Month: April 2020

22 YA Contemporary Romances Teen Me Would Have Loved

Posted April 27, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 25 Comments

Happy TTT! Is it just me, or are the weeks both flying AND dragging? I feel like I’ve been in isolation forever, yet I also feel like I’m writing up TTTs every single day. It’s weird how that happens. Oh, before I forget. I’ve updated the TTT topic schedule through June (including TTT’s 10th birthday topic) and will be adding July soon!

Today’s topic lets us think back to a simpler, less chaotic time in our lives. As you can see by my post’s title I switched the topic up a little, but the actual topic is Top Ten Books I Wish I’d Read As a Child. Maybe you weren’t much of a reader as a kid (a.k.a. me), maybe the book you’re thinking of hadn’t been published yet, or maybe you just simply didn’t have the opportunity to read it then. Whatever the reason may be, tell us about the books that little you would have really loved or really needed to read.

I turned 13 in 2000, and contemporary YA romances were just not a thing back then. Actually, YA lit was barely a thing and if it was nobody knew about it. lol. When I went to the bookstore, I never saw any evidence that there were books written just for me. Apparently there was a shelf of “teen reads” in the back by the huge kids section, but I never noticed it. I read historical romance and mysteries instead. YA has now exploded and become an expansive ocean of books that I wish existed when I was a teen. The titles I’m sharing today are all 5-star favorites of mine, and I know I would have loved even MORE if I’d been able to read them as a teenager instead of as an adult. And no, I couldn’t limit it to 10! The book links will lead you to my review, which is where you will find more info on the book and all my thoughts!

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Save the Date by Morgan Matson
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
From What I Remember… by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore Stultz
Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams
Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Just One Night by Gayle Forman
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer*
(*This is the only one of my picks that was actually available when I was a teen.
I SO wish I’d known about this hidden gem! It’s exquisite!)

Are there any YA contemporary romances you wish you’d been able to read as a teen as well?
Or any books at all that you’ve read, but would have loved to read as a teen/younger child instead?

 


The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler | Book Trailer Reveal

Posted April 24, 2020 by Jana in Book Spotlight / 9 Comments

Hello! Today I’m helping reveal the book trailer for my favorite book of 2020 (so far!), The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler! I wrote a raving review for The Tourist Attraction back in February, and have been eagerly awaiting its release so I can have a beautiful copy for my bookshelves! This book trailer is so cute, and took me right back into the story. I guess it’s good that the book releases in less than two weeks, because I might be re-reading it when my copy arrives. Anyway! Here’s the trailer! Read more about the book below!

 

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
Series: Moose Springs Alaska #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on May 5, 2020
Genres: Contemporary FictionContemporary RomanceRomance
Pages: 352
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon

When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…

Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.

So what do you think of the trailer!?
Are you planning to read this thing of perfection?
Have you read it already? If so, what did you think?


Top Ten Book Titles That Would Make Great Band Names

Posted April 20, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 34 Comments

This week’s TTT topic was submitted by Michelle, and I thought it sounded like such a fun, light-hearted topic to do this week. This list is a mix of books I’ve read and hope to read. I’m not including covers because it’s all about the title this time!

1. Bent Heavens by Daniel Kraus
2. Headliners by Lucy Parker
3. The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
4. Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras
5. After Sundown by Linda Howard
6. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
7. Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
8. Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
9. The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott
10. Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino

What do you think of my picks? 
Which book titles did you pick this week?


Top Ten Books I Enjoyed but Rarely Talk About

Posted April 13, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 22 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! How are you doing today? Taking care of yourself and staying safe, I hope! This week’s topic is so much fun because it allows me to share my thoughts on books I rarely/never talk about here on the blog. Maybe these are books I read before I became a blogger, or maybe they’re just books that have fallen through the cracks! This is also a great time to share some books that, for one reason or another, never really fit a TTT prompt. Whatever the case may be, these are the kinds of books I’m sharing today!

1. Kiss and Tell by Suzanne Brockmann
I read this just a few weeks after we started The Broke and the Bookish. During that time, I was only assigned maybe 2-3 days a month to post reviews and this one kind of fell through the cracks! The entire trilogy is great, but this one was my favorite. I loved everything about this book… the setting, characters, plot, etc. I wish this kind of story would happen to me. I find the whole mysterious, masqueraded man kissing the lovely lady at midnight at a New Year’s Eve party and then vanishing, leaving her to find him extremely sexy and entertaining.

2. By Love or by Sea by Rachel Rager/Harlin
I have only three things to say.

1. The writing was beautifully done.
2. I want a Caleb Newman of my very own.
3. This was seriously one of the most adorable, clean romances I’ve ever read!

3. Austenland by Shannon Hale
This was actually the first books review I ever wrote for The Broke and the Bookish, almost 9 years ago! I’ve since published it here on That Artsy Reader Girl for sentimental reasons, so go have a read if you’re interested. Surprisingly enough, I’ve hardly talked about it since the day I wrote that review. I HATED the movie, but the book will always have a special place in my heart. I still giggle thinking about it.

4. Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker by Syrie James
Back in the olden days, this kind of books was very much out of my comfort zone. I was quite reluctant to buy it, but I kept thinking about it. When I found a good deal, I jumped on it and ended up really loving this beautiful story of love, deception, obsession, survival, and sacrifice. I was riveted, and could not put it down!

5. Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett
Did you know that Anna Scarlett is young adult’s very own Anna Banks (Of Poseidon, Joyride, Nemesis)? This is one of her adult reads, and I LOVED it. I read this for her back before it was published. She sent me a print-out of it with a clear plastic protective cover, back before it even had a cover image. I dug in right away, and was taken to another world. I can’t say a bad thing about this book. It’s got a little bit of everything (romance, sci-fi, action, amazing storytelling, perfect characters, etc.) and I think it would appeal to pretty much anyone. I can’t tell you how many times I’d told Anna how much I want a sequel.

6. Sleigh Bells In the Snow by Sarah Morgan
One of my favorite Christmas romances to date! It’s got a wonderful family dynamic, a cozy setting, and a swoonworthy male lead.

7. What I Did For a Duke by Julie Anne Long
This is a very slow-burning romance, filled with witty banter and sexual tension. And the ending. HELLO. I have never read a better ending in my life.

8. Boomerang by Noelle August
I read this 6 years ago, and it was the first NA book that I really loved. At the time, I felt it was so nice to see an author view my age group (NAs) as being about more than drama and poor life decisions.

9. Moonlight Seduction by Jennifer L. Armentrout
This is the second book in a trilogy that I binged one right after the other. I NEVER do this, but all three books were just so gripping and exciting. They’re part mystery, part romance, and part suspense/thriller. And it all takes place on a sprawling family estate in New Orleans (it felt like a planation home) that might be haunted.

10. A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
This might be my favorite Spindle Cove novel! I love our strong heroine, Minerva the geologist. She’s a bookish geek, and I love seeing those in historical romances.

What books did you share this week?

ALSO… I’ve mentioned this a couple times in a couple different places, but… on June 22nd (my birthday) Top Ten Tuesday turns ten years old! The next day (6/23) is a Tuesday, and it just so happens to be the 500th TTT topic. I’ve put out a call for opinions/help on how we should celebrate TTT’s birthday that week. Please visit this post for more info and answer the survey! I’d so appreciate your help!


Top Ten Tuesday Turns Ten!

Posted April 8, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 7 Comments

I can’t believe we’ve been at this as long as we have, but on June 22nd (my birthday) Top Ten Tuesday turns ten years old! The next day (6/23) is a Tuesday, and it just so happens to be the 500th TTT topic. I absolutely love that the numbers coincide in such a cool way! Anyway, I need help. I want that 6/23 topic to be fun and exciting and a way to celebrate a DECADE of TTT! I’ve been wracking my brain for months now, trying to come up with a topic people would really enjoy. Five things have come to mind:

  1. Top Ten Favorite TTT Lists I’ve Posted On My Blog
  2. Top Ten Favorite TTT Topics Ever Done
  3. TTT Throwback – Pick any past TTT topic
  4. TTT Update – Reactions to previous TTT’s you’ve done. For example: Have you read all/most/none of the books on your seasonal TBRs? Would you have picked different books for previous topics now? Did you finish the series you had hoped to finish? Did you accomplish any of your goals?
  5. Top Ten Things TTT has Done for Me – (helped you make friends, helped you find your favorite book, inspired you to create your own blog, expanded your reading horizons, etc.)

I’ve put out a call for help on Twitter, and have mentioned this milestone on a previous TTT topic. Some people have submitted topic ideas (pretty much variations of the first three of my ideas listed above). Either of the first two topics could be fun, but are they what the people really want to do? Is the third topic special enough? Will the 4th one even work because the blogging community has changed so much that many of the blogs that were around at the beginning aren’t even here anymore? Would the 5th topic even matter to most people?

Please fill out this survey with your opinions on TTT’s 10th birthday (especially if you’re a TTT participant or would like to celebrate with the bookish community on June 23rd).


Ten Books I Bought After Asking Twitter for Recommendations

Posted April 6, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 33 Comments

Happy TTT! Another Tuesday, another week of staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I hope you’re doing well and staying safe! This week’s topic is a fun one! I frequently ask Twitter for book recommendations, and the books I’m sharing today are ones I bought as a result of those tweets. I’ll share my tweet, and then list off some of the books I bought/acquired because of the recommendations I received!

1. Well Met by Jen DeLuca (Loved!)
2. Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne
3. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (DNFed…)
4. Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

 

5. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (recommended by Riley Sager himself!) (SO GOOD)
6. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
7. An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

 

8. Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant (listening now and I LOVE IT)
9. Mercy House by Alena Dillon
10. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (SO MUCH LOVE)

What books have you bought/read because someone recommended you read it?
I’d REALLY love to know if you’ve ever read something because I recommended it
to you, so please share if that’s happened!
Also, do you have any recs for me? I’m always looking for more books!


You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle | Book Review

Posted April 2, 2020 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 3 Comments

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle | Book ReviewYou Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
Published by GP Putnam's Sons on April 7, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They're preparing for their lavish wedding that's three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there's a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they're finally being themselves--and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

The first line of You Deserve Each Other‘s synopsis had me hook, line, and sinker. “When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé…” How could you not be intrigued by this kind of book? Lovers… to enemies… to lovers. This is pretty much never done in the book world (at least that I’m aware of). Contemporary romances tend to fall under a lot of the same tropes and storylines, so I was immediately excited to read something unique. And I LOVED it. Brand new favorite, pre-ordered the moment I finished it. If this book is not on your radar, adjust your radar. You’ll thank me later. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. This book begins right in the nitty gritty of Naomi and Nicholas’s relationship. There’s no meet-cute, no getting-to-know-you, no twitterpated glances across a crowded room. That’s all already happened. We are thrown into a relationship that is seriously on the rocks. It was so refreshing to see a real relationship from a different angle. Rather than starting at ground level and moving up, we’ve got a relationship that’s already been up there and is quickly plummeting downwards. I loved reading about these two characters, and their theories of how they got to this point.

2. I will admit that this book took a little time to hook me. The hatred, mostly on Naomi’s side (since she’s our narrator and her point of view is the only one we get to read), was so SO heavy. But once it took hold, I was fully invested in this story. If you find yourself bogged down or struggling, keep going!

3. Sarah Hogle did a really awesome job of keeping this completely hilarious while also bringing deeper issues to the forefront. When you really think about the premise of this story. it’s actually very sad. These two people, once very much in love, have pushed each other to the brink of ruin. They’re able to so perfectly and effectively push each other’s buttons because they used to avoid pushing them at one point. I laughed at Naomi’s inner ramblings of how much she couldn’t stand Nicholas. I laughed at their antics and their immature acts of sabotage. And then I felt sad for them because this is a relationship that is about to flat-line at any minute! But the entire time I also felt such a strong sense of hope for them. I’d see a glimmer of love here and there, and it’d make me yell: “STOP IT CHILDREN! Can’t you see how much you love each other!?” Naomi and Nicholas do a lot of reflecting and go through a lot of emotional baggage throughout the story and even though I mentioned the strong hate vibes, it was never too much for me. It felt very real and raw. I felt them longing for each other as often as I felt them resenting each other. It quickly becomes obvious that the money one of them would lose if they cancel the wedding is not the soul reason they haven’t called it off.

4. Naomi took some time to worm her way into my heart, but Nicholas got there almost immediately. He made a pretty dumb decision in the beginning of the story that had me side-eyeing him, but by the end I realized it was the absolute best decision he could have made for their relationship. The gears in his brain are constantly working on ways to save them. Yes, he’s really good at the emotional warfare but I never felt like he pushed things too far. Naomi seemed to be the one who had nothing to lose, and I felt like she hit below the belt more. Nicholas seemed to be reacting. He was protecting himself and retaliating more than instigating. I really felt for him, especially once I learned how sentimental and romantic he can be.

5. Many of the pranks and shenanigans were hilarious. Nothing felt abusive. These two are actually very passive aggressive, which readers will quickly learn is the bud of the issue. They bottle up their resentment and never talk about it with each other. Passive aggressive people can be super entertaining, though, and that’s why things worked so well in this story.

6. The emphasis on communication and working through your issues was strong in this book, and I really liked that message. You can’t ever stop working on a relationship. It’s not always easy. This message is not usually presented to readers in contemporary romance, and I really appreciated that Sarah Hogle was able to do this without sounding preachy. It was done in a very lighthearted way.

7. The writing is very sharp and smart, and I still can’t believe how Sarah made me feel so many things all at the same time.

8. The characters are so well done! Even our side characters are amazing. Naomi works at this quirky little shop and has some great friends. Her boss is the biggest teddy bear. Nicholas’s mother is the definition of a momzilla. You will LOVE how the momzilla situation goes down.

9. For those concerned… there is a way happier ending to this book that I expected.

I left out a lot of my feelings because this really is the kind of book you need to read and experience and form your own opinions about. I love Naomi and Nicholas. I loved watching their relationship. I loved all the fall vibes and the cute little cottage they lived in. I loved the lake in the back and the coveralls and the feelings. You Deserve Each Other is a sweet, real, hopeful story. I loved it.

5 Stars