Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Goodreads Summary:

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Review:

So I’m not exactly sure why but I LOVED Lola and the Boy Next Door waaaaaaaay more than the first time I read it about 5 years ago. I remember being annoyed by Lola the entire time. This time around though I’m not sure what changed, but I was able to empathize with her. And I also think Cricket is part of the reason I like Lola and the Boy Next Door now.

As I am sitting here trying to gather my thoughts, and the one thing that stood out to me this time was the theme of forgiveness. Lola has to forgive the Bell twins, her biological mother, and her musician boyfriend (who becomes the ex thankfully because he sucked). The entire book is a journey of looking at the mistakes that were made, and finding redemption through forgiveness and understanding.

We also see the theme of second chances. Lola gave both her mother and Cricket a second chance. Having your heart-broken by two of the most important people hurts, but if both parties are willing to put in effort, relationships can be restored.

I was very into my feelings as I read Lola this time, and it could be why it’s gone on my “You should read this book” list (and why this review turned deep. Sorry guys, no fangirling today).

Rating: 5 out of 5

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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, Reviews, ya contemporary, ya romance

ContempConvos: Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)

GoodReads Summary:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion… she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the more sparkly, more wild – the better. And life is pretty close to perfect for Lola, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend.

That is, until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket return to the neighbourhood and unearth a past of hurt that Lola thought was long buried. So when talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally face up to a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. Could the boy from Lola’s past be the love of her future?

My Review:

Of the three novels Stephanie Perkins wrote in this series, Lola and The Boy Next Door is my favorite. While I loved Anna and St. Etienne (their love is eternal), it was Lola and Cricket’s chemistry that had me hooked to this author. Also, it does help that I am a sucker for boy-next-door love stories.

Lola is quite an eccentric character- constantly changing her style to represent who she is that particular day. That really struck a cord with me. Most people tend to be very muted in their personal fashion style, a lot of the reason is constricted by society and code of conducts at work. I lived vicariously through Lola and her ever changing identity. She never once apologies for being who she is.

Cricket is the lovable, softly spoken, “nerd” next door who I immediately fell in love with. He truly is the opposite of Lola; and you know what they say about opposites… they attract. You can feel their chemistry right away and I knew they were meant to be together. There were some obstetrical for this to take place- Lola’s scumbag of a boyfriend, Lola and Cricket’s past history, the tension between Lola and Calli. Also, just the general blockage of Lola herself. She doesn’t try to be self-destructive, but sometimes she just can’t help it.

Some characters from Anna and the French Kiss make an appearance or two, which was super fun.

Overall, a fun, quirky, light-hearted read.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Tuesday Meme

Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet

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Thank you to The Broke and The Bookish for this wonderful meme! If you want to learn how to participate, click here and check it out. Promise you won’t regret it. 🙂

You guys?! This is exciting. Both Anjie and I are back! The team is back! PAAARTY! We are going to try for you to have a healthy dose of us from now on so please be excited with us as we are to finally return back to normal schedule! This week we have: Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet. Yikes! That’s a lot… We’re both going to try to condense our lists, but we aren’t making any promises.

Vero’s List

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1. Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau: I really really need to read this. It’s the last book of the series and I need to know how it ends! *grabby hands*

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2. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: I bought the ebook, but I don’t have a physical copy. I ordered it, but it shall be arriving in a week or two.

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3. Champion by Marie Lu: I’ve read half of Legend and I already own Prodigy. I need the last book in the trilogy so I can marathon the entire thing!

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4. Opposition by Jennifer L Armentrout: I need this in my life. Okay, I know I’ve said that about all them books, but like I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS OR… well you’ll have to see to find out. >:)

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5. Wicked Little Secrets by Kara Taylor: I loved Prep School Confidential and I have no clue why I haven’t bought it, but I really really want it. I need to know what happens. I’m a sucker for a good mystery.

Anjie’s List

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6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I’ve read so many great reviews on this book. Plus, why wouldn’t I want to read a book about a character who’s a fangirl? That’s like the ultimate dream.

 

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7. Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan: This is the last book in the Heroes of Olympus series and it might be the last book with Percy Jackson. I’m so excited for it but I’m also scared because I don’t know who will survive but at least I pre-ordered it!

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8. Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: I’ve waited over a year for this and I don’t have it yet! I pre-ordered it though! I need to know how it all ends for Mara and Noah!

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9. The Heir by Kiera Cass: After reading The One, I knew that I would miss The Selection trilogy! I was more than ecstatic to hear that Kiera Cass was writing another book for it!! Then, to hear it was going to be called The Heir … you know what that means!! 😉 *baby time*

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10. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: This is another book that I’ve heard so much about. I’m so excited to get my hands on it, especially after reading the synopsis!

Reviews, ya contemporary

Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Goodreads Summary:

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new

My Initial Thoughts:

YOU ARE FINALLY IN MY HANDS. MUAHAHAHA. (If you were looking for something insightful, you’re not going to find it in this section.)

Review:

I just finished reading Isla a few hours ago and oh my is my mind still reeling. I can’t fathom coherent thoughts my friends, but I will surely try.

Stephanie Perkins has written another terrific novel, and I think it has surpassed her other novels, but at the same time it’s on the same level of perfection. That doesn’t make any sense does it? That’s something you’re going to have to make peace with. 🙂

I don’t normally read the acknowledgments page, but I’m glad I read this one. It literally left me with so many emotions. Stephanie Perkins is so honest and vulnerable in her acknowledgement, I almost cried and we all know I don’t really cry. And I think knowing she went through some tough times while writing this book just makes it that much more special to me. We have the finished product and that only means she pushed through those tough times in her life and conquered them. I am so happy for her.

Alright, let’s about the book.

Isla and Josh are by far my favorite couple (Don’t tell Anna/St.Clair and Lola/Cricket I said that!). There was just something so heartbreaking beautiful about them, their stories, and their struggles that I just have a soft spot for them. Like all fans of this world we can only hope Stephanie will continue to write more books about them (Can I get an AMEN for sequels!?!!), but I will say that this third book does give me some enough satisfaction as a finale. I know where my favorite characters are at in their lives and where some of my new favorites will be.

I don’t wish to spoil this for you, but I do want to say that their story is somehow much more grand then the other two. Maybe because I can identify with both Josh and Isla. Maybe because I know exactly what Isla feels when she says she feels like a blank canvas. All I know is that this book came into my life at the best time it could, and it has earned its place in my Top Favorite Books of All Time list.

Here is a word of advice: Read it!

Rating: 6 out of freaking 5

Other

Let’s Talk About… Most Owned Authors!

I was recently catching up on my YouTube subscriptions and I saw Katystastic’s (a YouTube Book Blogger) video talking about her Top Ten Most Owned Authors. She went into detail that the authors on her list were not just authors whom she owned the most books by, but also that they were on her auto-buy list (if you want to watch the video, click here!) So, I thought to myself, I should do that too. Why the heck not right?

So today I will be talking about my Top Ten Most Owned Authors that are also on my Auto-Buy list. Here we go!

 

1

 

If you know me really well, this is not surprising. I own 12 of her books. All of the “Vampire Academy” Series and all that is out of the “Bloodlines” Series. I also have in my possession both “Age of X Series” books, “Gameboard of the Gods” and “The Immortal Crown”. Anything this woman writes, I love. Whether it be her paranormal young adult novels or her new adult series that has Fantasy, Dystopian, and Science Fiction themes in it, I read it all. Her writing has the ability to suck me in and make me forget reality for a couple of hours.

2

Now this may come as a surprise to many because I hardly ever mention Ms. Ally Carter. Probably because I read most of her books before I started my blog December of 2012. I own all of the Gallagher Girls Series, and all three books of the Heist Society Series. Total of 9 books. She has a new series coming out soon and I have no clue what it is about, but you can bet I will buy it without reading the synopsis.

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A lot of people think of her as the YA Contemporary Queen of the early 2000s. Her books were crazy popular with good reason. Although I don’t click with the characters in two of her books, I will buy any book she writes. Her writing is poetic and beautiful. Some of my favorite quotes come from her books. She knows how to write a coming of age story that will sit with you for years.

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She recently became an auto-buy author for me. The first book I ever read by her was “The Disreputable History of Frankie-Laundau Banks”. That novel was eery and haunting. The emotion was raw and deep. I felt things I never had before reading this book and really brought to light the issues we have with romanticized rebels (or criminals). Two years later, I listened to her read her new book  “We Were Liars” at the LA Times Books Festival and it prompted me to buy it. “We Were Liars” left me breathless. After that I went and bought most of the books she has published. I have 6 of her books in my possession.

5

There was a time in my life where I wanted fun summer contemporaries that still gave me some substance, but I also didn’t want them to be too serious. In comes “The Daughters” Series by Joanna Philbin. She’s another author whose writing just sucks me in. I feel as if I know her characters personally and I am their friend. It’s that intimate. I own 5 of her books.

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Isaiah & Noah. That’s all you need to know. Okay, okay, just kidding. I’m not ending it there. 🙂

I own 4 of her books because that is all she has published. If she had more books published, I would own them all by now. What I love about her stories is that her characters are real. Their issues are real. You could say she uses the same freaking formula in each book, but she writes it in a way that doesn’t feel like she’s using the same formula to tell the story, and I freaking eat them up. She writes grittier young adult contemporary and she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty when it comes to writing her books. She learned how to drive stick just so she could legitimately write the car scenes in “Crash Into You”. If that is not dedication to your work, then I don’t know what is.

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We now have Ms. Sarah Ockler. Gosh Darn her stories make me happy. Her stories aren’t really always happy per say (“Twenty Boys Summer” broke my heart), but she writes them so well that I will sob through her books if that’s the price I have to pay to read them. I say she falls in the same category as Katie McGarry’s books with the whole characters dealing with real issues, but Ockler’s characters are a little less rough around the edges. I proudly own 3 of her books (and I need to get my hands on #Scandal as soon as its out! *grabby hands*).

8

My lovely Morgan Matson. How I love her so. I know that sounds a little weird, but I have been a faithful fan of her writing since “Amy and Rogers Epic Detour”. I waited for “Second Chance Summer” for an entire year, and now I have “Since You’ve Been Gone” in my hands. Although the premise for SYBG doesn’t sound as intriguing to me as the other two, I still wanted it and got it (Thank you Kayla you are the best!). Her writing takes me a little bit longer to read, nonetheless it entertains me and makes me happy. Even though her books are seen as sad, I don’t feel sad when I see them or read them. I get all giddy and happy. Yes, I’m weird. Deal with it. 🙂

(proud owner of all three books!)

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She’s actually a last-minute addition because I didn’t think I owned enough books to add her to this list, but alas I do! I own 3 of her books and a novella. Jessica Park wrote “Flat Out Love” which is one of my favorite contemporaries of 2013. I loved it so much that I went on and read “Flat Out Matt” and “Left Drowning”. I devoured them. I recently purchased “Flat Out Celeste” her newest novel in the “Flat Out Love” world. (Kayla I know you’re gonna be mad, but I bought the kindle version okay! It was only 3.99. I couldn’t resist!!). I think the reason I am so amazed by her is because she is an independent author. She does not publish her books through a big publishing house, but through an independent publisher. Her books are edited so well that I almost want to pee my pants at how happy it makes. She’s an indie author who got it right. It gives me hope for future indie authors and indie books.

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Surprised to see this? I know I’m not. Why? Because I’m one of those few people who loved “Allegiant”. I loved the Divergent Trilogy as a whole. The world she created, the way she wrote it, the trilogy sucked me in and I never wanted to leave it for the real world. Sadly, I had to, but if she publishes something in the near or far future, even if it sounds boring, I will buy it. I don’t care. I love her that much. (And honestly how can we forget Divergent? That was one of the best first books in a trilogy I have EVER read!) I own three of her books (and soon four! haha get it?! Because the new book is titled Four and it’s the fourth book!!! No… I just think it’s funny… okay… *walks away shamefully*).

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Lastly, we have an honorary mention because if this woman had published “Isla and the Happily Ever After” sooner, she would have been able to make it on the list officially. We all love Stephanie Perkins and we all know why. I feel like she is the recent Queen of YA contemporary and no one has come close to dethrone her. At least not in my book. Her books are all sugar, sweet, and honey. They make you feel all happy and bubbly inside. BUY HER BOOKS!

 

We have finally reached the end of this really long post for which I apologize, but I did have a lot to say and yet I feel like I didn’t say enough. I’m going to go ahead and tag Kayla over at The Thousand Lives and demand she do this because I want to see what she comes up with, and I think most of you might want to know too! If anyone decides to write a post like this, please let me know and send me the link. I want to read your posts and have discussions about our most owned authors that are also on our auto-buy list.

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Tuesday Meme

Top Ten Books I Want To Reread

toptentuesday-1Thank you to The Broke and The Bookish for creating this lovely and fun Tuesday meme.

Today, The Broke and The Bookish gave us the choice to pick whichever Top Ten Tuesday we wanted so I picked Top Ten Books I Want To Reread:

1. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

VA is one of my favorite books and series. And I am actually rereading it at the moment. 

2. Heist Society by Ally Carter

I absolutely loved all of the characters and I want to revisit them. Like old friends. 

3. I’d Tell You I Love You But I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter

The last book of the series is coming out soon. I want to re-read them all so I’m up to speed. And I LOVE spies.

4. Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

I’m a little heart broken so… I wan to read this to make me feel better.

5. Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

There is just something about this story that I just loved. And it has cupcakes. Yup. I know, CUPCAKES.

6. Divergent by Veronica Roth

This book was phenomenal and I want to fall in love with four all over again.

7. Ana and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This story is so cute. I just absolutely loved it.

8. Love Story by Jennifer Echols

There are no words for my love for this book. I always want to re read it. 

9. Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

I read this book back in 2009 and I absolutely loved it. I want to re read it to see how much I would love it now.

10. Girl Overboard by Justina Chen

I remember I loved this book in 2008. I want to feel the happy feeling it gave me when I read it then.

What are some of the books you want to re-read?

Are they similar to mine?