Book Review – Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Book Review – Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Book Review – Alex, Approximately by Jenn BennettAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse
Publication date: April 4, 2017
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
400 pages pages
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something through the links provided. This small income goes back into my blog, so I can continue to create fun content for you. I appreciate my readers and make it my goal to be up front and honest. Thank you for supporting my blog! ♥

ALEX, APPROXIMATELY is an adorably cute and funny young adult romance. If you’re looking for a young adult romance to read that will transport you right into summer that has a cute and witty boy, a lot of kissing, and a story about online friends meeting in real life then you should check out ALEX, APPROXIMATELY.

Movie-obsessed Bailey moves to a California beach town to live with her dad. But she doesn’t tell her online best friend and fellow film-buff “Alex,” the boy who’s been begging her to visit him at his own coastal beach town and come to his town’s film festival. The ever-evasive “Artful Dodger” Bailey decides to do her own sleuthing and investigating, planning to track down “Alex” and surprise him. Meanwhile, she gets a new job at a old Hollywood mansion turned museum and immediately butts heads with Porter Roth, who works as a security guard there and also helps manage his family’s surf shop. He pushes all her buttons and yet she can’t seem to stay away from him. As her relationship with Porter moves from foes to friends to boyfriend, her online conversations with “Alex” dwindle.

I really enjoyed the whole premise of this novel and the journey the story took me on. It has so many great qualities that made it a blast to read: Small and charming beach town, a sharp-tongued hero who’s also a cute surfer guy, quirky and strong heroine, a case of mistaken identity, and lots of film references.

One of the reasons I still read young adult romance, despite being in my thirties is the nostalgia of first love and remembering what that felt like—the good and the bad. I feel like this book captured that really well. Bailey is like a lot of teen girls. She’s figuring out who she wants to be, she has a few issues, and has an idea of what she wants her future to look like. She likes a boy but OMG DOES HE LIKE HER BACK?

While we’re on the subject of the boy, I really enjoyed Porter even though he was a total jerk in the beginning. His behavior towards her was akin to that of a middle school boy who picks on the girl he likes because he has no game. Are 18-year-old boys the same way? Maybe. I liked that he was confident in himself but sensitive to her feelings. He was a loudmouth and smart aleck. Aside from the romance, I really liked the family storylines for both Porter and Bailey. Each one had different upbringings and both have their own ongoing issues.

I had a few issues with the writing and the story along the way that really bothered me. Even though I enjoyed the “first love” glimpses Bennett gave us, the romance lacked nuance. There were repetitive phrases about how attracted Bailey was to Porter. Nearly every time she saw him there was some physical reaction, like “unwanted shivers,” mentions of “what is happening to me,” “chemical attraction,” “fingers tingling,” “my hand clenches,” “my heart starts pounding big time,” “why does he have this effect on me,” the “headlight problem that is now happening in my breast locale,” and “a small cascade of shivers over my scalp.” While I realize that everyone gets shivers and butterflies when they see that special someone, the use of these phrases over and over again resulted in more telling instead of showing.

At times, some of the dialogue felt stilted and unnatural. (i.e. At one point Porter says, “Porter likey.”) Like other reviewers, I thought that the amount of time it took Bailey to make the connection was a little far-fetched. In order for the premise to work, there were a lot of entirely too convenience situations and plot points readers are asked to accept. The storyline with Porter’s best friend was unnecessarily dramatic and distracted from the story. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book for its pure escapism, beach setting, and modern YA twist on one of my favorite romantic movies, You’ve Got Mail.

* Thanks so much to Simon Pulse for providing me with an early copy for review!

Teaser - Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

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Book Review – The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

Book Review – The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Book Review – The Perfect Stranger by Megan MirandaThe Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication date: April 11, 2017
Genres: Suspense, Thriller
352 pages
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something through the links provided. This small income goes back into my blog, so I can continue to create fun content for you. I appreciate my readers and make it my goal to be up front and honest. Thank you for supporting my blog! ♥

Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls was one of my favorite books of 2016. While Girls wasn’t her first novel, it was the first of hers that I had read. When I so completely enjoy an author’s work it can be a little nerve-wrecking to pick up their next one. With THE PERFECT STRANGER, Megan Miranda plots a creepy and twisty thriller that certainly left me guessing and questioning everything. I couldn’t put it down!

THE PERFECT STRANGER is an eerie cautionary tale about the people we allow to become a part of our lives and those that force their way in without permission. What kind of unknown dangers are lurking around the corner, behind our backs, or sleeping right next to us?

One of the things I found so compelling about Miranda’s All the Missing Girls was her ability to make the setting its own character, drawing the reader into a place the reader may not have been to but have now. In THE PREFECT STRANGER, Miranda brings readers to a lonely house near a lake in small town Pennsylvania with townsfolk who aren’t so accepting of newcomers.

Miranda’s restraint and control in her storytelling is most impressive with the way she methodically reveals Leah and Emmy’s past in small increments. She slowly feeds the reader bits and pieces of information throughout the story, allowing the reader to be their own detective along the way. There is a lot going on plot-wise towards the latter half of the novel (my bit of criticism), but Miranda’s talent is evident in her ability to write with clarity and simplicity.

This book is in all sense of the word a page-turner. That might sound completely cliché but I don’t even care. I was glued to the pages from the time I woke up until I turned the last page. I had to know what happened with Emmy, who was responsible for Bethany’s brutal beating, and what’s to come for Leah. I was so affected by the book that I went to bed and had some pretty vivid nightmares (eeek!). Megan Miranda is a force in the world of mystery and thrillers and is an author that I will pick up again and again! Is it bad that I’m already hankering for her next thriller?

I haven’t listened to the audiobook of this one yet, but I’m so tempted to buy it because 1.) Rebekkah Ross narrates it and I love her and 2.) I sort of want to re-read it.

* Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an early copy for review. It was such a joy to read!

Teaser: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

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