The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

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official blurb
A long, hot summer… That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father. But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to question her sheltered life.

my blurb!
A girl who is in search of perfection finds her perfect life doesn’t look exactly like she planned.

5 out of 5

 

what i liked
This is required reading for YA fans! (Here’s my list of amazing YA books).
Let me start with the elephant in the room.  Before I met my husband I was in love with someone else.  I have never gotten over him and still think of him often.  That’s right, I am talking about my first fictional boyfriend, Wes.  And he lives in the pages of The Truth About Forever.  Now before you go on and on saying that you also loved Wes, let me tell you that our love is good and it is true- so don’t go trying to make it anything other than that with your false tales of your swooning heart!  Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, you can see why Wes is the first thing mentioned under things that I liked in this book.
This is a reread. To be truthful, I reread this book every year.  Every. Year. Since it was published. I told you my love for Wes was real!  So to be clear, this was published in 2004. I’m pretty certain I read it back to back when I got it, so that brings my total to 15 times read!  I guess you could say I like this book.
Sarah Dessen came out with a gauntlet of perfect YA books in the early 2000s.  And don’t let this whole “YA” tag fool you.  She writes heavy topics that also happen to have swoon worthy love stories in them.
In this book, Macy is trying to cope with life after her dad died.  Dessen does an amazing job of giving you all of the feels of loss, and the repercussions of choosing the way you’re going to mourn. Macy is a crazy flawed character. She is insecure and wants total control.  She never speaks her own voice and she hides in other people’s shadows.  And she is somehow so likable.
Macy and her mom have so many realistic interactions that it is sometimes stressful to read.  Me being me, I wanted all Wes scenes all day long.  The worst part about this book is going from being with the fictional love of my life, directly into the next scene of a crappy interaction with Macy’s mom! I found myself saying, “I don’t care about your mom damn it! I want Wes!”  And then the librarian would graciously ask me to lower my voice and refrain from using curse words while watching my kids play at the library.
Have I ranted on and on about this book enough to convince you to read it? No… okay here comes my second wind.
Just kidding.  Go get this book!

Ps. You can order a personalized book from Sarah Dessen here.  I personally would like a dedication stating that she acknowledges that I am Wes’ true love but that she felt she couldn’t write about our nonfiction love so she wrote Macy instead. That’s reasonable, right?

when to read
This is a great summer read!  But since it is required reading- pick it up any time!

while reading you should
Listen to my “The Truth About Forever Mini Playlist:”
-Summertime romance by Johnnyswim
-Something Stupid by Michael Bublé ft Reese Witherspoon
– Catching Feelings by Justin Bieber
-I Run To You by Lady Antebellum

Picture the following actors as the characters in this book:
Wes: Bob Morley, Shawn Mendes, Liam Hemsworth, Logan Lerman
Macy’s mom: Lauren Graham, Julia Roberts,
Macy: Dakota Fanning, Lily Collins, Emma Watson
Kristy: (way younger) Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Lawrence
Monica: Taylor Momsen, Carly Chaikin
Jason: Michael Welch, Freddie Highmore, Lucas Till
Bert: Jack O’connell, Taron Egerton

Eat: Meatballs
Do: Go for a Run
Watch: A news special on Armageddon

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Dating – ish (Knitting in the City #6) by Penny Reid

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official blurb
There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris:  1) She’s fed up with online dating,  2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and  3) She knows how to knit. After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of human kind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities: Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services? But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . . As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

my blurb!
The story of a super cool girl and a smartypants guy, who decide to use each other for professional gain but but end up gaining something else in the end.

3.25 out of 5

what i liked
I really liked Marie!  Can you tell by now that I ALWAYS like the Penny Reid heroine?  She is motivated and kind, she sticks up for herself and is loyal.  What’s not to like?
This book was a really cute romcom…. BUT it was too steamy.  So if you don’t mind a steamy romance- you’ll like this romcom.
I liked the topic that this book focused on- writing an article or solving a scientific problem of the perks of a relationship without being in one. (Sidenote- I JUST watched a new hallmark movie called Mingle All The Way that also tried to tackle this topic!)

what i didn't like
It’s too steamy!!! I have to skim a lot of parts in a Penny Reid book but I keep coming back to her. I know… why?!  Because I love her writing and her characters but I don’t love her steam! It’s too much!
The ending I didn’t love. I won’t give anything away… but the last scene.  Nope… wasn’t into it.
This was the 6th book in a series- and somehow my library has this book and only this book in the series.  They are each stand alone books but I found a lot of recaps in this book that I knew were big plot points in other books.  It didn’t flow very well.

while reading you should
Do: Read a newspaper- while you’re at it, get me a subscription bc my free local one just went out of business 😦
Make: coconut cake
Listen: Turning the Page by Sleeping At Last

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One Day In December by Josie Silver

 

one day in december

 

official blurb
Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story. Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away. Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be. What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.

my blurb!
A love triangle and its consequences experienced over a 10 year span.

3.25 out of 5

what i liked
First of all, I know that this is an unpopular opinion. The majority of reviews I have seen range from 4 stars to 5 stars.  This book ALMOST got a flat 3 stars but I did read it really quickly so I feel like that needs to count for something.
The writing in this book is amazing.  I loved it, it’s kind of conversational in tone and I would definitely pick up another Josie Silver book without even thinking about it.
Starting just after page 100, Laurie takes a trip to Thailand.  Fun fact, I taught English for a summer in Thailand and I loved it.  The descriptions and the phrases she uses took me right back there.  This was a BIG highlight for me because the Thai people were amazing and I had such an extraordinary experience with them, that I just adored reading about another Thailand fangirl in the pages of this book!
After my second night reading this book (probably like pages 100-200ish) I had a good idea who the characters were going to end up with.  This might be a negative for some people but the first 100 pages of the book stressed me out so much that this was actually a big plus for me.
There were some really good quotes in this book that I liked.  Here are a few for you to sample:
“This isn’t romance by the numbers, it’s real life.”
“I don’t know if love should feel like that, you know? …making an effort to be someone ever so slightly different from who we really are.”
If these quotes don’t show you already- this isn’t a light and fluffy read that I find a lot of people describing it as.  It is funny, but I would call this a romance drama.

what i didn't like
The love triangle! Oh My Gosh.  I HATE love triangles.  Some people might have a different opinion of love triangles… oh ya, I don’t care because this is my review!  haha
There is lying to perpetuate the love triangle in the first 100 pages and … It. Is. Stressful.  I read the first 100 pages the first night and I didn’t even want to pick the book up the next day because I was so stressed about the darn love triangle!  That might be a severe reaction for most people- but this book is well written so you like all of the people in it, and you can’t help but be annoyed that someone is gonna get the rug pulled out from under them when the resolution finally takes place.
The ending.  I did not like the ending.  I thought… wait what?  I was shocked there wasn’t an epilogue.  Maybe there is going to be a second book? A novella? I haven’t seen any news so… this is a big strike in the negative column for me.
There were some plot points in this book that I needed answers to. One specifically involving a character named Oscar. But no spoilers here… if you read it… come talk to me!
My biggest dislike in this book was that a lot of this book was painful for me. A plethora of bad decisions or life choices and 10 years of seeing the consequences of those choices.  Ugh. My heart hurt sometimes reading it!

while reading you should
Listen to this mini playlist:
-3 Wishes by Dave Thomas Junior
-In My Arms by Johnnyswim
-Can’t Help Falling In Love by Kina Granis
-Stronger Than Me by the Cast of Nashville
-What I Know by Parachute
-Villains by Johnnyswim
-Ho Hey by Lennon and Maisy

Drink- alcohol.  It doesn’t matter what kind. This book will drive you drinking. I’m joking.  The characters drink a lot in the book. haha, that’s why I chose this option.
Watch: Bridget Jones’s Diary

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Snow In Love by Various Authors

snow in love

official blurb
What’s better than one deliciously cozy, swoon-worthy holiday story? Four of them, from some of today’s bestselling authors. From KASIE WEST, a snowy road trip takes an unexpected detour when secrets and crushes are revealed. From AIMEE FRIEDMAN, a Hanukkah miracle may just happen when a Jewish girl working as a department store elf finds love. From MELISSA DE LA CRUZ, Christmas Eve gets a plot twist when a high school couple exchange surprising presents. From NIC STONE, a scavenger hunt amid the holiday crowds at an airport turns totally romantic. So grab a mug of hot cocoa, snuggle up, and get ready to fall in love…

my blurb!
A book of four short stories by different authors all involving the holiday season.

2.25

what i liked
Don’t let this rating confuse you too much when I start raving about this story.  The rating is an average of all of the stories and one story was AMAZING and cute.  Who wrote that one you ask? Well, Kasie West of course!  You may know by now that I have a small crush on Kasie West and her writing.  I mean the woman is a cute writing book machine.  She did not disappoint me with this story.  I read it so quickly and have thought of it a few times since.  Hers was the first story in the book titles- Snow and Mistletoe.  It was predictable in the best way possible (you know, in the Hallmark Channel amazingness kind of way?)

what i didn't like
Stories 2-4 didn’t fair as well in my humble reading opinion.  The second story was called Working in a Winter Wonderland.  I wrote down a few notes while I read this story and they went something along the lines of “will this story ever end?!”  Keep in mind that this is a short story.  I know, telling right? haha.  Some other thoughts when reading the story went something like, “I already know who she is and is not going to end up with!”  So this story was also predictable but not in a Hallmark amazingness kind of way.  Also our protagonist in this story was SUPER annoying.
The third story was called The Magi’s Gifts.  This story also featured a protagonist who I didn’t like at all.  In fact I disliked her.  I know, I know – I need to start pulling my punches.  This story was ALSO predictable in a bad way. (Is it possible that people tend to just write super predictable stories when it comes to the holidays?)
The last story in the book was called Grounded.  I didn’t even finish this story.  At this point in the book I started to wonder why I was suffering through stories- whether they were short or not- that I wasn’t immediately loving.

So here’s the full breakdown of my ratings:
Snow & Mistletoe : 5 Stars
Working in a Winter Wonderland : 1 out of 5 stars
The Magi’s Gifts:  2 out of 5 stars
Grounded:  1 out of 5 stars

The truth of the matter is, that I rarely like anthologies.  I would pick this book up and solely read Kasie West’s story and then return the book to the library.  Her story really was super cute.

while reading you should
Read: Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell (this is a 5 star short story book!)
Listen to: Little Drummer Boy by For King and Country
Do: Something to make your life easier over the holidays. (No one notices that you bought the cookie frosting instead of making it from scratch.  Oh, maybe that one was actually just speaking to myself)

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Christmas by accident by Cameron wright

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official blurb
Carter is an insurance adjuster whose longing for creative expression spills over sometimes into his accident reports. Abby works for her adoptive father, Uncle Mannie, in the family bookstore, the ReadMore Café. Carter barely tolerates Christmas; Abby loves it. She can’t wait past October to build her favorite display, the annual Christmas book tree stack, which Carter despises. When an automobile accident throws Carter and Abby together, Uncle Mannie, who is harboring secrets of his own, sees a chance for lasting happiness for his little girl. But there are so many hurdles, and not much time left. Will this Christmas deliver the miracle everyone is hoping for? Where love and Christmas are concerned, there are no accidents.

my blurb!
A book about a guy who decides to write a Christmas book for money.

1 out of 5

what i didn't like
Wow. This book was awful.  It was one of the most boring books I have ever read! I don’t think I would’ve even read it as long as I did if I wouldn’t have brought it on vacation with me. Why is it that holiday themed books rarely deliver?
A big part of the plot in this book was about a guy named Carter who thought Christmas books were so poorly written but still sold, so he was going to exploit that and write one himself. This felt like the actual real life reason as to why Wright even wrote this book.
I decided to abandon this book 153 pages into it. The book is only 225 pages long so I could have easily finished it. But why? It wasn’t very good and there are too many good books out there to waste my time on the bad ones!
About the point in the book when I stopped reading, the characters realized they were falling in love with each other. This was an eye-opening moment to me when I realized I didn’t even care if they ended up together because I had no attachment to them whatsoever.

Skip this book and save yourself the bore.  (Too harsh?  Well, did I mention this book was boring and basically sucked the fun of reading a Christmas book out of the world? …Okay I may have a flair for the dramatic.  But seriously. Read any other Christmas book please).

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

official blurb
Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.  She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.  Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

my blurb!
City girl encounters sky cowboy in Alaska while trying to reconnect with her dad.

4.5 out of 5

Let me start by saying- this is not your typical romance novel.  I’m actually not ENTIRELY sure this is a romance novel- it could potentially be adult fiction.  But I feel like if sex is mentioned, then why can’t it be a romance novel?  Romantic movies and porn aren’t the same.  Neither are romance novels and erotica!  (You’re welcome for drawing that conclusion for you.  I know, I should be like a writing teacher or something right? So. Insightful).

what i liked
Wren- he was such a solid character.  I understood him and I liked him!
Simon- hello good stepfather! I mean, I am SO pro a good step parent- it could just be the old disney movies in my head, but I always assume they’re going to be the stereotypical step parent who should be banished to the ends of the earth.  Well, that’s not the case for Simon. You’ll love him, trust me.
I loved the name Calla – and overall I did like her.  I was nervous when she was proclaiming herself anti-confrontation, because in general I am pro confrontation and I really don’t like to read about characters who just whine in their heads all the time but never do anything about it.  So Calla wasn’t nearly as annoying as I thought she was going to be- and I did actually end up really liking her.
Agnes…. Okay wait. I’m sensing a pattern here.  I am actually going through the book and listing almost every main character.  Wow.  Okay, so I guess I enjoyed all of the characters in this book!
I LOVED the setting.  I mean, Alaska is DEFINITELY bucket list for me, and even more so after reading this book. I. Must. Go. To. Alaska.
I liked reading about the world of bush pilots! Something I never would have thought to ever spend any time imagining and now, I feel as if I’ve lived among them.

what i didn't like
I didn’t looooove Jonah. I know, this is going to be an unpopular opinion.  I didn’t dislike him, but I certainly wasn’t obsessed with him.  Here’s why- and this is FACT- he’s kind of a jerk.  I am NOT into the idea of someone who is SO judgemental of Calla so he totally messes with her just to entertain himself! Also he completely shames her for caring about her appearance, and nicknames her Barbie. Truth be told she may care too much about her appearance, but there’s no winning there- people who don’t care about their appearance have to have makeovers and people who do have to care less.  Down with the appearance shaming! The whole uppity girl- can’t help but fall in love with rugged jerk of a guy. NO! I’m done with that. I’ve watched Gilmore Girls approximately 12987059021 times – and have lived through Rory and Jess. Nope, I’m not into it.  Try to change my mind. Go ahead….
Really though, Jonah wasn’t awful- I just wasn’t personally remotely swooning for him.  What can I say, he just didn’t do it for me.

while reading you should
Eat: beef jerky
Listen to: Can’t Help Falling in Love by Kina Grannis
Do: Learn to drive a manual car
Request: My Oxford Year from the library because if you like this one then you’ll like that one!

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

official blurb
Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets: Secrets from her boyfriend: I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken. Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur. Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is. Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her…

my blurb!
Bridget Jones’ personality meets plot with boss relationship.

3.25 out of 5

what i liked
This book was laugh out loud funny.
I love cringe worthy embarrassing moments and this was full of them.  Seriously, so many cringeworthy moments.  If this was a movie, I would be watching it through my fingers.
This was my first Sophia Kinsella book and she lived up to the hype with her witty writing.  Here’s an excerpt from the very beginning of the very first chapter:
Of course I have secrets.  Of course I do. Everyone has a few secrets.  It’s completely normal.  I’m not talking about big, earth-shattering secrets.  Not the-president-is-planning-to-bomb-Japan-and-only-Will-Smill-can-save-the-world type secrets.  Just normal everyday little secrets. Like for example… I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even exactly what it is.
You smiled while you were reading that, right? It’s just funny!

what i didn't like
I didn’t feel the total love between the two mains. That made it automatically in the 3 star range regardless of the funny situations and writing.  I mean, correct me if I’m wrong (I’m obviously not) but in a romcom, you should TOTALLY be obsessed with the characters getting together!
I also didn’t like one of the friends- Jemima (Also, who’s named that?)  –  why were they even friends? I didn’t get that at all.

while reading you should
Research: a super secret restaurant near you
Attend: a local dance performance
Share: a random secret with a stranger

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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