As an Anglophile, I was curious about London Belongs to Me from the moment I heardFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
As an Anglophile, I was curious about London Belongs to Me from the moment I heard about it. Throw in the beautiful cover, and I didn’t even need to read the synopsis to know I needed this book. When a few friends read it and said it would be something I’d love, especially because of the nerdy fangirl references, I knew this book was written for people like me, and I was right. London Belongs to Me made my London-loving fangirl heart so happy.
I loved Alex and connected with her easily. Besides a mutual love of London, we’re both fangirls and writers. I’ve never had panic attacks *knocks on wood* but I do have anxiety, and I admired Alex’s strength and bravery taking off to London on her own to pursue her dreams. I appreciated that things weren’t all sunshine and roses for Alex. She had a lot of struggles, both internal and external, and faced plenty of obstacles on her journey. I was outraged on her behalf at some of the things she went through, and I rooted for her so hard, wanting to see her happy and successful. Middleton did a great job of drawing me in and making me care. I felt like Alex was a real person - like she could be a close friend, or even be me.
Besides Alex, London Belongs to Me was full of a wonderfully fleshed-out cast of characters. I adored Alex’s friends Lucy and Freddie and thought they added so much to the story. The three of them together were hilarious, and I liked that their interactions ranged from funny to touching and everything in between. They had disagreements and misunderstandings like normal friends, but they loved each other unconditionally and were always willing to work through any issues they had. I also loved that they were just as nerdy as Alex; all the Doctor Who and Sherlock references made me squee like the fangirl I am. I loved that Alex and Lucy met online and formed a really strong bond; this was just one of the many things I connected to since some of my closest friends are people I’ve met online. I also loved Mark, the hot Irish love interest (seriously, I feel like Ms Middleton peered inside my head and took everything I love and tied it all together in a book). I wish we’d seen more of him, and of him and Alex together, yet I understand why we didn’t. London Belongs to Me isn’t a Romance - it’s a coming-of-age story about self-discovery, and Alex needed to do a lot of things on her own to find her way and figure out her place in the world.
Fun, funny, and engaging, with fantastic characters, a great setting, and an interesting plot, London Belongs to Me sucked me in from beginning to end. This sparkling debut has me impressed with Middleton’s skill as a writer and as a storyteller, and I can’t wait to read more from her. ...more
The Rule Book was one of only three books I managed to read in May. Three books is perfectly respectable, but considering I normally read at least twiThe Rule Book was one of only three books I managed to read in May. Three books is perfectly respectable, but considering I normally read at least twice, often three times that number, it was hard to go for days at times with life being so stressful and hectic that I couldn’t pick up a book. When I started reading The Rule Book, I knew within the first few pages it was exactly what my poor frazzled brain needed. As a lifelong romcom junkie, this book made me think of the funny, cute, feel-good movies I love watching over and over. It reminded me a lot of The Devil Wears Prada, except with a male boss...one who seems rigid and rule-obsessed, yet wouldn’t eat you alive the way Miranda Priestly would!
One of the things I liked best about The Rule Book was how well developed Lainey was. I’ve read several books lately where the story revolves solely around the romance and nothing else. While I love romance, I want a character to have personality and have a life outside just thinking about/talking about/being with the love interest. Blackwood did a great job of balancing Lainey’s work life, personal life, and romantic life. Since my mum is my best friend, I appreciated and related to Lainey’s relationship with her mother, especially since so many mother-daughter relationships in books are hellish and full of turmoil.
Laugh-out-loud funny, sexy, and fairly low on the angst-meter, The Rule Book is the perfect treat if you’re looking mostly for lighthearted fun with a side of genuine emotion....more
I loved Amanda Heger’s debut, Without Borders. It was funny, touching, and compelling, and it featured memorable characters. One of those characters
I loved Amanda Heger’s debut, Without Borders. It was funny, touching, and compelling, and it featured memorable characters. One of those characters was Marisol, who gets her own turn in the spotlight in Semi-Scripted.
Marisol goes to LA from Nicaragua to attend conferences and interviews in the hopes of winning a grant for her family’s clinic, which provides medical brigades into isolated parts of Nicaragua. Evan moved across the country with dreams of becoming a TV writer, but his internship at a late-night talk show involves little more than rounding up game-show rejects to fill the audience of a show whose ratings are so low, they're kept on air on a week-to-week basis. Seemingly as different as can be, Marisol and Evan have a few things in common: neither of them wants to disappoint their families, and they both have big dreams that they’re willing to work hard for. Thrown together by chance and kept together by strange circumstances, the pair form a bond that slowly builds from friendship to something more.
Semi-Scripted is such a fun, different book. It had me giggling from the beginning, and it was easy to root for Marisol and Evan, both separately and as a couple. Their interactions were hilarious and adorable, and at times really touching. I loved how Evan reignited a spark in Marisol - a lust for life that she’d tucked away in her drive to help keep her family’s clinic afloat. Through adventures, strange situations, and Evan’s openness, Marisol remembers what it’s like to laugh and have fun. I loved how strong and driven both these characters were, and that they each had their own unique side stories that gave the book extra depth.
Semi-Scripted, like Without Borders, is different from anything I’ve read. This book is fun and funny, a mixture of wild scenarios and real-life emotions. Amanda Heger is definitely an author to watch. I can’t wait for more from her!...more
I found Her Best Laid Plans while searching for books set in Ireland. Between the cover, theFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
I found Her Best Laid Plans while searching for books set in Ireland. Between the cover, the ‘Cosmo Red-Hot Reads’ label, and the fact the book is a novella, I was expecting more sex than story. I figured it’d be a quick, sexy read, and while there was some super hot sex in this book (like SUPER HOT OMG), it also had a great plot and fleshed-out characters.
I really liked Jamie and Connor. I sympathized with Jamie and her reasons for visiting Ireland and needing a break from real life. I appreciated that while she and Connor had instant chemistry, it never felt rushed or forced. It can be really hard to find a balance in novellas, and I think McKenna did a fantastic job. It felt like Jamie and Connor actually got to know each other, and while they promised no strings or expectations beyond Jamie’s visit to Ireland, it was easy to root for them and hope they’d find a way to make it work. Then there were the sex scenes. Holy wow. The ‘red-hot reads’ is definitely accurate. I was glad the book wasn’t all sex all the time, but I sure did enjoy Jamie and Connor’s sexytimes!
If you’re looking for a quick, sexy, funny, sweet read I highly recommend Her Best Laid Plans. I thoroughly enjoyed this story from beginning to end....more
After reading and loving Deirdre Riordan Hall’s Sugar, I was excited to read Pearl.Find this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
After reading and loving Deirdre Riordan Hall’s Sugar, I was excited to read Pearl. This was a book that was full of heartache and tough subjects, but it was also beautiful, hopeful, and inspiring.
Pearl hasn’t had an easy life. As the daughter of a has-been rock star who’s more worried about her next fix than about her own daughter, Pearl has been left to fend for herself for a long time. The streets of New York City and her love of fashion are her only escapes. When she and her mother end up homeless, Pearl’s uncle steps in to deal with his sister and send Pearl to boarding school. This is the first opportunity she’s ever had to experience a somewhat normal life, and she’s determined not to mess it up.
This was a very character-driven novel, and Pearl had a great voice. She was smart, creative, observant, and she wanted so badly to find a place she belonged. She absolutely broke my heart at times. It can be hard enough to fit in and have a normal life, but when your past is as rough as hers and you’re worried that’s all you’ll ever be, or worse, that you’ll turn into the very person who made life so difficult, it can seem like a hopeless situation. She was a very real character - she made mistakes, she wanted to be loved, she had varied interests and big dreams, she was sexually active (I appreciated that, and how it was handled - it wasn’t some huge, life-changing thing, it was just a natural part of the story). I connected with her easily, and rooted for her from beginning to end, whether I wanted to give her a big hug or smack her upside the head.
The side characters in the book were equally interesting. Pearl’s new boarding school friend, Sorel, was incredibly volatile. She was like a teenage version of Pearl’s mother, which I suppose is why Pearl didn’t just write her off entirely, even though she should have because she was so toxic and treated Pearl like crap. Despite disliking Sorel and wishing Pearl would stay away from her, I understood why she didn’t, or couldn’t. On the other hand, Pearl’s roommate, Charmindy, ended up being a really great friend. They had little in common and came from completely different backgrounds, but Charmindy taught Pearl a lot about friendship, and it was a truly beautiful thing to watch. I also loved Shale, Pearl’s art teacher, and the lessons he taught her, not just about art, but about life. And then there was Grant...I didn’t think I was going to like him at first, but he grew on me and I ended up loving him. He was exactly the type of guy Pearl needed, and I enjoyed watching their relationship unfold. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t perfect, but it was realistic, which made their relationship easy to root for.
If you enjoy realistic, character-driven novels with beautiful prose and an overall hopeful message about life, love, forgiveness, and self-discovery, Pearl should be on your to-be-read list. While it deals with tough, often painful subjects, it does so in an open and honest way, and is ultimately a lovely and important coming-of-age story....more
I have a confession to make: until a few days ago, I was a comic book virgin. I know, I know,Find this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
I have a confession to make: until a few days ago, I was a comic book virgin. I know, I know, don’t revoke my Nerd Card just yet. As much as I love superheroes, I never got around to reading comic books, mostly because I had no idea where to begin (and partly because my BFF knows way more about superheroes than I do and I was worried if I started, I'd bombard her with never-ending questions and drive her nuts). Imagine my shock and pleasure when I was contacted by a member of Women Write About Comics and asked to review Midnighter for Midnighter Week. Apparently word of my nerdiness and my support of all things LGBTQ spread (yay!), and within a few days I had a lovely, shiny package of comic books for review from DC Comics.
Being almost completely unfamiliar with Midnighter and with Grayson, the story it spun from, I was worried I’d be lost, but I had no trouble getting into the story. I was instantly intrigued by Midnighter, a man who knows little about his own past before he was bioengineered to have enhanced abilities, superpowered healing, and a computer-like brain that allows him to see every possible way an opponent might attack, thereby rendering him pretty much unbeatable in a fight.
I love that Midnighter is who he is, whether he’s kicking ass or being a normal guy, sitting in a bar having a drink, talking to friends, dating, etc. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading - he was so brutal and lethal, I thought I might have trouble separating his superhero persona from the ‘real guy’ but I ended up really liking him and sympathizing with him. There was a nice mixture of him being badass Midnighter and being a regular guy, which I appreciated. He was confident, competent, cocky, smart, and had a dark sense of humour. The detailed artwork did a good job of reflecting his personality, and there were some pretty epic fight scenes. I liked how the artist gave snippets of what was happening within the big picture, so the reader could see things from different perspectives, and see certain things in sharper detail.
Overall, I think Midnighter was the perfect comic book for this newbie. It was fast-paced, had tons of action, great twists, humour, and more depth than I expected. I won’t lie, ‘gay superhero’ is what drew me to the story initially, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I anticipated. When I saw that I only had a few pages left, I was so into the story I was disappointed there wasn’t more. I can’t wait for the next installment!...more
When I read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut, Forever, Interrupted in 2013 I knew she was going tFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
When I read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut, Forever, Interrupted in 2013 I knew she was going to become a favourite author. Three years and three books later, TJR is still blowing me away with her ingenuity and storytelling ability. One True Loves is a beautiful, unique, honest, heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful story about true love, family, loss, and finding the strength to continue living even when your whole world is ripped away from you.
Jenkins Reid has this amazing ability to take a story that should seem unrealistic and make it completely believable. One True Loves is no exception. I was hooked from the first page, and I felt like I went on an emotional roller coaster by Emma’s side. I enjoyed watching her fall in love with Jesse, grieved with her when she lost him, and felt so much pride when she slowly started growing stronger and living again, especially when she opened her heart to Sam. It was interesting to see Emma at different stages in her life and to essentially watch her grow up over the course of several years. And did she ever grow. Just thinking about all she went through makes me tear up and it also makes me proud because she felt like a real person and her struggles and triumphs rang so true.
As with TJR’s other books, One True Loves is a love story in every sense of the word. I loved Emma’s relationship with her family and how it evolved realistically over the years. Emma’s relationships with Jesse and Sam were both enjoyable to read and made me run the gamut of emotions. And, like with TJR’s other books, this one made me think about life, family, love, what true love really means, and how we change over the years in big ways and small.
One True Loves is another beautiful book from Taylor Jenkins Reid. It’s an emotional journey that will put your heart through the wringer but also patch it back up. I think this book will be very healing for people who have suffered or are suffering from grief. As emotional and bittersweet as it is, it’s also hopeful and left me smiling through my tears....more