Tag Archives: Contemporary Romance

No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1) – Meg Cabot

No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1) – Meg CabotTitle: No Judgments (Little Bridge Island #1) by Meg Cabot
Publishing Info: September 24, 2019 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Date Completed: September 17, 2019
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Heather Wells #4), The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells #5), The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1)

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

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Meg Cabot was one of the authors that got me back into reading all those years ago and so her books always hold a special place in my heart! It’s been a long time since I’ve read a new one and I was so excited to read NO JUDGMENTS!

It was so much fun to be back in the world of Meg Cabot’s writing again! She always has such a fun feel with the perfect mix of sass and goofy and NO JUDGMENTS was no exception! It was such an easy read with some great things to ground it as well and I especially enjoyed the setting of the little island in the Florida Keys too. I haven’t been to the Keys but I could just so clearly picture it and I loved the little island feel, including all of its residents!

I did enjoy the romance aspect of it and I thought Sabrina and Drew had some great chemistry! I think there could have been a little bit more somewhere because while I fully enjoyed it, I didn’t quite love it. I think Bree was just a little too stubborn at times, which can bother me, and there were moments where I felt the hate-to-love was a little too drawn out and I was ready to get to the romance part.

I have to admit, I was expecting just a bit more from this book. Maybe I built it up too much in my head because I love Meg Cabot so much and her contemporary novels always sit well with me but I felt like it took a long time to get to a few different plot points. I think it was about halfway through when we finally go to why it’s called “NO JUDGMENTS” and I wished it had been introduced sooner. Ultimately what didn’t do it for me were the characters. I kind of felt like the island had more personality than the characters did and I wanted so much more backstory from them. They had good histories and I would have loved to see more of that in their every day encounters. Drew did have some good family moments but those were kind of more about than family than they were about him and I found some of the island residents more interesting than our main characters at times.

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Kept Me Hooked On: A nostalgic author for me. I love being able to keep reading an author who got me back into reading, and that will always be special for me!
Left Me Wanting More: Character development. I just needed more from the main characters. They were just a little flat and having some more well-rounded characters could have made the book that much better for me

Addiction Rating
Try it

Even though it wasn’t my favorite book of Meg Cabot’s, I still found to it to be a fun, easy romantic read. If you like her adult contemporary books, I’d still recommend it and say it’s worth the read!

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BOOKS LIKE THE TENTH GIRL

             

The Book Addict’s GUIDE… to contemporary!

Looking for a good YA romance? One of my favorite things about writing reviews for my blog is the very end where I scour my previous reviews and carefully (VERY carefully) select two books to recommend based on how the book read and of course, what genre it is. It’s something that I really have a lot of fun with sooooo I was thinking (and who are we kidding, I was on Pinterest too) and I stumbled upon some infographics, which for some reason I totally love in the nerdiest way possible. I wanted to create something like that about books but let’s face it… I don’t wouldn’t really know where to start as far as info goes but I CAN make graphics.

Start here! I decided to make a neat little graphic as sort of a suggestion guide to my favorite books! I decided to start with contemporary and hope to tackle other genres in the future. Hope you guys like it and are able to find a good contemporary based on your current reading mood! So, without further ado, welcome to the very first Book Addict’s GUIDE! (Get it?!)

Contemporary Book Recommendations YA Guide Infographic

 

BOOKS MENTIONED

Here’s a list of the books mentioned! All links will take you to my reviews (books without links are reviews that have not been posted yet).

1. THE TROUBLE WITH FLIRTING by Claire LaZebnik
2. THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay
3. CONFESSIONS OF AN ANGRY GIRL by Louise Rozett
4. HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter
5. ALSO KNOWN AS by Robin Benway
6. TIME BETWEEN US by Tamara Ireland Stone
7. BEORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver
8. MEANT TO BE by Lauren Morrill
9. ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins
10. THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer E. Smith
11. JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta
12. JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman
13. THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE by Jennifer E. Smith
14. BLAZE (OR LOVE IN THE TIME OF SUPERVILLAINS) by Laurie Boyle Crompton
15. LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins
16. GOLDEN by Jessi Kirby
17. TORCHED by Andrea Lynn Colt
18. THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson
19. IF I STAY by Gayle Forman
20. REVENGE OF THE GIRL WITH THE GREAT PERSONALITY by Elizabeth Eulberg
21. AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green
22. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
23. THE PRINCESSES OF IOWA by M. Molly Backes
24. PUSHING THE LIMITS by Katie McGarry
25. SUMMERSET ABBEY by TJ Brown
26. CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein
27. GOING VINTAGE by Lindsey Leavitt
28. ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell
29. THE REECE MALCOLM LIST by Amy Spalding
30. SUCH A RUSH by Jennifer Echols

Looking for more recommendations? Check out some other reading recommendation guides below!

Author Interview: Laura Buzo + Love and Other Perishable Items Giveaway!

INTERVIEW WITH LAURA BUZO

As a special treat for Valentine’s Day, I have an interview with Laura Buzo, author of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS!

Before we jump into the questions, here’s a brief synopsis from Goodreads.com:

Book Synopsis:  Love is awkward, Amelia should know.
From the moment she sets eyes on Chris, she is a goner. Lost. Sunk. Head over heels infatuated with him. It’s problematic, since Chris, 21, is a sophisticated university student, while Amelia, is 15.
Amelia isn’t stupid. She knows it’s not gonna happen. So she plays it cool around Chris—at least, as cool as she can. Working checkout together at the local supermarket, they strike up a friendship: swapping life stories, bantering about everything from classic books to B movies, and cataloging the many injustices of growing up. As time goes on, Amelia’s crush doesn’t seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?
Through a year of befuddling firsts—first love, first job, first party, and first hangover—debut author Laura Buzo shows how the things that break your heart can still crack you up. (Summary from Goodreads.com)

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR LAURA BUZO

Laura Buzo was gracious enough to grant us an interview as part of the Selective Collective’s promotion of Love and Other Perishable Items. We had to delay the questions a bit due to the crazy holiday season, but now we have the questions just in time for Valentine’s Day, which is pretty perfect! So without further ado, here’s the Q&A with Laura Buzo!

Brittany/Selective Collective: In LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS, we see a relationship develop between 15-year-old Amelia and 21-year-old Chris. I know a big part of the story is the age difference between the two main characters – Was it ever difficult trying to get these two characters to meet in the middle?
Laura Buzo: Yes, the two main characters are separated by a chasm! Ages, life stages, social circles. I guess the fact that they can still forge a connection is the ‘hook’ of the book. You know, what will drag you into wanting to read the book. “How can it… it can’t… surely?” I think ultimately Chris and Amelia have a strong intellectual connection and they can ‘recognise a kindred spirit’. They meet in the middle through conversations – which I really enjoyed writing! – and the supermarket they work in provides the location for that to happen. There is no way they would have met in regular social circles! I worked casual ‘Mc-jobs’ since I was 14 years old all the way through to graduation from university and the best thing about it was meeting people you would not have crossed paths with otherwise. I had some amazing conversations over cash registers, down in window-less industrial basements, in restaurant kitchens, behind retail counters!

B/SC: Your novel features dual point of views from both Amelia and Chris. Did you always intend for both characters to share their side of the story, or was it something that developed naturally as the story progressed?
LB: I started writing Amelia’s sections first and then moved on to Chris, and so on. It was really refreshing to be able to switch perspectives every now and again. It kept me from getting at all bored. I really really enjoyed writing from a male perspective. On one hand, there was a lot more imagination necessary, and yet at the same time Chris is a lot like me. Plus I have always loved that particular device in literature – when a writer shows the same events through different perspectives and you can see just how differently two people can experience the same things! I was a keen diarist through adolescence and early adulthood, as was a close friend of mine, so using the diary as a narrative device felt very natural for me.

B/SC: I’m sure a lot of us remember our first big crush and learning how to handle the ins and outs of starting a serious relationship. Was the story of Amelia and Chris fueled by any of your past experiences?
LB: Um, what have you heard?
Just kidding.
Yes, I do write pretty close to life. I have been on the rough end of the unrequited stick more than once. And my first job was in a supermarket. They say ‘there’s no fool like an old fool’ but I say there’s no fool like a young fool. The raw material of the story came from a real place in my heart, but the creation of a novel relies on a whole different set of mechanisms than ‘real life’, whatever that may be.

B/SC: Amelia goes through a lot of “firsts” very rapidly after meeting and spending time with Chris. Was there ever a moment while writing the story that you worried about Amelia going through too much at once?
LB: I wouldn’t say I ever felt ‘worried’ about her. She’s pretty resilient in a lot of ways, and we all have to get acquainted with the cruel world sooner or later.
I had a soft spot for Amelia, and I wanted to spare her pain and embarrassment. I wanted her to get what she wanted. But there wouldn’t have been a novel in that, would there?

B/SC: There are some fantastic Australian authors gaining a lot of notoriety amongst American readers (Melina Marchetta comes to mind). Did you find it difficult breaking into the American side of publishing? What other great Austrailian authors should we know about?
LB: Ah yes, Melina Marchetta rocks! Cath Crowley and Joanne Horniman are also favourites of mine. Catherine Jinks has published many novels for young adults, adult adults and more! She is really great at it.Check ’em out! And showing my age…. when I was in my teens (in the 1990s!) I really enjoyed reading books by Aussie literary icon Ruth Park. She wrote about growing up in the Sydney slums in the 1930s – so fascinating, so human. And some rockin’ other historical fiction.
As for ‘breaking into’ the American market, I was lucky that I had very little to do with that. My Australian publisher found a buyer in the states – Knopf – without too much trouble I think. I guess there are kind of universal themes in the book. I’ve not yet been able to find a taker for my second novel in the states – maybe I had beginner’s luck!

GIVEAWAY!

I am lucky enough to be able to provide another giveaway for a hardcover copy of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS, courtesy of Knopf Books/Random House! Check out the link for the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You know those pesky rules… Winner must be 13 years of age or older, US only – Sorry, friends!

Update 2/21: CONGRATS to Sasha K as our winner for the giveaway!!

Want more of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS? Check out our features from 12/31 when we featured LOVE as our December book!
Thank you once again to Random House for providing us with the book and the opportunity to promote!

Tee @ YA Crush Feature Post: Books Work Place Relationships
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA Review
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks Casting Call
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan Round Table: Book Club Discussion

Top Ten Tuesday – February 12, 2013: Top Ten Favorite Romances

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish!

When choosing my top ten bookish romances (which was SO much fun, by the way), I found that a LOT of them came from another favorite post of mine: [The Best-Friend-Turned-Boyfriend Romance] Looks like a lot of these were best friends, but what can I say… I’m just a sucker!!!

TOP TEN FAVORITE ROMANCES

RH

My dear Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Hands down my favorite romance of any book ever. I just love how we as readers got to witness this friendship turn into romance over the course of seven books. It was so well written and so much fun to watch these two opposites attract.

ASCAnna and the French Kiss was an instant favorite immediately after I finished it and the reason being the amazing relationship that developed between Anna and St. Clair.  It was heartbreaking, it was tense, it was incredible!
Review: Anna and the French Kiss

NJ

The Sea of Tranquility was another instant favorite. Katja Millay developed these two characters to the point where I was seriously questioning whether they were fictional or not. They were so real to me and the slow burn romance between them just totally hooked me.
Review: The Sea of Tranquility

AW

Just One Day had my heart in a vice grip the whole book. I was so emotionally involved in the relationship developing between Allyson and Willem. It wasn’t all happy times, but I’m basing this one on ALL THE FEELINGS I felt while reading JOD. Eeeep.
Review: Just One Day

MAAny Gayle Forman. All Gayle Forman. What can I say? She’s incredible at putting words on the page that just reach into the deepest pockets of my heart. The story of Mia and Adam is another great one – We get to see a lot more of their interactions in Where She Went, but in both books, I was just instantly wrapped up in their teenage love story.
Reviews: If I Stay || Where She Went

RD

Dimitri and Rose… It’s a forbidden romance! Oooh. It’s so hard to see both characters clearly very attracted to each other and constantly having to fight their feelings because they really shouldn’t be together… It just made me root for them all the more!
Reviews: Frostbite || Shadow Kiss || Blood Promise || Spirit Bound

JJ

Meant To Be was such a cuuute story for me to read – Mostly because I totally identified with Julia, but also I’m totally mystified when authors have you go from hating a character to falling in love with them, Jason being the perfect example. It’s enemies to lovers and I loved the journey to get there!
Review: Meant to Be

AK

The romance that slowly, slowly burns between Anna and Kaidan is one of the sexiest romances I’ve read in YA. Another forbidden romance, it’s a ton of teasers between the two characters and it’s just like GAHHH, get together already!!! Loved watching this relationship blossom.
Review: Sweet Evil

HO

Hadley & Oliver from Statistical is just a super cute example of “Love at first sight” – While I can’t say it’s actually love, I think it proves that attraction at first sight and immediately developing that relationship makes for a super cute contemporary romance novel! Jennifer E. Smith hit the nail on the head with this one.
Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

VJ

So I’ve only read the first book – The Body Finder – so far, but I loved watching Jay and Violet go from long-time best friends to a full-on romantic relationship. I don’t know what it is, but I just love seeing that gradual progression and realization between the two friends!
Review: The Body Finder

So those are my top ten romances in books so far!! I’m sure that will constantly change given the amount of books I read, but those are the tops at the moment! Can’t wait to see everyone else’s choices! 
Any of these on your top ten list? 

The Selective Collective features Wentworth Hall – Casting Call

The Selective Collective reads WENTWORTH HALL by ABBY GRAHAME

This the first of our January posts for The Selective Collective, we read WENTWORTH HALL by Abby Grahame, sent to use by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for review and book club discussion. For my part in this month’s Selective Collective post, I will be doing Casting Call – Picking a few actors who I think would be great in the hypothetical movie version of WENTWORTH HALL.

Before we get started, here’s a brief synopsis from Goodreads.com:

Book Synopsis:  Eighteen-year-old Maggie Darlington has turned into an entirely different person. The once spirited teen is now passive and reserved. A change Lord and Lady Darlington can’t help but be grateful for.
     It’s 1912, and the Darlingtons of Wentworth Hall have more than just the extensive grounds to maintain. As one of Britain’s most elite families, they need to keep up appearances that things are as they have always been…even as their carefully constructed faÇade rapidly comes undone.
     Maggie has a secret. And she’s not the only one…the handsome groom Michael, the beautiful new French nanny Therese, the Darlingtons’ teenage houseguests Teddy and Jessica, and even Maggie’s younger sister Lila are all hiding something. Passion, betrayal, heartache, and whispered declarations of love take place under the Darlingtons’ massive roof. And one of these secrets has the power to ruin the Darlingtons forever.
     When scandalous satires start appearing in the newspaper with details that closely mirror the lives of the Darlingtons, everyone is looking over their shoulder, worrying their scandal will be next. Because at Wentworth Hall, nothing stays secret for long. (Summary from Goodreads.com)

CASTING CALL

Here are my choices for Casting Call, picking some actors who I picture as the main characters from WENTWORTH HALL (and thanks to Kristina at Gone Pecan for helping me find some British actors – I didn’t know many before)!

Maggie (Imogen Poots): According to the book, all of the Darlingtons have blonde hair and light eyes. Imogen Poots looks like a great choice for Maggie. I could easily see her in that role and bringing a lot of depth to her character.

Lila (Jessica Barden): Okay, I know she’s a brunette, but she’s so stinkin cute! The casting directors might have to dye her hair blonde for the role, I think Jessica Barden would make a great little sister as Lila Darlington. I feel like she’d be spunky and inquisitive and could pull off a really great Lila! She seems like she would be great in the little sister role.

Adele Haenel as Nora

Therese (Adele Haenel): It took me a while but I finally found a French actress for Therese, but I think Adele Haenel would be a great addition to the cast. I actually haven’t seen much of her work since she’s mainly in French films, but provided she speaks English (which I now realized I’m not even sure), I think she’d be great as the French nanny with a few more secrets hidden in her closet.

Michael (Jeremy Irvine): Okay come on. How could I not pick Jeremy Irvine! (And thanks to Kristina for helping me with this one because once I saw it, it was an obvious choice) Jeremy Irvine with a HORSE. Maybe most known for his role in War Horse, it was only fitting to cast him as the stablehand Michael and the romantic interest of Maggie. It’s just perfect.

So that’s it! Those are the actors I would cast in WENTWORTH HALL. If you’ve read the book, what do you think? Who would you choose? 

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of WENTWORTH HALL so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush Author Interview: Abby Grahame
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA Wentworth Hall Style
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks Round Table: Book Club Discussion
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan Review: Wentworth Hall

Author Profile: Laura Buzo + Love and Other Perishable Items giveaway!

The Selective Collective reads LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS by LAURA BUZO

This month for The Selective Collective, we were lucky enough to receive copies of Laura Buzo’s novel, Love and Other Perishable Items (originally titled Good Oil) from Knopf Books for Young Readers for review and book club discussion. For my part in this month’s Selective Collective post, I have a little more information for you about the author Laura Buzo and you can enter to win one of two hardcover copies of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS!

Before we jump into the questions, here’s a brief synopsis from Goodreads.com:

Book Synopsis:  Love is awkward, Amelia should know.
From the moment she sets eyes on Chris, she is a goner. Lost. Sunk. Head over heels infatuated with him. It’s problematic, since Chris, 21, is a sophisticated university student, while Amelia, is 15.
Amelia isn’t stupid. She knows it’s not gonna happen. So she plays it cool around Chris—at least, as cool as she can. Working checkout together at the local supermarket, they strike up a friendship: swapping life stories, bantering about everything from classic books to B movies, and cataloging the many injustices of growing up. As time goes on, Amelia’s crush doesn’t seem so one-sided anymore. But if Chris likes her back, what then? Can two people in such different places in life really be together?
Through a year of befuddling firsts—first love, first job, first party, and first hangover—debut author Laura Buzo shows how the things that break your heart can still crack you up. (Summary from Goodreads.com)

AUTHOR PROFILE: LAURA BUZO

Laura Buzo was born and grew up in Sydney, middle of three daughters. Growing up she loved swimming, riding horses, tennis, netball, running, chocolate and above all, reading. After university, Laura worked as a social worker in various acute and community-based mental health settings in Sydney. In 2005 she took some time away from work to start writing her first novel, Good Oil. Laura is still working as a social worker and has a young daughter. She lives in Sydney. (Excerpt from Laura Buzo’s author profile on Goodreads.com).

Love and Other Perishable Items is Laura Buzo’s first novel, although it was originally titled Good Oil with its 2010 release in Australia. Laura’s second novel, Holier Than Thou, was released in May 2012.

We were hoping to snag an interview with Laura Buzo as well to share a few more insights on LOVE, but unfortunately due to the timing with the holidays and our time differences (from US to Australia), we’ve had a bit of difficulty lining up the questions. We at the Selective Collective thank Laura and Knopf Books/Random House for helping us feature LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS as our December book! We enjoyed her work and look forward to more from Laura in the future.

GIVEAWAY!

To share the Love (pun intended), we have not one, but TWO hardcover copies of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS to giveaway! Check out the link for the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

Click here to go to the Rafflecopter entry form!
(1/7/13: All entries closed. Thank you!)

Congrats to our two winners of the giveaway, Hannah from Book Haven Extraordinaire and Elisa from Lost Inside the Covers! Both winners have been notified of their prizes. Thanks again to all who entered!

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush Feature Post: Books Work Place Relationships
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA Review
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks Casting Call
Dixie & Maggie @ Gone Pecan Round Table: Book Club Discussion

Just One Day (Just One Day #1) – Gayle Forman

Just One Day (Just One Day #1) – Gayle FormanTitle: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: January 8, 2013 by Penguin
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary, New Adult, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 9, 2012
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life. A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know. The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

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Given it’s Gayle Forman, I don’t think it would have been possible for me to give it any less than five stars regardless, but JUST ONE DAY truly deserves it and earned a special place in my heart, as all Gayle’s books do. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster and even though nothing close to the events that play out in the book have happened to me, then sentiment is just the same: falling in love, doubting how fast those feelings come on, fear of rejection, being rejected, and the quest to find the answers WHY. I can honestly say I’ve been through those exact situations and felt those feelings far too many times in my own teen/college years and I was right there with Allyson as she fell in love and then felt her heart break over and over again. I don’t know what more to say about the book except that I hope whoever reads this feels the same way I did – Totally invested, totally connected with the characters. I think if you’ve ever felt that way in a relationship (or non-relationship in some cases) that I think you’ll easily fall right into step with the characters that Gayle Forman creates.

It’s also further proof that I can actually read books set in foreign countries. Clearly before the select contemporary romances that I had read this year, I was not reading the right books. I’ve never been to Europe, but through the beautiful writing of Gayle Forman and several other contemporary writers, I’ve never felt more at home in Paris, London, Amsterdam, and various other sections of Europe. To me, that really says a lot, and I think the reason why is that I wasn’t just getting descriptions of events that happened here and there – It was an emotional connection to that canal, that house, that park that made it feel like a place I could see myself. I have a tendency to tie places back to feelings and that was something that was expertly written in Just One Day.

Of course I recommend it to anyone and everyone. I’ll recommend Gayle’s books to people until the end of time and there’s something so timeless about not only her writing but the way she writes her characters. I feel like even in 10 years when new generations pick up her books, they won’t feel dated. I’m sure some minute details like the technology of whatever cell phones turn into in 10 years may be outdated, but only slightly so because the focus is almost entirely on the feelings that Allyson experiences and the universal message that she not only learns for herself, but that the readers can pick up about their own lives as well.

And the end – AH! I feel like I’ll definitely read this book a few times before I can get my hands on Willem’s side of the story. I know it may feel like a long way from now, but maybe like the characters, I can wait JUST ONE YEAR.

character_breakdown1

Allyson/Lulu: What I loved so much about JUST ONE DAY is that we see Allyson go through this incredible personal transformation and realization that her life isn’t what she wants it to be, all stemming from the adventure and whirlwind romance she had with Willem in Paris. Going one step further, I absolutely, positively loved that she had a perfectly normal life — not affected by an accident, a disease, a death — and it’s like the whole Paris experience with Willem allowed her to see that her perfectly normal life really wasn’t hers at all. It was a ghost of her mother’s life, her friend’s life, all fitted together like perfect pieces of a puzzle so that until she stepped back and looked at the puzzle as a whole, she couldn’t tell how broken and fragmented it really was (wow, maybe I should be writing my own novel here haha). I just loved that we got this amazing story out of what seemed so ordinary and entirely relatable.
Allyson was also extremely relatable to me in the sense that she’s not sure how she really feels about Willem. Did she fall in love with him? Is it even possible to love someone, to miss someone, to care about them that much after one day? I’ve felt that way many times myself with unrequited crushes and after things turn south, I started to question all my feelings. How real could they have been if they didn’t seem to be reciprocated? Was I making a big deal out of nothing? Was I being over-dramatic and romanticizing everything that happened or were my feelings actually justified? These are all the questions that Allyson agonizes over and I was right there with her. Gayle Forman did a fantastic job of allowing the readers to experience all of these emotions with Allyson as she tries to figure out what’s real and what was just an act.
Willem: Willem is definitely an enigma throughout the book and as painful as it was to witness, I loved that I didn’t really get a clear picture of him, as seen through Allyson’s eyes. It’s true of any guy, really. You’d like to think you know what their best intentions are, how they feel about you, but there’s always that lingering doubt. The attraction between Willem and Allyson is obviously real and they had a very real series of moments in Paris, but when that’s gone, the doubt sets back in but the readers are still left with the pull back to Paris, left wanting to believe that it was all real. I wanted to believe that Willem really did have good intentions with Allyson, but situation after situation pops up and the readers are left with a tangled mess of head versus heart. When it comes down to it, his flaws are what make him a truly believable character and really drive the story. 

QUOTES

Please note all quotes are from the ARC of Just One Day. Exact wording and page numbers subject to change. 

p85: “‘I think you’re the sort of person who finds money on the ground and waves it in the air and asks if anyone has lost it. I think you cry in movies that aren’t even sad because you have a soft heart, though you don’t let it show. I think you do things that scare you, and that makes you braver than those adrenaline junkies who bungee-jump off bridges.'”
(EEP!)

p89: “‘Did you just quote Shakespeare to a cop?’ I asked.”

p104-105: “There’s such a delicious surrender in the words, and I feel myself slipping away to him. Some small part of me warns against this. This is just one day. I am just one girl. But the part that can resists, that would resist, I woke up finally liberated of her.”

p125: “He said that earlier, about accidents, about never know which one is just a kink in the road and which one is a fork, about never knowing your life is changing until it’s already happened.”

p130: “Another day. That’s all I’m asking. Just one more day. I can’t think beyond that. Beyond that, things get complicated.”

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Buy it… ASAP!

Wow, I just LOVED this book and totally connected with it. Gayle Forman totally knocked this one out of the park (again)!

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Obviously, if you haven’t read Gayle Forman’s first duet of contemporary novels, IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT, PLEASE GO READ THOSE NOW (my SUPER old reviews are linked up to the covers above). They’re what first led me to fall in love with not only Gayle’s works, but contemporary romance in general.

Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1) – Tamara Ireland Stone

Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1) – Tamara Ireland StoneTitle: Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1) by Tamara Ireland Stone
Publishing Info: October 9, 2012 by Disney Hyperion
Genres: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 22, 2012
Related Posts: Time After Time (Time Between Us #2)

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett''s unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna''s life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility. Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning and spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new talent in YA fiction.

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Right off the bat, I was immediately intrigued. I loved the set-up in the beginning where we see a younger Bennett approached by an older woman and immediately I was like, “That’s totally Anna” and bam! History (or the future, I guess) it changing forever!

Tamara Ireland Stone did a fantastic job of mixing sci-fi with a contemporary love story, both of which kept me hooked throughout the book. There are little twists and quirks with Bennett’s time travel abilities that slowly get revealed to Anna (and henceforth, the audience) that kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved how time and place were woven into the story so seamlessly. I feel like that’s something that’s always tricky with time travel novels because everything has to line up just right and you really need to know where the characters will be at all times and what will happen before and after it happens. I think Stone did a great job with keeping the story neat and tidy without making it too cookie cutter.

The relationship that develops between our two main characters kept me hooked throughout the book as well. Once we find out that Bennett is from the future (well, Anna’s future — the audience’s present day) and they start to get to know each other, then we’re plagued with the conundrum of what happens to the both of them — Does Bennett stay in the past with Anna? Can she go to the future with him? Will he hop back and forth to be with her? What’s the best possible way — if any — that these two characters will end up together? It was definitely a story line that kept me sucked in until the very end!

One last thing that made the book so great for me was all of the settings of the books that I totally identified with. Firstly, I pictured Anna’s school just like my high school — they had a part of the hallway called “The Donut” which reminded me of “The Tower” at my high school and the floor to ceiling windows in the lunch room was exactly how mine was too. The fact that it took place in Evanston, IL also made me feel right at home in this book. I don’t actually live in Evanston, but I do live in the suburbs of Chicago so a lot of it is really familiar to me. Then throw in the added fact that Bennett and Anna travel to Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin and I pretty much lost it — in a good way. Devil’s Lake is my mom’s all time favorite place in the world and we used to camp there all the time as kids, so it’s a big part of my life. I loved seeing it in a book and I definitely didn’t expect it to pop up! All those elements combined really made me feel like I was a part of the story (and seriously made me question if Stone knew all these things about me…….) so it was a lot of fun!

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Anna: I really liked Anna. She seemed down-to-earth and a character that is ideally flawed. She makes some bad decisions — especially when it comes to Bennett’s abilities and how they affect the world around them — but it’s so easy so say that if I were in her place, wouldn’t I do the same thing?
Bennett: Bennett was a great male lead in the story and I really enjoyed that he was not a narrator — I liked that Anna had to figure out his story little by little and we got a little bit more mystery to add to the sci-fi aspect instead of knowing everything all at once and then it’s just the rest of the plot that unravels. Like anyone with abilities, he’s got his rules that he won’t break, and it was great to see how those boundaries get pushed when Anna comes into the picture.

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BUY IT!

Wow, I really loved the science fiction/time travel aspect combined with the contemporary romance and I LOVED these two characters together!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE TIME BETWEEN US

(click on the cover to see my review!)

ALL OUR YESTERDAYSTANDEM

Meant To Be – Lauren Morrill

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The Selective Collective reads MEANT TO BE by LAUREN MORRILL

This month for The Selective Collective, we were so incredibly lucky enough to receive copies of Lauren Morrill’s debut novel, MEANT TO BE from Delacourte Press for Young Readers for review and book club discussion. For my part in this month’s Selective Collective post, I have the incredible pleasure to post my review for MEANT TO BE!

Meant To Be – Lauren MorrillTitle: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: November 13, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 11, 2012
Related Posts: Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny

    Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.
It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").
But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.
Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

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I absolutely, positively adored this book. This was the perfect contemporary romance and just what I needed – a nice breath of fresh air after being slightly disappointed in my last couple of reads. Lauren Morrill’s writing was fresh, fun, and real. I always get a bit worried whenever I read books that are set in places that are so foreign to me – I’ve never been across the pond to London (or off the continent of North America for that matter) – so I was a tiny bit hesitant that I would be overwhelmed with all of the unknowns that London would hold for our story. Upon reading, I found that it wasn’t the case at all. Morrill did a fantastic job of making me feel like I was on my very own vacation with the characters. Everything was beautifully described and I didn’t feel lost in a foreign country at all. Julia was a fantastic main character for me to read about. I absolutely love any character that has an utterly nerdy side because, well, I can relate! I may not have been as intensely organized as Julia, but if there was ever a nickname for me at this very moment in time, “Book Licker” could definitely be it! What I loved the most about Julia is that she not only has a life changing experience just by being over in London, but she also transforms as a person. She learns a lot about herself by breaking the rules (many, many rules) and by figuring out how to deal with her assigned buddy and current nemesis Jason. Jason was also another interesting character for me. We start off by seeing exactly how Jason and Julia conflicted with each other. Julia saw him as nothing but immature and a bully. He teases her, initiates rumors, even goes as far as sticking gum in her hair and calling her “Book Licker”. As the story goes on, we see that there’s so much more to Jason than people’s first impressions, especially Julia’s. The relationship that begins to develop between Jason and Julia once they’re forced together is a roller coaster of emotions that makes us wonder how they’ll end up once the London trip is over. I also really love the “meant to be” story line. So many times I’ve felt the same way as Julia – there’s someone out there for each one of us, a “one and only”, and I really do believe that where you end up in the end is where you’re supposed to be. What I really loved about this book is the message that Fate can only take you so far and you have to take control of your own destiny. You have to be active in your own life and you can’t just sit back and expect the world to happen around you. What I really loved is that we see Julia idolizing her parents’ MTB relationship and she expects it to happen for her. In the end, we see her come around to reality a little bit and realize that although that does happen for some people, not everyone can have this incredible, coincidental, perfect love story. Sometimes things don’t happen the way you expect and that really turns out to be your MTB situation. Although the final message almost appeared to be that there is no such thing as “meant to be” for everyone, what I like to take from it is that “meant to be” can happen for everyone, but it’s just not always what you expect it to be and not always what you’re looking for. character_breakdown1

Julia: Oh, Julia! I totally could see myself being best friends with Julia. Or I could see myself as Julia. I loved watching her transformation throughout this book and seeing how she discovers different bits and pieces about herself as the book progresses. It really reminded me a lot of similar situations that I went through as a teenager, figuring out what rules to break and what ideas it’s time to grow out of.
Jason: I really enjoyed watching Jason and Julia go back and forth from enemies to friends to enemies to two dewey-eyed kids falling in love. The best part about Jason’s character is that we see him as a bully, a name-caller, and immature, but that’s just what everyone sees on the surface. His character is much more deep and involved than Julia or her classmates realize. I’m really not sure if we see Jason actually grow throughout the story or if we just discover layers of him that were always buried underneath. Either way, I loved seeing his transformation through Julia’s eyes and how through these revelations, their relationship changes entirely.

QUOTES

These quotes are from the Advanced Reader’s Copy — Page numbers and wording may vary from published copy.

p 25-26: “I have my own e-reader, but I hardly ever use it. I need to fold down pages and flag passages with sticky notes. I need to experience books, not just read them.” (I then proceeded to tweet Lauren Morrill about how much this described me to a tee. And I flagged the passage with a sticky note)

p 29: “‘The Czech Republic. Czechoslovakia hasn’t existed or almost twenty years. So unless her parents are visiting 1992, they’re in the Czech Republic.'”

p 152: “In fact, he has been the exact opposite of helpful (help-empty?).”

p 191: (Jason) “‘Well, either you stand here in this rainstorm, or you take a chance with me.'” (My favorite line of the entire book)

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MEANT TO BE

     

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of MEANT TO BE so please go visit their take on the book as well!

The Deja Vu Review [12]

The Deja Vu Review is a new Sunday feature with mini-reviews from books I’ve read before I began my blog at The Book Addict’s Guide! Since I’ve been reading my whole life and only started my blog back in April of 2012, this is my opportunity to revisit some older books and share some mini-reviews of those that didn’t quite make it into the blog spotlight after the initial read.

This week’s topic: A Cute Love Story

One DayOne Day by David Nicholls
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My Original Goodreads Review: I actually thought this story started out a little slow, but with time it grew into an amazing story of how these two characters develop a real relationship and a deep friendship. I thought the author did a great job of getting you wrapped in the relationship of Dexter & Emma. Without giving anything away, it’s a story that really stuck with me after I finished it. I didn’t think I would like it as much as a did but it was written very well and I would definitely recommend it.

Remember Me?Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Comments: I thought this book was super cute. It’s about a girl (well, woman I guess. She’s 28) who wakes up in the hospital to find out that she survived a car accident – but the last thing she remembers is three years ago. She has no memory of her stellar new life including new (to her) husband! I really had a blast reading this book and I loved the love story that evolved from this plot.

What are some of your favorite love stories? What did you pick to review this week? Link up with us below!