Summer Lovin’ // A Trio of Contemporary Romantic Reads // Book & ARC Reviews

After hours of reading & thinking, I’m finally getting around to posting some book reviews! Hurrah! I started working full time this week and sitting down to write some reviews takes time. Which I do not have. Time is hard to find. I do feel guilty that I’m behind with blogging but working 8+ hours a day and blogging is not the easiest thing in the world. 

Anyway, back to book reviews. Yay! (why are these sooooo hard to write?)

I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary lately. Because it’s summer! And contemporary goes so well with life right now. And I read a ton of fantasy this spring so it’s been time for contemporary for a while now. Combined with the fact that I have several contemporary ARCs I just need to knock out. Mission accomplished.  

The Art of French Kissing

It might be a very public secret that I am a terrible cook. As in, a very big kitchen disaster. But I do enjoy watching a few kitchen shows. I mean, Chopped is always fun. And The Great British Bakeoff is just happy. What about cooking competitions in books? 

Yes, I enjoyed reading about cooking contests as much as I’m guilty of enjoying watching quite a few. The Art of French Kissing is a fun combination of cooking, Slytherin competition, and a dash of romance. 

The romance is very much a hate-to-love feeling. Reid and Carter, especially Carter, really hated each other. They’re both competing to win a scholarship for a cooking school. They’re both incredibly good cooks.

From the very beginning, the two are snarky towards each other. And Reid might have sabotaged Carters first cooking presentation. So, of course, Carter had to sabotage Reid. Back and forth this mini-war goes.

The pranks they play on each other are funny. Though I definitely grew annoyed with Carter. She gets angry very easily and I definitely might have grown annoyed with her attitude. Even when Reid tries to make up with Carter, she is still mad? And her reasons seem just silly?

Me, when Carter is just mad. All the time. 

Also, I was kind of confused by the title? Because they weren’t really making French food?

My review 3/5 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Carter Lane has wanted to be a chef since she was old enough to ignore her mom’s warnings to stay away from the hot stove.

And now she has the chance of a lifetime: a prestigious scholarship competition in Savannah, where students compete all summer in Chopped style challenges for a full-ride to one of the best culinary schools in the country. The only impossible challenge ingredient in her basket: Reid Yamada.

After Reid, her cute but unbearably cocky opponent, goes out of his way to screw her over on day one, Carter vows revenge, and soon they’re involved in a full-fledged culinary war.

Just as the tension between them reaches its boiling point, Carter and Reid are forced to work together if they want to win, and Carter begins to wonder if Reid’s constant presence in her brain is about more than rivalry. And if maybe her desire to smack his mouth doesn’t necessarily cancel out her desire to kiss it.

I received an ARC of The Art of French Kissing from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 


It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride is the absolute best adaption of Pride and Prejudice that has ever been written.

It’s just so creative! I absolutely loved the Haitian-Domincan-American twist on a very English classic. Pride managed to be Pride and Prejudice without loosing it’s own very unique touch.

In fact, I loved this retellings because the characters were just so strong. Most of the time retellings have pretty standard to boring characters, because the original character story hampers growth. That didn’t happen with Pride. Zuri was an incredible character and I was reading Pride for her story.

Also, the romance was light, realistic, sweet and just right for the story.

Mixed in with the romance and family drama, there’s also quite a bit of discussion about gentrifying. Gentrification is a heavy subject because of the impact is has on lower-income neighborhoods. I think Ibi Zoboi really did well with this subject matter while making me think.

Just saying I enjoyed this story SO MUCH, I actually bought American Street, Ibi Zoboi’s debut novel, last week. And I can’t wait to read it!

My review 4/5 Stars

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

I received an ARC of Pride from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review 

Ari and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

People have been recommending this book to me for forever and I finally picked it up. And of course, all those people were absolutely right. (Thanks, Mal, for telling me how much I would enjoy this) 

So, first, this book is like reading poetry. The words have a cadence and flow that just makes you feel the desert. Oh, and this book is set in El Paso. My dad was raised in El Paso and New Mexico and I could eel his love for the desert though Ari. Which is weird but good, right?

Also, this book is so focused on friendship. Ari and Dante are both loners and the way they both navigate friendship is extraordinary. I love friendship focused books and Ari and Dante’s friendship is beautiful.

My review 5/5 Stars

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison.

Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world.

When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.

And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

lets chat

Currently reading any great contemporaries? Are you a fan of cooking shows? Or are you great in the kitchen?

Have you heard of Pride or read American Street? What are your thoughts on Pride and Prejudice retellings? 

Have you read Ari & Dante’s story? Do you like the desert or poetry? 



  1. CG @ Paper Fury
    June 13, 2018 / 7:49 am

    OH oh I actually have The Art of French Kissing to read and I should get onto that! I kind of love books that centre around food (no surprise😂) but pity it wasn’t like super amazing?! Agh. Saaaandess. And OMG I LOVE ARI AND DANTE LIKE NOTHING ELSE. Those two. ❤️❤️

  2. June 13, 2018 / 9:02 am

    I definitely want to read Pride and Aristotle & Dante. Love it!!

  3. June 13, 2018 / 3:38 pm

    Great post! (And was the title supposed to make me sing Summer Nights from Grease, because it is.😂) I haven’t read any of these, but I want to now! Oh, and the Great British Baking Show is amazing.

  4. June 14, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    Lovely reviews, Elizabeth! Somehow, I feel like they put “French” in the book title, just… because? I don’t know, why macaroons if they’re not really cooking French food? Do French people have this cliché of being good cooks, or do you use us as clichés for our food?! I am asking myself very strange questions right now hahaha thank you. That being said, it sounds like a fun book I could really love 😀
    AND PRIDE that book sounds really cool?! On the TBR it neeeds to go right now! Thank you so much for this 😀

  5. June 14, 2018 / 8:26 pm

    Summer truly is the best time to read contemporaries! I’ve been trying to read a fantasy book for weeks now, but have always put it down to read a contemporary book. Aristotle and Dante looks like a great book about friendship. I’m definitely going to be checking it out! Great review! 🙂

  6. June 18, 2018 / 9:04 pm

    Oooh, Pride sounds so good!

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