Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

official blurb
Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind. So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism. And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

my blurb!
You know the friend in Love & Gelato?  This book is about her. And it’s not very good.

2.75 out of 5

Welp, I had high expectations for this book. I LOVED the first book – Love & Gelato. Like LOVED. It made the required reading list for Traveling and for Young Adult novels.  This book will not make either list.

what i didn't like
Let me start by saying the love in this book is love of family and friendship. So don’t expect the world’s cutest love story. Love is love. But…. I mean, I feel like that expectation was there and then it wasn’t met.
The secret. ENOUGH with secrets that are obvious!!!!! PLEASE I BEG OF YOU. I cannot take it anymore! If the secret isn’t a secret, there is no twist and no suspense. It is just an annoying storyline.
Sibling bickering.  Don’t enjoy reading siblings bicker for roughly 250 pages? You will not enjoy this book.
I’ve read a few books where people are obsessed with something specific.  From Fangirl, to Geekerella, to Eliza and her Monsters. In this book they are obsessed with a band named TitleTrack.  I didn’t enjoy it. I could probably expound on that but I just didn’t like reading about it. There was nothing wrong with it- I just didn’t care for it.

what i liked
The Mom.  She was awesome. You know how you read some books and the kids are up to no good and you think to yourself- where in the world are their parents?!  This mom is present and she is awesome.
I liked the snippits of the Irish guide book in between chapters.
That is all.

I would still HIGHLY recommend Love & Gelato.  This book is a companion book and not a sequel- so you’re not missing anything by not reading this book.  I say skip it and end on a high note.  OR if you can manage your expectations then go ahead and pick this up.

while reading you should
Watch: Leap Year
Eat: Irish Stew
Do: check your car’s oil (and schedule an oil change)

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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The Little Book of Hygee by Meik Wiking

2 out of 5

official blurb
Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: hygge. ‘Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight…’ You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right. Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress. Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He is committed to finding out what makes people happy and has concluded that hygge is the magic ingredient that makes Danes the happiest nation in the world.

my blurb!
A book about coziness.

This was on my coffee table for a year.  That sentence greatly describes my feelings about the book.  It was fine to pick up here and there and read about something cozy. And who doesn’t want a good reminder to light a candle?  But do you want to light a candle, cuddle up under a blanket or snuggle with your pet over the summer? 103 degree heat. Does that sound good and hygee to you? NO.  Therein lies the problem with the book.  It’s too long (it’s not long at all so that’s saying something) and it really only works for certain climate situations.  Overall it didn’t convince me to live like the Danes.

This book was fine. Not offensive. Not a page turner. This book is a good housewarming gift.  Or like a “you’re 35 and having a birthday party, what should I bring?” gift.  You’re not missing anything by not reading it. Click on a pinterest picture describing hygee and remind yourself that candles are awesome.  Got it? Cool. That’s hygee.

while reading you should
Sit on the couch with your dog.
Light a non scented candle.
Listen to Clair de Lune
Drink a cup of coffee with frothed milk.
Eat a maple scone.

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

2 out of 5
Okay, this isn’t going to be a wildly popular opinion because this book has been on so many book club lists- but this book was …Eh.  If the star value isn’t convincing you let me give you a breakdown of the book.

what i didn't like
Where is the dialogue in this book? It was almost like you were reading a diary and the writer couldn’t remember the dialogue – because who does? – so they’re just writing events and then every 20 pages give us 4 lines of dialogue.
The story was constantly switching perspectives. It was a satellite narrator who could see everything- I’m not used to that. I didn’t love it. But I didn’t hate it.
Shaker Heights (which is apparently also where the author lived in real life). It was described approximately 212,098,312 times throughout the book.  Shaker heights is all about the rules. Did you hear that? It’s a rule following town.  I’m not sure if you caught that, let me give you some more examples- Shaker Heights = rules.  I don’t think you got it…. WE GET IT!!!!  That’s how I felt about it.
I read that there was supposedly a twist in the book. I never came upon a twist. Where was it? Nothing surprised me in the plot. (That’s not totally a bad thing at all, but if you are expecting a twist, you might not find one).

what i liked
The story constantly switched perspectives.  I didn’t love it. Sometimes I disliked it. But also, sometimes I read a story with different perspectives every chapter and I don’t like all of the characters, so this was kind of nice in a way.
The plot, I enjoyed. It was complicated and kind of dark (more gray than like a deep dark and twisty plot).
The characters were complex. I liked that. But I didn’t want to spend any more time with them.

Overall I was glad when I finished the book. I didn’t want to read it anymore but didn’t want to quit the book either.   I think this book really could be a good read to some people- but it just wasn’t my style of book.  Am I crazy that I want the dialogue?! I missed it!   I cannot wait to pick up my next book and read long conversations!!!

if you would like to buy
Click here.

while reading you should
Listen to: hide and seek by imogen heap
Read: take a break reading this and pick up Stargirl
Eat: take yourself out to eat for brunch and bring the book.  This book is thought of in high esteem so you can read it at the table and everyone will think you’re cool. Just sayin.

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In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham

 

2 out of 5

official blurb
In this expansion of the 2017 commencement speech she gave at her hometown Langley High, Lauren Graham, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, reflects on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the here and now. “Whatever path you choose, whatever career you decide to go after, the important thing is that you keep finding joy in what you’re doing, especially when the joy isn’t finding you.” In her hilarious, relatable voice, Graham reminds us to be curious and compassionate, no matter where life takes us or what we’ve yet to achieve. Grounded and inspiring—and illustrated throughout with drawings by Graham herself—here is a comforting road map to a happy life.

my blurb!
A quick and random read that encourages you to not take things too seriously.
I should clearly state my bias here- I love Lauren Graham.  I am a Gilmore Girls junkie, have read her fiction and non fiction works, and would gladly stalk her if she were to ever come to Kansas City on a book tour.

what i liked
The book is 45 pages long and can be read quickly one evening.

what i didn't like
That being said- this book was a miss for me.  Her voice was there, but it was… well it was a pointless book.  I found myself  wondering if she had a book contract that demanded a publication.  Really, why does this book exist?

I have an inkling that the audiobook would be better because who doesn’t love to listen to Lauren Graham?  But I also have a strong hunch that you may listen and say to yourself… wow that was the book, huh?

when to read
Before or right after attending a graduation

while reading you should
Watch: Gilmore Girls
Listen to: Carole King
Drink: Coffee

if you would like to buy
Click here

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Bookish Boyfriends: A Date With Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

2.75 out of 5

official blurb
The first of two books in an intended paperback original series about a girl whose classic literary crushes manifest in real life. Merrilee Campbell, 16, thinks boys are better in books, chivalry is dead, and there’d be nothing more romantic than having just one guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. She’s about to get the chance to test these daydreams when she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer into Reginald R. Hero High, where all their fantasies come true—often with surprising consequences.

my blurb!
A romance reading teen goes to a new school and experiences love and it’s perils for the first time.

 what i didn't like
I had a love hate relationship  (mostly hate) with our protagonist, Merrilee. As the premise states, she is obsessed with all things literature (love), particularly sappy love stories (don’t love).  You know those love-sick teens who idealized everything sappy and unrealistic in life and focus in on that entirely and that’s all they ever talk about? That is our main girl. I couldn’t get past that in the end and therefore couldn’t rank this book higher.
what i liked
The authors writing style was enjoyable and a good fit for the high school reader. And I loved the premise. Did anyone see Austenland? Because that’s what this premise and book kind of reminded me of. (Side note: that movie is hilarious and must be seen immediately).
Overall, the annoyance with Merrilee sunk this book for me and is why I couldn’t rate it higher.
If you would like to buy a copy of this book click here. It is available May 1st, 2018.
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The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

official blurb

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

my blurb!

Shatter me (without the out of this world writing) meets the 5th wave (without the aliens)
2.75 out of 5

Is there a point when you age out of a genre? Because I think I may have aged out of the young adult dystopian tales.  Nothing about this book was awful. It just wasn’t original.  And seriously, another helpless heroine? SOMEONE PLEASE WRITE BETTER FEMALE PROTAGONISTS!  That being said- I remember the rush of first reading Divergent and LOVING it.  I’m convinced if I read it now, I wouldn’t love it still! Why is that?  Something about the dystopian genre has become lost on me, I guess.  Who knew this day would come?!

SO, I picked this book up because I read that it recently cast its rolls for an upcoming movie.  I always want to read a good book to movie so I couldn’t resist. Like I said, not awful, but I didn’t get any twists in this book.  I actually got a little bored reading it.  I was never shocked, and never impressed.  But I think that if you’re in the mood for a dystopian tale- this one is still a valid one to pick up. (It does have a 4 star rating on goodreads – so you know a lot of people out there loved it)

 

What I liked-
camaraderie of the crew our leading lady ends up with

What I didn’t like-
the leading lady
the twists or surprises that were never surprising

It should be noted that this is the first in a trilogy that have all been published.  It should also be noted that this book does feature sexual assault (it’s not graphic but it is present)

while reading you should

eat: fruit (in the post apocalyptic world- there is never much fruit)
listen to: the inception soundtrack
wear: combat boots

if you would like to buy a copy of darkest minds click here

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The Now or Never Moment Omnibus by Katie Kaleski

This book was an advanced readers copy given to me by Netgalley

official blurb

ALL FOUR OF THE NOW OR NEVER MOMENT NOVELLAS IN ONE*
By the time she realizes she loves him, he’s already gone.
Shelby and Tanner have been inseparable ever since freshman year when she intervened to save him from a bully’s beating. Fast forward four intense years–Shelby is leaving for college. Without Tanner. Three days before she’s set to move, he hands her a thick envelope with explicit instructions:
In no way shape or form is she to open the envelope until she is perfectly settled in at school. She is not to even think of it until then.
No one has seen Tanner since that moment.
She opens the envelope to find a letter of epic proportions inside that spans their years in high school together. When she reads it out loud to almost her entire dorm, Shelby relives the good and all of the bad, and together they learn details that Tanner held back, the things he never told her. How much he really loves her.
Sometimes, all it takes is walking in someone else’s shoes to realize what you’ve known all along. Sometimes, that realization comes too late.
*this book deals with suicidal ideation, depression, and bullying*

my blurb!

Two teens in a frelationship endure bullying and one crappy set of parents. Told in flashbacks in a love letter from Tanner to Shelby.

2 out of 5

Alright let’s get into this. This book is about a huge frelationship (a friendship that functions as a relationship but doesn’t call itself one) and I really don’t enjoy those plots. So you read through four years of this plot line. It’s basically a long love letter- literally novel length- read aloud by the recipient.

what i liked

One of the plots in the novel is about brutal bullying and the aftermath of enduring it.
This was the part of the book i enjoyed the most. I was so frustrated that Tanner had to endure such a jerk in his school and no one did much about it. The people who tried to help were not successful in the system. Ugh, so frustrating to read!

what i didn't like

Why was Tanner so forthcoming about his sex life in a love letter to someone else?? That seemed odd.
I didn’t like Shelby interacting with the people in college who she was reading this love letter to. It just wasn’t believable that these literal strangers all stopped meeting new people and unpacking their rooms their FIRST day in college because they wanted to sit down and be read aloud to.
I didn’t believe the love epiphany that Shelby had. Like- woah, I’m actually in love with him now that he repeatedly tells me he’s in love with me- even though I actually knew he was in love with me our entire friendship. How does that make her fall in love with him suddenly? What changed? Was it really just that she was not around him for like 3 days and she missed him?
I didn’t like the ending either but i won’t give any spoilers.
while reading you should

Listen to: Existentialism on Prom Night by Straight Run
Watch: High School Musical
Attempt: crocheting

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