This time my book review is on my new booktube channel. Check it out here (it's non-spoilery in the first part w/ a spoiler warning before I start talThis time my book review is on my new booktube channel. Check it out here (it's non-spoilery in the first part w/ a spoiler warning before I start talking about details!) :
This is the third book in the Summer I Turned Pretty series, and it finds Belly aging two years to the summer*Review posted Mundie Moms on 8/18/2016*
This is the third book in the Summer I Turned Pretty series, and it finds Belly aging two years to the summer after her freshman year in college. While I spent the first book wondering if Belly would end up with either Jeremiah or Conrad, and book two wondering if Conrad could be a bigger butthead, this book left me wondering if either Fisher boy was right for Belly.
Right away you get the idea that lighthearted, happy-go-lucky Jeremiah may not be the ideal match for our yes, still very, very, very naive (to the nth power) Belly. There are obvious hints that he's a party boy, maybe too involved in his frat and not so involved in his academic pursuits. But, Belly brushes all that off until THE ONE THING THAT HAPPENS (I know I promised I was going to try to keep it as spoiler free as possible, but it's so hard because this is the third book in the series). While, Belly tried to reconcile this ONE THING, her best friend, Taylor (yes, the very one who was on the outs in the previous book) became her voice of reason and best supporter. I grew to adore Taylor's dedication to party planning, friendship and choosing all the right accessories. It almost made me forget that ONE THING.
But sadly, the ONE THING led Belly and Jeremiah down a plot that left me, frankly, eye-rolly. It became a very predictable and plodding cliche. I found myself desperate for the slightest mention of Conrad, who appeared at moments when I thought I may just give up on this series. But, I plowed on, and I'm glad I did. In this last installment, it is very obvious that Conrad matured the most out of all the characters. He finally seemed to have direction, and the angst (understandable with the way his father treated his mother, their inevitable divorce and the return of her cancer) he felt in books one and two had dissipated. What was left was a guy who cared for his brother, and even above that, he cared for Belly. He reminded me of my very favorite, literary hero -- Mr. Darcy. He was proud, stubborn, but in the end, he acquiesced and did the right thing. His character arc bumped the book from 2.5-3 stars back up to a solid 4.
How was the ending? It was logical and everything that I wanted it to be, at least in that moment. Belly is still far too innocent to be entirely believable. Conrad is very heroic. Jeremiah is flawed, but a goofball. Long term, would either relationship work out for Belly? I'm in the camp that it wouldn't because eventually, Belly would come to a firm understanding of who she is, and that would change the dynamic between her and either boy. Jenny Han does pick a side, and like I mentioned above, it was a good, logical, horribly romantic pick.
Summer is still in full swing according to the temps in my neck of the woods. So, a story about a girl and two boys she sees only over summers accompanies this August heatwave nicely. Pick up the series and come back here to let me know your thoughts. ...more
Soooooooo, let me just say that keeping this review spoiler free is going to be so hard to do, because on page two (PAGE TWO, you guys!) something happens that sets the tension of this book to OMGNOWAY. Yes, you read it right PAGE TWO. The thing that happens (bear with me, I am trying here) is not entirely unexpected, but it sets the tone for the rest of the book.
Okay, let me pause a second to say, that the love triangle will just never go away. In fact, it makes perfect sense. So as you turn pages you will find yourself loving Conrad, HATING CONRAD SO SO SO MUCH, and hoping (sometimes rather desperately) that Belly ends up with one or the other of the Fisher boys for reasons I can't even mention. GAH. I hate writing non-spoilery review when I have too much to discuss.
I guarantee that your emotions will be tugged in all directions with this story. There will be tears or at least a fairly deep sadness (I suggest a sugar rush only Belly would approve of as a remedy) and a sense of relief that maybe, just maybe we will get the ending that we all want. What ending is that, you ask? I don't even know. At the start, I was hoping that she would date Conrad, but by the end, I was hoping that the sweetness of Jeremiah would win her over.
Beyond the love triangle, Jenny writes a story of friendship between girls, Belly and Taylor and she documents the highs and lows all long standing friendships seem to experience. Their story makes you hope they will end up like Susannah and Laurel eventually. The friendships between the girls, the two moms and the boys and Belly are gorgeously written. They feel extremely real, and in Jenny's hands you will feel all the emotions the characters are going through. One refreshing moment is that this book contains Jeremiah's point-of-view, so we get to see a little bit of what he's thinking as well.
We get to see Belly, in her junior year, go through loss and heartbreak. Will she ever get over her crush on Conrad? Will they even find him? Apply another layer of sunscreen, settle down on that beach towel, grab a Coke and cherry ICEE and enjoy a story about friendships, family and the crushes we can never quite leave behind. I'm definitely moving on to book 3, It's Not Summer Without You....more
I finally finished this book. Not sure, again (see my review of The Winner's Kiss if it's me or if it*Review posted on Page Turners Blog on 7/13/2016*
I finally finished this book. Not sure, again (see my review of The Winner's Kiss if it's me or if it's Sarah's style of plot, but I didn't feel this book deeply enough to give it a higher rating.
What I Liked: - The Court Systems and Political Intrigue: This always ranks high on my list whenever I'm reading a high fantasy setting. Sarah described the courts and their allegiances/wars well. I felt like I understood them and the level of explanation was just right (in other words, Sarah avoided the over-explaining trap that is often found in this genre).
- The Beauty and Beast plot: It's one of my standby favorite plots. Family ties, stomach-turning kidnapping and Stockholm Syndrome. This makes for a heart-thumping read in most cases.
What I Didn't Like: - The Beauty and Beast plot: Stockholm Syndrome. It makes me want to scream, "Run the bleep away, woman!", and it does so EVERY SINGLE TIME I read it.
- Feyre: Where do I begin with her inconsistencies. I know it can all be written away as Stockholm Syndrome/PTSD, but something about her didn't ring true to me. Maybe it was her reliance on painting that was quickly swept away by other plot points. Maybe it was her strong huntress character (I think Katniss Everdeen exemplifies the best of this character type and Feyre isn't even close). Maybe it was how quickly she fell for her captor. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something, something felt off. And much like in Throne of Glass, I found myself not connecting with her at all. Not on any level. While that isn't a must-have requirement, it left me watching everything unfold from the sidelines instead of being in the midst of all the action.
- Plodding Middle: The story was so chock full o' action in the beginning, and then something happened that just sloooooooooowed the plot down and ground the stakes to a halt. I find myself wondering why high fantasy books are so long. ACoTaR is long because you realize in somewhere in the middle of the book that Feyre is not attempting to return home, and that she has fallen in love with Tamlin. Are you yawning because I was. Suddenly, the real villain, Amaratha, is introduced and the action picks up, but not before there is a long lull of many, many pages where nothing much happens.
- The Dreaded Love Triangle: Feel free to roll your eyes with me all you Love Triangle Haters, because oh yeah, you can see this one coming like a freight train rolling along. I won't spoil it, but it's obviously there, so yeah, whooooosh.
- Neat and Tidy Conclusion: Again, I rolled my eyes at this one. Something about it felt overly neat. I won't spoil it, but it was simply too fast (especially after the lull) and it was too tidy. It does, however, set up for a great sequel if you care enough to come along for the ride. As for me, yes, I will probably read it, but not for a while. I'm going to keep searching for that summer read that truly immerses me in its story....more
So, who's been in a reading slump lately? My hand is firmly in the air. Maybe it's this crazy time*Review published on Page Turners Blog on 5/25/2016*
So, who's been in a reading slump lately? My hand is firmly in the air. Maybe it's this crazy time of year. Or that I'm still mourning the fact that I didn't go to BEA. Or the fact that there are waaaaay too many after-school activities all coming to an end in the next few weeks (recitals/award ceremonies that never, ever end). Or that I'm just plain tired of being an over-scheduled mama. I was definitely in a reading SLUUUUUUUMP. Usually, I pick up and re-read one of my faves, but this time, I did something different. I went for the book with the pretty, hauntingly colorful cover. I honestly didn't even read the synopsis. I just pressed "play" on the audible app. Yes, I'm too busy or too tired for actual reading, but I'm never too busy for audiobooks. Thank goodness for all involved in producing those.
I jumped into that audiobook and was finished with it in three days. I just couldn't stop listening. The narrator, Priya Ayyar, was wonderful in her delivery of the various characters, and with her help, I just fell right into the world. OH THE WORLD. I admit that I know next to nothing about Indian mythology, so imagine my absolute delight at the new, different, yes, here comes that overused word -- lush -- world that was presented to me. And then, as I followed the turns and twists of the plot, I realized there was a familiarity that I didn't expect. There was a Hades and Persephone feel to the story that simply left me swooning (I apparently missed the book announcement). Maya's curse and Amar's acceptance of it. Plus, the unique way his world, Akaran, is set up.
Here's a swoony quote just for the heck of it:
“My kingdom needs a queen,” he said. “It needs someone with fury in her heart and shadows in her smile. It needs someone restless and clever. It needs you.”
Oh, you guys, rush out and pick up The Star-Touched Queen. It's fantasy and romance presented in a beautifully wrapped mythology. It's everything you'd expect in a classical tale, but with just enough stomach-turning twists to make you wince in that book nerdish pain you know we all love to feel. The romance is the kind you think you know where it's going, but then, it leads to somewhere else. In its essence, the romance is going to make you long for a good conclusion, which is the best feeling for this romantically inclined mama.
I was thrilled to find out that the story is part of a duology. A Crown of Wishes will be released next year, and I will be pre-ordering it as soon as its made available. So, if you're in the mood for something different, dark at times, and always pulling at your heartstrings, pick up The Star-Touched Queen and toss it into your handbag. I have a feeling that you won't be able to put it down. ...more