Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith

GoodReads Summary:
Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, British-born Hugo is still determined to take his last-hurrah-before-college train trip across the United States. One snag: the companion ticket is already booked under the name of his ex, Margaret Campbell. Nontransferable, no exceptions.
Enter the new Margaret C. (Mae for short), an aspiring filmmaker with big dreams. After finding Hugo’s spare ticket offer online, she’s convinced it’s the perfect opportunity to expand her horizons.
When the two meet, the attraction is undeniable, and both find more than they bargained for. As Mae pushes Hugo to explore his dreams for his future, he’ll encourage her to channel a new, vulnerable side of her art. But when life off the train threatens the bubble they’ve created for themselves, will they manage to keep their love on track?
Field Notes on LoveReview:
Field Notes on Love was exactly the sweet romance I wanted it to be. I loved everything about this book from the characters to the settings. It was sweet and heartwarming and even sad at times.
I loved Mae. She has two dads and a grandmother that are a huge part of her life. I loved the family aspect for both of the characters. Her being close to her dads and her grandmother made the story even better. I liked that despite their closeness, Mae was doing something for herself, trying to branch out in the world on her own. I also really loved her love for making films. I thought this was such a fun addition to the story and the film she made with Hugo on the train was the best.
Hugo was a very interesting character. He is one of six (?) brothers and sisters, all born on the same day (I can’t remember the name for twins of this number), but he wants to know what it’s like to be out in the world on his own. His siblings can’t understand that, but oh boy can I. I have three brothers and two sisters and I totally understood Hugo’s wanderlust. I loved that he put himself out there trying to find another Margaret so he could still go on his trip.
Overall, I loved this book. It warmed by heart, also made me laugh, and sad at times. The author wrote a wonderful story of self-discovery and love. It’s one I would definitely recommend.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

GoodReads Summary:
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
Tweet CuteReview:
I loved literally everything about this book. Tweet Cute was so adorable and funny and heartwarming. I have to give a huge thank you to Meghan Harrington with Wednesday Books for reaching out to be a part of the blog tour for this book. I’m so happy to be a part of the team shouting about this book!
Pepper is a girl with tons of parental pressure. The pressure to help run her family’s corporate Twitter (even though they literally have an employee that’s supposed to do it) and get good grades on top of that at her elite prep school. She also runs a baking blog with her sister (so yes, I will be trying to make one of their creations for an installment of Books & Baking.) Her desserts sound so freaking yummy.
Then there’s Jack, living in his twin brother’s shadow. He spends his time either diving with the school’s team or working at his parent’s restaurant. So, when he sees that Big League Burger has released a new grilled cheese that even has the same name as the one his parent’s restaurant, Girl Cheesing, is known for, he tweets from the Girl Cheesing account. It’s the tweet that launches a twitter war between the two.
I loved the banter between the two twitters. But even more, I loved the banter between Pepper and Jack. I’m one million percent team PepperJack forever. I really appreciated that Pepper wasn’t really comfortable with the whole thing and acknowledged that to her mom, though her mom pressured her to continue tweeting anyway. I thought it was great that once Jack found out that it was Pepper on the other side of the Big League Burger tweets they made it into a fun sort of game.
There was so much I loved about this. The baking, the banter, and the realizations. The development of the characters as individuals was so well done. They learn more about themselves, they talk with their parents and learn more about them, and they develop together as well. I thought it was all just done so well. I will be shouting about this book from the rooftops for the foreseeable future. So, just do me a favor and read it as soon as it is released.

Quotes:

“But sometimes even shouting into a void feels better than just staring into it.”

“It’s weird, how you have no idea how far you’ve come until suddenly you can’t find your way back.”

“Do you ever feel like someone just took something from you?” Yes, I want to say. Sometimes it feels like it’s been four years of this place taking and taking, and I’m all out of pieces to give—like I don’t even know the shape of myself anymore.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

GoodReads Summary:
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)Review:
After a long week of my husband being away at a wedding and taking care of my daughter without him, I was due for some much-needed self-care. So, I picked up The Bride Test and settled into a glorious bubble bath.
While I didn’t love this book as much as I loved The Kiss Quotient, I still really enjoyed it. I liked that Khai, while super-hot, wasn’t your usual male love interest. Nothing about this book was the usual. Khai was annoying at times. I just wanted to shake him. But I think that also made me like him even more.
I felt the same about Esme. At times, mostly in the beginning, I just wanted to shake her. But by the end of the book, I adored her. I really enjoyed how she made a plan to stay in the States that didn’t have to do with Khai. She was going to earn her way and not depend on a man to get the things she wanted. I just loved it. I loved how smart she was and her enthusiasm to just enjoy her time in America.
I really loved the way these two eventually came together. I loved that this wasn’t your typical romance. It still followed the same formula for the most part but the characters and the story was unique and I really enjoyed it. I think any romance lover would enjoy this fun story with a diverse cast of characters.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

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GoodReads Summary:
Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.
Ethan wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.
Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let Ethan in, though, she finds out their reunion might have nothing to do with love and everything to do with improving his game. But Ethan’s already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he’ll do anything to keep from losing her again.
The Good Luck CharmReview:
I’ve been loving romance novels this holiday season. There’s just something about a good romance during December. I read another Helena Hunting novel a few weeks ago and had to pick this one up when I saw it in the book store. I’m glad I did.
I really enjoyed this. I love the theme of exes or people with history reconnecting and working out their differences. Helena Hunting does a really good job with this trope.
I liked Lilah. I liked that she didn’t just fall right back into her relationship with Ethan. I really liked that she had a plan for her future and that when that plan started to get seriously derailed, she took a stand and didn’t let herself get lost in her relationship. She’s a girl with educational goals and isn’t going to let the man she loves stand in the way of those goals.
Ethan was likable enough too. He doesn’t realize how much he hurt Lilah in the past and is trying to make up for it in the present. He pushes the limits of respecting her wishes but realizes that he could lose her again if he doesn’t.
I liked the pair together. Their history was well explained and I could totally understand the feelings between them. I liked that they communicated pretty well and took time apart when Lilah needed it. I thought it was a realistic relationship and I’m happy that everything worked out for them.
There was an interesting twist there at the end and I hope we get another book with Lilah’s sister and Dr. Lovely. I thought this was an unnecessary addition to the story, but I still appreciated it because it did relate to the root of some of Lilah’s issues.
Overall, I had fun reading this story. It’s one I definitely recommend.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

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GoodReads Summary:
Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.
But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…
The FlatshareReview:
Wow, I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. I’ve heard so many people raving about it, but when I started, I was underwhelmed. That quickly changed.
I really liked Tiffy. She’s quirky and interesting. I adored her job and how much she loves it. I adored what a hard worker she was. She was also a good friend. Seeing her learn that her past might not be what she thought it was, was interesting and empowering in a way. Seeing her realize that her ex wasn’t who she thought he was, was relatable because I’ve been there and it’s hard to come out of that and piece yourself back together.
I had a bit more trouble with Leon’s chapters. The way they were written was honestly just irritating. Incomplete sentences and half thoughts. It was annoying. But I grew to love him. He valued family over everything and I adored that about him.
Two people sharing an apartment and a bed was honestly just so funny. Seeing these two try to live with one another but not actually with them was full of hilarity. I absolutely loved the back and forth through their notes to one another. It was wholesome as hell and well done.
Overall, I was surprised by how much I loved this book. It covers tough topics while also being a sweet romance. I think it was all very well done and I will definitely be reading more by this author in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

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GoodReads Summary:
Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.
Jack is charming, wildly attractive, and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in her family’s closet tear them apart?
The Anatomical Shape of a HeartReview:
If you’ve been following me for a while, this will be no surprise to you because I’ve read, reviewed, and loved all of Jenn Bennett’s other books. The Anatomical Shape of a Heat was sweet and wholesome, but also realistic and included important things.
I love Bennett’s books because the characters are always incredibly interesting and unique. Bex is trying to win a contest so she can go to school to make art for medical textbooks and such. She goes to a local college and spends time drawing medical cadavers. This was beyond interesting. I loved that it wasn’t just something easy for Bex to do. It was harder than she thought it was going to be.
Then she meets Jack. I adored Jack. He was kind and caring. He was mysterious and I loved it. I loved his family background and the struggles they’d been through.
I thought this pair was so cute together. They encouraged one another and I totally adored their relationship.
Overall, this was such a fun book. The characters were loveable and interesting. Their families were complex and compelling. The story was enjoyable and quick to read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

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GoodReads Summary:
Annika Rose likes being alone.
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can’t read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn’t seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she’s not sure he’ll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.
Annika Rose likes being alone.
Except that, actually, she doesn’t like being alone at all.
The Girl He Used to KnowReview:
I’m going to start off by saying that I read this book because it was one of the GoodReads Choice Awards final nominees and it was available from my library. I wish I never read this because it was…not good. I haven’t decided if I’m going to include spoilers in this review or not but proceed with caution in case I do. I waited a bit to write this review because while I enjoyed the story while I was reading it after I finished it just didn’t sit well with me. The more I thought about it, the more it made me uncomfortable.
This is a story about Annika, who is autistic, and her college sweetheart. The writing flashes back and forth between the past and the present, giving us the story of how they met and fell in love, and then also how they reconnected. I liked this method of storytelling using the past and present to develop the characters. I just, didn’t like them?
Annika is described as delicate, childlike, and too often treated like a child. I really didn’t like that because, despite her autism, she’s still a capable adult. I didn’t like her being infantilized in the way she was. It might have been okay, but the author answered a GoodReads question saying she does not have any friends or family that are on the autism spectrum so everything she wrote was from research. This is clear because it almost seems as if she went down the checklist of traits.
Jonathan was nothing special. He was a guy that happened not to be a complete piece of shit. I know Annika experienced some of the more unpleasant men in the world, but Jonathan was just a decent guy. I mostly liked him, but all around just didn’t care.
I also didn’t really care for the event that broke them up. I feel like it may have been used as a plot device which is not okay to me. I cannot speak to the accuracy of Annika’s experience because it’s not something I’ve gone through. I just have to say that it left a bad taste in my mouth.
Finally, the ending. This is going to be where I get into spoilers. So, if anything above had somehow made you want to read this book, stop reading this review so the ending is not spoiled. It came out of nowhere, though I should have seen it because of the dates that head the chapters. Jonathan and Annika have a fight about how she runs when faced with problems, which is true, but they work it out and she agrees to stop running when things are hard and to fight for him. That’s great, I liked this exchange. But I did not at all like the situation the author set up for Annika to prove that she would fight for him. It’s September 11th and Annika is home taking a mental health day. She’s watching the news and sees the first plane it the World Trade Center. It just so happens that Jonathan is in the South Tower for a meeting. She calls him and tells him to get the hell out now and explains what happened. The towers fall and Annika does not hear from him. She puts aside her fear of driving, rents a car, and drives from Chicago to New Jersey to meet her best friend. They scour the city in search of Jonathan. Eventually finding him as a John Doe in the hospital. Great, awesome, she showed shell fight for him and there’s a happily ever after. But using one of this country’s worst days in the history of this country? NOT OKAY. I mostly liked this book up until this point. It was shocking and I almost couldn’t believe what I was reading. The author could have come up with countless other situations for Annika to prove that she was willing to fight for Jonathan and wasn’t going to run away when things were hard. Instead, she chose to use one of the worst days in America’s history as a plot point. Her editors thought this was okay? I’m blown away by the number of people this went through that all somehow thought this was acceptable.
Okay, now that I have ranted about this book. I’m going to leave you with some suggestions that I think are much better for you to spend your time on than this book. If you’re looking for books with autism representations try reading The Kiss Quotient or The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, both were very good. If you’re looking for a well written and well-handled story about 9/11 try reading Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum. That’s all I’ve got for you today folks. Thanks for coming to my rant review.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.