review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Books, Contemporary, Novel, Review, Romance

:: author:: Jenny Han :: published: 2014 :: my rating: 3/5 :: genre: novel :: romance novel :: contemporary :: goodreads

Hello my lovely friends!

Just another shameless plug: my twitter account @_kimmiegg is up and running! I’d love to catch up on your daily lives, and am looking forward to meeting you guys through twitter.

This book has been on my TBR list for a while, due to the plethora of amazing reviews about this book. Furthermore, after learning that it was a book based on a Korean-American family, I immediately included it in my eBook haul. I know many of you have read this book, but I can’t wait to share my thoughts on why this book doesn’t deserve the five stars I wanted to give it with you 🙂

(Since many of you have read this book, I have included a few could-be-spoilers. None divulge main plot twists or details. Read on at your own risk.)


Synopsis from goodreads:15749186

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.


My Review:

The aspect about this book that I loved was how relateable and realistic Lara Jean (the main character) was. Her struggle with finding love, and maneuvering through relationships, though often immature, were still always in character. I appreciated how Jenny Han included dialogue that was not only there to fill up space, but to provide insight into each personality and really develop each character into something real.

However, there were aspects of this book that made me question the hype.

  1. There didn’t seem to be any TRUE romance throughout the book. Especially because the relationship that permeated throughout the book was simply one that was supposed to be fake. I felt as if the various relationships presented in this book served to show Lara’s development. Although the majority of this book was devoted to her interaction with boys, I felt as if no real spark was found between any of them.
  2. I disliked how each sister seemed to have a romantic interest in their older sister’s significant other. Sure, it’s better to like your sister’s boyfriend, but not to crush after him… And mutually, if you’re dating someone, please don’t crush on her younger sister.. That’s just so, wrong…

The Characters

Each character is the typical archetype of a middle class family dealing with some sort of problem. In this case, it’s the death of a mother. Starting with the typical overworked father who loves his daughters and is always trying to find ways to give them the love and attention they deserve while trying to figure them out. I loved the attention and effort this father put into raising his family of three girls. Then there’s Margot, the oldest, most mature responsible and organized sister. She is the one who has kept the family together and running smoothly, and it is her departure that throws this book into motion. Kitty is the youngest of the group, and naturally plays one of the most vital (and predictable) parts in this story. Lastly, we have Lara Jean. The protagonist of this story.

Lara Jean is a sheltered, romantic teen trying to make it through the most important years of high school. Not only is she facing the hardships of exceeding her sister’s footsteps, but she has an issue with not ever truly expressing her feelings for others, but rather, choosing to lock them away in a box. In a way, I appreciated this side of Lara, as I found myself being able to relate to her inability to open up and share how she felt with others.

Then of course, we need to add in a troubled friend who always sticks up for the main character. Chris is the typical “this is not a phase mom” character who  helps Lara through her difficult times. To thicken the plot, we add Genevieve, the beautiful, flawless mean girl who adds drama to the story. And her perfect boyfriend, Peter, who enters Lara Jean’s life with a lot of emotional baggage.

The Plot

Although the characters were not very unique and this story was lacking in that department, the plot was very unique. There were times I really had to wonder what was going to happen next, and what choice Lara Jean was going to make. I was also constantly curious as to how each character would react to the actions of others. Because the characters are quite archetypal, I thought I would be able to predict how each of them reacted… Surprisingly, my conjectures were proved false.

Although these small aspects of the plot really made the book, I failed to find much romance. As stated before, I felt as if this book explored more of Lara’s development through failed relationships. When before, Lara measured her ability and worth against her sister Margot, we see her beginning to break free of that. I believe that was the best part of the book, and what made it so readable/relateable.

Ending Thoughts

This book was a light, fun read that I did finish in one sitting. It was hard to put down, and although there were parts that I wish had been dealt with better, I found myself really enjoying this quirky fun romance. *SPOILER*  I was disgusted by how Lara so easily cheated on her sisters boyfriend. Especially after she learned that they had had sex. *SPOILER* All in all, I wish that she had taken more control over her own life, although from my own personal experiences, I can relate to how difficult that could be.

This book was definitely a fun read, but I can’t give it the five star rating that I want to give it for the above reasons. Although I can’t say that I agreed and loved the book 100%, I will be reading the sequel as I have to know how Lara ends up!


Quotes

“I do this to feign confidence, because the more I fake it, the more it’s supposed to feel true.”

So, this is me all the time, and it really works! Sort of like the smiling theory that if you force yourself to smile, you’ll become happier.

“It’s scary when it’s real. When it’s not just thinking about a person, but, like having  a real live person in front of you, with , like, expectations. And wants.”

Love is a hard concept to grasp, and I think that often we read or watch stuff about it and think we know what love is. That we have a tangible definition only to find that explanation falling apart when we actually fall in love.

“A hundred years ago eighteen-year-old guys were out there fighting wars with bayonets and holding a man’s life n their hands! They lived a lot of life by the time they were our age. What do kids our age know about love and life”

This was said by Peter, and I just had to agree. Context is such a vital part in creating expectations.


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Have you read any books by Jenny Han? What do you think about the book? Have you ever written any love letters yourself? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

review: Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall

Books, Contemporary, Novel, Realistic Fiction, Review, Romance, Young Adult

:: author: Deirdre Riordan Hall :: published: 2016 :: my rating: 4/5 :: genre: novel :: romance novel :: realistic fiction :: goodreads

Hello my lovely friends!

First off, I’d like to announce that I have finally taken it upon myself to make a twitter account! Make sure to follow @_kimmiegg to stay caught up 🙂

Anyways, I’m back today with a review on a book I was not expecting to read. I had not heard of this book, nor had it been on my TBR list, but upon accidentally stumbling upon it, I found it to be a fun read. Maybe it was the cover, or my infatuation with pearls in general… Whatever the case, this was a easy, light read that I ended up enjoying.


Synopsis from goodreads:

Run fast and run far, unless you’re fearless. Unless you’re courageous. I’m not, but I’d like to be.

Pearl Jaeger is seventeen and homeless after drugs, poverty, and addiction unraveled the life she shared with JJ, her formerly glamorous rock star mother.

This moment of happiness is fleeting; someone will take it from me.

When tragedy brings a chance to start over at an elite boarding school, she doesn’t hesitate. Yet the only salvation comes from an art teacher as troubled as Pearl, and she faces the stark reality that what she thought she wanted isn’t straightforward.

I trace the outline of my reflection in a window. I am no more than a replica of my mother. This is not the self-portrait I want to paint.

Through the friendships she forms at school—especially with Grant, a boy who shows Pearl what it means to trust and forgive—she begins to see a path not defined by her past. But when confronted with the decision to be courageous or to take the easy way forged by her mother’s failures, which direction will Pearl choose?


 My Review: (no spoilers)

From the start, this book was jarring. It begins with Pearl sneaking back home, in order to avoid the wrath of her intoxicated mother. What follows is a detailed description of the mentally and physically exhausting act of taking care of a once famous rock star, drug addicted mother while discovering ones identity. This book caused me to deliberate on how much of my life was the result of my upbringing (nature v nurture anybody?), and the resilience someone needed in order to break free from their parent’s bonds.

Characters

The part that I could relate to with Pearl, the protagonist in this book, was her constant confusion about guys and life in general. I felt as if there was dimension to her, which I appreciated. Brought up in an unstable household, with no permanent residence or father, Pearl constantly finds herself moving to accommodate her mother’s new boyfriend or drug addiction. Furthermore, Pearl struggles to root her identity in her mother’s legacy and demise. I found Pearl’s inner conflict of hating her mother, and wishing to hold a part of her very realistic and painful.

Pearl’s relationships are all a tad complicated. Because she is constantly moving, she has no steady friends, and it isn’t until she joins the elite boarding school that she finds people to regularly socialize with. These relationships help fortify what we know about Pearl’s personality, and I believe the author did a great job of showing Pearl’s multifaceted character through these relationships. One character that I just could not stand was Sola, the mother hen that was the embodiment of Pearl’s mother.

Plot

The plot flowed very easily, and I was surprisingly ok with the ending. Although it was a bit too perfect for me, there were still some loose ends, and it was nice to see where Pearl ended up. I found Pearl’s situation, oftentimes to be also too perfect at times. Things would always work out in ways that wouldn’t normally have worked in real life. Throughout the book, I never struggled with being bored, or confused, which was nice.

HOWEVER, this book is riddled in drugs and sex. It doesn’t stop with her mother, but seems to follow Pearl everywhere. No matter how much Pearl hates the drug culture, and how much the drug culture has hurt her, she isn’t able to remove herself from it. At times, I had to remind myself that Pearl was still in High School and not in college. This could be due in part that this takes place in a boarding school, but also because every student seemed to be obsessed with drugs and making out. Although this concept is essential to the ending of the book, I found it frustrating sometimes to see her following exactly in her mother’s footsteps.

Ending thoughts:

Overall, I thought this was a nice, easy read (I finished in two sittings), and it did keep my attention. The biggest aspect that I disliked THE MOST about this book was how cheating was portrayed as a way to make a relationship stronger. Coincidence or not, I had just finished reading this book, when the lovely Reg from She Latitude posted her Top Ten Turn Off’s in the Book. (Most of which I agree with) Number eight, on her list is cheating. I find cheating in real life and books alike to be frustrating. When the two parties get back together, I’m always infuriated, and when the allusion is made that a relationship can get stronger though such a betrayal, you can imagine how livid I am. This aspect of the book can be seen as almost the sole reason I dropped a star.


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Have you ever read Pearl? What did you think? What is a book you will be reading next? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Books, Novel, Review, Romance

the time travelers wife

:: author:Audrey Niffenegger:: published: 2013 :: my rating: 2/5 :: genre: novel :: romance novel :: speculative fiction :: goodreads

Hello my lovely friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve done my last book review, but then again, I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind called life. As you all know, the last book I was currently reading was The Time Traveler’s Wife. Though I finished it a month ago, I’m shamefully uploading the review now. I have to say, I needed time to mull over the book, and was hoping to actually watch the movie, to maybe see what the craze was about. Well here goes!


Synopsis from goodreads:

Audrey Niffenegger’s dazzling debut is the story of Clare, a beautiful, strong-minded art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: his genetic clock randomly resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous and unpredictable, and lend a spectacular urgency to Clare and Henry’s unconventional love story. That their attempt to live normal lives together is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control makes their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.


My Review (no spoilers):

Honestly, I was expecting a lot more from this book, especially because it is a well known title, and has brought raving reviews from some. The premise of the book is interesting, and I must say that the idea behind the plot is great. A love that surpasses all time? Great, but I felt this book didn’t really develop that idea. I found that this book was hard to get through, not emotionally engaging, and doomed from the start.

Characters

Although this book jumps back and forth in time, the characters voices are the same throughout their entire lives. It seems as if Clare is always scared, always waiting for a man who is never there during her critical moments. Henry is constantly complaining about his predicament, and the author never fails to remind the audience of the hardship this couple endures due to his tendency to appear in a different time period, naked. Although Niffenegger attempts to paint a passionate love story between the two, it was overshadowed by Clare’s constant need for Henry, and their constant attempts to keep his time traveling a secret. Niffenegger’s mode of illustrating the passion between Henry and Clare is through sex, and it is difficult to grasp their intimacy when every tender moment must be through this act.

Furthermore, both the characters have lives that are extremely difficult to relate to, as both are brought up in familial situations that are far from ordinary. The characters were also obsessed with bands and artists, which is fine, but the constant mention of band names and artists was distracting, and seemed like a pathetic attempt for the author to try and show her hipster side.

“I won’t ever leave you, even though you’re always leaving me.”

What angered me the most was Clare, and her willingness to wait, and save herself for a man that is a womanizer and drug addict. I believe that quote in and of itself shows how willing Clare was to throw away her life and wait for the only man she ever had in her life. Because Henry tells her that they will be married some day, she finds herself waiting, and waiting and waiting for a man that ultimately can’t be there for her in the end. I found this draining, and the unrealistic expectation  on her hand was disappointing.

Plot

The characters in this book made it difficult for me to engage in the plot and enjoy the book. Because I was unable to relate, or understand both characters, their actions that made up the plot, often seemed silly and boring. I felt as if lots of needless sub plots were added throughout this book that did not particularly add to the book, but made it treacherously long. Often, the subplots seemed unresolved.

This book had potential, and I believe would have been greatly improved if all the characters were given more chances to develop and grow. The premise of the book was exciting, and I was definitely intrigued, only to find myself repulsed by their love story, and the lack of closure and conflict. The end did semi redeem itself, though I do believe even that could have been executed in a better manner.


 Quotes

Although the book overall, was not to my taste at all, there are some quotes that I did love.

“Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”

I feel as if every moment in your life should be filled with intense happiness, and that mediocrity is silly. However, to be extremely happy for a short while, and live in fear and sadness for the rest, also does not seem like a healthy alternative.

“Everything seems simple until you think about it.”

Now isn’t that the truth. This quote is short, and a tad humorous, as we tend to overthink and thoughts become convoluted in our brains.


Not a favorite, and will not be reading again soon. This book was incredibly difficult to get through, and I hope to watch the movie just to see what the craze is about. I’d only recommend for those that enjoy slow reads, and reading about borderline abusive relationships.

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What types of romances do you enjoy reading? Is there one you would recommend me? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

What I’m Reading Right Now: 6.22.16

Books, Novel, Romance, What I'm Reading Right Now

Hello my lovely friends!

Today, instead of following my normal routine of posting a “Wordless Wednesday”, I’d like to share with you what I have been reading for the past few days. I recently had a huge book haul (and as soon as the post goes up, I will link it here), and was able to pick up this book that I had been meaning to read for a long time. The Time Traveler’s Wife, has been on my radar for a while, and after finishing up a short, summery novel-which I know, I haven’t posted a review yet-I thought this was a perfect pick to read next.

Synopsis from goodreads:

Audrey Niffenegger’s dazzling debut is the story of Clare, a beautiful, strong-minded art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: his genetic clock randomly resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous and unpredictable, and lend a spectacular urgency to Clare and Henry’s unconventional love story. That their attempt to live normal lives together is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control makes their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

This novel can be seen as treacherously confusing with the constant switching from past to present, Henry’s point of view, to Clare’s. However, so far I have found that it adds dimension to the novel as each character’s development and personality can better be elaborated on. Although I am only in the rising action segment of the novel, and have only reached the point in which the characters are falling deeply in love with each other, the conflict is clearly present. Being a time traveler means that Clare is often lonely, left alone and yearning for a normal relationship.

The reason that I haven’t devoured this novel so quickly, is that it is constantly dragged down by mundane details and the over-detailing of seemingly useless information. Although this could be foreshadowing for upcoming events, I find it difficult to follow the story when there are too many specifics. So far, the topic that has been most touched on is the interfering with destiny, and whether or not fate is real. Questions about God, and identity have also been addressed, and it has been interesting seeing how each character copes with the burdensome knowledge of  something that most would fail to believe. This secret, however, brings both characters closer together as it becomes a bond that may soon destruct itself.

Hopefully this book becomes more engaging as the plot thickens, and I look forward to seeing what sort of love story has drawn so many readers into falling in love with this book!

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