The Books I Read But Never Talked About Before My Hiatus: PART 1

book recommendations and books to read

 

Sooooo the last time I wrote any sort of book talk/what I’ve been reading post was *cough* November 7th. And the thing was….I was already behind on the books I had to talk about BEFORE I got pregnant and the first trimester killed me and then I forgot how to blog after all that time. So I’m going to BRIEFLY mention some of the books I read last Fall/end of 2016 because they deserve to be mentioned and then I’ll finish part 2 of them so as not to make this post reallyyyyy long and also I don’t want to lose my motivation and if it takes me too long I JUST MIGHT as I dip my toes back into this blogging water.

[Keep Reading]

A Tale Of Two Different Trips

My two last reads happened to be about main characters jaunting around the world. Even though I knew that’s what they were both about I honestly didn’t consciously read them because of that. Just a happy coincidence in a way that I got to do some intense armchair traveling.

So let me tell you about these trips!

 

First one up…

 

Wanderlost Jen Malone review

Wanderlost by Jen Malone
I received this book for review consideration.

 

The Itinerary: All over Europe — Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic,  Italy & Monaco

Reason For Travel: Leading a tour of senior citizens around Europe via bus under the pretense that she is her older sister — whose tour guide gig this WAS until Aubree accidentally gets her sister in trouble and she is unable to leave the country to do her job so Aubree needs to pretend to be her and take over.

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Book Talk: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Book Talk: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff GarvinSymptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
Published by Balzer & Bray on February 2, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Riley identifies as gender fluid — some days Riley identifies as a boy and other days as a girl — but Riley isn’t exactly out or open up being gender fluid. The comments and looks have already started at Riley’s new school plus Riley’s conservative congressman of a father is up for reelection so things have been pretty intense. On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to have an outlet to let loose some of those feelings. In addition to writing about school, crushes and family, Riley writes raw posts about what it feels like to be gender fluid and the blog ends up going viral bringing with it an incredible response…. and an anonymous commenter who threatens to share Riley’s identity.

a2Riley is an important character I’m glad to see in YA!

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What a unique POV in this novel that I really appreciated for the fact that 1) it might speak to a teen/any person who hasn’t been able to find a label that fits them and 2) it would educate others. Prior to the last year or two, I wouldn’t have had any clue what gender fluid meant. But thanks to Twitter and the YA community I’ve learned a lot outside of what I thought was just straight/gay/lesbian/bi/trans. I’m thankful to learn and to be challenged.

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Book Talk: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah OcklerThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Published by Simon Pulse on June 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Twenty Boy Summer, The Book of Broken Hearts, #Scandal
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Elyse was on her way to a singing career with her twin sister when an accident took everything away from her — her voice. She decides to get away from her home in Tobago and goes to live with her aunt and cousin in a seaside town in Oregon. She meets Christian Kane — a notorious ladies man — who doesn’t treat her like she’s The Girl Who Can’t Talk and his adorable mermaid chasing little brother Sebastian and suddenly finds herself, in spite of her new fear of the ocean after the accident, in a high stakes boat race to fight for the town and the people in it she’s grown to love.

a2“Where’s my quote notebook? A few I need to add from this one!!”

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I think this one was so excellent and it was one of those books that got better to me after I finished it and thought about it a bit! It’s a contemporary Little Mermaid retelling but don’t let that scare you off if you don’t typically do retellings — it’s pretty loose on the retelling. I would say more INSPIRED BY. I honestly didn’t know until about half way through the book and would have probably never thought OOOH LITTLE MERMAID RETELLING.

Here’s what I enjoyed about it:

1. The idea of losing one’s voice: In the book the main character physically cannot speak anymore after an accident but throughout the book you see all sorts of people who have lost their voices to some degree. They can’t speak up. Elyse experiences the physical loss of her voice but throughout the story she really GAINS her real voice. I loved the exploration of ones voice — losing it, finding it, etc. It’s one of those books I really wish I read with a book club to TALK about this because I think this is something a lot of us can relate to.

2. The setting: Oh my gawwwwd you have no idea how badly I want to visit the Pacific Northwest now. It’s set in a teeny seaside town on the Oregon and the way Sarah wrote it is beyond gorgeous. I could envision it all and just found myself yearning to be there. VERY strong setting that really added so much!

3. The romance: One of the sweetest romances I’ve seen in a while. I loved it — their banter, the way they became friends first, the way they really got to see things in each other that they wouldn’t open up to others about. I didn’t think I was going Christian at all because he’s the town player that everyone has hooked up with but there’s definitely more to him but not in a super angsty “I’m just misunderstood/my tragedy made me this way” sort of way. He has depth and I really grew to like him.

4. The absolutely gorgeous writing: This is my 4th Sarah Ockler book and I think she’s an amazing writer but this book really stood out to me in the writing department. It’s just so BEAUTIFUL — I can’t even explain it. Lots of lines that just cause you to pause and really soak it in and beautiful descriptions that made me pause.

5. HELL YES STRONG WOMEN & FEMINISM: There are so many strong and flawed and amazing women in this novel. Elyse herself is amazing and I really enjoyed her as a character watching her fight through the hardest thing she’s ever been through and rebuilding her life after her dreams are taken from her. But then there are all these amazing ladies — Elyse’s aunt and cousin, Vanessa, Vanessa’s mom, etc. I just loved the strong women and how I could feel that pulse of feminism in this novel.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ characters, writing, romance, setting, plot, how it made me reflect about a lot of things
Nothing really..maybe that it took me a little to really get into it/care.

Re-readability: I would probably audio it sometime later in the future.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Probably not but making sure my library ordered it!

a5contemporary YA fans, readers looking for an amazing and absorbing setting, readers who are looking for a book that is equally as sweet as it is heart-wrenching.

a8I loved Elyse’s story so much and watching her find her voice again after a terrible accident and start living life after her dreams are shattered. It was an emotionally powerful journey with a vivid setting and a stirring romance.

review-on-post-itThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids review Sarah Ockler

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Book Talk: PS I Still Love You by Jenny HanPS I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Series: To All The Boys #2
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers on May 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: The Summer I Turned Pretty, To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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PS I Still Love You is the sequel & conclusion to To All The Boys I’ve Loved before — check out my review here!

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a4Oh man, what a thoroughly satisfying sequel and ending to Lara Jean’s story. And honestly? It has nothing to do with who she ended up with! I’m not going to say here, in the spoiler free zone, whether I was happy about the boy situation because I don’t want to give anything away but I will say that this was a wonderful book with an ending that personally made sense to me! I loved how Jenny really examined all the intricacies that come with first love and your first REAL dating relationship plus your first heartbreak. I felt everything — from the giddiness of your first real boyfriend to the pressures of sex to that absence a breakup creates– and I just loved (well, not loved because OW MY HEART) watching Lara Jean experience it all. And, like with To All The Boys, family and friendship also shines in this. Jenny just handles all these various relationships and how they shift and change so flawlessly — how the sisters relationship evolves, to old friends who come back in your life, to watching people who were once a part of your daily life no longer be there. It explored so many amazing things and I could blather on about each different relationship from this book.

This book actually hit me really hard personally when it came to two major things.

Lara Jean and missing her mom: MAN, Jenny killed me. You know right away in To All the Boys that Lara Jean’s mom had passed away and their dad has been raising the 3 girls. I really connected with the sisters because of that and in this book even more so. Jenny so poignantly captures what it’s like to have lost someone many years ago — the grief isn’t as in your face but it rushes to the surface in certain moments and that longing is always there. It’s the big things but also in the little moments. There was this moment when the girls are talking to their dad and something comes up and Lara Jean has this moment where she can’t remember a detail about her mom. I know that panic and that drop in your stomach when you feel like you can’t remember something about them. And then there is this really hard moment of heartbreak for Lara Jean where she is crying and she just wishes for her mom and wonders what she’d do and OH MAN…I just lost it. I feel like normal people probably won’t feel that emotional about it or see much significance but I can’t tell you how many times after I lost my job that I’ve wished for my mom to be here because I know she would help me come up with a killer game plan.

First heartbreak: I’m not at all going to get into details of who or what or why and if things get worked out but MY HEART HURT ALONGSIDE LARA JEAN. I think Jenny just nails what it is like to experience that euphoria of first love and that sledgehammer-to-the-heart feeling with your first heartbreak. I found myself weirdly emotional about it because it so perfectly captured it and it started dredging up MY first real heartbreak that happened in high school. I was like finding myself thinking about it and feeling emotional about it and I was like OMG I AM HAPPILY MARRIED SO WHO CARES but there’s just something about that first heartbreak that just sticks whether or not you get back together. It sticks with you and it’s the first time I think you really see what it means to be vulnerable with someone — to let them have your heart in that way. You move through relationships with different eyes after that one.

OKAY SPOILER TIME:

DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED

Okay can we talk about the boy situation??? I was so happy with who she ended up with. SO HAPPY. But what I really loved that Jenny did is that she didn’t make either of them be AWFUL or anything. I genuinely loved both of them even though, like Lara Jean, Peter K had my heart more. In my life I’ve been faced with this same dilemma….I’d have a spark with two different guys and I KNOW I could love or be with either one of them but one just has my heart a little more in the moment. I SO UNDERSTOOD THAT. I was so happy Jenny didn’t make one of them be a douche to make it easy for Lara Jean. BUT POOR JOHNNY. My heart was really sad for him because it was wonderful and swoony and made me smile. His little “I never had a chance did I?” gutted me. It sucks sometimes to have to hurt a perfectly good person but the heart wants what the heart wants. I will say that I was SO surprised with how little Josh had to do with this book because I loved him too BUT I think it was so realistic and true of how sometimes people are so involved in your life and then…they aren’t. You move on and forward without people you care about and the anatomy of your relationship can change.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ characters, the romance, the exploration of these big firsts (love & heartbreak), all the relationships (father/daughter, sisters, friends, romance)
–  Honestly not much but I was so hoping for more of the sister relationships to have more of a focus like in the first book

Re-readability: I definitely want to reread both books at some point.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I already did!

a5Well, obviously people who read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. But I recommend both books to fans of YA realistic fiction! To people who like books that examine crushes and first love! Fans of books with strong family relationships!

a8Jenny Han is just one of those authors who is able to so beautifully write about coming of age and everything that comes with it. The growing and changing of relationships, all the firsts, pain and heartbreak, etc. I really loved Lara Jean and her sisters and I’m really sad for their story to be over but PS I Still Love You was completely satisfying as a reader.

review-on-post-it

PS I STill Love you review jenny han

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
Were you happy about who LJ ended up with??

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

5 Reasons Why You Should Buy The Start Of Me & You by Emery Lord TOMORROW!

5 Reasons Why You Should Buy The Start Of Me & You by Emery Lord TOMORROW!The Start Of Me & You by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on March 31, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Open Road Summer
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Paige’s boyfriend died suddenly a year ago and she’s been living her life with the title of The Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned hanging over her. She’s shut mostly everyone else out besides her best friends and has let the event dictate her life. She finally feels ready to move forward so she doesn’t lose even more time and creates a list of things to do to make this coming school year a good one — things like get her crush to want to date her, join a club, swim & more.

a2Screenshot at Mar 17 21-33-26

FIVE REASONS YOU SHOULD BUY THIS BOOK WHEN IT COMES OUT TOMORROW:

 

1. Emery Lord is writing some of the best realistic contemporary YA out there: Tis true! If your jam is contemporary YA, Emery Lord is where it is at. Jump on that bandwagon early because I know Emery Lord’s popularity is just going to grow more and more. I loved her debut Open Road Summer and this sophomore novel solidifies Emery Lord as one of my favorites already.

2. The girl power in this book makes my heart soar: I already wrote a post that was inspired by the friendship in this book but Imma take some more time to talk about it because it is AMAZING. The friendship between the 4 girls is one of my FAVORITES I’ve come across. Seriously, I just want to be like, “HEY GIRLS…is there room for one more in your group?” I loved how they were all so supportive of each other and their dynamic with one another was different but still important. A lot of times I find in YA that it’s always about the main character and her bff and the other girls in the group are kind of these caricatures who actually don’t seem THAT important to me. Not the case in The Start of Me & You. Each girl was so distinct and their presence in the group was felt and was important. I loved all their shared history and how they stick with each other through all the growing pains of life. If you love positive & strong female friendships, The Start of Me & You excels here! (I also loved how their group expanded to also include some males and there weren’t any dramatics with that).

3. The romance in this book will cause your heart to melt into a sticky sweet puddle of swoons: NO LIKE THE CUTEST EVER. SO SWEET IT HURTS. I promise. It was so realistic and so well done!!! I love when a romance seems unlikely but develops after they spend actual TIME together and get to know each other. I have to admit that I’m fond of the romances where the love interest starts over a friendship of sorts and is totally unexpected. It’s so like what happened between my husband and I. I actually liked a guy he was friends with, like totally had my eye set on him, but we kept spending more time together as I was trying to get close to the other dude….and well, the rest is history. I LOVE THAT STUFF and it totally appealed to me with Paige and Max. From how they bonded over small interests to how they confided REAL stuff, it just completely captivated me and I was shipping them hard. If you like cute, awkward romances….this one is aces!!

 4. NERDINESS ABOUNDS: I love books about nerds and smart people! It’s sexy, yo! Nerds showing off their nerdiness. Nerds enjoying Quiz Bowl. NERDY BANTER AND FLIRTING (um getting flirty with Pride & Prejudice chatter!! MY FAVE PART!). It was just so refreshing and their passions were so real.

5. It’s a touching and realistic story about a girl who wants to start anew and not be bound by her past: I really related to Paige’s story A LOT. She became known as The Girl Whose Boyfriend Died and that identity just became her — to others around her and even to herself. When a label like that clings to you (I was The Girl Whose Mom Died) it’s easy just to keep living your life under that assumed identity. I loved Paige’s determination to break free from that finally. I loved the list she constructed that she hoped would help her and I loved how she opened herself up even though it was hard. Luckily the girl had AMAZING support — friends AND family. And I loved that her grieving wasn’t just about the old boyfriend. Sure, she mourned him obviously, but she really they had been only dating for four months and his death impacted her life beyond that which is a hard thing to reconcile. But I think it was also a lot experiencing death for the first time at such a young age. That’s never something easy to reconcile when you encounter someone your age that dies so young.  I think Emery Lord explores this in a balanced way — it never becomes too overwhelming or sad — it’s a lot more about her second chance in light of what happened.

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RATING-loved-it
factors+ characters (main and secondary alike), plot, romance, feels, strong friendships, writing
–  Nothing

Re-readability: YES
Would I buy a copy for my collection? YES

a5fans of realistic/contemporary YA, fans of sweet romances, readers who are looking for strong female friendships, readers looking for a great beach read (a balance of happy/ tough real life stuff)

a8The Start Of Me & You absolutely delighted me — from the strong female friendships to the sweet & nerdy romance, it slapped a constant grin on my face. Emery Lord is so skilled in writing realistic fiction — the romances, the friendships, the hardships, high school life, familial relationships — in a way that it includes it all but never feels overwhelming nor underdeveloped. Emery Lord’s sophomore novel is a must read and solidifies why I’ve been so bold to say she was a favorite author after her first book, Open Road Summer.

review-on-post-itThe Start of Me & You Emery Lord

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!

CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THE FRIEND GROUP?!? Also, please give me recs for good, strong friendship books in YA!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo | Book Review

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo | Book ReviewLove and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
Published by Knopf Books For Young Readers on December 2012
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

 

 

 

 

book synopsis Amelia is 15 years old and has gotten her first job at Woolworth’s — a supermarket. She immediately encounters Chris, who is 21, and trains her on checkout and becomes her friend at work. It doesn’t take long for her to fall for him and his witty demeanor and his ability to make everyone smile. She feels like there is something there because they can talk about everything and anything — from the serious to the absurd– and there is always a constant banter between the two of them but the big hurdle is the 6 year age difference which, at times, feels like it’s a lot more than that. Amelia tries to show him that, despite the age difference, she’s right for him after all.

good books to readLove and Other Perishable Items was not at all what I pegged it to be! The cover made me just think it was going to be this ooey-gooey, will-probably-cause-cavities kind of sweet romance. Not the case! NOT AT ALL. And you know what? I loved it!! It was heartbreakingly real and honestly quite different — didn’t feel like something I’d ever read before.

It was really just one of those coming of age stories that perfectly captures that awkwardness and not always perfectly reciprocated feelings that comes with crushes and first loves. There’s that uncertainty in what the other person is thinking and the overthinking and the longings and Laura Buzo made me remember all that in Amelia’s story — especially as a girl who had a knack for picking older boys to set my sights on. Seriously, I had my own Chris situation with an older guy who was a good friend. We could talk about everything, we found each other super interesting and everything just clicked. But that pesky age difference.

Amelia’s crush on Chris really tugs at your heart. You see why she finds him so wonderful and you understand her longing. You get it. You do. But you also see the improbability in it and the fact that he might not love her in the way she would want in this time. I’m really happy that Chris wasn’t just seen through the lens of Amelia though — especially as the targets of our affection sometimes make us skew how perfect we see people. Having the Chris chapters helped to balance out my view of him and really made me see him as a PERSON and see the other side of the encounters and his motives in everything. It honestly made me crush on him a bit even knowing all his flaws.

But I loved that this book was only half about the romance and the other half was really Amelia coming of age (which essentially the “love story” was just really woven into that). She’s smart, witty and very observant and I loved being in her brain sometimes because she made me think as she tries to grapple with things like feminism and what it means (a little reminiscent of Frankie), her mother’s unhappiness, her family, etc. I loved the conversations she and Chris would have about quirky things and about the messiness of life.

That ending was perfectly satisfying and made tears well up in my eyes big time but, at the same time, I selfishly wanted MORE. I need a crystal ball to see the future of this story for sure. Not just for the romance but because I want to see the kind of extraordinary young woman I know Amelia would grow up to be. I’d read a novel about her as a twenty or thirty something for sure!

 

book reviewsLove and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo was a quietly beautiful coming of age story about the stickiness of crushes and first love but also just about all the facets of growing up –finding your place, seeing the imperfectness in the world and your family, etc. It’s a slim and unassuming book whose cover might lead you to believe this is some ooey-gooey, sweet as candy love story but it was definitely more than that. I really, really loved it and highly recommend. It was surprisingly emotional and will have you reminiscing back to your first crush/love — especially if you ever felt something for someone a bit older than you like I did!

short book review

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

 

books you may also likeGraffiti Moon by Cath Crowley | The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read Love & Other Perishable Items? Heard of it? Did you love it like I did or have different feelings? What did you think about the ending? Was it satisfying to you or no? And because I’m curious, did any of you, like me, have your own Chris situation??
The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

four-half-stars

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | Book Review

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellBook Title/Author: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher/Year
: St. Martin’s Press 2013
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Attachments

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

An AWESOME friend gifted it to me which is a testament to how much this book meant to her.

 

THE E-BOOK IS ON SALE HERE AS I WRITE THIS!!!

 

 

It’s 1986 and Eleanor & Park, two misfits and an unlikely pair, are thrust together in the seat of school bus on Eleanor’s first day at her new school. Eleanor, with her wild red hair and unusual clothing, makes Park feel uncomfortable and she seems to be everywhere these days. As a romance begins to bud, despite all odds, the two realize how hard it is to hold onto love and keep it safe in this sometimes cruel and unfair world.

I may as well just tell you this is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year though I feel like I’m the last one to experience this. It’s easy to let hype make a book not live up to all of the “OMG AMAZING’s” I’ve heard about it but I didn’t really know much about it at all…except that everyone was raving like crazy. Eleanor & Park is worthy of the praise and magnificently written in every way. I almost feel like I have nothing to say about it because it was like book perfection to me and how can even capture that in a review? You should just know, that if I were Oprah (pretty much my life long dream), I would be all “and one for YOU and one for YOU and copies for EVERYONE.”

Eleanor & Park was, without a doubt, one of the sweetest love stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading between two of the most charming, yet not always perfect, characters. There’s those love stories that are whirlwind romances or ones that develop really dramatically or ones that are super sexy. And then there’s Eleanor & Park. On the surface it strikes you as this very quietly budding romance but, like a duck swimming in water, underneath the surface my heart was beating furiously and frantically because of the charming and swoony nature of the romance and the unbelievably realistic tension Rainbow Rowell wrote as this love story developed. And by the end? I’m certain I couldn’t breathe. One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. God, my heart is beating a little bit faster thinking about this story as I write. I was completely invested in their story and very, very emotional by the end.

I loved a lot of things about this novel — the writing, the characters, the plot, the perfectly written dual narrative, the 80’s setting and pop culture, etc. But the thing I loved most? HOW their story developed until the very end. It was so REAL. Every new interaction and “next step” made me swoon and took me back to those younger years when every single moment of “falling in love” was disgustingly significant in the best way possible. A grazing of a hand to yours accidentally? OMG. TINGLING. The first phone conversation? MY HEART IS BEATING FASTER. Seeing that person waiting by your locker? CAN I EVEN MOVE STILL? The first kiss? BOOM DEAD. FOREVER AND EVER WILL I FEEL THEIR LIPS. Remember all those feels?? Well, Rainbow Rowell was magically able to capture my adolescence in a bottle and spill it onto the pages in a way where I was able to relive all that tension and moments where my heart almost jumped out of my chest. I felt what it was like to be young and falling in love and how all the external forces and your own darn head make that really, really hard sometimes.

Friends, I feel like I’m failing you in trying to explain how fantastic this book was for me. I don’t want to say too much but I don’t want to say too little so that you pass it up. I just want you to experience it.  My next book feels like the sacrificial lamb because what could I read next that won’t pale in comparison?

 

Eleanor & Park was book perfection for me.  I was smitten with the characters and felt like I was falling in love right with them as Rainbow Rowell wrote a beautiful budding romance that was perfectly plotted and made my heart beat faster in the quiet moments as well as the more emotionally gut punching moments. My heart soared high and broke hard for many reasons. It’s not just a love story but a testament to how beautiful and special love is in a sometimes cruel and unfair world that is seemingly hellbent on keeping you down for being different. This book is special, you guys.

 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell book review

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?? If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it?? Did every swoony moment make your heart explode with feels?? What about the end?? AHH.

five-stars

Review + Giveaway: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Instead of hanging out with her friends and having a great summer, Anna’s finds herself in a new town as her dad decides to transfer jobs and move he and Anna to live near the beach where he spent much of his adolescence and met Anna’s mother. The thought of uprooting her life and leaving behind her friends is horrifying but pales in comparison to the memories and emotions to be unearthed in a place where her mother, who died when Anna was young, spent her teenage years. Beach life, new friends, cute lifeguards keep Anna busy but can it distract her from the family secrets lingering in her new town?

Let’s just talk about how I’m ridiculously annoyed that when I read this it was COLD and rainy/snowy here in Pennsylvania. I wanted to read this on a beach somewhere because for whatever reason I really enjoy reading books about the beach AT the beach. Weird, I know! Either way, it was a nice vicarious romp through beach life in Cali. I could almost feel my Casper-y winter skin turning crispy under the sun. I felt as though Kirby did a really great job capturing that summertime/beachy feel without being touristy…if that makes sense…just from the lives of people who actually live in a beach town. 


I was nervous to read Moonglass because any book that deals with a daughter losing her mother always hits me pretty hard as I lost my mom when I was in college and the characters grief tends to resonate deep down within me when done well. And Kirby did this well as I found myself really connecting with Anna and the closure that she needed to find in order to move forward. I thought Kirby wrote Anna’s grief and all of the really tough guilt she carried with her with enough layers to seem realistic and she captured some of those inner moments of grief from Anna’s perspective really well.. I thought the interactions between her dad and her and how they dealt with the memories and the grief felt so realistic to me! It was really refreshing to see a parent so invested in their teen in YA lit. I feel like I’m always wondering where the parents are. Her dad had rules…just like my parents did! Imagine that…


And ok, let’s talk about the romance. CUUUUUTE! I loved Anna and Tyler together and the progression of their relationship. It felt realistic and made my little heart pitterpatter and want to start doodling hearts all over my notebook and shoes with my gelly pens. I loved how he was there for her but didn’t try to be her everything, gave her space and actually respected and was afraid of her dad’s rules. It made me laugh because I could so much of that awkward “Oh no, your dad might see us together” stuff from back when I was a teen. There were some definitely swoony (yet realistic) moments in this book.


All in all, I found Moonglass to be an ideal beach/summer read for me. I don’t like complete fluff for a beach read but I’ve also made the mistake of trying to read things that were far too serious on a vacation such as Night by Elie Wiesel. The seriousness of her grief and all the things Anna learns about her mother is balanced well by her relationship with Tyler, some of the really interesting people she meets and the overall setting of a laid back beach life. It isn’t too emotionally draining to read but you do find your heart breaking quite a bit for her at least by the end. I found myself connected to Anna and her story but it did take me a little in the beginning to invest. I think I would have even been more resistant, in the beginning, to care had I not felt a sort of kinship to Anna with the whole bereavement of a mother factor.

Review On A Post-It:

 



And you all are IN LUCK..the publisher is giving me TWO finished copies to give away on this blog right hurrr. You don’t have to be a follower to enter but you must have a shipping address in the US. Please leave a comment below telling me one of your FAVORITE things about summertime and a way to contact you (email, Twitter, etc) and you’ll be entered! Giveaway ends 5/11.


* I received this book for review as part of the Teen Book Scene for an honest review and was contacted by the publisher for the giveaway.

four-stars
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