Review: Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse

PAGES: 389

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Upon a first glance, this novel sounds like my future autobiography. Alas, it is not. Really disappointing.

Everyone needs a good summer read. Qualifications for a good summer read (in no particular order):

  1. Must look good next to actual sand. On a beach. In the middle of some exotic location.
  2. Keep your mind occupied so you don’t think about the pile of stress you usually carry on your shoulders or the overwhelming debt you still owe to someone… somewhere.
  3. Enjoyable characters. Engaging plot. Exciting twists and turns. Effortless delivery. Basically, a lot of “E” words. Sorry not sorry.

Love and Gelato qualifies as a good summer read. Continue reading

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Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
 
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

PUBLISHER: Knopf

PAGES: 378

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I was almost in the throes of finals when I bought this book at a local bookstore. I remember hearing a lot of hype about this novel a couple years ago as it was released around the time of my book blogging beginnings.

I was a fan of this novel at first, feeling intrigued by the creative banter between Finch and Violet and Niven’s smooth writing. As much as I enjoyed The Fault in our Stars, I found the same fault in Green’s big hit as I found in Niven’s All the Bright Places. They both romanticize some very serious life experiences and I have to comment about it. This review will not contain spoilers, though I am so tempted to include a few. Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday #20

img-thing-pink2Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I’m not really a big Sarah Dessen fan, but this one does look good…

Three Key Words for This Week’s WoW: Romance, Chaos, and Accidents

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Waiting on Wednesday #17

img-thing-pink2Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I have to say, I’m pretty pumped for the release of Duplicity. Not only does it have a male narrator (something I adore), but it also has a computer hacker. Maybe I’m the only one, but I’ve always wanted to be a computer hacker. Judge me.

Three Key Words for This Week’s WoW: Hacking, Reflections, Thrilling

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Review: Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell

22504472Victorian-Era England Comes Alive in This Witty Romance
For years Charlotte Withersby has worked as an assistant to her father, an eminent English botanist. As she approaches the old age of twenty-four, her father pushes her out into society, swayed by an uncle who believes God’s only two roles for women are marriage and motherhood. When one of the Withersbys’ colonial correspondents, Edward Trimble, returns to England, he’s drafted as the new assistant so Charlotte is free to marry. This suits Edward’s plans quite well, since the last thing he wants to do is reunite with the family he is ashamed to call his own.
Though Edward proves himself vexingly capable on the job, Charlotte won’t surrender the job without a fight, and schemes with her best friend to regain her position. Perhaps if a proposal seems imminent, Charlotte’s father will see his error and ask her to return. Charlotte tries to make headway in her town’s social life, but reveals herself to be unaware of all the intricacies of polite society. Though Edward pitches in, tutoring her in society’s expectations, she just seems to make things worse. And the more she comes to know of her father’s assistant, the more trouble she has imagining life without him. Caught in a trap of her own making and seeing the hopelessness of her prospects, will Charlotte get to keep her work or will she have to cede her heart?

PUBLISHER: Bethany House Publishers

PAGES: 363

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A huge thanks to Bethany House Publishers and Siri Mitchell for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

I have a secret penchant for books about botany-loving protagonists. Now that I’ve told you, it’s not much of a secret anymore. It’s all good. I’ve never read one of Mitchell’s novels, but I wasn’t impressed with this one. Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday #16

img-thing-pink2Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I’m going to be completely honest–I hadn’t heard of this book until I worked on my New Year’s Eve Countdown post. Now that I’ve heard of it, though, I’m positively obsessed with it.

Three Key Words for This Week’s WoW: Kidnapping, Romance, TOO MANY FEELINGS (that was three key words in itself, but we’ll let it slide just this once)

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Waiting on Wednesday #15

img-thing-pink2Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Carrie Ryan is one of my most favorite YA authors. I loved her Forest of Hands and Teeth novels and I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. I’m a little bummed that I have to wait so long, though… Patience makes perfect?

Three Key Words for This Week’s WoW: Revenge, Danger, Shipwrecks

Sign me up.

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