Anthologies are interesting creatures. They are written by different authors, who may write the same genre, but often have completely different writing styles. I often find myself skimming through the authors I’ve never read and straight to the ones I like. In this particular anthology, I have only read one of the authors before, and Julia Quinn is one of my favorite authors.
Four Weddings and A Sixpence is an absurd concept. Four young women, from different walks of life, find a sixpence in the mattress of the school room at the finishing school that they all attend. They remember the old tradition, “Something old, Something new, something borrowed, something new and a sixpence in her shoe.” Instead of spending the sixpence on whatever people spent sixpences in Regency England, they decide that they will keep the sixpence and in the way Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, they will pass the sixpence on to the lady who most needs it.
And, by needs it, I mean needs to be married. But, this is historical romance, so the road to matrimony is often paved with meddling aunts, pickpocket ex-fiances, and misconceptions.
I really enjoyed this one.
My favorites in the Anthology are ‘Something New’ where Anne Brabourne’s guardian’s demands that she marry by the age of twenty-one leads her into the arms of Rhys, a Duke known for his aversion to marriage. Honestly, give me a reluctant Duke, and the woman who changes his mind, any day of the week. My second favorite story is by Julia Quinn’s (was there any doubt) ‘And A Sixpence in Her Shoe,” where Beatrice, the lady who least wanted to get married, finds herself Lord Frederick, a young man with one good eye, who believes her to be disgusted with his physical appearance.
Honestly, guys, the entire anthology is a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it. ...more
Of all the genres I read, romance is the most polarizing. It’s the one I feel the most uncomfortable pulling out on the subway. IOriginally Posted at
Of all the genres I read, romance is the most polarizing. It’s the one I feel the most uncomfortable pulling out on the subway. It’s the one that I’ve been ridiculed for and teased for enjoying. Books like “Do You Want To Start A Scandal” make all of those things powerless and reminds me why I don’t care what others have to say about it. I enjoy romance. I get swept away in it. And Tessa Dare is one of those authors who can give me the kind of story that makes Romance novels so much fun while infusing it with humor and originality to make it stand out in a genre with similar plots.
Charlotte Highwood is a desperate debutante. At least that’s what the ton believes. She understands their misunderstanding as her mother pushes her at every available Duke, Viscount and Earl without shame, propriety or concern for Charlotte’s mortification. Hearing that Piers, Lord Granville, a single, titled gentlemen, will be joining the same house party, Charlotte comes up with a plan to warn him and convince him to stay as far away from her as possible for his own good. Charlotte’s good intentions backfire as an unmarried young lady should not be alone with a man, even if she’s warning him away, even if she’s not attempting to trap him in to marriage. Because, a mystery set of lovers steal into the library trapping Charlotte and Piers in an improper situation, everything changes and even the most well meaning plans can go up in smoke.
There is so much to say about this book and so little time. If you’re a fan of Tessa Dare, you’ve met Charlotte and Piers before. Charlotte in the Spindle Cove series, A Week to be Wicked and Beauty and the Blacksmith, where her sisters find their HEA. And, Piers in Say Yes to the Marquess from where Clio and Rafe fall in love despite her engagement to Piers who also happens to be Rafe’s older brother.
These two characters have been left behind. They are the last of their siblings to be wed and the last of the siblings to fall in love. Which is disparaging to Charlotte as her mothers desperate attempts to see her happily situated has made her a social pariah and the young lady least likely to engage a man in conversation never mind love and marriage. Piers is cold, way too proper and uses a little too much starch for her liking and she tells him so, but when Piers decides he wants something he stops at nothing to get it and what he wants is Charlotte.
If you’ve read Historical Romance as long as I have, you know that the chances for originality are slim. With the strictures of the past and a woman’s place in it, it’s difficult to come up with unique and new stories. So, you look for Authors who can infuse new life into a premise you have probably already read.
There is just something about a historical romance that makes you believe in love. In this book Tessa Dare takes two characters with their quirky families, self-esteem issues and secrets buried deep in the past and gives them a story that is beautiful, funny, romantic and charming.
This book is the height of entertaining. It’s romantic, obviously, but it’s also filled with mystery, attempted murder and intrigue. My mind raced trying to put the mystery together and discover who the lovers were before the author could reveal it to me. While reading, I smiled, chuckled and full out laughed at the back and forth between Piers and Charlotte that was funny, witty and oh so entertaining. Tessa Dare is a master at chemistry. It electrifies the pages and jumps out of the book in living color.
I’m a huge fan of Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series. It’s just the thing for lazy summer days, long train rides, Saturday afternoons drinking tea and Sunday mornings with your coffee.
“There’s a reason the poets say ‘falling in love’ and not ‘climbing.’ There’s no controlling it, no choosing where one lands.”
“The very purpose of words is to mean something! There are entire books dedicated to listing nothing but words and their meanings. They’re called dictionaries; perhaps you’ve seen one.”
This book is a broken promise between the author and me. The prologue and opening chapters of this book were so good. I was charmed and enraged and determined to follow these two characters to the ends of the world and hopefully a happily ever after. Somehow, I went from there to simply skimming. Bored. I was bored.
The painting is at the heart of the drama. It’s Lily’s ruin and Alec’s failing and these freaking people spend most of the book moaning and suffering from self doubt instead of coming up with a plan to get and destroy the painting.
I just don’t get it. They have a novel sized pity party and I’m like “people we have a mission.” At least we should! You know get back the freaking painting.
I have read so many historical romance novels that I know that simply marrying Lily off would not redeem her reputation! It’s an asinine plan beneath Sarah MacLean.
The reason that marrying works in other scandals is that if you’re caught in a compromising position and you’re engaged people can just say “oh, they couldn’t wait to be together” or you marry to save the child that may come of it from being a bastard. A naked painting cannot be saved by marrying not when all of the world can see her naked!!!!! Especially if she is not married to the artist.
I just couldn’t comprehend their mental state in this book. Lily is so busy trying to show Alec her independence and Alec is so worried about not deserving her that I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. These character are not unique, but they’re in a unique situation and they don’t act according to the situation. They act according to type which was very disappointing.
The way the book ends is supposed to be some kind of act of rebellion or of a woman who would not be shamed or some other nonsense. But it’s stupid. No one in their right mind would ever do it and I rolled my eyes and literally cursed because I felt like I wasted my time on this book and this story and these characters.
The reason this is a 2 star review and not 1 star is because the author did a wonderful job of explaining and showing us loneliness. I got it. I understood why Lily made the mistakes she made, why Alec is off in Scotland though most of his titles and lands are English. Unfortunately all of that was before the book started. Still, I got it and that part was so well written.
I usually love this author but this series is not for me....more
People are complicated and love is even more complicated. No one knows that better than Griffin, whose first love happens to be his best friend and his ex-boyfriend. Theo was everything; his partner in crime, his confidant, and his first love. But, Theo is dead and worst, Theo found love in Jackson before dying. So, Theo may be Griffin’s one and only, but Griffin was not Theo’s one, only or even his last.
It’s rare that an author writes one book and then automatically goes on my auto-buy list, but I love More Happy Than Not. Months later and I still think about it, I still recommend it to people even if they’re not heavy readers or book geeks. When I love something as much as I love that book, the follow-up read tends to be terrifying. I worry. In the weeks leading up to me actually opening up, the ARC Soho Teen was nice enough to send me, I had a lot of doubt. Was More Happy Than Not as good as I thought it was? Maybe it’s a fluke. Maybe Adam Silvera is not that great of a writer and his first book will be his only great read. Maybe, I’ll hate this. Maybe, maybe, maybe...Until finally, I was like, “gurl, just read the book.”
I’ll answer some of my concerns....More Happy Than Not IS as good as I thought, it was NOT a fluke, Adam Silvera IS a great writer and I do NOT hate this book. In fact, I LOVE it.
History is All You Left Me is amazing because no one is a villain. (Though, I do tend to side with the main chraracters #TeamGriffin) No one is good or evil and nothing is white or black. People make mistakes that hurt the people around them, but they’re not evil. They’re just human. It’s all gray. Because life is complicated, emotions can’t be controlled and shit happens.
History Is All You Left Me follows two stories: The story of Griffin and Theo and the story of Griffin after Theo. It’s the same boy with his quirks, his loveable parents, his NYC location and the same supporting characters. And yet, the two versions of Griffin are different people. There’s the version of Griffin on the cusp of new love and self-discovery while the other is Griffin after it all comes tumbling down and he has to put back the pieces of his life.
Basically, this book is beautiful, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. How does one cope with grief, especially at such a young age where you and everyone around you is supposed to be invincible? How do you forgive someone who isn’t there to apologize? Can you move on without the answers to questions you waited too long to ask?
I should warn you that Adam Silvera knows how to make you cry. Or, maybe that’s just me. He knows how to make me cry. I didn’t do the ugly cry caused by More Happy Than Not, but more than once Griffin’s story brought tears to my eyes because this book is just so well written. You feel it, every sadness, anger, despair and regret inside of Griffin is on the page. You get why he loved Theo, even as you hate Theo for some of the choices he’s made.
Griffin’s relationship with Jackson is one of the most interesting interactions I've ever come across. They were on opposite sides in the battle for Theo’s heart and in an instant they become allies in the battle for their healing. It’s an interesting dynamic where on one hand they want to one up each other to prove who loved him more and on the other hand they know that they are the only two people who knew Theo in that way and know what it means to have that absence in their life.
This book also takes on grief in a real way. You see it from all sides, the absence one person makes in the lives of their siblings, parents, friends, and lovers. We all make an impact even when we don’t realize it. We’re all important to the people around us, even when we don’t feel it.
There are some twists and turns in this book, which I will not spoil, but I am interested in hearing what you all think about it. The characters go places you don’t expect, make choices you will not agree with and live their lives in that messy way that we all do.
Also, can we have a round of applause for an LGBT story where the fact that the main characters are gay is not all the book is about? Don’t get me wrong, coming out and feeling different are very real and important stories. But, LGBT teens are teens just like everyone else. They deserve representation that shows how well rounded, smart, quirky, mean, nice, kind, etc they are without it being about just one aspect of who they are. Love is love, after all.
This book is highly recommended. Adam Silvera is just highly recommended. Like, read his books, follow him on Tumblr, twitter, Goodreads, go to his signings, etc....more
It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then I am blown away by a book. These Shallow Graves is one of those rare moments. This book is thrilling, on the edge of your seat, holding on to your hat, thrilling. It takes you up and down an emotional roller coaster before going topsy turvy and loosy goosie.
Jo’s world is a world I’ve seen before. It’s old school New York with its high society, strict rules and rich socialites. It’s debutantes trained to be wives and competing for the richest men in town. It’s good breeding and family history and being from “good stock.” Pretty dresses, fancy balls and houses equip with an upstairs downstairs hierarchy.
But, beneath the glamour and the riches is a brutal darkness and secrets to die for.
When Jo’s father is discovered dead in his study from a suspected suicide, her perfect life tilts on its axis. She goes from playing at reporter for her finishing school’s fluff newspaper to hitting the streets of New York to discover what would cause her father to kill himself. What she discovers is buried secrets, a passion she can not deny and the very worst of humanity, literally.
This goes places I never guessed and exceeded expectations at every turn. Jennifer Donnelly superbly gives us the history of women in midst of this mystery thriller of a novel. We see all sides of it. Our history and the way we were all trapped. The socialite with no choice in her future, the poor pick pocket whose life and body has been bought and sold and the old woman who has nothing to buy or sell and must beg. Even with all of their differences and their heartaches these women find common ground and come together to save the day, solve the case and go after the most important thing we can had as humans, freedom.
Jo is the kind of heroine I love to read. The one who rises above. She’s naive and sheltered in many ways, but she’s unafraid of getting her hands dirty and facing danger. It would be easy to scoff, say poor little rich girl, dismissing Jo and wishing the author had followed one of the poor characters instead. But in these shallow graves you are always on Jo’s side. You see that though she is rich and sheltered, her life is anything but easy. She has a brain, ambition and passion but the only thing her family wants is to marry her off to the highest bidder. It’s infuriating to see her family treating this young woman as a brood mare when she’s smart, intuitive and passionate. She’s so much more than the box society has put her in and you just want her to make of her life what she wants.
Then Ms. Donnelly gives us a romance worthy of Jo. A romance based off of common interests, mutual respect and chemistry that cannot be denied. Eddie and Jo’s feelings don’t blossom because they’re both pretty and are in the right place at the wrong time. In fact they are all wrong for each other, there’s no way they could ever work, but they see each other clearly in a way that no one else ever has. The completely wrong guy for all the right reasons. It’s dreamy and frustrating and heartbreaking.
Then there’s the actual case. The story they are hunting; Jo to uncover the truth, Eddie to advance his career. The truth unravels in the most explosive and life altering way. It’s devastating and twister than I imagined. Knowing the kind of world Jo grew up in I imagined an ending and a truth with less explosive consequences, but this book holds no punches. It smashes and crushes and flattens the characters and the reader’s emotions in its wake.
This book is an adventure! I scooped it up and consumed it like much needed sustenance that tastes of my favorite dessert.
I love this book. Adore it! I will totally be hungover after this exquisite read. Highly recommended!
For fans of mystery, thriller, good historical fiction and heroines worth rooting for! ...more
I opened up this book expecting that I knew how it was going to all play out. Libby was going to be plagued with self-doubt and be quiet and afraid. Jack, was going to swoop in with his good looks and give her the confidence she needs to get through high school with her head up…WRONG. I was so wrong. This book is surprising and funny and filled with charm and romance.
Libby hasn’t been to school in years. She’s been at home, or in hospitals, trying to lose weight and recuperate from the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to her. But, she’s done living in the past and is ready to go forward with her present. Jack lives in the moment, literally. He goes through life trying to survive this moment, trying to keep his secret. Really, he lives in fear. His Prosopagnosia makes it so that he must hide who he is and do whatever it is to survive high school.
Holding Up The Universe is one of the most human stories I’ve ever read. Jack and Libby are utterly human. They are complex and they are flawed. They are the perfect kind of characters. They make mistakes, they learn from them and more importantly they grow from them. The book isn’t 400 pages of a pity party. It’s 400 pages of 2 teenagers trying to figure it all out as teenagers are supposed to do while in high school. Sometimes they get it wrong, sometimes they get it right, but eventually they do get it.
Over a year ago, I asked Jennifer Niven if she ever considered making Finch the girl and Violet the boy in her masterpiece of a novel, All the Bright Places. Meaning, did she ever consider giving the girl the larger than life personality without making her a manic pixie dream girl? I shouldn’t take complete credit for this, but I feel like Ms. Niven heard me. LIBBY IS AMAZING. One of my favorite characters in contemporary YA. Spunky, smart, amusing, vulnerable, scared, brave, has some issues and knows it. Libby accepts herself in a way that I wish that we could all accept ourselves.
Not to say that Jack is boring, Jack is fascinating and I could read about him and his family and his life, forever. Really, I could do a character study on both of these characters and it would take me a long while to pull back all the layers that Ms. Niven has put into making these characters so rich.
I’ve never really thought much about face blindness, probably, because it’s just not something you think about if you don’t have it. When starting the book I honestly didn’t think I would like Jack. I thought I’d be like, “like this is sad, but at least you don’t have cancer.” Wrong again. Prosopagnosia is terrifying to me. Not being able to recognize faces. To maybe pick up the wrong kid from school, to not be able to recognize the face of a person who hit you, or mugged you. Jack’s journey is fascinating, because no one knows that he has this. He has managed to keep the fact that he literally couldn’t pick his own mother out in a crowd to himself. I wont give it all away, but reading about how he has managed to cope with something that is so common for most of us was fascinating.
What works so well for this novel is how strong their POVs of these characters are. They sound different because they are different. They are both going through their own journeys that have nothing to do with each other, making their co-journey so much stronger. This isn’t just about two people falling for each other. It’s about how lives interconnect, how every person leaves an imprint on their friends and family. It’s about accepting your own truth and also accepting your mess. I liked a look into Jack and Libby’s home life as well as their school lives. I liked seeing the big picture of what makes them who they are.
Like I said, this is a very human novel. We see the parents who in any other story we would just dislike, or blame or accuse as humans. They make mistakes and learn from them just as we do.
When this book was first announced there were a lot of people who took to twitter and goodreads to renounce Ms. Niven and spew hate about the book. Listen, whatever you get in your head from reading the synopsis is all wrong. This book isn’t what you think it is. It’s so much better and smarter and intuitive than our expectations give it credit for.
I enjoyed traveling the universe with these characters and hope you will to.
Highly recommended for fans of All The Bright Places, The Fault in Our Stars, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and I’ll Give You the Sun.
September. 14, 2016. Read it. Loved it. Libby is one of my favorite ladies in Contemporary YA. Spunky, smart, amusing, vulnerable, scared, brave and has some issues and knows it.
Official Review to Come!
Jan. 23, 2016 WOW, people are so dumb.
1. Authors rarely write copy for their books. So, the synopsis is not the author's fault and will probably change.
2. I AM BIPOLAR. ATBP was a great representation of not only what it means to live with Bipolar disorder and how the people around you deal with it. It may not be everyone's truth, but it sure as hell was mine, so you can all go and fuck yourselves.
I find it sooo interesting how people without mental illness, or who don't have a certain body type or race are the first people to open their mouth and claim something is offensive. Just because you can't relate or don't see something a certain way it doesn't mean that it's you're right to trash it.
Also, what is wrong with you people!? Fat girls, fat boys, overweight people have a place in YA literature just as much as skinny girls and boys. Jennifer Niven writes a character who is different from the norm and everyone goes "offensive!" Why is that offensive?
Anyone who has followed this blog for more than five minutes knows that I love Kate Daniels. Frankly, I more than love Kate Daniels. I LOVE KATE DANIELS! The series, the character, her lover Curran, her ward Julie and, of course her teenage werewolf protege Derek. I adore Derek. When bringing him up in any conversation about the series he is referred to as my “baby.” That’s love. So, when I heard that there was going to be a book from Derek’s POV I suffered from heart palpitations caused by excitement.
Of all the characters in all the books I have ever read Derek is the one I most care about. The one I most want to be ok. More than that he’s a teenage boy while Kate and her lover Curran are the adults he most looks up to and respects. Which means he’s not going to open up and bitch to either of them. He wants them to believe he is strong and tough and brave. I was excited to crawl into his brain, peel back the pieces and learn everything there is to learn about Derek.
I will get two things off of my chest first before another word is said. I wish this book was longer. There is no getting around that. I knew when opening the book that it would not be enough to satisfy me. I have been reading this series for years. There is no way that a novella could give me everything I want from Derek. There’s no way. I need at least 3 full length novels to scratch the surface of this character and my interest in him. That being said, this book made me want more and is so entertaining it gave me hope that a series or trilogy starring Derek and Julie would be well worth the wait.
A family that Derek cares about has been murdered. Not just the parents, but the children, too. It’s the children’s death that has sent Derek on a quest to find out who killed the family and why. His investigation takes him deep into the heart of post-shift Atlanta where Derek finds himself face to face with a power that he may not have the strength to fight.
This book has the action and adventure of the Kate Daniels books, but has the added complexity that is Derek. I love Kate, but she is simple. She simply wants to fight to live another day when we first meet her in Magic Bites. Derek is similar, except that he has lived through so much trauma that his 19 year old self has shut down a piece of himself. In Magic Stars, Derek is mostly wolf. He thinks as a wolf, hunts as a wolf and seems to look at his past from a distance as if he hadn’t lived it, and inwardly shrugs off the heartbreak that turned him from a beautiful teenage boy with a smile to a scarred young man with a ferocious snarl it makes men twice his age and size cringe.
The enemy that Derek goes against is faceless for most of the book. It’s a hunt, going after a villain who sends others to block their way. Derek and Julie go up against magic, other shifters and creatures we have yet to face in the Kate Daniels world. The character descriptions and dialogue are as amusing and as funny as anything written by the team that is Ilona Andrews and they do a great job of giving us Post-Shift Atlanta from a completely different perspective. Derek doesn’t think, talk or experience the world the way Kate does and it was a lot of fun to see the world that I’ve come to love from a different perspective.
While the adventure and the mystery of the story are contained, I cannot in good conscience say that this is a stand alone novel. You have to have read Magic Bites and Magic Strikes to truly understand Derek, his journey and all the things that he keeps locked inside.
This is going to be a new series and I have to admit that I CANNOT WAIT.
I highly recommend this books for fans of the Kate Daniels series and if you haven’t read it, I have NO idea what you are waiting for. I have been gushing about it for years!...more
While I can say with 100% honesty I didn't see either of the big twists coming, once the twist happens the ending became predictable. I don't really lWhile I can say with 100% honesty I didn't see either of the big twists coming, once the twist happens the ending became predictable. I don't really like where it went, but the anxiety and build up was so entertaining i give it 3 stars. ...more
Lila is a thief and she enjoys it, because she is a very good thief. She’s quick, smart and agile. In Cloudburst Falls where monsters roam the streets and mob families fueled by magic control everything, being quick, smart and agile can save your life. Especially, if you keep your head down. Lila is a pro at keeping her head down. She has no friends and she has no family. Chances are, you wouldn’t even remember being in a room with her. She’s that good at keeping a low profile. She minds her own business and stays out of trouble.
That is until she sees Devon Sinclair get attacked. She tries to stay out of it. But, she just can’t stand by and watch him killed while she does nothing. So, she helps and her life changes drastically. Suddenly, people know who she is and have an idea of what she can do. The Sinclair’s want her to join their family as a bodyguard, the very last thing Lila wants as her mother doing that very job, but now that she’s stuck her neck out she has no recourse. She is on the radar of powerful people and needs the protection of the Sinclair’s name as much as they need the protection of her magic.
And, so begins a topsy turvy, magic filled adventure. This book is fun. It literally has everything I could need: organized crime, reluctant romance, action, intrigue and magic. Always magic. This book is very Urban Fantasy. It has all the elements of things like Kate Daniels and Charley Davidson. It’s dark and action packed with a heroine that kicks so much ass. The only difference is that Lila is a minor.
The lore of COLD BURN OF MAGIC is very interesting. It’s very fairy tale with paying trolls to cross bridges and not speaking the name of certain creatures. But, then it has mutant abilities where someone has the skill of compulsion, someone else can have strength and speed or the ability to use glamour and change their appearance.
This world is dangerous. You can either be killed by monsters or taken down by a rival family. It’s The Godfather meets X-Men meets the brother’s Grimm and yet has it’s own unique flair.
Then there is Lila. She is confident and independent and loyal, even though she tries to hide that part. The last time I enjoyed being in the head of a badass teenager this much her name was Rose Hathaway. They both just have this sort of I can do it all by myself, cuz I’m that awesome, but if you must help I’ll allow it, vibe. Lila is funny and filled with all these secrets. She’s got things inside her that she has carried alone for so long she doesn’t know how to share it with Devon and the other friends she gains in this book. Reading as she goes from loner to belonging to this makeshift, dangerous family adds heart and emotions to an action packed story.
Jennifer Estep does an amazing job of building the world and setting up what I anticipate as being a wildly entertaining series. There’s all this mystery surrounding Devon and his father’s death. Devon is a powerful young man from the second most powerful magic family and has no power. Because of this, he’s being hunted. He works hard on his body, on his physical skill, but without the use of magic he’s a sitting duck and needs protection, which he hates. But, Devon has secrets of his own and someone has discovered his secrets and wants to rip it out of him. Literally.
There’s a lot of intrigue in this book as Lila tries to figure out who is on her side and who can be trusted. When you’re dealing with power and money, everyone is up for grabs and anyone could be a potential enemy.
I liked this one. It kept me on the edge of my seat.
Recommended for fans of urban fantasy and paranormal YA....more
Every now and then a book comes into your life that you just love. There’s no real reason for it beyond pure entertainment. For me, that book is currently Everything, Everything. I’m going to write a review and attempt to breakdown my thoughts toward this book, but mostly I liked it just because...it’s good.
I usually dislike it when people call books “cute.” My reasoning has always been that puppies are cute and babies are cute. Books are... more. Books are someone's sweat, blood and dreams which can’t be cute. Well, here I am eating crow, because this book is cute. And by cute, I mean that Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is appealing and delightful. In other words, charming.
I worried that I wouldn't like this book. I don't know that much about SCID, but in my minds eye I kept seeing an image of a young John Travolta in a bubble. It seemed clear to me that it would either be ridiculous or sad. The fact that Nicola Yoon managed to take her synopsis and give us a charming book is a testament to her skill as a writer. Lets be honest, this book should be boring. I mean, what kind of book has a heroine who cannot leave the house? Answer, a book filled with character, imagination, self discovery and love.
Severe Combined Immunodeficiency or SCID is a primary immune deficiency and Maddy has it. It means she’s basically allergic to the entire world. When you’re allergic to the entire world it means that your personal world is very small. It’s confined to a single space with pre-approved, decontaminated people. For Maddy that means her mother and her nurse. But, Maddy doesn’t mind, because she has her books and more importantly her life.
Then one day, a mysterious boy in a hat moves next door and makes her realize that while she survives, she doesn’t actually live.
This book could not work if not for the pure charm of the main character. Maddy lives an isolated life which means her imagination is through the roof. She reads and has been able to build a sense of humor and wit that matches any other character of her age or more. She’s likable. She’s had SCID her entire life and is used to the idea. She doesn’t spend the book moaning about how it’s not fair or poor her.
When Olly comes into her life and she decides to risk a lot to experience a taste of the outside world. It’s important to note that her desire for adventure is not just because of a boy. It’s because of her. It’s because of the imagination inside her head and the desires in her heart. She wants more. And, yes, Olly is apart of that, but he is not everything.
Olly is a book boyfriend to threaten all book boyfriends. Why? It takes a certain kind of person to fall in love with a person that they cannot touch. He’s got a lot of baggage and yet manages to be empathetic and understanding. Nicola Yoon is able to make an instant chat better than most conversations in all of YA. She writes with a rhythm and humor that makes you forget it’s two people just typing on a screen.
It’s really hard to review this book without giving away all of its secrets and spoiling it for the reader, but this is what I will tell you:
It’s funny. It’s romantic. It’s charming. It’s filled with heart and even adventure. Maddy is a heroine of color, which is really important in a time where we are screaming for diversity from the rooftops.
With its heavy topic, it somehow manages to be light and free and great for a late summer read.
I really enjoyed this one and highly recommend it.
Scarlett is smart. As in, has graduated from high school two years early and spends her days working as a Private Detective for clients that no one else will listen to. Like a middle school kid who is pretty sure her older brother is responsible for the suicide of a local teenager. Other people would say, “of course he’s acting weird, kid, his best friend just jumped off of a bridge,” but Scarlett is good at reading people and she sees that her new client is afraid. So, like any 16-year old private detective with to much time on her hands, Scarlett takes the case.
The first time I saw the cover of this book I had to read it. Diversity is a huge deal for me, especially in YA. And, here we have a story about a Muslim American girl who is a young, competent and a badass Gumshoe. Picking up SCARLETT UNDERCOVER, I expected a cool Veronica Marsesque story. I got that and so much more.
On the surface her case seems to be about a bunch of rich kids, with too much time on their hands, but Scarlett quickly stumbles into a danger where her culture, her religion and her family are mixed in the middle. Not only does this case lead back to people in her life, but it is also a major lead on the case she’s been on for years….who killed her father.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s engaging, smart and action packed. Without giving anything away or spoiling the book, this book does a really good job of mixing detective story with myth and legend. Something like Maltese Falcon or the Da Vinci Code. Scarlett goes from investigating the death of a teenager to dealing with legends and stories from Islam.
I know more about the muslim religion from reading this book than anything I learned in school. Jennifer Latham does a great job of explaining aspects of Scarlett’s culture without ever seeming like textbook or like I’m sitting in a class. It seamlessly mixes in with the mystery that Scarlett uncovers.
This is going to sound like a left field reference, but my favorite show is Breaking Bad. What I love most about Breaking Bad is that Walt’s brother in law Hank isn’t a DEA agent just because Walt is a drug dealer as a cool aha twist. No, Walt is a drug dealer, because Hank is a DEA agent. Walt gets the idea from Hank’s job. Scarlett’s story is similar. Her background and religion make her unknowingly the best possible detective for the case. And, that’s why this book works. It’s one of the best integration of a character’s culture, I’ve come across. It’s super cool.
What I really enjoyed about this book is that Scarlett doesn’t really know what she believes. I liked that, because I think that’s true of most teenagers who grow up in religious families. When I was a teenager I had no idea how I felt about Christianity, even though I would acknowledge myself as a Christian, because that’s how I was raised. Scarlett is figuring it all out. It was really smart of the author to not bang it into our head that “look I’m writing diversity. Look, my character is muslim, look she’s got brown skin, etc etc.” Because, yes, Scarlett is of color and she’s muslim, but first she’s just a girl. And, she’s got a crush and she worries about her family and she wants to hunt down the people who killed her father.
The reason this book isn’t 5 stars is a personal thing. I am not a huge fan of the film noir in modern day adaptations. I liked Scarlett, but at times she had that kind of like too cool, I’m setting up the scene in a certain way just to fit the genre and my observations are super smart, because I’m a detective. I personally am not a fan of that. It’s a bit too stylized for me and often took me out of the story.
Add to that the fact that the story doesn’t seem done and yet is a stand alone, I had some issues. Done for me would have been a 100% confirmation of whether or not the legends were true. To be honest as a fan of fantasy I wanted them to be true. There’s talk about luck, but luck is a tricky thing. Luck doesn’t have to be magic it could be right place, right time. I wanted a Jin to jump out of a bottle and start doing magic. Perhaps it could have happened. Perhaps not. The story isn’t about whether or not these things are true. It’s about who believes it and what they are willing to do for that belief. Which is fine and is done very well.
I just personally would have preferred an ending that involved wishes and magic.
Loudly, before a single note about the book, the synopsis for The Bourbon Kings says “from the author of The Black Dagger Brotherhood series” and I get it. BDB is a popular series of 13 published books, a spin-off on the way and a rabid fandom that included myself. But, the truth of the matter is that fans of BDB this book was not written for us.
The Bourbon Kings reminds me of that TV show from the 80s that my grandmother and mom used to watch about a rich and powerful oil family from Texas. Basically, it’s a soup opera. With over the top situations and twists seen from up the block, around the corner and through the bend. This book is convoluted, melodramatic, and at parts, offensive.
Lane made a mistake, he married the wrong woman. It takes him a few years, an accident of his beloved black servant and a couple glasses of bourbon for him to finally get off his ass and do something about it. He returns home to see his beloved Miss Aurora and to finally set things right. It’s been many years since he’s touched foot on his family estate, the entirety of his marriage really and he’s unsurprised to find nothing changed. His mother is still reclusive, his father is still a douche, his sister a caricature and his wife a bitch. His Gardner, and spurned lover Lizzie is still working for his family despite the fact that he told her he loved her the day before his wedding was announced in the papers.
I found myself doing the unthinkable and skimming through this book. I just wanted to see if all my predictions came true in the end. It did. There is not an original thought or storyline in this book. Like most books by this author The Bourbon Kings is long. Too long. Why was it so long?
This book lacks some important aspects that Ward is famous for. 1. Sexy men who you want to take care of but hide behind when danger comes cuz they are bad as fuck. 2. Strong female characters who are comfortable in their sexuality but not over the top and manage to be feminine even as they are tough. 3. A complex story with twists and turns where you understand both characters even as they miscommunicate.
The only thing I will say that TBK has over Ward’s popular vampire series is that the characters speak like adult males and not pubescent teenage boys that don’t understand that hip hop isn’t just a way of dress.
I did not like the characters. I didn’t like Lane for being a douche and taking too long to fix his issues. I didn’t like Lizzie, because she was dumb enough to still love him after he stomped all over her heart. I didn’t like Gin because she used her body to manipulate people. I didn’t like Samuel T because he used his body to manipulate people.
These two also have the sickest ever relationship where they one-up each other in an attempt to hurt the other. If Samuel has sex with Gin’a friend, Gin will have sex with Samuel’s brother and make sure that Samuel sees. They will seduce innocent bystanders in the game between them and then they hurt each other just for the pure pleasure of having the last laugh…But, they’re like in love and are meant for each other………
And of course then there is Miss Aurora the only character of color in this book who spends her days cooking for this white family and her nights praying for this white family with no sign of having a life or family of her own. It wasn’t enough for JR Ward to appropriate black culture with her hip hop loving, slang speaking brothers in the BDB series, now she has written a veritable Aunt Jemima whose entire life is lived for and in service to her white masters.
Why are white authors still writing characters like this? Is this how you view us? Are we just here to serve, protect and love you?
This book is so bad it ruined The Black Dagger Brotherhood series for me. I’ve been struggling through the series for the last few years as it got long winded. But, after reading this book I’ve decided not not waste my time on her books anymore. I’m just not impressed by her writing, by how predictable her stories are, how she appropriates black culture, and how she keeps going and going just because she can. ...more
I loved this. I was skeptical, I admit. But, I loved every second of this. I have a new book boyfriend. His name is Oz. He's 18, but he seems to the tI loved this. I was skeptical, I admit. But, I loved every second of this. I have a new book boyfriend. His name is Oz. He's 18, but he seems to the type to be into older women.
The synopsis of this book doesn’t give a clear summary of what this book is about. Like, at all. MAKING PRETTY is about one of the most messed up families I have ever encountered. Which is a feat considering there is no drugs or obvious abuse. Montana wasn’t raped and isn’t hiding in closets from her father, but still calling this family dysfunctional is putting it lightly.
Montana and Arizona are two years apart in age, but have done everything together. Except, for College. Being two years younger Montana just can’t go off to university like her older sister. She’s left behind in New York with her useless father. Their father loves them and he provides for them, but he is one of the worst dads I’ve ever read, because he’s a horrible parent. He’s the kind of guy who brings work home, literally. As a plastic surgeon he spends his time making people “more beautiful” and he doesn’t stop at the office. He looks at every woman around him and sees flaws he can fix. Even on his own daughters. For their 13 birthdays, their dad gave them gift certificates for plastic surgery! Way to tell your child that they are not good enough or beautiful.
The other horrible thing about their dad is that he can never be alone. Never. Which has lead to dozens of girlfriends and 4 ex-wives. Think about that. Montana is 17 and her father has already been divorced 4 times. The selfishness of a parent who brings that many people for his impressionable daughters to lose is beyond my comprehension. It’s disgusting and rage inducing.
Rage inducing is a good description for my relationship with MAKING PRETTY. I hated so many characters. Hated all the things they said and all the things Montana didn’t say to them. Especially, after her dad tells her that he’s in love again and that it’s different this time! The moment we meet the new girlfriend, someone that Montana knows intimately, the book spirals into an uncomfortable coming of age family drama that kept me on a roller coaster of anger and pity.
Corey Ann Haydu is a talented author. Her style is smart and rhythmic and pulls you into every detail of the story. I was pulled in. I felt for these characters as if they were real. As if Montana was my friend telling me the story. The author pulled emotions out of me like a puppet master.
The problem is that I believe that I hate this book. Not in the way that I hate offensive or condescending books. It’s not bad. The characters are developed and the story clear. There is the small problem that Montana does not sound 17. She sounds 15. She doesn’t have the voice of someone who has the pressure of SAT’s and the big choices ahead of her. 17 year olds have to decide on colleges and begin the path of who they want to be and what they want to do. Nothing about Montana tells me she has that kind of stress. I say 15, because by then you’ve been through a year of high school which is a life of its own. You’ve had some life experience and some struggles, but the hard choices are still ahead of you. Montana was an immature 17 which worked for the dysfunction of the book.
I hate this book because it pulled emotions out of me and then left me hanging. The ending is no ending at all. One of those pretentious books where the ending is all open ended and nothing is resolved and nothing is concluded.
It’s not that I need things wrapped up in a pretty bow (though that would be nice). No, it’s that Montana doesn’t get to grow. I don’t have any idea what will happen to her on the other side of the last chapter. I have no idea how she will deal with the choices she’s made. I have no idea if her and the boy she falls in love with, will stay together for awhile or if they will break up. Then there’s the fact that no one changes. In the beginning of the book, Montana thinks “I should tell him this. I should say that. I should voice my opinions for once in my life.” At the end of the book, Montana thinks “I should tell him this. I should say that. I should voice my opinions for once in my life.”
That is what I found most frustrating. This is a girl who received such bad parenting she literally doesn’t know what it means to be in a family. She doesn’t know what it means to love. Her parents have screwed her up and she never gets a chance to express herself! When there are small moments of arguments it’s never completed.
I guess that’s supposed to mimic real life, but really it’s b.s. Why did I read a book where people make the same choices. Then, Montana and Arizona begin a journey at the end of the book which is just a cheap ending for me, because I have no idea where it’s leading them or how it will help them. I don’t think it will help them. I think it will break them and the author gave me no clues that their world will have any kind of satisfying or happy conclusion. In fact, their journey probably will make a better story than the one I got.
I can’t quite figure out what the message behind this book is. Here is a girl who doesn’t have a real family life. Who has been left behind and abandoned more times than she can count. Understandably, she latches on to people like her boyfriend or Karissa the young woman she idolizes. But, she never learns what it means to be in a family besides the glimpses she sees of other families. Beyond her sister, she never grabs on to a healthy relationship. In all honesty, I think Montana is going to get knocked up a few times, divorced a few times and still search for a place to belong, because the author gave me no concrete evidence that it will end any other way.
A very weak ending. Disappointing, because I sincerely believe you should read her other book Life by Committee. ...more
I’m a picky reader. I notice every flaw. Every plot hole and every cliche. Friends hate recommending favorite books to me, because I’ll critique it in my heavy handed way. Sometimes, it makes people feel as if I think they’re silly for liking what they like. I don’t. I’m just picky. Legendarily picky. I’m judgmental and I have high standards.
So, when I tell you that “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” was an absolute pleasure and joy to read, you have to believe me.
Simon Spier has a secret. He’s gay. He’s not ashamed of being gay. He doesn’t think the world will end if he tells the world he’s gay. He just wants to tell everyone when he feels it’s right. It’s his life, his secret, his timing. So, when class clown and virtual stranger Martin discovers Simon’s secret identity and his emails with the mysterious Blue, it’s kind of a big deal. More, when Martin implies that he’ll only keep the secret if Simon helps get him close to pretty girl Abby, it becomes an even bigger deal. Because, Simon wants to keep his secret and Blue’s secrets, but he also wants to be a good friend to Abby.
This conflict is just the beginning of what is ultimately a funny, charming and romantic coming of age story. “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” is one of those books that you just smile while reading. Simon is witty and smart in that way that is just so teen. He feels so real, as if we’re reading his diaries. His feelings and thoughts and inner conflicts are so vividly brought to life by Becky Albertalli, it’s a little bit shocking that this is not a memoir.
Becky Albertalli does an amazing job of making everyone in this book very human. Even though we’re completely in Simon’s POV, we’re still able to see when he messes up, or see the other side of people who are villains in Simon’s story. Like, Martin. As the blackmailer of the story, he could easily be the most hated character. But, there were moments where I understood him and I saw into the boy who is as confused and as out of place in the chaos that is high school as Simon was. That’s a rare talent and Becky Albertalli has a skill that will make me look out for all her future publications.
The diversity in this book is just great. Sure, Simon is a white boy. But, his world is not white. Abby, the it girl, cheerleader, that all the boys want is from DC and is African American. His friend Noah is jewish. There’s a soccer team and a room full of the high school drama department that ranges in race. This school is like a real school in the actual world. Everyone doesn’t look alike, everyone is not from the same background and it’s totally ok. No one freaks out that all the boys love Abby and scream, “but she’s black!” It’s not a thing. Because, for most teens, it is not a thing.
The relationship between Simon and Blue happens entirely via email. And, it is so charming. They flirt, support each other and open their hearts to each other via words on a computer screen. And, this works, because there’s an openness to anonymity. Simon and Blue’s relationship comes from a place of shared isolation and they carve a little space for themselves. Sure, it’s via the internet. It’s on the computer, but it’s real. Their connection is genuine and unique…just like all first loves.
Two of my best friends are gay. And, when I say best friends I mean they were the only people to chat with me daily & weekly when I studied abroad in Ireland. When I say best friends I mean I moved to Los Angeles six months ago and they’ve already spent a week with me. They know the deepest things that I’m nervous to even to tell myself. And, here’s the thing, my bffs are amazing, they are talented, they are courageous and they are normal.
Normal is something I believe YA books take for granted. Because, our society has spent centuries treating heterosexual as the norm, gay teens are often portrayed as other. They are portrayed as a symbol or martyrs. As a woman of color I know how unfair and off putting it can be to see yourself portrayed as “other.” What I love about this book is that Simon is normal. He is funny, sarcastic and charming. He has friends, he makes mistakes, he worries what other people think about him. And, he’s falling in love for the first time and that person happens to be a boy. The author digs into the heady nature of first love; the fast beating hearts, the obsessive thinking and the nerves. Simon feels all of these things as he thinks about Blue and these feelings are normal, because Simon is gay and being gay is normal.
I loved this book. Please go out and read it immediately! ...more
There are two different types of comedy. There’s the type where situations are presented to us in a humorous light and we all laugh together in amusement. Then there’s the type where people and lifestyles are put on display and we laugh at the display, not with it, not together, but at it. THE VIRGIN ROMANCE NOVELIST is the latter. The author puts everyone from virgins and fans of historical romance to cat lovers on display and makes them something we laugh at. If I am being honest, this is one of the most condescending books I have ever read.
Rosie Bloom (of course her name is Rose Bloom, because Rose needs to be deflowered and of course she’s a late bloomer, how clever) is dissatisfied with her job. Rosie wears glasses. Rosie is uncomfortable in her own skin. Rosie is completely ignorant of male anatomy. Rosie is so prudish she cannot say the word vagina. Rosie doesn’t try new things. And Rosie is a virgin.
Obviously, because to be over the age of 21 and a virgin, you have to be an uncomfortable, ignorant and prudish failure.
Rosie is the kind of female character that has ruined the once great movie rom-com. You know, the girl who walks around all day with tissue at the bottom of her shoe or splits her pants at the slightest bit of activity. She’s the kind of girl who can’t play sports, who kicks guys in the crotch when she dances and puts soooo much baby powder on her vagina she causes powder storms when she walks. The kind of girl where all the embarrassing things from our nightmares happens to her in a 48 hour period. In short, this is the kind of book where a woman literally has to completely demean herself to be funny.
Rosie is one of the most annoying characters I have ever read, because she is willfully ignorant. I don’t care that she’s a virgin or if she has self-esteem issues or if she’s been secretly in love with one man for so long, she hasn’t put herself out there.
I care that in the first few chapters Rosie got a vibrator stuck in her vagina. I don’t know the vibrator accident rate or how often women get sex toys stuck inside their bodies. No, I care that Rosie got hers stuck, because she’s an idiot. She finds a bullet vibrator, a gift from her straight male roommate (because that’s not weird at all). He unpackaged it and left it without instructions. She has no idea what kind of sex toy it is. She doesn’t know if it’s for insertion or for stimulus, but she uses it. She has never seen porn or explored her body in anyway, but for some reason she doesn’t think hmm let me google this. Nope. Rosie inserts a bullet in her vagina. She thinks, “oh this should be bigger!” And then continues to push it inside and then is SHOCKED when it gets stuck!
I guess that’s funny to some people. Like, yes of course a virgin would get a vibrator stuck haha. So, what if she is a college graduate and living on her own and paying her own way, virgins are so silly, they don’t know not to stick something up your vag that doesn’t have a way of getting out. She wears tampons and it doesn’t even occur to her that tampons have strings for a reason!!!!!
Some shining examples of Rosie’s intellect:
When given instruction on blow jobs with the help of a banana: "Dear God, where do you guys stuff them?" "We just tape them down to our legs." "Seriously?" I asked, as my gaze swung up to his. No you imbecile!!! Not seriously. She’s 23, how does she not know about erections!!!!???
On sticking pencils up someone’s ass. "I don’t know," I shrugged and laughed. "I just learned how to suck a dick on a banana the other day. How am I supposed to know that people aren’t supposed to stick things in buttholes?" Really?! I wish she would dig a sharpened number 2 pencil up her butthole.
Also, ladies, when you decide that you are ready to lose your virginity men will fall from the sky. That’s right. You will run into men at work. Yup, you’ve worked there for years and haven’t noticed a single man anywhere, but once you decide to lose your virginity they’ll be all over the place. You will literally be climbing over the opposite sex on your way to lunch, because suddenly you are a magnet for penis. And, if you are dumb as nails? Doesn’t matter, because just deciding to lose your virginity makes you an instant knock out. And, the men may be different, but they’ll talk and flirt exactly the same so the minute you figure out how to flirt with one, you’ll be great, because every guy on the planet flirts exactly the same with the same level of intelligence and intensity.
Yes. This book is so stupid. You know how some books have so much sadness it in it, it becomes melodrama? That’s THE VIRGIN ROMANCE NOVELIST. It has soo much ridiculous in it, I can’t even call it a comedy. It’s like the melodrama of comedy.
Then to top it off, the main love interest is her male roommate and best friend, Henry. Henry is a cliche. A man whore, who gets all the girls. Usually, the guy doesn’t recognize that he wants his bff until she has a makeover. No makeover needed. He learns she’s a virgin and BAM he wants her. The book charmingly dubs him a “cherry chaser.”
He begins training her in the art of lovemaking, hands off of course and then loses his mind when he finds out that she has dates and may use her new “knowledge” on other guys. He turns into a total stalker, showing up at her dates, etc.
He’s also an asshole.
"Charlene? No, she’s just fuckable. No substance to her." My God!!!!! How can you dig someone who talks about other human beings that way? Oh and let’s not forget his insistence on calling a character named Alejandro “taco man.”
I kept pushing myself and pushing myself, because early reviews of this book are sooo good. But, this is just not for me. What a ridiculous waste of e-ink.
So, a lot of people asked me why I couldn't finish the book and so I jotted down a few thoughts..... It became kind of a mini review of the parts of tSo, a lot of people asked me why I couldn't finish the book and so I jotted down a few thoughts..... It became kind of a mini review of the parts of the book I read. I gave up really really early though.
In the midst of my book burnout, I wondered if the books were the ones that were burnt out and not me. I quickly realized that no, it was me. So, you'll believe me when I say "sorry Solitaire, but I have to quit and it's you not me."
I am beginning to believe in YA by numbers. Publishers give authors a set of numbers to be put together.
1. A pretty girl who is a loner and doesn't belong even though she has a good group of friends.
2. A new guy who is quirky and is all seize the day! Or has no problem talking to strangers as if they are best friends. Literally, this guy walks into a room where the heroine is and her entire life changes.
3. Kids from a nice middle class neighborhood always complaining about the lack of excitement seemingly unaware that in other neighborhoods kids are dealing with poverty, hunger and violence.
4.Some kind of Internet social media connection. Blogs and groups pushing people to seize the day and do things they normally wouldn't is popular right now. Probably because of Tumblr,blogger and wordpress' presence in the world, especially in the book community.
Still, I would suggest you guys pick up any of the other books with a similar theme. I highly recommend Life by Committee instead of this.
From page one the writing seemed to slap me in the face. The author was a little too heavy handed with Tori's voice.
By chapter 2, I decided that Tori was a bitch. Not in the Before I Fall, The DUFF, Life By Comittee way where you are dealing with a heroine who is not the cookie cutter, straightlaced or virginal. With lines like "I very much disapprove" when referring to classmates or "these girls sadden me greatly, because often I feel like they could be very normal if they put in some efforts," there is no denying that I would never want to hang out with this girl, never mind be inside her head.
Tori's feelings feel more like the author on a soap box and less like the authentic musings of her character. Don't get me wrong, because I was an awful teenager. I thought I was smarter than everyone in the room, but Tori's view on life is a little to outside looking in. Like respecting her best friend for being a virgin and judging everyone else for wanting or having boyfriends, but not in a jealous way. She's very much like "there's time for all of this later." As if she were a teacher looking at her students.
That's what's problematic. Not only does the book judge the very audience it's written for, it also decides what is normal and what's not.
I also question the choice to add references to High School Musical and Juno into books. Do authors not want their books to be read in 10 years? 20? People probably won't remember those films. They'll have to do a google search to find obscure posts on something their parents used to be obsessed with called Tumblr. (Admittedly Juno did win a screenwriting Oscar, maybe that one will be known, but do you know what Father Goose or Tender Mercies is? Probably not.)
The writing made this book kind of impossible. I kept rolling my eyes and just hated everything I read. ...more
Everyone knows Sage. Not, because she’s the most popular girl or the prettiest or the one with the worst reputation. No, everyone knows Sage, because she is a nice and good person and she likes to pay it forward. At the worst and most embarrassing moment of a classmates high school life, Sage can be relied upon to step in and lift their spirits. Even if it’s just a little. Because, Sage is the post-it Princess. Did the cheerleaders make fun of you today? That’s ok, your clothes may not be stylish, but Sage will leave a post-it on your locker reminding you and the world that you have the best hair. Sage does this kind of charity daily, because she is the queen of bright and shiny things and it is all a lie.
THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS is simple and sweet story about high school, secrets and how important it is to have people in your life that understand you. It’s about a girl who hides her darkness behind a veneer of positivity and kindness who meets a boy who wears his darkness heavily on his sleeve.
Shane walks into Sage’s classroom so intent on being invisible, she can’t help but notice him. His grungy clothes, the way he consumes free food and the fact that he is the most talented musician she has ever heard. Not only does Shane need a friend, he appears in her life just at the moment where her carefully structured world wobbles and she needs a friend as well.
The truth is that Sage has secrets. She had a life before she moved to her town small enough that all she needs is a bike to get from one end of it to the other. She had a life before she stuck that first positive note to that first locker. She had a past filled with pain and heartache. She had a world that she ruthlessly suppressed under her smiles, positivity, and her green projects.
I liked the slow unraveling of Sage’s secrets. She’s the narrator and we’re in her head and she kept it from us. That’s how good she is at hiding.
I found the character dynamics in this book to be interesting if strange. There’s the girl who just up and decides that she’s going to be bffs with Sage and then becomes just that. There’s Sage’s long term BFF who has been lying to her about himself and their relationship for months. Even her relationship with the story’s main antagonist is complex.
The love story just kind of happens to Sage and Shane. They didn’t expect each other and they really didn’t know what to do once they’d entangled themselves in each other’s lives, but they couldn’t help it. They couldn’t resist each other and it makes for a sweetly intense first love between two young people. The kind of love that seems like forever and makes two characters who have ruthlessly structured their lives, do crazy and risky things.
At the end of the day this is a pretty good read. It was fun and quick and had likeable characters.
Recommended for fans of The Beginning of Everything and Life by Committee....more
I get made fun of for reading historical romance. All the time. I once showed a friend all the books I’ve read in the romance section and she got this look on her face that made me a bit embarrassed. Sometimes I ask myself, “why do you read this?” The answer? Books like “My American Duchess” by one of my favorite authors Eloisa James.
Eloisa James excels at first meetings. Her first meetings run the gamut of angsty to the instant chemistry that happens between Trent and Merry. They meet on a balcony, away from the prying eyes of the Ton and it is fabulous. You get it, immediately. And, so does Trent. A Duke, which means he’s much sought after by the ladies and yet after one conversation with a random American woman, he just knows…this is the one. Except, she’s engaged to his brother.
It’s one of those wrong place at the wrong time. They meet in the wrong order and the conflict, angst and humor of falling in love with someone completely inappropriate at the wrong time is some of the most fun I’ve had with a book in a long time.
This is a short review, because honestly I don’t have much to say beyond this is Eloisa at her best. She is brilliant and funny and so smart. She wrote this while running a school or something in London. She’s highly intelligent which makes her books historically acurate as well as entertaining. Going against the grain of what people like my smirking friend, believe of romance writers and their books.
This book is fun. So, much fun. Amusing, funny, romantic and beautiful. All the reasons that I happily read historical romance.
Recommended for fans of historical romance, anyone looking to start historical romance. I highly recommend all books by Ms.Eloisa James...more
This book made me think about one of my favorite quotes. It comes from Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally, "Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire."
Theodore Finch saves Violet Markey’s life. They stand on top of the bell tower on either side at their lowest moments. They both have the idea of ending it, but another person ending it at the same time? Completely ruins the moment and makes them think…wait, do I really want to do this? They help each other off the literal ledge then lead each other off the emotional ledge.
Having saved her life Finch feels responsible for Violet. He wants to know her. He wants to know more of her secrets. He wants to know who she was before the accident with the aftermath that sent her up to that ledge. He wants to know who she is after and if she can be halfway between the two versions of herself.
Violet Markey serves as a distraction. A distraction to the fact that he’s afraid of not being asleep and is struggling to stay awake.
I hate doing this, because I try and like both male and female characters equally. And I liked Violet, I liked her a lot. Violet is a fantastic, layered and beautiful character, but it’s all about Theodore Finch. It just is. Even in the note the publisher sent to go with the review copy goes on and on about Finch. I knew his name before I even read the book. There’s just something about a guy who is named Theodore Finch or Augustus Waters. It’s like their name fits their personality like Beyonce or Kanye West, with names like that how could they be anything, but extraordinary?
Sometimes I wish it was Theodora Finch or Augusta Waters, but these characters are almost always male. (Except for Cassidy Thorpe from the amazing novel THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING by Robyn Schneider) There’s just something about a loud personality meeting a great, but average personality and adding color to their life that intrigues me.
It’s like Dante enlivening Aristotle or Adrian getting past Sydney’s barriers. It’s just one of those things that explodes off a page …except when it’s a manic pixie dream girl, because that’s overdone.
In truth Violet and Theodore are a lot like me. Violet is a writer, she wants to go to NYU and spends her days writing narratives about life. I am a writer, I went to NYU and I spend my days writing narratives about life. Theodore is loud, he doesn’t care when people call him a freak (or at least never lets them know if it does), he changes his style often hoping to change his life and he’s smarter than most people realize.
The story of Theodore and Violent is crazy entertaining. They meet on the roof and he saves her, but the story that goes around is that Violet talked Theodore off the ledge. So, the entire school is talking about a moment in her life she wants to forget. But, she can’t forget it, because Finch won’t go away. He pushes his way into becoming her partner in a class project to discover their state’s wonders.
They go on adventures that bonds them and unites them beyond being on the tower. Beyond that moment where they wanted to end it, they connect through their differences, through the secrets they keep from the world and the simple knowledge that someone wants to truly get to know them. I liked that despite their over the top meeting, their relationship was simple. Two kids getting to know each other.
That being said, this book destroyed me. Absolutely destroyed me. It destroyed me, because of the many people, not teenagers, but people that these characters represent. Violet is living through the aftermath of death. Everyone wants her to be who she was before. The girl before the tragedy and she simply is not that. She’s someone new and she has to discover who that person is and what she wants. Dealing with grief is always difficult in books like this but Jennifer Niven manages to be honest and real about what it means to be the survivor. The one that is left.
As I read this book I recognized myself in Theodore. From page 1, he was just me. His loud personality, his zeal for life and the darkness that raged inside him. I knew his highs and his lows. I knew the demon that fought inside him, because it’s the same one that fights inside me. When the word is finally said and the label is finally thrown out, I fell into tears. Because he was me, is me and I have never come across that before.
I have to thank Jennifer Niven for that. Because, this is the book I wish I had when I was 16 and I am pleased that 16 year olds who struggle with the high and lows and the struggle that is mental illness may see themselves in Theodore and hopefully they’ll get help.
This book reminds me of my great YA contemporary loves…Pushing the Limits, The Sea of Tranquility and the behemoth itself The Fault in Our Stars. Where two broken teenagers (in TFIOS it’s sick) attempt to put each other back together again.
“‘Let me worry about what I want.’ And then she kisses me.”
"She is oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. The same elements that are inside the rest of us, but I can’t help thinking she’s more than that and she’s got other elements going on that no one’s ever heard of, ones that make her stand apart from everybody else.”
"It’s also me exactly—buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, and then falling deep into mud, so deep I can’t breathe. The Asleeps and Awakes, no in-betweens.” (Quoting Virginia Woolf)
“It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.”
“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”
“The great thing about this life of ours is that you can be someone different to everybody.”
There’s more, but those are my faves.
Read this book. I cannot stress it enough. I just can’t....more
Richard Kenworthy has a secret. And, that secret has him on the marriage mart searching for a wife. As is only right, Richard finds himself at the Smythe-Smith's annual concert. And, while the unmarried ladies kill classical music, Richard notices the one who's not. Iris, the only girl in the quartet that has an ounce of talent and of course is the one that everyone looks over.
Iris disappears in rooms and she knows it. Eyes wonder over her as if she doesn't exist. Which hurts, but ultimately works out, because Iris likes to people watch. From her place beside the wallflowers, Iris studies the ton and the different scandals and politics of England's upper class
She watches, she is not watched. Which makes Richard's nonstop attention during the musical so, unsettling. She knows that she's not beautiful or interesting, so what could he possibly want with her?
What ensues is horrible music, a fumbling attempt at courtship and secrets. Well, a secret. The behemoth of secrets.
This isn't my favorite Julia Quinn book. In fact it's probably my least favorite. The problem is that I figured out the secret pretty early on and it tainted the book for me. I couldn't forgive Richard for what he was doing. For what he was going to do. That's the thing about secrets it changes people's opinions of you and what the world knows about you.
Lots of historical romance novels are about arranged marriages where the characters learn they are in love post marriage, but this entire situation was abhorrent to me. He married her out of necessity and then was like oh wait! I like you!!
Julia Quinn is my favorite historical romance author, but this time that's just not enough for me and frankly Ms. Quinn can and has done better. There's just something about this story that says "I love you, because you are there," that I can't get into. And, "no one else will have me, so you'll do," stories are not much better. I read romance to be swept away. I love that emotions run high and actions are over the top. People falling placidly into love is just boring.
This story has Julia Quinn's normal whit and charisma it's well written with funny scenes, but the story just isn't believable. Richard has no real plan and character motivations make absolutely no sense and how they possibly thought they'd get away with it is beyond me. I don't like books a out idiots.
I recommend every other Julia Quinn novel, but this one. Honestly, she is great. This was just a dud....more