In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews!
I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.Fumbled by Alexa Martin
Series: Playbook #2
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Penguin on April 23, 2019
Also by this author: Intercepted, Blitzed
Format: eARC (336 pages) • Source: Publisher
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A second chance doesn't guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted.
Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she's built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it's all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.
TK Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he's moved on.
When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they've suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they'll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.
I really enjoyed INTERCEPTED, despite the incessant internal hashtagging that the main character did. There were some parts I didn’t love about that book though, so I was slightly concerned but optimistic about FUMBLED. I really had nothing to worry about though, because this book was even better than the first!
I loved TK when he made appearances in the first book so I was super excited to see that this starred him, in a second chance romance. Poppy and TK were together in high school… and TK has no idea that her nine-year old son is his. When they cross paths again at a club where Poppy works, sparks fly and she knows the truth will have to come out. I appreciated that this piece of drama was not dragged out; the honest moment happened early on instead of way-too-late like it would in most books. TK and Poppy had reasonable arguments, discussions, and conversations about everything. I loved their openness. There were actually quite a few moments where I expected there to be friction between them (about money, parenting style, etc.) that were handled perfect well and logically. It was genuinely refreshing to read in a romance novel where one person is a celebrity/athlete and the other is a normal person.
Like in INTERCEPTED, there was a slightly serious sideplot that felt like it came out of nowhere. I didn’t love those elements within both books (they really felt out of place) but it was good that they created more “outside” drama instead of just leading to the couple’s breakup or black moment. I have to admit – the ending of the story was not my favorite. I mean, I GET it for sure, but it wasn’t what I wanted for TK’s story. I’m probably just being a picky football fan, if I’m being honest, because every other thing about this romance was perfection.
Alexa Martin has an easy writing style that brings you in and makes you feel like you’re chatting with a friend. I love how quickly I can read her books and how they tend to fly by, just based on the conversational style alone. Overall, this was SUCH a great romance. I cannot wait for BLITZED next!
I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project by Lenore Appelhans
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Lerner on March 5, 2019
Format: eARC (272 pages) • Source: Publisher
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Riley lives in TropeTown, where everyone plays stock roles in novels. Riley, a Manic Pixie Dream Boy, is sent to group therapy after going off-script. Riley knows that breaking the rules again could get him terminated, yet he feels there must be more to life than recycling the same clich�s for readers' entertainment. Then he meets Zelda, a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (Geek Chic subtype), and falls head over heels in love. Zelda's in therapy too, along with several other Manic Pixies. But TropeTown has a dark secret, and if Riley and his fellow Manic Pixies don't get to the bottom of it, they may all be terminated.
Woof. I had very medium expectations for this one, primarily because no one read it and I wasn’t sure what it would actually be like to read. I’ll admit that the first 25-50% of the book was pretty enjoyable. The world-building was fascinating because this is a VERY meta book about tropes. Riley is a manic pixie dream BOY whose job is going in and out of various books, fulfilling his role until the book is over. He lives in TropeTown, where alllll of the tropey people live and fulfill their bookish destiny as well. For a book blogger and avid reader, this was such a cool idea. I’m obviously familiar with all the tropes and their structure.
Unfortunately that setup and the general idea of the book are the only things that worked for me. I’m still somewhat unclear about how the whole thing actually worked, but it’s not overly important. My issue was with the characters. From the synopsis, I thought the MPDB was trying to break out of his mold and develop his own personality. Therefore, I kind of expected him to have a different personality? He really was just a cutout of that trope. Same with all of the other characters, who were ALL MPDGs too. I don’t know, there was just nothing compelling about everyone. The second half of the story was weird too.
One quick note is that I think there are at least two instances where the author mayyyyybe directly pokes fun at John Green books? There’s a manic pixie dream girl named Nebraska (potentially a dig at Looking for Alaska, the title character being Alaska) as well as Riley’s first role being the “first manic pixie dream boy” in the cancer-related book (which could be about The Fault in Our Stars). I thought it was kind of funny.
I’m glad this was a short book and really quick to read. It’s one of those books where the concept was pretty awesome but the execution wasn’t great. Without connecting at all to the characters or seeing them beyond their trope at ALL, there was no way for me to care about this one.
I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 14, 2019
Also by this author: When Dimple Met Rishi, From Twinkle, with Love, Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love, Of Curses and Kisses, 10 Things I Hate About Pinky
Format: eARC (384 pages) • Source: Publisher
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The irresistible companion novel to the New York Times bestseller When Dimple Met Rishi, which follows Rishi’s brother, Ashish, and a confident fat athlete named Sweetie as they both discover what love means to them.
Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.
The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?
Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.
Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.
Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?
Naturally, I was so excited to read this book. After absolutely loving both DIMPLE and TWINKLE, SWEETIE was going to inevitably be another winner. I read the novella As Kismet Would Have It back when it came out and somewhat wished I waited until I read this one, since it technically happens after. Regardless, nothing was spoiled because this story was so wonderful.
My heart broke for her every time her weight was brought up (by a stranger or by her mother) because I fully know what that can be like. It’s frustrating to be the biggest person in a group while your smaller friends complain about how large they are; I dealt with that constantly throughout college and beyond. It was so hard to read the outside people commenting on her weight.
I LOVED Ashish, with his sort-of tough guy, overly confident exterior, and how Sweetie saw right through it from the moment she saw a picture of him early in the book. I also love that they went around their parents to see each other, after Sweetie’s mother decided that she was too fat for Ashish (even though the Patels clearly didn’t have an issue with that). They had instant chemistry and I really believed they felt like there was just ~something~ about the other person that drew them in to each other. It was genuinely adorable. The “contracted dates” thing was well-done and interesting.
There were definitely a few miscommunications or poor decisions made to create drama, but nothing out of the ordinary. It was so cute most of the time because they were honest to each other about their feelings for the majority of the book. I truly can’t think of any complaints for this one. I loved it.