“He tied the skull and crossbones around my neck… Turning back to him, I murmured, ‘you’re giving me a piece of you.’ … He closed his eyes and said in a rush, ‘I’m in love with you.’”
Hidden GEM alert! This is a twofer…Two books in one: The Boys Next Door (FAVE-squeal) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️& Endless Summer⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Hello, cute neighbor boys! Vader brothers! Team Sean 🥰 or Team Adam 🥰? Lori is one of the guys. Now that she’s turning sixteen, she wants to be seen as one of the girls. She’s been obsessed with Sean since forever. So she plans on making Sean jealous by fake dating his younger brother Adam. Insert love triangle. There are SO many cute and fun moments: wakeboarding at the lake, piggy back rides, secret handshakes, learning how to drive a truck, and sharing a soda and cheese fries. TBND was an adorable young adult summer read! Ps. Endless Summer picks up right where TBND ends and it’s way too spoiler-y for a review. There’s no more love triangle! Just prepare your heart for a roller coaster ride with some precious moments in between the mess. And remember this is a young adult novel 😜
“Friendship is messy. Hard. Infuriating. Awesome. Fragile. Durable. Impossible. Worth it. Always worth it.”
Marisa Kanter! Girl, this was cuuuuuuutesy. I appreciate your passion and knowledge for everything YA! I’m all about the abbrevs, tbh. Clapping 👏🏼 it 👏🏼 up 👏🏼 for this debut novel. 😜
Internet friends turn into IRL crushes. Halle Levitt is just a kid who bakes cupcakes that match book covers and has an opinion, like everyone else on the internet. Eye roll 😛. Halle created One True Pastry (OTP) under the pen name Kels aka 😎 incognito. Her blog, OTP, is dedicated to the two greatest things on Earth- YA books and cupcakes. Hi, I’m SOLD🙋🏼♀️. Nash Stevens, fellow blogger and crazy talented graphic novelist, is Halle/Kels pixel BFF. They chat about anything and everything. With the exception of who she really is🙈. Kels + Nash = Endless 😍 heart eyes😍. THE OTP. I ship them! Guess what! Halle arrives to spend senior year in her gramps small town where she just so happens to run into IRL Nash. 😱GASP! Nash has infiltrated Halle’s life. Halle has infiltrated Nash’s life. He invites her into Le Crew. Yet she remains a secret🤐 because she doesn’t want to ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. However, she’s falling for Nash IRL… but he’s in love with Kels. Love triangle! Fake love triangle? It’s more like a line since it’s only two people. EEP! Gramps is beyond precious! He’s a ⚡️Potterhead and it’s darling. Gramps took the sorting hat quiz. He’s a Hufflepuff. But has yet to come to terms with his Puff-ness.
All the HP references made me feel super young at heart and left me grinning 😁 like a Cheshire cat. Another thought…Nash and Halle deal with grief. Even though, on the screen as Nash + Kels, they thrive on sarcasm, banter, and angst, they deal with their grief as Nash + Halle. I related to Kels’ life lesson on friendship- 👭🏼real friendship- it’s not easy. “It’s knowing the world might be a trash fire, but it’s less trash when there are people to help navigate the darkness.” I love that. SO true in this season of quarantine. Check on yo’ friends! If you like the perfect escapism in the form of YA romance, this is for you. Now, who has curbside pick up for cupcakes?🧁
“I’m not sure if it’s all of it or none of it, but something has me feeling like I’m about to jump off a cliff- and I have no idea if I’m going to fall or fly.”
BINGE BOOK! Right here ☝🏼 Follow New Yorker, Mallory James, to 🇬🇧 London 🇬🇧 as she immerses herself into a new culture at Kensington School. She’s the hottest new bird and the recent exchange-student is bound to cause drama. In fact, if her time in London was a book, drama would be its theme. Don’t worry, she has Mohammad, a true gentleman, to guide her through the hostile and hormonal battlefield that is high school. Mal becomes part of the boy’s club: Harry, Noah, and Mohammad are all best mates. Harry meets her first at a local 🍻 pub. He’s the perfect combination of put together yet adorably undone. He looks like trouble. But he looks like fun. Harry is rich and preppy, but he’s hiding behind his outgoing personality. He has some DEEP hurts. Will he let Mallory in? 🤔🤷🏼♀️ Noah is the lad in the room next door. Her host family. He’s like chiseled, Roman statue hot. He is intense. And kind of rude. But also has this odd sense of humor that’s sort of funny. Noah does nothing by accident. Both boys are quite charming 🥰. And don’t forget… Best. Mates. Yet It’s more than that… They thrive off each other. Don’t get confused, Miss America! There’s one heavy scene where you’ll FEEL anger and jealousy. Sadness and heartbreak. Dah! I DEMOLISHED this story. So many What. Just. Happened. Moments! 👏🏼 I am (underline, italicize, bold) besotted with Jillian Dodd’s characters. I’m certain she’s proficient in British slang. I can hear Harry and Noah’s adorable accents! And a tricky love triangle that was my JAM! London Prep is bloody good fun! Mates! You gotta let me know who you ship! I’m rooting for a certain dish! You’ll desperately need book two ready because the ending is 😱 high-pitch screech!
“Our relationship was supposed to be fake. We had a clear contract that began and ended at school.”
“You’re the best girlfriend I never had, Becca Hart.” Cue 👏🏼 all 👏🏼 the 👏🏼 cheesin’ 👏🏼 The Upside of Falling brought me back to some Peter K mems. I adore the fake-dating trope. 🥰 Becca Hart’s stance on love is a solid nope 🙅🏼♀️ she comes from a divorced family and is still dealing with the pain of her father leaving. Therefore, she sticks to fictional romance. Book nerd! In her life, real relationships don’t work out. This is her exact reason for agreeing to a fake relationship with Brett Wells. 👩❤️👨 Mr. Wells is the ☀️ sun pouring in through windows, one-hundred-watt-smile with a contagious laugh that‘s loud and booming and demanding attention. He’s well loved by all. Football star. Perfect family. Should I put that in quotes? He’s the one who can blur the lines between reality and fiction. Brett agrees to the fake relationship to appease his dad. But for Brett heartbreak comes… The kind of heartbreak that eats at you slowly, tearing you apart. Becca sticks by his side. How could he not fall for someone with a heart so big. With all the downsides of love, Brett manages to show Becca the upside. Swoon. Their arcade date was SuPeR fun! Ps. I also adore when authors incorporate food in stories 🤤 Becca’s mom pours her heart and soul into her bakery, Hart’s Cupcakes. All the pastries: cinnamon cake and muffins and jelly bells and cannolis and cupcakes. Super cute and light-hearted and merry-making YA story, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Kasie West! 💕
CARAVAL “Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game. What happens beyond this gate may frighten or excite you, but don’t let any of it trick you. We will try to convince you it’s real, but all of it is a performance. A world of make-believe. So while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away. Dreams that come true can be beautiful, but they also can turn into nightmares when people won’t wake up.”
“I’m only staying for a day”. Oh, Scar. Girl gets SUCKED into the world of Caraval Master Legend. This was so GOOD! Perfect YA fantasy. Clean read for teens… no language and an appropriate sweet romance 🥰 there’s definitely a mystery feel to this story. WHO is Legend? 🤔 and WHERE is Tella, Scarletts sister? That’s the entire game. All the players are searching for clues that will lead them to Tella. What does this years winner get? One wish granted by Legend. Scarlett and Julian team up during the five nights of Caraval in order to find the remaining clues, the girl, and then Legend’s wish will be…
The clues are not easy to retrieve. Some will make you question your sanity and all that you believe. Most will fail. But one will surely succeed. So many good twists and turns and revelations! 😱 The tale of two sisters and a very untrustworthy game master. You’ll get HOOKED in the blurred lines between fantasy and reality! The vibe is very much like a Baz Luhrmann movie meets a Florence + the Machine song. Aside from the game, Scarlett believed she could be content as long as she married someone who could take care of her. That is until Julian brings out a desire for something more than an arranged marriage. BUT can she trust him? What’s real? What’s part of the game?
LEGENDARY “… it seemed this game would follow another pattern.”
“Tella has dreaded that was her true ending. But she was too young for endings. Her adventures were only beginning. They would be bigger than promises, and brighter than constellations. By the end of them, Tella would be the legendary one.“
Welcome, welcome to Caraval… the games have only just begun. *schemingly rubs hands together*. Book TWO. Donatella (Tella) has saved them.. her sister, Scarlet doesn’t have to go forward with her arranged marriage and they have escaped their dangerous father. BUT Tella, has made a bargain with some mysterious dude. She MUST deliver Caraval Master Legend’s true name. 🧐
…. let the games begin. Again.
This game is different from the last time. The Fates were locked away but now they wish to come out and play. Follow the clues to find the dark object that can destroy them forever. Tella throws herself into the ✨ magical ✨ contest once more and the only chance of escaping her bargain is winning this match of Caraval in order to uncover Legend’s identity as her prize. Of course, there’s a doomed loved story and secrets and sacrifice. Don’t underestimate Dontella Dragna. Girlfriend is a BAWSE. Dante is still 🔥🥰 the most beautiful liar. SWOON. This one will leave you still questioning what’s game and what’s truth. 💣 be dropped in this one! TWO 💣💣 of them. One you won’t see coming. And is this going to be a love triangle? 🤷🏼♀️
FINALE “Love is messy. It’s not easily controlled. But that’s what makes it so powerful. Its unbridled passion. It’s caring about someone else’s life more than your own.”
Welcome, welcome to Finale…All games must come to an end. Caraval is dunzo. 🙅🏼♀️ Over. No more. Basically the world is falling apart and Tella, Scarlett, Julian, and Legend have their lives at stake and hearts hanging in the balance. There’s lies and manipulation. Sacrifices to be made. Fears to overcome in order to not give the Fates more power. Perhaps the greatest game of all has begun: find the weakness of the Fallen Star who is connected to all of The Fates. In the process, Tella throws herself at the boy she loves even harder and cracks her heart open even wider and Scarlett uncovers an empire of shocking secrets leaving her in tears over the horror of it all and wonder of what it could have been. I was on edge reading the almost-ending… like HOW are they going to get out of this. and WHEN is my team going to fall in love. Is this series really over? Say it isn’t so! Or is SG writing an Encore? Regardless, I am going to need some more of Stephanie Garber in my life. In all of her acknowledgments, Stephanie expresses her gratitude to God for being able to write. I thank God for those miracles for you too, Stephanie. 🙏🏼
“Fear was poison to love. And love was poison to fear.”
F-O-X. Ugh. Classic Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Do they have a ship name? ToMeg? Weird…but I’m here for it. Anyway, this is my fave movie. FAVE! Here’s a little synops of this 1998 rom-com: Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox bump into each other in an online chat room. IRL, they’re competitors in the book industry. Online, they’re simply Shopgirl and NY152. “‘What will NY152 say today?’ I wonder. I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: ‘You’ve got mail’. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beat of my own heart. I have mail. From you.” The anonymous Internet romance begins. Each is oblivious of the other’s true identity. Eventually, Joe learns that the enchanting woman he’s involved with is actually his business rival. He must now struggle to reconcile his real-life dislike for her with the cyber love he’s come to feel.
“I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly”
“Don’t cry, Shopgirl. Don’t cry.”
Naturally, I need to read all the You’ve Got Mail tropes. I scoured the world wide web and found FIVE novels that are worthy of your eyeballs. Kindly scroll to allow said eyeballs to peruse stories similar to You’ve Got Mail.
Based on the beloved play, Same Time Next Year, by Bernard Slade.
“They turned on the TV and found a movie that was just starting: same time, next year with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn. It was about a couple who meet at a seaside hotel in 1951 and decide to return together on the same weekend every year, even though they are both married to other people.”
Chapter one: It’s 2020, present day, when Link’s mother, Mallory Blessing, is placed on hospice and gives him instructions to call a mysterious number. It’s Jake McCloud. Tall, strapping, clean cut, and when he smiles… gah! But his WIFE is none other than Ursula DeGoursney, front runner in the upcoming presidential election. So yeah, Link is confused. HOW? Why? 🤷🏼♀️🧐 WHATS the backstory?
The subsequent chapters are all flashbacks starting with that sweet summer of 1993 when Mallory inherits a cottage on Nantucket, hosts her brother’s (Cooper Blessing) bachelor party and finally meets Cooper’s college friend Jake. And let me tell you… Jake is completely gobsmacked by Cooper’s little sister. Their phone calls, before meeting, we’re precious! Adorable! After watching Same Time Next Year, Mallory and Jake decide to do it, no matter what happens, and make it tradition. For TWENTY EIGHT summers they meet back at Mallory’s cottage. However, Jake is hung up on his hometown girlfriend, Ursula. She is his kryptonite and they have a history together. There is SO much AGONY in this story. Such deep sorrow. You go through life with Mallory, Jake, and Ursula. You FEEL for them. Love, longing, guilt, joy, misery, and confusion. You HOPE for them, even though you know it’s utterly wrong, living in their happy bubble one weekend per year, for three magical days.
Reading this, I found myself questioning if this was something out of All My Children, but it wasn’t a soap opera, this is Mallory and Jake’s real life. I 😭 BALLED 😭 my eyes out the last chapter. Tearing up now 🥺 Even though, I did in fact, read chapter one and knew from the book description that Mallory is on her deathbed. I got so wrapped up that I almost forgot. If you’ve read the Winter Street series you get to see a little of the Quinn family: the Christmas Eve party, Kelley and Mitzi, high school Ava Quinn. I sense this just isn’t it. It can’t be the end? There’s another one right? The last sentence of the final chapter, makes me feel like there’s another book? Maybe that’s just my hope and desire for closure. 😢🥺💔😭
Enough agony! LOOK at all the FIVE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star reviews. I agree! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 Best one yet, Elin! The culinary dishes mentioned through the book are seriously 😋 mouth watering. 🤤 Tantalizing! I want Sarah Lee Chase to be my new guiding light with her Nantucket Open-House Cookbook. Also, when music is incorporated into a book I FEEL it so deeply. Now when I hear Cat Stevens playing hard headed women, don’t mind me crying. 😭 Give it a listen when you read this one!
“I love you too, Mallory Blessing, he says. I. Love. You. Too. It works; tears are standing in her eyes. She hears him – and, more importantly, she believes him.” ——————————————————————————— I 👏🏼 am 👏🏼 WRECKED! You know the gif of Darla from Little rascals squishing a soda can?
Well, my heart and hope were in that little can that was smashed to smithereens 😭. Here’s what I know about Elin: ☝🏼, she’s the queen of the beach read, and ✌🏼she’s notorious for her cliff hangers. THAT ENDING IS A CLIFF HANGER RIGHT?🤪😩