Category Archives: Book Reviews

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue: A Review

I still have nightmares about trying to read Moby Dick for a college literature class. Seriously, that book is my great whale. Despite many (many!) attempts to read it, I still haven't been able to get through it all. Consequently, I believe it is on

By Mackenzi Lee

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Genre: Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, YA, Romance

Pages: 513 (Hardcover edition)

ISBN: 9780062382801

The Story:

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

My Favourite Points:

Two things really stood out for me in this book: the quality of the writing and Monty.

This book was very well written. The drama was there as well as humour and intriguing plot points.

As for the characters themselves, I found them to be quite unique and they even managed to develop over the pages. Although I’d have wanted for Monty to grasp things more quickly and change more than what he did, but it was simply realistic so I can’t really talk against that aspect.

The plot was fun and interesting, though it sometimes lacked realism or high stakes.

My favourite character was Felicity (hands down!). She’s strong, independent, determined and impressive in her own way. She’s pursuing medecine in her free time despite what her father and society think of a woman having a passion (or the wits!) for it. I can’t wait for the sequel, which is all about Felicity!

My Lesser Points:
However, Monty didn’t sit well with me. At all. He’s such an idiot from beginning to end. Yes, okay, at the end he’s a bit more open-minded and kind, but since the characters were done realistically, people will often come back to behaving just like they used to so with very few differences… He’s arrogant and careless and doesn’t even put himself in Percy’s shoes for… EVERYTHING. It’s always others’ fault and he’s so oblivious. I know he has a hard past, but he’s really just blind or plain stupid. Either way, I don’t like him. It’s his personality I dislike. Reading this book wasn’t a lot of fun because he was in it, see? I don’t even know why I finished it. Probably because Felicity is awesome and Percy is so cute. But Monty? Thank God the sequel isn’t about him!

Conclusion:

But not everything is lost for there’s a special treat in this book: interracial homosexual love. Like, why don’t we see this more often? In all possible combinations: interracial love, homosexual love, and interracial homosexual love. It’s cruelly missing and this book gives it to us.

Lastly, the realism surrounding epilepsy and madhouses is heart-wrenching. But well done!

Oh, I forgot: it’s set in 18th century, so that’s pretty great.

All in all, the book and story themselves weren’t bad, but Monty ruined it for me. I hated picking up the book and having to read HIS point of view. If it had been Percy’s, now, that would have been perfect and sweet, I’m sure of it. I guess it’s 4 disappointing stars for this one. I can’t rate it less than 4 because a character didn’t sit well with me, right? Let’s say I’m judging the overall product as a 4 stars.

If you want to learn more about Mackenzi Lee and her books, head over to her Web site  or her Twitter account.

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The Little Red Wolf: A Review

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By Amélie Fléchais

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Genre: Children, Picture books, Fantasy, Fairy Tales

Pages: 80

ISBN: 9781941302453

*A special thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

The Story:

The Little Red Wolf was inspired by the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale by Charles Perrault. This story is about a little wolf with a red cape who needs to cross the dangerous forest to deliver a rabbit to his grandmother. However, he must heed his mother’s warning about the treacherous and villainous humans living in those woods. When stumbling upon a charming little girl, the Little Red Wolf will have to choose if he’s ready to trust this creature or follow his mother’s advice. Curiosity might have killed the cat… but what will it do this Little Red Wolf?

The Positive Points:

The storybook The Little Red Wolf features eerie but cute (and even funny) drawings – they’re childish and exaggerated. I think it fits that new fairy tale, inspired by the creepy Little Red Riding Hood. If it had other pictures, I figure it would have changed the mood drastically and not have it be as troubling as it is! This book uses and elegant font which reminds me of the fairy tales of old.

Moreover, the colours used to paint the story start bright and get darker and darker as the little red wolf (a cute little fellow!) steps closer to the enemy. These artistic choices fit the story perfectly. It’s easy to notice how much work the author and illustrator put in the illustrations! As for the story itself, I was under the positive impression it was told in a way that is reminiscent of the fairy tales of old. However, don’t be mistaken in thinking it’s too hard for a child to understand because it’s not. It simply has a distinctive ring and approach to it.

All in all, the images are beautiful. I loved how imaginative wolves’ houses in trees and underground are; it’s quite original. This story is faithful to olden fairy tales what with the words chosen, the warnings, the colours used, the gruesome events and twists and characters depicted.

The song woven in the story was fun and I also loved all the different point of views, though the main (and cutest) one is the little red world, our sweet protagonist. The little suspense and mystery surrounding the humans was predictable, but then again it’s a tale for children! So, I can’t really blame the author for this, can I? Last but not least of the positive points is how the ending explains the red cape the protagonist has and what really happened to the humans’ family. It demystifies everything and answers all the reader’s questions, leaving them satisfied once they close the book.

The Negative Points & Conclusion:

Although I know a wolf is carnivorous, and he would obviously take a dead rabbit or something like that to his grandma, it was slightly disgusting… mostly when he eats parts of it. Don’t get me wrong: there might not be any blood, but the image is still disturbing somehow. I’m not sure this is okay for children. Or perhaps I’m too sensitive when it comes to animals. Or in general, too. But that is the only negative point I could find.

While I think this adorable storybook is really worth purchasing (especially for a child you know, although it’s a greatly enjoyable read even for an adult), it didn’t grab me fully. I do think back on it appreciatively, but my emotions weren’t really in the equation. For all these reasons, good and bad, I give The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I encourage you to give it a try or buy it for a child you know! The point of view of the wolf is a very different take on this reimagined story – it’s great and surprising.

If you want to learn more about Amélie Fléchais and her storybooks, head over to her Facebook account or her Tumblr.

Lady Mechanika: La dama de la muerte: A Review

35541317

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Genre: Comics, Steampunk and Fantasy

Pages: 88

ISBN: 9780996603065

*I received an ARC of this book through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review*

Lady Mechanika arrives into Santa Catrina, a small village, during the Día de los Muertos festival after suffering a loss. The Jinetes, horseback-riders from the world of the dead, come to the village to collect their offerings. Lady Mechanika then decides to act to save the villagers.

By Joe Benitez

 

What struck me first was how gorgeous all the artworks are! In fact, they are jaw-dropping with the flamboyant colours and numerous details in their clothes, build, bodies, and objects. I really enjoyed how all the acts’ titles (even the main title) are in Spanish—now that speaks of culture and experience! Because, if you don’t know, the Día de los Muertos is celebrated in Mexico, where the people speak Spanish. Did I say acts? Yes, I did. Instead of chapters, acts divide the whole book, just like a play, a movie, or most stories for that matter (depending on the technique used, there can be from 3 to 6 or 7 of them in a novel).

Moreover, the characters’ clothes and makeup are sensational. Wow! They even serve the story which is doubly amazing. The panels are dynamic (sometimes we even get a glimpse from Lady Mechanika’s point of view under her big hat). Fun times, I’m telling you! Last note about the graphic aspect of Lady Mechanika is how the panels’ borders are made of pipes and gears which really make for a steampunk feel to it! The background has got scratches like used paper, which feels old too… A subtle but great touch!

Now, what about the story? The beginning is intriguing and jumps right into the subject. It doesn’t wait around. Instead, it sets the tone for the rest of the story and is creepy enough while being stunning. It also sets up the setting and the events quite early on and this comic does it quite nicely. You’d have to be blind to miss the information! The story itself is exciting and starts drastically, mixing folk tales with the Lady Mechanika’s invented story. The use of children as important characters in the story impressed me—it is rare but exquisite and fun when it happens! As for the other characters, they are all different and lovely in their own ways. But most noticeable, they all have their own agendas, stories, thoughts, and everything else that makes them unique. It is enjoyable to see them all mix and react to each other!

It’s hard to feel for Lady Mechanika, the main character, at the beginning, but the more I read the more lovable she became. After all, she’s courageous, a trait I respect. Moreover, we get to see a bit of her backstory, which helps us understand more about where she comes from and why she’s so different. Mostly for people who don’t read Lady Mechanika (like me) and thus don’t know her well over several comics.

On top of that, I found it to be culturally respectful of Mexico and El Día de los Muertos. The author and artist really made La dama de la muerte a pleasure to dive into. I felt like I was there, sucked into these magnificent pages and trying to do good alongside Lady Mechanika. It was insightful, that’s for sure. The emotions are well-portrayed. We can identify them without any problem.  The action is thrilling and nice in terms of visual. I’m not one who likes fight scenes much in comics, but I can say those are entertaining.

The story is intriguing and sometimes misleading (a real treat!) as the plot unfolds. I admit it emotionally destroyed me (I cried, yes), but it was SO good! The ending… Awww, what can I say about the ending? I loved it! It’s such a surprise even I couldn’t see coming (and I usually detect all the major twists in a story).

There is only one negative point and I think it’s somewhat big. Let’s say the villagers’ reaction to the tragedy befalling them is… strange to say the least. I didn’t find it realistic, but it was cute and soothing—if not comforting.

I give this comic a rating of 5 out of 5 despite the negative point because I had such a wonderful time reading it. Seriously, it is well-done and impressive. I have fond memories of this book and I am certain I’ll keep them for a long, long time… Why? Because I will buy and read Lady Mechanika’s other comics! I am a fan now.

If you want to learn more about Joe Benitez, creator and artist of this gorgeous comic as well as the series Lady Mechanika, do head over to his Web site.

The Meditation Beginner’s Bible: A Review

Meditation

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Genre: Non-fiction – Religion & Spirituality

Pages: 52

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book, through Reading Deals, so I could give an honest review.

Do you sometimes feel stressed, anxious, lonely and depressed? Are you always up in your head, constantly dwelling on the past and worrying about the future? Do you want to live a more productive, stress-free and happier life? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. With The Meditation Beginner’s Bible, you will embark on an inner journey that will take you back to the state of peace, joy and happiness you were born to inhabit. – Tai Morello

I decided to give this book a try since I do meditate (I have been doing so for a few years now) but I wanted to know more about that specific topic.

For me, the short, straight-to-the-point and informative chapters were a pleasure to read! It is also done in an easy-to-read writing and Mr. Morello uses bullet points to show us lists of facts. He made sure the reader would have no problem reading his book nor would they feel overwhelmed.

It introduces us to meditation by explaining what it is and how we can make it part of our lives and also what are the benefits we can reap from it. I liked how the author categorized the benefits: health, mental and emotional, and spiritual benefits. He includes all aspects of well-being and I think it’s a good idea. Mr. Morello makes use of motivational quotes in most chapters – it’s a nice touch. It is informational on topics such as brain waves and how different areas of the brain are positively affected by the habit of meditating.

Another point I found amusing was how the author debunked myths and misconceptions about meditation such as ‘’it takes too much time’’. Moreover, he goes over the common obstacles (perfectionism, outcome orientation, etc.) encountered by those who want to try to meditate for the first time or to implement it as a habit. Mr. Morello shows us different techniques we can use like mindfulness (one of my favorites!), candle meditation, mantra meditation, and others. There are also tips on how to have a better meditation experience and turn it into a habit.

As for the negative points, there were two major ones I could find, in my opinion. The first one being the lack of numbers and/or percentages or case studies about the effectiveness of meditation. It would greatly help build the credibility of the facts (are they truly facts…?) Mr. Morello gives us. He rarely mentions research (twice, I think?) so it’s as though there are no proofs of what he’s saying. The second thing that bothers me is that there is no author bio – not at the beginning nor at the end of the book! How are we supposed to believe his expertise on the subject? It’s like the author wanted to remain hidden… but such information that comes from research must be presented by someone with credibility. Or at least, it’s the minimum requirements of writing such a book to let us know who you are so we can decide if we will trust you and your work. What book doesn’t have an author bio nowadays?

I give it a rating of 2 out of 5 because of the two negative points that are deal-breakers for me. For all I know, Mr. Morello could have invented half of the ‘’facts’’ in The Meditation Beginner’s Bible. I give it two stars because despite it all, it was a quick and pleasant read and it looks like he did research the topic – he just forgot to prove it to us. I wouldn’t recommend this book though due to the lack of credibility.

Ex Libris: A Review

ExLibris

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Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 384

ISBN: 9781607014898

*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This collection of fantasy short stories explores the relationships of readers and librarians, the wonderful work librarians do, the fantastical places that libraries can be… and all of that mixed with lore.

Now, I must say this book really caught my interest when I first saw it! Stories about librarians, libraries, and lore in the same book? Count me in! Also, the Latin title got me. I think it speaks for the theme’s oldness, deep knowledge, and mystical air. The best thing about Ex Libris? It did not disappoint me – in fact, it even surprised me more than once!

Of all the book introductions I’ve read in my life, Paula Guran’s one in Ex Libris is by far the best one out there yet (at least for passionate readers and anyone who loves libraries). She tells us of the different libraries and librarians from all genres in literature while punctuating it with excerpts. Her research must have taken her a long time… but I want to say it was well worth it and beautifully done. It’s an introduction I won’t forget anytime soon. As for the reading itself, it flows – it is engrossing and lovely. It also got me quite emotionally invested in the stories, characters, and life itself (I still haven’t figured out how it managed to do that with the last one, but it’s still a neat feat!). Moreover, I had a magical read! The stories (most of them) were very funny and amusing. It reminded me of the magic libraries hold and how time flies by when I’m reading. It is an enchanting and lovely book!

All the short stories in this collection have a varying degree of importance related to books and/or libraries – you never know what to expect except that these two elements will be there in some way or another. To what extent and use is the surprise of each story. Speaking of stories, they were quite imaginative. They even manage by some mysterious force to be believable (don’t ask me how, I’m still working on understanding it)! The voices of the many narrators are clear, distinct, and strong. I would have thought some stories would lack in voice… but I was shown wrong with this collection! Woven into the texts are amusing references to real books – it’s a nice addition and at the same time a necessity regarding the library theme.

The vocabulary used in these stories is diverse, beautiful, and precise. The short stories aren’t too long – I believe their length has been well measured as it makes for captivating enough without becoming boring. Some stories are drama, others are adventures, but all have a subtle touch of humor and are engaging in their own way. One thing is for sure: together, those short stories are an eclectic mix – although it is sometimes destabilizing, it is also quite pleasant, much like refreshing parts of the same whole. Another thing I particularly enjoyed about Ex Libris is how diverse the situations and characters are! Some are people of color while others have illnesses or handicaps. A much appreciated touch that helps make those weird (it’s a compliment here) stories more realistic! There is something different I noticed about the format of these short stories: they include subtitles related to books or libraries (like the widely used Dewey decimal system), quotes, and other fun things. It’s a great idea to make their format somehow fit their main theme! I also think they were well structured, which helps the reading experience by making it easier on the eye. Finally, I loved learning about the authors in the ‘’About the Authors’’ section at the end. At first, I thought this was a collection of short stories written by emerging authors, but oh no! They are all big names like Holly Black, Ray Bradbury, and many others! It’s imposing and impressive.

You’re probably wondering where are the negative points, aren’t you? I was too, frankly… However, there are only two of those, which I am pretty sure are now fixed since the book has been released. I have found a few typos, additional and unneeded words, and sometimes forgotten conjugations. The other thing that bothered me (only slightly as the rest of the book was well worth my time spent reading it!) was how many repetitions there were. For example, in two close paragraphs the words ‘’soft’’ and ‘’softly’’ were used thrice. It happens here and there and, like in that example, it can pull you out of the story you’re reading. Those points aside, the book is pure entertainment with mysteries written in its pages.

The idea itself of a book about libraries and librarians wins numerous points with me. It hit home and I think it will do the same thing with other bookworms. In fact, it is a good fit for anyone who has a (secret) love of books and libraries and the people who help keep them in order. I give it a rating of 5 out of 5 because of the library theme, the quality of the stories, and also because I always wanted to resume reading it. I’m pretty sure all fantasy fans will find Ex Libris quite entertaining and worth their while since it has varied short stories – in other words, there is a short story for everyone in this amazing collection!

As a bonus, here’s my ranking of my favorite Ex Libris short stories:

1- In the House of the Seven Librarians by Ellen Klages

2- The Last Librarian by Edoardo Albert

3- Death and the Librarian by Esther M. Friesner

4- Special Collections by Norman Partridge

5- In Libres by Elizabeth Bear

Please note that all short stories had something unique to them and the ranking above is simply based on my personal tastes!

If you want to know more about the editor, Paula Guran, and Prime Books, the publisher, click here for the first and here for the latter.

Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Review

Online Marketing for Busy Authors_Fauzia Burke

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*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

The book Online Marketing for Busy Authors by Fauzia Burke, a leader in online book marketing and consultant for authors, explores essential aspects of marketing such as personal branding, reader profiles, goals, and much more. It offers a plethora of resources, exercises and integrated worksheets.

Fauzia Burke really does the job she set out to do in this short yet immensely helpful book. Since there are several good points to it and very few negative points, I’ll start with the latter: it is indeed too short. That’s it. I loved it so much I craved for more information, examples, explanations, and resources! I was satisfied with the book when I reached the end yet disappointed because I wanted to dive even more in Miss Burke’s experience.

As for the good points, prepare to be overwhelmed (no, really, this book is fantastic for authors like me who have no idea how to market their books!). In the first pages, the author makes it clear what to expect from her book and what its structure is (three sections in order to make the best gradual use of it – a step-by-step approach). I must admit what I loved most about this book is how straightforward it is: Miss Burke’s tone is friendly yet she doesn’t kick around the bush. She gives precise and direct information with just enough detail so as not to bore the reader. Plus, the information shared by the author is highly relevant to the field and does exactly what the title of the book implies. In other words, it makes you think about YOUR own online marketing strategy and find guided solutions for you. Her examples are clear and easy to understand.

This book also includes worksheets, advice, and quotes, which are all useful and well thought to help us. There’s even space for the exercises in her book – it’s close to being interactive! It really feels like the author, Miss Burke, truly wants to help us, starting from the basics and expanding on that newly learned knowledge. Her vocabulary is inspiring and diverse; it is also laced with kindness and even sometimes a pinch of humor. Thus, the writing is quite enjoyable and conveys the intended messages. Do you want to know another fabulous point about this book? It is free of typos and mistakes of any kind! That impressed me, I must say. It made my reading flow like a river (now, don’t you just like my failed attempt at poetry here?).

Miss Burke is always professional! Her twenty years of experience really show in all the information she gives us and how she does it too. She covers a wide range of topics and gives in-depth but short explanations throughout the book. Not only does she tackle what we can get out of each marketing effort, but also the why, which professionals rarely do. There are constant reminders of your goals and marketing strategy in every chapter so you don’t lose your focus. The author also provides tips on how to best use social media and certain platforms, which she deems the best in terms of online marketing.

Her views and guidance on the different marketing efforts are realistic. Miss Burke also makes use of good questions that prepare you and make you think about your own strategy. There are also lists of things to do that cover the steps you need to go through in order to succeed at that particular marketing effort. This book demystifies marketing for authors. It makes me feel more confident about my own online marketing strategy, which I’ll now tweak a bit thanks to Miss Burke! One of the best things about Online Marketing for Busy Authors is the tools (a.k.a websites) it gives us to learn more about our niche and potential bloggers, customers. It also provides the tools for us to find help, tips, and ideas. Lastly, Miss Burke does a recap of everything learned at the end of her book, which is a useful refresher training!

Fauzia Burke, the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors, hit the bull’s eye with her book. In my opinion, she covers all the essential points and makes it interesting, even for a marketing newbie like me. Because I found it very helpful and true to its blurb and title (and also her own experience as a leader in online book marketing), I give it a rating of 5 out of 5. There were no major bad points, only the fact that I wished her book was longer so I could learn about marketing even more. This book is perfect for fans of Joanna Penn and James Scott Bell for it gives practical tips to achieve your own online marketing with no nonsense explanations of how to do so, a particular manner that reminds me of those two great authors. If you’re an author or an aspiring one who’s lost in all the marketing you need to do, Fauzia Burke’s Online Marketing for Busy Authors simply must be on your shelf. I have the conviction it will make you even like online marketing, just as it did with me.

If you want to learn more about Fauzia Burke and her online book marketing company, you can do so here.

Strawberry Summer: A Review

Strawberry Summer

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*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Margaret ‘’Maggie’’ Beringer has a troubled past with Courtney Carrington, heiress of Carrington’s retail store. The two were madly in love during their teenage years, yet they parted for a poignant reason. Now, Courtney comes back into Maggie’s little town known as Tanner Peak. Will their love survive the issues of the past or crash once again?

I picked this book on NetGalley as soon as I saw it was a lesbian romance. I had never read one and I think it’s cute; unfortunately, there are not enough of them around without being erotica. Plus, the description of a past love and now they find themselves still in love yet struggling against those past issues is just perfect to me. Of course, I had to request it and I was more than thrilled to see the publisher had granted my request.

There are so many good points about this novel that I don’t know where to start yet I’ll try to do my best! The most prominent one is how much emotional it made me in general and how much I cared about Courtney (mostly) and Maggie. I wanted them to have a happy ending and I could barely put this book down–I yearned to learn what next would happen with them! Another point worth mentioning is how I couldn’t find typos or mistakes of any kind in the writing. That got me quite pleased as many of the ARCs and even some published books are full of them. But not this one so it’s a bonus. The sarcastic and humoristic main character (Maggie) makes for a welcome touch of humour. I have found her humour to be really funny, which made it all the more interesting to read.

I swear this bittersweet romance has got me in for highs and lows (ouch, my poor heart!). I bet it will no doubt do the same to you. The romance is also playful and teasing, which is highly amusing for us. There is a good and cute evolution of Maggie and Courtney’s relationship–it is even adorable, I have to admit. I’d also like to remark that Maggie knows and accepts she’s a lesbian which I love, even though there is a funny scene of her coming out. In fact, I thought this part was plain hilarious! The MC (Maggie) is strong, and the writing is vivid–it comes to life. Some scenes in this novel made me think I was a teenager again with how Maggie was acting in certain flashback chapters. The author, Melissa Brayden, has a knack for making the teens pop and look real on the page. The feelings of high school and popularity were realistic (up to a point where most of the popular kids befriended Maggie) along with a realistic account of life and diverse people in it.

As for characterization, it is present and good but it takes a long while to take effect. I still haven’t figured out if it’s because of Maggie’s personality or the author wrote it that way. I am still struggling with that one… Nevertheless, it was there and mostly brought about by friends and family members towards the end. Do you want to learn something fun? There are some twists in this story! I enjoyed them, actually. There was even one I hadn’t seen coming, which is so rare with me (I always figure out plot twists well in advance). I had to add that the drama is well built-up, a point that I genuinely adored! I’m one for angst in stories (even my own) so I thoroughly enjoyed the drama in this one (I even cried out of sadness AND cuteness overload later on).

The timeline was impeccable and shown to us in a clear manner. I’ll forever be grateful for that. Another point I appreciated is the fun and developed insight into the MC’s thoughts. I just want to say that I loved Courtney Carrington. I know she isn’t the main character, but she is so sweet and caring! I couldn’t help but root for her during all the book. Seriously. Both characters were well-done, of course, but let’s say I prefer Courtney because of her kindness. On another note, there are many events (which reminds me of a good adventure or fantasy book thanks to the action), which is quite surprising in a romance novel (and much appreciated on my part, too). I didn’t find any long, boring parts, which is a relief. Lastly, we get to read about every important character’s life (where they are now and what is their job and relationship status) and the epilogue is a nice follow-up. It is like a neat little bow on top of a present!

Here come the bad points. There were too few descriptions and not enough insight into Maggie’s emotions–it was more telling than showing although one could guess through her humoristic and sarcastic lines. But it was not enough. I wanted to feel what she was experiencing. I could never truly connect with Maggie because of that; I always felt like a nosy neighbor knowing all about her life. It’s sad because I wanted to connect. Also, the popular kids are perhaps too nice to Maggie (most of them, that is)–it’s usually not how it works in high school with popularity (and I experienced it first-hand). Last but not least, I believe the sex scenes are not spaced enough–there were about four of them in less than 60 pages! Fortunately, they are short (just a few pages, if not a few lines sometimes) and sweet in a way. Even though I understand the focus on sex at such a young age, I’d have preferred the emphasis to be put on their feelings and emotions, mostly Maggie’s because she seems to me like lacking in that department.

I would love to tell you what types of fans this book is perfect for but this is the first lesbian romance I ever read. However, I can assure you that if you love a good emotional roller coaster ride and cute but poignant romances, Strawberry Summer by Melissa Brayden is for you!

I give Strawberry Summer a rating of 4 out of 5 because of how emotionally invested I became with this novel and because it made me cry (I love it when I cry because of books, that means they get to me), and the lack of emotions on Maggie’s part – or so it seems. I was delighted to win this ARC and I must say it hit home with me. I recommend it in a heartbeat!