Two Book Tuesday

These two have absolutely nothing in common, but we’re going to roll with it!

Title: Where It All Lands
Author: Jennie Wexler
Genre: YA Contemporary  
Publication Date: July 6th, 2021
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Summary:

Stevie Rosenstein has never made a true friend. Never fallen in love. Moved from city to city by her father’s unrelenting job, it’s too hard to care for someone. Trust in anything. The pain of leaving always hurts too much. But she’ll soon learn to trust, to love.


Drew and Shane have been best friends through everything. The painful death of Shane’s dad. The bitter separation of Drew’s parents. Through sleepaway camps and family heartache, basketball games and immeasurable loss, they’ve always been there for each other.

When Stevie meets Drew and Shane, life should go on as normal.

But a simple coin toss alters the course of their year in profound and unexpected ways.

Told in dual timelines, debut author Jennie Wexler delivers a heartbreaking and hopeful novel about missed opportunities, second chances, and all the paths that lead us to where we are.

This was pretty well done, especially for how big of an undertaking it was—two stories determined by a coin toss. Dual timelines, one after another. The first, Stevie dates Drew and drama ensues. After being brought back to that same coin flip, it lands on Shane. Wexler crafted two complete stories without any sense of repetition—two different tones. That is a difficult feat for a new author.

This choose your own adventure-like story follow two best friends as they flip a coin to see who gets to go on a date with the new girl in town. Drew and Shane have gone through a lot of hardships together as best friends and next-door neighbors—brothers in all ways but blood. However, when Stevie shows up to marching band practice just before the first day of school, everything flies upside down.

Stevie connects with each boy on different levels. With Drew it is immediate—physical attraction and sizzling chemistry. They can hardly keep their hands off each other. Their relationship is toxic and dramatic. It’s more of a slow burn, developed through friendship and shared interests when it comes to Shane. They bond over music and have deep and meaningful conversations. She still feels that immediate attraction with Drew, but there is real substance when it comes to her relationship with Shane. Stevie herself says it best: “With Drew I don’t think about what comes next, but with Shane I don’t fear what comes next.”

While I really did enjoy this books, I wanted a little more umph—I wanted to cry. There were plenty of opportunities for tears, but it just didn’t quite hit hard enough. In all this was a well constructed, ambitious debut and I can’t wait to see more from the author.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Too Good to Be Real
Author: Melonie Johnson
Genre: Contemporary Fiction 
Publication Date: July 7th, 2021
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Goodreads Summary:

She plans to prove there’s a dozen reasons why life isn’t like a romantic comedy, only to discover the one reason it is…

While her friends wish for meet cutes worthy of their favorite rom-coms, Julia is ready to give up on love. Swiping right has replaced getting swept off your feet and good old-fashioned romance has become, well, old-fashioned.

A writer for a popular website, love becomes the last thing on her mind when impending layoffs threaten her job. As Julia searches for the ultimate pitch to impress her boss, she stumbles upon a resort offering guests a chance to live out their romantic comedy dreams. Real life dating is so bleak, who wouldn’t want to spend a week in a fantasy rom-com world with your best friends?

At the resort, Julia literally falls into a not-quite-meet-cute involving an aggressive seagull and an adorably awkward guy named Luke who is also participating in the rom-com experience. Julia hides the fact she is there to do a story, but Luke harbors a few secrets of his own. Among further encounters with thieving seagulls, a gaggle of corgis, kisses in the rain, and even a karaoke serenade, their feelings deepen quickly. But could their love be real when they haven’t been honest about their true identities? Once the fantasy is over, can they have a relationship in the real world?

Romantic comedies—great classics like You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, and Notting Hill—are supposed to be cheesy. They are ways to escape your real life and step into a fantasy—even if it’s just for 90 minutes. That is exactly what this book did.

I mean, this book was just so cheesy in kind of the best way possible. It had everything that encompasses a rom-com: the meet cute, some great best friends, wacky hijinks, some sort of misunderstanding, and then the swoon worthy finale. I liked the modern take on using live action role playing experiences to offer people the chance to live out their rom-com dreams. I really did love Julia’s friend group. Their dynamic was fun to read and they played off each other really well. The dialogue was sickeningly sweet and very much over the top—but it kind of worked with the type of story being told. It was just a little too much for me—the insta-love, over the top declarations. In all this was pretty predictable and kind of lacked any real substance, but cute.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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