Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

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Be Prepared is a middle grade graphic novel by Vera Brosgol. We found this book at the town library, and my girls were very excited because they’ve enjoyed some of her other books.

This is a semi-autobiographical story about Vera’s childhood, although she explains at the end how some details were exaggerated, etc. As the story begins, Vera wants nothing more than to fit in with her American classmates. They have American Girl dolls, Carvel ice cream cake, and stuffed crust pizza, and Vera’s single mother simply cannot provide such luxuries. There is only one “fancy” thing that Vera can do to emulate her wealthier classmates, and that is go to sleepaway camp.

Vera’s Russian cultural camp is nothing like the posh camps that her friends attend, and it takes awhile for her to get used to new people, new routines, and of course, the stinky outhouse. It’s not as easy as Vera thought it would be to make friends, and she wonders if she’ll ever find her place. Read more

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I Really Love You by Tatsuya Miyanishi

 

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I Really Love You is the latest book in Tatsuya Miyanishi’s Tyrannosaurus series. Over the years, my family has received the opportunity to read advanced copies of several of these Tyrannosaurus books, so even though my girls are growing out of picture books, it was still nice to revisit the series.

In this book, we are told that dinosaurs in the north speak a different language from dinosaurs in the south. Tyrannosaurus is feeling hungry, and a Tapejara agrees to help him find food. They both speak the same language, so Tyrannosaurus trusts his new friend- but it’s a trick! Luckily, the Tyrannosaurus escapes, and he encounters some Homalocephales. They don’t speak the same language, and the Tyrannosaurus thinks about eating them- after all, he’s still very hungry. But he ends up befriending them, and accepts their gifts of fish, clam, and berries. Despite their differences, they are able to strike up a meaningful friendship.    Read more

A Rogue by Night by Kelly Bowen

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A Rogue by Night is the third book in Kelly Bowen’s Devils of Dover series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book via Netgalley because I enjoyed reading the previous two books in the series. Harland (the hero) played a minor role in those earlier books, and I was looking forward to reading his story.

Katherine Wright meets Harland Hayward when he arrives at her house when she is trying to patch up her smuggler brother after he is shot by soldiers. At first, she’s annoyed; he might be a doctor, but she is a skilled surgeon and what she’s doing. When soldiers arrive shortly thereafter looking for Katherine’s brother, Harland helps convince them that nothing is amiss.

Even though he just saved her family, Katherine still doesn’t know if she can trust Hayward. After all, he is a baron, and her experience with members of the aristocracy has led her to believe that they are arrogant and callous.  Read more

Hold My Hand by Michael Barakiva

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I came across Hold My Hand by Michael Barakiva when I was browsing Netgalley, and the blurb piqued my interest. My request was accepted, and so I added the book to my reading queue.

Alek is an Armenian-American high school student. He has been dating Ethan for almost six months. Things are getting pretty serious, but Alek has reservations. He loves kissing Ethan, but he’s not sure if he’s ready for things to go further physically. Alek measures his life in terms of Before Ethan and After Ethan; he’s changed so much for the better because of this relationship, and he can’t imagine what would happen if it ended. Read more

American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera

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When I saw American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera on Netgalley, I sent a request right away. I was very excited when I was approved, and I decided to start with American Dreamer, the first book in the Dreamers series. It was already in my TBR queue, but I bumped it to the top. After reading American Dreamer, I was even MORE excited to read American Fairytale.

Camilo is a social worker, and as the story begins, he has just received an invitation to attend a posh benefit/fundraiser. Camilo is a hard worker, but he’s looking forward to having a good time. He does not intend to hook up with a handsome stranger, but such things aren’t usually planned in advance. He doesn’t think he’ll ever see the guy again, and that’s okay, because Milo isn’t really looking for a relationship because he’s too busy with work and taking care of his mother.

So, imagine his surprise when the handsome hookup is the major donor for the domestic violence shelter that Milo has been hoping to build for years. Read more

American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

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I bought American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera on its release day because all my friends were talking about it. I didn’t get a chance to read it right away, but then I received the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the second book, so I bumped American Dreamer to the top of my reading queue.

Nesto Vasquez has lived in NYC for his whole life, but he’s leaving the city to move upstate with his food truck. He doesn’t know how Ithaca is going to respond to his Caribbean fusion cuisine, but he’s got to shoot his shot. He’s here to focus on building his business, so he certainly not looking for romance.

And then Nesto meets Jude Fuller, a shy librarian. Jude’s not looking for romance either, because it hasn’t worked out so well in the past. Nesto and Jude hit it off right away, and everything seems to be going well, but can their happiness last? Read more

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

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I was excited when I found Unmarriageable at my town library. Adaptations of Pride and Prejudice are one of my favorite tropes, and Soniah Kamal’s offering was already on my radar.

But then real life interfered, and even after renewing the book, I wasn’t able to read it before the due date.   Not returning the book wasn’t an option because I didn’t want to rack up library fines- nor did I want to hoard the book and keep other people from reading it.

So I bought the Kindle edition- and I added the Audible edition as well.

In Unmarriageable, Kamal brings Pride and Prejudice to Pakistan at the turn of the 21st century. Alys Binat lives with her family in Dilipabad, a small town in Pakistan. She and her older sister Jena teach English at the British School, and their three younger sisters are still students at the school. While Mrs. Binat has Big Plans for all five of her daughters, Alys is perfectly content with her life, and does not intend to get married just for the sake of getting married. Read more

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg

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I found The Music of What Happens at my town library. I’ve read some of Bill Konigsberg’s other books, so finding this on the new release shelf was a nice surprise.

When Max steps up to a food truck to place an order, he doesn’t expect to see Jordan, a kid from his school. Max certainly doesn’t expect to walk away with a job offer, but there you have it.

Jordan’s dad died a few years ago, and Jordan and his mom have been living off of the life insurance money. They’ve exhausted their savings, and they’re now a few months behind with the mortgage. Revitalizing the food truck that Jordan’s dad used to run is their final hope; if they don’t earn enough money to pay off the accumulated debt, they’ll lose the house.

Max and Jordan might go to the same school, but they aren’t friends. Things are awkward at first, but they quickly realize that they are going to need to communicate with each other if they want their endeavors to be successful. Read more

Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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From the moment I heard about Red White & Royal Blue, I knew that I would absolutely fall in love with it. I received an ARC via Netgalley, but I have purchased my own copy of the Kindle edition AND I added the Audible. I’m probably going to buy the paperback as well; that’s how much I love this book.

Red White & Royal Blue is Casey McQuiston’s debut novel, and wow, what a debut. Alex Claremont-Diaz is the son of the President. Prince Henry is- well, a prince. They have been lowkey feuding for years, and their mutual animosity leads to a disaster at a wedding they are both attending. With the fiasco showcased around the world, they are forced to spend time together in an attempt to minimize the fallout.

And then they realize that all of their preconceptions might not be entirely accurate.

Finding excuses to visit each other and keeping their relationship a secret from the paparazzi isn’t easy, but Alex and Henry have never been happier than they are when they’re together. But how long can this last? Read more

Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall

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Waiting for the Flood is a contemporary m/m romance novel by Alexis Hall. I read the kindle edition of this book back in December during the reading spree in which I read most of Hall’s books. I recently listened to the Audible edition of this book, and I’m pleased to say that it is just as sweet the second time around.

It’s been several years since Edwin broke up with his boyfriend of ten years. Marius has moved on, but Edwin has been in a funk ever since then. It’s not that he doesn’t want to move on, but he’s not quite sure how.

When a flood comes to Edwin’s street in Oxford, an engineer arrives to assess the flood threat and mitigate as much damage as possible. Adam is confident and competent and seems to be interested in Edwin, although Edwin can hardly contemplate the possibility.

But Adam is going to be working in the neighborhood until the floodwaters recede, so there’ll be plenty of time for Edwin to get to know him. Read more