For What It's Worth

Monday, May 18, 2020

Monday Minis…



I’m afraid to even say this but I think I may be back in my reading groove! I’ve read 9 books so far this month!

Here are two that hit me in the feels while providing all the swoony, romantic goodness I’m craving right now. Plus one more emotional one that still left me feeling happy in the end.



Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye ~ GoodreadsWhat If It's Us meets To All the Boys I've Loved Before in this upbeat and heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance that feels like a modern twist on a '90s rom-com! Source: e-arc provided in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley

My thoughts: Perpetually single Bryson Keller takes the dare to date a new person for one week – the first person who asks him each Monday. The girls all line up – but one fateful day, it’s shy Kai Sheridan who asks Bryson out. Kai isn’t out – and Bryson isn’t gay – but they agree to date on the down low for the week and as their friendship grows so do their feelings.

Finally! A book that advertises itself as a rom-com, that actually feels a rom-com! That’s not to say this book doesn’t delve into deeper waters or pack an emotional punch – because it does – but it also brings all those first love stomach flutters and secret crush cuteness.

It was interesting to read the contrast between how both Kai and Bryson approach coming out and the responses they get from friends and family. And Kai’s sister, Yazz, deserves the sister of the year award for her brutally honest take down of her parents. Whoop Yazz!

Bryson is a very one dimensional character and almost too perfect. I’m not sure I ever really understood how the challenge was a big deal but whatever…cute is cute and I neeeeeded this kind of book so I shall ignore my minor quibbles.

10 Things I Hate About Pinky (Dimple and Rishi #3) by Sanhya Menon ~ Goodreads “The follow-up to When Dimple Met Rishi and Theres Something about Sweetie follows Pinky and Samir as they pretend to date with disastrous and hilarious results.” Source: Borrowed

My thoughts: I read this back in April when it was originally planned to be released but because of a little thing called COVID – the release date has been pushed back to July 21st but I wanted to mention it here because this book is totally worthy of a pre-order!

Opposites - Pinky is vibrant and impulsive – out to save the world, while Samir is all about planning and schedules. Fake dating – Pinky needs to date a *good boy* to get her mom off her back & Samir needs an internship at a good law practice and Pinky’s mom is a top lawyer. Hate to more – my reading catnip.

I always enjoy Menon’s books but I think this one was my favorite so far. It had complicated relationships (especially between Pinky and her mom – something Menon frequently explores) and lots of fun moments as Pinky and Samir start to balance each other out and turn into something more.

I think the bump to a July release is perfect, as this has that summer, swoony vibe but with real issues that teens can relate to.

The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody ~ Goodreads “In this romantic road trip story perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson, a teen girl discovers the value of ordinary objects while learning to forgive her absent father.” Source: arc provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

My (not so mini) thoughts: Oh dear – I’ve had this one on my shelf since 2018. Bad, bad blogger but now I’ve read it and it was fantastic. I’m a huge fan of Brody and how she’s able to write with such variety within YA, going from sci-fi, to rom-com and now something more in line with women’s fiction, although this is still very much YA with romantic elements.

Ali’s, drug addicted father abandoned Ali and her mom years ago, leaving them in debt and about to lose their home. Now he’s dead but has left Ali the title and keys to his prized possession – a 1968 Firebird. Ali sees this as an opportunity to save her home by selling the car. Only problem is, to sell it, she has to drive it 5 hours to the dealer and she doesn't drive a stick shift. Enter Ali’s ex, Nico, who is willing to help her out. She has no choice but to accept even though it brings back bad memories for her.

This book has a bit of a strange rhythm to it. It goes back and forth between memories of her father from her childhood, her past relationship with Nico and the present. They all work well independently from each other and suck you in but it takes a bit for it all to tie together but the payoff is worth the wait.

The road trip itself is fun as it takes a detour – as all good road trips do. They meet different people as they use Craigslist to try to trade up the different items they find to make cash, instead of selling the car, and even those fleeting stories and characters are fascinating. They also take in the sights as they leave California and make their way into my neck of the woods in WA & OR and it was fun to see them discover the places I’m just now finding for myself in the PNW.

The trip, and the car, bring all the suppressed feelings Ali has about her dad to a head and she really has to come to terms with and get closure before she can move forward. And maybe give Nico another chance.

There is a bit of mystery regarding her and Nico’s breakup and I think it drags out too long. I was irritated by Nico kind of pressuring Ali to forgive her dad or to at least let things go when he is clearly hanging on to his own secrets. Knowing that Ali has trust issues made his hesitancy to open up irritating. But, as I said, it ties together eventually and I got it. He's a good guy with good reasons to be wary of opening up to Ali. So, just hang in there lol

This was a really solid book about grief, forgiveness and finding value in the things we leave behind.

What are you all reading this week? Have you read any of these or will you be?

33 comments:

  1. I will have to look into some of Jessica Brody's other books. For some reason when I read this one I thought she was a debut author. 😜

    I am mostly reading Prozac Nation, which I might have to take a break from because the author (it's a memoir) is over the top self absorbed and infuriating. I keep hoping that as she got older she would realize her circumstances aren't that much different from most other people, but she is in college now and still thinks she's not being given enough attention for how unique she is. 😒

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    1. Ha! No, she has a lot of books. I've been a fan since I started blogging but this one was quite different for her. She usually has very light, funny kind of stories.

      I used to love memoirs but I've struggled with the same thing lately.

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  2. I really need to read more Jessica Brody!

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  3. The geography of Lost Things sounds like my cup of tea.. and the cover is amazing!
    WOW! Already 9 books this month? I envy you! I can't seem to read so speedy... and now I'm stuck with Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, so I will certainly take some time to finish this one. It's over 900 pages long and quite difficult, but I'm guessing that at some point I might start as well with some eARCs I received on Netgalley :)
    Have a great week!

    Sara @ Sara In Bookland

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    1. I've really struggled with reading lately so this is a sudden but welcome development lol

      900 pages??!! That's impressive.

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  4. Geography is a favorite of mine, so I am pleased as punch to see you enjoyed it. I loved everything about it, the big story, the small story, the podcasts, the trading up -- I just found myself so in love with that book. I was also happy to find that Bryson Keller was actually a rom-com. I am getting tired of that bait and switch thing that keeps happening. The boys were so precious, and the book had substance too. I am a definite fan of that book.

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    1. Geography had a lot of different element sand it shifted a lot but somehow it worked.

      OMG yes about the bait and switch! This book was one of the few that actually felt like an 80's rom-com.

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  5. Yay for getting lots of great reads in this month! Bryson Keller sounds like a fun one, and that's great it actually felt like a rom-com. Pinky sounds super enjoyable as well - good to know it makes a nice summer read. I've only read Dimple by Menon, but I need to check out her others.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. This one and Dimple & Rishi are my favorites.

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  6. Date Me, Bryson Keller sounds like all kinds of adorable. I love the premise and the fact that Bryson goes forward with the date. Even if Bryson isn't a particularly complex character, I sill want to pick this one up. I need some light and cute in my life.

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    1. Bryson is eye-rollingly perfect but...I didn't care lol I just wanted happiness and things working out for someone for once.

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  7. Great to learn you think you may be back in your reading groove, its amazing how many of us seem to have lost our reading mojo of late.

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    1. I'm all sure we thought we would catch up on all our books during this lol

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  8. WOWZA!! That's awesome about the reading. I'm not at the pace I used to be at, but I'm moving along fairly steadily right now. *knocks on wood*

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    1. I'm not where I used to be either but happy I'm reading at all at this point. And it's been a nice mix of arc's and backlog books

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  9. I loved Date Me Bryson Keller, it was just such a fun read. I think you're right, we probably did need a bit more background about why taking the bus to school would have been such a loss for Bryson but who cares? It was just a fun book I didn't even care.

    And yay, glad I have 10 Things I Hate About Pinky to read because it sounds like I'll really enjoy it.

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    1. It was adorable. I understood the bus thing but not how the dating eas a challenge. He's super popular, so it'd not difficult to get people to ask him and then he didn't even have to go on a minimum of dates during the week or anything. But whatever... it was cute and I don't care lol

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  10. Awww, I want to read the Pinky one :D

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  11. Ooh The Geography of Lost things- I remember when that came out, I thought it sounded promising. I love the sound of the road trip...

    And I didn't realize there was a Dimple and Rishi #3. That's another one I thought about getting...

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    1. I think you might like The Geography of Lost Things. It was a good one.

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  12. I am so happy you are getting your reading groove back....ISNT it great? I have heard some great things about Date Me Bryson Keller and love a good rom com that is actually portrayed as one.

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    1. I love romcoms but so many books are being marketed as one but aren't.

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  13. YAY so glad you are back in a good reading groove! I think Bryson might be too rom-com-y for me, which is fine. I should probably read the first Dimple and Rishi book, eh? I have only been saying that for years hah. The Geography of Lost Things sounds like the most "me" book, especially since I love a road trip! And the grittier issues would draw me in too, I will need to look into this one! Great reviews!

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    1. Bryson is lighter and fun so avoid that if that's not your thing but Geography is almost good for any reader.

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  14. I've read Jessica Brody in the past and have really enjoyed her books. I had that on my TBR for the longest time as well but took it off late last year thinking I probably won't read it but you've sparked my interest again. I love Sanhya Menon, she creates such great storylines featuring girls of colour pushing against that glass ceiling. Super excited for that one! Great reviews Karen and so glad you've found your reading groove again!

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    1. This was definitely a more intense read from her.

      !0 Things I Hate About Pinky was everything you would expect from Menon.

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  15. I think you are back in your reading groove and I need to follow your example. My re-read of Harry Potter has been slow by my standards but I have enjoyed it. Now I'm putting together a list of paperbacks I own with mixed reviews as my 'get on with it' reading list!

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    1. I seem to go through phases now. Like yesterday, I could not get into reading at all.

      I hope you find your groove soon! But I think it's good that your re-read is fun1 That's what reading is supposed to be.

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  16. Date Me, Bryson Keller sounds like it was cute and sweet but not too serious. So I think I will read it when I need a pick me up. I recently loved When Dimple Met Rishi and will have to continue the series with the next two books. And the Geography one sounds so emotional. I am glad you were able to get to an oldie but goldie on your list ;)

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    1. It definitely had a few tougher topics. like homophobia and bullying, but was overall a light, fun read.

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  17. I like a good fake-dating trope! I don't like how many books releases are being pushed back because of the virus.

    The Geography of Lost Things sounds like a good one. I think I'd be willing to give it a read to see how the exes on a roadtrip angle plays out.

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