L-L-L-Little Reviews #55: October 2023

Posted October 28, 2023 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 5 Comments

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

Still Hung Up On You by Liz Maverick
L-L-L-Little Reviews #55: October 2023Still Hung Up on You by Liz Maverick
Published by Audible Originals on September 14, 2023
Genres: Adult Romantic Comedy
Length: 02:28
Source: Audible Plus
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: four-half-stars
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A hilarious, heart-tugging rom com about two people finding each other again one phone call at a time.
Hannah Gold never thought she’d speak to Ethan Reisner ever again. Getting dumped in high school will do that to you. But when she needs to find a beloved sweater in time for her parents’ 50th anniversary, she begins her search where she last saw it: Ethan’s childhood home.
She thought calling Ethan out of the blue would be the hardest part, but breaking fifteen years of silence was just the beginning. Why is Ethan being so friendly? And helpful? And funny? And is it possible for someone to be handsome over the phone?
As her feelings take her to unexpected places and her parents’ anniversary looms closer, Hannah will have to dig deep, find out what’s real, and decide exactly what she wants.

My Review:

This was a very short but very sweet and funny little romance. It was a freebie with the Audible Plus, and I saw it on another blog and decided to check it out. I’m glad I did. As I said, it was a very quick listen. I loved the characters, and the story was funny and kept my attention!

Paolo, Emperor of Rome by Mac Barnett and Claire Keane (Illustrator)
L-L-L-Little Reviews #55: October 2023Paolo, Emperor of Rome by Mac Barnett, Claire Keane
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers on March 31, 2020
Genres: Childrens Picture Book
Pages: 48
Source: the library
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: five-stars
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A daring dog takes a whirlwind tour of Rome in search of freedom.   Paolo the dachshund is trapped. Though he lives in Rome, a city filled with history and adventure, he is confined to a hair salon. Paolo dreams of the sweet life—la dolce vita—in the Eternal City. And then, one day, he escapes! Paolo throws himself into the city, finding adventure at every turn. Join our hero as he discovers the wonders of Rome: the ruins, the food, the art, the opera, and—of course—the cats.  

My Review:

So trying to bump up my books read to catch up on my Goodreads goal, this book I’d ordered for the SPED kids at school kept calling to me. So one day to kind of destress, I pulled it off the shelf and read it quickly. It was adorable in my opinion, and featured my favorite type of dog, a dachshund, so I gave it 5 stars.

This Golden State by Marit Weisenberg
L-L-L-Little Reviews #55: October 2023This Golden State by Marit Weisenberg
Narrator: Brittany Presley
Published by Macmillan Audio on March 1, 2022
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Contemporary Romance, YA Suspense
Length: 09:47
Source: the library
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: five-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

Marit Weisenberg's This Golden State is a propulsive, breakout novel following a family on the run, a restless teenage daughter hungry for the truth, and the simple DNA test that threatens their carefully crafted world.
The Winslow family lives by five principles:
1. No one can know your real name.2. Don’t stay in one place too long.3. If you sense anything is wrong, go immediately to the meeting spot.4. Keeping our family together is everything.5. We wish we could tell you who we are, but we can’t. Please—do not ask.
Poppy doesn’t know why her family has been running her whole life, but she does know that there are dire consequences if they’re ever caught. Still, her curiosity grows each year, as does her desire for real friends and the chance to build on something, instead of leaving behind school projects, teams, and crushes at a moment’s notice.
When a move to California exposes a crack in her parents’ airtight planning, Poppy realizes how fragile her world is. Determined to find out the truth, she mails in a home DNA test. Just as she starts to settle into her new life and even begins opening up to a boy in her math class, the forgotten test results bring her crashing back to reality.
Unraveling the shocking truth of her parents’ real identities, Poppy realizes that the DNA test has undone decades of careful work to keep her family anonymous—and the past is dangerously close to catching up to them. Determined to protect her family but desperate for more, Poppy must ask: How much of herself does she owe her family? And is it a betrayal to find her own place in the world?

My Review:

This was another read for the Gateway narrow down list of 30. It was soooooo good! The cover does it no justice. Even though the blurb is good, I was unsure if I’d want to read or would enjoy it. But I was hooked from the beginning and I love how when we got to that part in the story, it was not at all what it seemed to be as it happened. I went back and forth wondering what in the world was the reason they were hiding, almost wondering if they were in a witness protection type of program from how they had something waiting to help them in the places they went. But then something happened with police and I knew it must actually be a criminal reason for their parents. The story was just so good at keeping me going, wanting to know as much as Poppy did exactly why her life was the way it was. And I do really like the way the author ended it. A great book, can’t wait to get a copy to share in my library!

Tattoos and Tatas (Chocoholics #2.5) by Tara Sivec
L-L-L-Little Reviews #55: October 2023Tattoos and Tatas by Tara Sivec
Series: Chocoholics #2.5
Narrator: Amy McFadden
Published by Tara Sivec LLC on October 1, 2014
Length: 02:53
Source: Purchased
Format: Audiobook
My Rating: five-stars
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During the month of October, 100% of the proceeds from Tattoos and Tatas will be donated to breast cancer awareness.
Claire and Liz have always had a friendship that defied the test of time, but when one of them is diagnosed with a disease that every woman fears, their bond is put through the wringer. How do you cope knowing your soul mate could be taken from you?
Filled with memories of their life long friendship, inappropriate behavior, bad tattoos and shaving cats, the two friends will realize that laughter really is the best medicine.
Tattoos and TaTas is not your typical love story; it's a story of friendship and learning how to let go when something is beyond your control.

My Review:

This book was perfect timing for me. With my stepdad’s cancer coming back and the treatment he’d been trying not working, and all the health issues he’s had lately, so much about this book hit me. Sure it is about someone with breast cancer, but the feelings of the people around that person still hit so close to home for me. I’m like Liz in this book. I never know what to say in this type of situation. There’s nothing I can do, so I feel helpless. But I have to think like it was discussed that I need to just be there, and just listen and that is all that I can do, and so I need to do it. I also like how the author had the epilogue and even some of the prologue talking about how humor is often what can help us get through these things in life. It’s not that it isn’t taking this serious disease seriously, it is that we are making sure that we can feel better. I mean really, does worrying and crying help you to feel better? Or being able to laugh and find some positives do that? A small part I liked is when they had the flashback scene to when Claire found out she was pregnant, and Liz talked about her friend being pro-life. It wasn’t brought up in a controversial or attention grabbing way. Just a statement. I liked it. I am purchasing a copy of this, although I might have already done that, but I’m going to share it with my mom, in the hopes she can laugh and get something out of it right now too.

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
L-L-L-Little Reviews #55: October 2023The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 22, 2016
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 367
Source: the library
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: five-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & NobleBuy on Audible

All Eden wants is to rewind the clock. To live that day again. She would do everything differently. Not laugh at his jokes or ignore the way he was looking at her that night. And she would definitely lock her bedroom door.
But Eden can’t turn back time. So she buries the truth, along with the girl she used to be. She pretends she doesn’t need friends, doesn’t need love, doesn’t need justice. But as her world unravels, one thing becomes clear: the only person who can save Eden … is Eden.

My Review:

I’d wanted to read this book for a while. But just never got it fit into my reading schedule. Until the publisher reached out to offer me an ARC of the second book. So I checked this out from my school library. And let me tell you how much this book got to me. The last day I was reading it I was sitting at school during parent conferences, and had tears in my eyes. This book is so good. So real. I can see that it may need trigger warnings for some people I guess. But as someone with a somewhat similar experience, reading this and then seeing the character kind of react and take what happened in a similar way to how I feel like I did, that really again, resonated with me. While my still semi-hopeful heart after my own experience might have let my brain think that maybe the relationships could be more, on the outside I was just like her and not letting anyone think it could be more than casual. I did tell a few people about what happened around the time. No one told me I should go to the police. No one thought I would be believed I guess. Everyone agreed with what I thought that it was probably not like I said, not that big of a deal, I probably could have stopped it. So it’s helpful for me, or at least cathartic to read this type of a story. My only hope is that it can help others before it happens to them, give them the strength to report no matter what.

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