At First Sight: Annabel Greene is dreading the first day of school, even after a summer spent in near complete isolation; because school means she'llAt First Sight: Annabel Greene is dreading the first day of school, even after a summer spent in near complete isolation; because school means she'll have to face Sophie - her former best friend with whom she had a fall out at the end of the last school year. At home, things aren't easier: her family is dealing with her older sister Whitney's eating disorder, and their mom's only distraction from it comes in the form of Annabel's modeling career.
When school turns out to be as dreadful as she thought it would be - and with rumors about her flying about, thanks to Sophie - and after a particularly bad day, Annabel finds herself speaking to Owen Armstrong for the first time.
Owen is a bit of a town loner, known for being big (well over six feet tall), never taking his headphones off and having a violent streak - just the kind of guy Annabel would have never spoken to while being friends with Sophie. But he's also the only one who doesn't seem to care about the rumors as they strike a tentative friendship.
As they get to know each other, Annabel gets a crash course on Anger Management lingo, she learns that Owen likes all type of music and has his own radio show, that he always tells the truth. The 'Truth' is not something Annabel is very familiar with, not because she outright lies maliciously but because she's used to hiding her feelings behind white lies to keep her family happy, to keep them from worrying about her; because she sometimes just doesn't share what's happening to her- like what really happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends. Second Glance: Just Listen is is probably the last of Sarah's books that I truly loved - not just liked like Lock and Key, or thought it was OK like Along for the Ride. Annabel is the peace keeper of her family, the one her parents don-t have to worry about and she's not used to voicing out her feelings, but that all changes when she meets Owen, whom by telling the truth helps her find her own voice.
Now, I love Owen. I love that he deals with his temper, that he puts up with his little sister Mallory - much as he tries his patience - and that he's a pretty decent guy without advertising it. He can be a little snobbish about music, but no guy is perfect, right?
Also love how their lives start to slowly intertwine when they become friends - and that they truly become friends before anything else. Plus, I found the book quite funny, what with Mallory and Rolly - Owen's best friend - and just how crazy Owen gets about music.
Bottom Line: I actually love this book. It's one of my favorites both by Sarah Dessen and in general. I do think that it starts a little slow, and that it takes time for Annabel to build up her courage, but she's very likable and I find Owen kind of swoony (not as much as Wes, but no one is as swoony as Wess. Even Wes)
Favorite Quote: "There comes a time in every life when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you'd better learn to know the sound of it. Otherwise you'll never understand what its saying."...more
At First Sight: Remy Starr is kicking off the summer before college by finalizing the details of her mom's latest wedding - number 4 if you don't counAt First Sight: Remy Starr is kicking off the summer before college by finalizing the details of her mom's latest wedding - number 4 if you don't count her Dad, which Remy doesn't.
That's also when she meets Dexter, a boy who literally crashes into her, and upsets the balance of Remy's life. Remy isn't interested at first, but Dexter is persistent and gets under her skin and, after a series of casual, random encounters, they start dating.
Now, Dexter isn't at all like the boys Remy usually dates - he's messy, a musician and a bit of a vagabond, with no ties other than his dog Monkey and his band, Truth Squad - but Remy, the Queen of Breakups, can't seem to break away from him no matter how much she tells herself he's just a fling like many before him.
But things are changing, Remy's knows she's leaving soon, her friends claim she's smitten with Dexter and, at home, she has to deal with a new stepfather she doesn't entirely like, a possible future-sister-in-law who's forever reading self-help books and a brother who, despite all their shared experience, still believes in love.
The only thing that never changes is This Lullaby, the song Remy's father wrote for her upon her birth even though he never met her. The song she uses as a compass in relationships -which states clearing in the first verse 'I will let you down' - a reminder of how love really is... even if she isn't so sure anymore.
Second Glance: I've always thought that This Lullaby is a bit of a turning point for Sarah Dessen. Up this point, she had only written about the quiet-sidekick girls, the best friends, the girls that don't get noticed, the girls that watch; but with Remy, I think she wrote about the other girl, the girl who did and had a strong personality.
Remy is the gravity center of her group of friends, in some ways she is the thing they have in common. She's hard to like at times - a self proclaimed cold-hearted bitch - and in this read through I had to admit I didn't like her friend Chloe all that much either. But there is plenty of charm in this book, and humor. Dexter is both of those things - charming and funny - and sort of carefree and optimistic.
The guys in the band were funny in their own ways and I have so many favorite scenes in this book - Monkey the dog always steals the show - and even though it took me a while, I did like Remy in the end.
Bottom Line: This Lullaby is a bit different from Sarah's earlier books, but it has a large dose of awesome, a nice, funny guy and a heroine I grew to respect and like. Also, more than other of Sarah's books, it is a love story at it's core.
At First Sight: Caitlin has always lived in the shadow of her perfect older sister Cass, but the morning of Caitlin's sixteenth birthday Cass changesAt First Sight: Caitlin has always lived in the shadow of her perfect older sister Cass, but the morning of Caitlin's sixteenth birthday Cass changes the rules of the game by walking out on all the expectations of her family and friends, and running away with her new boyfriend.
Caitlin is used to being the shadow, following her sister, and once Cass is gone, Caitlin finds herself drowning in the void that Cass left behind. Caitlin tries to get her mom's attention by entering the cheerleading squad, but her mom is too wrapped up in Cass being gone.
At a party a few weeks later, Caitlin meets Rogerson - a handsome older guy who attends the local private school, and she is instantly attracted to him, both because he's handsome and because he doesn't think of her as Cass's little sister.
Soon they begin dating, and Caitlin is wrapped up in Rogerson, his world and his friends as he slowly turns possessive and then controlling, and Caitlin starts to isolate herself from her own family and friends. One night, Rogerson hits her, and even though he doesn't really acknowledges that it happens, it turns out to be just the first time of many. But Caitlin is, by then, in too deep to back away.
Second Glance: There is a key point to this book and it is the fact that Caitlin is in an abusive relationship, but I want to start by saying that, to me, Dreamland has never been an Issue Book. Yes, it happens and it is an important part of the story, but for me it has always been about Caitlin trying to find her own way once Cass isn't there to lead the way - she takes a bad turn and ends up in a bad situation, but the bad situation doesn't make the book for me.
Now, this is one of those books that had me in tears over and over again as I read it. There were moments when it hit me so hard to realize just how lost Caitlin was.
There were parts of the story that I didn't entirely buy, but over all I think that the systematic destruction of Caitlin, the way her loved ones keep missing the signals - because they just can't imagine something like that happening to one of their own - is amazing and real and it hurts.
Bottom Line: Dreamland is powerful book that touches an important subject. It's also a story about sisters, and finding your own way. I can't read this book too often, it makes me cry too much, but sometimes I can't resist the pull I feel for it, and it does sit in the shelf of honor.
Favorite Scene: Rina cocked her head to the side, studying me. She wasn't a dumb girl; she knew something was up. But she still had faith in our friendship, forged in the war zone of junior high. She thought I would never lie to her.
"Okay," She said, finally, as if we'd battered some kind of agreement, "But if you need me-"
"I know," I said, cutting her off. It was right at noon: My safe time as up. The muscles in my stomach and shoulders were clenching harder as I picked up my backpack and began to move closer to the turnaround. I looked at her, sitting crossleggged there in her sunglasses, popping her gum, with no greater concern in her life right then than me. And I envied her, quickly and quietly, in a different way than I had all those years we'd spent together. ...more
At First Sight: Colie was not looking forward to spending the summer at her Aunt Mira's house, but she had no other choice since her mother - Kiki SpaAt First Sight: Colie was not looking forward to spending the summer at her Aunt Mira's house, but she had no other choice since her mother - Kiki Sparks, of the fitness craze fame - was going on an European tour to promote her products.
Colby, North Carolina might be a typical beach town, but Aunt Mira is anything but typical - she wears bright clothes that don't match, rides her bike everywhere, and her beach front house seems to be a graveyard of yard sell items that never quite work as they should.
Though at first Colie would have loved to just get out of there, she finds herself landing a job at the Last Chance Bar & Grill, where she's a waitress along side Morgan and Isabel - who have been best friends with each other since forever. Morgan quickly takes to her and though Isabel isn't so keen on her at first, she does take Colie under her wing, eventually.
Colie isn't sure what to do with friends, she has never had them. All her life she has been a bit of an outsider both because she used to be fat and because her mother moved her all over the country during her first few years of life. But at Colby, people just seem to accept her - her Aunt Mira doesn't care if she was fat before, Morgan is just the maternal type and Isabel is always at hand to delver tough love when necessary; and there is also Norman, the guy who lives in the basement of Mira's house and who seems to like her, just because.
Second Glance: I always sort of loved Keeping the Moon, it's just such a perfect beach read, lighthearted and fun. Sarah Dessen created a lovely story not only about knowing who you are but also accepting it, learning that it's okay to work in your own way.
It's a quiet, sweet story. With a large dose of friendship - the good, true kind that doesn't let you down - and a dash of romance. Norman is not the most swoony of the Dessen Boys, but he's very sweet, and one of my favorites actually.
Bottom Line: I think this is one of the more overlooked books by Sarah Dessen, but it's perfect for this season of lazying about enjoying the nice weather.
Favorite Quote: "For Mira, there were no lost causes. Everything, and everyone, had its purpose. The rest of the world, too often, might have missed that."...more
At First Sight: Haven's summer will be framed by two weddings. First, her father -a local celebrity - will be marrying her the woman he left Haven's mAt First Sight: Haven's summer will be framed by two weddings. First, her father -a local celebrity - will be marrying her the woman he left Haven's mom for. And then, her outgoing older sister Ashley will marry a man with no apparent sense of humor.
But that's just the cherry on top of everything else that's going on in her life. There is the ugly maid of honor dress, the job she hates at a shoe store, and the fact that she keeps growing and growing and is currently almost six feet tall.
Things look slightly up when Sumner Lee returns. Who is Sumner? He's just Haven's favorite among the long list of Ashley's ex boyfriends. And she associates him to the last time things were truly good at home: her parents were still married, her sister was still fun, and sometimes she felt included, and summer was just meant to be fun.
Second Glance: That Summer is the very first book that Sarah Dessen wrote, the first by her that I ever read, the first book I bought off Amazon: and for all of those things it will always be special for me.Now, about the book itself, I don-t love it and I had the hardest time sticking to it -but I had already bought Someone Like You, Keeping the Moon and Dreamland, so I was invested - but, in the end, I'm glad I read it.
Do I re-read it often? Nope.
That Summer is not the kind of book I've come to expect from Sarah Dessen - the pace is a bit off, some characters are more developed than others, and there is no love story - but sometimes she hits these scenes were everything clicks and you can see glimpses of the stylish, classy and awesome writing that make Sarah Dessen one of the holy pillars of modern YA. Bottom Line: That Summer is not a perfect book, by far. And I've never actually heard anyone say that it's their favorite, but it's worth reading partially because of the precedent that it is, and because it's not that bad....more
At First Sight: Running out on her wedding and leaving her groom at the altar was the last bad choice in a string or really bad life choices made by GAt First Sight: Running out on her wedding and leaving her groom at the altar was the last bad choice in a string or really bad life choices made by Georgeanne Howard, but it might also have been the wisest choice she had made yet. On her way out, she got a ride from bad boy hockey player John Kowalsky, who was leaving the reception at the same time as she.
Without a fixed plan - and used to depending on other people for everything - Georgeanne is ready to tease and flirt her way into his letting her stay with him for a few days. But John isn't very receptive to the idea, mostly because her now jilted fiance is the owner of the team John plays for and a vindictive SOB.
But the night was long, and both of them had too many demons too close to the surface. And so, after a night of wild sex, Georgeanne ended up dumped at the Sea-Tac airport with a plane ticket back to Texas and a broken heart.
That day, when Georgie hit rock bottom, was the day she began to build her life back up and, 7 years later, she's the co-owner of a successful catering company, has a great life and a daughter she cherishes more than anything. And running into John at a charity event is a very unwelcome shock.
John has cleaned up his act as a bad boy, knowing he's damn lucky to be alive and healthy after all the reckless behavior and drinking he indulged in. He's surprised to see Georgie and - when she accidentally drops her check book - decides to drop by her house and return it to her. He's curious to see why she's still in Seattle, and what happened to her after he left her at the airport (not his finest moment, but he thought it was for the best). The last thing he expects to find there is a little six year old girl wearing a fluffy boa, pink cowboy boots and looking at him through blue eyes that are surprisingly like his own.
Second Glance: I first read Simply Irresistible many, many years ago. And I loved it. It holds up well to the re-read and the past of time (it's set in 1989 and 1996). I loved the story of John and Georgie, and loved learning all the things that happened to make them who they are. I loved how John simply falls in love with his daughter and strives to be a good father, even if he's clueless about what little girls do and his daughter scares the crap out of him (as in, I SO don't want to screw this up), and that there is some build up to their relationship. Lexie was an amazing character, one of the best written children ever. And I really liked seeing Georgie's transformation from flirt and tease to a responsible woman.
Woven in, there is also the story of Georgie and John's best friends. Mae Heron - co-owner of Heron Catering - was still trying to recover from the loss of her twin brother when she first met Georgie and hired her as cook for her business, and then Georgie and Lexie became her family, filling up a bit of the void left behind by Ray. Mae hates the jerky-jock type and, upon first meeting Hugh Miner, she's convinced he's just that type. Hugh is John's best friend - the goalie of their hockey team - and he's fascinated by Mae from their first meeting, and pursues her come hell or high water, even though she seems so disinterested. Their relationship is certainly one of the funniest things about this book.
Bottom Line: Over all, Simply Irresistible is lovely contemporary story that you can read, and read and read. It does start a little slowish, but it's fun all the way through. ...more
At First Sight: Daisy Monroe left Lovett, Texas when she was 18 years old and never wanted to look back. She moved to Seattle with her husband and besAt First Sight: Daisy Monroe left Lovett, Texas when she was 18 years old and never wanted to look back. She moved to Seattle with her husband and best friend Steven, and they raised their son Nathan there, quite content with their lives.
But on the heels of Steven's death after a long illness, Daisy knows it's time to make things right, to go back and tell the boy she once loved the truth of what happened 15 years ago, the reason why she married their best friend and left town. But Jack Parrish isn't a boy any more.
All those years ago, Jack lost his girl and his best friend and he has never forgiven or forgotten, and Daisy's being in town just serves him to put him on a bad mood, not only because of what happened before, but because even after everything he still wants Daisy as much as he ever did.
But everything changes once Daisy's secret is out: she was three months pregnant when she left, and Jack was the father. Hating Daisy more than ever, Jack endeavors to spend some time with his newly discovered son, namely that he stays for the summer and helps him out on the restoration garage he owns, and while Nathan isn't sure how he feels about his biological father, he does love cars, so the plan should work.. only that it also means Daisy and Jack will have to see a great deal of each other.
Second Glance: I know a lot of people don't like Daisy is Back in Town - or at least they don't like it that much - but I have always thought it was a rather fun book. Granted, it was one of the first contemporaries I ever read and I tend to look back on those with a particular fondness.
That being said, I think its a good book on it's own, perhaps not Rachel Gibson's best but I've always been a sucker for the secret baby plot so this book totally played to my tastes, and I kind of liked the fact that Nathan was a bit older than usual with this plot device.
The relationship between Jack and Daisy has always been very physical and I really liked seeing how they had to let go of that a bit to learn to like each other as people again, to remember they were once best friends and in love apart from being in lust. Jack's anger is understandable and well played, I thought; and while what Daisy did was rather cowardly and she didn't handle things well, she was quite likable.
In my most recent re-read, I kind of grew annoyed a bit more with Daisy's sister Lily - who's own woes are a major secondary plot - but over all the secondary characters were well done, I particularly liked Jack's brother Billy.
Bottom Line: For me Daisy is Back in Town is a a comfort read. It might not be the most spectacular book out there but it will keep you entertained for a good while, and Gibson's style is easy to get into and the pages just fly by....more
There is something about a good romance novel that lingers, that stays with you well after you have put your book down, a sense of hope and lightheartThere is something about a good romance novel that lingers, that stays with you well after you have put your book down, a sense of hope and lightheartedness. And Then He Kissed Her (book one of the Girl-Bachelor Series) is one of those books.
Emma Dove is a girl-bachelor; the 1890’s equivalent of a working, single girl of today, she works hard, is very efficient and professional; and has a secret yearning to become a published author. In fact, that desire is what keeps her working for the handsome and devilish Viscount Marlowe – London’s leading publisher – she hopes that one day he’ll find her manuscripts worthy of publishing. So she keeps Marlowe’s life running smoothly and every now and then submits a new manuscript for publishing.
Harry, for all that he’s Lord Marlowe, hasn’t lead a charmed life. With a bad marriage, which ended in a scandalous divorce some years prior, Harry turned to his own wits to make fortune and take care of the many females of his family (three sisters, his mother and grandmother). Now he’s a successful publisher and leads his life just the way he likes it: without any regard for society’s rules. In part is his lack of regard for society’s rules what keeps him turning down Emma’s books as she likes to write about etiquette, a subject he finds boring and unprofitable.
When on the day of her thirtieth birthday Emma realizes that Harry is never going to publish her books, she is hit with an epiphany and decides to take her life into her own hands, quitting her steady job and taking her book to Harry’s rival, Lord Barringer, and convincing him to publish her. But Harry wants Emma back, his life without her is chaos and he'll do whatever it takes to get her back, engaging in a battle of wits and romance. Lots of true romance.
And The He Kissed also has something that is very hard to find in romance these days: tension - at first just tension born out of two different personalities which then turns into sexual tension - and it makes for one amazing read.
There is also a large cast of supporting characters – Harry’s family, Emma’s friends from the boarding house where she lives, her landlady, etc. – who enrich the story and the lives of Emma and Harry.
This book is a true delight, a rare jewel: Funny, well written, charming and romantic in the true sense of the word. This one is a Must Read
Re- Read, lol, this was actually one of the first reviews I ever wrote. ...more