I love Beauty and the Beast retellings. LOVE. I’m slightly obsessed with that particular story arc/plo~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~
I love Beauty and the Beast retellings. LOVE. I’m slightly obsessed with that particular story arc/plot and love seeing the different spins authors put on it. I think part of it is because I absolutely adore castles, and COME ON who hasn’t been obsessed with the Beast’s library?
When I first read the blurb for this one, I got super excited – and then read a very negative review (by a reviewer I usually agree with and whom I really respect), which made my toes curl…butbutbutbut it was Beauty and the Beast! So I decided to give it a shot anyway, and lo and behold I was approved for an ARC. I’m so glad now that I didn’t let one review decide whether or not I would read the book. While of course no two people are going to feel exactly the same and the reviewer was perfectly professional and within rights to feel as they did, I personally felt the book was lovely!
^This is pretty much EXACTLY how I picture the Beast’s castle as written in this book! – photo from Boredom Therapy
This book surprised me by how closely it follows the original. Of course it is not exact, but it has many more similarities than most of the adaptations I’ve read. It is set in old France, in the 18th-ish century. Isabeau i.e., Belle, is the youngest daughter of a merchant with three daughters. The beast, cursed for an undetermined amount of time, has spent years wandering the woods around his cursed castle and later within the castle itself, attempting to claw his way back to some guise of humanity.
I looked down at my hideous, beastly paws. Thickly furred on the back; black, leathery palms; and those terrible claws I could not sheate. I was overcome with shame. Who am I to love such a one as her? Just as quickly, my shame turned to anger. My talons sunk into the back of the chair. My heart is human! I cried in my mind.
The magic of the story is rather different, as there are no talking candlesticks or clocks and no Mrs. Potts (so sad), but the Beast’s house definitely has a mind and life of its own and is indeed very magical…more on that later.
First of all, the Beast. He’s a very sympathetic character, though a flawed one. He was cursed by a faery who had a long history with his family, and cursed NOT for being evil, but for another reason that you’ll have to read to find out. He is very…well, mopey. Which is really quite understandable given the circumstances, but sometimes I did want to shake him. He recognizes, too, that his manipulation and threatening of Isabeau’s father was wrong and cruel, and he is sorry for it, but as Isabeau later tells him,
“Desperate men do desperate things.”
The Beast definitely grows and changes throughout the story, as he does in the original and most retellings. His woe-is-me attitude sometimes crept in and made him annoying, but overall I liked him.
Isabeau is your typical Belle, except – and I can’t quite forgive this – she is NOT as obsessed with books as my idea of Belle always is! In fact, she declares that she doesn’t quite know what she is good at or what she really enjoys, as her last few years have been spent just trying to make ends meet and help her sisters and father out of the deep depression they collectively fell into after the demise of their father’s fortune. Oy. She remains mostly the same through the book, except of course she comes to see the Beast in a very different light by the end.
Isabeau’s father and sisters were rather different than any portrayal of them that I’ve read, as well. I didn’t particularly like any of them except the oldest sister, but they provided a nice contrast.
The Iffy Stuff
The negative review I read said the Beast was essentially a voyeur and that was a large part of the reviewer’s problem with the book. So, I went into this expecting him to basically be a peeping Tom, mainly on Isabeau. Which wasn’t really what happened at all. Again, YMMV and of course if it bothers someone they should say so! However…the so-called voyeurism occurs at the behest of the Beast’s magic mirror, which is part of his house’s magic. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – and not always when he wants it to. The book DOES use the mirror A LOT to let the reader see perspectives other than the Beast’s, which is effective but given that he is seeing everything that we are, is kind of…odd. But then, what exactly is normal about his circumstances? He’s much, much older than anyone else still living. His house magically manifests food and clothes. His lands are in all four seasons at once. What’s a magic mirror added to all that? Also, the fact that sometimes it just shuts him off made a difference to me. Sometimes, even when he desperately wants to see something, the mirror says no.
Overall, 4/5 stars. I wish I had been a little more invested in Isabeau and the Beast’s romance, but it was still very sweet and they are both very likeable characters. I loved the descriptions of the old, crumbling yet magical castle and grounds. I especially loved how the Fairy’s relationship to the Beast’s family, particularly his grandmother, was revealed. I’ll definitely be getting a copy of this for my shelf!
------------------------------------ I have so many thoughts about this book. Also I'm conflicted about whether to count this as a 2018 or 2019 release because I got a copy of the ARC for the US version, which releases this month, but it came out in the UK last year...anyway, full RTC!...more
"When she died, demons were going to torment her for eternity instead of letting her reincarnate. Or worse, they’d let her reincarnate, but she’d be a catfish who lived under a river outhouse."
The Bride Test is a companion novel to The Kiss Quotient, but it isn’t necessary to have read that one before this one (thankfully, unlike many novels marketed as “companion”).
So, somehow I avoided all the general hubbub that surrounded The Kiss Quotient, author Helen Hoang’s debut novel, when it came out last year. I was aware of it, but not being in a mood AT ALL for romance, I skipped it. I continued to hear people rave about it, and then this subsequent companion novel, so I decided to pick it up.
I loved so many things about this book. I loved Khai so much, and I liked Esme even if I didn’t entirely relate to her…and, since she is coming from SUCH a different background than, I imagine, almost anyone who will read this book, I doubt I am the only one. She is a strong woman who will do anything – ANYTHING! – for her family, even if it means sacrificing herself. She does eventually come to realize that it is not worth it to sacrifice her happiness, even if it means a better life for her daughter, but she plays such a dangerous game here. The author’s note at the end of the book actually talks a lot about this, which I really appreciated.
Autism definitely gets positive rep here, and it was such a refreshing breath of air. I did think it was a little odd that Esme – who researches EVERYTHING – just sort of blew off Khai’s statement about it. That seemed really out of character, but whatever, I guess. She was super sensitive to his need for a different kind of touch, to his need for order and routine…but I felt like part of that was her desperation to try to get him to like her, and it sat a little sour with me. I’m glad that she came into herself by the end, but still.
There are also definitely sexy times in this book – phew! The way Khai handles his sexual attraction to Esme is funny, cute, and sexy at the same time. There is clearly attraction between them, and I love that Esme was completely okay with having sex for sex’s sake – even if nothing else would come of it. We need more of that sort of sex-positive attitude in books. Enough with the slut shaming.
I also loved Khai’s big family. His mom – the whole reason Esme is in America – is hilarious but also so sweet because she clearly loves her kids so very much. The way Kwan and Khai interact completely melted my heart, too. I hope we get Kwan’s full story in the next book! Now I am definitely going back to read The Kiss Quotient and am really looking forward to the next installment as well.
I was expecting a much longer build-up and story, but A Coastal Christmas turned out to be a super short little novellaWell, that escalated quickly.
I was expecting a much longer build-up and story, but A Coastal Christmas turned out to be a super short little novella that I read in less than forty-five minutes - perfect if you want something sweet and quick! Just not so perfect if you want something very believable, in my opinion. There is much Christmas cheer for everyone, and a sweet little homey-feeling town. The characters aren't very well fleshed out, but that is more due to the length of the story than the author's writing, I think. Jessica and Dean connect on purely a physical level...even though the author has tried to tie in something more to the story, it really just felt like grasping at straws and I think to try to give them a HEA was just a little much. Nothing wrong with a holiday fling! And Jessica definitely needed a good rebound after her boyfriend's antics on LIVE TELEVISION no less. Sometimes it takes another person to jolt us back into ourselves and what we really want out of life. In Jessica's case, she suddenly realizes that maybe she's not as in love with the big city life as she once was.
3/5 stars. Writing was good, the story was just really too short for the author to do the characters and theme justice. I'll be keeping an eye out for future books by Kaya Quinsey!
5/5 stars for an adorable, realistic summer romance! I was not expecting to love this book as much as~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~
5/5 stars for an adorable, realistic summer romance! I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. But I was intrigued by the synopsis, being a small-town girl at heart myself, and while I’ve only visited Maine once it was gorgeous and picturesque and I would love to go back.
“The cardinal rule of every beach town is that locals do not get involved with tourists. They always leave.”
Babe is a bisexual baking barista (try saying that five times fast) who is struggling to let go and move on as her life – and her best friends – change around her. Her two bests friends are going on to college, and she’s not. Her choice, but she wants everyone she’s grown up with to stay the same right along with her. But is she really staying the same?
I absolutely loved the way Babe stuck to her guns about NOT going to college and staying in her home town. I think sometimes in all the narratives (and real life experiences) of people leaving home and never looking back, that we forget there are people who love their towns and what to stay there, build a life for themselves in the same place they grew up. On the other hand, I was glad that Babe realized she wasn’t entirely staying the same, she was growing and changing as a person too – even if she stayed in the same physical place.
Levi and Babe were adorable together. Even though their relationship is a little insta-y, it wasn’t insta-LOVE and I appreciated that. After all, insta-LIKE is pretty common and has a large variety of endings, haha. They had chemistry, but the author steered away from things like heavenly boy-sweat and sparks flying from the touches of fingertips. Thank you. I also loved that they both knew, pretty much from the start, that their relationship (whatever it was at the time) might not be permanent, and they were okay with that.
Babe’s issues with Elodie, her ex-girlfriend, were difficult to read about. Elodie is not out, and Babe has been for years, so that really threw a painful wrench into their relationship. After their breakup, Babe eventually – after a lot of tears and pain – moves on. When Elodie comes back to town after a year at college, Babe didn’t crumble. She had realized how much Elodie hurt her and how much she was a selfish person, and wasn’t going to let her do it again.
She was deflecting, trying to unload the responsibility of her decisions on me.
Having let people do this to me more times than I can count, I actually teared up that Babe found the strength within herself to call Elodie out on it. YES. Because it is damn difficult.
Also I desperately wanted some of Babe’s baking confections. OMG. I was EXTREMELY disappointed that there were not recipes for these…I mean, come on! That’s just cruel. Maybe someone will be inspired to come up with some? Because I know I’m not that talented…just page me if it happens. Kthx.
Highly recommend for a breezy summer read that still has some substance. I loved it and am very excited to see what debut author Lillie Vale comes out with next!
Many thanks to the publisher and author for a review copy in exchange for an honest review!
Comics Will Break Your Heart was an adorable story with hattips to geeks of all kinds - from the greats of~*Check out my blog at The Bent Bookworm!*~
Comics Will Break Your Heart was an adorable story with hattips to geeks of all kinds - from the greats of British literature to, obviously, comic book fans! The plot is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, only the two families in question are descendents of patriarchs who together birthed one of the greatest comic book franchises of all time, only to have a bitter falling out.
Mir and Weldon are both likable characters, young people approaching the end of high school with the usual amount of trepidation and flailing about as they try to figure out their place in the world and what they want to do with their lives. They meet by sheer accident, when Weldon's misbehavior prompts his high-powered, fame and fortune focused father to send him away for the summer, to his aunt and uncle's house in the small town he has rarely seen. Despite his undercurrent of resentment and propensity for lying, Weldon is charismatic and charms just about everyone he meets. Mir has a work ethic to rival most adults, desperate to rise above her family's extreme economy of existence. I liked that she didn't seem embarrassed by her admittedly rather eccentric parents, but she knew that their choices were not going to be hers. I could understand her resentment of being forced to the extremes of frugal living - such as buying a second hand Monopoly and painting rocks to replace the missing pieces.
The cast of side characters was endearing too, even if I felt that their stories were left unfinished. I loved Mir's friends Evan and Raleigh, and I hope maybe the author plans to write more about them at some point. Evan especially! He was just so sweet and kind and clearly cared so much about Mir. I really liked that even though he wanted to care about her in a more-than-friends way, when she said made it clear she wasn't interested he completely dropped it, but remained a great friend. A lot of guys could take a lesson! :P
The Romeo/Juliet plot was a little weak, mostly because of its predictability. The adults of the two families have had some hard feelings in the past, but their reasons for estrangement sound weak, especially the way Weldon's aunt presents her case.
4/5 stars. I loved the descriptions of fandoms and comics, and Comic Con. It definitely appeals to the inner (and not so inner) nerd!
Celia Aaron is a new-to-me author, and I was intrigued by the synopsis of the title story. Then I read the rest, because I'm something of a completionCelia Aaron is a new-to-me author, and I was intrigued by the synopsis of the title story. Then I read the rest, because I'm something of a completionist. *tries to hide the very large stack of unfinished book series behind her*
4/5 stars. This was adorable. Short, cute, sexy, and different enough to keep me reading. I love that Adeline was a successful businesswoman - with a bakery! - that didn't take shit from anyone, but she still had a soft, sweet side for people. Of course there was insta-love but this is a novella, so there kind of had to be! The sexy factor is ON POINT in this one too...phew. I liked Ezra, and the fact that while yes he was insanely hot he still had some imperfections (more in personality than appearance, but still).
A Cowboy for Christmas
3/5 stars. This one was just a little too corny for my taste. I guess I'm just not a cowgirl? Or maybe the characters just weren't fleshed out enough for me. Even though they had known each other for a long time, they didn't really know each other (and I don't mean sexually, hehe), and there were a lot of misunderstandings and assumptions they had to clear away. Good, but not as good as the first story. It does have a bit of a mystery that is the catalyst for bringing the main characters together.
2.5/5 stars. I eye-rolled pretty hard through this one. The premise is basically that the couple (Olive and Hank) had a crush on each other in high school but neither ever had the courage to speak up. Now as adults, Olive has lost her chubbiness and become a super-hot yoga instructor (Hank swears he was infatuated with her as much then as now but was that really necessary??), and Hank owns a candy store but has the body of an Olympic swimmer.
A Stepbrother for Christmas
2.5/5 stars. Content warning accompanied this one: contains possible triggers for those sensitive to dub-con play. Fair enough. I'd never read anything featuring this sort of relationship, and I guess maybe it's just not for me? But aside from that, I really felt the amount of hate/loathing Anna had for Niles in the beginning disappeared WAY too quickly to be believable, even if they had known each other for years. Maybe I'm just salty and jaded though, too.
Overall 3/5 star rating. Would DEFINITELY recommend the first story for a cute holiday tale, the rest if you're bored and like quick steamy stories. ;)
I was so excited for this novella! I felt like the plotline was going to be super relatable and cute, as I have for years been in love with my own graI was so excited for this novella! I felt like the plotline was going to be super relatable and cute, as I have for years been in love with my own grandparents' farm that was sold out of the family a few years ago. Unfortunately, I couldn't love this execution of the idea.
First of all, the dialogue is horribly stilted and not at all how people talk - especially not people from rural Appalachia! Not that I'm asking for an attempt at vernacular, but maybe just normal American style speaking? Especially in the first couple of chapters it's as if the characters have never heard of contractions and the result is so awkward. I tried reading some of the dialogue out loud, wondering if maybe it was just my inward eye being judgy, but nope. It sounds just as bad out loud.
One of the redeeming features - and pretty much the ONLY reason I gave the story 3 stars instead of 2 - is Justin's relationship with his much younger sister Marley, now under his guardianship. He clearly loves her and is trying SO HARD - too hard - to make up for all the deficiencies in her life both past and present. She is in many ways a typical pre-teen, and I loved her quirky interests and of course her love of books, and the way she tried to take care of Justin, too. Her and Tara's relationship growth was really sweet, and her tendency to spout off zingers made me snicker a few times. Marley is awesome and I just wanted to scoop her up and give her all the books she could possibly want.
The romance was insta-lovey, but that's to be expected in a novella. I thought Justin made for an attractive love interest for Tara but again the execution was just...not for me. He seems obsessed with kissing Tara's hands, even within an hour of them meeting! Maybe I'm just overly sensitive to human contact, but I really don't like people touching me and have a hard time relating to characters who do it or are ok with it within such a short time of meeting or knowing people. Then there were just some cringe-worthy lines that took all the heat out of the story in places.
Her skirt was short, her sweater tight, and the lighted reindeer antler headband nearly sent him over the edge.
Really. The lighted reindeer antler headband. Dude, what even. I couldn't take any of their attraction seriously after that, and even the culminating scene fell flat. I was too distracted by picturing her wearing flashing antlers on her head, even though she wasn't by that point.
Of course, these things won't bother everyone, and the groundwork is laid for a couple more novellas in the series (Tara has two sisters who both obviously also deserve a HEA), so if the rural community and family farm storyline intrigue you, be sure to check it out.
I am so excited to be able to give a high recommendation to Anya Cosgrove’s debut novel! This book was~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~
I am so excited to be able to give a high recommendation to Anya Cosgrove’s debut novel! This book was such a fun, entertaining read.
They say ignorance is bliss. I say ignorance gets you killed. I still miss it, though.
- Um, the brothers! Duh. They’re very different but they’re both hot. Haha! Thom is the friendly, popular guy that everyone likes, and Liam is the brooding anti-hero. As you know by now, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time…I am ALL ABOUT the anti-heroes. Yes please.
- Alana is a fun character, and I’m super eager to see how she grows and matures in future books. She comes around to this whole supernatural thing very quickly, and it would have been a sore point for me except that she even says in her narration that it’s very odd, how easily she accepted this new world that she is suddenly thrust into. So I’m interested to see if that plays out in any way down the road as well.
- The slow burn! I absolutely hate insta-love, and while of course it’s pretty normal for any hot-blooded human to feel some physical pull to an attractive other person, I don’t think it’s normal for a true obsession to switch on immediately. THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN HERE, and I am so grateful. It made me enjoy the story so much more! - The evil guy is really despicable. Not just sort of nasty. Like made my skin crawl in horror. Which is IMPORTANT! If the stakes aren’t high enough, the story won’t work…and it worked, let me tell you.
- Love triangle. Obviously that was a main point of this story, it even says it in the GR description – but I really didn’t think *I* personally would be so torn between the brothers. ARGH!
- Need more details on how all this witch/warlock/demon/magic stuff actually works, and it’s origins. It’s explained a little, but…really needs some more fleshing out. Hopefully in the next books! - Erm…the cover. I absolutely HATE covers with barechested men or scantily clad women. Like I couldn’t read a physical copy of this in public. Can we please just not? There’s so many other cool scenes from this book that they could have chosen…but that’s a very small beef. Just ignore the cover!
I cannot WAIT for the next installment of Bloody Hearts, which is titled Witch’s Honor and is due out on April 11, 2019!
Someone to Trust is the perfect holiday book for the Austen-inclined reader! I thoroughly enjoyed this~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~
Someone to Trust is the perfect holiday book for the Austen-inclined reader! I thoroughly enjoyed this historical romance, with its unique characters and large, warm, overarching family story. This was particularly refreshing because it was DIFFERENT. Instead of your typical young-couple-meets-and-falls-in-love (naturally with a few obstacles thrown in their way, but nothing they can’t overcome), the heroine is actually a widow, and somewhat old for a Regency era heroine at that. Ok, not just somewhat old, but unheard-of old at thirty-five! And the hero is…twenty-six. GASP!
Elizabeth has been unlucky in love, but she is reconciled to her life. She is still a vibrant, intelligent, warm-hearted woman but has determined that
Contentment would be good enough, even preferable to exuberant happiness, in fact. Happiness did not last. There was more stability in contentment.
I loved Elizabeth so much. She has a backbone of steel and a heart of gold. Despite her misfortune, se is not closed off or unreachable or wallowing. I think it safe to say it is all of those underlying qualities that most attract the young Lord Colin Hodges, much to his own amazement. Colin does not waste much time fretting over what society will think of his inappropriate attachment – no Mr. Darcy scruples here – but determines to win Elizabeth’s heart. Of course, true love’s path never runs smooth, as his own mother (and LORD WHAT A MOTHER) conspires against him, along with the rest of society and Elizabeth’s own belief about herself and what she deserves out of life.
This book is so far removed from what I usually expect from books labeled historical romance. It is full of solid, steady, but also heart-fluttering love. The characters are mature and make decisions that MAKE SENSE, both for the time and for the story. There was none of the ridiculous swooning and obsession that so often marks romances.
4/5 stars, because I did feel that some of the dialogue was really too modern and felt removed from the time period. Didn’t detract from the story itself, just from my absorption in it. Still highly recommend! I will definitely be coming back when I get the itch for a historical romance again, especially since this was the 5th in the Westcott series. All the previous relationships and people are well explained so that it CAN be read as a standalone, but it really made me curious!
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I saw this book and wanted it. Instantly. THAT COVER. Who doesn’t want to dress up in a sweeping, rich~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~
I saw this book and wanted it. Instantly. THAT COVER. Who doesn’t want to dress up in a sweeping, rich red gown with Christmas green trim? Clearly I was born in the wrong century. I had never heard of Mimi Matthews and while I am typically suspicious of historical romance books, my lovely experience with Someone to Trust (by Mary Balogh) made me willing to give this one a try as well.
The premise was intriguing enough – a woman willing to sacrifice her own happiness for her family, but only so far. Sophie has standards. She is more than fine frills and ballrooms. Mr. Ned Sharpe recognizes that almost at once upon meeting her. Before long he is head over heels – but will he ever find his tongue? Though very short, this story was absolutely delicious. I loved the science brought into it as the characters were discussing Darwin’s then-new theories, loved the descriptions of modernization, and I especially loved the major hat-tip to Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, which is one of my most loved classic books!
^I can totally see Ned as perpetually frowning as Mr. Thornton.
Sophie has just about given up on Mr. Sharpe, but in an effort to please her parents she makes one last ditch attempt to get to know him – just to know him! that’s all she wants! not even to be attracted to him! – and invites him AND his parents to her family’s Christmas party at their country estate. Given their aristocratic status and his family’s merchant background…things may not go as smoothly as could be hoped. But Sophie is determined to try to like the man who is willing to save her family from her father’s ill-advised spending, and what results is a lovely little romance that builds as the two come to understand each other better.
If you’re familiar with North and South, you will definitely see the similarity between Mr. Thornton and Mr. Sharpe, which wasn’t really all THAT obvious until the mother came into play. I loved it. It was sweet, and lovely, and can we have a full length novel with Sophie and Ned?
^From the North and South movie, which was amazingly good and true to the book! I think it might be time for a re-watch.
5/5 stars, because while there isn’t a whole lot here, it seems meticulously researched, the characters are alive and vibrant and seem ready to walk off the page, and, well, they’re just adorable somehow. Also snow and Christmas, because apparently I am ALL ABOUT the holiday cheer this season.
One Day in December was my local bookstore's book club pick for December (the meeting of which I did~*Check out more on my blog, The Bent Bookworm!*~
One Day in December was my local bookstore's book club pick for December (the meeting of which I did not get to attend, to much sadness). I was a bit dismayed, to be honest, as I don't typically read a lot of romance and often find myself too jaded and cynical to enjoy books with a heavy romantic focus. I am very happy to report that this book warmed even my crusty old heart!
While this book is, yes, a story of love, it is also a story of friendship. Laurie and Sarah have been best friends for years, and their friendship is really the glue that holds this book together. I loved them both, even if I definitely identified more with Laurie's feelings and experiences. I've never been glamorous or someone who shines in the spotlight, so I was right there with her! The story spans 10 years from the time Laurie first spots her Mr. Right at a bus stop, and while Laurie and Sarah have their disagreements and even fights at times, they stick together through it all. Even when thousands of miles separate them! Again, having many long distance friendships, this really struck a chord with me. They aren't all sunshine and roses, and Laurie really struggles sometimes with Sarah being in a relationship with Jack, but in the end she does the absolute best that a best friend could do and tries to be rational. After all, it's pure silliness to think that you could be destined for someone you took a fancy to through the window of a bus...right?
Whoever the hell is in charge of TV scheduling needs a bullet between their eyes. Surely they could work out that anyone who needs to resort to watching TV on Valentine’s night is single and potentially bitter, so why they thought The Notebook would make suitable viewing is beyond me.
Despite the somewhat serious tone of the book - three young people seeking their own path in life as well as seeking for someone to share it with - there are moments of humor sprinkled throughout. More than once I giggled to myself while reading.
The storyline does move relatively fast, skipping over large chunks of each year and only coming back to "big" events or conversations. I was leery of that concept too, but it really seemed to work well for this type of growth in relationships and characters. All of the main characters grow, and growth includes some "mistakes" that are rather painful and costly at times. Some of the choices they made had me gasping in horror and feeling pains in my own heart, as again I just found them SO relatable (and in a couple of cases I've even walked the exact same path and could see the impending danger).
Jack starts off as a classic nice guy, goes through some shit and turns into a complete asshole. Not because that's who he really is, but because he sinks into depression after a major accident and it completely changes his personality. He can see this, himself, but seems powerless to stop it. I found this to be a very accurate portrayal of how depression can wreck havoc on a person AND their relationships with other people - again, having been on both sides of that coin to some extent. Thankfully this was only temporary but it did leave his mark on him and the people around him.
I did have a couple little...bothers with this story. First of all, Jack lies to Laurie right from jump. It's a little white lie, but it affects her more than he could possibly know and it just felt...bleh. And then, there is a certain THING that happens, that results in lies of omission that (naturally) create problems further down the road. It bothered me, and yet I can't say what I would have done in the same circumstance would really have been any different. People make mistakes, and sometimes it is better for other people - people who might be hurt by the truth - to not find out. Sometimes. It's such a gray area, which I guess was the point here.
5/5 stars. Overall I loved this story because yes (as I have already said MANY times, I know), it was relatable for me, and because I felt it was so true to life. Life is messy. Sometimes life sucks. Relationships and love are EXTREMELY messy and often uncomfortable. But people and relationships ARE worth it! I loved that even after all the heartache and struggle, Laurie and Sarah and Jack all have hope and love in life, no matter how long they had to wait or look to find it. Sometimes the road to get to where we need to go is long, but life isn't just about the destination.
Adorable novella set in the Parasol Protectorate universe (the Parasolverse). I was in desperate need~*Check out my blog over at The Bent Bookworm!*~
Adorable novella set in the Parasol Protectorate universe (the Parasolverse). I was in desperate need of a good paranormal book fix after the catastrophe that was my last foray into paranormal books, and as usual Gail Carriger did not disappoint! I giggled and swooned my way through this little story and my only complaint is that it IS little.
Note: You can read this even if you haven't read any of the other Parasolverse books, but it is much, MUCH more enjoyable if you're already familiar with the world and some of the characters. Recommend starting with Soulless.
Now, I have absolutely LOATHED Channing ever since he first appeared in I think it was the second Parasol Protectorate book. I hated how he treated Alexia and his general airs of superiority towards the entire world. I was more than willing to see him get his icy little heart crushed and broken in this book. Faith is an entirely new character and I loved her! I love that she totally disdains societal expectations of her interests and hobbies (she's an amateur geologist).
"Are the British opposed to the immigration of foreign rocks in principle or just in theory?...I assure you, sir, these rocks are mostly harmless. Your virtue is safe from nefarious rock infiltration."
Also, the narrative voice is hysterical, as is usual for Gail's books (yes, I might be fangirling just a little bit here). There are some amazing quotes, especially near the end, but I'll leave most of them out so you can discover them for yourself. Please just go read this story. It's so worth it and really doesn't take long!
Short, sweet, a little bit sexy - but much less actual sex than Poison or Protect, another of the novellas. 5/5 stars, highly enjoyable and highly recommend, and can we please have more Channing and Faith?!?
"I've looked all my life for family...now I know it is you...this is what you and I will do now. We will hold these broken parts of ourselves dear because they brought us to this point, and we will love each other wholly and completely."
The Fog is the 4th in the Berry Springs series by Amanda McKinney, and can be read as a standalone. I f~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~
The Fog is the 4th in the Berry Springs series by Amanda McKinney, and can be read as a standalone. I flew through this little novella (at 225 pages it makes for a quick afternoon or before bed read) and am considering picking up the other three at some point!
Things I Loved
- Gwyneth is described as having sexy BROWN eyes. Hell yes, let’s have some love for a shade that isn’t blue! - Gwyneth is also scientist and a damn good one. Love that she has a career and goals and is doing whatever it takes to reach them. Wouldn’t mind reading more about her background, and Wes’s for that matter! - Believable vendetta against Wes. I was kind of worried about this being something silly, but it wasn’t. - Atmospheric – yes please. I happened to read this on a rainy day, which was just PERFECT for the last part of the book…made it seem very real. Remind me to never check into a hotel during a storm. Yikes.
Small Complaints - Predictable – well, it’s romantic suspense. If you didn’t end up with what you were expecting you’d be disappointed, yes? Still, there were a couple parts that – as far as the forensics – made me roll my eyes because I thought the “big discovery” was SO obvious. - I thought the insta-attraction was a little much, as well as just HOW FAST they progressed…but again…how else are you going to bring everything to a conclusion in such a short book? - Wes was a little over the top dominant in some ways. It was annoying. At least our girl Gwyneth was there to straighten his ass out. 😉
3.5/5 stars. This is an enjoyable, fast read if you want a little romantic action and a little suspense!
2.5/5 flames. There’s attraction and action, and Wes is great and all, (and I did LOVE that while he is very attracted to Gwyneth, she’s not described as having a supermodel body), but it just didn’t quite do it for me. They’re a cute couple but I guess I wanted MORE of them, more depth!
Disclaimer: this was my first ever m/m romance read. I'm not a romance devotee, by any means, so perhap~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~
Disclaimer: this was my first ever m/m romance read. I'm not a romance devotee, by any means, so perhaps it should not have been a surprise that I found aspects of this novel grating.
2.5/5 stars. Rounded to 3 because it redeemed itself slightly with a sweet ending.
I liked both the MCs, Quintus and Kaeso, from the start. For different reasons, as their personalities and backgrounds are QUITE different (backgrounds more so than the personalities). However, I felt there were a lot of inconsistencies portrayed in their characters as the novels progressed. For instance, Quintus is a hardened gladiator and a skilled tactician, and at one point he makes a COMPLETE NOOB BLUNDER. Um, no? Sorry, but a man like Quintus would NEVER fail to think of the people he is close to being used as blackmail or bargaining chips. Never. Kaeso was even worse. At the beginning he is proud and fierce and defiant. He changes and falls in love with Quintus so rapidly I found it entirely unbelievable. It reeks of Stockholm syndrome, to me. As the story progresses, it is clear that it is NOT, however, the speed at which Kaeso's attachment forms is not consistent with the horrible experiences he is supposed to have had (which we never get much description of, only hints and at the end, a few more details).
All that said, Quintus is sexy AF and their relationship is sweet and gave me warm fuzzies AT THE END.
I'm pretty sure this novel was not written with the best view to historical accuracy. It's not supposed to be literary fiction, so that's okay, but I found the dialogue especially to be stilted and off-putting. More so in the middle than in the beginning and end. There also wasn't ENOUGH detail for my tastes...I was vaguely aware that the city was Roman, but it didn't really give me that walk-back-in-time feel. I think this is a particularly hard time period in which to do that, due to how very far back in time it is and the fact that there are less historical records/description of it than say, Victorian times.
Predictable. Saw everything coming a full mile away. Again, not entirely unexpected because the main focus here was the romance. However, even with that...it was as if the author was purposely alternating: scene with other characters, sex scene, scene with other characters, sex scene...and on and on. Even the sex scenes became extremely similar (which...I guess is also expected?). With about 15% left it actually became a little more interesting as things drew to a close...the only thing really left open was if a certain side character would live or die, and where Quintus and Kaeso would settle down for their HEA.
Eh, 3.5/5? It's very graphic and they're obviously very very into each other. I was so nonplussed by Kaeso's character flip-flopping though, that I couldn't really get into the sexy scenes. YMMV.
All in all, maybe if you enjoy this genre, you would enjoy this book. I probably won't be reading any other stories by this author, but I do have one more m/m romance I want to try...see if it's me or the genre.
Cute. Fluffy. Dogs. Sounds like an awesome time, right? I adore dogs and I’ve even contemplated trying to es~*Full review here on The Bent Bookworm!*~
Cute. Fluffy. Dogs. Sounds like an awesome time, right? I adore dogs and I’ve even contemplated trying to establish a dog-walking business myself to bring in some side hustle cash, so I thought for sure I would love this book! I kind of did…and I kind of didn’t. There is one huge, glaring issue in particular, but…
Good Things First
Andie isn’t even particularly a dog person before the story starts, but after a chance encounter with one she quickly gets lured in. PUPPY LOVE! Anyone who can resist is either heartless or allergic. 😛 Anyway.
Friends! Andie and her three best girlfriends are tight. They care so much about each other, it just leaps off the page. I love the way the group texts were presented in the hard copy of the book, complete with emojis. It was awesome and hysterical and oh-so-accurate.
Cute. Andie and Clark are SO different and yet they work and are adorable together.
Andie is a sexual being and it is portrayed in a POSITIVE light. I loved this. For far too long it’s been the THING for guys to be players and have casual hookups and be cheered for doing so, while if a girl does the same she’s a slut. Not so here. Andie does have emotional struggles, which contribute to her inability (in the beginning) to connect with any of her boyfriends much beyond a fun and physical level. Even when she does begin to realize that oh hey, feelings are ok even if they’re sometimes annoying, she still enjoys the physical side of things. YES! The book doesn’t go into too much detail and is pretty tame as far as sexual stuff really, but the implications are there.
Not Great Stuff
This book is nothing but a HUGE basketful of privilege. White privilege, rich privilege, political privilege, straight privilege…all of it. This smacked me in the face even though yes, I’m white and straight. I am not and have never been from the kind of world this book exists in – where all teenagers have their own cars, the newest phones, perfectly safe neighborhoods, huge houses, don’t NEED a job but only work one to avoid boredom…WTF. There are no characters of any other nationality or color, or sexual identity. Like they don’t even exist. WHAT WORLD DO YOU LIVE IN?!? I was extremely bothered and this aspect alone is what brings my rating down. I understand that sure, in some places, this is how people live. But the characters in this book don’t seem to have any idea of how well off they are, or that there’s anything special about their lives. I guess, maybe, that this is supposed to be a light-hearted, escapism type read…but even if so I just can’t buy it. It’s not okay and I am extremely disappointed. I’m not sure I will be trying anymore Matson books. Looking at the other reviews on GoodReads, I seem to be one of the only people bothered by this aspect…so maybe I’m oversensitive or something. But it just rubbed me wrong, maybe because of the sheer cluelessness of the characters.
I bought this book when it came out from Baker about three years ago, due to Diana Gabaldon's mention of it on her page. Fanfiction approved by the auI bought this book when it came out from Baker about three years ago, due to Diana Gabaldon's mention of it on her page. Fanfiction approved by the author? Intriguing. Could be great. Could be really freakin' awful.
This is me at the end of the book. This is a huge improvement over the me in evidence about 60 pages in, which was more like:
Let me explain.
Good things first. The writing is smooth, descriptions are detailed but not too much. I could see the places Emma was going in my mind, I could picture the people she was meeting. Great! Also I love all things Scotland, but I try really hard to keep a real and not touristy view of the country, and I think Dyer did a great job of bringing this out in the book. The story - once a certain amount of suspension of disbelief was applied - was amusing. I laughed out loud several times. The author is good at making even secondary characters different enough to remember (even if a couple of them turn out more caricature-like than I would prefer).
It's a fluffy, fast read. Actually, this is the first non-academic book I've finished in months, and I finished it in one evening (stayed up almost three hours past my usual bedtime to do so). So, if fluffy, ridiculous, entertaining books are your thing or you need a break from your usual thing, this book might do it for you. Please bear in mind, it pretty much reads like a fanfiction. Because...well, it is! It was approved/allowed by Diana Gabaldon, due to the heavy influence of her Outlander books on the writing. Ahem. I.e., FANFICTION. If you haven't read at least the first Outlander book, much of this one will make absolutely no sense and no doubt engender even more eye-rolling than it did for me (I love the Outlander series with a passion).
Now the reason for the Anger. Please excuse my undeniable urge to use caps.
WHAT THE EFF CENTURY ARE WE IN, THAT OUR MAIN CHARACTER DEDICATES HER ENTIRE LIFE TO FINDING A MATE?!? Are you freaking kidding me right now?!?
I think Emma needed a counselor more than she needed a trip to Scotland. She was clearly suffering from a horrible lack of self worth due to constantly comparing herself to her highly successful (and younger) sister, and by a chronic tendancy to derive her self worth from the amount of male attention she received or could obtain.
What, exactly, has Emma been doing with her life? I tried to figure it out, as just because one works at Starbucks at the age of 30 does not mean one has wasted one's life. Things happen, circumstances change...maybe I just missed it, but Emma seems unable to have pursued anything other than boyfriends with any real vigor.
No. Just no. Okay, so I still love a good HEA and cutesy romantic stuff as much as the next person...sometimes. When it is warranted. In this case, I chose to finish the book and suspend by disbelief/outrage/horror at Emma's underlying reasoning for "searching for her Jamie," and was able to somewhat enjoy the rest.
I gave three stars because of the quality of the writing, but I wouldn't read it again. Give me a book with a female MC with LIFE GOALS, not man goals.
Fluffy. A little bit funny, a lot ridiculous. Requires much more suspension of disbelief than my usual picks~*Full review here on The Bent Bookworm!*~
Fluffy. A little bit funny, a lot ridiculous. Requires much more suspension of disbelief than my usual picks, but even still it was entertaining enough to finish. The title feels a bit misleading, as Thea never really seems to run away…she just sort of flounces off and disappears for a few days but doesn’t really go far. But anyway…
The plot is a bit…farfetched. Hence the required suspension of disbelief. The locale is obviously based on England, but the author has invented another country (I suppose so no one can say she’s dissing the actual British royal family?) and culture. Said country and culture is pretty much England…except England is also mentioned. Color me confused, for the first few chapters until I gave up trying to understand and just rolled with it. Then there is the issue of Princess Thea’s fiance’ abandoning her at the altar, and all the other super-secret-squirrel-stuff…and then there’s the other guy, who, yes, sounds hot, but in a very generic sense. Oh well, it was still cute.
I struggled a bit to really connect with and feel for the characters. Both Thea and Nick are just kind of…flat. Not in an annoying way, there just didn’t seem to be a lot there other than Nick’s oh-so-attractive-secretiveness about his past life and Thea’s terribly, exhausting choices between family duty and her heart’s desires. Oooookay, first world problems much? That is, at least, pointed out in the book. Thea needed a backbone. Nick needed to think more with his big head instead of his little one, all James Bond style.
The end was a little rushed, but it tied up all the loose ends nicely. All in all The Royal Runaway was a light, quick and easy read but without a whole lot of substance – which sometimes is exactly what is needed.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I loved the blurb for this book, and almost ordered it instantly...but I decided to be good and wait, and then I saw it at my library! Of course I picI loved the blurb for this book, and almost ordered it instantly...but I decided to be good and wait, and then I saw it at my library! Of course I picked it up...and I was shocked by how small it was. "How does anyone fit a retelling of P&P in a book this size?" I thought...but I gave it a try anyway. The answer is...eh...they don't. Or at least not very well.
Seriously...where's the rest of it?
Yes, it read just as rushed as I expected. The characters are flat and not very interesting. Darcy (female type here, remember) is done better than any of the rest. Even Luke, her "Lizzy," who is supposed to be this amazing artisan who creates fantastic wood furniture...which is mentioned like twice...and then forgotten all about. At the end he even randomly picks up a new career (WTF?).
The writing is boring. The adults feel like teenagers. The plot of P&P is condensed from well over a year down to less than 2 weeks. Uggggh.
However, I did really like the Darcy/Bingley combination going on here. I loved that they totally stepped outside the expected m/f relationships there. Bingley was just adorable (if somewhat stereotypical in his own way). He is what saves this from being a 2-star read.
If you know P&P, there are no surprises here. Which is fine! However, I felt like the stakes were not as high as in the original, or even as in a better retelling - which, by the way, would be Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld - and besides all the lackluster writing, that just made it very bland and overall disappointing.
Feels: Just...awwwww. Lots and lots of awwww moments. Between the besties Kirby and Clancy to the awkward~*Full review here on The Bent Bookworm!*~
Feels: Just...awwwww. Lots and lots of awwww moments. Between the besties Kirby and Clancy to the awkward anxiety of a new crush, there was just so many times I got a case of the warm fuzzies. Also, Kirby's grandfather. My heart hurt for him, and for Kirby and her family. I remember my great-grandmother as dementia set in for her, and it was absolutely heart breaking. It's difficult sometimes as a teenager or young adult to see our loved ones growing older when we feel like we're just starting out in life.
Characters: I love Kirby. She is unapologetically (though sometimes embarrassed) nerdy and unfashionable, and I wish I had her self confidence. Her quirky family, complete with unaffectionate mother and absentee father, is endearing even while they exasperate Kirby. Clancy is just hilarious and unpredictable (except to Kirby, who knows him better than he knows himself, it seems) and I loved how he repeatedly scandalized their small town with his antics.
There is a lot of minority representation in this book. That was probably my favorite part, besides the general Australian-ness (is that a word?) of it, which had me chuckling over slang I didn't quite understand. Kirby is gay, while Clancy and Iris are both minorities. I was a little sad that the book glossed over Iris's mental health issues, but I guess you can only do so much in a relatively short book.
Plot: So, this is where I felt the story was a bit weak. The plot line just sort of dragged while it skipped around somewhat and left me a little bit confused about what was going on in places (though maybe if I had paid a little more attention to the dates at the top of some of the chapters, that would have helped). There are a couple of side plots that were interesting but then turned out to not be so interesting or they were just finished off so quickly it felt a bit disjointed. Then at the end it felt like the author realized something exciting needed to happen and threw that little disaster in the works to shake everything up. Which it did, but it didn't have enough time to resolve, in my opinion.
Oh! How could I forget.
STANLEY! You should definitely read the book just for Stanley. Because everyone, apparently, needs a pet goat.
Overal, 3.5 stars. 1 flame because there are a couple slightly sexy scenes but nothing over the top or that I felt would be inappropriate for a young teen reader....more
Ok, let me make something quite clear: I don’t read romance. Especially modern romance.
However…I saw someone gushing about this book on Twitter and was kind of in a reading slump and thought, “Well, why not…everyone needs a little spicy love story now and then.”
Let me make something else clear: If it wasn’t for that gosh darn stupid cover, I would buy a hard copy of this book for my shelf. But I’m a cover snob and I hate “sexy” covers with a passion. Not because I don’t appreciate a well-muscled male back as well as the next person…but I find them highly embarrassing to read in anything but the deepest privacy – which happens next to never, for me. So I bought the ebook (it was a total impulse buy and read).
Oh, hi there. Yes, this book is VERY hung up on how sexy Archer (the male MC) is. Buuuuut…it’s totally ok. ;)
Archer’s Voice is all about feelings. ALL THE FEELS. I did have a few minor quibbles with the plot and the writing style. For instance, somewhere in the middle of the book, the author repeatedly has Bree use the word “tummy” in descriptions of her sensual feelings and OMG JUST STOP. I actually saw another reviewer mention this before I started the book, and thought that surely they were just overreacting…no, they most absolutely were not. Note to self: when writing sex scenes that word is NEVER A GOOD IDEA. The plot is somewhat predictable…ok, a lot predictable. It’s a romance. It’s a New Adult (NA) romance, so it contains a fan-yourself-go-take-a-cold-shower (or…don’t) quantity of steamy sex. What was supposed to be a big plot twist was…not that shocking, and actually didn’t make a lot of sense but okay whatever. (view spoiler)[Archer and his arch-nemesis cousin are suddenly revealed to be brothers…which means their father had sex with both his high school sweetheart and another woman two months apart, and let his sweetheart marry his brother because she thought she was pregnant with his baby? Like WTF was even going on there and how are we still supposed to think he was the GOOD GUY? I feel like that was not thought through well AT ALL. (hide spoiler)]
I went into this book skeptical of its ability to give me feels. Romances usually have me rolling my eyes and tossing them into the corner halfway through. I was intrigued by the premise of the male MC in this book though – no voice? I originally thought he must be deaf, but no.
Archer (male MC) and Bree (female MC) are both severely wounded, scarred people. Somewhat physically, but mostly emotionally. I could identify strongly with that. Bree’s wounds are more recent, and she had a mostly happy, healthy childhood to give her a strong foundation to stand on even despite her recent horrors. Archer on the other hand, has never had a normal life with a functional family and a devastating accident when he was 7 years old robbed him of both his parents and his voice. Raised by an eccentric, paranoid (but caring) uncle, he has been almost a complete recluse his entire life. Until Bree, fleeing her life in Ohio after some very traumatic events, stumbles into his little town and almost literally into him.
Aside from his voice, physically Archer is perfection. His life of hard work (and apparently, good genes) have give him a god-like body. Bree is understandably smitten after just a few meetings. But he is an emotional cripple. Almost completely anthropophobic, but highly intelligent, he has spent his 23 years becoming self-sufficient and as well-educated as reading every book he can get his hands on can make him. I really didn’t think an author would be able to sell a recluse as a romantic interest, but Mia Sheridan does it very well. Maybe too well.
Maybe there was no right or wrong, no black or white, only a thousand shades of gray when it came to pain what we each held ourselves responsible for.
I was…well, I can’t say that I think Bree’s attraction to Archer is wrong. Or even unhealthy. But I think it could very quickly have gone that way, had he not been as willing to fight his fear of people and his limitations as he was. And as in love with him as she was, I’m not sure she would have had the backbone to leave an unhealthy situation. Because Bree is a healer. She is a caregiver. She wants to fix things. She wants to make Archer feel cared for and loved (besides the intense physical attraction). Multiple times though, she mentions that Archer reminds her of a little boy or a small child needing reassurance or love and…feeling like your significant other is a child in need of care is not really a good thing, in my opinion. As someone who was married to an extremely insecure person who eventually became vindictive and bitter in his insecurity, and knowing that I often felt a constant, exhausting need to reassure him of my love/respect/admiration/dedication – that is NOT a good thing. Now in this case, Archer was growing and learning and slowly coming out of his shell, and he was inherently sweet and gentle-hearted (qualities my ex most definitely lacked). He slowly accepts Bree’s love and compassion, but he also gives her his own and takes care of her. He melted my heart.
He looked like a little boy in that moment, and I realized how much he needed me to tell him that I wouldn’t go away like everyone else.
I ached along with Bree to ease some of the pain of all those years of mistreatment and neglect he had suffered. Even while alarm bells rang in my head about his intense emotional neediness…which, thankfully, his willingness to give as well as get and to push himself out of his comfort zone, more for Bree’s sake than his own, eliminated.
Complete honesty was the only thing I would give him. I would never purposefully hurt this beautiful, sensitive, wounded man more than he had already been hurt.
Archer’s biggest appeal is in the disconnect in his physical appearance and his attitude. He is, as Bree notes, a quick study and good at anything he has been taught or taught himself. He is completely unpretentious and unconscious of his physical appeal. If anything, he sees himself as broken, flawed, and undesirable due to his one “defect.”
Bree’s physical appearance is given less attention. She seems to be your typical girl-next-door type of cute, but Archer becomes completely smitten with her and she attracts attention from a few other guys as well – mostly due to her being new to the small town, it would seem. I was slightly worried by what seemed like her apparent willingness to just give up EVERYTHING to be with Archer, but she was already running from her past life and in need of someone to restore her faith in humanity. Archer, for all his issues, turned out to be that person. I loved how closely he paid attention to her likes and dislikes, even down to what chips out of a bag she liked (folded over tortilla chips, hehehe).
“Think of the strength of spirit you have to have to come through what he did and not be as mad as a hatter, to still retain a gentle heart.”
The strength of the human spirit is the real backbone of the story. The plot mostly centers on Bree and Archer overcoming their various personal demons, and for the most part doing it together. (view spoiler)[Near the end of the book, there is a point at which Archer deals with his demons ALONE…which is a huge turning point in his personal development and was so very important to his character. Without his strength of will and willingness to face his fears, he would have indeed been an emotional cripple for the rest of his life. (hide spoiler)]There is a side plot going on with what happened to Bree and the death of her father, as well as the small-town drama around Archer, but they are truly secondary and stay mostly in the background. There is some tension created by Bree’s conversations and relationships with Travis, Archer’s cousin, town police officer and local heartbreaker. They never truly have a relationship but Travis’ ego becomes a sticking point and his childhood tormenting of Archer resumes, creating a good deal of conflict and pain on all sides.
This was a HEA I could believe in. Shocking, yes, for someone as jaded and anti-love-at-first-sight as myself. But Bree and Archer are not perfect, and their relationship is not perfect. They are so human, but so in love and SO RIGHT for each other. I would definitely recommend this book, and that’s not something I can say about many straight-up romance novels. I might even try another of Mia Sheridan’s NA novels.
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Ok, prepare yourself. This review is not the most rational thing I’ve ever written, because I~*This review first appeared here on The Bent Bookworm!*~
Ok, prepare yourself. This review is not the most rational thing I’ve ever written, because I was left in an ooey-gooey pile of feels after finishing this book! I was not. prepared. Modern fiction isn’t generally my thing, but the blurb for WDMR was just too awesome and made me really excited so I had to pick it up. I’m SO GLAD I did!
First off: Dimple. I love her so much! She’s quirky, she’s nerdy, she’s spunky, she’s smart and not embarrassed by it (something I really struggle with). She’s not perfect, and she’s not cookie-cutter. I adored her reaction to Rishi’s first words to her – THAT was perfect. Appropriate? “Nice?” No. But no one is perfect, and we all have different ways of dealing with situations. I’ve seen a little of the mumbo-jumbo i.e., people getting their underpants in a wad over some of the things she does, and my opinion is still that NO, she is NOT perfect, and most readers will love her more for it.
So then, obviously: Rishi! He’s cute. He’s also SUPER traditional. Somehow he manages to be cute at the same time, and I’m still a little confused by that. Hehe. I think Rishi grows as a character the most in the course of the book. He becomes more of his own person, rather than the “good boy” who wants to please his parents so badly he will give up parts of himself to do it.
The story introduced me to Indian culture more and better than anything else I’ve ever read. I don’t have any friends or even acquaintances from that background, so I was a little lost in the beginning by some of the terms and traditions that were more alluded to than explained. Eventually I figured everything out, but I did end up Googling a couple of things.
I also bawled. At one particular point. I was just so crushed and I couldn’t BELIEVE I felt so strongly about “it” because at first I was all for Dimple just saying EFF THIS to everything…but as I read I realized that completely bucking her family’s traditions is not, actually, what will make her happiest. However she IS a modern American woman and as such…she totally does things her way.
Dimple and Rishi’s relationship and them growing into themselves is obviously the main focus of the story, but there are a couple of side plots as well. The first involves some of the other students at the camp they are attending and how disrespectful (to say the least) the rich, white students are to anyone who is “other,” as Dimple puts it. The second involves Rishi’s brother and Dimple’s roommate and I was intrigued enough to hope for a sequel with them as the major characters.
WDMR was one of the most satisfying books I’ve read this year. While of COURSE I would love to read more of Dimple and Rishi’s story, it is beautiful and amazing just as it is and I closed the book entirely happy. 5 stars!
Molly is a mess. A shy, self-conscious, boy-obsessed mess. She’s seventeen, has never had a boyfriend or eve~*Full review here on The Bent Bookworm!*~
Molly is a mess. A shy, self-conscious, boy-obsessed mess. She’s seventeen, has never had a boyfriend or even kissed a boy, and she hates it. She has had twenty-six crushes, none of which panned out for her. She thinks and worries (and people often comment along the same lines) that she is fat, too fat to be attractive to any boys.
First of all – geez louise! I know I was definitely more relationship and (in my case) boy obsessed when I was sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen years old than I am now or have ever been since, but DEAR GOD ALMIGHTY it is literally all this girl thinks about. She has a couple of other interests, but appears to have never given even a slight thought to what she wants to do with those interests after high school. College is mentioned, but only as an annoyance, because of adults asking what colleges she has applied to. Goals? What are goals? It seems so odd to have little to no interest in one’s future. I also remember that four years felt like an eternity at seventeen, or even at twenty-two. So I get some of that – but not all. Molly just seems so extremely focused on boys, their attractiveness, their potential to be boyfriend or hookup material…it seems excessive and concerned me. If she was a friend of mine I would be staging an intervention, not trying to goad her on or set her up with whatever eligible guy I could find.
That said, of course most people want to be a relationship of some kind, with another person or people. There are many different kinds of relationships – MANY of which are modeled in this book, hurray! Everyone deserves to be happy and to be loved. However, I think it’s very unhealthy to look to a relationship for one’s happiness. Another person can never make you happy if you are unhappy with yourself – as Molly definitely seems to be, despite her moms and other friends constantly trying to build up her self worth. However, Molly tends to be very selfish and focused inward, only looking at situations from the point of view of how they effect HER.
Molly especially struggles with her twin sister’s new relationship. She becomes jealous of Cassie’s girlfriend and all the time they spend together. Just like we have all had the friend who started dating someone new and fell off the face of the earth. Eventually she does realize that this is a season, and that things will change throughout their lives, and she comes more to terms with her sister having a life separate from her.
We might see each other every day. We might see each other once a year. Maybe it will ebb and flow and change with the decades. Maybe we’ll never pin it down. I think every relationship is actually a million relationships.
^Best quote of the book, there. Not that Cassie is an angel, by any means. While Molly clearly adores her twin, Cassie also takes advantage of her in a lot of ways and is rather insensitive to her feelings.
GOOD STUFF: Lots, and lots of diverse representation – LOTS! Molly has two moms, one of which is bisexual, there are gay, lesbian, and pansexual characters, as well as people of all different ethnic backgrounds. It made my heart happy.
Mental health treatment - Molly takes medication for her mental health. It’s not made a big deal of, it is just NORMAL, and I think that is so important.
Excellent writing – the style was entertaining and easy to read. I read this in less than 3 hours, not counting breaks. Will definitely pick up another of Albertalli’s books.
I just could not get on board with Molly, even while I did understand that some of what seemed to be selfishness was really anxiety. Anxiety can sometimes makes people appear to be selfish when really what they’re worried about is taking care of someone, or worried they will offend or hurt someone. I felt bad for her, but I was horrified by the implications of the conclusion, even if it was sweet and made me say “Awwwww!” for a few seconds. The content and conclusion are what really made me lower my rating, the writing itself was quite excellent. So, I’ll give the author another try and see.
“No matter how hard it feels, you don’t need to be afraid to move on, and you don’t need to be afraid to stay either. There’s always more to see and feel.”
^How I felt after finishing the last page of this book.
What this book is: 90% emotions/feelings. Glorious, ooey-gooey lovey-dovey, feelings that make me want to actually try to hope for HEAs and the best in life and love. Adorable. Cute. Romantic.
What this book is not (i.e., please don’t pick it up if you’re into these things): deep, extremely thought provoking, realistic.
First of all, I’m so stinking proud of myself for READING AND FINISHING this book! At long long LOOOOONG last, as it came in my February 2016 OwlCrate. Yikes. I read like one “meh” review of it and lost all my enthusiasm for the story…which I sort of regret, but I also realize that at the time, this sort of ooey-gooey-ness would probably not have sat very well with me…and quite possibly would have resulted in it being thrown across the room, never to be finished.
The Love That Split the World is an adorable summer story of love, loss, and teenagers finding themselves and each other. Sprinkled in between the emotionally intense, physically warming scenes (but never explicit or very graphic, and there is no actual sex in the book) are gems like the quote above, and others I desperately wish my 16-18 year old self (hell, even 19, 20, or 21 year old self) had read or known.
“You shouldn’t be scared of someone you love.”
The book briefly addresses the issue of consent – even for “just” making out, and one scene in particular left me feeling rather nauseous even though “nothing happened.” Alcoholism is also brought up, and addressed in one of the most succinct ways I have ever seen – painful, as it always is, but it was done so, so well. Huge props.
Oh, and the characters!! I’ve discovered yet another book boyfriend – Beau, your beautiful soul has won my heart. I will also confess that in high school, I admired the football players from afar so…yeah…piano AND football playing Beau is just totally swoonworthy. And I always, ALWAYS get hit right in the feels by the broken-but-still-strong hero types, the ones who just remain good people at heart despite having been given the shit end of the stick in life. Natalie’s spirit – her need to KNOW, her intense desire to find herself, to make something of herself – really resonated with me. While I don’t know how it would feel to grow up a minority (not only in your town, but in your FAMILY) in a small southern town, I spent a lot of my growing up years in places not unlike her Kentucky hometown and to some extent, I can imagine. Especially in small town America, people who don’t look (or act) exactly the same are often viewed with suspicion and outright dislike. In Natalie’s case, her biggest struggle seems to be with not sharing her looks or personality with her adoptive parents, and the fact that she was hassled about it by her classmates when she was younger.
I adored the time bending/travel aspect of the story. I was a little (ok, very) confused for awhile, but eventually I realized what was happening…mostly. I still DID NOT see that ending coming and my poor little heart nearly burst with ALL THE FEELS. I didn’t quite CRY, but my throat squeezed very very tight, my eyes burned, and I blinked rapidly for a few moments. Then I had to read the last few pages about 5 times to make sure I hadn’t missed anything!
Diversity: This was my first pick for the January topic, Biracial Awareness (check out the suggested bookshelf!), in the Platypire Diverse Books Reading challenge. Natalie is bi-racial, and adopted. Another main character is Korean. The author does not belong to either of these groups, but she seems to have put a great deal of effort into making her story authentic and respectful especially to the First Nations cultures she draws from in the writing of the book.
I gave this book 5/5 stars. It is an amazingly fun and cute romance with enough time-turning stuff to keep that side of my brain interested too.