Always and Forever Lara Jean

Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon Schuster for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Purchased

Goodreads:  Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Ope’s Opinion:  This was the third and final book in this series.  It was just as good as the other two. I am saving them for my granddaughter, when she gets a bit older ( she is eight).    There is a lot of romance, but not casual sex.  There is a little foul language, but not over the top.

In this book Lara Jean is in her senior year and getting ready to go off to college.  It is such a busy time for students of that age.  This book really did a great job of showing the excitement and angst of this age.  Lara Jean has friends who are headed in different directions – some to college, some to jobs, some on to other things in life – it was good for a young adult to read and see options.

I sort of wish she would write Lara Jean off at college, but Jenny Han said this was the end of the series for her.

 

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Doing It Over

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Author: Catherine Bybee
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: BEA 2016

Goodreads:  Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Melanie Bartlett ended up anything but. The down-on-her-luck single mom wants a complete do-over—is that too much to ask? With her family long gone from River Bend, strong, independent Mel is as surprised as anyone to end up in the quaint small town she once called home. But with her friends, Jo and Zoe, by her side, and a comfortable room at Miss Gina’s quirky bed-and-breakfast, she just might have turned the corner on a new life.

Wyatt Gibson never liked the big city. River Bend suits the ruggedly handsome builder just fine. Wyatt knows he’s home, even if that means being charmed by the appearance of Melanie and her spunky, adorable daughter. Is Wyatt’s calm devotion—even amid a coming storm—enough to convince Mel she may have found a home to call her own, a family that never leaves, and a true love to last a lifetime?

Ope’s Opinion: This book falls under the romance genre – it will not disappoint those who are truly looking for a romance ( there are some steamy parts ), but this book is so much more!  It is a great story, some family drama, friendship and a little mystery.  So if any or all of those fall into the genre you enjoy reading, this book is for you. 

Also, this is the first of a series.  This book is about Melanie, the next one is about her friend Zoe.  It will be coming out January 24th, so we don’t have to wait too long!  

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Anatomy of a Misfit

Author: Andrea Portes                     anatomy
Publisher:  Harper’s Children
Genre: Young Adult
Source:  BEA

 

 

Goodreads:  This emotional, hilarious, devastating, and ultimately triumphant YA debut, based on actual events, recounts one girl’s rejection of her high school’s hierarchy—and her discovery of her true self in the face of tragedy.

Fall’s buzzed-about, in-house favorite.

Outside, Anika Dragomir is all lip gloss and blond hair—the third most popular girl in school. Inside, she’s a freak: a mix of dark thoughts, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA (after all, her father is Romanian). But she keeps it under wraps to maintain her social position. One step out of line and Becky Vilhauer, first most popular girl in school, will make her life hell. So when former loner Logan McDonough shows up one September hotter, smarter, and more mysterious than ever, Anika knows she can’t get involved. It would be insane to throw away her social safety for a nerd. So what if that nerd is now a black-leather-jacket-wearing dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life? Who cares if the right girl could help him with all that, maybe even save him from it? Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates? Who?

Anatomy of a Misfit is Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Anika’s hilariously deadpan delivery will appeal to readers for its honesty and depth. The so-sad-it’s-funny high school setting will pull readers in, but when the story’s dark foreboding gradually takes over, the devastating penultimate tragedy hits like a punch to the gut. Readers will ride the highs and lows alongside funny, flawed Anika — from laughter to tears, and everything in between.

Ope’s Opinion:  Let me start with explaining my rating for this book – I think I am the wrong reader for this book.  I do think some teens will really relate to and like Anika.  I think she was very negative and sort of a snob in her own way.  She may have had a rough life ( lots of us do ), but that made a shell on her that made me jsut not really care for her character enough to want things to be better for her.

The writing was another stumbling block for me.  The descriptions of people were hard to relate to.  I don’t think there was a positive description, except maybe Anika’s mother.  I believe the word “like” was over used in this book.  The way the students talked about other students was offensive.  Even if this is realistic, I don’t think I want to encourage teens to read this and reinforce that language.

The ending of this book was hard to get to, but almost made me give this book three chairs instead of two.  So you may be willing to read through it to get to the end.

 

Rating:  Two Chairs – I may have one friend who might like to read this book.

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Custody

custodyAuthor:  Nancy Thayer
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source:  Purchased

Goodreads:  

When Kelly MacLeod becomes a Massachusetts Family Court judge, she is determined to do what is right. But what is right when one’s deepest personal emotions clash with the law?

Anne Madison, a respected state reformer with political aspirations, wants custody of her 12-year-old adopted daughter Tessa, as does Randall Madison, a prominent physician. Tessa, caught between warring parents, on the brink of her own sexuality, wonders who her birth mother is, and tries to please those she loves at a cost that just might be too high.

How does one balance public service with private desires? What does it mean, legally and emotionally, to be a family? How does one move past anger and sorrow toward compassion and wisdom? How do adults learn to temper their own wills with the best needs of the child?

In order to must answer these questions, Kelly MacLeod must judge her new and mysterious lover, her own past, and the complications of many kinds of love.

Ope’s Opinion:  The prologue took my breath away and made me want to read this story.  The story was a slow build of tension.  I did not want to put this book down. There were some very interesting twists along the way.

All the characters were fascinating.  Each had flaws that made them feel real.  I really liked the family dynamics in this story.  It was interesting to see each family member react to the custody.

I wish Thayer had made a sequel instead of wrapping it up at the end of this book.  I still want to know where everyone is now.

Rating:  Four Chairs – I like this book so much I know several friends to share it with.
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Pressed Pennies

Author: Steven Manchester             pressed pennies
Publisher:  Story Plant
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source:  Story Plant

 

 

 

Goodreads:  

Rick and Abby grew up together, became best friends, and ultimately fell in love. Circumstance tore them apart in their early teens, though, and they went on to lives less idyllic than they dreamed about in those early days. Rick has had a very successful career, but his marriage flat-lined. Abby has a magical daughter, Paige, but Paige’s father nearly destroyed Abby’s spirit.

 

Now fate has thrown Rick and Abby together again. In their early thirties, they are more world-weary than they were as kids. But their relationship still shimmers, and they’re hungry to make up for lost time. However, Paige, now nine, is not nearly as enthusiastic. She’s very protective of the life she’s made with her mother and not open to the duo becoming a trio. Meanwhile, Rick has very little experience dealing with kids and doesn’t know how to handle Paige. This leaves Abby caught between the two people who matter the most to her. What happens when the life you’ve dreamed of remains just inches from your grasp?

 

PRESSED PENNIES is a nuanced, intensely romantic, deeply heartfelt story of love it its many incarnations, relationships in their many guises, and family in its many meanings. It is the most accomplished and moving novel yet from a truly great storyteller of the heart.

Ope’s Opinion: Pressed Pennies is a slow paced, sweet story to savor.  The end of the story was predictable, but there were some twists and curves along the way.  It was a good story to read.

The characters felt like someone you might know.  They had flaws that made them relatable.  Even if you have not been divorced, you can see how it effects all those around  it.  This story shows a mothers need to put her child above all else.

Steven Manchester wrote another awesome story worth the read.

Rating:  Four Chairs – I like this book so much I know several friends to share it with.
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Heart On A Shoestring

Author:  Marilyn Grey
Publisher:  Winslet Press                heart
Pages:  300
Genre:  Contemporary
Source: Winslet Press

 

 

 

Goodreads:  BOOK 4 IN THE UNSPOKEN SERIES: COMING 2014!
“Dreaming of the person you want to be is wasting the person you already are.”
Kurt Cobain

A Novel of Self-Discovery

Rebelling against a life of black and white, Miranda Ryan paints the world in a technicolor fever. She spends her free time on park benches, analyzing people from the outside in and creating whimsical stories about their lives. Unbridled and full of life, her ever-changing heart is a revolving door no man can figure out. And she likes it that way. But when Derek Rhodes enters her life, he stubbornly challenges her every move. As she unsuccessfully avoids this opinionated prankster her colors fade to gray and she is forced into a choice . . . to lose the self she knows or the self she has never been.

Derek Rhodes wears the same shade of brown every day and avoids eye contact with strangers, until Miranda walks into his life and splashes his world with streaks of colors he swore he’d never touch. Drawn to her imaginative personality, he finds himself questioning his own cynical nature and flat-lined ideals, only to fall in love and realize the only woman he’s ever let into his heart has no plans of letting a man into hers. Follow them both as they poke and prod and test each others limits on a journey of discovery.

Ope’s Opinion:  You do not need to read the other books in the series to enjoy this one.   Heart On A Shoestring took me a little longer to get into then the previous books, but it definitely pulled my heart strings as I read it.

Miranda and Derek have a lot to deal with – as I think most of us do.  Watching them help each other discover who they really are and who they are meant to be was an awesome ride.

It is so refreshing to read a love a story without explicit love scenes.  I would encourage a teen and mom to read these stories and have a conversation after each one.  Each story brings new topics up to revaluate your opinion from a different perspective.

Marilyn Grey is an amazing author. I am looking forward to when Bloom comes out.  Keep writing and I’ll keep reading!

Rating:  Four Chairs – I like this book so much I know several friends to share it with.
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