Review | Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

“Never take anything you haven’t earned, my father used to say. You always end up paying for it one way or another.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: detailed elevators, rules, ouroboros, creepy wallpaper, signed book copies, gargoyles, easy money, park benches, missing flyers, lost cell phones, puppies, suicides, guns, dumbwaiters and reset buttons.

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

I can’t remember the last time I read a good thriller, so I decided to pick this up – it looked promising. This is classified as a thriller and a mystery novel, but for me it was more of a mystery trying to be horror.
When the story began, I thought the setup was perfect! The building had a creepy vibe, the gargoyles were eerie, the residents seemed TOO private, the building history was haunting… and then you find out there’s a dumbwaiter in the apartment and now you know for sure you are in for a treat! Well… and I was, just not the way I expected.
I feel like I spent the majority of the book wondering why “nothing” was happening… and still, I wasn’t bored. I remember when I read about the first time Jules felt something in her apartment and the time when the first message appeared in her dumbwaiter, I thought the story was going to be about a haunted apartment/building but it was nothing like that.
With that said, it was still a great story and I was hooked the entire time! But please note that if you are expecting a paranormal book like I was, this is probably not the book for you.

Review | The Power is Within You by Louise L. Hay

“If we can use our problems and illnesses as opportunities to think about how we can change our lives, we have power.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: meditation, affirmations, positive thoughts, gratitude, teddy bears and the power within us.

In The Power Is Within You, Louise L. Hay expands her philosophies of loving the self through:
– learning to listen and trust the inner voice;
– loving the child within;
– letting our true feelings out;
– the responsibility of parenting;
– releasing our fear about growing older;
– allowing ourselves to receive prosperity;
– expressing our creativity;
– accepting change as a natural part of life;
– creating a world that is ecologically sound where it’s safe to love each other;
– and much more.

She closes the book with a chapter devoted to meditations for personal and planetary healing.

I loved this book so much!

Some books come to us when we need to hear something specific, and this book was exactly that: It came exactly when I needed it most.

When I started this book and I got through the first chapters, I thought this would be a pretty simple self-development book. Just because I’ve already read about the things the author was talking about – such as affirmations, for example.

But as the book progresses, I started to read about things that really spiked my interest and curiosity. One of these topics was on how we create our own diseases with our negative emotions such as frustration and anger. Not only that but she also talked about how the affected organs and side of the body are also not coincidental. This was really interesting to me and I immediately thought “I need to read more about this topic”! I’m hoping her other books talk more about this.

It’s a very positive, feel-good book! Even if you don’t take everything it preaches, I guarantee you’ll still find something here that you can take with you.

Louise seems like an awesome, warm person and I’m very excited to take a look at her other books! Definitely worth it.

Review | Chatter by Ethan Kross

“When supporting others, we need to offer the comfort of Kirk and the intellect of Spock.” 3.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: baseball bats, diaries, teddy bears, distancing, Star Trek, rituals, the power of words and an inner voice.

An award-winning psychologist reveals the hidden power of our inner voice and shows how to harness it to combat anxiety, improve physical and mental health, and deepen our relationships with others.

Tell a stranger that you talk to yourself, and you’re likely to get written off as eccentric. But the truth is that we all have a voice in our head. When we talk to ourselves, we often hope to tap into our inner coach but find our inner critic instead. When we’re facing a tough task, our inner coach can buoy us up: Focus–you can do this. But, just as often, our inner critic sinks us entirely: I’m going to fail. They’ll all laugh at me. What’s the use?

In Chatter, acclaimed psychologist Ethan Kross explores the silent conversations we have with ourselves. Interweaving groundbreaking behavioral and brain research from his own lab with real-world case studies–from a pitcher who forgets how to pitch, to a Harvard undergrad negotiating her double life as a spy–Kross explains how these conversations shape our lives, work, and relationships. He warns that giving in to negative and disorienting self-talk–what he calls “chatter”–can tank our health, sink our moods, strain our social connections, and cause us to fold under pressure.

But the good news is that we’re already equipped with the tools we need to make our inner voice work in our favor. These tools are often hidden in plain sight–in the words we use to think about ourselves, the technologies we embrace, the diaries we keep in our drawers, the conversations we have with our loved ones, and the cultures we create in our schools and workplaces.

Brilliantly argued, expertly researched, and filled with compelling stories, Chatter gives us the power to change the most important conversation we have each day: the one we have with ourselves.

This was a very insightful and interesting read. This book is focused on how our inner chatter influences our lives positively or negatively – well, according to what we do consciously and unconsciously. I think the most memorable and useful thing I took from this book is how creating some distance with our thoughts helps putting situations in perspective. I never thought very deeply about this until now, but it makes total sense! I know some people who do this unintentionally and it’s very interesting to see their internal dialogue. I’m definitely applying this to my own life!

I like how he showed a lot of studies made by his team and gave real-life examples from other people – and even himself! – to prove his points.

Another thing I also loved was how the author mentioned how important it is to take walks and look at green (trees, bushes, plants). I already read some books that said the same thing about the power of nature, and I’m very glad he mentioned this as well because I think it’s something we overlook often. 

It’s a very nice book that touches a lot of important topics. It was nice to review some of the concepts and also learn a few new perspectives coming from the stories and studies presented. I recommend the audiobook version for this. It’s a great way of working on yourself while doing a mindless task such as driving or cleaning!

Review | The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Jason Fung

“But diet and exercise are not fifty-fifty partners like macaroni and cheese. Diet is Batman and exercise is Robin. Diet does 95 per cent of the work and deserves all the attention; so, logically, it would be sensible to focus on diet. Exercise is still healthy and important—just not equally important. It has many benefits, but weight loss is not among them. Exercise is like brushing your teeth. It is good for you and should be done every day. Just don’t expect to lose weight.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: human studies, vinegar, processed carbohydrates, fibers, calorie restriction, hormones, easy recipes, sugars, intermittent fasting, sleeping hours and meal planning.

Everything you believe about how to lose weight is wrong. Weight gain and obesity are driven by hormones—in everyone—and only by understanding the effects of insulin and insulin resistance can we achieve lasting weight loss.

In this highly readable and provocative book, Dr. Jason Fung sets out an original, robust theory of obesity that provides startling insights into proper nutrition. In addition to his five basic steps, a set of lifelong habits that will improve your health and control your insulin levels, Dr. Fung explains how to use intermittent fasting to break the cycle of insulin resistance and reach a healthy weight—for good.

I read this book a while ago, but I couldn’t write a review right after finishing the book because I wanted to let the teachings sink in first.
I want to start this review by saying I was a little scared of going into this knowing it’s a medical book. I was afraid of not fully understanding the author’s message because of the (possible) use of medical and technical language. My fear quickly vanished after reading the first part of the book: the author addresses this concern and says he wrote the book in a way that everyone could understand, because this is a book intended for everyone interested in the subject, no matter their background and education. And it was true. I went through this book quickly and I absorbed the information easily.
This was a life changing book for me. I’ve struggled with overeating and being overweight for a few years now, and I’m always looking for new information and new things to read on the subject. This was a very important read for me because I learned a lot and I applied a lot of the teachings to lose weight… and guess what? It worked perfectly! I still have weight to lose until I reach my goal, but I’m happy to say my habits have changed and I’ve lost a lot of weight so far!
Ok, now back to the book: what makes it so amazing? To me it was the fact that the author uses A LOT of human studies to back up every claim. This book is full of references to relevant studies on human behavior. It’s the kind of book that you will definitely take something from, even if you’re an expert in the subject because he covers a lot of areas. Not only does he explain what works and what doesn’t for weight loss, but it uses a lot of proof to back it up. For example, one of the things you’ll read in this book is the fact that calorie restriction does not influence weight loss. Another big thing is that what makes us gain weight is the unbalanced hormone levels. These two simple facts were very surprising to me, but after reading about the science behind it and the studies made on the subjects, I gained a new (and life changing) perspective which is now a huge part of my successful weight loss journey. I’m also very thankful for the author to end the book with a conclusion for what we should do for weight loss.
I cannot explain how important this book was in my life. I’m truly grateful this doctor took the time to explain all the science behind it for us to lead a healthier life. This is an amazing book and an essential read with anyone struggling with losing weight! I already added to my TBR list the other two books from this author: “The Cancer Code” and “The Diabetes Code”. Definitely recommend this one, it’s probably the best book I’ve read in 2022.

Review | The Book of Gothel by Mary McMyne

“Blessed is the snow that hides my path. Blessed is the lie that saves a life. Blessed is the woman who helps her kind.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: tall towers, a protective circle, memory loss, black curls, tailored dresses, figurines, true love, daggers, witches, fainting spells, golden eyes, midwives, wolf skin, rare fruits, true love and brave young women.

Everyone knows the story of Rapunzel in her tower, but do you know the story of the witch who put her there? Mary McMyne’s spellbinding debut reveals the truth behind the fairy tale—the truth they never wanted you to know, as only a witch might tell it.

“Smart, swift, sure-footed and fleet-winged, The Book of Gothel launches its magic from a most reliable source: the troubled heart. Mary McMyne is a magician.”—Gregory Maguire, NYT bestselling author of Wicked

Germany, 1156. With her strange black eyes and even stranger fainting spells, young Haelewise has never quite fit in. Shunned by her village, her only solace lies in the stories her mother tells of child-stealing witches, of princes in wolf-skins, and of an ancient tower cloaked in mist, where women will find shelter if they are brave enough to seek it.

When her mother dies, Haelewise is left unmoored. With nothing left for her in her village, she sets out to find the legendary tower her mother spoke of—a place called Gothel, where she meets a wise woman willing to take Haelewise under her wing. There, she discovers that magic is found not only in the realm of fairy tales.

But Haelewise is not the only woman to seek refuge at Gothel. It’s also a haven for a girl named Rika, who carries with her a secret the church strives to keep hidden. A secret that reveals a dark world of ancient spells and murderous nobles, behind the world Haelewise has always known.

“McMyne’s shimmering debut… is a sprawling epic, full of magic, love, and heartbreak. Fans of Circe and The Wolf and the Woodsman will devour this taut, empowering fairy tale.”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

I don’t know what it is about retellings, but I just love them with all my heart! Especially when they are about well-known “villains” and their backstory. We all know about Rapunzel’s story and how she was stolen by a witch and kept locked in a tower. But in this book, we get a backstory for the witch who stole her: the infamous Mother Gothel. She was just a “normal” girl who wanted to live her life and who wanted to be with her best friend Matthäus… but she is far from normal. Her village sees her as a witch, and when her mother dies and her father abandons her, she has no choice but to run from the village and seek refuge in the Gothel tower. This is just the gist of it, because there’s a lot going on in this story so if I were to describe everything… we would be here for a while!
I’m very surprised this is a debut novel, because it’s absolutely stunning and well written. Every single element of this book created a beautiful and immersive reading experience. I would describe this book as young adult fantasy, but it definitely matures as the story goes, so keep that in mind if you decide to pick it up. It’s nothing too graphic (in my opinion), but it definitely talks about more serious topics as the book progresses.
There’s a bit of romance in here, but it’s not the main focus of the book. The focus of this book is 100% the main character’s development. It’s a coming-of-age story with a touch of feminism, folklore and paganism.
I was surprised with the way the story ended, regarding Rapunzel. I don’t want to spoil anything with this review, but I was hoping that the end would make a connection to the well-known story of Rapunzel. Still, I was pleased and it was a very satisfying ending!
Fortunately for me, I believe I read this at the perfect time of the year: Fall! This is a very cozy read, and I highly recommend reading it while it’s cold outside. Grab a blanket and a cup of tea/coffee and enjoy this masterpiece! I just love how original, creative and inspiring this story was! If you like retellings, this is definitely a must-read!

Review | Bossman by Vi Keeland

“Don’t focus on the what ifs. Focus on what is.” 3/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: desks, new job opportunities, ongoing investigations and homeless men.

Reese
The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn’t exactly make a good impression.

I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.

He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.

So I told him to mind his own damn business—his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business—and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn’t help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room. Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.

When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.

But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us—telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.

My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I’d never see him again.

I mean, what were the chances I’d run into him again in a city with eight million people?
Then again…

What were the chances a month later he’d wind up being my new sexy boss?

Not gonna lie, this wasn’t the most memorable book ever, but I found it entertaining in the end.
To be completely fair to the book, this is probably a “me” problem. The reason for this is because I don’t really care about the boss/employee trope in romance, so that’s probably why I wasn’t super invested in the story. For this reason, I think it’s important to take my opinion of this book with a grain of salt.
I had a hard time connecting to the characters, especially Reese. She kept punching Chase away all the time and for no reason, so that got old quickly. I thought Chase was a little better because he had more of a personality, but in the end both characters felt a little flat for me. Fortunately, I think the backstories helped a little with this, especially with the Peyton situation! I wish they had more chemistry and the romance was developed more to make the story better.
I just felt like something was missing in this book. I wanted more. I thought it was entertaining for the most part, but it felt kind of average to be honest.

Recommendations | Middle Grade/Children Books I Loved!

Hi friends!

I hope you’re doing well and you’re having a fantastic day. Today I’m bringing you another round of recommendations: Middle grade and children books!

I don’t pick from these two genres very often, but when I do… I get invested in the stories! I’m currently reading an amazing Sophie Anderson book, and that is what inspired this post!

If you have young kids and want to read them good stories of bravery and adventure, this is the recommendation post for you! Or if you’re like me and just want to read something magical and fun, this one is also for you!

Let’s take a look at the books then:

And here they are! You have two classic books that I loved and three (fairly) recent books… either way, these are amazing and I would always recommend them. So let’s go through them individually!

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Starting off strong with the amazing classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl!

This is a middle grade that everyone should read at least once in their life. This book is special, wholesome and incredibly magical – basically everything you would want in a fantasy middle grade book! This was my first ever Roald Dahl book, and let me tell you: I completely understand why his books are so popular.

It’s a book that teaches kids to be humble, behave and be good to others. Not only that, but it’s incredibly fun! The characters are amazing and quirky and every single one of them serves a very specific purpose in delivering a message.

I highly recommend it if you never gave it a try. Also, if you are a fan of the movies, you definitely need to read it!

Synopsis

“Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Gold Ticket from Mr Willy Wonka! I shake you warmly by the hand! Tremendous things are in store for you!

One miraculous moment changes Charlie Bucket’s life forever.

A boy who only gets to eat cabbage soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner finds a Golden Ticket that will take him into Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory.

Joining him on the tour are four horrible blighters:

Augustus Gloop – a great big greedy nincompoop, Veruca Salt – a spoiled brat, Violet Beauregarde – a repulsive little gum-chewer and Mike Teavee – a TV addict.

With a chocolate river, crafty squirrels and mysterious Oompa Loompas, Mr Wonka’s chocolate factory is the strangest, most magnificent place Charlie has ever seen.

What other surprises are in store for the lucky ticket winners?”

2. The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

The second recommendation I’m bringing to you today is “The House With Chicken Legs” by Sophie Anderson. Let me tell you something about Sophie Anderson’s books: they are middle grade perfection! To me she is the best middle grade writer, hands down.

This book in particular blew me away with how amazing it was. I can honestly say this is probably my favorite middle grade of all time – so that’s saying a lot! Not only was the story beautiful and full of magic, but it was written with a solid story with great meaning. Definitely check the synopsis below to see what the story is about! As a nice bonus, you get a lot of references to Russian culture, so I’m happy to say I learned a thing or two.

The illustrations that appear alongside the story are amazing and capture beautifully the essence of the story. The book wouldn’t be the same without them and I’m glad she worked with such an amazing artist to bring the story to life!

I highly recommend it if you like a good story with depth and meaning behind it. I can’t stress this enough: if you like middle grade books, you need this in your life!

Synopsis

“All 12-year-old Marinka wants is a friend. A real friend. Not like her house with chicken legs. Sure, the house can play games like tag and hide-and-seek, but Marinka longs for a human companion. Someone she can talk to and share secrets with.

But that’s tough when your grandmother is a Yaga, a guardian who guides the dead into the afterlife. It’s even harder when you live in a house that wanders all over the world . . . carrying you with it. Even worse, Marinka is being trained to be a Yaga. That means no school, no parties–and no playmates that stick around for more than a day.

So when Marinka stumbles across the chance to make a real friend, she breaks all the rules . . . with devastating consequences. Her beloved grandmother mysteriously disappears, and it’s up to Marinka to find her–even if it means making a dangerous journey to the afterlife.”

3. Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson

Another Sophie Anderson that I think is worth mentioning is “The Castle of Tangled Magic”. 

This is such a cute book! It has a very creative story that you’ll want to keep reading until you’re finished with the book. 

What I liked the most from this book was definitely the lessons behind the story. Lessons such as “belief is a very powerful thing” and “magic is everywhere” are only a few of the lessons this book teaches. The characters were amazing and I loved that even though they were all so different, they worked together to help Olia (the main character).

Saara Soderlund is the illustrator (once again) and she did an amazing job with this book. It really brought the story to life!

Another cool thing about it is that it is themed after slavic folklore! So that was another fun aspect of the book.

It’s beautifully written, full of details and magical touches! You can tell the author really took her time with this book, because you can feel the love through the pages. Definitely worth picking it up!

Synopsis

Magic and whimsy meet in this Howl’s Moving Castle for a new generation from the critically adored Sophie Anderson, author of The House with Chicken Legs.

Twelve-year-old Olia knows a thing or two about secrets. Her parents are the caretakers of Castle Mila, a soaring palace with golden domes, lush gardens, and countless room. Literally countless rooms. There are rooms that appear and disappear, and rooms that have been hiding themselves for centuries. The only person who can access them is Olia. She has a special bond with the castle, and it seems to trust her with its secrets.

But then a violent storm rolls in . . . a storm that skips over the village and surrounds the castle, threatening to tear it apart. While taking cover in a rarely-used room, Olia stumbles down a secret passage that leads to a part of Castle Mila she’s never seen before. A strange network of rooms that hide the secret to the castle’s past . . . and the truth about who’s trying to destroy it.”

4. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Another book I want to share with you today is “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barhhill. I found this story to be very magical! It made me dream because it’s told like a fairytale and you get completely immersed in this fictional world. It is a very atmospheric book because the author does an amazing job on awakening your senses – I swear I could almost hear the birds chirping, smell the woods and feel the magic from the moon!
The characters are adorable, and I promise you will fall in love with every single one of them! I loved how there were two cute magical creatures added to the mix (who worked like companions to the lead), a sweet witch and a magical grandmother everyone would want in their life.
It’s definitely a story that makes you dream and takes you to a magical place. It’s targeted as middle grade, but it’s really a beautiful story for every age!

Synopsis

“Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. 

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.”

5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

And to finish this list with a bang, I’m bringing you another amazing classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”! If you don’t know, this story was inspired by a little girl named Alice Liddell who Lewis Carroll liked to tell stories to.

So how would I describe “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”? In a nutshell: this book is the definition of childhood, nonsense and craziness. I can confidently say that I’ve never read a book like this, and I completely understand why it became so popular among people of all ages.

I highly encourage you to read this book, no matter how old you are. It is a beautiful story that reminds you of what it was like to be a child. When you are a kid, nothing really matters and nothing is taken seriously, as it should be. It’s a remarkable piece of art and I definitely recommend it.

Just a piece of advice: if you can, get a copy with the original illustrations from John Tenniel!

Synopsis

“On a drowsy afternoon by a riverbank, a young and distracted Alice follows a rabbit into a fantastical underground world that grows curiouser and curiouser. Dared, insulted, amused, and threatened by a succession of anthropomorphic creatures, the indomitable Alice falls deeper into a swirl of the imagination where logic has no place.

Referenced, resourced, analyzed, and embraced since its publication in 1865, Carroll’s masterpiece of the irrational has inspired such varied artists as Walt Disney, Marilyn Manson, Jerome Kern, James Joyce, and Tim Burton. It stands as one of the most extravagantly and ingeniously absurd works in the English language.”

And there you have it! These are some of my favorite middle grade/children books. I hope you found this recommendation post interesting and I hope you found yourself some new books to read! As usual, I’m always looking for book recommendations so let me know if you have any for me!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post! I hope you liked what I had to share with you today. I’ll see you in the next one! 🙂

Review | Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

“It is definitely annoying that straight (and white, for that matter) is the default, and that the only people who have to think about their identity are the ones who don’t fit that mold. Straight people really should have to come out, and the more awkward it is, the better. Awkwardness should be a requirement.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: band t-shirts, Harry Potter references, blackmailing, friendship, an old couch, eyeliner, surprise bands, cheerleading uniforms, waffles, teenage hormones, Oreos, Tumblr, good music and a lot of emails.

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

This was a cute book! I have some good things I really want to point out:
1. The writing style. It was very easy to read, especially because of the slang. Their dialogs were very realistic and relatable. This is not a “formal” book, and I’m glad it’s not because the characters gained more dimension.
2. (…speaking of) The characters. I honestly feel like I was put in their high school during this book. All the characters felt realistic. Not just because of the way they spoke, but also for their attitudes and feelings. A great example of this is the first time Simon went to school after Martin posted on Tumblr that he was gay. The fact that he went to his locker and everyone was acting normal (until the douches appeared, of course) felt realistic.
3. Simon’s perspective. I really loved how close I felt to Simon. Being in his head and seeing his struggles made me realize how lucky I am. It was great to see a different perspective on this subject, and I was so happy he finally got his well deserved happiness at the end!
See, the thing is… even though it’s a good book, I didn’t think it was anything extraordinary. I know it deals with a (yet) sensitive topic and it was great to see how Simon dealt with positive and negative attention, but other than that… It was a very simple contemporary book. I enjoyed it!

Review | Jaded and Tyed by Penelope Ward

“I tried to convince myself that my secret chats with Jade were nothing more than friendly banter. But I knew better. I was likely headed to hell in a handbasket. I lived for her messages—fucking addicted to talking to her. I knew it was wrong, but I’d managed to convince myself that it wasn’t cheating.” 3/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: pixie cuts, snuggies, Broadway, baby nephews, treehouses, awkward dinners and accidental friend requests.

From New York Times bestselling author, Penelope Ward, comes a new novelette.

The first time I met Jade Jameson, I lost my words and accidentally dropped a beer bottle, smashing it to the ground.

The Broadway star sister of my brother’s wife had paid us a surprise visit on Christmas. Quite simply, she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen; I was mesmerized.

I’d made a fool of myself, though, and to make matters worse, my girlfriend was standing right there when it all happened.

Jade went back to New York, and we didn’t cross paths again for a year—until one night when a Facebook notification lit up my screen, setting off a chain of events that would change my life forever.

I was very excited when I found out this book existed because when I finished reading “Neighbor Dearest” I wanted to read more about Jade (Chelsea’s sister) and Tyler (Damien’s brother). Then my disappointment came when I found out this is only a novella and not a full length book. Still, I picked up the book to finally read the story I was so curious about.

I think the quote I picked above describes this book perfectly. After a few months from their memorable encounter during the family dinner, they start texting each other and their connection deepens online… and in secret.

The characters were interesting, but the romance wasn’t the best. I was a little uncomfortable with all the emotional cheating going on since Tyler was in a “serious” relationship with another girl the entire time. Not only that, but I also consider the romance between Jade and Tyler insta-lovey. They only met a few times in person and they were dating other people most of the time. I didn’t feel a true connection between them.

In the end, it wasn’t what I envisioned for them as a couple, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

Review | Neighbor Dearest by Penelope Ward

“You can’t always get what you want. But don’t be afraid to ask.” 3.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: new landlords, unicorns, homemade pizza, steamy books, fires, painted murals, hospital stays, ripped shirts and rottweilers.

After getting dumped, the last thing I needed was to move next door to someone who reminded me of my ex-boyfriend, Elec.

Damien was a hotter version of my ex.

The neighbor I’d dubbed “Angry Artist” also had two massive dogs that kept me up with their barking.

He wanted nothing to do with me. Or so I thought until one night I heard laughter coming through an apparent hole in my bedroom wall.

Damien had been listening to all of my phone sessions with my therapist.

The sexy artist next door now knew all of my deepest secrets and insecurities.

We got to talking.

He set me straight with tips to get over my breakup.

He became a good friend, but Damien made it clear that he couldn’t be anything more.

Problem was, I was falling hard for him anyway. And as much as he pushed me away, I knew he felt the same…because his heartbeat didn’t lie.

I thought my heart had been broken by Elec, but it was alive and beating harder than ever for Damien.

I just hoped he wouldn’t shatter it for good.

I read “Stepbrother Dearest” by Penelope Ward a couple of years ago but at the time I didn’t know there was another standalone romance associated with it. I found out about “Neighbor Dearest” recently and I was excited to pick it up knowing it was about the girl Elec rejected.

Personally I think this book was okay. I’m not the biggest fan of “artistic” male leads in NA/YA romances, but this worked out nicely in the end. Chelsea was a good character, and so was Damien, but there was something about the couple dynamic that was a little off. Not only that but I found it weird that at first everyone (neighbors and random people) thought Damien was rude, but that… just evaporated throughout the book.

The romance is on the steamier side, and it was nicely done. I enjoyed watching their relationship flourish with time!

One thing that made me curious while reading this book was Tyler and Jade. I did some research and I found they have their own little novella named “Jaded and Tyed”, so I immediately added it to my reading list!

At the end of the day, it wasn’t the best romance I have ever read, but it was definitely an entertaining read.