Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

My review:

“Phones are distracting. The internet is distracting. The way he looked at you? He wasn’t distracted. He was consumed.”

Perkins has done it again! After being in an awful reading slump for the past few weeks, I was actually able to devour this book in one sitting! In my opinion, there is nothing better than a cute and romantic novel to cheer a reader up.

In regard to the plot, I would be lying if I said these books weren’t predictable and (sometimes) cliché but that is honestly the best part. Sometimes stability—or in this case, knowing what you’re getting—is very satisfying in itself. Does that make sense? I knew this book would be fast-paced, cute, and heartwarming before I even read it. I knew I would feel like reading more books as soon as I finished this one. And that’s exactly what happened. Success!

I’m ready to read again. Bring on all the fantasy and romance and sad things. I am so ready.

★★★★ (4 stars) because I can always count on Perkins for a “reading slump cure”.

Book Review: Billionaire Undone by J.S. Scott

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

After four years of working for “the billionaire boss from hell” Ally Caldwell thinks she finally has her life on the right track. Her fiancé is out of dental school, ready to go to work at a thriving practice, and it would finally be her turn to go back and finish her college degree. Unfortunately, her carefully planned future crumbles when she finds out that her fiancé, the man she’d nearly killed herself to help get through school, has been cheating on her. With her wedding looming in the near future, Ally’s blindsided, realizing she’d never even knew the man she’d been planning to marry. Suddenly, her carefully organized life is turned upside down, and not one single thing is turning out the way it was supposed to happen. Even her boss, Travis the Tyrant, is beginning to act differently, throwing Ally into an even more confused and chaotic state of mind. Travis, the one man who she’d always counted on to be a jerk, was now the guy who actually steps up to try and help her straighten her life out again. Unfortunately, she doesn’t much care for his high-handed arrogance or his methods of “helping.” Ally wants to hate Travis. It makes her life so much simpler to fight with him than to admit to the combustible chemistry growing between the two of them. But as she begins to see more and more of the real Travis beneath his dark façade, she can’t seem to resist the dangerous lure of their unlikely attraction.

Billionaire Travis Harrison does everything he possibly can to repair the Harrison name after a scandal nearly destroyed his family years ago. He makes sure he keeps himself and his actions in check, his emotions buried under a thick layer of ice. Only his secretary and assistant, Alison Caldwell, makes him come close to losing his carefully constructed image. The obstinate female keeps shoving him closer and closer to the edge of sanity every single day. But when he finds out about her fiancé’s betrayal, his protective instincts roar to life inside him, making him want to ensure she’s never hurt again. The only problem is…Ally doesn’t want his help, and the infuriating woman does everything she can to push him away, even as the two of them are swept into an undeniable passion that neither of them can possibly ignore. Before long, Travis finds himself in ruthless pursuit of something much more important and elusive than just a business deal.

Can these two very different, very stubborn people actually be meant to be together?

My review:

“He wished his damn c*ck would just explode into tiny little pieces and put him out of his misery.”

This book took my virginity. My audiobook-virginity, that is.

Although I willingly chose to partake in this experience, I’m still sitting here in the aftermath, questioning all of my life decisions. Why did I read listen to this? Well, let me first say that I have nothing against romance novels or erotica as long as there is an actual plotline (and some character development).

Basically, I was watching videos on YouTube whilst scanning my textbook (as I should have been studying) when I saw this video in my recommendations. I noticed that the video was actually an uploaded audiobook, so I thought I might see what all the fuss was about. I just wanted some background noise to keep me alert.

There isn’t much else to say. According to Scott, her books “almost always feature an Alpha Male and have a happily ever after because she just can’t seem to write them any other way!” That is about as accurate as a description can get.

It was not terrible but I have certainly read better. For avid readers of this genre, I can see why its ratings and reviews are so positive. I just feel like I’ve read a hundred variations of the same story already, and unfortunately this variation is one of the least exciting ones for me.

As for the actual listening experience, I have to say that I quite enjoyed giving my eyes a rest while still technically getting to “read”. That being said, I still have my doubts. I could tell you the general premise of this book, but I feel like there are no details that stuck with me. I often found myself in a tranced/passive state, like I was ready for a nap. On a more positive note, I think I may have found a cure for my insomnia.

If I go by my own star scale, this gets ★★★ (3 stars). There are good things and bad things about this book, but it is certainly not my cup of tea.

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

My review:

“The universe is seeming really huge right now,” he told me. “I need something to hold on to.”

I didn’t care much for this book. At first, I honestly didn’t realize how hyped up it was because I was getting used to seeing it everywhere. I mostly decided to read it because of John Green’s praise on the cover. I assumed Green was a good “judge of story”. I was kind of wrong. Once again, this is one of those books that had potential. I’m always curious about books that make you question the truthfulness of the narrator (at least, that’s how I felt while reading), but there were a few things that bothered me. The premise was interesting enough, granted you try not to think about all of the cliché types of characters. The writing style seemed intentionally done to prove a point. To be artistic? Poignant? I don’t know. I appreciated the attempt but it was a failed one at that. I will say that, going into this book, it is best if you have no idea what you’re actually getting into. Fortunately, I had no previous knowledge of the book, but others hinted at a plot twist. And there’s nothing worse than going into a book knowing that there will be a plot twist.

★★★ (3 stars) because some things could have been done better. This book could have been really great. I’m a little surprised it was a Goodreads 2015 winner.