L-L-L-Little Reviews #47: February 2023

Posted February 25, 2023 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 8 Comments

Here are the books I read this past month that were not part of scheduled tours or requests from authors/publishers.

My Second Impression of You by Michelle I. Mason:

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

L-L-L-Little Reviews #47:  February 2023My Second Impression of You by Michelle I. Mason
Published by Bloomsbury YA on September 20, 2022
Genres: YA romance
Pages: 304
Source: the publisher
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: five-stars
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Perfect for fans of Tweet Cute and Instant Karma, a heartfelt story about a girl who thinks she knows everything about her boyfriend -- until she relives a day and discovers she had it all wrong.
Sixteen-year-old Maggie is having the worst day ever. Her perfect boyfriend, Theo, breaks up with her, and then she literally breaks a leg (well, foot), preventing her from starring in the school play. When she receives a text offering her the chance to relive her best day ever – the day she and Theo met – she decides to take the leap. Everything would be better if she could figure out how to win him back. Only, there’s a catch. She doesn’t just relive the day; she gets everyone else’s perspectives, too. The information – not only about Theo, but her family, her best friend, and even Theo’s obnoxious buddy Carson (who is suddenly… nice?) – is more than she bargained for.
As she learns about all the minor details – and major ones – she missed the first time around, she finds herself transported back to reality with a completely new perspective and a big opportunity to decide how to move forward on her own terms.
Michelle I. Mason offers another heartfelt and relatable YA novel with a twist, diving into big questions of what we’d do differently if we only had the chance… or whether we can trust things to turn out just the way they’re meant to be.

My Review:

I adored this book. I was hooked from the very start! Now as I go back through Goodreads I see it only got like a 3.5 star rating average. I didn’t look through what the complaints or reasons for the low rating are, but I just have to say that I loved it. There was so much for Maggie to learn in this. And I wonder if people said she was an unlikable character because she only thought of herself, etc. That was a big point to the story. And honestly, knowing teens, and knowing that I can often do this myself, a lot of people only think of how things affect themselves. It’s hard not to. The way she had to learn to change this, as well as how it all happened was fun and kept me turning pages and not wanting to put the book down to do anything! I also wish I could know sometimes what people were thinking at certain times. Wondering how off I was about how people were feeling about situations. This was a lot of fun, and I definitely recommend it!

Beginning of the End (End of Story #0.5) by Kylie Scott:
L-L-L-Little Reviews #47:  February 2023Beginning of the End by Kylie Scott
Series: End of Story #0.5
Published by Graydon House on January 1, 2023
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Pages: 32
Source: Purchased
Format: eBook
My Rating: five-stars
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When her boyfriend announces he’s accepted a yearlong contract in London, Susie’s relieved that Aaron suggests a long-distance relationship. But then it makes her think. Is it her imagination, or does he seem just a little too eager to leave? Is she reading too much into his excitement to hit the British pub scene? And all relationships cool off after a while…right? As Aaron’s departure approaches, Susie confides in her favorite aunt and best friend to help her figure out—is this the beginning of the end or just the beginning of something even better?
Don’t miss this sharp and sassy prequel novella to New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott’s new book, End of Story!

My Review:

Okay, for a novella, only 32 pages, this was perfect. Gave me just enough that I was hooked and wanted to know what would happen to our main character Susie. But it also didn’t leave me hanging in a way that I was anxious and impatient to know what would happen next. It wasn’t a cliffhanger really. Not a must read before book one, but definitely something good to read before. If you get the e-book of End of Story, this is at the back, so you can wait to read it then instead of buying it on its own like I did.

Gold Mountain by Betty G. Yee:

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

L-L-L-Little Reviews #47:  February 2023Gold Mountain by Betty G. Yee
Published by Carolrhoda on April 5, 2022
Genres: YA Historical Fiction
Pages: 288
Source: the publisher
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: four-half-stars
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Working on the Transcontinental Railroad promises a fortune—for those who survive.
Growing up in 1860s China, Tam Ling Fan has lived a life of comfort. Her father is wealthy enough to provide for his family but unconventional enough to spare Ling Fan from the debilitating foot-binding required of most well-off girls. But Ling Fan’s life is upended when her brother dies of influenza and their father is imprisoned under false accusations. Hoping to earn the money that will secure her father’s release, Ling Fan disguises herself as a boy and takes her brother’s contract to work for the Central Pacific Railroad Company in America.
Life on “the Gold Mountain” is grueling and dangerous. To build the railroad that will connect the west coast to the east, Ling Fan and other Chinese laborers lay track and blast tunnels through the treacherous peaks of the Sierra Nevada, facing cave-ins, avalanches, and blizzards—along with hostility from white Americans.
When someone threatens to expose Ling Fan’s secret, she must take an even greater risk to save what’s left of her family . . . and to escape the Gold Mountain alive.

My Review:

This was another book sent to me by the publisher for the Gateway Readers Award committee that I’m on. I really liked this one. It was a historical time and a culture that I didn’t know a lot about. It was set during the time of the American railroad expansion and how the Chinese came over and helped with so much of it. It also had some parts actually back in China, talking about when they bound girl’s feet so they would be more attractive to the men. While for the most part there wasn’t anything surprising in the story, it definitely had a lot of things I didn’t know or realize in details about that time period. Definitely recommend this one!

Spicky Pickle (The Pickle Family #3) by J.J. Knight:
L-L-L-Little Reviews #47:  February 2023Spicy Pickle by J.J. Knight
Series: The Pickle Family #3
on March 16, 2021
Genres: Adult Romantic Comedy
Pages: 300
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
My Rating: four-half-stars
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First, she tampered with my pickle.Then, she got us both kicked off a cooking show.Now, we’re fake engaged.Sit back, friends, this is one crazy tale of treachery and pickle juice.
All right. Here’s how it went.My pickle went viral. Millions saw it. Thousands ate it.
Hold up, pervs. Let me backtrack.
I invented a very spicy pickle made with ghost peppers. One bite and you’ll swear someone stuffed a hot coal in your mouth. It’s extremely popular in pranks.
I’m in the middle of filming with a prominent cooking show when in walks Little Miss Perfect Pants from a rival deli to insist she has improvements for my pickle.
It all goes downhill from there.___Magnolia:
Read the reviews and weep, Anthony Pickle.
I got the best of you on reality TV.You got me back with a very public kiss.
After your new deli poached on my territory, I swore to hate you. But every time those smoky eyes meet mine, I melt a little.
Cheesy, right?
By the time you kiss me, I already know I’m in deep.But then you propose?How am I supposed to keep faking it when every swoon is real?___Spicy Pickle is a romantic comedy about a culinary feud, potent pickle juice, and the most not-fake fake love story in the history of reality TV.

My Review:

So I got to read the first two books in this series as part of blog tours. This one they didn’t do a blog tour for, and so I did buy the book after it came out, but then as always it got put behind all the review books I had. I added it to my TBR challenge list of books to read this year and I kept it by my tub for bubble bath nights. Finally finished it. Now I did read the book after this one, Tasty Mango, before I’d read this, so I kind of knew what was going to happen with Magnolia’s sister. But it was fun to read this anyway and get the third Pickle brother’s story. A fun read and I need to read all that this author writes!

My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth:

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

L-L-L-Little Reviews #47:  February 2023My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth
Narrator: Amielynn Abellara, Christopher Salazar
Published by Holiday House on May 31, 2022
Genres: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 08:46
Source: the publisher
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: four-half-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

Nerds are so hot.Especially battle robot building nerds.
Bel would rather die than think about the future. College apps? You’re funny. Extracurriculars? Not a chance. But when she accidentally reveals a talent for engineering at school, she’s basically forced into joining the robotics club. Even worse? All the boys ignore Bel—and Neelam, the only other girl on the team, doesn't seem to like her either.
Enter Mateo Luna, captain of the club, who recognizes Bel as a potential asset—until they start butting heads. Bel doesn’t care about Nationals, while Teo cares too much. But as the nights of after-school work grow longer and longer, Bel and Teo realize they've built more than just a combat-ready robot for the championship: they’ve made space for each other and themselves.
This sharply funny, academic rivals to lovers romance explores both the challenges girls of color face in STEM and the vulnerability of first love with unfailing wit and honesty.

My Review:

This is a book that the publisher sent me for the Gateway Award committee I’m on. I’d wanted to read it since before it was published, but never got around to it. I actually ended up downloading the audiobook from the library and listening to it. It was as good as I had hoped it would be. The only issue I had is how she gave up on the relationship at the end, even though I know that it is a normal type of dramatic bit for the final thing to overcome. But in the end there was the HEA that we all want! We even got a bit of an epilogue that I thought was perfect! The narrators were good. Although the female narrator was a little slow so I sped it up, and the male narrator was good, but didn’t sound like a teenage boy to me.

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8 responses to “L-L-L-Little Reviews #47: February 2023

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, I was kind of mad at myself for buying it when it was at the end of the e-galley I got to read, but oh well, it wasn’t a lot and I’m supporting the author. I supposedly won a copy of End of Story from the author on a Facebook group, but it’s never arrived. I emailed and asked about it, but I’m not going to keep bugging them about it.

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