Contemporary Conversations, Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Goodreads Summary:

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Review:

This last week of March is a very busy week for me, so I decided to re-read an old favorite. One I knew would fill me with joy and would help my thoughts come to a halt. I tend to think a lot when I’m busy.

This is my fourth re-read of Anna and the French Kiss and it almost felt like I was reading it for the first time. I think each time that I re-read it, I love it even more. Anna is such a great character that can stand on her own without St. Clair. I love that she calls St. Clair out on his crap. She doesn’t just fall over and let him hurt her per say. Wow, I feel like I am talking bad about St. Clair, but trust me that is not the case. Loneliness does a number to people and while I am not justifying his actions, the feeling of loneliness causes people to do things that not only hurts themselves, but those around him.

After all these years, I still love Anna and the French Kiss and if you haven’t read it, I suggest you do. It is a fun ride; one you will never want to get off.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Contemporary Conversations

ContempConvos: Re-Reads Intro (and Week 3 Wrap Up)

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We are now on the home stretch! One more week and Contemporary Conversations is oveeeerrrr! *cries* This went by faster than I thought possible. I’ve read some good books in preparation for this, but now on the fourth and final week we get to enjoy the books we have once loved again.

For this week, if you haven’t guessed by now, is all about Rereading!

Let’s meet with out beloved characters once more!

Week 2 – coming of age – Wrap Up

Let’s have a great final week!

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Contemporary Conversations, Guest Post

“Bad” Romance: In Defense of Love Triangles and Insta-Love (ContempConvos)

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Two incredibly common and much-maligned conceits in YA are love triangles and insta-love.

One of my favorite quotes about romance in YA comes from author Ally Carter:

“Being a teen isn’t about figuring out who you should be with. It’s about figuring out who you should BE.”

Love triangles and insta-love can both be big parts of that search for identity.

Teens have parents telling them where to go, teachers prescribing what they read or write in school, and demands coming from tons of other places as they get ready to face “real” life in college and beyond. It is very rare for a teen to be in a position where they can truly make a choice (much less one that involves saying “no”) entirely on their own. One way to show teens in that power position–taking ownership of their life in a very literal sense–is with a love triangle.

Teenagers are fickle creatures. They have years and years ahead of them to settle down. Why not have a book with multiple love interests? Why not let them explore their options with two or even more love interests?

As for insta-love, well, isn’t that just shorthand for love at first sight?

There are a lot of instances where both of these things can be handled badly. There is the potential for a forced relationship or one with insufficient stakes. Underdeveloped characters or thin plots can be especially disastrous for love triangles or insta-love as making either trope seem contrived or as if it came without the proper foundation.

But as with any literary device if a love triangle or insta-love is handled well it doesn’t detract from a story. Instead, it can complicate and depth to an already rich story or even a new facet to a character’s personality.

Now that I’ve told you why I’m all for love triangles and insta-love (done well) here are some recommended books:

Love Triangles:

  1. The Selection by Kiera Cass
  2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  3. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
  4. The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
  5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Insta-Love:

  1. The Jewel by Amy Ewing
  2. Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
  3. Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle
  4. Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
  5. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

 


Emma
“Miss Print”
missprint.wordpress.com

Contemporary Conversations, Reviews, ya contemporary

ContempConvos: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

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Goodreads Summary:

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?

Review:

Sigh

Absolutely adorable. I feel like Kenneally’s books are only getting better and better as time passes by. They are like fine wine. You feel good on the inside after you’ve read one.

Jesse’s Girl is about Maya and Jesse. Maya goes to Hundreds Oaks just like the rest of the characters in the Hundred Oaks series. Maya is Sam Henry’s little sister, Jordan’s boyfriend. We saw their story in Catching Jordan, the first book in the Hundred’s Oak series. I love that I get to see how my beloved characters are doing as time passes by. It makes my heart happy.

Anyways back to the main characters. Maya is the spunky girl who is on love with music of the eighties. She loves her Madonna and Prince. She dreams of making it in the music business so when shadow day comes up as Hundred Oaks High, she is paired with none other than Jesse Scott, the famous country artist that has taken over America’s teenage hearts, and also happens to be the principal’s nephew. You can only imagine how cocky Jesse is being used to getting all the attention, fame, and glory. But we all know deep inside he is a kinda southern gentleman.

Their story unfolds differently than other YA romance novels. No insta-love. Their relationship moves steadily forward throughout the course of the entire novel. We get to see the entire story from beginning to end.

Jesse’s Girl is like an ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day, a sweet melody that you unconsciously hum when you’re having a good day. I have all the praises for this book and I cannot recommend it enough.

Review: 5 out of 5

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Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

ContempConvos: Under The Spotlight (The Jamieson Brothers #3) by Angie Stanton

Goodreads Summary:

After an embarrassing stint on a reality-TV music competition years ago, Riley vowed never to sing again. Now she’s behind the scenes, working at the prestigious Sound Sync recording studio, and life is looking up. But then Garrett Jamieson, the oldest brother in the famous Jamieson brothers band, crashes into her world.

Garrett has hit rock bottom, and he is desperate to reinvent himself. After calling in a few favors, he ends up working at Sound Sync to learn the ropes of record producing from the industry’s best. And he can’t believe his luck when he discovers that Riley has been keeping a secret—she is an amazing singer. By producing her album, he’s sure to top the record charts again. But Garrett is forced to use every trick in his arsenal to persuade the sassy girl to record.

Riley refuses to sing—or even entertain the thought of it—and sparks fly as Garrett finally meets his match. But in the heat of the moment, one stolen kiss changes everything. Will Riley be the first person to finally rein Garrett in, or will Garrett succeed in getting Riley back under the spotlight?

Review:

I picked this up on a wing. I didn’t even know that it was the third book in a companion series until I was halfway through. I loved that I could pick up any book in the series and I would not be lost whatsoever. (Great writing Ms. Stanton!!)

Alright, let’s get down to business.

I really really liked Riley. She is a great character. I was worried she would act a little too mature because of her life experiences, but nope. She was just a little bit more mature than a normal 18 year old and it was believable. Riley was the perfect person to pair with Garrett. Where he was fire, she was ice. They complimented each other and when Garrett needed to be put in his place, Riley was there to do the job and gladly.

And Garrett. Gosh that hunk of a man. Anybody know a Garrett they would like to introduce me to?  No. Okay. Fine. Anyways, I know that he is not perfect, but what makes a cocky, controlling, know-it-all hunk of a man attractive is that he sees he is wrong and chooses to CHANGE. A+ for that Ms. Stanton.

I wasn’t really expecting much to come from this book. I had set my expectations low as to not be disappointed, and let me tell you I was not. Now I want to pick up the first two books in the companion series to get more of Garrett. Can’t get enough of that man.

PSA: For those of you that stay away from insta-love, you can rest in peace. No insta-love in this book. Read Away.

Rating: 5 out of 5

NA Romance, Reviews

ContempConvos: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

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GoodReads Summary:

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

My Review:

I’d first like to thank Veronica for starting me reading Colleen Hoover. I have fallen in love with her writing and story telling, and November 9 is no exception. Also, November is my favorite month…

This story is magical, with heartbreak, and lots of character growth since it take place over the course of five years. Fallon and Ben meet once a year, on November 9th, to update each other on what has happened in their lives in the past year. It’s adorable how they come together, and tragic, due to the circumstances that follow their initial meeting. Fallon and Ben are both extremely complicated characters with pasts that haunt their present. Ben helps Fallon through her confidence issues; Fallon helps Ben through his writing.

Hoover provides many quotable moments, but my favorite is in the beginning, when Ben and Fallon meet on the first November 9th: “Goals are achieved through discomfort and hard work. They aren’t achieved when you hide out in a place where you are nice and cozy.” I think that quote sets the mood for the book. In order to understand yourself, sometimes you have to go through discomfort and pain to truly know, not only yourself, but what you are capable of. Fallon’s mother states, “You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.” And I wholeheartedly agree with her. Before you can love someone else, you have to love yourself.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Contemporary Conversations

ContempConvos: Romance Intro (and Week 2 Wrap Up)

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The second week has passed! Like I’ve said previously, this is going by much quicker than I anticipated. Liz has been a reading machine while I have not. But I’m trudging along this week and we also have a special guest post from Miss Print (and for those who know her personally Emma). She will be discussing in favor of instal-love and love triangles. You won’t want to miss it!

For this week, if you haven’t guessed by now, we shall be reading and celebrating all things Romance

Let our hearts be filled with feels!

Week 2 – coming of age – Wrap Up

Let’s have a great week 3!

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