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A Thousand Boy Kisses

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

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Reaction Upon Reading: That was absolutely soul shattering!


Synopsis:

One kiss lasts a moment.
But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime.

One boy.
One girl.
A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade.
A bond that neither time nor distance can break.
A bond that will last forever.
Or so they believe.
When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation?
Rune’s heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.


“I think hearts beat a rhythm like a song. I think, that just like music, we’re drawn to a particular melody. I heard your heart’s song, and yours heard mine.”


I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was not at all what I had expected. I picked up the book because as I was scrolling through the ‘top read books this week’ for romance it was on the list. I hadn’t even heard of the book or the author. Then I investigated further and saw how high the ratings were and just knew this one had to be a gem.

Poppy and Rune are neighbours. They met when they were 5 and have been each others infinities ever since. Rune is the blonde haired, blue eyed Norwegian bad ass (Thor 2.0). Poppy is the cello playing dark horse with brown hair and green eyes. They are a combination no one understands, but the love they have is one for the ages.

They don’t fit in a box. If you pick up this book you are choosing to go on a journey roller-coaster of a of love, loss, firsts, anger, grief, acceptance and so much more.


“Kiss eight hundred and nineteen was the kiss that changed it all. The kiss that proved that a long-haired brooding boy from Norway and a quirky girl from the Deep South could find a love to rival the greats.”


Likes:

  • Poppy
    • Her name is so cute and when Rune calls her Poppymin, I could just die
  • Rune’s anger is so raw. You can feel every emotion he goes through. It is so tangible I can feel it as it bursts off the pages
  • RUNE
    • He is perfection. What girl wouldn’t want a boy for her first love…better yet her one true love!
  • The Swamp Dinner
  • The Cello Performance
  • Rune + Alton + Swamp Monster = warm fuzzies!
  • NYC
  • THE LANTERNS! 

Dislikes:

  • The cover
    • I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I almost didn’t pick this book up because I really don’t like the cover. It looks like someones first attempt at Photoshop. It needs a cover that conveys the emotions this book is packing. 
  • Towards the end it all got a bit too much for me. There were too many moments of tears, epiphany’s, declaring undying love and all that jazz. I think because there were so many it started to feel quite forced. It become less and less endearing and more and more annoying.

“Why be miserable when you can be happy? It’s an obvious choice to me.”


Reactions, Ramblings and Questions

  • OMG I am such an idiot. I thought she disappeared because she was pregnant. I thought she was trying to keep it all a secret and didn’t want to tell Rune…for whatever dumb reason
  • Oh man I did not see this book going down a ‘Walk to Remember’ & ‘Fault in Our Stars’ path
  • I still don’t understand why you would think you are helping someone by not telling them you are sick. I would want everyone I love around me for support.
  • I need a miracle
    • I know deep down there won’t be one, because a book like this doesn’t get rated so highly with a cliched happy/miracle ending. I want one so badly though, its not fair! 
  • Oh that was awkward…he thought she cut her hair
  • The scene with Rune and his father was utter heartbreak. I almost couldn’t read it. It was destroying and I felt for Rune but I also wanted to slap him upside the head at the same time.
  • Poppy is so darn optimistic. I would find this exhausting. I know she has had a lot of time to deal, but I almost need to see her grieve
  • There is a lot of crying from both characters, like borderline too much. It is now getting annoying. Too many moments of D&Ms. I like the moment when they are keeping it light.
  • I love photography. It would be so fun to play around in a dark room.

“Live hard, love harder. Chase dreams, seek adventures … capture moments. Live beautifully.”


Overall Thoughts

I picked up this book with little expectations. I thought “Yup this looks like a nice fluffy romance.” What the heck?!? Tillie Cole you heartbreaker.

I didn’t just cry, I sobbed.

I broke when Rune gave Poppy kiss 1000 and then 1001, 1002, 1003 and 1004. I thought I had recovered and then we got to the chapter of Rune with the lanterns in the grove and I could barely keep it together. I felt like I had lost my soulmate (meanwhile he was next to me, probably thinking ‘here she goes again’).

I enjoyed the story a lot. There were times when I felt certain elements were overdone, but the emotions it made me feel and the conviction of both characters was incredible.

The only real negative I have about the book (other than my minor dislikes above) was that at times I found the writing to be somewhat juvenile, where it sounded like a teenager was writing, but maybe that was the affect Cole was going for.

The ending threw me through a loop. I don’t know whether to be happy, sad or mad. I genuinely wasn’t expecting or prepared for the book to end in that way. I need more time to decide how I truly feel about Cole’s choice.

Selfishly I am so happy that Rune was forever Poppy’s and Poppy was forever his. Writing this review is a struggle because the way Cole writes makes me feel like I know them. I am getting choked up just thinking about how epic of a love story this is. I don’t think I have ever read a greater love story. 


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What did you think of this book?

Leave a comment below.

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
three-half-stars
Cover
three-stars
Overall: four-stars

Walk the Edge

Walk the Edge (Thunder Road, #2) by Katie McGarry
on March 29th 2016
Genres: Chick Lit, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 426

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Reaction Upon Reading: I hope there is another book to come in this series!


Synopsis:

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds.

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.


“For once in my life, I’d love to be myself around everyone else and be accepted for who I am instead of staying silent for fear of people mocking me.”


I am obsessed with this book trope. I love high school romances and I love stories that involve a MC and they have been combined! I am also a sucker for multiple perspective. It is one of my favourite elements of fiction.

This was my latest audiobook. I listened to ‘Nowhere But Here’ on Audible and fell in love with the two voice actors. I was really nervous that the voice actors for ‘Walk the Edge’ weren’t going to live up to the first two, but I thoroughly enjoyed each voice actor! I liked the southern twang of the girl who voiced Bri and the gruff ‘I don’t care about the world’  voice of Razor. It made each voice actor seem authentic and true to the story.

I enjoyed this book more than first (which is surprising because I loved the first book). I think this is due to the fact that I feel like there was a bit less outside drama that affected the couple. Razor and Bri still wanted each other the whole time. Yes, they had to deal with her family, Kyle and the club, but them as a couple was a fortified unit!

I also thought this book focused a lot more on the relationship than the club. Don’t get me wrong I know the plot hinges on the involvement with the club but it felt like it was way less than the first book.


“The boy everyone sees but nobody knows is with the girl who everybody knows but nobody sees.”


Likes:

  • The romance that is building is a slow burn
    • Which as painful as they can be, I always like more in the end because nothing is rushed and it makes the connection seem that much more real 
  • The romance between Bri and Razor is a ‘saving’ type of romances
    • Both of them are trying to save/rescue each other from their situations – Bri from her home life and Razor from not trusting the club
    • ‘Nowhere but Here’ was the forbidden romance and I like that there is a difference between the two books
  • The irony of the final climax and the way it is connected and woven into the story as a whole
  • The cover
    • Seriously so beautiful! 

Dislike:

  • When an author decides to give the reader a recap of the first book and how it links to the second book
    • This is a serious waste of my reading time! Who picks up the second book in a series without reading the first book. If people do this why are they rewarded with a recap and I am punished with knowledge I already have. This really irritates me
  • When Bri is blackmailed why did they never think to go straight to the school – he would have lost all credibility and any chance of a scholarship for his behaviour. Problem solved!

“This is heartbreaking and consuming and addictive. It’s terrifying and peaceful, crazy and serene. It’s a million things in one brief moment and it’s something I don’t understand and never want to live without.”


Do we get to see Oz and Emily?

Yes we do, and it is just the right amount. They aren’t shoehorned in at every possible moment. Their appearances feel natural and authentic. Oz is Razor’s friend, brother and school yard protector. He is always looking out for Razor and has his back when he needs him most. He keeps him in align and is a constant reminder for why he needs to trust the club. Emily returns on a visit which aligns perfectly with the party thrown for Razor and the cover she needs to show up in town. I loved the way she supports Bri and shows her honesty and friendship when she didn’t have to. She was the Emily we saw in the first book, opinionated and wild spirited.


“I’m in love with you. This isn’t a memory, but a promise, do you hear me?”


Reactions, Ramblings & Questions:

These occur before, during and after reading
  • I know the accident with Razor’s mother is going to be some integral plot twist
    • I am currently trying to work out what on earth it could be
    • I predict that this ‘cover up’ of the ‘accident’ is a positive reason to protect Razor and his mothers image or possibly a secret 
      • Nailed it! 
  • Bri has the worst family imaginable
    • Where the hell are her parents?
    • Why are her siblings so god damn nasty
    • What kind of family leaves the teenager in charge for two weeks
    • I love her chapters when she is interacting with Razor and hate them when they involve her family 
      • I almost want to skip ahead! 

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What did you think of this story?

Leave your comments below

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: four-stars

Since You’ve Been Gone

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 449

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Reaction upon Reading: Why do so many people love this book?


“Real friends are the ones you can count on no matter what. The ones who go into the forest to find you and bring you home. And real friends never have to tell you that they’re your friends.”


Synopsis:

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um…

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?


“It just gets hard, always being someone’s second choice”

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Likes:

  • Emily
    • She takes the list for more than what it is and grows as a person 
    • She make quality relationships outside of the list

Dislikes:

  • Long chapters!
    • I like short ones where I can just quickly finish one more before bed…not this book. I hate stopping in the middle of a scene but sometimes I just had too
  • Slow
    • This book took a very long time to get going
    • I didn’t really connect with any of the characters so I didn’t care too much about the build up 
  • The most overused trope in a high school/college romance
    • Boy has long term girlfriend who the whole town believes is perfect for each other. He is put in a situation where he plays knight in shining armour for the quiet/shy/reserved girl. He starts developing feelings for her and discovers she is who he wanted all along…but wait HE STILL HAS A GF! 
  •  Sloane
    • In what world would a best friend leave without saying anything and then actively choose to not answer her phone or have any communication with her friend?
    • I don’t feel sorry for Sloane when the reason is revealed to why she left, it felt like karma

“I don’t think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.”


Reactions, Ramblings and Questions:

  • Slow and boring!
  • But…is Dawn still friends with her?
  • What about Collins?
  • Do the friendships she spent all summer investing actually pan out
  • Where is the closure?
  • What happens next?
  • Nothing feels resolved at all

“4. Date someone who’ll wait to make sure you get inside before driving away.”

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Overall Feelings:

I started this book without even reading the synopsis. I had seen it on tons of blogs and on instagram with people saying it is one of their all time favourites. I figured why not give it a go. Well… I can not understand why this book has so much hype surrounding it. Morgan Matson is an author I constantly see being praised for her writing but this one just fell short for me.

Maybe I am getting to old for high school books…no, I take that back. I love them when they are done well. This one was was riddled with cliches and overused stereotypes. I was hoping the book would end with Emily realizing her own self-worth and discover that Sloane was not a great friend. She puts things on the list that are dead no to Emily like the ‘Penelope’ task. What?!? There are far to many things that just didn’t make sense. Emily was an amazing friend…almost a door mat and this book just didn’t resolve any of those issues.

Yes it is a cutesy summer read about friendship and love…but it is also slow and incredibly frustrating.

I don’t want this to turn into a rant so I am going to end my review here. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. It just wasn’t for me.


“And I was realizing that it was pretty terrible to be sitting in silence with someone who you always used to have something to say to”


What did you think of this book?

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Rating Report
Plot
three-half-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
three-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: three-half-stars

Carry On

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
on October 6th 2015
Genres: Magical Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 522
Format: Paperback

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Reaction upon Reading: I need more!


“You have to pretend you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can’t carry on at all.”


Synopsis:

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.


“Just when you think you’re having a scene without Simon, he drops in to remind you that everyone else is a supporting character in his catastrophe.”


Likes:

  • Rowell doesn’t treat you as if you are a dumb reader
    • There is no back and forth between what we need to know about Watford, it is straight into the guts of the story! 
    • We don’t need to recap the previous seven years to get an understanding of these characters
  • I can see how you some readers may initially think this is merely a spin off of Harry Potter
    • I thought this for the first 20% of the book
    • Simon Snow is a much darker and snarkier ‘chosen one’  
  • Multiple Perspectives
    • How do I feel about them?
    • ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
    • Seriously one of my favourite elements of writing 
  • The element of suspense and mystery Rowell is able to maintain throughout the whole book
    • Having read Fangirl we already know that “Simon and Baz” are a “thing”…but who is going to initiate this “thing” and when is it going to happen?!
  • Simon is the ultimate anti-hero
    • You can’t help but root for him.
  • Each character becomes more complex as the novel progresses
    • Which is refreshing to read a multiple perspective where every character is crucial to the plot line
  • The pacing was perfect
    • I was never bored or frustrated once – I almost devoured the book in one sitting – the only reason I didn’t was because it was 5am when I put it down and I thought I should maybe have a little bit of sleep.
  • I loved the similarities this has with Harry Potter, but I would say it runs parallel to it and is not a direct copy (like many believe)
    • The spells are silly and at times downright hilarious 
    • The chosen one is ‘broken and damaged’ 
    • Where there vampires in Harry Potter? Nope and I just love Baz! 

Dislikes:

  • That the Simon Snow series is not real
  • Agatha was kind of annoying – Who wants to run away from Simon Snow and the world of magic? Silly girl.

“It’s like being a fairy named Mary,” he goes on. “Or a vampire named Gampire,” I say. “Gampire isn’t even a proper name, Snow. You’re terrible at this game.”


Overall feelings:

This is my third Rainbow Rowell book and it is hands down my favourite! I was so nervous to read this because so many people love it and I always find books fall short of the hype. This did not!

It was so refreshing, I felt an immediate connection with these magical characters. I just loved everything. My overall feelings are happiness and glee. 

If I could draw then this book would be the inspiration for all my bookish drawings. I want to draw the characters, the settings, the events, the quotes…Oh I want to be able to draw so badly. I spent a few hours on Tumblr and Pinterest looking at peoples amazing artwork inspired by the book. Jealousy was high during those few hours.

This is a book I am going to recommend to all my friends. Thank you Rainbow Rowell you are fast becoming one of my favourite authors.


Do you need to read Fangirl first, in order to understand Carry On? No absolutely not!

Should you read Fangirl first before reading Carry On? Yes…You should be going to do that now!


“You were the sun, and I was crashing into you. I’d wake up every morning and think, ‘This will end in flames.”


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What did you think of this book?

Leave a comment below.

Rating Report
Plot
five-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
five-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: five-stars

Tell Me Three Things

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
on April 5th 2016
Pages: 336
Goodreads

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Reaction upon reading: Warm fuzzies!


Tell Me Three Things

One – I love Julie Bauxbaum and her beautifully crafted story

Two – I am a sucker for the high school romance book trope and devoured this in one sitting

Three – Girls in High School are the absolute worst


Contemporary YA is fast becoming my favourite genre.

From the get go I was hooked

Jessie Holmes loses her mother, she counts down the days, hours and minutes since her world changed forever. Her Dad remarries a rich woman and shifts their lives from Chicago to sunny California to move in with her and her son. This isn’t some cliche falling in love kind of story. It is a coming of age story about loss, grief, friendship, identity and moving on.

It all starts with an email…elaborate hoax or compassionate classmate?

It ends with an insta-love and so many warm fuzzies.

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“Just because you’re strong doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for help sometimes. Remember that.”


Likes:

  • This book is funny
  • The banter between Jessie & SN is brilliant
  • The subject lines for the emails are hilarious
    • It is like two separate conversations happening at once
    • The joking relationship is formed through the subject line and the serious one is formed through the email itself
  • The writing style
    • It is written in a way that makes you feel like you are being spoken to
  • Jessie is relateable and real
    • She isn’t some unobtainable character, she is a normal high school aged girl dealing with real life sturggles. She deals with these in a non predictable way. I loved watching her grow and react in a non cliche way
    • I probably should have been able to guess who it was from the beginning – I know who I wanted it to be – but there enough clues and counter-clues that kept me unsure and guessing
  • The dear reader note at the end of the book was beautiful, it explains why the book felt so authentic and raw

Dislikes:

  • When she thought she had guessed who it was and was trying to drop major hints without actually asking the guy – So annoying
  • GEM
    • Why do girls like Gem need to exist?
    • Why did Ethan not stick up for Jessie in class when Gem tripped her over? He clearly doesn’t like the way they behave and yet he does nothing

“Perfect days are for people with small, realizable dreams. Or maybe for all of us, they just happen in retrospect; they’re only now perfect because they contain something irrevocably and irretrievably lost.”


Reactions, Questions & Ramblings

  • I thought I was up with the texting lingo, clearly not I had to look up what FWIW meant
    • It stands for ‘for what it’s worth’ just incase you were wondering like me
  • So many possbilities for who SN is
    • The step-brother, the Batman ‘Ethan’, Liam the bookstore owner’s son or Caleb?
  • I feel like going back home is a dumb idea. Jessie has changed so much, she will go back to Chicago with a new outlook and it won’t be what she remembers. Her BFF Scarlett also seems way to wrapped up her BF Adam
  • What kind of name is Agnes?
    • #random
  • I would like a Liam and Dri spin off
  • I wanted to give this book a 5 so badly
    • I reserve my 5 star ratings for books that leave me with a resounding sense that I was part of something brilliant when I finished it. This book was great, but it was great in that it had a happy ending and made you feel like you were part of the love story

“I’m from Chicago. I think can handle the Valley.”


What did you think of this story?

Leave your comments below

Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: four-stars

Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever AfterIsla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3) by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Genres: Romance
Format: Paperback
three-half-stars

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Paris || Contemporary Romance || High School || Loving Yourself || Following your Dreams

Josh and Isla both attend an international school in Paris. The story starts out with them returning home to Manhattan for the summer. They live close enough together that Isla stumbles upon Josh in a local cafe late at night. He has recently split from his long term girlfriend and Isla has been longing for him for years. She makes a complete fruit cake of herself and then has to face her actions when they return to school in Paris for the start of the school year.

Cue the awkwardness…I don’t do awkward and the start of this book was so cringe I wasn’t sure I could continue. But I managed to persevere and I am some what glad I did.

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“I am hard on myself. But isn’t it better to be honest about these things before someone else can use them against you? Before someone else can break your heart? Isn’t it better to break it yourself?”


Character Breakdown:

Josh (The Slacker)

  • There is a misconception about Josh. People think he is a slacker with little intelligence or motivation to do better. We quickly learn this is all a facade and that he doesn’t care to stand out
  • He is working on a graphic novel of his time spent in Paris attending school and growing up
  • His family are politically motivated and he appears to be the poster child they need to win elections
  • He is a bit of rebel and doesn’t follow the rules…he is on his last warning! 

Isla (The Shy Girl)

  • Isla is insecure but head over heels in crush with Josh
  • She comes from a big family and is working on her relationships with her sisters
    • Especially her younger one who attends the same school as her in Paris
  • She is this good girl who works hard with no vision or ambition for where she wants to go once high school ends
  • She is learning to love herself and believe that she is good enough

Kurt (The Best Friend)

  • Kurt has autism
  • Isla describes him as high functioning
  • He is her best friend
  • I love the way Kurt is introduced and Perkins is able to bring autism to light in a positive way. She shows the quirks and impulses someone with autism would display in different social settings
  • I love the way Isla defends Josh no matter what and how he grows as a character

 


“Phones are distracting. The internet is distracting.The way he looked at you? He wasn’t distracted. He was consumed.”


The Connection to ‘Anna and the French Kiss’:

This connection started out subtle, with brief mentions of Anna and St Claire. I like that this book felt some what similar. It played homage to all the best bits, without overdoing it too much or hitting too many cliches.

Then…

We get to the end of the book and I felt like it was a really cheap and cheesy way to introduce each couple. Normally this is something I would love with the finale. However it was far to cheesy and felt unnecessary to Josh and Isla’s story.


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Loves:

  • I am so glad that Isla and Kurt’s relationship is strictly platonic…even though he has seen her naked. This would have been so cliche if he had feelings for her and the book would have lost mega points if went down this path. Yay Perkins, thanks for not going there! 
  • We have gone back to PARIS! 
    • When I first read ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ I looked into getting a teaching job at an International School in Paris. I sent away for brochures and inquired with various organisations because they book just spoke to me. I so badly wanted to be transported back to that feeling. 
  • The ending felt abrupt, but I did enjoy it being left up to my imagination
  • The characters had subtle changes throughout the book the ultimately made them better people.

Dislikes:

  • The romance in this book moved so quickly that I felt like it was a blink between no connection to dating. This made me immediately anxious because I was just waiting for the inciting incident and conflict to arise.
    • Where’s the chase and challenge?
  • Isla begins the story with an almost negative opinion of herself. She tried to be the girl she things Josh would want, but then on the other hand she is trying to let herself down in case that doesn’t work.
    • This is so annoying to read, I felt like shouting at my pages “obviously you’re beautiful, cut it out!”
  • There was no conflict or tension
  • The plot was all over the show
    • I mean was it even there? 
  • Isla’s sister was such an unnecessary character, she brought the most tension to the text and I just wasn’t feeling it
  • This book was such a let down. 

‘Anna and the French Kiss’ and ‘The Girl Next Door’ are adorable flirty romance novels. They are easy light reads full of the usual high school tribulations. This book lacked all of that. There was no conflict or tension, except for Isla within herself…and well that was just annoying. 

Overall this book was good, not great. It is my least favourite book out of the series. If it wasn’t set in Paris I probably would have hated it. The cliches were to overdone by the end and Isla was really annoying. I was beginning to hope Josh would run off and meet this amazing girl and live happily ever after.

Oh well…on to the next contemporary romance.

three-half-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-half-stars
Characters
three-half-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
three-half-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: four-stars

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Series: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on February 21st 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 359
Format: E-Book
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Ari...

The unfiltered thoughts, feelings, wonderings and ramblings as I read ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe’


This is a beautiful coming of age story that follows Dante and Aristotle, two friends on the path of discovery who they really are.


  • How amazing is this cover?
  • I love an underdog story and Aristotle sounds like an underdog
    • I think this is of his own choosing though, but never the less I am rooting for him
  • Enter Dante
  • I love that Dante is obsessed with his parents, how many 15 year old boys would ever admit this or feel this way about their parents
    • My brother is 15 and he just hangs out in his room and grunting is his form of communication
  • The relationship between Dante and his father actually had me laughing out loud. He called him a wise ass and then sat in his chair, brilliant!
  • Dante comes across like an old soul, while Aristotle seems to have lost all faith in the world and is happy to just be invisible and alone, or so he wants us to think
  • Okay seriously Dante is funny, like laugh out loud funny
  • Insrutable
    • Even I needed to look this one up, if I had been patient I would have got to the page where it was defined

      ‘Boys die of boredom while reading poetry’

  • Dante has TBR desk!
    • I need one of these
    • No wait, I lie. It would just become this messy ever growing pile 
  • I need a word journal
    • I want a little book I can write words I find when reading and sentences that stand out
    • I encourage my students to keep one of these, yet I don’t keep one myself, terribly modelling!
    • I am going to get one this week
  • Oh Dante is getting cuter and cuter
    • I hope when I have kids, their friends bring over gift for me…in the form of book mwahahahaha
  • I wonder how it would feel to be Aristotle. His friend has come over and won his dad over receiving 2 smiles. He has made more of connection with his father in the 2 minutes he has met him that what Aristotle leads us believes to be their relationship is
  • Is this a LGBT book?
    • I am getting the vibes it is, I have not even read the synopsis. I just judged it on cover alone. Naughty! Naughty! 

      ‘I knew that he would never grow up and say stupid things like, a girl is like a tree’

  • I like the idea of adopting other cultures. Imagine a world where we take the best part of each culture and don’t use just one culture to define our identify, but we use a bunch to define who we are a positive citizens
  • Oh what a life you could lead if you had one parent as your complete and utter ally
    • Dante your dad is the best! 
  • a 15 year old boy to care that deeply for an animal is amazing. Some would say it was just a bird! We need more Dante’s in the world

    ‘I felt alone, not in a bad way. I really liked being alone’

  • Dante is able to see right through Ari’s facade, I like that
  • Ari seems content to be sad and lonely, even though he claims not to be sad all the time. Yet his is jealous of Dante’s self assured attitude
  • I wonder if Ari’s brother would accept Dante
    • I hope so
    • Ooooh and his family…I am getting nervous 
  • I am 8 years older than my sister and 10 years older then my brother, I could never look at them and think that they were born a “little too late”

    ‘When do we start feeling like the world belongs to us?’

  • Someday…
  • I wonder why Ari’s brother is in prison – it must be bad if no one talks about it
  • Dante is a giant marshmallow
  • I like the dialogue, it sounds like good hearty banter
  • There is a lot of swearing. I was hoping I could recommend this one for my school library…nope

    ‘I wondered what that was like, to hold someone’s hand. I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand’

  • Why is Aristotle so dark and cruel inside? What has made him this way?
  • Oooooh Ileana you just showed so much kindness. I love people like you. Just because someone gives off an ‘I don’t care’ attitude doesn’t mean they don’t need peoples kindness and compassion from time to time
  • I love how it can go from silly banter to the deep inner thoughts of Ari. The way the story twists and turns is very fluid. Light moments bleed into the the darker ones.
  • Just googled the ‘Nighthawks’ by Edward Hooper painting
  • Ari why must you be so difficult? Dante is a friend, write him back!
  • Oh more paintings to google
  • There was no excitement for that kiss
  • I think that Gina might like him, or she knows he’s gay and is trying to let him see he isn’t alone, that he has a friend in her
  • Well that all happened very quickly – she kissed him, has a boyfriend, drops out of school, gets married because she is pregnant. Silly girl, I liked you!
  • The worlds most casual kisser…bah, if only – someone always catches feelings
  • I love Gina and Suzie, seriously such amazing friends
  • I want to drive to the desert and lay in the bed of a truck stargazing – add to bucket list
  • Ari, Ari, Ari – why do you fail to see how many people in your life love you?
  • Dante, I feel for you. Unrequited love is awful, but unrequited love with your best friend is the worst kind.

‘Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere’

  • Ari stop being a dickhead!
  • I feel like Ari’s relationship with his father has improved astronomically since the start of the book
  • Oh the feelings! Warm fuzzies
  • Now I am mad. I truly don’t understand why men/boys feel the need to beat up someone when they discover they are gay. I just don’t understand what their purpose is or what they are trying to gain from it. If you do this, you are a monster. It absolutely breaks my heart that people have to suffer such ignorance.
  • TEARS
  • Dante is always confessing secrets and is always sad after his revelations
  • Oooooooooh I could just gobble up this ending!

Gay 1

I had no idea when I originally picked this up that it was an LBGT book. I was pleasantly surprised. What a beautifully written well crafted story. Being a teacher, I kept thinking about how amazing this book would be to give to my students who are struggling with finding their own identity. It has such powerful messages of acceptance, love, forgiveness, diversity and honesty.

It is something I would definitely by for my classroom if my students were just a year or 2 older. Because it has quite a large amount of swearing and talks of masturbation, it would probably upset a few of my parents. Nevertheless it was written in a way that I couldn’t put it down. The chapters were nice and short, there was no part of the book that I felt was unessesary. Every aspect was crucial to the development of Aristole and Dante.

Lets be real, I could use an Aristotle and a Dante for a friend.

I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I gasped and I booed. Just brilliant!

Well played Benjamin Alire Sáenz.


“I renamed myself Ari.

If I switched the letter, my name was Air.

I thought it might be a great thing to be the air.

I could be something and nothing at the same time. I could be necessary and also invisible. Everyone would need me and no one would be able to see me.”


 

Side note: I just discovered there is going to be a sequel *runs around screaming*

four-half-stars
Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
four-half-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: five-stars

The Start of Me and You Spoilers Ahead

The Start of Me and You Spoilers AheadThe Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury on March 31st 2015
Genres: Realistic Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: E-Book
Goodreads
three-stars

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.
Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.
It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

The unfiltered thoughts, feelings, wonderings and ramblings as I read ‘The Start of Me and You’


 

Before Reading:

  • I hope this isn’t some sappy, predictable completely cliche high school love story
  • I do need a nice quick easy read to get over my ‘Golden Son’ book depression, maybe I could use a little cheese…but only a little!
  • Oh I like the cover, there is water and I love a summer beach romance – guilty pleasure! 
  • Yeeeeeesssss this is a stand alone book, I can’t afford to start another series. I am already way over committed, my TBR shelf is massive!

1st half of book

  • Oh it nice and short, this is coming to the beach with me
  • I am currently reading in my tent, this is the life!
  • Oakhurst, Indiana – Is this a real place? I shall Google
  • Are these kids in High School?! Why are they drinking ice coffee? I am 25 years old and I still don’t drink coffee
  • Hmmm is this one of those ‘Introducing the love interest is way hot and way cool and OMG he notices me’ books?
  • The boyfriend drowns, that’s awful – water is my biggest fear, tugging on my fear strings right now
  • Please don’t use the drowning in some cliche way… Please!
  • Making plans in a planner – Girl after my own heart! 
  • The sister’s name is Cameron, unique and different. I like it
  • Just laughed out loud – J. Crew boys are generic
  • Ugh seating arrangements have put them together and Paige has become a mute – Cliche
  • I like the teacher, brilliant sense of humour
  • Oh goodness…two boys…family members…love triangle is beginning – NO! I AM TOO FAR INVESTED TO TURN BACK – LET IT BE KNOWN I AM MAD RIGHT NOW 
  • Oh no Paige wants Ryan, can she not see Max is ticking all her nerdy, grammar girl boxes?
    • Side note: Ryan did show positivity in the face of sadness in the middle of the supermarket, so he still has some brownie points in his favour
  • Is the QuizBowl the Super Bowl of quizzes? I want an example question so that I can understand how daunting this event is
  • Oh Cameron you just lost point, you little annoying, pain in the butt sibling. Then you couldn’t even admit you were wrong #Selfish
  • Was that little friend fight necessary?!?
  • Max doesn’t come across as good looking, how is she meant to pick him over Ryan – Yes I know, completely shallow. I need more charm and wit and less dorky
  • Ooooooooh a swim metaphor, well that backfired
  • Oh no, Ryan asked about Tessa – she is playing hard to get, claims she doesn’t care, so predictable, she definitely cares
  • Silly silly girl, why did you like to your bestie?! Now you can’t get mad at her she decides to pursue him – which she will because if I haven’t stated it enough, this book is so unbelievably predictable. I would like a plot twist please
  • Friendship cuddles are the best kind of cuddles – cue to the warm fuzzies
  • Max just earned some major brownie points, when other boys his age would be trying to hook up, he is being the utmost gentleman and supportive friend. What a rarity

 

I have hit the halfway mark of the book, because I am halfway I am going to finish it. Goodreads has this rated at 4.06, which in all my past experience means it’s good. I am hoping for something left field to happen because right now it is full of teenage cliches and I feel like I could predict the end game for every character.

3


2nd half of the book:

  • Cue the hospital scene
  • Of course Max told Tessa…he is damn thoughtful
  • Am I meant to not like Paige’s mum? She annoys me, way to overbearing. Can’t you see you have an amazing well rounded child? Let that leash about a bit please mumma bear
  • I like Paige’s dad he seems super mellow and cruisey
  • It’s nice that the author chose to make Clark (Max’s bully) turn into someone humble and quiet while dealing with the loss of his close friend. It would have been so cliche to have him turn into a monster with no empathy
  • I feel like a book loving traitor for having never read any of Jane Austen’s work, which means I don’t get the references and jokes – I would really like to understand in more depth the characters they refer too
  • He doesn’t miss Coventry because he has you – Duh!
  • I love the beginner’s mind concept – I feel like it’s such a positive way to enter all situations, how could you ever be let down?! Brilliant
  • Kisses on the cheek…lame…welcome to the friend zone – Awkward
  • He dressed up as Harry Potter every Halloween. Ugh Max marry me! Team Max!
  • I wish all guys had such sound and knowledgeable advice like Max.
  • I really hope Paige gets into the screen writing programme and her mum isn’t a total overprotective monster
  • Oh god please don’t crash Tessa’s car
  • Phew home safe – thanks for not taking the book there and making it always a friendship drama
  • Another drowning metaphor – geez Max think about
  • Paige let it go! He clearly likes Tessa. I hate awkward and embarrassing moments in real life, on screen and in books. I can feel one coming on and I am already cringing in anticipation
  • I love Paige’s grandma
  • I love Tessa and Paige’s friendship. It is full of support and kindness. Every girl needs a bestie like that. Tessa seems like the kinda girl that would kick ass for you!
  • There is a shift in the force…Ryan is taking a backseat to Max, finally…hopefully
  • I don’t get why a Paige still has the goal in her planner (Date RC) when she knows her feelings towards Max have changed. I feel panicked one of them is going to find it and then hello awkward moment
  • Good on Max. Instead of Paige having to face her fear in front of all her peers so can do it in front of Max – Who obviously cares very deeply for her
  • Oh no!
  • Awe that was harsh Paige. Not fair and really cruel, he isn’t going to like you after that one. He had the best intentions and you just build a giant castle around yourself – let people in!
  • Hahaha silly Paige. Mums don’t miss a thing and chlorine has an extremely strong smell
  • OMG My heart melted when Clark called Paige in memory of Aaron’s birthday
  • A sharing moment in the car – love it
  • I am surprise Paige’s friends aren’t going to support her at the QuizBowl, even if Paige assures them its going to be boring, seems out of character for them
  • That’s more like it, I knew they had to be there for support
  • I feel like Tessa is about to get all up in Paige’s grill about the Max situation. The other girls are defending Paige and Tessa is saying nothing
  • She got in! Woop
  • She is finally over her Ryan crush, thank God!
  • Ok Max come back into the picture now, you two need to talk
  • I don’t understand why Max could possible want or need space from Paige – They were both idiots and she has apologised, ugh teenagers
  • Sister Bonding! –  I should celebrate this given the circumstances, but I feel like a new chapter is beginning for Paige
  • “It doesn’t matter how we became friends” – Oh no did he see her planner?! How does he know? Paige he knows!
  • Of course everyone wants you to be happy Paige – people aren’t sadists 
  • I love Post Secret
  • Love her secret
  • Love his secret
  • Chase him, find him, tell him!
  • Kiss time
  • The End

After reading feels:

This book was a very easy read. Overall it was extremely predictable and full of a lot of high school cliches, which at times I struggled with but at other stages of the book it worked. This is a book I would recommend if you wanted something quick that didn’t require much thinking to take on holiday. I liked the characters and the overall growth of Paige and her friends.

I am still surprised this is rated so highly on Goodreads. I gave it a 3, I couldn’t give it a 4 because there was no theme, message, character or plot line that stuck out as being poignant or original. Even with the deaths and dealing with loss I struggled to connect with the characters or feel anything. For a book that was meant to touch on serious issues it felt very light.

 


Quotes:

“It means trying to approach new experiences with no preexisting judgments. You always go in as a beginner, even if you’re not. That way, you’re open to anything that happens”

“There are only two kinds of people: best friends and everyone else”

“Knowing what happens is different from knowing how it happens. And the getting there is the best part.”

“It had taken so long to glue the share of my heart back together, and I just couldn’t afford to give any pieces away”

“Paige Elizabeth, you are allowed to be sad, but you are not allowed to be a defeatist” – Grandma


Capture

Photo Credit: Max // Paige

three-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
three-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: three-stars