Size Doesn’t Matter (109): Trouble Makes a Comeback; Lovestruck Summer; The Secret of a Heart Note

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

Size Doesn’t Matter (109): Trouble Makes a Comeback; Lovestruck Summer; The Secret of a Heart NoteTrouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly
Series: Trouble #2
Published by Kathy Dawson on November 22, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Humor, Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

“How do you like life in the fast lane?” Digby said. “Is it everything you thought it would be?”

Good question.

Achieving high school “normal” wasn’t as hard as Zoe Webster expected, but she’s beginning to think Hollywood oversold how much fun it all is. Isn’t dating a jock supposed to be one long Instagram dream? Shouldn’t she enjoy gossiping 24/7 with her two BFFs? And isn’t this, the last year before the finish line that is Princeton, meant to be one of her best? If “normal” is the high school goal, why can’t Zoe get Philip Digby—decidedly abnormal, completely chaotic, possibly unbalanced, undoubtedly rude, and somehow…entirely magnetic—out of her mind?

However normal Zoe’s life finally is, it’s about to get blown up (metaphorically. This time. She hopes, anyway.*) when Digby shows up on her doorstep. Again. Needing her help to find his kidnapped sister. Still. Full of over-the-top schemes and ready to send Zoe’s life into a higher gear. Again.

It’s time for Zoe Webster to choose between staying in the normal lane, or taking a major detour with Digby (and finally figuring out what that stolen kiss actually meant to him).

Guess which she chooses?

* This is a mistake; Zoe should know better than to expect there not to be explosions when Digby is in town.

This series is so much fucking fun, I swear. There should be more humor novels in YA. While I don’t think Trouble Makes a Comeback was quite as pitch perfect as Trouble Is a Friend of Mine, I once again read the whole thing in just a few hours, totally caught up in the hilarity.

For the most part, I dropped the rating because I feel like the plot arc of this novel’s less cohesive and satisfying. Plot-wise, there’s a bit of a sophomore slump going on. That doesn’t make it less entertaining, but the resolution of this book’s plot is very similar to how book one ended. Most of the plotting time goes into the overarching plot of Digby’s kidnapped sister, and book three should be fantastic. DO NEED.

Also, the shipping is at a high frustration level here. After book one, Digby left town and didn’t talk to Zoe until he came back four months later. In the meantime, she started dating Austin, aka quarterback junior or whatever it’s called when you’re not the starter. This, in and of itself, is fine, because I totally believe these weirdos would mess up feelings and not call, and it’s cool that she could move on a bit and try out that different life she kind of thought she wanted. However, the fact that he once again picks up with Bill to make her jealous or something was ugh. And both Bill and Austin are such pieces of shit that this double love triangle nonsense was annoying.

This all sounds very negative, I realize, but it’s just that I don’t have a ton to say about all the awesome stuff because that’s unchanged from my book one review. The banter’s on point, Digby’s amazing, etc. I will say that Sloane totally lived up to my expectations, and I am loving the tentative friendship growing between Sloane and Zoe.

Most excellent fun is to be had here, and I am not thrilled about waiting a year until book three. The waits always seem even longer when the next book in the series hasn’t even been announced and put on Goodreads yet. *pouts*

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Size Doesn’t Matter (109): Trouble Makes a Comeback; Lovestruck Summer; The Secret of a Heart NoteLovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker
Published by HarperTeen on May 5, 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Austin music fest

Yay, summer in Austin!

Good food, good times. Fun for everyone!

Okay, living with my sorority-brainwashed cousin, who willingly goes by "Party Penny," is not exactly what I had in mind.

All your favorite bands

But the cute musicians I've met totally make up for it . . . like Sebastian. Swoon.

All ages welcome

So why can't I stop thinking about Penny's friend All-American Russ and his Texas twang??

Saturday & Sunday, from noon to midnight

Don't wait up!

I picked up Lovestruck Summer in a Book Outlet sale years ago, and, since I’m finally managing to balance reads for me with book reviewing, I got to it. Lovestruck Summer wasn’t quite as flufftastic as anticipated, rocking a serious character arc and some great themes.

Ignore the cover, which makes it seem like Lovestruck Summer‘s about a sexy beach vacation. In fact, Quinn heads to Austin for the summer to intern at her favorite record company. She deals with a ton of culture clash, staying with her sorority president cousin Penny and living in a country music town. Penny faces her prejudices in a big way over the summer, both of sorority/frat folks and of country music.

Her romance with Russ is really adorable, and I totally shipped it, despite sharing her frat distaste. I loved the way they snarked at each other and how he called her by her actual name, Priscilla, something she initially loathes and grows to love. However, where the book tanked a wee bit for me was in the double love triangle melodrama. Quinn’s love triangle between the boy who, on paper, is everything she wants and Russ, who is actually what she wants, is effective. The last minute introduction of a love triangle with Russ’ ex made the book feel overly dramatic and threw things off. The way things unravel at that point felt artificial and forced to create additional drama and delay the get together.

Lovestruck Summer totally made me want to visit Austin. I loved visiting places with Quinn, and there really was a magical travel element to this one. Quinn’s character arc works well, and her voice is engaging. All told, a great contemporary read.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Size Doesn’t Matter (109): Trouble Makes a Comeback; Lovestruck Summer; The Secret of a Heart NoteThe Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee
Published by Katherine Tegen on December 27, 2016
Genres: Magical Realism, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book Depository

An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

At once hopeful, funny, and romantic, Stacey Lee’s The Secret of a Heart Note is a richly evocative coming-of-age story that gives a fresh perspective on falling in love and finding one’s place in the world.

Magical realism with romance is one of my favorite genres, and I don’t get to read too many of them. Stacey Lee’s The Secret of a Heart Note warmed my cold heart and made me smile.

There’s something charmingly understated about The Secret of a Heart Note. I’m not generally someone who goes in for understated, preferring in your face banter and feels, but it really worked for me here. Despite being quiet and not particularly high stakes, I was so wrapped up in Mim’s story. With the big consequence possibly being losing her nose if she falls in love, it’s not really life or death. However, she felt so real and I ached for her fears of losing her mother if she lost her nose.

The magical realism is completely lovely. Mim and her mother are aromateurs, the last two left in the world. That means they can smell way more than we can. They can smell emotions and from great distances. They can smell the scents that make us who we are and, using that, they can help people fall in love. What I love most here is that these elixirs really aren’t love potions. It’s amazing that Stacey Lee managed to write this in such a way that what they do isn’t creepy as all get out.

Mim and Court are adorable, though I’d maybe have been a bit more into them if they weren’t fifteen. There’s some mean girl action going on in as well, but there’s some redemption, and it’s not just graar girl hate. I do wish there had been a bit more utilization of Mim’s best friend Kali, because she’s amazing. Her coming out plot line is amazing, but sadly I didn’t really get to see their friendship at all. I’d have loved more feels from that.

The Secret of a Heart Note is lovely and magical. Who doesn’t need a bit of magic and hope in their lives right now?

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:



8 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (109): Trouble Makes a Comeback; Lovestruck Summer; The Secret of a Heart Note”

  1. Leah says:

    I adored The Secret of a Heart Note! I want to see more books like this in the YA market.

  2. Jared says:

    Cool! I too would love to see more magic realism in the YA world! Loved the post! Thanks!

  3. I don’t remember knowing much about the first Trouble book but this sounds like a fun series!! Will def check my library. Speaking of the library, I just got The Secret of a Heart Note and I’m glad bc your review makes me want to dive right in! Sounds very charming and reminds me slightly of the special chocolate shop in Chocolat 🙂

    • Christina Franke says:

      The Trouble books are so much fun! I think you’ll like them a lot. Just suspend disbelief. They’re totally not realistic; they’re comedy books, not really straight realism. The Secret of a Heart Note isn’t as lush and romantic as Chocolat, but the magical realism is delightful. It’s a beautiful story.

  4. Mary says:

    We need to foist the Trouble series on more people because it’s delightful.
    Mary recently posted…Blog Tour: Wintersong by S. Jae-JonesMy Profile

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