Review: When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya MenonWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Published by Simon Pulse
on May 30th 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Amazon, Goodreads

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Originally, When Dimple Met Rishi wasn’t on my radar. To be honest I hadn’t even heard of the book. Somehow it managed to slip right past my contemporary romance love detector. Luckily I have a very kind friend that read it, told me about it, and lent it to me. And let me tell you, thank goodness for this friend because without her I would have missed a really great book with a fantastic group of characters and a story to back it all up.

I’m not going to pretend I know a lot of Dimple and Rishi’s culture, arranged marriages, family obligations. I truly don’t, and that is part of what drew me to the book to begin with. I love learning more about those things while reading a truly great contemporary romance.  And Sandhya Menon did exactly that. She let me see a little but about a culture that is very different from my own and made me understand a little more about the arranged marriage tradition that I didn’t understand before. Seeing it through the eyes of two teens, on opposite sides of the matter, really was a great way to do it.

Because honestly Rishi and Dimple couldn’t have been any more different. They were 100% the other’s opposite. Rishi was all for tradition and family obligations while Dimple wanted to be free and make her own choices and not be weighed down by something she felt was out of her control. But as the story progressed and Dimple and Rishi got to know each other something amazing happened. They both started to grow-up and think about compromise and what was important to them and if they could both have what they wanted. They learned about being an adult from one another and the choices they were making for their future and I LOVED that. I loved that there was no right or wrong answer and that they learned that.

Honestly there isn’t much I didn’t love about When Dimple Met Rishi. I thought all the extra side stories were a little distracting and just that, extra. But I truly did enjoy this story of two people deciding what was right for them even if it went against everything they believed to be true. It was truly swoony to watch these two get to know each other and learn what it is like to be with someone. That is what When Dimple Met Rishi was to me, an amazing story of growing up. Definitely pick this book up. It will become a fave.

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Review: The Adjustment – Suzanne Young

Review: The Adjustment – Suzanne YoungThe Adjustment by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #3
Published by Simon Pulse
on April 18, 2017
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
Amazon, Goodreads

How do you go back to a life you can’t remember? Find out in this follow up to the New York Times bestselling The Program and The Treatment.

Tatum Masterson never went through The Program. She never had her memory stripped, never had to fight to remain herself. But when Weston, her longtime boyfriend and love of her life, was taken by handlers, she hoped he’d remember her somehow—that their love would be strong enough.
It wasn’t.

Like all returners, Weston came back a blank canvas. The years he and Tatum spent together were forgotten, as well as the week when he mysteriously disappeared before The Program came for him.

Regardless of his memory loss, Tatum fights to get Weston to remember her. And just as they start to build a new love, they hear about the Adjustment—a new therapy that implants memories from a donor. Despite the risks, Tatum and Weston agree to go through the process. Tatum donates her memories from their time together.

But the problem with memories is that they are all a matter of perspective. So although Weston can now remember dating Tatum, his emotions don’t match the experiences. And this discrepancy is slowly starting to unravel him, worse than anything The Program could have done.

And as the truth of their life together becomes clear, Tatum will have to decide if she loves Weston enough to let him go, or to continue to live the lie they’d build together.

Prepare for your Adjustment.

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I feel like I say this all the time, but Suzanne Young is a master. She amazes me every time I read a new book in The Program series with the genius way she writes the books and connects them. She has this ability to take a detail you don’t even think is important and making it into something you never expected in this series. She did it in all 4 of the other books I have read, and The Adjustment is no different.

It’s hard to really talk about Tatum and Weston’s stories without giving too much away. The Adjustment takes place after The Treatment (book 2) ended so The Program is no more and Tatum is now living in a world of after. No one knows what the effects of The Program are and how to actually go back to life before The Epidemic. It’s an uncertain time where people are scared about the effects from The Program. Returners are different. Their memories are gone and some are acting out. Because of this The Adjustment is created. The Adjustment is a way for returners to get their memories back and to start to feel connections to the people that were once taken from them. It is a program that is created with bits and pieces from Suzanne’s other books in the series and ties everything together nicely.

This is what I love about Suzanne’s writing and these books in particular. She manages to connect everything is a way you don’t really expect. She brings you back to the beginning, to everything you know and makes it all work together flawlessly. It is like the Godfather trilogy in a way. The movies weren’t released chronologically so you find out the after before you see the before. But when watched as a whole it all makes sense. That is what Suzanne has done with The Adjustment. She has made all the stories and couples that I know and love and made them all intersect in some strange way that just works.

Like I said, I can’t say too much about the actual book without giving away previous books and the important parts of The Adjustment. Just know that Suzanne does what she always does and your stomach is in your throat by the end and you are left wanting to know everything and needing the next book.

In case you were wondering this is how you should read this series:

The Program
The Treatment
The Remedy
The Epidemic
The Adjustment
The Complication (out 2018)

Basically add this series to your TBR.

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Review: Alex, Approximately – Jenn Bennett

Review: Alex, Approximately – Jenn BennettAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse
on January 1st 1970
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Swoon. That is the immediate word that came to mind while I was reading Alex, Approximately. I’m not going to lie, I fell in love with this story, the writing and the characters almost immediately. I was worried going in because I had such high hopes, but Jenn Bennett did not disappoint me. She gave me exactly the kind of book I wanted.

First, the plot of this has definitely been done. I’m not denying that. But when I was reading Alex, Approximately the thought never once crossed my mind. I felt like I was reading a brand new idea and I savored every page. Second, I’m insanely in love with Porter. If I didn’t already have a book boyfriend (I’m looking at you Etienne St. Clair) I would be all over Porter. He’s sweet and smart and sassy. He’s completely unexpected when you get to know him. Third, Bailey and Porter are all sorts of slow-burn explosive. They had such great push-pull chemistry. And man were they sexy, hot. I loved everything about them together. I just never wanted their story to end

Honestly a book like Alex, Approximately is why I got into reading YA books and blogging. It was heart-warming, it was sexy, it was smile inducing, it was amazing. Jenn Bennett delivered a book and characters that will stay with me for a long while. If it isn’t on you TBR you need to fix that immediately.

 

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Review: Fireworks – Katie Cotugno

Review: Fireworks – Katie CotugnoFireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray
on April 11th 2017
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon, Goodreads

It was always meant to be Olivia. She’s the talented one, the one who’s been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, is the levelheaded one, always on the sidelines, cheering Olivia on.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sometimes you pick up a book and you just don’t know how it is going to go for you. You’ve read books by the author and enjoyed one and was conflicted on the other. You like the premise but know it has the potential to go in a different direction than you expect. Because of these things you are almost scared to pick up the book. This was me with Fireworks. I was worried how I would feel about it. I was scared I wouldn’t love it. I was scared I would be disappointed or conflicted. Instead I got one of my favorite books of the year. Simply put…it was freaking fantastic.

There was so much I loved about Fireworks. The setting, the characters, the romance, the friendship, the plot, the writing. I loved it all and I loved it all because it meshed flawlessly together. As soon as I started reading and realized these girls would technically be my age now, I was sucked in. Then I got the the ‘boy band’ part and I was transported to the 90s. Then I got to the romance and I swooned. And finally I got to the heartache of strained friendships and I bawled. The book was magical in its beautiful woven parts and made me a fan for life.

I really can’t even find the words to tell you how genuinely in love I am with Fireworks. It was a book that just got me. I felt a connection to it and I just can’t explain why. It wasn’t what I expected yet it was what I wanted and more. Another must read in 2017.

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Review: Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans Welsh

Review: Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans WelshLove & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Published by Simon Pulse
on May 3rd 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon, Goodreads

A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

I was drawn to Love & Gelato by the cover. There, I said it, I judged a book by its cover and that’s why I bought it. I’m sorry, but I’m a sucker for ice cream-ish covers. After I got over the cover love, I got serious and looked up what the story was about. I was immediately invested. A mystery that unfolds in Italy and a story about a 16 year old girl and the father she never met? Yes please. It just screamed a me book, and it was…to an extent. Honestly I really enjoyed Love & Gelato. It lived up to my expectations in a way. But there was one part that didn’t do it for me and it was the romance.

Before I get into the romance part let’s talk about what I loved: the diary/journal mystery unfolding, the relationship between Lina and her father, and the use of Italy. The diary/journal part of Love & Gelato was truly the star of the show.  Reading how Lina learned about her mother’s history and find out a part of her life that she never knew about was such an amazing experience as a reader. By getting to know a part of her mother this way, Lina got to see Italy and what her mother fell in love with and she got to know her father. Without that diary Lina would have missed out on what Italy had to offer which would have been a shame. Instead she got an experience all her own with her mother’s guidance that was really one of a kind.

And I really wish the story ended at that. For me that was all Love & Gelato needed, the journal and the eye opening experience. Instead a romance was added in and it just took away from the story for me, which is super rare because I’m always team romance. I personally think that Lina didn’t need to fall in love or have a boy she was crushing on for Love & Gelato to be a truly great book. For me the story was Lina falling in love with the idea of new experiences and learning her mother’s history. It just didn’t need the romance.

All in all I enjoyed Love & Gelato. If I could have taken the romance out I would have been 10 times happier and the book would have been given a solid 4 stars. With that said though I really liked this one and the story it told. I suggest you pick it up and see for yourself how you will feel.

 

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