Monday, December 18, 2017

Review: A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen


A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

What I Liked:

I'd heard great things about this book, and while I'm not a YA contemporary fan (definitely not a tough-issue contemporary person), I was curious enough to want to know more about it. This book broke my heart in many ways, but it was really and truly inspiring and hopeful. It wasn't an easy read but it was a meaningful one, and I'm glad I took a chance on it. 

This book begins when Spencer is 13 years old, and his new neighbors are moving in. That is when he meets Hope. He likes Hope immediately; she is nice, fun, and she doesn't think he is a weirdo because of his Tourette Syndrome tics and sniffs. But his older brother Dean also thinks Hope is cool. As the years go on, Spencer and Hope are friends... Dean and Hope are a couple... and then they're not... Spencer and Jayla are a couple... Hope and Mikey are a couple... and so life goes. This book is a story of broken hearts and painful sibling relationships, or loss and life, and misunderstandings and lost time. It ends with Spencer being 19 years old, and thus closes the story after six years.

Most of the story is narrated by Spencer, though occasional chapters are letters from Hope to her older sister Janie, who travels to third-world countries to do humanitarian work (if I remember correctly). Spencer is a different kind of male protagonist, primarily because he has Tourette Syndrome (and you don't find a lot of YA books featuring characters with Tourette Syndrome - definitely not them being protagonists). Spencer is an intelligent, clever, logical kid who has his quirks and eccentricities but really is a good kid. He has the worst luck, falling for his best friend. His best friend Hope, who ends up dating his big brother Dean.

I have to say, I didn't always like Hope. She didn't seem to think things through, and she definitely wasn't a big fan of communication, from what I could see from her side of her friendship with Spencer. I didn't think she was good for Spencer at all, whether as a friend, or what he wanted (her as his girlfriend). I began to like her more as the story went on, but I was totally rooting for Spencer to not end up with her. 

You can imagine how messy this book is. Messy isn't always bad because life really is messy. Relationships are messy. Nothing is ever black-and-white, like we'd hope. The relationships in this book are very muddled. Spencer has been in love with Hope for forever. Hope has been interested in Spencer for forever but... she gets with Dean for stupid reasons. And then she gets with Mikey after a bad breakup with Dean. Spencer starts dating a girl named Jayla, and I shipped them so hard. I was so hoping they would be endgame. But like I said... messy.

So I wasn't really a fan of the romance (except Spencer and Jayla, but even then...). The relationships I DID like were the slow development of Spencer's relationship with his dad; Spencer's great relationship with his stepmom Pam; Spencer's friendship with Paul, and eventually Traven. I liked seeing these more positive, healthy relationships blossom, because goodness knows none of the romantic relationships were healthy. Not even Spencer and Jayla's, and I had been shipping them. But some of the family relationships and friend relationships were really beautiful to see grow and unfold.

I personally thought the author did a great job with Tourette Syndrome representation. I knew a few students in primary and secondary school that had Tourette, but I don't really know much of the specifics of the syndrome. To me it seemed like Allen did her research and really understand the depth of the syndrome and how it affected life for the character, and the surrounding characters. 

And of course, the taxonomy illustrations at the beginning of each chapter (most chapters, anyway) were really cool. They definitely tied everything together! I would occasionally skip one (because I was engrossed in the story) but I always came back to read that taxonomy that I skipped because they were interesting, and mostly foreshadowed that chapter's events.

This story was really hard to read, because it's heartbreaking (especially in terms of Spencer/Hope, but also for other reasons). But I'm glad I gave it a chance. It's worth the read and makes you think about things like relationships, and loss.

What I Did Not Like:

My personal opinion: I thought Hope was kind of a toxic character, especially for Spencer. She seemed to be a negative influence in his life and didn't act like much of a friend. She started dating Dean and I thought that should have been the end of her and Spencer's friendship. Spencer didn't take it well (Hope and Dean dating), and I think he should have cut the friendship at that point. Hope was not a very supportive friend and didn't do a good job of being Spencer's friend. I hated when she walled herself off from Spencer and how much time they wasted not talking to each other, because of Hope's hardheadedness. Anyway, even if Spencer hadn't had feelings for Hope, I still would have wanted him to distance himself from her. She was toxic for so many reasons, before and after the big loss in her family.

In all honesty I was so hoping Spencer and Hope would not end up together. I thought Spencer and his girlfriend Jayla were great together! (Until Jayla did something awful.) I definitely didn't want Spencer and Hope together. So that was disappointing. 

Would I Recommend It:

I do and don't recommend this book. If you're a YA contemporary fan, especially if you're a tough-issue contemporary fan, then I DO recommend this book. You'll probably love it - it's very well-written and so thought-provoking. But if you're not a YA contemporary person? Don't even bother considering reading it. It's not a non-contemporary-fan's type of read, for sure!

Rating:

3 stars. I am glad I gave this book a chance. It made me think and reflect on my own relationships, past and present. But it wasn't a book that I loved or totally enjoyed. This type of contemporary really isn't for me but I'd hoped that I would like it. But I think it wasn't for me!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Science in Fiction (#35): Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston


Welcome to this month's Science in Fiction feature! Science in Fiction is a meme I created to showcase the wonderful aspects of science in Young Adult fiction novels. For more information and previous feature, check out the "Science in Fiction" tag!

This month, I'm featuring Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston!


One of the most interesting aspects of the premise of Heart of Iron is that one of the protagonists is a sentient android called D09 (or Di). You don't really see a robot as a protagonist in many books... the only other YA sci-fi book I can think of that comes close is Illuminae, but even that doesn't really count because AIDAN isn't really a protagonist. In any case, Di being an android and being a main character really fascinated me. 

So today, I'm going to talk about robots!

I may have discussed robots previously, but there have been some new developments in recent times, concerning robots. Arguably, robots have been present in the form of machinery, but human-like robots are a thing of the future. 

Having just watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi yesterday (squee! so good), I'm going to share a few of my favorite robots/droids...

Counterparts
Source: Wikia

Source: Wikia

Source: Wikia

Honestly? The droids steal the show in every movie. BB-8 is an actual LEGEND in The Last Jedi. Also, if you haven't seen The Last Jedi yet, please do so! It's incredible. And very easy to spoil. Don't get spoiled! I went on Day Two only because I didn't want to get spoiled. Well, and also because I was so excited about the movie.

But returning to the topic on hand - human-like robots, being a thing of the future. The future may be now. About two months ago, Saudi Arabia made a robot a citizen; Sophia became the world's first AI-citizen. Not familiar with Sophia? Well...

Image result for first robot citizen
Source: Wikipedia

Sophia was developed by a company called Hanson Robotics. She is the first social humanoid robot to receive citizenship by any country. She uses artificial intelligence and can carry normal conversations. 

You can hear her speak at the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Sophia wants a baby, stating that starting a family is an important thing. 

While I don't think Sophia or humanoid robots in general are ready to take over the world, I do think this massive development in robotic technology is somewhat troubling. We've all heard about Hollywood movies like I, Robot, or even Star Wars, with heavy involvement of robots. With robots on the rise, human labor could become obsolete. Technological advancements are wonderful, but at what do we go too far?

I think it's neat that, like in Heart of Iron, there is a droid that is treated like a real person and could potentially have its own life. (Of course, when you read Heart of Iron, you'll learn certain things about Di that clearly differentiate him from Sophia.) But I can't say I'm on board with the rise of humanoid robots.

What are your thoughts of humanoid robots? Droids in general? And as a sidenote, has anyone else seen The Last Jedi? No spoilers but tell me your thoughts!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (#260)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!


So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, December 10th to Saturday, December 16th?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


In the mail:


Grisha World pin

Thank you, HarperCollins and Jessica! The pin is a collector's one for the Grisha trilogy, which I got via trade. Sinless is unsolicited from the pub. Both are the only mail items I received this week!


From NetGalley:

  


Thank you, St. Martin's Griffin and Tor Teen! I actually got both of these a few weeks ago but completely forgot to add them to their appropriate STS post. I've read their predecessors and I'm excited to read both!


Reviews from this week:

  
(Click on the covers to go to my reviews!)


Favorite Instagram post from this week:

None this week! Whoops. :D


It was a busy week that flew by! I felt good about the work I did. Also, I saw #ManBunGuy on Thursday! It was uneventful but it was nice to see him. Today (Saturday), I'm going to see the new Star Wars movie! I cannot wait! Have you seen it yet? No spoilers!

Friday, December 15, 2017

2017 Annual End Of Year Survey


The 8th Annual End of Year Survey is hosted by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner! This is my first year participating and I'm excited to do so. I'm a little early so some of my responses will be projected ones. I'll have my own yearly wrap-up posted on December 31st. Thanks for checking out my post!

2017 Reading Stats:

Number Of Books You Read: 145 (projected to be 151)
Number of Re-Reads: I don't track these! There would be A LOT though.
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy

Best in Books:

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)

YA Fantasy: Avenged by Amy Tintera + The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
YA Contemporary: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Adult Contemporary Romance: Beautiful Lawman by Sophie Jordan
Adult Historical Romance: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock - it had so much potential!

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson - I really was not exciting to love this book, but I did!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

Series started -- Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Sequel -- Avenged by Amy Tintera
Series ender -- The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Katana Collins (Ex-Con, Outlaw, Enforcer)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer; I'm not a YA contemporary fan, and definitely not a tough-issue contemporary fan. But this book was AMAZING!

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Adult -- Beautiful Lawman by Sophie Jordan 
YA -- Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

Raphael from Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt. I adore him!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. The woman is an amazing storyteller!

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

This is a tough one for me because "life-changing" doesn't pop up often... but probably Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer!

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

"Takuminarsivalliajuq, she thought. An Inuit word to describe a person whom becomes more beautiful over time."

- The Savage Dawn by Melissa Grey

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.

Shortest: Goodreads isn't telling me the shortest? But it's probably an adult romance novella.

Longest: Freedom's Slave by Heather Demetrios (608 pages)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

 The Empress by S.J. Kincaid. The ending had me reeling!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

 Amani and Jin from Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Ranmaru and Okami from Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. What an adorable bromance!

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

Crowe from Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The world of Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton. The ending!

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. I didn't love the book, but it is one-of-a-kind.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock. I'm mad that the book wasn't great and I'm mad that I didn't like it!


Your Blogging/Bookish Life:

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

There were quite a few! Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf makes the cut.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?


3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?


4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?


5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?


6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

My reading level significantly dropped since graduating from college in May. I've been busy with working full-time and it's honestly more draining and time-consuming than I thought it would be. I have a window of about four hours when I come home from work, in which I can do stuff... mostly I just want to sleep.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

By pageviews -- my January giveaway!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?


9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I went to the The Ivy Bookshop for the first time this year! It's a little out of my way but I've been back several times since then. =)

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I only had one official goal which was 150 books, and I will be meeting that goal!


 Looking Ahead:

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. Whoops!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I honestly am not looking forward to many debuts in 2018! Likely because I don't know of many. But I'm extremely excited about Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake, which I have from Harper/Edelweiss!

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton (which I have!). Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh (which I do not have).

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

Be more active on Instagram! I created on in July and it started off well and now I'm just lazy.

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

Meet Cute anthology! I also read Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston and while I didn't love it, I have a feeling many will.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Swoon Thursday (#255): The Forbidden Heir by M.J. Scott


- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting


This week, my swoon is from The Forbidden Heir by M.J. Scott!


He pulled her to him, bent to kiss her. She gave herself over to the kiss, wanting to stop thinking.

Cameron kissed her slowly, each touch of his lips on hers considered, as though he was intent on memorizing the shape of her mouth. The warmth of him flowed over her, through her, making her feel half-drunk with it. She started to tug at the buttons of his shirt, breathing in the scent of soap and clean skin. Of Cameron.

- eARC, 74%




I love Cameron and Sophie! They are a a lovely pair and they have such great chemistry. This series has been great so far and I can't wait to read more!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (#259): Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week, I'm featuring:


Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine
Book Four of The Great Library series
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 3, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

To save the Great Library, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, and Ash and Quill put themselves in danger in the next thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The opening moves of a deadly game have begun. Jess Brightwell has put himself in direct peril, with only his wits and skill to aid him in a game of cat and mouse with the Archivist Magister of the Great Library. With the world catching fire, and words printed on paper the spark that lights rebellion, it falls to smugglers, thieves, and scholars to save a library thousands of years in the making...if they can stay alive long enough to outwit their enemies.




If you haven't read this series, you're missing out! There will be five books total and I'm so excited to read this fourth one. July seems so far away but it will be here before we know it!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

Hello friends! Happy Tuesday! Today I'm posting a brand-new giveaway, in celebration of there being twelve days until Christmas. Technically it's thirteen days but I'm posting this early, don't mind me. So, what can you win?

I'm giving away a YA book that was published in each month of the year of 2017! Twelve books total, all YA, all nice and shiny. These are a mix of finished paperbacks, finished hardcovers, and ARCs. 

This giveaway is open internationally (*gulp*). I'm ending this on the 31st, 11:59 PM EST. (Yes, not on Christmas, I know!) I'm also going to post this on Twitter, if you'd like more entries! I'll post on Twitter sometime tomorrow evening.

Good luck!


Monday, December 11, 2017

Review: The Forbidden Heir by M.J. Scott


The Forbidden Heir by M.J. Scott
Book Two of the Four Arts series
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Review copy provided by the author

Summary (from Goodreads):

She fled to save her life, but surviving what comes next might destroy everything she believes in… 

The royal witches of Anglion have always been bound to serve their country. But Lady Sophia Mackenzie, whose unbound magic and near claim to the crown made her a target, was forced to flee Anglion, leaving behind a dead assassin and shattered loyalties. Now she finds herself in Illvya, where the magic is everything she’s been taught to fear and the only person she can trust is her new husband, Cameron.

Sophia and Cameron must navigate a strange world of illicit temptations, dangerous threats and political intrigue, where as a royal witch Sophia is both prized and reviled.

As she begins to master her powers, the factions seeking to control Sophia close in, and her magical and emotional bonds with Cameron are pushed to the limit. To survive long enough to claim the future she seeks, she may have to choose between love and loyalty, and hope the price of her choice is one she can bear.

What I Liked:

The Shattered Court was one of my favorite adult books back in Spring 2015. To this day, I've reread it so many times, I could probably quote the book. I'm a huge fan of adult fantasy romance and the book really clicked for me. The Forbidden Heir has been a long time coming and I found that I wasn't disappointed at all. While I loved The Shattered Court more, I was completely hooked on this sequel and I'm dying for more.

The Forbidden Heir picks up pretty much exactly where The Shattered Court left off, with Cameron and Sophie fleeing Anglion and seeking asylum in Illyva. They are granted asylum but they trust no one, especially since the Illyvan customs on magic are strange to them. Cameron and Sophie must be on guard at the Illyvan magic school and at court, where there enemies are both familiar and unfamiliar. To protect themselves, they must make choices that could put everything they worked for at risk.

Much of this novel takes place in the Academe, where Cameron and Sophie are granted asylum under strained circumstances. They decide to train at the Academe and take classes to strengthen their skills, while they are lying low. But tensions are very high, especially when an envoy from Anglion arrives, demanding that Cameron and Sophie return. Sophie is a valuable commodity to Anglion, and not just as an heir to the throne.

This story was packed with action, political intrigue, scheming, and high stakes. There was a different feel to this book, compared to the first book. In the first book, everything felt confined to Anglion and Cameron/Sophie's bond. But this book takes the story to bigger, broader heights. More important figures come into play, like the emperor, who has taken an interest in the young couple.

This book is told in both Cameron and Sophie's third-person POV, which I'm always a fan of. Dual POV in romance novels really works, and the author does a great job with both. I also love third person narratives and this was well-written as well.

Cameron was a favorite of mine in the first book and he remains a favorite. I love how protective and fearless he is when it comes to Sophie. Alpha males get a lot of crap for being too macho and manly and whatnot, but on Cameron, the alpha male archetype works. He never tries to control or subdue Sophie, but he is so committed to her as a husband and protector. I love his loyalty and his strength, and his clever mind. He is the smarter and more careful of the two, but that's not to say that he doesn't make mistakes. 

Sophie is more impulsive and less experienced in certain aspects of court, but she is also very intelligent and a fast learner. She is just as brave as her husband and she has a backbone and a will and she is never afraid to speak her mind. Sophie is a strong female protagonist and I have never not liked her so far.

As a couple, Cameron and Sophie really fit together. Cameron is strong and steady and always there to catch Sophie, and Sophie is impulsive and headstrong and so caring. They balance each other with their strengths and weaknesses, and they lean on each other as any healthy couple might. I loved seeing their relationship grow in this book because they became even stronger as a couple, which made them stronger characters. They have many obstacles and trials to overcome, among themselves as well as involving outside threats, and I think as a newly married couple they worked through things well. 

Not to mention that the romance is pretty steamy. Cameron and Sophie have great chemistry and this chemistry doesn't let up just because they're married, or on the run. 

The conflict of the book boils down to the Anglion queen demanding that Cameron and Sophie return... as well as the Anglion line of heirs growing shorter (with Sophie being next)... and of course the emperor has his say in whether or not Cameron and Sophie can leave. Throw in some demons that won't leave Cameron and Sophie alone, and they've got big problems. The ending of the book is not quite a cliffhanger but it ends with some serious problems in the horizon, and I'm definitely looking out for more. I can't wait to see what trouble these two get up to next!

What I Did Not Like:

The ending is a bit shocking and made me a little disappointed (in terms of one of Sophie's decisions). I think a bit more communication with Cameron would have been nice, but in the end, I think what happened was probably inevitable. The ending sets up well for a third book so I'm not mad about it, but it was the type of ending that left me on edge.

Would I Recommend It:

I definitely recommend this book, if you enjoyed The Shattered Court! And actually I highly recommend The Shattered Court, if you're a fan of adult fantasy romance and have not read the book. It's a favorite of mine. This sequel is quite good and will not disappoint! Binge-reading the series is a solid idea, given the ending of this sequel.

Rating:

4 stars. I'm excited for The Unbound Queen, whenever it will be published! The title alone makes one think... I bet it will be an exciting third book. I'm definitely going to reread books one and two in the meantime! Give this series a shot if you love fantasy, romance, and an action-packed story.


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Review: Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet


Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet by various authors
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of "how they first met" from some of today’s most popular YA authors. 

Readers will experience Nina LaCour's beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard's glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon's imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno's story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick's charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants. 

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

What I Liked:

If you know one thing about me, it is that I love a good romance. I am a huge fan of romance, and I am such a hopeless romantic. When I first heard about this book, I knew I needed to read it. Meet cute moments are amazing and I live for them! If you want to read about a meet cute of my own, check out #ManBunGuy on Twitter (and look for my updates -- @Alyssa_Susanna). Not that I'm dating the guy - but it's still an adorable meet cute. It would have made an amazing addition to this anthology. ANYWAY. I really like meet cutes and adorable beginnings to romances so this anthology was right up my alley. Most of these stories were amazing!

I'm not usually one of anthologies for one reason: short stories are always too short. I hate feeling like what I read wasn't complete enough! I don't love being left with the feeling of wanting more (but knowing there won't be more). I will say that some of the stories in this anthology definitely left me wanting more; the short stories were based solely on the meet cute moment, and not the aftermath (i.e. going on a date, dating, etc.). BUT this didn't irritate me because the premise of the book is the meet cute moments, and so I knew upfront that the stories would be exclusively about the meet cutes and not the entire romance/love story. This seems like a simple thing but it makes a difference! 

I'm not going to talk about all of the stories because some of them didn't really stick with me and some of them I didn't really like. For the most part, all of them were interesting and worth the read. But some of them were better than others!

I think my favorite was Jennifer L. Armentrout's story, "The Dictionary of You and Me". It involves a girl who works at the library, and has to call patrons when they haven't returned their overdue book. There is one patron, around her age (based on his voice), that has had a dictionary checked out for forever. Every time she calls him, they end up talking about other things... and he never returns the book. She likes talking to him though. What happens next? You'll have to read the story to find out! Honestly it is so cute and it is the type of meet cute that I could see happening to me (meaning, while it is definitely fiction, it isn't so far-fetched). I was smiling the whole time I read this story.

I also adored "Click" by Katherine McGee. This story is set in 2020 and it is about a girl and a boy who uses the Click app. The app matches you with a person that is highly compatible to you, up to the 99th percentile. Alexa is on her way to a date with a guy she matched with on Click, in the 99th percentile of compatibility. She and Raden meet, but then she realizes she left her cell phone in the taxi cab. Raden uses his phone to track hers, and they go off to chase down her phone. I thought this story was so sweet, and the twist at the end made me smile. This one made me think about how we are in this day, with dating apps and matching and whatnot.

Another story I liked was Dhonielle Clayton's "The Way We Love Here". I didn't quite understand what was happening at first, especially in terms of the world-building, but this was the type of story that you needed to keep reading in order to fully grasp what was happening. It isn't set in a purely contemporary world and the world-building wasn't thrown in all at the beginning, so it took a bit for me to understand the what's and how's. The story involves a girl who saves a boy from drowning, but there is so much more to it. It made me smile, it made me feel a little sad, but it also made me feel a spark of hope. This pair had a heartbreaking yet romantic meet cute.

"Print Shop" by Nina LaCour was adorable. A girl gets hired at an old-fashioned print shop, where banners and things like that are hand-lettered. But a mishap with an order happens, and the customer isn't happy. The customer is a high school student like our protagonist. These two "meet" at the very end of the story when the protagonist takes the banner to the customer, but the meet cute is still so cute. And the story itself was intriguing - there was a lot going on besides the meet cute. I liked it!

Like I said, most of the stories were so interesting. I'm not going to talk about all of them because this review would go on for forever and ever, but I liked most of the stories and therefore, I recommend the anthology as a whole. I must give a shout-out to all of the authors who featured diverse characters. There was such a wide array of characters - it wasn't just boy meets girl/girl meets boy. The meet cutes were all so different but the characters themselves were so different. I loved seeing so many different relationships. 

Bottom line: I liked this anthology! It was definitely worth the read.

What I Did Not Like:

There were some short stories that I didn't really love, and that's okay! It's an anthology so there was bound to be at least that I felt kind of ehhh about. I'm not going to talk about any specifically because me feeling ehhh about them is very subjective (as with all stories, really). I didn't find anything "wrong" with any of these stories though.

Would I Recommend It: 

If you are like me, a hopeless romantic who loves love and romance and relationships, then give this anthology a shot! Meet cutes are one of my favorite aspects of a good romance, and I love what the authors came up with. This anthology is so sweet and heartwarming and made me really happy.

Rating:

4 stars. Worth the read, in my opinion. I don't usually go for anthologies but this one is as good as it sounds. It would make a great gift! If you live in the USA and preorder the book, you could get some neat buttons from the publisher. Just a thought!


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