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: Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

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Title: Everything I Never Told You (2014)
Author: Celeste Ng
Publisher: Blackfriars
Genre: Contemporary
Extent: 304 pages
Release Date: June 26, 2014
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Description

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

Review

The first time I heard of Everything I Never Told You, I was at The Strand, New York City, with my publishing classmates from Melbourne. I picked up the book, read the first line — Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. — and immediately resolved to buy it when I get back home. My mistake was not writing an actual note, as I promptly forgot about it… at least until I saw it again in the library recently.

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Book Review: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel – Sara Farizan

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Title: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel (2014)
Author: Sara Farizan
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Extent: 304 pages
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard.

But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia’s confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful.

Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.

Review

I’ve read Sara Farizan’s other book, If You Could Be Mine, before and while I didn’t love it, I appreciated the thought that went into it and its exploration of what being gay in Iran is like. Unlike that book, Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel takes place in America and follows Leila, a Persian teenager who recently realised she is gay. Sounds like a good premise? I thought so, but I didn’t really enjoy this book.

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Book Review: Red Rising – Pierce Brown

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Title: Red Rising (2014)
Series: Red Rising – Book 1
Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Rey (Random House)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Extent: 382 pages
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it.

The Reds are humanity’s last hope. Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie.

That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought. Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Review

It took me ages to actually pick up Red Rising! Everyone and their mother have recommended it to me, and while I was intrigued, science fiction is one of those genres that I’m not always in the mood in. Red Rising, though, blew me out of the water and I’m kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.

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Book Review: Everything Leads to You – Nina LaCour

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Title: Everything Leads to You (2014)
Author: Nina LaCour
Publisher: Dutton Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Extent: 312 pages
Release Date: May 15, 2014
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.

Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

Review

The moment I started reading Everything Leads to You, I knew it was going to be an enjoyable book. We’ve got a protagonist called Emi who’s a really passionate set designer, and a love interest called Ava, who comes into Emi’s life in an unexpected way. The plot revolves mostly around three things: Emi’s romantic relationships, the movie she is working on, and Ava’s past.

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