5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · LGBTQIA+ Books · Young Adult

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

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The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

Published: April 3, 2018

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Pages: 284

Genres: young adult, contemporary romance, contemporary fiction, LGBTQIA+

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: summer fun books with substance, adorable romances, books about bloggers

Foodie Vibes: the best burger you can get

 

Synopsis: 

Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Abby knows it’s a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes.

Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She’s somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.’s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story?

But when Jordi’s photography puts Abby in the spotlight, it feels like a betrayal, rather than a starring role. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?

Is this just Abby’s summer of fashion? Or will it truly be The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles)

 

Review:

The Summer of Jordi Perez is the perfect book for a late summer read. Fashion, photography, pink hair, fruit patterned dresses, internships, new relationships, and the search for the best burger in town. It’s a winning combination to create a fun but substantial read. Even though we look nothing alike (her fashion sense is way better than mine) I definitely relate to Abby. She’s unsure of herself, doubting her abilities, even though she’s very talented. I also appreciated that Abby’s whole personality doesn’t revolve around being gay. It’s discussed with her friends and family, and she has a girlfriend. But it doesn’t define her as a character. She’s so much more than one thing. And a book with characters who blog, Abby and her mother, a definite win for me!

There are very few things that I disliked in the book. As with many young adult books, some of the situations could have easily resolved with communication. However, it’s realistic that teenagers may not be great at communication and problem solving all the time. 

The Summer of Jordi Perez is seriously cute! I cannot get enough of it. I hope the author writes a sequel or other books with similar vibes. I highly recommend it!

 

Have you read The Summer of Jordi Perez?

How many of you have dyed your hair a fun color before?

3.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Chick Lit · contemporary romance · Humorous Fiction · Uncategorized · Women's Fiction

Book Review: One Good Thing by Wendy Wax

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One Good Thing by Wendy Wax 

Published by Berkley Books on April 25, 2017

Pages: 368

Genres: chick lit, women’s fiction, contemporary romance, humorous fiction

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: beach reads, chick lit, strong determined women

Read with food: strawberry margaritas (21+ and be safe!) and your junk food of choice

 

Synopsis:

Before you can fix it up, you might have to tear it down…
 
Embroiled in a battle to regain control of their renovation-turned-reality TV show, Do Over, Maddie, Avery, Nikki, and Kyra find themselves holding tight to the frayed ends of their friendship and relationships.
 
Maddie must face the realities of dating a rock star once again topping the charts and dealing with her hapless ex-husband, while Avery is caught up in family drama even as she attempts to transform a tiny cottage into a home for the newly impoverished heiress who helped bankroll their last renovation. Put on bedrest, a hugely pregnant Nikki can’t quite believe love can last, or trust in her own maternal instinct. And Kyra, who has secretly put Bella Flora at risk in an attempt to salvage Do Over, must decide whether to accept a desperately needed bail out from her son’s famous father that comes with far too many strings attached…
 
But friendship is made for times like these, to keep each other—and their dreams—from crumbling.

Review:

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to the publisher and author for a copy. As always, an honest review.

If you’re looking for a fun summer beach read, One Good Thing fits that criteria. Good friends are all going through different life changes from pregnancy to loss of relationships to financial hardships. The setting for all these life changes happens in sunny Florida in a beachside community.

Now onto the pros first:

It’s a fun breezy summer read, and it’s currently summer where I live, so the mood is perfect. With four completely different stories about the four main characters, there’s always someone and some circumstance for the reader to relate to. The life experiences are also a great mix of fun, relatable, and serious. The author is really good at painting a picture of the gorgeous beach setting. I felt as if I was right there on the sandy beaches of Florida. 

Despite all of these wonderful elements, it took me awhile to get into the book. I was reading short segments at the beginning, so that may have contributed. Eventually I found my rhythm reading and really enjoyed the story. Also I wish that all the storylines were as strong as my favorites in the book.

Overall, a fun summer read that would be great for this heat wave that half the country is currently experiencing. 

4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Humorous Fiction · Realistic Fiction

Book Review: Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden

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Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden

Published by River Street Books on August 1, 2018

Pages: 319

Genres: realistic fiction, humorous fiction 

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: workplace settings, socially relevant novels, realistic fiction 

Read with food: cheetos~ the real thing not that baked stuff 

 

Synopsis: 

From the mundane to the insane, Adequate Yearly Progress captures the teaching experience with insight, humor, and heart.

Each year brings familiar educational challenges to Brae Hill Valley, a struggling urban high school in Texas. But the school’s teachers face plenty of challenges of their own. English teacher Lena Wright, a spoken-word poet with a deep love for her roots, can never seem to satisfy her students that she’s for real. Hernan D. Hernandez is confident in front of his biology classes, yet tongue-tied around the woman he most wants to impress: namely, Lena. Down the hall, math teacher Maybelline Galang focuses on the numbers as she blocks out problems whose solutions aren’t so clear, while Coach Ray hustles his football team toward another winning season, at least on the field. Recording it all is idealistic history teacher Kaytee Mahoney, whose blog gains new readers by the day but drifts ever further from her in-class reality.
And this year, a new celebrity superintendent is determined to leave his own mark on the school—even if that means shutting the whole place down. The fallout will shake up the teachers’ lives both inside and outside the classroom.

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a copy of the book. As always, an honest review. 

Adequate Yearly Progress accurately captures what I would imagine it’s like to work in an inner city high school. The story starts out a few days before the beginning of the school year. There’s a new superintendent who is ready to make some changes. Maybe with the students’ best interests at heart, but definitely with an enormous lack of experience in the school setting. It sets up what’s bound to be an eventful school year. 

The chapters are told from different teachers points of view. This choice keeps the book fresh, interesting, and moving along quickly. The reader also gets a well rounded perspective of all the happenings within the high school. We mainly follow Lena, Hernan, Maybelline and the football coach. I like that the characters are diverse regarding gender, age, race, and life experiences. The story is a discussion about life in and out of the classroom. I really appreciated when the story would show the rich complex inner lives of the teachers. A great combination of serious and funny. I also liked the inclusion of one teacher’s blog posts. I found it fun, modern, and added an additional perspective. 

Most of the book was amazing; there were a few aspects that I didn’t enjoy as much. A few of the teachers bothered me, personality wise. It’s in keeping with a realistic perspective of a school, but they could still really annoy me at times. Also, the ending of the school year seemed a little rushed. However the teachers’ personal lives were well paced. 

Overall I really enjoyed getting to know the teachers in Adequate Yearly Progress. A humorous, realistic perspective of teaching with all of its challenges and wonderful moments.

Definitely give this a read when it’s released! 

 

What are you favorite books about school?

 

What do they get right? What could they do better?

5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Classics · Literary Fiction · Young Adult

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 

Published by Harper & Row in 1943

Pages: 493

Genres: fiction, classics, young adult, bildungsroman

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: life changing books, classic literature that you will actually enjoy, coming of age novels

Read with food: roasted chestnuts and black coffee … treats of the era and enjoyed by France

 

Synopsis:

The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

Review:

I had put the audiobook version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on hold at my local library … a year ago. I was hoping to read it for the 2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. Obviously that didn’t happen. I read another book to meet that challenge. No big deal. I then figured that if I had waited this long, why not a bit longer to read it, and kept my place on the hold list at the library.

I am so glad that I did! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an amazing novel. A true literary classic that almost everyone can learn something from. 

I was captivated with Francie’s story from age 11 to 17. Her observations, intelligence, progressive nature, and life lessons are still relevant to me as an adult 100 years after the book takes place. I can absolutely see why people would read this multiple times. You could probably pick out a new life lesson with each reread. 

I can’t really say anything bad about this novel. Of course, there are some actions, societal rules, and words of the time that would be unacceptable today. But nothing that detracts from the story. 

I highly recommend this amazing novel! Don’t let the length deter your, it’s worth the time. 

 

Fun fact:

I learned a new word and book genre today, bildungsroman. Definition: a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education. A sort of coming of age novel that focuses on psychological and spiritual growth. 

 

Also, bonus!

If you’re participating in the Great American Read, this is one of the books on the list.