Publisher: Swoon Reads

DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

Posted June 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire KannReviewer: Holly
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288
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High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she's spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”

Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it'll go away if they can't make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn't want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?

I discovered this book while browsing NetGalley. I don’t usually read YA, but the cover caught my eye (I absolutely adore it..that girl is super cute) and the blurb was interesting, so I decided to give it a try. It started out great. I like Kann’s writing style – simple, yet beautiful. The story flowed well and I was really feeling Winnie, her family and the town.

Sadly, things went downhill around page 40. I thought I was getting a fun story about a girl trying to save her granny’s diner, but that’s not what this is. Part of the problem stems from the stream-of-consciousness writing style. The chapters don’t really seem to go anywhere. Every thought Winnie has is on paper for us to read, so the chapters feel like rambley thoughts, rather than a story that’s headed somewhere. The blurb mentions a baking contest, but aside from a slight mention, there was little of that in the first quarter of the story. Winnie is supposedly happy with who she is, but suddenly the entire focus of the story shifted to her weight. The sudden shift in focus took me by surprise and turned me off the story.

This may have worked better for me if I’d gone into with different expectations. As it is, I wasn’t invested enough in the story or the characters to continue.

Rating: DNF


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Review: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’d Like to Forget by Shani Petroff

Posted June 5, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’d Like to Forget by Shani PetroffReviewer: Rowena
Airports, Exes, and Other Things I'm Over by Shani Petroff
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 224
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A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart... what could go wrong?

After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can't get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari's. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev!

When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!

I haven’t read too many books from Swoon Reads but this one caught my eye. It sounded like a cute story about a young girl trying to find herself in the midst of heartbreak. This book was cute but the main character got on my nerves a lot while I was reading this book.

So, the book starts off with our young aspiring musician heroine, Sari at a concert with her best friend. Sari is hoping to one day grace the stage at the very venue she’s at. Plenty of her favorite local musicians got their start here and she’s hoping to be one. The concert she’s at was so good that she’s feeling great. She’s got no complaints about her life right now. She’s hanging with her bestie, listening to her favorite band and she’s got a great boyfriend who adores her. They’re leaving on a week-long vacation together and she is so excited. Or, she was excited until she shows up at the party her boyfriend is at and catches him in a lip-lock with his ex-girlfriend.

Just like that, her plans and her excitement and her world come crumbling down around her. The hurt and the betrayal are huge so she does what any self-respecting young lady would do. She shows up at the airport way earlier than planned and changes her flight so that she doesn’t have to travel with her cheating boyfriend and she does her best to move on. She doesn’t expect to move on immediately but she gives it a try anyway. It’s hard to enjoy a vacation away when your heart is broken and the guy that broke your heart keeps trying to contact you and then shows up at your Grandmother’s house to make amends.

The story really takes off when she meets a boy close to her age at her Grandmother’s senior living apartment complex. She may not want to jump into a new relationship or even be on board a rebound hookup but she could use a friend and Fitz quickly becomes a friend of hers. When the offer of a lifetime comes through, Sari will do whatever it takes to get home…and that includes riding home with her cheating ex-boyfriend and a bunch of strangers to make her show.

Most of this book takes place at the airport and on her drive home from Boston with three boys. Sari is desperate to get home and she’s trying her best to keep her shit together but being in close proximity to the guy that broke your heart is hard. It’s made even harder when her mother refuses to respect her wishes by not contacting Zev (the cheating ex) but on that end, if she didn’t want her Mom to keep texting Zev then she should have stayed more on top of keeping her parents in the loop on everything going on but since she didn’t…a parent’s got to do what a parent’s got to do.

I really sympathized with Sari’s situation throughout the whole book but far too often, she annoyed me. I was also really annoyed with Zev in that he just refused to go away. I spent far too much of this book rooting for a boy that did everything right but in the end, wasn’t rewarded. Sure, everything is wrapped up nicely in the end but it wasn’t necessarily the ending that I was rooting for. I felt like if we were supposed to be rooting for one boy then there shouldn’t have been so much of the other boy. But also, there shouldn’t have been so much of the other boy for us to love.

I thought that Sari was really lucky to have the support system that she had and while she kind of drove me crazy throughout the book, I did believe the growth in her character and even supported it. So while this book ended well, there were still things that I griped about but got over.

All in all, this book gets a 3.5 out of 5 from me.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5


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Guest Review: Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

Posted August 3, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Kissing Max Holden by Katy UppermanReviewer: Tracy
Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 1st 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
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Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea...

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn't himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn't know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn't let him kiss her. But she can't resist, and when they're caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it'll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

Jillian and Max pretty much grew up together.  They were great friends until they got older and then grew apart.  Max was currently dating a horrible girl that treated him badly but yet he stayed with her.  Max is having family problems as his once vibrant father had a stroke and his whole world is in upheaval.  On Halloween night he knocks on Jillian’s window as he used to do and they talk.  Max is drunk (yes, he’s only 17) and then he ends up kissing her. She’s shocked but into it until her father finds them and is livid.  He kicks Max out and tells Jillian to stay away from Max as he’s no good.

Jillian’s not sure how to feel about Max.  She knows he has a girlfriend and she shouldn’t have feelings for him but she does.  Max comes clean to his girlfriend about the kiss and the girlfriend, Becky, actually treats Jillian worse than before, which she didn’t think was possible.  Jillian’s life at school and with Max is frustrating as she’s not sure how Max feels and all of the mixed signals he’s throwing her way.

As if the situation with Max wasn’t confusing enough her father and step-mother Meredith, who are expecting a child, are fighting constantly.  Her father is always gone at work and when he’s home he works on his computer or fights with Meredith.  Jillian finds out that her college money was spent and while she wants to hate the “leech-baby” as she calls it, she just can’t.  Jillian ends up being there for her step-mom when her father can’t be found and this creates a bond between the two that hadn’t been there before. Jill also ends up loving her little sister to death and that made me smile.  Oh, the power of an infant. 🙂  Meredith also understands about Max and feels that Jill should be with him if that’s what she wants.

This was a cute and sweet story about teenage angst.  To Max and Jillian trying to figure out the ins and outs of their relationship were major issues – and they were to the average teenager.  They were frustrating and unclear and while they were working them out it set them both into turmoil. I really liked how Jill was there for Max when he needed her.  She made him understand that his father having a stroke wasn’t his fault and that drinking himself into oblivion all the time wasn’t the answer.  Max truly had a good head on his shoulders, his emotions overwhelmed him regularly and that’s what sent him into his tailspins.

The issue with Jillian’s dad was, to me at least, quite obvious.  I was sad for Meredith as she was such an innocent in the whole situation.  I didn’t like that man at all and it was hard to see what Mer ever saw in him.  With the book being from Jillian’s POV only it was hard to look at it from other angles.

The POV was frustrating at times in this book.  When the book first starts and Max is knocking on Jill’s window it’s so out of character and something that he hasn’t done in a long while.  We never find out what he’s thinking or why he decided to knock at that time.  I wanted so badly to get into Max’s head, but alas it never happened.  Despite that I thought the author did a decent job of telling Max and Jill’s story and enjoyed the book overall.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 


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