To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before & P.S I Still Love You

I recently read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han and I thought it would be perfect to talk about the duo in one post. I’ll talk about each book individually but I will quickly say that I really loved both of these books!

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before:

Lara Jean has loved five boys before in her life and she has written a love letter to each one. She pours her hear in to these letters, like no one will ever read them- because no one ever will. She writes them to help her move on from these boys that she has absolutely no chance in dating. That is until one day, these letters get mysteriously gets mailed out putting her in a tough place between two of the boys, Peter- a boy she’s likes since eight grade, and Josh- her next door neighbor and her older sister’s ex-boyfriend.

I love basically everything about this book.

I love Lara Jean. I haven’t related this much to a character in such a long time. I mean, she’s basically me in a book. Like me she’s scared of driving, she’s lost her mom and she has to help out around the house with her sister. She doesn’t go out on Friday nights an prefers it that way. She loves her family and she doesn’t have a lot of friends. It’s so nice that there’s a character I relate so much too. I’m 19 so it feel like the characters in the YA novels I read are too young for me to fully relate to and the characters in the characters in the other books I read are too old for me to fully relate to. Not that this takes away from the stories- I still love them and I still fall in love with these characters but it’s just so nice that there is finally a character that I can see so much of myself in. Can Lara Jean be real so we can be real life besties?

This book is one of the special books that I give a 5/5 stars to. I love everything about it and I think it’s a book that all girls should read. So stop reading this post and go buy this book. Actually no, finish reading this post and then go buy a copy of this book.

P.S I Still Love You:

I don’t want to go too much in to the plot about this book because if I do, it will give away the ending of the first book and spoilers aren’t cool man. But I will say that this book pick up where the first one left off and like the first book, you won’t be able to put it down.

So something I really liked loved about this book was the side story about Lara Jean’s friendship with Genevieve and figuring out where and how it fell apart. We all go though those friendship losses and they do effect us. Especially in the transition between middle school and high school (where Lara Jean and Gen lost it) and after you graduate high school (I pretty much talk to no one from high school and i graduated a year ago). It amazes me still how you cab be so close to one person and one day you look at them and know nothing about them. So many young adult books focus on the first romantic relationship and how those change us. And yes, they do change us, these friendships change us just as much if not more. I mean, my besite and I are super close and is probably the most meaningful relationship I have- ya’ll know her, she’s the lovely other writer for Book Alphas.

I love the Song Girls but Kitty stole the show in the book. She made me laugh out loud. You never know what she’s going to say and there’s something about her whit and humor that you can’t help but love. I’d love to see a spinoff of maybe a middle grade novel about her. I would read it.

I loved this story, and it was so fantastically written. Not just with the main story line but with the side stories too. I give it 4/5 stars and I’m officially adding Jenny Han my list of favorite authors.

Have you read these books? Do you love them as much as I do? Tell me in the commits below!

Much Love,

Kaitlyn

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before & P.S I Still Love You

Bargain Book Haul

 IMG_6056I went book shopping this past weekend at Barnes and Noble and for the first time, I went to a Half Price Books  to actually shop in and I made out with some killer deals and I thought that you as fellow book lovers would share my excitement! So think of this as a bonus post!

First, I went to Barnes and Nobel, where the bargain section has become one of my favorite places to buy books because their cheep and new.  I’ve made off with some brand new hardback books that are normally priced $30 for $6-$7.
IMG_6057I didn’t make off with a deal that sweet this time but, still a pretty awesome deal. I got The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks. I typically prefer not to buy the movie adaptation cover but it was on sale for $5.98 normally $15. I know the regular retail price because the cashier tried to ring it up with that price. It’s not even that cheep on amazon! I’ve never read a book by Nicholas Sparks but I have seen a few of his book to movie adaptations and each one has ended with me crying like a baby. So just imagine what the book is going to do to me. I can’t wait to read it!

Next, I went to Half Price Books. I’ve been to half price books a few times before but I never really looked around. I have been missing out. Half price is a new favorite book store of mine, especially because today, I hit the jack pot.

IMG_6058In half price, this was the first book I specifically went looking for was Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. I saw the movie for this such a long time a go and have been wanting to read the book ever since but what actually got me to pick it up was that I just finished reading Finding Audrey, Sophie’s YA debut and it was soooo goood (review coming soon). The best part? The book was $3.95! I was hoping to buy that book but I never imagined that I would get it for such a good price.

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So now that I had what I was looking for, I wondered around the store and in to the YA section, like I always do and I came across Bunheads by Sophie Flack. I’m not sure what it’s about, a ballerina I assume but it’s from the Poppy sub division of little brown publishing. I haven’t read a book from poppy that I haven’t liked. (and I’ve read a lot of them. All of Lisi Harrison’s Books, The Secrets of my Hollywood Life series by Jen Calonita, The Daughters series by Joanna Philbin, Jennifer E. Smith is published under Poppy as are the Gossip Girl books… I think you get my point.) (Also, I swear this post is not sponsred by Poppy, I just really love their books.) It was a hardback book for $4.99 so I figured, what do I have to loose? Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there a show on ABC Family a few years ago under the same name. I think the two may be connected but I have no idea.

So last but not least, I got a hard back copy of one of my favorite books Where We Belong by Emily Giffin.IMG_6060It was only 7.99 but that’s not even close to the best part. IT’S SIGNED.

IMG_6061I’M STILL FREAKING OUT! And to think I almost didn’t look at it. I walked by it and thought, it’s pretty but I don’t need two copies of this book. I still decided to pull it off the shelf and look at it. That was when I found it was signed and I still debated it because, I already have a copy of the book but then my dad pointed out, it’s only $8, so why not? I then told him he was my enabler and then went to the check out. I regret nothing.

Though, seriously read this book. It’s about Kirby, who on her eighteenth birthday decided to track down her birth mother, Marion, and she goes and shows up on at her New York apartment and the story is about them building some sort of a relationship and how their lives have changed since finding each other. I’ll go in to more details about the book and my opinions at the favorite reads of 2015 post Tina and I are planning for the end of the year but seriously, read this book.

Have you read any of these books? Do you like to shop for bargain books? Tell me all about it!

Much Love,

Kate

Bargain Book Haul

Anna, Lola & Isla

 By now you’ve probably heard of Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and, Isla and the Happily Ever After. The series of companion novels by Stephanie Perkins has gotten a lot of attention this year and today I’m going to give you my thoughts on the novels. These novels stand alone, meaning that you can read Isla without having read Anna and the story will make since. However, if you do read them in order, like I did, you pick up on little references from the other stories and you get more out of them.

Anna and the French Kiss:

Anna loves her life in Atlanta Georgia. She has her best friend, Bridget, the love spending time with her mom and her little bother and there’s her cute co-worker, Trohp, from the movie theater who she likes. Anna can’t wait to start her senior year of high school, until her  parents decide to send her to SOAP, School of America in Paris.While she hates it at first, Anna makes some awesome new friends, including Étienne St. Clair, who she becomes best friends and definitely likes as more than a friend. with. It’s too bad he already has a girl friend.

As I started reading this story, I initially liked it but as it went on, I wasn’t as in to it. It was a cute story but it’s very predictable. I read this book after I had read Gayle Froman’s Just One Day so I had kind of high standards, i guess due to the similar story lines.

I never really fell in love with Anna and falling in live with the main character. I thought she was acting like a brat most of the novel. Yeah, i get that you were mad that you had to change schools your senior year but’s it’s France. Do I need to emphasize that anymore? FRANCE.  Get over it and eat some pasta with a macaroon.

Come to think of it, I never really grew to like St. Clair either. He was friendly with Anna and don’t get me wrong, i though they were adorable together. I didn’t like how he led her on while he was still with his girlfriend.

This novel did have some excellent side characters. I loved Meredith, one of Anna’s friends and next door neighbor. She’s the kind of friend you’d hope to have not just in high school but at any point in your life.

Overall, I liked this book but because of the predictability of the ending, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Lola and the Boy Next Door:

There are three things that Lola wants most in her life: 1.) To walk in to her winter formal dressed as Marie Antoinette, 2.) For her Dads to accept her boyfriend and 3.) To Never see Cricket Bell again. And things are going great in Lola’s life until Cricket Bell and his family move back in to their house next door to Lola’s. Lola and Cricket start to rebuild their friendship and start to realize that they like each other but things are complicated by Lola’s boyfriend and Cricket’s twin sister, Calliope.

This is by far my favorite novel out of the three. I loved everything about it. Lola was the most adorable thing ever. I loved how she was so unique, always dressing up in different costumes and wigs. Then we have Cricket who was just as adorable, if not more adorable than Lola. I even loved how San Francisco was a character in the novel. (Tina, you’d like that).

I was very happy with this book and read it in two days. I had to know what happened. I give it 4/5 stars even though i really enjoyed it, you gotta save 5 stars for the books that are just really special.

Isla and the Happily Ever After:

Isla (pronounced eye-la) is a hopeless romantic and has had a crush on Josh since their freshman year of high school at SOAP. When they bump in to each other over the summer at home in Manhattan Isla just might get her happy ending. But things get hard with Josh and Isla with family, friends, Josh’s past relationship and college coming up. Things olny get harder when Josh gets expelled from SOAP and he has to go back to Manhattan. Josh and Isla’s relationship might not survive.

I was kind of disappointed to see that Stephanie Perkins decided to take the story back to Paris. Probably because by time i got around to reading Isla, I had read a couple more of the ‘girl goes to a foreign county and falls in love’ books. (Apparently this is a theme in YA contemporary novels these days.) Would have loved to see a Manhattan love story.

I didn’t like how quickly the relationship between Josh and Isla formed. It went very quickly and felt very unrealistic. I would have loved to see it start off as a friendship and build in to the relationship they had.

I did love Isla and I loved Isla and Josh together. I am in love with her red hair and her loyalty to her best friend, Kurt. And Josh and Isla make such a cute couple.

I was pleased with the ending of this book too! I don’t want to say much because i don’t want to spoil you but, it’s like the tittle says…

Over all, I give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars. I felt like while cute, the relationship between Josh and Isla moved too fast and at times, I felt the story needed to be moved along.

As far as the series goes, over all I did like the books. I don’t necessarily think that they’re worth all the hype they’ve been getting but I do recommend all three books. They are fun light reads, perfect for reading beach or if you want a fluffy romance novel.

Have you read Anna, Lola & Isla? Tell me what you thought!

Much love,

Kate

Anna, Lola & Isla

A Great and Terrible Beauty

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Before I get into this week’s blog post, I want to apologize for being a day late on posting. Sometimes life just happens and you want to go and live it. Next time I post, I shall be on time with the usual Friday posting day.

So, like I promised in my last post, this one is going to be about a book that is not as heavy with the life talk and more fun. I first read this book during my freshman year of high school, and I fell in love with the trilogy so much that I bought all three of the books and continue to read them to this day. I’m going to discuss the first book in the trilogy (because you can’t talk about a series without starting from the beginning). So, without further ado, my book of the week is A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray.

Set in the late 1800s, the story is centered on a young sixteen year old girl name Gemma Doyle. Her whole world is turned upside down when her mother is murdered by a mysterious shadow in a packed market in India. Confused and dazed, Gemma is sent to England to study at The Spence Academy for Young Ladies, one of the most prestigious schools for young women. When she first arrives, Gemma is cast aside for being different: she is not good at any of the typical skills young ladies are expected to know, she is adventurous, and she always asks a lot of questions. However, after an exchange of a few scandalous secrets, she is pulled into a friendship with two of the most popular girls in school, Felicity and Pippa, as well as her roommate Ann, an orphan sent to Spence to train to be a housemaid for her cousins. While trying to navigate the politics of Spence, Gemma struggles to understand exactly what happened to her mother. She begins to have visons, vivid dreams of places and people she has never met discussing something called the Order and a place called The Realms. With the help and encouragement of her friends, Gemma discovers that she has a power inside of her to open the Realms – where she finds her mother. A Great and Terrible Beauty is the first installment of Gemma’s journey to understand who she really is and why she has the power she does.

Trying to explain everything that happens in this book would take way longer than a single paragraph. The plot is incredibly intricate, with many concurrent stories and backstories that all intertwine to create the current life of Gemma and her friends. This is one of my favorite things about this book and the series in general. Libba Bray is able to discuss multiple people and stories and somehow involve all of those stories into one main one. I think this is one of the many successes of the book. All of the characters’ are incredibly well written, and all of their stories are explained to their fullest extent while still being relevant to the main story of Gemma and the Realms. Keep in mind, since this is a trilogy, there are some unanswered questions and stories at the end of this book that will not be answered until the last book. However, I do believe Bray does a fantastic job in writing A Great and Terrible Beauty so that it can stand on its own memorably while still contributing to the genius that is the trilogy.

One of the other big successes of this book is the writing style. Bray goes into a fair amount of detail and depth when talking about the places and people in her book, which I as a reader greatly enjoy. I love being immersed in a story, and all of the description and heart Bray puts into her book makes it feel more like an experience and less like just reading a book. I guarantee she will suck you in from the moment you finish reading the first chapter and hang on for the ride until the last word of this book. Her descriptive writing and edge-of-your-seat suspense mixed with some Gothic era history makes for a thrilling ride with Gemma. You will want to find out what happens to her story guaranteed by the end of reading this book.

I am going to give this book an 8 out of 10 stars. I truly loved and enjoyed reading this book. It is a fun, exciting, refreshing break from a lot of the other typical young adult novels out there, which is one of the reasons why I like it. It encourages girls to break the mold of what everyone else is doing and be exactly who you are, even if who you are isn’t like everyone else. I love that. However, I am partial to books that actually have deep life lessons (as you probably already know). Those kinds of books are the ones that, in my internal ranking, are higher than this book. However, if you are looking for something different, something to spice up the young adult section of your book shelf, this is the book and trilogy to do so with.

If you have read this book or the trilogy before, let me know in the comments what you thought!

Best,

Tina

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Love The One You’re With

IMG_5877Like my picture? I tired to go all artsy looking like on those book Instagram accounts. It looks kind of cool if you ask me.

Anyways, this week, i’m very excited about my post because I’m taking about a book by a favorite author of mine, Emily Giffin!

In Love the One You’re With,  Just one hundred days after Ellen had married the love of her life, Andy, she runs in to her exboyfriend, Leo, for the first time in eight years. The encounter is small, but Ellen can’t stop day dreaming about Leo and what night have happened if they hadn’t broken up. The interactions Ellen has with Leo are innocent, nothing really happens. She does not tell her husband about them. Ellen is trying to convince herself that it all means nothing, that she’s with Andy and he’s the one that she loves. But with Leo on the mind. Will she be able to?

Nothing really happens between Ellen and Leo. I felt like the whole time i was reading this novel, I was waiting for something to happen and that there was something lacking in the plot. I had a very difficult time getting in to this novel, a problem I typically don’t have with Emily Giffin’s novels.

I did love the questions that this novels asks, what happens when you can’t let go of the one who got away? and what is considered cheating in a relationship?

The very first thought that occurred to me on the very first page of the very first paragraph of this book is: I love how all her characters have such distinctive voices. I have read five of her seven (I own all seven and will be reading the other two very soon) novels and I am always impressed with the voice of her main characters.

Something I totally loved about this book, it that Emily Giffin totally predicted the Tiger Woods scandal. At one point, while her husband is watching golf, Ellen glances at the TV and wonders how Tiger Woods’ marriage is. This novel was published in 2008 and Tiger Woods admitted to cheating on his wife in December 2009.

Overall, I liked this book, I just didn’t love it. It was good writing and brought up good questions. I felt like at times the plot was dragging on and I just overall couldn’t get in to the story. I think I may have liked it better if it was a short story and not a novel.

I gave this novel a 3/5 stars on good reads because as i stated above, I liked this novel, I just didn’t love it. I don’t necessarily recommend this novel but I do very highly recommend that you check out some of Emily Giffin’s other novels. Something Borrowed and it’s sequel Something Blue were fabulous and Where We Belong is one of my favorite novels.

Much Love,

Kate

Love The One You’re With