Leave Me

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In Gayle Forman’s debut adult novel, Leave Me, we meet Maribeth Klein, a woman who is so busy working as an editor at a magazine  and taking care of her family  that she doesn’t even realize it when she’s having a heart attack. After her heart attack, she thinks maybe it won’t be so bad. It’s her family’s turn to take care of her but this doesn’t turn out to be the case. So sick and tired of it all, Maribeth beth packs a bag and runs away. She doesn’t even know where she’s going when she gets to the train station but she finds her self in Pittsburg.

I loved Maribeth from the first sentence of the first paragraph on the very first page of the book. I realize that she’s suppose to be a flawed character and not everyone is going to like her straight off. I realize a lot of the women who read this book aren’t going to like her at all. It’s going to be hard for them to understand how a woman could leave her family, her children behind and run away.

Honestly, Maribeth is probably the fictional character that i’ve related to the most since I read Lara Jean from Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Yeah, I know that’s an odd comparison but let me explain. I am a full time college student and I work on average I work 20 hours a week. When I started reading this book, it was November. I work retail, so it super busy at my store and everyday that I wasn’t in class, I was at work. I wanted to run away so badly. Believe me, I thought about it too several times.

I guess this was maybe a bit of an eye opener for me too? I see myself being very much like Maribeth when I’m older. In a way, she’s always what i’ve aspired to be. A career woman, living in New York with a family. I don’t have kids but work and school is basically like having two jobs. I learned from Maribeth that I need to always make sure that I stop and make time to take care of myself.

I really loved the plot progression. I loved how witty the writing is. I loved how all the characters served a purpose and were well developed. the thing I appreciate the most was that it ended in a good spot. Meaning, the story wasn’t dragged out longer than it needed to be. Which, if you’ve read any of my posts or other book reviews, you know that stories being dragged out longer than they need to be is my biggest pet peeve, well in books it is anyways.

There was a line in this book that spoke to me on so many levels “Yes, she was in motherfucking crisis!”.  I laughed out loud so hard when I read this line. I just love it so much. I even took a picture of the page in the book and circled this line and added it to my snapchat story. I feel like this is going to be playing in my head several times once I start classes again in April. Another one I loved was one where it said something about the kids being “fuck ups in training”.

I got to meet Gayle when she went on book tour for this book! This was actually my second img_8217time to meet her and hear her speak. The first time I met her, I was rushed through the line because it was a book fest and there was a billion people in line and she had to leave early to catch her flight. I love listening to her speak. She’s witty and the message she has always speaks to me and sticks with me. I’m really happy that I got to actually talk to her for more than two second this time and take a picture with her. She’s super sweet and was surprised to see that I had a copy of Sisters in Sanity with me. We both agreed that it doesn’t get enough love.

Something funny I want to include that’s kind of related to the book but not really. So I was really stressed out at work one day and I was telling someone I work with the plot of this book and she goes “So like Harry Potter?”. I love this girl but she has selective hearing, so i’m pretty sure the only thing she heard me say was “The book I’m reading” and zoned out when I was describing the plot. I’m not sure if I find this funny because i’m a book nerd or because this girl is crazy but I still thought i’d share it.

I’ve now read 5 out of 7 of Gayle’s books and I’ve yet to meet one that I didn’t like. I gave Leave Me, 4/5 stars. I really liked Maribeth and once I had time to read this book, I couldn’t put it down.

Much Love,

Kait

Leave Me

The Clique

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The Clique, by Lisi Harrison, is the first book in the Clique Series and it also happens to be one of my all time favorite books. A couple of weeks ago, I made a reference to something that Dylan said in one of the books and I realized that the last time I read The Clique was in 2010, my freshman year of high school and the last time I read a clique book was when the last one came out in 2011. Needless to say, it was long past time for me to spend some time with Massie, Kristen, Dylan, Alicia and Claire.

Massie Block has everything that she could ever need in life. She has the best designer clothes, she lives in a mansion, She’s the most popular girl in the 7th grade at OCD, and of course, she has the bestest friends in the whole world, Kristen, Dylan and Alicia. When Claire Lyons and her family move in to the guest house on the Block estate, Massie’s parents expect her to become friends with Claire. But how can Massie be friends with Claire? She wears keds, jeans from the gap, eats gummy feet and not to mention she’s all around ah-nnoying.

Look, I know the summary I just gave of this book above make it look super shallow but it’s not. I’ve read this book so many times that I can summarize it without telling the whole story. (Maybe the summary on the goodreads page will help you out better) The Clique is a story about friendship. At the root of everything, Massie is insecure and while she’ll never admit it, she’s threatened by Claire. Claire want more than anything to make friends and to be accepted by Massie.

What I loved most about this book when I was in middle school is still the very same thing I love most about this book today. It shows you that even when someone has it all, money, designer clothes, popularity and friends, that they’re still insecure. Even though I’m nothing like Massie, I related to her as when I was her age reading these books and I still relate to her now because of her insecurities.

The Clique has often been criticized for being shallow, teaching girls to be mean to each other but anyone who has read the series knows this is not the case. The Clique is about wanting to be accepted. I mean, as humans, isn’t that what we all want?

I loved reading this book again as an adult. I’d actually forgotten a lot of the minor details of what happens but as I was reading the words, I remembered exactly. It was like knowing all the words to a song you hadn’t heard in a really long time. I loved all the one liners. Lisi Harrison is the queen of one liners. I loved picking up on some things that I never picked up on as a kid. I loved picking up on the writing style, and how Lisi used the duel points of view from Massie and Claire not only show things about the person whose perspective but things about the other character too. I realized how much I actually learned about Massie from Claire’s point of view and vice versa. My favorite thing I picked up on was Vince, the art teacher being “very special friends” with the hot coma guy on all my children. I can’t believe that I never picked up on that before. Mostly, I loved falling in love with Massie and Claire all over again. When I was younger, I always liked Massie more but this time around, I loved them equally. I guess you can say I fell in love with Claire.

I know I will never be able to say enough nice things about this book to do it justice. You know how most people talk about the Harry Potter books meaning so much to them? That’s me with not only just this book but this whole series. I will never not love this book. I will never not love Lisi Harrison. Did you guys know that I named this blog as a reference to The Clique series?  The purple color of the website is a reference/ tribute to Massie because her favorite color is purple because she once read that it is the color of royalty. These books were the first books that I was ever really excited about reading. These are the books that made me go from someone who likes reading to a reader. These books are everything to me.

You guys have no idea how tempted I am to just binge read the whole series. If I didn’t have so many books on my shelf that I hadn’t read, I probably would. I can tell you this for sure, It won’t be so long before I pick up the second book in the series, Best Friends for Never, for a reread. The who am I kidding, i’m gonna read Revenge of the Wannabes right after that because that’s my favorite one in the whole series.

Much Love,

Kate

The Clique

2017 Reading Goals

In 2015, I had a great reading year, probably my best ever. With that in mind, I set some pretty ambitious reading goals for 2016. If you read last week’s post, you know I achieved zero of those goals.

It may seem silly but I have set reading goals for myself for 2017. I love reading at I was to constantly get better at the things that I love and the only way to achieve that is to set goals for yourself.

  1.  I’m going to read for 30 minutes daily. Even if it means setting a timer for myself like my mom had to do with my daily reading log in grade school. What I realized looking back on 2016, was that I didn’t have the time to read, but I didn’t make the time for it either. I’m going to make time to read because reading is something that I love to do.
  2. I’m setting my goodreads challenge at 30 books. 50 was way too ambitious last year. I read 23 books in 2016 (I didn’t finish my reread of The CliqueI till the first of January), so I feel like 30 is pushing myself to read more and to be realistic about it.
  3. I’m not making any promises but I’d like to finish the other 4 books in the Harry Potter series that I haven’t read yet.

Much Love,

Kate

2017 Reading Goals

2016 Reading Wrap Up

2016

Remember this time a year ago I set some really ambitious reading goals? I am here to report, that I failed. Miserably. I’m not ashamed though.

I read 24 books this year. This is way less than I read in 2015, where I read almost double that at 37 books. I started my first job this year where most weeks, I work and average of twenty hours. In addition to that, I’m a full time college student. It really saddens me  but I haven’t had the time, or even the energy to read as much as I’d like to.

Remember how I said that I wanted to finish the Harry Potter Series this year? Hehehe, that didn’t happen. I did, however, read the second and third books in the series and I loved them. It’s not that I didn’t want to read more of them. It’s that i’m now at the point in the series where the books are super duper long and it goes back to not having the time.

Another goal I had set for myself reading wise this year was to reread/ finish reading Ally Carter’s Gallager Girl series. I had every intention of doing this- I even bought the books in the series missing from my collection in late January or early February. Sadly, I haven’t touched any of them. Also, I did this right before the rerelease of the series with the cool new covers. I mean, i’m happy I have them with the covers I knew them having when I was initially reading the books in middle school/ high school but damn, those new covers are cool.

The third reading goal I had set for myself this year was to read at least one nonfiction book per month. I did this in January, with Kelly Cutorone’s book Normal Gets You Nowhere Then, I pretty much forgot about that goal. I am not going to set this goal for myself again for 2017 but there are some nonfiction books that i’d like to read such as Yes: My Impossible Journey to the Main Event of Wrestlemania by Daniel Bryan, Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham and The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gains. I’m not making any promises and I’ll talk more about my 2017 reading goals in next week’s post.

So at this point you’re thinking, what did you read in 2016, Kaitlyn? I read 24 really good books, that’s what I read. And with the fact I have zero free time, i’m really proud of that. In those 24 books, I had one reread, The Clique by Lisi Harrison, that’s my favorite book of all time. I read one comic book WWE: Then, Now, Forever. I read seven American Girl books, a short story (it was for a writing class I took), a memoir, and thirteen novels.

Best and Worst of 2016:

I hope you had a fabulous 2016 and accomplished all your reading goals. If not, I hope you read some really good books!

Much Love,

Kate

 

2016 Reading Wrap Up

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