First & Then Review

Author: Emma Mills

Series or standalone: Standalone

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher & Date of Publication:Henry Holt and Company, 2015

Source: Library

Summary:Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.” (Goodreads)

Review: When I heard that this book was a mix of Pride and Prejudice and Friday Night Lights I knew I had to read it. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books and I’m slightly obsessed with Friday Night Lights, so it’s safe to say I had high expectations for this book. I did really enjoy this book but not as much as I expected to.

First off, I really loved the characters. Dev is so realistic and I related to her a lot. Her high school experience was really similar to mine so I enjoyed reliving it. I also really liked Foster. I found him to be endearing but at the same time I could understand why Dev would get frustrated with him. Ezra was the perfect teenage Mr. Darcy. I love a good silent and brooding male character and Ezra fit that perfectly.  There were some characters I wanted more of though. For example, the character of Marabelle. She had such an interesting story line but nothing came of it. I didn’t fully understand the point of her character, to be honest.

The plot wasn’t as exciting as I was expecting, but I think that was my own fault. When I heard Friday Night Lights, I was expecting Tim Riggins and all of the drama that was attached to that show. Instead, I found the whole story to be pretty subtle, which was where it fell flat for me. I did enjoy the romance aspect. Ezra and Devon’s relationship just made me really happy. I found myself getting pretty upset when they had their little problems, but overall, it was an adorable romance.

If I had gone into this book not knowing that it was being compared to FNL I would have absolutely loved it. However, because I had the expectation in my head, I was expecting a lot more. This book is still a really enjoyable YA Contemporary, though.

 

Rating: 3.75 stars

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My Top 5 Worst Love Interests

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**Top 5 Wednesday was originally started by Lainey over at gingerreadslainey on YouTube. To join the group go here!**

This Week’s Topic: Worst Love Interests.

Mr. Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility

Mr. Willoughby is what we, in 2016, would refer to as a f*ckboy. He’s good looking and only out for himself. I do believe that he loved Marianne, but his greed ruined him as a love interest. While Mr. Brandon is alarmingly older than Marianne he is clearly the better choice.

Norman from Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

 

I read this book a very long time ago but I just remember thinking that Norman was weird. Usually I swoon over Sarah Dessen’s love interests, but Norman just did not do it for me.

Cho Chang from Harry Potter

I don’t know why, but I just do not like Cho Chang. Right from Ginny’s introduction, I was always hoping that’d she’d get with Harry and Cho just got in the way of that for me.

William Ashby from The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

 

William sets his sights on the main character, Kit, because he thinks she’s exotic. Since he’s a guy from 17th century Connecticut and she was raised in Barbados, I understand where he’s coming from. Despite this, though, I always thought that this reasoning was incredibly shallow. He just thought he could impress her with his money. He was also completely oblivious to the fact that Kit’s cousin was in love with him which makes him even worse.

Oliver from Whip It/Derby Girl by Shauna Cross

Oliver just straight up sucked. He had no respect for Bliss and was just a crappy guy. I can’t say why he’s crappy because it’s a spoiler, but take my word on it.

 

 

 

 

 

Angela’s Favorite Suggested Books

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**Top 5 Wednesday was originally started by Lainey over at gingerreadslainey on YouTube. To join the group go here!**

This Week’s Topic: Best Suggested Books.

Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry

 

Like pretty much all of the books on this list, this book was recommended by BookTubers I really like and trust. I’d never read a Katie McGarry book before and wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get into it. However, I ended up reading it in a single sitting and loving it.

The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

 

One of my friends started this series our senior year of high school and she would always tell me that I needed to read it. I didn’t listen to her. I picked up City of Bones during the winter break of my sophomore year of college and instantly hated myself for not listening to her sooner. I am obsessed with this series and cannot wait to finish it and see how everything ends!

First & Then by Emma Mills

 

One of my favorite BookTubers gave this book a lot of praise so I decided to pick it up. While I didn’t love it as much as I expected, it was still a really great book and I’d recommend it to anyone in the mood for YA Contemporary.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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I really am sorry for how much I mention this book, but it fits the list and it’s amazing. Highly recommend.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

This book was all over the place on BookTube and everyone was loving it, so I had to pick it up. I absolutely loved this book. It was my first ever time travel novel and it didn’t disappoint. 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Book Tag

Hi everyone, it’s Angela!

I am, personally, not a fan of wine, but I thought this tag seemed like a lot of fun. Plus, it was created by Boho Bookworm who is such a lovely BookTuber.

 
Let’s get started!

Box Wine – a book that people will judge you for liking but you like it anyway!

Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison. Holly Madison is a former Playboy Bunny and this book is a memoir of her experiences in the Mansion. I listened to this as an audiobook and absolutely loved it. It wasn’t the most well-written book in the world, but I wasn’t listening to it because I wanted perfect prose; I wanted to know what it was really like to live in the Playboy Mansion.

Organic Wine – a book that doesn’t have any added crap in it and is just written perfectly.

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler. This book told an amazing story while being wonderfully simplistic and straightforward.

Gluehwein – a really spicy, wintry read.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. I read this play in school during the winter so I just associate it with the season, but it is very spicy. It’s even spicier if you watch the film adaptation because of Marlon Brando.

You’re welcome.

Sauvignon Blanc – a really sharp and aggressive read that you couldn’t put down!

A Time to Kill by John Grisham. The film adaptation of this book is one of my favorite films, and while it is better, the book is still great, too. The story revolves around the court case of an African American man in the South who killed his daughter’s white rapists. This book is definitely very sharp and aggressive and it does not sugar coat anything.

Pinot Noir – a book you didn’t expect much from but ended up getting blown away!

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern. I said in my review of this that I expected nothing from it and already planned on it being a 3 star read. Instead, this book sucked me in and was fantastic. I gave it 5 stars and it ended up being one of my top books of 2015.

Chardonnay – a good summer read that was super-zesty.

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry. This is such a great summer read and the whole biker club aspect made it really unique. What makes this read zesty is the romance between Emily and Oz. It was just so good.

Rose – a book that has a little bit of everything in it.

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson. This book has so much going for it. It deals with dark topics, it has romance, a LGBTQ+ protagonist, and it even has an entire graphic novel in it as well. This book is so important and everyone should read it!

Shiraz – A full-bodied book that is dark and juicy.

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols. I wouldn’t say this book is full-bodied length-wise, but it’s definitely dark and juicy. It has dark themes and both the main character and her love interest are a little dark and twisty. Also, their romance is super juicy. He’s a cop and she’s the girl he arrested, that’s almost the definition of juicy.

Merlot – a smooth easy read with a soft finish.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. This book is so easy to get into and the plot is so smooth and subtle. It’s just an all-around great read.

Champagne – Your Favorite Book

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. No surprise here.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Books I Was Spoiled For

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**Top 5 Wednesday was originally started by Lainey over at gingerreadslainey on YouTube. To join the group go here!**

This Week’s Topic: Books You Were Spoiled For.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Tumblr spoiled this one for me. Even though I knew how this ended, I still cried like a baby throughout the entire last part of the book. It actually may have been a good thing that I knew the ending going in.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

 

I don’t remember exactly how, but the I found out how this book ended somewhere on the internet. Considering this book has a MAJOR event happen getting spoiled for it definitely sucked, but it didn’t lessen the emotional impact for me.

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

 

I watched the film adaption before I read the book, so I knew exactly what to expect going into this. While the ending is exactly the same, there were enough differences that it felt like a new experience.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

When I actually read the book all the films had been released, but after watching the first film I totally thought the story ended with Thorin becoming King and Erebor rising to greatness. A girl I went to school with informed me that I was very, very wrong in that assumption.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

All of my friends read The Hunger Games before I did, so I heard all of them talking about it in school. I didn’t continue with the series, but they all did so I knew everything that happened in the next two books, as well.

 

 

Dumplin’ Book Review

Author: Julie Murphy

Series or standalone: Companion Series

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher & Date of Publication:Balzer + Bray, 2015

Source: Christmas gift (Thanks, Nana!)

Summary: Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.” (Goodreads)

Review: I have such a love/hate relationship with this book. There was so much that I adored, but there was also a lot that just frustrated me.

Let’s start with the positive. First off, I loved the idea of the beauty pageant. I was definitely rooting for Will and the other girls who joined her in entering the pageant. I love any plot line or character that sticks it to the man, and while that wasn’t their intention, I still loved that aspect. Overall, the beauty pageant was unique and really fun to read about.

Also, I really liked a majority of the characters. I absolutely loved Bo. Right from the beginning, I was in love with him and had so much faith in him as a character. Second to Bo, my favorite character was Amanda. She’s only a side character, but I thought she was hilarious. The comments she makes about Bo to Willowdean made me laugh and it lightened the situation surrounding Bo and Willowdean. The other side characters who join the pageant along with Willowdean are really great, too. They are all wonderfully awkward and beautiful in their own ways. I had some issues with Will’s best friend, Ellen, and Will’s mom, though. I just found them really frustrating. They both redeem themselves toward the end, but for a majority of the book I just wasn’t a fan of them.

Now on to the negatives. First, there’s a love triangle. I hate love triangles. I loved Bo, so when another guy got introduced, instead of being annoyed by the trope, I was just mad. Plus, I think Will had enough inner turmoil over their relationship that it didn’t need the excess drama of another guy. Another trope in this book that I hate is the whole friendship problems thing. I’m so over characters falling out with their best friends all the time. I just want to read one YA book where the character doesn’t have any problems with their friends.

My biggest source of frustration in this book, though, was Willowdean herself. I think my frustration with Will was more personal for me than a character flaw of hers. She lets her relationship with Bo convince her that she’s unworthy. Her insecurities reminded me of my own when I was her age (16) so it was almost like I was getting frustrated at myself when I was getting mad at Will. I’m at a point now at almost 20 where I pretty much own the way I look, so while I understood where Will was coming from, I was just getting so upset over how she saw herself at times.

Overall, this is a good book on body positivity. If this had been published when I was 15 or 16, this book would have been everything to me. It would have given me so much hope and Will would have been a huge role model to me. However, with where I’m at now age and confidence-wise, this book, unfortunately, didn’t have the same impact on me.

Rating: 3.75 stars

Reviewed by Angela

Angela’s Top Five Favorite Badasses

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**Top 5 Wednesday was originally started by Lainey over at gingerreadslainey on YouTube. To join the group go here!**

This Week’s Topic: Favorite Badasses.

Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter Series

Hermione is my favorite literary badass. Harry wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as he was if it weren’t for Hermione’s intelligence and loyalty. Also, watching her punch Draco Malfoy was the highlight of my eight year old self’s life.

Tonks from the Harry Potter Series

Tonks is, in my opinion, one of the most badass characters in Harry Potter. She’s Mad-Eye Moody’s protege, a member of the Order, and she died fighting Voldemort and the Death Eaters. She’s the definition of a badass.

Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit

Anyone who has been around this blog for a while knows how much I love Thorin Oakenshield. So, of course, he had to be on this list because he is both a badass and a gift.

Andy Dufresne from Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

Andy is a subtle badass. He’s a low key guy yet he pulls off the most ingenious prison break. Like a true badass, he knows what he wants and what he’s capable of.

Jace Wayland from The Mortal Instruments Series

I’ve only read up through City of Glass but, thus far, Jace has proven himself to be pretty badass. He’s a great Shadowhunter but what I what I really appreciate about Jace is his ability to keep his sense of humor through everything.