will take her, can she ever be confident to drive again and what will happen when Rachel’s, (Jett’s racing partner) threat comes true.

First of all I loved that cover and all characters’ name. They were all shortened but I l loved original names.

I loved CJ (Camelia Jayne). First losing mother and sister then estranged father who exiled her to live with grandma she hardly knew, guilt of overcorrecting her car that resulted in flip and ultimately death was gnawing from within and anxiety never left her fully whenever she was in car… She was going through a lot. No wonder she wasn’t ready to love herself or someone else or drive car again. I could feel her pain and fear but I loved it when she gave Jett and Memaw a chance to bring back happiness in life. I felt so sad when she once again had to face her fears, angry at Rachel for implanting that doubt and at Jett for not focusing on his racing properly and saying those nasty words. Her development was amazing. I admired her for listening to her father, reconsidering her belief, making right decisions, and living life once again.

Jett (Jarrett) was great throughout the book. He was handsome, confident and charming hero who loved racing and lived life at fullest. But unlike his racing partners he wasn’t haughty or showoff. He had trust issues because of his family and that caused a bit drama in the middle of the story and at climax. But I liked how he took CJ’s advice and learned from his father’s mistake.

All side characters were amazing. Gin (Ginny Lee) was lovely girl, I would love Bo (Beauregard) as brother and I want Memaw in real. I liked the way Jett’s parents and CJ’s dad changed at the end. I even enjoyed drama Rachel, Trevon and Tyler added to the story. The way CJ made up with Em and that surprising entry of Trent made it interesting. They all were perfect cast and made story refreshing, dramatic, fun, and lovely.

Chemistry between Jett and CJ was natural, hot and swoon worthy. They both felt connection very early in the book but romance built gradually. All moments they spent together, secrets and pain shared was heartwarming.

It was so sad to see fear, misunderstanding, and accident breaking them apart in climax.  The situation was written well. I couldn’t pick a side, they both were right in their own way. CJ’s dad surprised me in this part and I loved his last effort that ultimately break through CJ and helped her in facing the trial. I loved her speech there and what she decided to do. End was perfect. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Overall, As Much As I Ever Could was compelling contemporary with refreshing characters, summery setting and amazing emotional rollercoaster. I highly recommend this book to fans of YA Contemporary.


About Author:

Brandy Woods Snow is a Young Adult author, journalist, wife, mama of three, Christian, and proud Southerner. Born and raised in the area of Greenville, South Carolina, she still resides in the rolling foothills of the Upstate region, though she plans to one day retire to the state’s famous Grand Strand. Brandy has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing pursuits have always held her heart, she’s built a career as a journalist and editor. Brandy has more than 19 years’ experience and a strong platform that includes articles and columns published in Delta Sky Magazine, Greenville Business MagazineColumbia Business Monthly and Home Design & Décor Magazine (Charlotte and Raleigh). Currently, she also works as the Marketing Manager and an Acquisitions Editor for Filles Vertes Publishing.


Her first novel MEANT TO BE BROKEN was published by Filles Vertes Publishing in May 2018, and she has a short story featured in FVP’s LOVE ON MAIN anthology, forthcoming in February 2020.

When Brandy’s not writing, reading, spending time with her husband or driving carpool for her three kids, she enjoys kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as she can, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country roads.

Book Links:

Goodreads

What do you think about the book? Have you read it already or any book by the same author? Have you read any YA book dealing with loss and grief?

Happy Reading!

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The Lucky Ones cover pic

#BookReview : The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson #TheLuckyOnes #YA #Contemporary @PRHGlobal #BooksTeacupnReviews

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The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson
Publication Date :  April 7th 2020
Publisher : Delacorte Press
Genre : YA / Contemporary
Pages : 352
Stars : ★★★★★

How do you put yourself back together when it seems like you’ve lost it all?

May is a survivor. But she doesn’t feel like one. She feels angry. And lost. And alone. Eleven months after the school shooting that killed her twin brother, May still doesn’t know why she was the only one to walk out of the band room that day. No one gets what she went through–no one saw and heard what she did. No one can possibly understand how it feels to be her.

Zach lost his old life when his mother decided to defend the shooter. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends bailed, and now he spends his time hanging out with his little sister…and the one faithful friend who stuck around. His best friend is needy and demanding, but he won’t let Zach disappear into himself. Which is how Zach ends up at band practice that night. The same night May goes with her best friend to audition for a new band.

Which is how May meets Zach. And how Zach meets May. And how both might figure out that surviving could be an option after all. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

The Lucky Ones was poignant YA contemporary that revolved around May who lost her twin brother in school shooting and Zach whose life turns upside down when his mother took shooter’s case as defense lawyer. It was about grief, loss, guilt, depression, trauma, hope, friendship, family, and love.

Writing was great, easy to follow, and so gripping that I finished it in one sitting (of course, it took me more hours than fast readers but I didn’t sleep until I finished the book). Author put me in the middle of May and Zach’s life and made me to observe their emotions and what was going on in their mind without letting me hug them and talk to them or provide a hope and motivations they needed so much. Alternative first person narrative from May and Zach give this story personal and more emotional touch.

As synopsis said, both characters were struggling with how shooting changed their life. It had been almost a year, most difficult year for May and Zach. May was still not ready to start a school but she had to, she didn’t believe her parents and therapist that socializing, talking to someone, or by going to school will help her. She was walking panic bomb that might blast and break her down anytime. Only person who was helping her cope with school and life was her best friend Lucy. She wouldn’t talk anyone else until she met Zach at Lucy’s audition for band.

Zach was son of shooter ‘s defense lawyer. It caused him lose everything. His girlfriend left him, his best friend wouldn’t miss a chance to taunt and belittle him and started dating his girlfriend. Nobody at school would look at him or talk to him except Conor.  Conor helped him to cope with school and hate he was getting from the world, encouraged him to live little until he met Lucy at Conor’s band audition.

Problem was Lucy was vandalizing his house. She hated his mother for taking shooter’s case. It was difficult for Zach to protect his little sister from it. He didn’t like his mother for taking case and he blamed her for what happened to him and his sister at house and at school but at the same time he didn’t like the person who terrorized their life, for giving his sister nightmare.

I was curious to see when they will learn about each other’s last name, how Lucy will react when she learns he is son of the person she hates most at the moment, how Zach will find out the person behind vandalism was Lucy, can they forgive each other, not blame themselves and other for what happened, if there is hope for them to find peace and solace with each other, and mostly what was in letters May kept receiving ever since the tragedy.

“As you get older, I hope you can remember that people aren’t the sum of their mistakes. The world isn’t black- and- white – the best thing you can do for yourself is to look at the spaces between those poles, to see that extremes aren’t useful to anyone.”

May was going through hell. It’s not easy to get over twin sibling’s death with whom you have shared everything since you were a tiny embryo and it gets even more difficult when you don’t get a chance to say goodbye, last few weeks or months before loss one spend fighting with twin, drunk in parties. The guilt of it, anger and regret don’t let anyone live and May was no exception. She didn’t feel she was ‘The Lucky One’ who survived. She felt she was coward and should have died with her sibling. The anger of it was thrown on whoever tried to come near her, get back the memory of her brother. My heart went out to her. I was shocked seeing her parents were never there and on reading what put distance between the twins. Her development was great and I loved the way she came out of her grief.

Zach was great throughout the book. He was sweet, cute, and caring guy. I didn’t like how everybody taunted him, intimidated him and hated him for something he wasn’t responsible for. I loved him the way he cared for his sister and took responsibilities when his parents failed to fulfill. Though it was sad what happened in climax, I feel he should have understood. But I still like him. I liked how he changed his mind.

I liked all characters in this book. Most of all Lucy and Conor, especially Lucy. They were the symbol of friendship. Nobody would stays in time like this, with the way May and Zach behaved and reacted throughout the book, especially May. If it was someone else they would have walked away from them within few weeks but not Lucy. It was Lucy and her words at the end that pierced through me, made me cry and everything that happened from climax to end.

Parents were not exactly likable but we were seeing them through grief ridden lenses of May and Zach. I agree with them and at some point I do blame them for everything but as parent I could feel their pain (not May’s dad). I could see how it might have been for both May and Zach’s moms and for Zach dad. It surprised me along with him when I read perspective of Zach’s mother. I wish she had said all those things earlier. It showed mistakes of parents and how they could have made things better by not pushing their kids, sharing equal love and more time and by just talking.

Relationship, which was more like friendship, was great. I’m glad author didn’t label it. Both were tentative with this new feeling and change, still spiraling in the tornado of grief and loss and yet holding onto each other that helped them to fight it, make it bearable and slowly coming out of it. They found solace with each other, brought smile and happiness back that they lost in that tornado. I was sad to see them drifting apart back to their grief and loss, especially Lucy, when she finally opened those letters, how it made her guilt and pain stronger than it ever was and what it caused between her and Zach.

Climax was heartbreaking and poignant. It scared the shit out of me. I was worried and thought worst might happen. But I was glad it didn’t go in the direction of my thoughts. I cried and smiled and felt hope along with characters. I loved how climax changed everything both in Zach and May’s life and how they found each other back at the end.

Overall, it was powerful, emotional and poignant YA contemporary with heavy topic that recommend to all.

Book Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Link : Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Amaozn.UK | Book Depository

What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Which book you read was about grief and loss and finding hope again through love.

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Verona Comics cover pic

#BookReview : Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan @PRHGlobal #VeronaComics #LGBTQ #Contemporary #YA #Booksteacupnreviews

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Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan
Publication Date: April 21st 2020
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA / LGBTQ / Contemporary
Stars: ★★★★★

From the author of Hot Dog Girl comes a fresh and funny queer YA contemporary novel about two teens who fall in love in an indie comic book shop.

Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life.

Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them—that is, when they’re even paying attention.

They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other’s throats every chance they get, making a relationship between them nearly impossible…unless they manage to keep it a secret.

Then again, the feud between their families may be the least of their problems. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

Verona Comics was cute and complicated YA, queer contemporary that revolved around Jubilee and Ridley. It was about anxiety disorder and mental health issue, dysfunctional family, love and complications, learning to love yourself and life, looking for a solution of problem rather than finding an exit door.

Writing was gripping and fast paced. At first it felt light hearted and cozy but as I read more that vibe turned so intense and heavy. If you are expecting lot of fun, humor and light YA romance just hold your thought here because it’s much more complicated with serious issues. Verona Comics was written from Jubilee and Ridley’s POV that provided clear view of total opposite life style, family and their views towards comic books business.

Plot was interesting. As synopsis said Jubilee and Ridley met at comic convention prom that Ridley’s dad’ company, Geekery, sponsored. Geekery had a reputation of destroying Indie comic shops and had an evil eye on Verona Comics ever since Verona laughed at Ridley’s dad’s offer. When they met at prom they didn’t know who their parents were but Ridley found out Jubilee was Verona’s step daughter and they hate Geekery. I knew it was going to be complicated but even Ridley agreeing to spy on Verona comic for his dad to please him to go back to his childhood home was shocking. I was curious to see where this will go from here, how Jubilee will find out about his real identity and what Ridley will do to come out of the mess he created.

Characters were interesting. I loved family dynamics and balance of family, friendship and romance. Jubilee’s family was great. Both her moms were supportive, loving and caring. Verona was the stepmother everybody would love. I didn’t like Ridley’s family. I blame them for everything happened in this book. But I liked his sister Gray. She was amazing from the very beginning.

There were so much diversity. Jubilee’s mom was bi and her stepmom, Verona, was lesbian. Both Jubilee and Ridley were bi, Jubilee’s friend Jayla was black and lesbian. I liked Jubilee for her non-label thoughts. She was bi but haven’t experimented it and didn’t care for a label and accepted who she was.

Jubilee was smart, overachiever student, and amazing cellist. Audition for scholarship to summer program to study with famous cello teacher was her dream. Her passion and dedication was admirable but at the same time I agreed with her both friends. She should have applied other camps and she should managed things normally like she did before Ridley entered her life. Her concerns and emotions were well written. As adult I didn’t agree the way she handled situation in climax but I can see and understand why she did that. I might have done the same at her age. Young love does that to us. Her decision later was fabulous. I liked her even more for it.

“I’m just saying, don’t let one moment define you. Because there are going to be a lot of moments till to come, no matter which way things shake out.”

Ridley was good person but he was struggling with many things. He had narcissist parents who didn’t love him as he wasn’t prodigy and stopped caring for him once they knew he was bi, had anxiety disorder and suffered with depression. My heart went to him, I wanted to snatch him away from those parents who not only were not helping him but also made him feel worthless. But at the same time I didn’t like him exactly for what he was doing from the beginning even though he knew it was wrong. When he spent more time with Jubilee I started to warm to him as it was helping him coping with his mental health and also for his wish to come out clean.  But climax changed it once again because he was asking a lot from Jubilee and was not even thinking about her family, he was being selfish. I exactly felt like Jubilee did, I liked him but at the same time I didn’t. I was so glad after climax things started to change for him and I was happy with his efforts.

“If my ride was music, then his is a symphony, and I don’t want it to stop.”

I loved how author showed young love and complications that comes with it, how course of life can be changed at any minute, one cannot have full control over life and most of all representation of anxiety disorder and panic attacks. How character suffering with mental health act and behave and what are their thought process, how difficult it’s for them in life and how they need more than just medications. Honestly I wasn’t expecting this heavy topic in the book so it was total surprise but I was glad to read author’s realistic approach with this topic.

Climax was tense. As I said I wasn’t happy with characters’ decision at this point and wanted to shake them out of whatever they were thinking so they could see what was coming. I swear my heartbeats stopped for a moment and I was dreading what happened next. But at the same time something good came out of it, they learned many things, it changed their life and developed stronger and healthier. I like the end. It was great.

I thought I will rate this 4 because I was not happy with characters’ decisions and I wasn’t happy with Ridley and what he did throughout the book but when I gave it some time, put myself in their situation, it felt so real and apposite. They were just 17. Who has wisdom and maturity about love, life, and relationships at this age! And let’s not forget mental health issue. So, yes, full star to this.

Overall, Verona Comics was realistic, deep, complicated, and heartwarming YA LGBTQ cotemporary romance. I highly recommend this to fans of this genre.

Book Links:

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What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already or any books by the same author? Are you going to add it to TBR? Which book you read that features anxiety disorder?

HAPPY READING!!

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#BookReview : Autoboyography by Christina Lauren #Autoboyography #LGBT #Contemporary #Romance @simonteen

Autoboyography

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Publication Date: September 12th 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: LGBT / YA / Contemporary Romance
Pages: 407
Stars: ★★★★★

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him. 

*** Note: I read this book online available as free read on Riveted by Simon Teen. Many thanks to publisher. ***

Autoboyography was LGBT, contemporary romance that revolved around relationship between two high school boys in Mormon town. It was about finding and accepting true self, being you and loving yourself the way you are, family relationship, Mormonism, views on bisexuals and gays and their feelings, friendship, and m/m romance.

WOW! This book was amazing. Characters, plot, setting, theme, writing, monologues and dialogues, school, school work, seminar, book writing, those post it notes, and messages- everything from first word to last full stop at the end, I loved it all. Writing was gripping, flawless and beautiful. Told in first person narrative in witty and refreshing voice of Tanner made the book enjoyable.

Book started with Tanner telling about his friendship with Autumn ever since he moved to Utah, his life at Provo high in LDS town among LDS students and how suffocating he felt keeping his bisexuality secret because of his ex-Mormon mom’s past experience and what her family did to his mom’s lesbian sister. When Autumn challenged him to join the seminar that means he had to write entire book to pass the class, he went along with it thinking writing book in four month would be simple, a piece of cake.

Well, it was actually simple for him as this year prestigious LDS student and bishop’s son – Sebastian – was teacher assistant in this seminar who happened to be hot and handsome and sparks were flying when they met eyes in the first class. He inspired Tanner to write his own story and feelings, an autobiography with their story.

The attraction and infatuation turned into real feelings and love but every love story has obstacles and here it was Mormon religion. Sebastian and his family were through and through Mormon, their religion and beliefs don’t accept gay relationships. It was interesting to find out where this relationship and feelings lead Tanner and his book on his bisexuality, will Sebastian reciprocate his feelings and if so, will he keep it secret, and what will happen when Sebastian’s family will know about his sexuality and relationship.

Family dynamic was amazing. I loved Tanner’s family. Father- Jewish but not very Jewish or followed Jewish tradition and rules, Mother Ex-LDS, Aunt- Lesbian, and sister- a teen who was outspoken and true gothic lover. Tanner’s parents were so supportive, understanding and lovely. I loved the way they waved their gay friendly flag. They accepted their son and daughter the way they were, answered their all curious questions, discussed things, loved them unconditionally. They raised equally amazing son, Tanner.

Tanner was best, my new favorite character who won my heart. He was smart, funny, and adorable. He wore his heart on sleeves but at the same time he was being cautious in town of Mormon. And when he fell in love, wow, he was on cloud nine and was writing such romantic book. He was developed character but not totally perfect. There was a moment when he made huge mistake but he wasn’t the one who would turn his head away and run in opposite direction. He was one of those who will face the situation and solve the problem. I loved that in him. His feeling, thoughts, and reactions were heat felt and so realistic.

Sebastian was written wonderfully. He was perfect son, perfect LDS, perfect student and to-be-published author. He has even perfected his smile and facial expression but he was gay and that was imperfection for him. I could see why he felt it was wrong to use gay word or accept it. He lived and was brought up in house and town that felt the same and it was instilled so deep in him. Like Tanner, I loved it when Tanner made him throw that perfection and false smile out of window and accept the real him and let his feeling come out. But it took lot of chapters and pages, heartbreak and suffering for him to accept who he was, what he wanted and decide what to do about it. His development was slow and steady. We see much later what was going on in his mind but all his feelings and struggle was shown through his conversations with Tanner and what Tanner understood from his reactions and replies.

Best thing in the book was balance between family, friendship and romance. His friendship with Autumn was great. I enjoyed reading their time together and conversation between them. It did look complicated from the beginning and I suspected it will come in between Tanner’s relationship with Sebastian but I loved how they made things smooth at the end. I loved Autumn by the way.

I loved romance and chemistry between Tanner and Sebastian. There was instant attraction and it took less time in turning that to boyfriend and love but doubt and complications was always there. Tanner knew giving Sebastian heart would be big mistake, his parents were right to worry and me too was dreading heartbreak as soon as they kissed first time. And when that heartbreak came, I hated Sebastian at that time. I didn’t want to understand his situation. How could he do that!

At climax, things turned from complicated to disastrous by Tanner’s mistake and then its admission. Honestly, I thought book will end here but then came second blow. Of course there need to be more because life is not that simple. I liked reading what happened at Sebastian’s home and what he felt in this part. End was good and epilogue was best.

Overall, it was lovely, heartwarming, refreshing, and the best contemporary romance and LGBT book I ever read.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon| Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and my review?
Have you read this book already?
Are you going to add it to TBR?
Which is your favorite LGBTQ book?

HAPPY READING!!

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