Review: Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee

I am the type of reader who hardly ever asks for ARCs- partly because I am stupid and scared of rejection, and partly because I am weird and I often enjoy going to the bookstore on the day a book is released. There is just something about a Tuesday morning, am I right?! However, when I had the amazing opportunity to read Jeff Zentner’s newest book early…. I DID NOT HESITATE. I had to have it. He is one of the best contemporary authors out there. He wrote my absolute favorite book, The Serpent King, and I made a deal with myself that I would literally read anything and everything that he ever writes. His stories always speak to me, touch my heart in unexpected ways, and of course, make me bawl my damn eyes out. Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee was no exception.

I’ll start off by saying that Rayne and Delilah was by far the most upbeat book that Jeff Zentner has written so far. I knew he was a witty dude, but holy hell, this book had me wondering if he practices stand up comedy in his spare time. The humor and wit is unparalleled. Every single line is true comedy gold, and I laughed out loud more times than I can even begin to count. I wish that Josie and Delia were real people because I know that myself and my best friend, Becca, would love to hang out with them all day long. They would be the perfect people to join us in making sarcastic jokes about all of the fools that we have to deal with on a daily basis, while also hardcore hating on all things relating to country music. Besides being the queens of hilarity, Josie and Delia are also two of the most relatable characters that I’ve ever read. I saw so much of myself in both of them, and I totally wish that I would have had their gumption when I was in high school.

A lot of YA books deal with friendship, but I think that Rayne and Delilah brought the friendship theme to a whole new level. It was extremely refreshing to read about two female best friends who were totally in sync and focused on things outside of romance. Speaking of romance, Rayne and Delilah has some of that too!! And it was another thing that I adored about the book. The romantic aspect was subtle enough to not overshadow the main story, but prevalent enough to keep my romance-loving heart happy. Who freakin knew that a male could write such a relatable, honest, and swoon-worthy love story told from the perspective of a female?! Seriously, kudos to Jeff for having the guts to not only attempt this, but to succeed with flying colors!! It takes a true talent for an author to be able to delve into the mind of a persona that they themselves have never been, but trust me when I say that I was so pleasantly surprised about how well Jeff Zentner executed this “girl power”-esque story.

I’ve talked about how funny and cute this book is, but I have yet to describe how it is also so very heartwarming and emotional. There were times where I had to read certain paragraphs twice because I was so moved and inspired. I have always appreciated that both of Jeff’s previous books harp on the fact that you do not have to do extraordinary things to be an extraordinary person. I love the message that people can be happy living a “simple” life. I think it’s an important thing to convey to young people like myself, who sometimes struggle soooo hard to be “the best”, and subsequently think of themselves as failures when they don’t experience the fame and fortune they think they desire. My emotions were also on high alert whenever I read the subtle, yet so important, passages about mental health. As someone who struggles with depression, accurate mental health representation is something that I always look for in books. And I mean, come on, it wouldn’t be a Jeff Zentner book if it wasn’t at least a little sad.

I could realistically write about 6 more paragraphs describing everything that I loved about Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee, but I’ll end this by saying that you need this book in your life, and you should definitely go buy it when it comes out on February 26, 2019. You also need The Serpent King and Goodbye Days if you have not yet read those. All three of them are life-changing and life-affirming novels that will always hold a special place in my heart.

5 STARS!!!!!!!!!

** I was provided an ARC of this book as part of an ARC tour. My thoughts and opinions are all my own, and I was not influenced by the author or publisher.

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Review: Legendary (Caraval #2)

Author: Stephanie Garber

Published: May 29, 2018

FINALLY!!!! A highly anticipated sequel that did not, in any way, disappoint me!! So far this year all of the sequels that I have been looking forward to (Obsidio, Restore Me, Leah on the Offbeat) have all not really lived up to what I wanted them to be. But Legendary… man, oh man, was it legendary! (I had to. I’m sorry, lol.)

Besides the fact that Stephanie Garber’s writing is to die for, the plot and overall magic of Legendary was so on par. I could bask in the beauty of Garber’s prose for the rest of my life and not be upset. She has such a way with words- it’s awe inspiring, or at least it is to me. I know that some people have problems with overly descriptive writing, and if you are that person, than Caraval and it’s sequel are probably not for you. I, however, am not that person and I enjoyed every second of this beautiful book. In fact, I read it in a day.

Legendary is everything that Caraval was and more. It has the same magic and the entire plot is deeply intriguing. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time because I HAD to know who Legend was. I also HAD to have more of a new character named Jacks- who I am now obsessed with. Y’all know I love those morally grey villains and I’m super glad that this book contained more than one. Going into this, I thought I would miss the OG characters, Scarlett and Julian, and I didn’t think that I would really like Tella. Boy was I wrong. Scarlett and Julian are still present in the book, and I was glad for that, but I didn’t find myself missing their perspective because Tella is a fierce bitch. I need Finale in my life. I needed it the second I finished Legendary. I slightly hate myself for the fact that I try to read books when they first come out… it always leaves me wanting more.

5 stars!!!!!!!!

 

Review: Foolish Hearts

Author: Emma Mills

Published: December 5, 2017

Foolish Hearts took me completely by surprise! I knew this book was going to be cute, because, come on, it’s about theater geeks and those are totally my people. What I did not expect, was for this to be such an addicting read. It’s one of those contemporary books that I would love to live in. Not because it has an overly intriguing plot, but because it is full of an amazing cast of characters who all have unique and charming personalities. Basically, I would love to be best friends with almost anyone in this novel.

Ever since I read Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I have been looking for a contemporary book with the same sort of vibe. THIS is that book. It’s adorable, diverse, and it features a main character who has an amazingly relatable inner dialogue- hell, it is even centered around the production of a high school play. Foolish Hearts is not as romance-centric as Simon, but it is still full of so much heart. I think the soul of this book was how it dealt with friendship. Gideon Prewitt was great and all, but I feel that Iris (even with all her of problems) really stole the show in this story. There are very few YA novels that focus on the development of friendship- mostly because so many YA novels are all about romance, and basically how the main character finds a love interest while all of their “friends” suddenly take a back seat to said love interest (btw, totally not realistic). I loved that Foolish Hearts had a different focus.

I’m really in love with this book, and I’m so glad I finally decided to pick it up off of my shelf. So many things about Foolish Hearts were perfect, but it didn’t necessarily alter my way of thinking or make me overly emotional, so I don’t think I can give it a perfect rating. I can, however, encourage everyone to read this because it is full of characters and situations that I think every single reader can sympathize with and relate to.

4.5 stars!!!!

 

 

Review: Call Me By Your Name

Author: André Aciman

Published: January 23, 2007

I initially bought this book because I am the type of person who must read the book before seeing the movie. And y’all already know that I had to see the movie- I mean, gay love story? Armie Hammer? I am here for that. I was very ill-prepared for the amount of feels and love that I would end up having for this gorgeous book. I am still a little awe-struck by it, and I honestly can’t stop thinking about it. Naturally, I watched the movie the day I finished the book, and then I proceeded to order my own copy of the movie so that I could truly treasure it forever.

I think I could realistically give Call Me By Your Name a perfect rating, and I probably would if I ever do a re-read. But for some reason, I thought that the first 1/3 of it was pretty boring. I really hate to say that because the last 2/3 was beautiful, and nothing short of perfection. The ending actually made me feel like I underappreciated the beginning and the build-up. I’m positive that I would have related to Elio’s voice more in the first part if I had known that there was greatness to come. Which is why I will tell everyone reading this…. do not be discouraged or underwhelmed with the first part of this book. I promise that IT GETS BETTER. On the other hand, I do not think that this novel is for everyone. It doesn’t necessarily have a “plot”, and it relies heavily on Elio’s inner monologue. Feelings, emotions, more feelings, beautiful descriptions of Italy, beautiful descriptions of the male body, feelings, and more emotions- that’s basically how I would sum up this novel. Oh, and it’s pretty raunchy, sooo stay away from it if you are averse to that sort of thing.

Call Me By Your Name is a wonderfully ambitious read. It is highly emotional and I applaud the author for being able to write such a fabulous novel that is based solely on one boy’s thoughts and feelings. So far this year I have read two adult fiction books. That is rare for me because I am a die-hard reader of YA. Needless to say, I have not been even slightly disappointed by either of the books that I have read that were out of my comfort zone.

4.5 stars!!!

 

 

Review: Alex, Approximately

Author: Jenn Bennett

Published: April 4, 2017

What a freaking cute book!!!! Alex, Approximately is the type of book that makes me want to move to California, sip drinks on the beach, and read cute contemporary novels all day long. It’s the perfect book to bring with you on a vacation- which is ironic because I read a majority of this on my phone while I was at work.

I have a confession to make: I have never seen the movie “You’ve Got Mail”, and apparently this book is a sort of re-telling of that movie. BUT, I will now have to go watch it, because I adored the hell out of this book. Alex, Approximately is a fairly typical YA contemporary romance, and I’m beginning to appreciate light-hearted books more and more. Sometimes your soul just needs a good love story without all of the heartbreak and drama. I think that my only issue with this book was the fact that it sometimes tried to incorporate darker/ more emotional material and that’s where it failed. I don’t really want to say “failed” though, because I still loved it. I just think that the more serious subject matter felt inauthentic and contrived. Everything else about this novel was on point. The characters were well-developed and likable, the story was original (at least to me because I haven’t seen the movie), and the family units were very well-written. I think that overall, Alex, Approximately did exactly what I wanted it to do- entertain me and warm my heart.

4 stars!

 

 

Review: It Ends With Us

Author: Colleen Hoover

Published: August 2, 2016

DAMN. Colleen Hoover has done it again. But this time she has finally earned a perfect review from me. I loveeeee all of the books that I have read by her, but I have never given one 5 stars, just because I felt like they were slightly too ideal. That was not the case with It Ends With Us, and it made all the difference. 

I was completely enamored by this book from the very beginning. It is everything that I expect from a new adult romance, and it was more than everything I expected from Colleen Hoover. Hoover is an EXCELLENT storyteller. Her books are so addicting that I have read a majority of them in a day. In fact, I wasn’t physically able to read this one in a day, and it actually stressed me out because I was in desperate need of wanting to know how this story turned out. I now know that whenever I am planning to read a CoHo book, I will definitely need to start it on a day that I do not have any other obligations.

I do not want to describe too much of the plot because I went into it knowing very little, and I think that’s why I was so surprised by it. And in my mind, being surprised by a book is a very good thing. I had no idea how dark and real this novel would be, and there were moments where I was absolutely stunned by how honest this story was. It was relatable, tragic, and deeply moving. I love contemporaries, and I have been getting more and more into new adult romance. With that being said, I still don’t consider a book perfect unless it makes me truly feel, or gives me a new perspective. It Ends With Us did both of those things. It was already my mission to read everything by Colleen Hoover this year, and now I’m even more motivated to get my hands on all of the books that this amazing woman has written.

5 stars!!!!

Review: We Are Okay

Author: Nina LaCour

Published: February 14, 2017

We are okay… ARE WE ACTUALLY OKAY, THOUGH?! I know I’m not. In a lot of ways, this is a book that I have been waiting to read, and not just because it has been on my TBR since its release date. Just the other day, I was talking about the fact that I have not read, or even heard about, a book that features a gay female as the main character. Low and behold, this lovely little book, that has been sitting on my shelf for months, does! SO MANY YAYS.

We Are Okay is a simple, tiny, and wonderful book. It really doesn’t have a whole lot going on in terms of plot, but I think the storytelling of this book was so very perfect. It is an amazing depiction of grief and loneliness. As someone who often feels alone, I related to this so hard. When I was a freshman in college, I had to live in a dorm. My roommate dropped out of school after about one week, so I spent a majority of my time all by myself. I also have generalized anxiety disorder, so between that and the feelings of loneliness that I experienced, let’s just say freshman year was not the greatest. My personal experiences with the feelings that Marin goes through helped me to love this book even more. Nina LaCour writes beautifully. I say that a lot in my reviews, but it’s true. She has a unique style and she hits the nail on the head with so many of her descriptions.

I sat in amazement as to how a book like this could wreck my heart, but it did. I adored everything about it. For a book that is mainly about coping with grief, it had small and wonderful moments of hope. Do not get me wrong though, We Are Okay is still hella sad and emotional. It hits you in the right feels and it does not let up. After finishing this, I stayed awake for about a 1/2 hour contemplating about how much I missed my own grandfather, and about how grief never truly leaves you. I think that this book is really important and astonishing in its simpleness. It’s a must-read people who love awesome writing and profoundly moving stories.

5 stars!!!