Tag Archive for: Contemporary

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaTitle: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Series: Simonverse #1
Genre(s): Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance, YA
Pages: 325 (Kindle)
Source: Library
For: Play Book Tag
Rating:
Steaminess: 1 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight.

My Thoughts

I grew up in a very conservative religious family. Like many Christian religions, my religion believes acting on “same-sex attraction” is a sin. Because of this, I knew about SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. But, because it’s about a closeted gay teenager, I’ve always shied away from reading it. I began questioning my own sexuality about eight years ago and I came out as queer on June 1. I’m now ready to embrace that part of me without feeling shame, which includes reading LGBTQ+ literature.

Last year, I watched LOVE, SIMON on Hulu and fell in love with Simon Spier and his story. Because of the movie, I wanted to read SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. I decided to read it as part of Pride Month.

Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever.

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA is a heart-warming story of love and acceptance in all its forms. Simon’s coming out felt familiar. When I read about his fear of rejection and/or disappointing those he loved if he came out, I felt like I understood.

I really felt for him when he was outed without his consent and bullied at the hands of other students in his school. I actually really love how Albertalli used the bullying Simon faced as a way for him to feel supported by his friends, family, and teachers as they rallied around him.

I loved the characters in SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. I loved the relationship he had with Blue. I loved reading their emails to each other. They were fun and witty. I also loved his relationship with his parents and sisters. His family was protective and supportive, but not without their flaws which made the story more realistic.

Have you read SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for bullying.

Review: Every Summer AfterTitle: Every Summer After
Author: Carley Fortune
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320 (Paperback)
Source: Library
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
Steaminess: 3 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Six summers to fall in love. One moment to fall apart. A weekend to get it right. They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek--the man she never thought she’d have to live without.

My Thoughts

When I read Wendy’s review of EVERY SUMMER AFTER, I put it on hold right that second at my local library. There was a little bit of a wait, but I finally got it a couple of weeks ago. I’m so happy I read it because I adored this book!

The friends-to-lovers trope is one of my favorites and this one didn’t disappoint. I haven’t read many second-chance romances, but I think I will if they’re anything like EVERY SUMMER AFTER. I thought Fortune was a master at writing sexual tension between her characters, and I loved Percy and Sam’s interactions because of it.

Betrayals don’t cancel each other out. They just hurt more.

EVERY SUMMER AFTER is a heart-warming story of love, betrayal, loss, and redemption. I’m really glad I put my other reads on hold to make sure I got this one read before I had to return it to the library. Not only is it a fun contemporary romance, it also deals with some heavy themes to give the story some depth.

I ended up reading EVERY SUMMER AFTER in two sittings, which isn’t normal for me. If I can read a book that fast, then you know I really love the characters and story. I thought each character had distinct personalities and were fun to get to know. I don’t think there was a character I hated. Besides Percy and Sam, I also really loved Charlie, Sam’s older brother.

I adored the setting of EVERY SUMMER AFTER. It made me think of all the time I’ve spent sailing on Bear Lake with Corey and his family. Whenever the characters were on the dock down at the lake, I could picture it perfectly.

Ever since I finished reading EVERY SUMMER AFTER, I’ve been trying to decide if I want to give it 4 or 5 stars. I’m honestly still torn about it. For now, I’ve given it 4.5 stars, but I may change it to 5.

Have you read EVERY SUMMER AFTER? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for bullying and loss of a parent.

Review: The Love HypothesisTitle: The Love Hypothesis
Author: Ali Hazelwood
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
Source: Book of the Month
For: Book of the Month
Rating:
Steaminess: 4 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn't believe in lasting romantic relationships--but her best friend does, and that's what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees, Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor--and well-known ass.

My Thoughts

I’ve wanted to read THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS ever since I started blogging and reading again. The cover and synopsis drew me right in and I knew I’d love it. Now having read it, I wasn’t wrong. I adored THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS so much!

The fake-dating trope is one of my favorite romance tropes and THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS did it so well. The sexual tension was strong with this one. Hazelwood is really good at writing banter between her characters. I was giddy during most of the book because I just loved Olive and Adam’s interactions.

THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS is such a fun story. I really needed it right now. I felt so many emotions. I laughed, yelled, cried, and swooned. I stayed up until 2am on Wednesday finishing it because I couldn’t put it down.

I’m starting to wonder if this is what being in love is. Being okay with ripping yourself to shreds, so the other person can stay whole.

I loved all the characters in THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS, even the ones I was meant to hate. They each had distinct personalities and were fun to get to know. I especially loved Holden, Adam’s best friend, and Olive’s best friends, Anh and Malcolm.

I adored the setting of THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS, especially the representation of women in STEM. I know there’s some controversy as to whether a relationship between a professor and grad student would be allowed. Honestly, even if it weren’t allowed, I can suspend my belief enough because of how Hazelwood presented it.

THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS started out as Reylo fanfiction. (Yes, just like FIFTY SHADES OF GREY began as TWILIGHT fanfiction.) You can tell that the characters are based on Rey and Kylo Ren if you focus on it. If you don’t, the story works just fine one its own. Personally, I’m not a Reylo fan. View Spoiler » That being said, if this is how Reylo fans see Rey and Kylo Ren together, I now know why there are so many of them.

Anyway, THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS is a fun nerdy contemporary romance that also deals with some heavy themes to give the story some depth. I’m really glad I took the time to read it.

Have you read THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS? If so, what did you think?

Review: Dear Emmie BlueTitle: Dear Emmie Blue
Author: Lia Louis
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 311 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
Steaminess: 1 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address … and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached address, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens. Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him.

My Thoughts

When I read Wendy’s review of DEAR EMMIE BLUE, I put it on hold right that second at my local library. Fortunately for me, there was no wait and I got to pick it up the very next day. I’m so happy I got it as fast as I did because I absolutely adored this book!

OMG! This book! I can’t say enough good things about it. DEAR EMMIE BLUE reminded me of a cross between My Best Friend’s Wedding and something I’d read that’s written by Beth O’Leary. (If you don’t know, FLATSHARE by Beth O’Leary was my favorite book last year.)

I loved Emmie. I related to her so hard. I didn’t have a flighty mom and I knew my dad, but I’ve dealt with a lot of severe family drama since my early teenage years. I’m a victim of sexual assault and bullying like her. A lot of her fears and anxieties mirrored my own.

Maybe home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling. Of being cared for and understood. Of being loved.

I loved the other characters in the novel too. Her friendship with Lucas and his family was such a great way to set up the story. I loved Lucas’ brother Eliot and I loved his parents Amanda and Jean. Her work friends, Rosie and Fox, were fun and a bit dirty, which endeared them to me because I love dirty jokes. I loved her landlady Louise the most. I absolutely adored every scene with Emmie and Louise together.

I adored the setting. The constant go between England and France. It was so much fun to read about the two towns where Emmie and Lucas lived, the differences between them and Emmie and Lucas.

DEAR EMMIE BLUE is such a beautiful story. I really needed it right now. I felt ALL the emotions. There were times when I laughed, cried, yelled, and swooned. I was on the edge of my seat for the last two-thirds of the novel because I wanted to know how everything panned out.

I honestly don’t want to say anymore because I don’t want to give anything away. Just know that DEAR EMMIE BLUE may be a fun contemporary romance AND it’s so much more! It deals with some heavy themes that give the story some depth. It’s my second 5-star read of the year.

Have you read DEAR EMMIE BLUE? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for sexual assault (not rape) and loss of a parent.

Review: FangirlTitle: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 457 (Hardcover)
Source: Own
For: Unofficial Trim Challenge
Rating:
Steaminess: 1 Flames

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Goodreads Synopsis

Now that Cath and her twin sister are going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend; a fiction-writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world; a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words ... and she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

My Thoughts

I’ve been wanting to read FANGIRL ever since I first heard about it. I’ve just never gotten around to it. I’m glad I put it on my Unofficial Trim Challenge list because I finally read it and it was just as good as I’d hoped it would be.

I loved the whole concept of FANGIRL. Other than the writing fanfiction thing because I don’t do that, I connected with Cath so hard. I’ve been obsessed with fandoms like she and Wren are with Simon before. I’ve met friends in forums and then IRL who are still some of my best friends. I’ve traveled with those friends to settings in the books we love. And, I’ve read fanfics because I wanted those fandoms to live on.

There are other people on the Internet. It’s awesome. You get all the benefits of ‘other people’ without the body odor and the eye contact.

I also loved reading the excerpts not only from the “original” Simon books, but also from Cath’s fanfiction, especially CARRY ON, SIMON. The excerpts made me love the characters almost as much as Cath does. I’m excited that Rowell decided to write CARRY ON so I can read it at some point.

I loved the slow-burn romance between Cath and Levi. I loved their relationship. It was so cute and swoony. There were times when I wanted less Simon because I wanted more kissing, lol. And, I liked the story just the way it was too because Rowell explored some really tough subjects, like abandonment, addiction, and mental illness.

Ever since I finished reading FANGIRL, I’ve been trying to decide if I want to give it 4 or 5 stars. I finally settled on 4.5 stars, but that might change.

Have you read FANGIRL? If so, what did you think?

Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved BeforeTitle: To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 368 (Kindle)
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Rating:
Steaminess: 1 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. One for every boy she's ever loved. The letters are for her eyes only. Until the day they are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

My Thoughts

I’ve wanted to read TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE ever since it became a huge phenomenon because of the Netflix movie. Yet, I’m only just reading it now because it’s my IRL book club’s book for February. (I’m excited that I can finally watch the Netflix movie at least! Woot woot! ) There are minor spoilers in this review.

I really liked Lara Jean and her sisters. I also really liked the interaction between Lara Jean and the two main guys, the boy next door and Mister Cocky-Handsome-Everyone-Loves-Me. What I didn’t like is that two main guys meant that there was a love triangle. I despise love triangles. They’re my least favorite YA trope. They’re the main reason I don’t read as much YA romance anymore.

Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s part of the risk.

Even though TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE had a love triangle, I decided to be optimistic. I even told myself, maybe Lara Jean will end up with the boy I want her to. Of course, all kinds of chaos ensued and it was a lot of fun to read and witness. I actually really enjoyed the story, but the ending, or non-ending I should say, almost ruined it all for me!

I like choosing to read the next book in a series because I want to, not because I have to. I understand series have cliffhangers; I’ve just never read one quite like this and in the first book. At this point, I’m not sure I’m going to continue the series. I’ll probably just see if I can get what I need from the Netflix movie(s).

I’ve been trying to decide if I want to rate TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE 3 or 4 stars. I’m settling on 3.5 stars. (I find myself giving out more half-star ratings.)

Have you read TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for loss of a parent.