Posts Tagged: genre: contemporary

The Long Ride Home

October 21, 2017 books, reviews 0

I saw this book on netgalley, and you know I’m a sucker for roadtrip books, so obviously I had to request it. I was expecting a poignant book about life, loss and roadtrip fun, but I was a little disappointed. I enjoyed some aspects of the book, but overall this was not entirely for me.

the long ride home by tawni waters cover

After the loss of her mother, Harley can barely handle her grief. But the start of summer marks new beginnings, and Harley leaves for a cross-country road trip to scatter her mother’s ashes with Dean, her friend (with benefits). The two ride by motorcycle, reconnecting with people who knew her mother along the way.

But it’s not long before Harley realizes she’s pregnant…with Dean’s child. And as Harley learns that her mother faced similar choices during her own pregnancy, Harley must come to terms with her mother’s past to make a difficult decision about her own future.

I received a free review copy of this book (thanks Sourcebooks Fire!). This does not influence my opinion in any way.
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Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies (Shattering Stigmas)

October 13, 2017 books, reviews 7

This is the last Shattering Stigmas post before the wrap-up on my blog, and it comes from yours truly. We’ve had some great recommendations these past two weeks, so I thought it was time for a review! I was inspired to read Under Rose-Tainted Skies during Shattering Stigmas, and it came highly recommended by my blogging friends. I’m happy to say I’ve finished it in time to share this review with you.

Shattering Stigmas graphic

Shattering Stigmas is a two-week blogging event focused on mental health in literature and mental health generally – check back for guest posts, reviews and discussions around mental health.


under rose tainted skies cover

At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.

But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.

Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes?

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When Dimple Met Rishi

July 24, 2017 books, reviews 3


Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

I kept hearing about this book, so now that it’s finally out I had to buy it. I wasn’t disappointed! When Dimple met Rishi is perfect when you’re in the mood for a cute YA romance. It has likeable but realistic(ish) characters, and a romance you’ll root for.
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Scoring Wilder – Soccer and Romance

July 17, 2017 books, reviews 0


What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”

As you can see by the naked guy on the cover above, I have once again ventured into the dark abyss of New Adult after devouring Elle Kennedy’s books last year. This time it snuck up on me. I recently read Catching Jordan and Coming Up for Air, both of which are excellently cute books about sports, friendship and romance. So naturally after finishing them, I was on the lookout for more books featuring female athletes (I’ve discovered I like reading about sports, I just don’t want to do them myself). I found Scoring Wilder on a goodreads list and it had a high rating, so I figured I’ll keep an open mind and try it. Unfortunately, this book lacked the hilarity of the Off-Campus series, and didn’t make up for it in other areas.
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Wanderlost – A Trip Around Europe

July 13, 2017 books, reviews 10

wanderlost cover

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.
– from goodreads

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages. A trip around Europe? High ratings by my bookish friends? Yes, please. This had all the signs of a great summer book, so I decided to finally give it a try. I wasn’t exactly disappointed, but I wasn’t as in love with it as I thought I would be either.
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Small Admissions

July 6, 2017 books, reviews 2

book cover small admissions

One admission can change your life…forever.

When ambitious grad student Kate Pearson’s handsome French “almost fiancé” ditches her, she definitely does not roll with the punches, despite the best efforts of family and friends. It seems that nothing will get Kate out of pajamas and back into the world.

Miraculously, one cringe-worthy job interview leads to a position in the admissions department at the revered Hudson Day School. Kate’s instantly thrown into a highly competitive and occasionally absurd culture, where she interviews all types of children: suitable, wildly unsuitable, charming, loathsome, ingratiating, or spoiled beyond all measure. And then there are the Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

As Kate begins to learn there’s no room for self-pity or nonsense during the height of admissions season or life itself, her sister and friends find themselves keeping secrets, dropping bombshells, and arguing with each other about how to keep Kate on her feet. Meanwhile, Kate seems to be doing very nicely, thank you, and is even beginning to find out that her broken heart is very much on the mend. Welcome to the world of Small Admissions.

-from goodreads

I got an ARC of this book so long ago that I don’t really want to look up how long it’s been exactly. It sounded like something light and fun, but it wasn’t until I was in Spain recently that I finally got around to reading it. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but not necessarily in a bad way.
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Here Comes Drama

June 14, 2016 books, reviews 11

Gena/Finn cover

The story follows the unlikely friendship of two young women forged via fan fiction and message boards, and is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts.

Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.

– from Goodreads

I usually try to review without spoilers, but I’m not sure how to talk about what bothered me about this book without giving at least some spoilers, so be warned.

I had high hopes in this book – first of all it’s epistolary and you know I love me some epistolary books (there may actually be an event related to this on this blog at some point this year, but psssht). It’s also about fandom and people said at least the first half of it was feel good. I usually try not to spoiler myself before reading, but I knew that Gena and Finn wouldn’t end up together, so I didn’t have any wrong expectations about that. On paper, I should have loved this book, but I really didn’t. Let me tell you why.
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This Book Will Make You Smile

May 29, 2015 books, reviews 14

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda cover by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Contemporary books are always a little hit or miss for me. There’s no magic, there are no ancient castles, fiery dragons, nor even some good old throne usurpation by an evil uncle who has to be defeated. It’s all quite dreadful really. EXCEPT. Except there are some books that hit home precisely because they’re set in our world. With contemporary books, it’s all about the characters for me. If I love the characters, I love the book. And Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda had some GREAT characters.
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Change of Plans, Audiobooks and Internships

May 16, 2015 books, miscellaneous 18

Cake Conversations Banner Kopie - Kopie

What’s New?

Remember when I said I probably got a job? It all worked out and I’m going there 1-2 times a week now. It’s pretty monotonous at the moment, but that might still change, and I could use the extra money, so I’m not going to complain a lot. University is taking over my life right now, but I have a week off soon, so it’s all good. I also have a job interview for a radio internship coming up next week, so fingers crossed!

I spent the last three weeks running around, looking at apartments/rooms (not actually running though – don’t be ridiculous), but everything was either too expensive or not good enough or I didn’t get it, so I decided to eff it and stay here, because the search is taking away too much time from everything else. Probably. I’ll finish my bachelor’s, and then I might have to move for my Master’s anyway, so I’ll just deal with the roommate situation until then. If it annoys me too much, I can still start looking again.

The Shiny

I forbade myself to read any of my other books until I’ve read my university books, which is taking ages, because I don’t like them, so obviously this was the right time to get into audiobooks after all. Because that is totally different. And not cheating at all.

We All Looked Up Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
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We All Looked Up

May 15, 2015 books, reviews 12

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach on Reviews and Cake


We All Looked Up is overdramatic and beautiful and frustrating and poignant. It’s about growing up and finding yourself and your purpose in life. It’s also about the apocalypse, but let’s not get caught up in little things like that.

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed.

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.

Two months to really live

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How to Lead a Life of Crime (One Shocking Plot Twist At a Time)

April 12, 2015 books, reviews 6

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller book


A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.

Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.



This books is EXCELLENT. I can’t fathom why I never heard about it before I read Cait’s con artist post. I’m not usually a crime reader, but, despite its title, this isn’t exactly a traditional crime novel and I love a good con as much as the next person. I can only assume it didn’t have a high marketing budget, because once you’ve read it you’re going to talk about it. So let’s do that!
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Eleanor and Park (Or the One With The Great Beginning)

March 13, 2015 books, reviews 12

Eleanor and Park Rainbow Rowell book cover on Reviews and Cake

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

It has now been several weeks since I’ve read Eleanor and Park and I STILL can’t decide how I feel about it. Some parts of the book were phenomenal and others were… not. Let’s break it down!
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Book Review: Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle (Or the One With Carla the Car)

December 16, 2014 books, reviews 2

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle cover

An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

A trio of today’s bestselling authors – John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle- brings all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.

If you want to get on your holiday cheer with an easy read, then this is the book to enjoy while curled up in front of the fireplace.

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Book Review: Orla’s Code by Fiona Pearse (Or the One With the Anonymous Lover)

December 14, 2014 books, reviews 0

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld cover

“If you want to get ahead, get noticed,” is Orla Hanlon’s motto. New to London and the first female programmer at CouperDaye, a global investment bank, she takes on a high-profile but controversial project.
With her new luxury apartment and a work-romance quietly on the side, Orla thinks she has everything under control.
Until a bug in her code causes chaos on the trading floor and Orla finds herself a scapegoat in a corporate game, fighting to save her new life in London.

I bought this book mainly because of the programming aspect and because the blurb sounded intriguing. I’m not an expert on coding, so I can’t tell you whether the author got it right or not, which is why I’m only going to talk about the story itself.

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Book Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (Or the One With the Hot Death God)

December 3, 2014 books, reviews 0

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld cover

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings… Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

I have the suspicion that this book is going to inspire a lot of people to write. Which is a good thing because yay, books!

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Book Review: Dear Comrade + Childhood Favorites Feature(?)

October 15, 2014 books, psa, reviews 0

I didn’t actually finish this book just now, but I was reminded of it recently and after looking it up on Goodreads, I saw it didn’t even have a review there (now it does). Since this is one of my childhood favorites and it saddens me that not a lot of people seem to know it, I decided it deserves some space on my blog. I’m also toying with starting a Childhood Favorites feature of some sort on my blog so people have a chance to highlight those little almost-forgotten gems that impacted their childhood. If you’d be interested in showcasing a favorite book from you’re childhood/youth, definitely drop me an e-mail at reviewsandcake@gmail.com!

If there’s enough interest, it’ll definitely happen! If not, I’ll delete this part of the post and we’ll never talk about it again.

Okay, so now for the actual review:

Dear Comrade cover

After a party Kate and Paul start to write each other. The letters reveal their very different political convictions, but even so they can’t stop themselves from falling in love with each other.

(Goodreads keeping it short and snappy there.)

The main reason I like this (very short) book is that the two main characters manage to respect each other and establish a relationship despite the fact that they have vastly different world views. Even though their ideological perspectives couldn’t be more different, they don’t just SAY they’ll try to understand each other, they actually DO. Try, that is, not understand each other. There’s still a lot of fighting and casting stones (metaphorically) going on. Couple that with all the confusion and insecurity of first love and you have Dear Comrade.

That’s another thing I like about this book – Paul and Kate’s relationship is sweet without being annoying and develops naturally. Whereas the premise of the book can feel a little constructed at times, their relationship progresses organically as they begin to care more and more about each other. They often struggle to even stay friends, which of course makes it even harder once romantic feelings are involved. But when things get serious, they can rely on each other, which makes this story more romantic than a lot of things I’ve read recently. This book is basically the opposite of instant love. Plus, it’s an epistolary story, so what more can you wish for?

4 out of 5 cupcakes to this novella!

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Book Review: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

August 26, 2014 books, reviews 0

After I Do

When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

This book severely disappointed me. And then it didn’t.

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