2. Taylor Jenkins Reid – Maybe In Another Life

So, have I mentioned that I have a perfect boyfriend recently? No? Okay, well here goes.

This past Christmas, one of my gifts was ‘from’ my dog (actually something my boyfriend bought for me). As if that’s not cute enough, the gift was an autographed copy of my favorite author’s newest book. Wait, it gets better. Taylor Jenkins Reid signed these books at a bookstore near where she lives, in California, which is on the opposite coast of where I live. So he had the book shipped from California to Vermont just so I could have an autographed copy. Adorable, no?

Anyway, this past weekend I read the book. I’ve been trying to hold off on it for as long as I could, because I knew I would finish it in one day and I didn’t want to be done with it, but I finally caved.

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Taylor Jenkins Reid – Maybe in Another Life (photo taken by me)

The book starts out with the main character, Hannah, moving from New York to LA, where she grew up. Hannah is almost 30 and has never stayed in one place for very long, but she gets out of a bad relationship and her best friend Gabby convinces her to move home.

On her first night in LA, Hannah goes out with Gabby and her friends, where she runs into her high school boyfriend (who she always thought was the one), Ethan. They start talking and flirting, but before long, Gabby shows up and says she’s heading home, asking Hannah if she wants to go too.

From there, the chapters of the book alternate between two different worlds – one in which Hannah stays out with Ethan, and one in which she goes home with Gabby. The two worlds quickly take very different turns and we see how one simple decision can affect so much.

The book says a lot about the idea of fate, while we follow Hannah through two very different lives full of their own struggles.

Of course, since this is my favorite author we’re talking about, I loved this book. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite of hers, but it’s still really good, and I fell in love with both stories. My only complaint would have to be that the ending kind of left me wanting more, although overall I was pleased. I give this book two thumbs up.

 

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57. John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle – Let It Snow

Hey guys! I hope everyone who celebrates had a great Christmas! I actually finished my last book on Christmas Eve but I’ve been too busy to post about it.

The book was Let It Snow, a collection of three short stories written by young adult authors Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle.

The three stories were all centered around Christmas, making it the perfect book to read on Christmas Eve. Since they are young adult stories, they were pretty easy to read through quickly.

What I really liked about this book was that all three stories were connected, instead of just being a bunch of random stories with the same theme.

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John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle – Let It Snow (photo taken by me)

The first story is about a teenage girl named Jubilee who ends up stuck on a train by herself on Christmas Eve in the middle of a huge snowstorm. Her train ends up derailed and she ventures off into the town she’s in and ends up in a Waffle House, where she meets a boy that she clicks with.

The next story is about three high school friends who are spending Christmas Eve watching a movie marathon during the snowstorm. But then, their friend who works at Waffle House calls them and says they have to get there right away. We follow them on their adventure through the snowstorm to get to the restaurant.

The final story is about another teenage girl who lives in the same town and recently ended her relationship although she wants to get back together. Her boyfriend was on the train that crashed in the first story, and his cell phone broke in the crash so he can’t contact her – although she doesn’t know that. We follow her as she deals with her relationship and friendships.

At the end of the third story, all three come together in a happy ending, which I thought was really nice. Last year I read a compilation of twelve Christmas-themed stories called My True Love Gave To Me. I liked that book, but none of the stories were related, and I liked Let It Snow better for this reason.

This book was cute and an easy read, and I’d definitely recommend it to read around the holidays.

56. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Hey, today is Christmas Eve Eve! Yay!

To get into the Christmas spirit (not that I haven’t been already – I’m listening to Christmas music as I write this and just finished making some gingerbread cookies), I decided to read some Christmas themed books!

The first one is Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. These two have written a few books together, including Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which as you probably know was made into a movie.

After finishing this book, I read in the back description that the two authors wrote this book by emailing each other a chapter at a time without deciding where the story would go, and that made me like the story even more.

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Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (photo taken by me)

The book is (obviously) about two teenagers named Dash and Lily. At the start of the book, it’s a few days before Christmas and Dash is in the Strand bookstore in New York. He finds a little red moleskine journal mixed in with some books, and opens it to find a puzzle of sorts.

The notebook takes him around the bookstore to solve a riddle and asks to be left for the original owner to reply.

Naturally, the original owner is Lily, a Christmas-obsessed teenage girl whose parents are out of the country for the holidays, meaning she has nothing to do.

The two of them exchange the notebook many times without ever actually meeting and began to feel really close to each other by sharing their stories.

As you’re reading it, you can’t wait for the two main characters to finally meet, but it didn’t happen the way I would have expected.

I really enjoyed this story, it’s a Young Adult book and it’s pretty short so it’s an easy read. I grew to really like the characters even though I can barely relate to either of them, but I think this is a really cute story to read around Christmastime and I’d like to read some of the other books by these authors.

49. Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl

Hey hey! Who’s excited for Halloween weekend?!

Besides the fact that I didn’t wake up until after noon today (I had a lot of sleep to catch up on…), I had a pretty productive day. Well, only if you consider doing an exam and finishing a book productive. Because that’s pretty much all I’ve done today. Anyway…

I’m pretty excited that my next book will be my 50th of the year, but I don’t know which book to read next. I only have two unread books right now and I was planning on saving them to read on the bus when I go to New York in a couple weeks. So, now the hunt for book number 50 starts.

Book number 49 was pretty good though. It was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I know that Rainbow Rowell is super popular, but I’ve never gotten around to reading any of her books. This past weekend I was at home and I saw it at Costco, so I had to get it (or make my mom get it for me :P).

So, I didn’t really know what the story was even about, but I figured it would be a good read since she’s so popular. I actually read through the whole thing in 48 hours and found myself barely able to put it down last night before bed.

The main character in Fangirl is a college freshman named Cath. At the start of the book, she’s moving into school for the start of her freshman year.

Cath is really shy and doesn’t like new/unfamiliar situations, so the fact that her twin sister, Wren, doesn’t want to spend all their time at school together makes her even more nervous.

Cath’s transition into school isn’t the easiest, but she has her fanfiction to rely on. Cath is the author of a really popular fanfic based on an extremely popular series about a young magician.

Rainbow Rowell - Fangirl (photo taken by me)
Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl (photo taken by me)

The book follows Cath through her whole first year of school, dealing with her mentally unstable dad back at home by himself, her twin sister being a little too wild at school, her estranged mother, her classes, her rocky relationship with her roommate, and the boys she’s too shy to make a move on, all while she’s working on finishing her latest fanfic.

This book had me hooked. As I mentioned earlier, I read the majority of it last night and pretty much had to force myself to put it down so I could go to bed. I found myself relating to Cath quite a bit, despite our differences, although her actions did kind of annoy me at times. She almost seemed childish in the way she acted in parts of the book.

I did have a couple of problems with the book. At the end of each chapter, there was a little snippet of either one of Cath’s fanfics, or a excerpt from the “actual” books that her fics were based on. Most of Cath’s stories were pretty interesting, especially since we heard about them in other parts of the book, but I didn’t really care for the “actual” books. It confused me a little because I had to keep the canon and the fanfics straight in my head, I kind of wish it had only been Cath’s stories that we got to read.

Also, I didn’t like the ending of the book. It almost felt unfinished to me, which can really ruin a book for me. I like to have closure at the end of a book, and I was actually really surprised that I was at the end of this one. It really felt like there should have been something more at the end.

The latest book that Rainbow Rowell just released, Carry On, is actually Cath’s fanfic that she was writing all through this book, which I think is a pretty cool idea, although I’m not sure if I want to read it.

Overall, this book was pretty good, I liked the characters and the story (and it brought me back to my fanfic writing days – lol, literally), but as I said, I didn’t like the ending. The more I think about it, the more I feel like there are too many loose ends, and I feel like this book needs a sequel, and not just the fanfic published.

Anyway, I still look forward to reading some more of Rowell’s books and hopefully I will like the endings of those ones a little better.

41. Stephanie Perkins – Isla and the Happily Ever After

This coming weekend, I’m leaving to head back to school for my senior year (don’t remind me). Yikes!

Which means, I likely just finished my last book of the summer, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. This is the third in a trilogy, and I’ve previously reviewed both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door.

Stephanie Perkins - Isla and the Happily Ever After (photo taken by me)
Stephanie Perkins – Isla and the Happily Ever After (photo taken by me)

One of my favorite things about this trilogy is that in the last two books, characters from the previous book(s) show up somehow in the story. I think that’s a really cool way to connect all the stories but also keep them separate stories, since they’re not super intertwined.

In this book, Isla is a senior at the School of Americans in Paris, the same school that Anna attends in the first book. Isla has had a crush on a boy named Josh (one of Anna’s friends) since she was a freshman. At the very start of the book she finally finds the courage to talk to him, since she’s all doped up from getting her wisdom teeth taken out. After this Isla’s crush only intensifies.

The rest of the story (obviously) follows their relationship. It has its ups and downs, of course, and it’s kind of a crazy story, really. If you’ve read the other two books, Isla’s story is more wild than the other two, in my opinion.

This was definitely not my favorite book of the three. I’d say Anna and the French Kiss is probably my favorite.

This book was a little better than okay for me. I didn’t love it but I also didn’t hate it. I liked the story over all and definitely liked the ending, but the story did seem to progress a little too quickly for my taste. It could just be because I read through it kind of fast, but the whole story felt rushed and everything seemed to happen so fast.

I did feel like some of Isla’s thoughts and actions seemed childish, but that might just be a trait used to intentionally make the character more realistic, since she is in high school. As a college senior now (again, eek!) the way she reacts to some things just seems silly to me.

Overall, I did like this book. It’s definitely an easy read so it makes for some good light reading. If you have read the first two in the trilogy and not this one yet, it’s definitely worth your time.

35. Gayle Forman – Just One Day

I’m going to start off this post by saying that I love this book.

So, I don’t remember when I first heard about this book, but it’s been on my to-read list for a while now. So long, in fact, that I forgot what the story was even about. But lately, I feel like I’ve seen people talking about this book everywhere, and they all had great reviews. So I felt like I had to read it next (it was like fate, which if you read the book, you’ll appreciate ;)).

Gayle Forman - Just One Day (photo taken by me)
Gayle Forman – Just One Day (photo taken by me)

The story is about a girl named Allyson who is on a trip in Europe following her high school graduation. Allyson has always been a “good girl” and has done what she’s expected to do.

On one of the last nights of her trip, she meets a boy who’s appearing in a play, and she and her friend Melanie go to see it. The next morning, Allyson and Melanie are on a train to London, where they’ll stay for a few days before returning home. But on the train, Allyson runs into none other than the boy she had met the night before, Willem.

They talk during the train ride and once they get to the train station in London, Allyson mentions that she’s upset she didn’t have a chance to visit Paris. Naturally, Willem suggests that they take a trip there – for just one day.

It’s totally unlike Allyson to say yes, but something about Willem makes her feel different from her usual, safe self. So she goes.

Now, I thought this book was just going to follow their one day in Paris and be all romantic and have a happily-ever-after ending. Boy, am I glad I was wrong about that. This book is so much more than that.

Towards the end, I was taken on an emotional rollercoaster. I couldn’t figure out if the ending was going to be happy or leave me feeling like something was left out. I think it’s great when a book can affect your emotions like that.

I loved the way the book ended and it left me feeling really happy. I also can’t wait to read the sequel, Just One Year.

The only “complaint” I have about this book is that I wish their had been more resolutions in the relationships with other people in Allyson’s life. There are a couple of people who Allyson has rocky relationship with, and I would have liked to have seen how they turned out. But I understand that those didn’t really fit in with the ending.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend this book to people, it’s so good. It did take me a while to get into it at the beginning, but after that I just couldn’t put it down.

27. Jennifer E. Smith – This is What Happy Looks Like

This post will probably be on the shorter side because I’m rushing to get ready for a date. Tonight is my anniversary so I’m going out to dinner soon! But first, let me tell you about the book I finished last night.

It was This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. Last year, I read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by her, and I enjoyed it so I decided to give another one of her books a read. They’re YA books so they are an easy read, which I like every now and then.

Jennifer E. Smith - This is What Happy Looks Like (photo taken by me)
Jennifer E. Smith – This is What Happy Looks Like (photo taken by me)

This is What Happy Looks Like starts out with a guy typing in his friend’s email address wrong, so his message goes to a stranger across the country. She responds to his email and they begin talking and getting to know each other without even knowing the other’s name. As it turns out, the guy is actually a teen movie star named Graham, and his newest movie is looking for a small town to film in. Graham suggests the town in Maine where the girl he’s been emailing lives so he can finally meet her.

The rest of the book is the story of how they meet for the first time and what they do after that. It’s kind of predictable, since it’s a Young Adult book and they pretty much all are predictable, but it was still a cute story and a good book.

One thing I really liked about the book was that part of it takes place on the Fourth of July and it talks about the fireworks show and then the two of them spending time together. The Fourth of July is always a special holiday for me and my boyfriend and I always watch the fireworks together, so that scene was just a little cuter for me because of that.

Overall, I liked this book, it was nothing special really but still a good read. A plus side is that it’s 400 pages long, so if you’re looking for an easy read but one that you won’t blow through in just a day, this is a good choice.