I’m back at it again with the mini reviews.
This summer has basically been one massive reading and blogging marathon for me, and I’ve been slacking on my reviews lately, so it’s no surprise that today’s post features lots of mini reviews. Shh, no, I’m not scared of full reviews at all. I read all these books in June, but I still can’t wait to scream about them today!
Much to everyone’s shock, especially my own, this post will not only have YA contemporaries in it but also a fantasy novel! I know, the day that I don’t post solely about contemporaries deserves to become some sort of holiday. Or it should at least have a plaque in its honor because this is monumental.
I’m looking forward to talking about all the good books I’ve been reading lately, so without more nonsense rambling, besides this important reminder to go vote in the 2019 Book Blogger awards, let’s get into the reviews!
Title: Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss
Author: Kasie West
Page Count: 384
This was the first book I ever read by Kasie West, and I have to say, it set the bar high and was a great read to start off with. It was adorable, fluffy, and I genuinely loved every second I spent reading it! Which wasn’t a lot, because I flew through it in one sitting.
This story follows Lacey, an actress who is starring in her first big movie. What I loved about Lacey is that she knew exactly what she wanted in life, she was well on her way to achieving her dreams, and she wasn’t willing to let anyone stand in her way. It was amazing to read about a female character who was so sure of herself and goal-oriented.
The book takes place on a movie set, and I loved the unique setting. The reader also gets to know her costars and see her become friends with them, as well as watch Lacey navigate her family relationships.
Due to the cover of this book, it’s obvious that there is a love interest, and I have to say, I loved him (and the slow burn) quite a lot. The banter between Lacey and Donavan was everything I never knew I needed in life!! It was funny, it came naturally, and it left me excited to see how their relationship would continue to progress.
I truly enjoyed this book! I can see myself rereading it in the future, just because it was so cute and made me really happy.
I know I say this a lot when I do reviews, but it was just missing that extra something that would lead me to give it five stars! However, I still loved it so much.
Title: The Forbidden Wish
Author: Jessica Khoury
Page Count: 352
This was by far the best retelling I have read in a long, long time.
I’ve always underrated Aladdin because when I was little the creepy villain guy scared the heck out of me but this book made me rethink everything. I was enthralled by this story and I couldn’t get enough of the characters.
In this retelling, Aladdin finds the lamp that holds a jinni named Zahra. He releases her and she is to grant him the traditional wishes, but now there’s a catch. Aladdin and Zahra begin to fall in love with each other- but not only is Zahra not free from the curse of her lamp, she’s not even a human.
I loved the female power in this book (so many strong female characters that are raising each other up, not bringing each other down), the Middle Eastern setting, and Aladdin himself. Yes, he was a flirt and kind of a player but he was also adorable and?? I loved him way too much for my own good.
It was really interesting to read about Zahra battling with her own emotions. The last time she loved a human didn’t turn out good at all, and she knows she’s only digging herself into a deeper and deeper hole…but isn’t it worth it for love?
The world building, the romance (!!!!), the setting, everything had me reading this book with heart eyes. I loved it!
I felt like the pacing could be a little slow at times, but that has to be my only complaint. It was so adorable and writing this review made me want to reread it already!
Title: Love, Life, and the List
Author: Kasie West
Page Count: 400
Another Kasie West book, I know! After reading Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss, I was eager to get my hands on another one of her romances as soon as possible, and this book didn’t disappoint.
This book is about Abby, a girl who’s in love with her best friend, is dying to get her art in an art show, and has a lot of her things going on in her personal life. It does have a crossover (!!) with FFATFK, which I was 100% here for and may or may not have screamed over. Just a tiny bit, okay??
I’m always a fan of a friends to lovers, and I thought this one was done beautifully. Props to Kasie West for keeping up a great banter and relationship between Abby and the love interest, Cooper! They were both adorable and their romance was really well done.
I loved how there were a lot of smaller plots going on throughout the book- Abby’s relationship with Cooper, her art, her budding friendship with Lacey, her dad being stationed overseas, and her mom battling agoraphobia. I did feel like some of the smaller plotlines could have been better resolved at the end, though!
The only thing that’s keeping me from giving this five stars is that I didn’t feel like Abby’s character was that distinguishable. She reminded me a lot of Lacey from FFATFK and I just wish she had more defining personality traits!
I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a fluffy, sweet contemporary with a cute romance!!
As I said, this one was just short of five stars for me, but I still loved it.
Title: Somewhere Only We Know
Author: Maurene Goo
Page Count: 320
Looking past the insta-love aspect, Somewhere Only We Know is a cute contemporary filled with a lot of K-pop culture, delicious food descriptions, and a sweet romance. It wasn’t just another “we fall in love in one day” book.
I didn’t know much about K-pop before reading this, but it was very interesting and eye-opening to learn about the difficult lifestyle that comes along with it! The main character, Lucky, is a huge K-pop star known all around the world.
She’s in Hong Kong for a show, so when she runs into Jack, they “escape” together into Hong Kong, where they see all the sights and eat all the delicious food. I loved that we got to read from both of their perspectives and learn more about each other their lives!
I do have to say, there was one thing that made me really mad in this book- it’s something Jack was doing, and it’s somewhat of a spoiler so I won’t say it here, but this made it difficult for me to get a handle on his character and understand what was him being cute and adorable and chivalrous and what was him…not being those things.
Overall, I enjoyed this book! It was a sweet, cute read.
The issue I had with Jack’s character and the fact that this book was pretty insta-lovey and the timeline just seemed unrealistic brought down my rating a bit, but I don’t regret reading it and I can see myself reading more books by this author in the future.
Title: Goodbye, Perfect
Author: Sara Barnard
Page Count: 300
I didn’t know what I was getting into with this book. Quite literally- I meant to get another book by Sara Barnard at the library but I got this one instead. I have to say, it exceeded my expectations and left me stunned. I finished it in one day because it was just that good.
Goodbye, Perfect is about a girl named Eden, a typical high schooler with a boyfriend and exams coming up, whose life is changed when her best friend runs away with their school’s music teacher. Suddenly, everything she thought she knew about her friend and their relationship is altered forever.
The author definitely did a really great job handling the student-teacher relationship topic, and I think the message was able to get across a lot better since the main character wasn’t the one in the relationship, but was on the outside watching the consequences unfold. The best friend, Bonnie, was such a complicated character and I found it hard to grasp her thoughts and feelings.
Eden was also adopted, and her relationship both with her biological sister and her adoptive sister, as well as her adoptive parents, seemed really realistic and I enjoyed watching her grow and develop stronger relationships over the course of the novel.
The last thing that really stood out to me in this book was Eden’s relationship with her boyfriend Connor. It!! was!! so!! healthy!! I genuinely think this is the first YA novel I’ve ever read where there’s a solid romantic relationship that lasts the duration of the book. And they were always there for each other and Connor was so sweet and just. *tear* The romance was present, but wasn’t the central focus, and I loved that so much.
I think I’ll be rereading this soon, because it was powerful and beautiful!
I really liked this book and I can’t recommend it enough! It was a more hard-hitting contemporary that discussed important issues, but still managed to have its lighter moments as well.
There we have it, five books that I read last month and that I adored. There’s a lot more where that came from, and I’m hoping to get some more mini reviews posted in the near future. I just have read so many books that got me squealing and?? I just want to scream about them for ages. 😌
I hope this post could give you all some recommendations! All of these books are relatively summer-y, so if you’re in the Northern hemisphere and you’re a seasonal reader (I am really not, but I wish I was) then that’s an extra incentive to read them.
I hope you’re all having a lovely day! Here’s a wonderful week.✨
Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Did you add any to your TBR? What’s the #1 thing you look for in books? I’d love to talk with you all in the comments.