Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn

dating makes perfect

arc review

 

official blurb
The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed. Until now. In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school. In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster. The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him. If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.

5 out of 5

REQUIRED READING FOR YA FANS!

what i liked
I finished this book over a week ago and I’m still so dang excited about it.  This book was so good! You are going to smile read through it, you’re going to read through your hands cringing during embarrassing moments and you are going to be so glad you watched all of those romcoms throughout the years because those warm and fuzzies have prepared you to fall in love with the Tech family!
If you loved the Song Sisters from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, then you are going to adore the Tech sisters.  The Thai culture weaved throughout this book is refreshing to read.  The traditions and food are delightful in every way.  But that’s nothing compared to the actual family!  I mean, I could just grab this family- they were so real for me!  I was in this book the whole time and didn’t even want to pick it up the last night to read it because I didn’t want my journey with Winnie to be over.
If you don’t believe me that I loved this book- let me tell you this, I wrote in the margins of this book the whole time! I know, this is nuts!  I never do that unless it’s a five star read!
I don’t want to give too much away from this but it does include so many amazing references to cute romcom moments in your favorite movies.  And it does make you smile.  It does make you want to hang out with your family.  And it does make you want to eat.  Can you ask for anything more?!  I don’t think so either!

Good news, this book is out 8/18/20!  Preorder your copy now!

while reading you should
Eat: Authentic Thai food!
Watch: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Listen to: Catching Feelings by Justin Beiber

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Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

famous in a small town

So I’ve been stumbling upon old reviews that I drafted somewhat but never finished.  I thought about scrapping them entirely but then I thought, mmm…better not.  That was a very niche Pitch Perfect joke.

pitch perfect gif

official blurb
For Sophie, small town life has never felt small. With her four best friends—loving, infuriating, and all she could ever ask for—she can weather any storm. But when Sophie’s beloved Acadia High School marching band is selected to march in the upcoming Rose Parade, it’s her job to get them all the way to LA. Her plan? To persuade country singer Megan Pleasant, their Midwestern town’s only claim to fame, to come back to Acadia to headline a fundraising festival. The only problem is that Megan has very publicly sworn never to return. What ensues is a journey filled with long-kept secrets, hidden heartbreaks, and revelations that could change everything—along with a possible fifth best friend: a new guy with a magnetic smile and secrets of his own.

3.5 stars

The story in this book gave me a couple of twists, one of which I didn’t see coming (which is rare for me! …okay it would probably be less rare if I read things such as thrillers but since I don’t I can say I like the twists in the YA novel).  As always, I loved Emma Mills writing because she produces realistic characters.  It didn’t rate higher because the story wasn’t one that had me pulled in and non stop reading.  While I wouldn’t consider this a reread, overall I laughed out loud a few times while reading and enjoyed the ride.

Here are some quotes that I loved!

“Nice to meet you,” August said.
“That’s what I’ve heard, I replied.”

“Were you eating cold lasagna?” I asked, scooping pasta remains into the Tupperware while he wiped up the trail of sauce.
“Yeah.”
“But the microwave is right there.  Love yourself!”

“She knows everything,” Flora said. “She’s like the internet.”
She was possibly better than the internet sometimes.  I’d volunteered there since freshman year, and Mel had never once redirected to an ad for male enhancement.

“Sammy.”  He snapped his fingers.  “Patty. Patty Weaver. Oh yeah.  She makes a great lemon tart.”
“I heard she also makes responsible children.”

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Living Beyond Your Feelings: Controlling Emotions So They Don’t Control You by Joyce Meyer

living beyond your feelings

1 out of 5

I picked this book up hoping it would give me skills to better parent.  Like getting annoyed so quickly or not hiding my heightened emotions from my kids.  This book gave me none of those skills. In fact, reading this through the eyes of someone who suffered from Postpartum Depression, I was kind of frustrated with a lot of the main points of this book.  It just seemed like awful advice!  For example, when you have a bad day you talk about your moods or you’ll tell someone how you’re feeling, but when you have a good day you don’t do that.  So I read that initially and I was like, yeah, I should be more into saying “I’m in a great mood today!” or something more along those positivity lines.   But that wasn’t Meyer’s point in the book.  She was pointing to the idea if you are feeling low or bad, you should also keep that to yourself.  I’m so against that idea because I think it’s dangerous.  Especially to moms who are already isolated from a lot of interaction from other adults.  Whew, rant over.  For this reason, and some others, this book was a MAJOR miss for me.

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10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

10 blind dates

official blurb
Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation. Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby. When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available. This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?

4 out of 5

what i liked
Okay well this was a super cute YA novel!  Totally adding it to my YA Make My Heart Smile list and to my list of Holiday Reads!

I was nervous going into this book because I thought there would be a love triangle and I just finished a stressful semi love triangle book (In A Holidaze), but alas this is more of a love triangle in the The Truth About Forever sense and not in a Twilight sense. (Okay, I still haven’t actually read twilight but I’ve seen the movie and that’s a total love triangle!) This book made me want to bake, it made me smile read, it made me want to be at a huge family gathering (I know, family gatherings in the time of corona…)  It was great! The family was a close knit Italian family that totally gave me My Big Fat Greek Wedding vibes.  In fact, as I was reading this book, I was shocked that it hadn’t been made into a movie yet!  WHY?! This would make the perfect movie! It was very close to a full five star read for me but there were a couple of things I didn’t love about it.   I also must confess that I was sure this book was called “the ten blind dates of Christmas” the whole time I was reading it. (Which in fairness was just over the span of one night because I couldn’t sleep).  The banter in it was funny and moved quickly.  Ready for a snippet?

“You should’ve been a Boy Scout,” Charlie says.
“I was a Boy Scout,” Wes replies.  “And so were you.”

what i didn't like

There was a bit of a stressful storyline with the main characters sister and her pregnancy.  Now keep in mind, I’m pretty recently not pregnant – and I know I could not have read this book while pregnant.  Keep reading for my content warning on this if you want further detail.
The other part I didn’t like- when the couple gets together – it is pointed out that they’re not girlfriend and boyfriend but best friends who makeout.  Wait, what?  I mean, that was my reaction.  Why are they anti labels?  It wasn’t as if the whole book, the characters didn’t like commitment and didn’t want the labels.  It was really weird. I just couldn’t get behind it at all, and it took away from the cuteness level for me.  Here’s the official quote:

Whatever I’m doing with [redacted name so you don’t have spoilers] doesn’t have a label. He’s not my boyfriend and I’m not his girlfriend. We’re best friends who kiss. A lot. 

Content warnings for this book include:  a high risk pregnancy, a NICU baby.

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

tweet cute 1

official blurb
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account. Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time. All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.  As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Full disclosure while I was reading this book I was sure it was either written by Emma Mills or Emory Lord… only later did I realize that it was an entirely new to me author!

what i didn't like
Tweet Cute was a really adorable YA read.  It could easily have been five stars but I got stressed out a couple of times while I was reading it.  The relationship between the main character and her mom was pretty realistic as far as strained relationships but the “don’t rock the boat” mentality of a teen I just can’t get behind.  That could be because I’m not a huge people pleaser.

what i liked
What this book did have going for it was a teeny tiny mystery/ twist.  A really cute high school couple that didn’t have huge communication issues!  A You’ve Got Mail vibe.  Overall it was a quick read that almost everyone will enjoy!  There were multiple times reading this book that I got real Chilton vibes from the school (Gilmore Girls reference) so that was fun!  Also, remember Prof Umbridge from Harry Potter?  There’s some total Umbridge parts as well!

Looking for LGBTQ books?  This book has a supporting character that you’ll like!

while reading you should
do: bake!
watch: you’ve got mail
eat/drink: a milkshake!

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The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan

gratitude diaries

5 out of 5

official blurb
On New Year’s Eve, journalist and former Parade Editor-in-Chief Janice Kaplan makes a promise to be grateful and look on the bright side of whatever happens. She realizes that how she feels over the next months will have less to do with the events that occur than her own attitude and perspective. Getting advice at every turn from psychologists, academics, doctors, and philosophers, she brings readers on a smart and witty journey to discover the value of appreciating what you have. Relying on both amusing personal experiences and extensive research, Kaplan explores how gratitude can transform every aspect of life including marriage and friendship, money and ambition, and health and fitness. She learns how appreciating your spouse changes the neurons of your brain and why saying thanks helps CEOs succeed. Through extensive interviews with experts and lively conversations with real people including celebrities like Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, and Jerry Seinfeld, Kaplan discovers the role of gratitude in everything from our sense of fulfillment to our children’s happiness.

what i liked
Wow, let’s talk about how life changing this book can be if you let it!  But I know we need to get something out of the way first – Janice Kaplan lives a charmed life that most of us will not relate to.  This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t need to practice gratitude and can’t be an expert on it though!

 

I have recommended this book to practically everyone I know.  Because, no joke, this book has made my day to day life so much better!  There are daily practices you can do to practice gratitude.  There are steps to help with you marriage, with your job, with depression.  And let me tell you, it works! 

I love the quotes from philosophers, I love the stats about mental health and how much gratitude can help with mental health.  Most of all I love the actual payoff of reading this book and putting it into practice.  If gratitude is a muscle that you exercise, I am determined to be a ripped body builder.

Add this to your must read list, you won’t regret it!

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Maybe This Time By kasie west

maybe this time

official blurb
One year. Nine events. Nine chances to . . . fall in love? Weddings. Funerals. Barbecues. New Year’s Eve parties. Name the occasion, and Sophie Evans will be there. Well, she has to be there. Sophie works for the local florist, so she can be found at every big event in her small hometown, arranging bouquets and managing family dramas. Enter Andrew Hart. The son of the fancy new chef in town, Andrew is suddenly required to attend all the same events as Sophie. Entitled, arrogant, preppy Andrew. Sophie just wants to get her job done and finish up her sketches so she can apply to design school. But every time she turns around, there is Andrew, getting in her way and making her life more complicated. Until one day she wonders if maybe complicated isn’t so bad after all . . . Told over the course of one year and following Sophie from event to event, this delightful novel from master of romantic comedy Kasie West shows how love can blossom in unexpected places.

my blurb!
A cutesie YA book told over the course of a full year with a hate you – love you trope.

3.5 stars

Do you ever read finish a book and think… hmm that was fine.  You don’t regret the time you spent reading it but you won’t think about the characters or run out to tell all of your friends to read it?  That’s how I felt about this Kasie West book.  It was fine.  I laughed a few times when I read it.  I liked the guy in it quite a bit.  I couldn’t remember the characters names within 24 hours of reading it…  Overall it was a good summer read, that I have no regrets about reading but definitely not my favorite Kasie West book.

My favorite quote from the book?
“Do you know what your problem is Sophie?”
“What do I have to answer to get you to stop talking?”

Maybe romance books have ruined me for YA? Two in a row that I was excited about that didn’t wow me. Oh well, onto the next!

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