Book Review: After I Do – Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Title: After I Do (2014)
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Chick Lit
Extent: 353 pages
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage.

She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

Review

Taylor Jenkins Reid seems to have a penchant for taking my worst nightmares and turning them into brilliant, thought-provoking stories. While I didn’t love Forever, Interrupted or One True Loves for various reasons, After I Do finally hit (most of) the right notes with me, both in premise and execution. 🙆

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Book Review: The Serpent King – Jeff Zentner

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Title: The Serpent King (2016)
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 384 pages
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending one that will rock his life to the core.

Review

I’ve seen this book around ages ago but never really planned to read it until I saw Marie’s review and knew, without a doubt, that I had to pick it up. A quiet, hopeful contemporary with distinct characters is right up my alley, so I got the book as soon as I could and started reading right then and there. Instantly, I was sucked into the story.

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ARC/Book Review: A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard

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Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder (2017)
Author: Sara Barnard
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 320 pages
Release Date: January 12, 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life — she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him.

To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

Review

A Quiet Kind of Thunder is my first book by Sara Barnard and I really, really enjoyed it. This is the story of Steffi, who has selective mutism andcan only speak when she’s really, really comfortable with the people around her. On her first day as a sixth former, she meets Rhys, a half-Guyanese deaf boy who is new to her school. The two become fast friends, communicating using text messages, the British Sign Language (BSL), lip-reading, and also in writing.

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Book Review: Scythe – Neal Shusterman

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Title: Scythe (2016)
Series: Arc of a Scythe – Book 1
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Extent: 448 pages
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.

Review

So, funny story: I started writing this review quite a few weeks after finishing it, fully intending to give it a half-star lower than what I ended up, and as I was writing, I realised just how much I really enjoyed this book. The flaws I thought were flaws began to minimise, while things I loved expanded and took centre stage. Somehow, Scythe is the book I always wanted to read but never knew I wanted to read. Interesting, isn’t it, how a book can do that to you? 🤔

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Book Review: The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon

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Title: The Sun is Also a Star (2016)
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 384 pages
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Review

I actually wasn’t planning on reading this book at all — the blurb hinted towards insta-love, probably my least-liked trope, and my experience with Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything wasn’t entirely convincing. But then the reviews started pouring in, most of them positive and a lot of them really positive, and I found myself picking it up the moment I could. 😊

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