I've read most of Anna Banks' books and having read her latest, How to Lose a Bachelor, I can safely say that contemporary is the genre where she trul
I've read most of Anna Banks' books and having read her latest, How to Lose a Bachelor, I can safely say that contemporary is the genre where she truly shines, whether it is a YA or Adult. When I started How to Lose a Bachelor, I had only one expectation : for the book to provide me with an entertaining story that would make me simultaneously laugh and swoon. And you know what? It did exactly that.
Both Rochelle and Grant were characters that I really liked for the most part. Rochelle was an honorable woman who had decided to take part in the Bachelor-esque show in order to raise money for a really good cause. She was feisty, smart and very clever. I'll admit there were times during the show when she made me hide my face in embarrassment and some when she downright frustrated me with her way of thinking, but she was a sweet girl and her heart was in the right place.
Grant was much much easier for me to enjoy as a character. He was a sweetheart and even though I was a teensy bit worried in the beginning because we were told he had broken Rochelle's heart in the past, I ended up easily warming up to his personality. He wasn't like the douchebags that you normally see on shows like The Bachelor and you could tell that he was uncomfortable with the situation. His utter respect for all the contestants and his drive made him very attractive as a character.
Most of you already know this, but I'm ALWAYS up for a second chance romance, so can you blame me for jumping on How to Lose a Bachelor? There's just something about two people reconnecting in the future after they have grown as characters that is very delightful to read about in books. Rochelle and Grant, it appeared at first, seemed to dislike each other very much, with Rochelle trying to get kicked off from the show and Grant not giving in to her demands. Despite that, there was underlying chemistry between them that sparked every time they were together. When they did eventually patch their relationship, there were some super cute moments between them. There was a little bit of drama that I felt was convoluted, but that has a lot to do with personal preference. Thankfully, it wasn't dragged.
How to Lose a Bachelor was a fast, funny and loveable little book that romance readers will have no trouble enjoying. If you're in need a book to relax to and make you smile, this is the perfect read for you!
I don't even know how I'm going to begin to express how much I lovedHello? by Liza Wiemer. I honestly can't say it was a book that was on my radar to
I don't even know how I'm going to begin to express how much I lovedHello? by Liza Wiemer. I honestly can't say it was a book that was on my radar to begin with, but something about the summary made me want to pick it up even though typically, even the hint of angst or multiple POVs is enough to chase me away from a book. To say that I'm incredibly happy I read the book would be one of the biggest understatements of the year. Hello? is a poignant and emotional story about 5 teenagers on the surface, told in prose, poetry and screenplays, but it runs much much deeper than that - it's an exploration of the human psyche, done phenomenally, and one that will gut readers in every way.
Tricia Oh Tricia, how I wanted to hug you and reassure you that everything would eventually be okay. Tricia's story was probably the most heartbreaking one in Hello?. Liza Wiemer did a fantastic job at portraying the shades of emotions that she went through, having recently lost the center of her life, her grandmother. Family has always been important to me, and I connected with Tricia because of her deep bond with her grandma. As expected, she was completely destroyed at her recent loss and having also lost her parents in the past, it was an incredibly difficult period for her, with thoughts of self harm and suicide frequently drifting to her mind. Watching her go through all these obstacles was tough for me as a reader and there were so many moments in her POV, I was overwhelmed with sadness. While grief, sorrow and survival's guilt were the primary themes of Tricia's POV, hers was also one brimming with hope. She's a character who grew throughout the book in the sense that she became accepting of her grandma's passing, striving to move on with her life and becoming a stronger person in the process.
Brian As with Tricia's story, Brian's was also told in simple, but beautiful prose with addition of lovely pottery sketches. His story was the tamest when it came to emotional intensity in Hello?, but don't let that make you think that it was my least favorite. Brian's story for me, was all about letting go, and chasing after dreams. He and Tricia had been anchored for years and through Tricia's difficult moments, he stuck by her even though she showed no signs of improving. I loved how he was the strong one in their relationship and how he did it all without any complaints. Despite everything though, they were not a couple made for each other and when Brian did finally decide to make the right decision, I had nothing but mad respect for him because he did it so Tricia could finally grow. His love for pottery was also sweet and inspiring and I loved the sketches and how each sketch had a special meaning for him.
Emerson I loved every point of view in Hello?, but I have to say that Emerson was the character that I was most invested in. Named after the famous poet, Emerson's gentle soul, loveable personality and compassionate nature spoke to me. He was probably one of the most selfless characters that I have ever read about and it is what made me fall in love with him. He frequently had his name tarnished in the book thanks to his ex-girlfriend, but despite everything, he remained true to himself, never once trying to get back at his ex. He was a special character and he was someone who taught me something about life: it can be shitty at times, but always be kind to the people around you. Not to mention, one phone conversation with him saved Tricia's life. For Tricia, he was the light at the end of the tunnel and I thought Liza Wiemer conveyed that beautifully through his POV.
Angie I was wary of Angie's POV.
Especially after what she did to my favorite character. Poor Emerson.
But she won me over because through her I learned about Love Friendship Hope Honesty.
She is not the most likeable Because she makes mistakes, so many mistakes, like every human being.
This made her So Very Relateable.
The verse showcased her thought process, her emotions and the author's talent.
Not to forget, it had a lovely, beautiful romance that made me feel so much.
Brenda Nick approaches Brenda's POV with a lot of wariness, as with Angie's POV. It is told in screenplay after all. And Brenda does not make a very good first impression.
Brenda: Let me throw a tantrum about my best friend, Angie, thinking that I am gay like it's the worst possible thing she could ever think. And I freak out every time I don't hear back from her and think that she doesn't love me and that Emerson is spreading rumors about me.
Nick: Hmm... Brenda, what are you hiding? Why are you so prickly? Do something to convince me that I should like you. Please stop being so fickle.
Liza Wiemer shares Brenda's story bit by bit. She manages to slay Nick's emotions.
Nick: I feel like a heart, cold soul. I take back every negative thought I had about her.
Throughout the book, Brenda proves Nick wrong. VERY VERY WRONG. She makes Nick realize that she shouldn't judge people before she knows their whole story. Nick is amazed by Brenda's wisdom, thoughtfulness and how in the end, she is the one who meshes all the characters together, in a beautiful union.
Concluding Thoughts OK. So I tried really really hard to replicate what the book made me feel, but I might have failed with the free verse and the screenplay. But hey, at least I tried, right? Anyways, I don't know what more to say about Hello? to convince you readers. It's hard for me to believe that this was just Liza Wiemer's debut, but she is so talented and writes and expresses like a pro, but it makes me happy because I know I can expect stellar emotional books from her in the future. Hello? is unlike anything I've ever read before, and I want ALL of you to give it a try. Whether you are a teenager or an adult, this book can teach each and everyone of you something about life and I promise you this, by the end, you'll be bursting with hope.
Who thought the first sex scene in this book was okay to publish? It was extremely problematic and raised issues about the definition of consent. Whil Who thought the first sex scene in this book was okay to publish? It was extremely problematic and raised issues about the definition of consent. While Rafe knew exactly who Chelsea was, she had absolutely NO idea that she was having sex with him. Never once did he even bother telling her that he wasn't who she thought it was. That is NOT okay. Chelsea should have been given the CHOICE to go on with the sex or stop their activities but she was never allowed to make the decision for herself.
Not to mention, Rafe was creepy as fuck, with the way he kept contacting her friends and family to find out where she was. That's not sexy, people. In real life, you would want a restraining order against this dipshit.
I think this trend of romanticising domineering heroes who dictate what heroines should do, stalk them, eavesdrop on their conversations needs to stop. It's freaking disturbing.
That's it. I'm officially a huge fan of Jenn Bennett. I loved the chemistry and sexual tension between the couple and not to mention the setting was sThat's it. I'm officially a huge fan of Jenn Bennett. I loved the chemistry and sexual tension between the couple and not to mention the setting was so atmospheric. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
This was a quick read and while it had some sweet moments I had a really hard time connecting to the characters, unfortunately. I also didn't like howThis was a quick read and while it had some sweet moments I had a really hard time connecting to the characters, unfortunately. I also didn't like how they kept fighting for most of the book.
I don't know what it was about this book's synopsis, but something about it immediately captured my attention and I was dying to get my hands on4.5/5
I don't know what it was about this book's synopsis, but something about it immediately captured my attention and I was dying to get my hands on a copy. Maybe it was the fact that the book has an anatomy artist. Or maybe it was the fact that it featured a graffiti artist who sounded sexy as sin. I went into The Anatomical Shape of a Heart with certain expectations and the book delivered in every way. YA contemporary fans are going to LOVE this book!
For a YA contemporary romance novel to really shine for me, the characters need to be compelling. Thankfully, Jenn Bennett seems to be talented at writing these authentic characters that come to life throughout the story. Beatrix Adams, the main character whose POV through which the book is written in, was probably one of my all-time favorite female characters. I loved that she was this character with aspirations that went beyond the norm and that she actually took the steps that she needed to in order to go after her dreams. Her passion for art, specifically anatomical/medical art, was unique, quirky, refreshing and contagious. Not to mention, her character growth throughout The Anatomical Shape of a Heart was smoothly executed. You actually see the subtle changes that occur to her character's personality as a reader and that in itself made the book engaging.
Jack, a graffiti artist that she crosses paths with one random day, was just as well fleshed out for me. I expected him to be a dark bad boy character, but he was a sweetheart who easily charmed his way into my heart. He was battling with his issues with a family member being admitted to the psych ward, and the reason behind his vandalism was actually kind of heartfelt. You feel for this boy and fall in love with him over and over again as he opened up to Bex and the reader. Plus, he was a practicing Buddhist (a first in YA book as far as I know!). As a Buddhist myself, that delighted me to no ends. Despite all the obstacles he had to face, Jack always managed to be funny and made me smile like a goof whenever he was on page. There was just something special about his character that made you wish that he were your boyfriend instead of Bex'.
Besides having memorable characters, the romance between Jack and Bex too was beautifully written. I was in love with the love that grew between Jack and Bex. The flirtatious moments, the banter, the kisses and the conversations they had were sparkling with the intense chemistry that they shared. I loved this romance because you can see them slowly falling for each other throughout the book. Jenn Bennett makes you believe that the two of them are meant to be together and that nothing can really tear them apart. It was a powerful, touching and profound romance based on trust and mutual respect, one that I have no doubt readers will adore. Jack and Bex talk about everything and that made the shipper in me very happy. The book handled sex in such a positive and practical way - Jack and Bex discuss their fears and expectations of sex, which is something that is almost unheard of in YA but is still incredibly important.
The Anatomical Shape of Heart also heavily focused on family as a theme. Both Bex and Jack's families play crucial roles in the book that went beyond just being secondary characters. The parents especially are part of their kids' lives through and through, something that I appreciated. Their families weren't without their flaws, but then again, whose family is? One thing I've learned from reading The Anatomical Shape of a Heart is that Jenn Bennett is masterful at blending together themes and making each one them equally important. Her writing was undoubtedly addicting and I sincerely hope she will continue to write more books in this genre because YA needs more mature, thoughtful and important books like The Anatomical Shape of a Heart.
I hope I was able to convince you to give this book a try. This is honestly going to go down as one of my favorite books of the year. I was able to finish this one within 2 days because I had a hard time looking away from it. If you're a reader who enjoys sex positive romance novels with a strong focus on character evolution and family, then no excuses, you MUST readThe Anatomical Shape of a Heart. While I wait for Jenn Bennett to explore YA further, I'm off to read her adult books.
I've always been fascinated by the music scene and I think there are possibilities for so many amazing stories to be told in the setting. That was my I've always been fascinated by the music scene and I think there are possibilities for so many amazing stories to be told in the setting. That was my main reason for wanting to pick up For the Record. It was a book full of potential and while it wasn't a book without its faults, it was enjoyable and by the end, I knew I would be checking more out by Charlotte Huang in the future.
My favorite part about For the Record was the music setting. I loved how Charlotte Huang was able to transport readers on stage together with her protagonist, Chelsea. While she's having fun on stage, you feel like you too are right beside her. It takes talent to write such vivid scenes and it's certainly one of Huang's strongest points. She not only portrays the glamorous side of being a famous musician - the fame, the celebrities you meet - but she also explored the tougher, more grim side of it. Constantly being in the limelight isn't always as alluring as it seems on TV or in between magazine covers. I'm no expert when it comes to the topic, but it seemed like a very realistic take on how while touring on a bus, visiting all these cities can be fun at times, it can also be incredibly difficult, especially considering how you barely have any privacy. It went to lengths to show the uglier side of the show business and I really appreciated that.
I thought the author also did a good job with Chelsea, the main character. She was this enthusiastic girl, very eager and excited for the opportunity to be the lead singer on one of her favorite bands. She easily fell into the role of a superstar. That's not to say that things were easy for Chelsea though. She faced numerous obstacles, mainly in the from resistance and judgement from some of her band mates, but she handled everything that came in her path with her head held high. There were times when I honestly questioned her decisions and her choices, but at the same, it was easy to see where she was coming from.
Chelsea's band mates were also an interesting bunch, but it's also where the story faltered for me. While they all seemed to have distinct personalities, I will admit that I wasn't entirely keen on all of them. I think I needed to feel a deeper bond with them. Perhaps it was the way they were written or perhaps it was their treatment of Chelsea, but something about them made it difficult for me to connect to. I felt very similarly about Chelsea's best friend, who I would honestly have loved to see a much larger role in the book to bring focus to the friendship theme in the book. I didn't care for the romance(s) in For the Record either. They were a little complicated and messy, which was understandable given the position that Chelsea was in, but I found myself being very disengaged from them, which was sad because I was looking forward to the romance in this one.
Ultimately, while I had some minor complaints about For the Record, for the most part, it was an interesting take on the whole concept of a teen superstar. I found it to be realistic, well-written and full of charm. If you're a reader who likes the music scene, I would definitely recommend this one.