BOOK REVIEW: Cool for the Summer, by Dahlia Adler

BOOK REVIEW: Cool for the Summer, by Dahlia AdlerTitle: Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Published by Wednesday Books
Published: May 11th 2021
Genres: Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy: Bookshop(afflilate link)
Goodreads

Lara's had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He's tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he's talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe...flirting, even? No, wait, he's definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara's wanted out of life.

Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.

Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she's finally got the guy, why can't she stop thinking about the girl?

Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.

 I don’t read many contemporary YA romances, but the fact that this is a BI YA romance is what caught my attention. Cool for the Summer is utterly adorable, deftly handling what it means to be a teenage girl navigating the confusion surrounding her bisexuality. This is the kind of book I probably needed as a teenager, and I’m glad to have read it now.

The title comes from Demi Lovato’s song which makes an appearance in the book, and I think it suits the theme of the book so well. I am also just a sucker for song title books. Cool for the Summer also felt a little like a classic summer teen movie, with a lot of nods to Grease. The connections Lara had with both Chase and Jasmine were real and believable, and as a reader, I didn’t know which one she’d end up choosing in the end. Lara’s forever crush Chase finally notices here the summer after Jasmine, and I loved the reflection Lara has when making her decision in the end. It felt so true, heartbreaking, and exhilarating all at once. I think the only thing that stuck out to me was the one who wasn’t chosen’s reaction once Lara made her decision. It felt like an easy acceptance, but in reality, I don’t know if Lara would be let off the hook that easily or without more indepth explanation. Not that the person needed the explanation because it’s ultimately Lara’s choice, but for the reader it might have brought more closure and understanding.

Overall, this is a super cute book and one I wished I had when I was younger. If you’re looking for a cute summery YA romance to read, definitely look into this one.

Thank you, Wednesday Books for the ARC! All opinions are my own.

BOOKENDS: April and May 2021

I moved and I’m starting my new job at the end of the month! Until then, I’m going to be hanging out with friends and doing a little DoorDash to fill up time and make some money. I’m also hoping to transfer into the local BN soon part time also, but I’m so excited about this new adventure.


CURRENTLY READING

I FINALLY finished reading The People’s History of the United States, and while I’m currently still picking at The Agitators and The Big Book of Science Fiction, I feel like I’m finally making progress through some of the chunkier reads on my TBR. I’m listening to The Diviners again because I used my Audible credits to pick up the entire series once the final book came out. I love the narrator so much and think she does such a great job bringing this story to life, and I’m going to continue reading (rereading because I’ve read the first three!! But it’s been long enough that I want to revisit the entire series). It’s nice to listen to a book while writing out blog posts or playing a video game. The Helm of Midnight looked like a fantastic read, so I decided to borrow the ebook from the library. Beach Read was something I bought last year, and I wanted to read this before I read Emily Henry’s latest release.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook | 🎧 audiobook  |  💞 reread

⌛️ The Helm of Midnight – Marina Lostetter (15%)
🎧 The Diviners – Libba Bray, narrated by January LaVoy
📚 Beach Read – Emily Henry
📓 The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought For Abolition and Women’s Rights – Dorothy Wickenden (6%; thank you, Scribner Books!)
📚 The Big Book of Science Fiction – edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (32%)


FINISHED READING

I read eight books in April and nine books in May, both pretty good numbers considering I worked and prepared to move myself across the country in that span of time. I reread Once Upon a Dream because I remember DNFing it when I first read it and wanted to give it and the series another go. I’ve realized Braswell’s writing might not be for me, but I’m curious about the other titles written by other people. I reread the Shadow and Bone trilogy before the Netflix show released, and I enjoyed revisiting the Grishaverse! Malice is a wonderful start to a duology that retells and queers the story of Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent. This is the year of revisiting familiar and favorite stories because I’ve also decided to take on a full reread of Tolkien’s work, especially adding in the works I either haven’t touched since I was fourteen/fifteen or works I haven’t begun to start reading! The Other Black Girl is an amazing Get Out-esque glimpse into the world of publishing, and it feels like the book of the summer.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook | 🎧 audiobook  |  💞 reread

⌛️ Once Upon a Dream – Liz Braswell (3/5 stars)
📚 A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn (3.5/5 stars)
📓 Astrid Sees All – Natalie Standiford (3.5/5 stars, thank you Atria!)
📓 Composite Creatures – Caroline Hardaker (4/5 stars, thank you Angry Robot!)
📓 I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories – Kim Bo-Young (4.5/5 stars, thank you Harper Voyager!)
📚 Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo (4/5 stars)
📚 Three Japanese Short Stories – Akutagawa and Others (3/5 stars)
📚 The Custard Heart – Dorothy Parker (3/5 stars)
📚 Siege and Storm – Leigh Bardugo (4/5 stars)
📚 Waiting for a Scot Like You – Eva Leigh (3.5/5 stars)
📚 The Wallflower Wager – Tessa Dare (3.5/5 stars)
📚 Malice – Heather Walker (4.5/5 stars)
📚 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien (5/5 stars)
⌛️ Finlay Donovan is Killing It – Elle Cosimano (3.5/5 stars)
⌛️ Come As You Are – Emily Nagoski (4/5 stars)
📓 The Other Black Girl – Zakiya Dalila Harris (5/5 stars, thank you Atria!)


ON THE HORIZON

The last couple of months were weird reading months for me, so I didn’t read any of the five I picked to read for April, but these are five I have immediately on my Kindle to read from the library or I specifically packed them to take with me in my car on my drive out!!

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook | 🎧 audiobook  |  💞 reread

📚 Arsenic and Adobo – Mia P. Manansala
⌛️ Bring Me Their Hearts – Sara Wolf
📚 Dial A for Aunties – Jesse Q. Sutanto
📚 The Duke Heist – Erica Ridley
⌛️ The Siren – Katherine St. John


WHAT I ACQUIRED

I was very good on book purchases!!! More than I probably should have bought, but these five excite me the most.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook | 🎧 audiobook  |  💞 reread

📚 Anne of Manhattan – Brina Starler
📚 One Last Stop – Casey McQuiston
📚 People We Meet on Vacation – Emily Henry
💾 Burning Roses – S.L. Huang
💾 The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water – Zen Cho


ON SCREEN

GAMING: I bought Pokemon Snap and have played it a little bit (not a whole lot of time to waste on video games during a move)!

TV: I’ve watched most of Shadow of Bone, I really enjoyed Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki so far seems like a treat!

MOVIES: Cruella was fun and Raya and the Last Dragon was adorable.


PERSONAL

It’s so great to feel like I’m back home and around all of my friends again! I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year will bring, because it’s sure to be an adventure!

 

BOOK REVIEW: Siri, Who Am I?, by Sam Tschida

BOOK REVIEW: Siri, Who Am I?, by Sam TschidaTitle: Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida
Published by Quirk Books
Published: January 12th 2021
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 343
Format: ARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Goodreads

Mia might look like a Millennial but she was born yesterday. Emerging from a coma with short-term amnesia after an accident, Mia can't remember her own name until the Siri assistant on her iPhone provides it. Based on her cool hairstyle (undercut with glamorous waves), dress (Prada), and signature lipstick (Chanel), she senses she's wealthy, but the only way to know for sure is to retrace her steps once she leaves the hospital. Using Instagram and Uber, she arrives at the pink duplex she calls home in posts but finds Max, a cute, off-duty postdoc supplementing his income with a house-sitting gig. He tells her the house belongs to JP, a billionaire with a chocolate empire. A few texts later, JP confirms her wildest dreams: they're in love, Mia is living the good life, and he'll be back that weekend.

But as Mia and Max work backward through her Instagram and across Los Angeles to learn more about her, they discover a surprising truth behind her perfect Instagram feed, and evidence that her head wound was no accident. Who was Mia before she woke up in that hospital? And is it too late for her to rewrite her story?

The description of this book sounded really interesting to me, so I requested it and got approved for it via Netgalley, and then it took forever for me to start reading and continue reading. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. The writing is bright and quippy, and I’ll be interested to see what Tschida does next, but the execution of the concept seemed to fall apart in the second half of the book because the concept is #ambitious to say the least.

What I liked most about it is that it is a commentary and satire of modern millennial culture and the social media use within famous/rich circles. It pokes fun at food bloggers, influencers, and high society in Los Angeles, and that glimpse into the glossy pages of a gossip magazine is what kept me reading through til the end. However, the characterizations started off strong but by the middle of the book seemed too contrived and so much felt contrived and convoluted to fill the space created by the concept. Ultimately though, I think this story would work better in a visual medium and would make a super cute movie! I just don’t think it worked for me in written form because it took almost a month for me to finish this, mostly because I was dragging my feet every time I thought about reading it. The best part about it for me was Mia’s self-discovery once she figured out that her behavior before the accident was nothing like she was once she woke back up and the reconciliations she had to do with herself and the people around her once she decided to take her life in a different direction.

This might be for you if you really enjoy Instagram culture and celebrity gossip magazines! Thank you to Quirk Books for a review copy! All opinions are my own.

FIRST LINES FRIDAY: Phoenix Unbound, by Grace Draven

Hello, Friday! First Lines Friday is a feature on my blog in which I post the first lines from a book I am interested in reading, either a new release or a backlist title! The latest feature for these reads are all of the books on my Spring TBR!

For Gilene, spring was the season neither of rain nor of planting, but of suffering.

She waited beside her mother, sister, and brothers as the caravan of shackled women plodded down Beroe’s market street toward the town square. The slavers of the Empire guided the line, shoving their cargo forward with harsh commands and the occasional warning crack of a whip.

She had already exchanged farewells with her mother and siblings. Each had embraced her, dry-eyed and grim-faced. This wasn’t their first parting, and for good or ill, it wouldn’t be their last.

Her eldest brother, Nylan, squeezed her shoulder. “We’ll be waiting for you in the usual spot,” he said in low tones meant for only her to hear. Gilene nodded, reaching up to pat his hand.

Her eyebrows arched when her mother sidled a little closer, her fingertips brushing Gilene’s sleeve in a hesitant caress, “Come back to us when it’s over.”

Gilene kept her reply behind her teeth. It was never over. Not for her. Despite her mother’s half-hearted gesture of comfort, she wouldn’t defend her daughter. Gilene would endure this every year until her age and her scars crippled her so badly, she could no longer wield her magic well enough to fool the Empire, and her burden became another’s. Her resentment served to blunt her fear.

I don’t remember exactly where I found this title, but I was in the mood for specifically fantasy romance, so I’m sure I found this on a Goodreads list and added it to my TBR!

BOOKENDS: March 2021

We’ll see how much of these I continue to do on time in the coming months because I’m moving back east, and these next two months are going to be so hectic with everything to do with moving! I did read much more than I thought I did in March for a total finished book page number being 4,446!


CURRENTLY READING

I am still reading A People’s History of the United States and The Big Book of Science Fiction, but I have been making some progress!! I am also rereading The Lord of the Rings series for all the nostalgic reasons, and I’m about a third of the way through. I had been saving it for reading at work, but I get too distracted on breaks to focus sometimes, so it’s getting moved to rotate into my bedside stack. I’m also reading two review copies, The Agitators and I’m Waiting For You and Other Stories.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien (15%)
📓 The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought For Abolition and Women’s Rights – Dorothy Wickenden (6%; thank you, Scribner Books!)
📓 I’m Waiting For You and Other Stories – Kim Bo-Young (18%; thank you, Harper Voyager!)
📚 A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn (60%)
📚 The Big Book of Science Fiction – edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (32%)


FINISHED READING

I read twelve books in March! I for sure thought I was around the seven or eight mark, so I made a point to finish reading Simmer Down before the month ended. When I went to round up everything, I was pleasantly surprised! I’ve been making an effort to focus on reading, and I read a lot from my library this month too! But I’ve also realized I need to focus on the books I actually bought, because most of the books I read this month were library books or review copies…

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 A Court of Silver Flames – Sarah J. Maas (5/5 stars)
📓 In Five Years – Rebecca Serle (4/5 stars, thank you Atria!)
⌛️ The Curious History of Sex – Kate Lister (4/5 stars)
📚 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins (3.5/5 stars)
⌛️ The Ex Talk – Rachel Lynn Solomon (3.5/5 stars)
📓 Eleanor in the Village – Jan Jarboe Russell (4/5 stars, thank you Scribner!)
📓 The Paris Library – Janet Skeslien Charles (4/5 stars, thank you Atria!)
⌛️ The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides (4/5 stars)
📓 Amelia Unabridged – Ashley Schumacher (4.5/5 stars, thank you Wednesday Books!)
📱 Siri, Who Am I? – Sam Tschida (2.75/5 stars, thank you Quirk Books!)
📓 Your Time to Thrive – Marina Khidekel (3.5/5 stars, thank you Hachette Books!)
📚 Simmer Down – Sarah Smith (3.5/5 stars)


ON THE HORIZON

I only read one of my March TBR books, and that’s okay! I like the process of it, and once I get settled in my new place, I’m going to be utilizing it a little bit more and probably in a less structured way, but these are things I want to read in the very near future because I want to actually read the things I buy and try to stay on top of the review copies I’ve been sent in the last couple of months! I’ve been doing pretty okay with that in 2021, but I definitely have room for improvement.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 Walk the Wild With Me – Rachel Atwood
📚 Yellow Jessamine – Caitlin Starling
📚 Cherry – Nico Walker
📱 The Ladies of the Secret Circus – Constance Sayers
📚 The Wolf of Oren-Yaro – K.S. Villoso


WHAT I ACQUIRED

I am FOR REAL purchasing less from here on out!If I do not, please feel free to admonish me gently.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook  |  💞 reread

📚 The Unbroken – C.L. Clark
📚 A Desolation Called Peace – Arkady Martine
📚 A Rogue to Remember – Emily Sullivan
💾 Bone Crier’s Moon – Kathryn Purdie
💾 Entreat Me – Grace Draven
📚 Legendborn – Tracy Deonn
📚 Rogue Warrior – Margaret Mallory
📚 Rule of Wolves – Leigh Bardugo
💾 Seven Ways to Kill a King – Melissa Wright
📚 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – From a Certain Point of View
📓 The Alien Stars and Other Novellas – Tim Pratt (Thank you, Angry Robot!)
📚 The Black Coast – Mike Brooks
📚 The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart
📚 The Conductors – Nicole Glover
💾 The Devil All the Time – Donald Ray Pollock
📚 The Mask of Mirrors – M.A. Carrick
💾 The Unconquerable Sun – Kate Elliott
📚 Waiting for a Scot Like You – Eva Leigh
📓 The Other Black Girl – Zakiya Dalila Harris (Thank you, Atria!)
📓 Composite Creatures – Caroline Hardaker (Thank you, Angry Robot!)


ON SCREEN

GAMING: I got back into Pokemon cards and have been playing the TCG online, and I also finally bought Mario 3D All-Stars!

TV: So, I loved Wandavision, and I’m really excited so far by Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

MOVIES: Godzilla vs Kong is a visual kaiju treat, The Courier is a great cold war spy thriller, Chaos Walking was exactly what I expected it to be, and The Mauritanian is great and infuriating at the same time.


PERSONAL

I am so ready to move, and this week starts the official beginning to clean and sort and pack so I’m not feeling rushed when the time comes. I also had some work done on my car because the steering was acting up, and I’m glad it feels so much safer to drive across country.