January 16, 2020

Tweet Cute Blog Tour: Review and Q&A


I'm so excited to share a deliciously delightful new YA rom-com with y'all today! And I definitely can't wait to get my copy on release day and take five million pictures of it with grilled cheese. (You'll understand that reference once you read more of this post.)


The Book

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Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
 

The Author



Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.


Q&A

Awkwordly Emma: With TWEET CUTE based around a Twitter battle, how do you think social media has changed modern teen romances?
Emma Lord: I think it’s given teens an entirely new language to communicate — like, literally, teens are crafting their own slang, creating infinite new types of memes, crafting their own unique forms of syntax and grammatical rules. I think it only broadens the opportunities you have to get to know and relate to people, having this shared language that is tight knit and highly relatable, and takes a lot of the pressure off interactions that might otherwise cause anxiety. Social media has its pitfalls, sure, but at its best it gives teens a low stakes, high reward way to connect with each other, whether it’s for friendship or romance or just to share some laughs. 

Awkwordly Emma: Did any rom-coms influence you while writing TWEET CUTE?
Emma Lord: Oh, for sure You’ve Got Mail — or at least, what I knew of it. (As soon as people started likening the idea to the movie, I wouldn’t let myself watch it so I didn’t rely too much on its plot!) 

Awkwordly Emma: Pie or cake, and what kind?
Emma Lord: What an excellent question that I have a highly specific answer for!! Cake, and the best kind I’ve ever had was a yellow cake that was filled with three types of frosting between each of its three layers: a peanut butter cream cheese frosting, raspberry jam, and chocolate ganache. I never would have thought of it on my own, but I used to work in a cake bakery, and when they were chopping off the ends of this particular cake to shape it into a football they let me eat the leftovers. I still DREAM about it. But truly, I’m here for any cake except chocolate cake (I’m ashamed to say it — I’m more of a chocolate frosting lady, unless the chocolate cake is like, absurdly rich, in which case it has my attention). 


Review

Grade: A

Don't hate me, but I was worried I wouldn't like Tweet Cute. It's the latest in a line of You've Got Mail YA retellings, and since I have one of my own...I tend to worry the market is saturated with them. But I couldn't help falling in love with Tweet Cute. It's very New York, and I was missing New York when I read it. And it's about food and banter and a very shippable couple.

There are so many layers to how Jack and Pepper are communicating, and they're hilarious and great because for good chunks of the book, they don't know they're communicating in three different ways. Because of all three platforms/methods of communication, there are so many layers revealed that might not otherwise be shown. And that's a word I want to focus on - layers. The hallmark of a good YGM retelling is playing with perceptions of people and the different layers we all have. It goes beyond Pepper and Jack in Tweet Cute - there are layers to their siblings, Paige and Ethan, and Pepper's school competitor, Pooja. And if you think you have the parents figured out early on, you'll be wrong.

I also love books about food. This one is all about a fast food burger place that started small and is growing like a weed, and a New York deli that's seen its heyday and seems to be on its way out. What a perfect YGM-esque dynamic. Plus Pepper and her older sister, Paige, bake a ton (and give their concoctions creative names like they're in Waitress).

I will say that a certain amount of privilege is shown in this book. Both Jack and Pepper work hard for what they have, but both go to a very exclusive high school, and they apply/interview for some top competitive colleges. Pepper lives on the Upper East Side, close enough to their school that one can assume she lives in the VERY nice part of the UES. And while Jack's family's shop is struggling at the beginning of the book, there aren't a lot of references to the things "struggling" can actually do to a family and their finances. There were also a couple annoyingly cliche moments (like when one parent forbids a main character from seeing the other and how that part of the plot spirals). The resolution also didn't hit quite all the right notes for me. BUT. It's still a very sweet story that I can't stop thinking about. And, when I was rereading it to write this review, I ate like 500% more grilled cheese than I had in months. So, A+ on the subtle conditioning lol.

January 15, 2020

What I Meant to Read in 2019...But Didn't

Every year, I intend to read lots of books. Some actually get read. But a bunch don't. So I'm doing a self callout post for all the books I meant to read in 2019 but didn't.


CLASSICS

Oh, so many. I still haven't touched Mansfield Park, even though I've owned a copy for a couple years. And I have copies of Anne Bronte's books now, and George Eliot's and Thomas Hardy's, too, and I definitely want to read those. And I really need to finish the Anne of Green Gables series. I own Rainbow Valley, and Rilla of Ingleside would be so easy to purchase.


READING CHALLENGES

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1. Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field

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2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
Both books have been sitting on my Goodreads TBR shelf forever, and then of course there are several other Newbery winners in my spreadsheet that I need to get to, too.


I think I've officially abandoned the Rory Gilmore Challenge, though. If you know of any reading challenges you think I might enjoy, feel free to suggest them.


2019 RELEASES (a.k.a., Emma didn't read much fantasy)

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1. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

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2. Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland

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3. The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

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4. The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

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5. Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

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6. The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

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7. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika and Maritza Moulite

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8. A Kingdom for a Stage by Heidi Heilig


So what books did you want to read in 2019 but didn't get around to?

January 14, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Discoveries I Made in 2019



1. Books Are Magic bookstore
I loved finding this bookstore sort of in my Brooklyn neighborhood. I went there a few times. It's so cozy and New York-ish.


2. Reading planners
Ok so I got one in my December OwlCrate and was like, "Let's try this," and well... I loved keeping a reading planner in 2019, and I was so hype to do it again this year. I'm not busy enough to keep a normal one, but this one fuels my need for organization.


3. Cozy mysteries
I truly enjoy a good cozy mystery. Jessica got me started with some recs, and then I browsed a bunch at Barnes & Noble too and delved in last fall.


4. Sarah Dessen's books
So I read a few of her books when I first got into YA, but I didn't really vibe with them. I liked Saint Anything and Once and for All, though, so I retried most of her books this summer and found that a good handful were enjoyable! 


5. More about libraries
I started my job as a library page right at the tail end of the year, and I've loved it so far. I was already an avid library user, but I learned so much more about behind-the-scenes things and shelving.


My Swiftie group chat recommends books occasionally, and our fearless leader told us about this memoir about food and depression, written by a woman who owns a bakery in Vancouver. As far as memoirs go, it's a solid one.


7. Books in verse
So I'm not completely sold on books written in verse, but I've decided that some are pretty good. And they tend to be the ones written by women of color with important themes. I read The Poet X in 2018, but this year I read Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga. I loved it.



What bookish things did you discover in 2019?

January 12, 2020

Rewind & Review #151


~It's a new year. Nothing super significant happened in the last two weeks, though. I went to work. Read some books. Watched TV. Started planning some vacation itineraries for later this year.

Books I Received for Review
All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban (from HarperCollins via NetGalley)

Books I Bought
The Map from Here to There by Emery Lord
The Night Country by Melissa Albert
Crying Laughing by Lance Rubin

Books I Read
Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams (4 stars)
Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore (DNF)
The Case of the Missing Treasure by Robin Stevens (3 stars)
The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord (reread)
Just One Day by Gayle Forman (reread)
This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams
Daughters of the Winter Queen by Nancy Goldstone (4 stars)
All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney (5 stars)
Chirp by Kate Messner
Death in the Spotlight by Robin Stevens (4 stars)

January 10, 2020

Random Friday: Even More Wintery Book Covers


Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following:
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my blog.
  • Blog about this week's topic (or a variant of it).
  • Add the link to your Random Friday post at the bottom of this one.

Are y'all staying warm this winter? Perhaps you should cuddle up with a blanket, some tea, and one of these wintery book covers.

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1. Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
(Whether you have the OwlCrate cover or the regular one, this book definitely fits the brief.)

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2. Cold Day in the Sun by Sara Biren

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3. Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle

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4. Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

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5. The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

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6. Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner


What book covers remind you of winter? Or which are your favorites that feature snow and other wintery things?

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

January 8, 2020

Review: Lucky Caller

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Lucky Caller by Emma Mills
Grade: A+
Release date: January 14, 2020
An e-galley was provided by Macmillan via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: When Nina decides to take a radio broadcasting class her senior year, she expects it to be a walk in the park. Instead, it’s a complete disaster.

The members of Nina's haphazardly formed radio team have approximately nothing in common. And to maximize the awkwardness her group includes Jamie, a childhood friend she'd hoped to basically avoid for the rest of her life.

The show is a mess, internet rumors threaten to bring the wrath of two fandoms down on their heads, and to top it all off Nina's family is on the brink of some major upheaval.

Everything feels like it's spiraling out of control―but maybe control is overrated?

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: At this point, I love Emma Mills's books so much that my reviews probably aren't unbiased. But I don't care because she writes the stories I would've loved as a teen and the stories I love even as a twenty-something. They're soft, and realistic, and beautiful. They're like sunny June afternoons on the hill outside my house, like Christmas morning, like waffles on Sundays. And I hope she never stops writing such character-focused, life-focused books.
One of my favorite things about Mills's books is that they're never just about a romance. Friendships or families (or both) are always a big deal. While there are friendships in Lucky Caller, it's more about Nina's family. Right from page one, it's clear she's about to get a new stepfather. Her feelings about this are never two-dimensional or caricaturish. She likes Dan all right, and through primarily him, Mills presents a theme of people having layers and unexpected depth. He's also used as a foil to Nina's dad who hasn't been very present in his daughters' lives, and while Conrad isn't the villain, Dan is clearly a better guy and father. On the same family track, Nina is the middle child of three girls. Her older sister Rose has a small plotline about college and her future, and her younger sister Sidney is all softness and young teen enthusiasm. She reminded me a little of Flora from Famous in a Small Town
The premise of Lucky Caller revolves around a high school radio class and the shows each group has to produce weekly. Nina falls into a group with classmates she doesn't know well...and Jamie, a guy she grew up with but grew apart from before high school. We find out their history, but some of it (like the reason they stop talking) takes a little too long to be revealed. But as they become friends again (and maybe something else), I couldn't get enough of them. Jamie is a little less dynamic than past Mills love interests, but he has a personality and a back story (and a future story). And he and Nina fit so well together. He's the first Mills love interest that isn't new to the main character at the beginning of the story, and that makes their relationship so much more interesting. We get to see them at a point that happens beyond the end of the book in all of Mills's other novels, and that makes for some great character dynamics.

Content warnings: foul language

The Verdict: I love it. No one is surprised.


Will I be adding this book to my library?: I preordered it MONTHS ago lol.

January 7, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated 2020 Releases, Part One


I'm hoping for lots of good books in 2020, and here are some of the January-June releases I'm most looking forward to. :) (Besides Lucky Caller and Tweet Cute, which I've already read and loved.)

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1. The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

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2. Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

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3. The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

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4. Every Reason We Shouldn't by Sara Fujimara

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5. A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn

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6. Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed

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7. What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

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8. The Silence of Bones by June Hur

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9. Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

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10. Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan

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11. Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson

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12. The Notorious Virtues by Alwyn Hamilton

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13. Six Angry Girls by Adrienne Kisner


What are some of your most anticipated books publishing this year?

January 5, 2020

Rewind to 2019: What I Watched and Listened To

In the last post of this series for the year, I'm going to talk about non-bookish things.


What I Listened To

This shouldn't come as any surprise, but I listened to a certain album on endless repeat from the end of August through December 31...


I think I've solidified my top 5 favorites from the album: "Cornelia Street," "Lover," "Daylight," "Cruel Summer," and "The Archer."
Honorable mentions to: "Afterglow," "Miss Americana," "I Think He Knows," and "It's Nice to Have a Friend."

I also have this annual tradition of making a summer mix CD for one of my best friends (this is like the third or fourth year of them), and I was making this year's in the weird time where we didn't know what Lover was going to be like and when Swifties were hoping for a double album. So, in honor of that, I made a Summer of 2019 mix and a Nighttime mix. I listened to those songs a lot, so I could work out the order I wanted them in and also how many I could fit on each CD. Summer of 2019 has a few 2009 throwbacks, and Nighttime is, for the most part, a bit softer - the perfect soundtrack for driving at night.

Also, I'm very excited for a new Niall Horan album. Wish it would've dropped this fall, but alas. At least new music is coming!

More listening from this year:
~I got super into two female country artists: Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris. I already knew some of Maren's songs because they're on the radio, and my mom likes her, but I listened a lot to her new album. And then Kacey was a whole new exploration; a fellow Swiftie is super into her, and he shared recommendations on Tumblr.
~Harry Styles's new album. "Cherry," "Falling," and "Fine Line" are my favorites. "Canyon Moon" and "Golden" are pretty good too.
~And then, mainly because of Mamma Mia and Yesterday, I listened to a bunch of ABBA (or the movie versions) and a lot of the Beatles (or, once again, the movie covers).
~Finally, I kept listening to Fleetwood Mac. Admittedly, it's mostly the well-known songs, but they're a great mood-setter for my current WIP.


What I Watched

I mostly kept watching my favorite few shows (on Hulu, the night after each episode aired): This Is Us, The Good Place, and The Good Doctor

My parents got into New Amsterdam, so I caught up and watched all of that this spring.

I also finally finished The Good Wife...four years later lol. I started it on Amazon Prime back in late 2015, and then rewatched all the early seasons this summer and got past where I'd left off and saw it through to the end. There was honestly way too much sex for my tastes but the political scheming, especially with an Illinois setting, was interesting.

Disney+ launched at the end of the year, as we all know, and I added a bunch of stuff to my watchlist on launch day. I counted, and I'd added 96 TV shows and movies. So I was prepared to never have a life again, lol. It's super fun to have access to all my childhood/preteen favorites, though. Especially Phineas and Ferb. Sorrynotsorry.

Finally, this movie missed my Random Friday wrap-up of best movies...because I saw it on January 1st. But since it was a 2019 movie, I wanted to include it somewhere. My parents and I went to see Knives Out on New Year's Day, and THOROUGHLY enjoyed it. It was witty and twisty, and the pacing was excellent.


So what did you listen to and watch this year?

January 4, 2020

Rewind to 2019: Favorite Blog and Bookstagram Posts

Each year I've had a couple fewer blog posts than the year before - and that's okay. I hope instead I'm producing more quality posts instead. As usual, this post is all about my favorite blog posts in 2019. That includes my own and posts by others, AND I'm once again throwing in some of my Bookstagram posts. Who can resist pretty pictures of books?


My Own Blog Posts

September - So You Like... #88
November - The Pie Book Tag


Posts by Others


A Few Book Pictures












If you're on Instagram, feel free to follow me at awkwordly_emma. And let me know if you have a Bookstagram account I can follow too. :)

What were some of your favorite posts this year (made by anyone, including yourself)?

January 3, 2020

Rewind to 2019: My Year in Reading

I love doing this post so much, even though it probably only gets, like, 25 views each year. (And here's my usual disclaimer that I am human and fallible and some of these numbers won't quite match, but I am trying my best.)


Number of Books I Read
(including DNFs and [multiple] rereads)
299 books
(not including DNFs and rereads)
205 books

Number of Rereads
(including multiple rereads of the same book and rereads of a book I read for the first time in 2019)
73 books

Pages Read
(DNFs and rereads not included)
70,687 pages


Longest and Shortest Books Read
(rereads not included)
Longest: The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher at 749 pages
Shortest: Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival at 32 pages
And my average number of pages was: 344 pages


Number of Books Acquired
(Not including e-galleys; also, I should disclose that I have sold some of the books since and traded/given away some of the ARCs. Another disclosure: I didn't buy all these books; if I had, I would be ridiculously broke.)
116 books

Number of Books Reviewed
35 books, which is even less than in 2017 and 2018. But that's okay! I still couldn't review a bunch of Bloomsbury titles, and also I'm trying to only review stuff I really want to.

Number of Books by Diverse Authors That I Read
(This category is always a guessing game because sometimes it is unclear if a character is diverse, and authors don't always disclose personal details. [Which I'm not shaming them for; that's their choice.])
(Rereads not included; authors are hopefully not included more than once)
59 books. That's 29% of my total reading. That's about the same as last year, so I'd really like to keep growing this number. I've been reading a bunch of cozy mysteries lately, and most of them seem to be by white women, so if anyone knows of cozy mysteries by authors of color, please tell me!

Number of Books Read by Genre
(rereads not included)
Contemporary: 78 books (What can I say?)
Fantasy: 19 books
Historical fiction: 22 books
Science fiction: 3 books
Mystery/thriller: 30 books (Ya girl is thrilled she's getting into cozy mysteries.)
Middle grade: 19 books
Memoir: 5 books
Classics: 5 books
Nonfiction: 4 books
Adult: 11 books
Other (includes Christian and picture books, among others): 17 books


Number of Books Read by Rating
(rereads not included)
5 stars: 12 books
4.5 stars: 9 books
4 stars: 76 books
3.5 stars: 23 books
3 stars: 74 books
2.5 stars: 2 books
2 stars: 8 books
DNF: 11 books

Average Rating per Genre
Contemporary: 3.31 stars (I love this genre this most, but it also has a fair share of not-for-Emma books.)
Historical fiction: 3.3 stars 
Fantasy: 3.4 stars
Science fiction: 2.3 stars (#yikes)
Mystery/thriller: 3.7 stars (New favorite genre ftw!)
Middle grade: 3.6 stars
Memoir: 3.8 stars
Classics: 3.8 stars
Nonfiction: 3.4 stars
Adult: 3.3 stars
Other: 3.1 stars (Better than last year, at least!)

Number of Books Read by Publisher
(rereads not included)
Bloomsbury: 7 books
Disney-Hyperion: 4 books
HarperCollins: 42 books
Hachette: 9 books
Kensington: 8 books
Macmillan: 36 books
Penguin Random House: 56 books
Scholastic: 8 books
Simon & Schuster: 23 books
Other: 24 books

Books Read per Month
(DNFs and rereads included)
January: 32
February: 28
March: 24
April: 21
May: 18
June: 25
July: 26
August: 20
September: 19  
October: 26
November: 28
December: 20 books
So my average is...24 books


Average Rating per Month
(DNFs included, rereads not included)

I continued to remove books from my TBR, instead of DNFing them, which didn't necessarily help my books per month total, but surely it helped this one.

January: 3.7 stars
February: 3 stars (I had a whopping three DNFs, so that didn't help one bit.)
March: 3.4 stars
April: 3.1 stars
May: 3.6 stars
June: 3.7 stars
July: 3.7 stars
August: 2.8 stars (August was rough. I had three DNFs and most of my reads didn't top 3 stars.)
September: 3.3 stars
October: 3.8 stars
November: 3.4 stars
December: 3.1 stars
For a grand total average of...3.1 stars. Definitely want to keep removing books from my TBR instead of DNFing them. Hopefully that'll help me read more books I enjoy.

Number of 2020 Releases I've Already Read
4, plus 3 DNFs


So what did YOUR reading stats for 2019 look like?