Geography of This Book & Me: The Geography of You and Me Review

Summary: Lucy lives on the twenty-fourth floor of her New York City apartment building, while Owen lives in the basement. Which makes it fitting that the two meet for the first time in the middle. Lucy and Owen are stranded in the building’s elevator during a citywide blackout, and while the power might be out, sparks fly between the two. After they’re rescued, Lucy and Owen spend the rest of the darkened day together, sharing their thoughts and wanderlust with one another. But when the power returns, so does reality. Lucy is headed to Europe with her family, while Owen road trips across the country with his dad. Taking off in different directions, they stay in touch through postcards and occasional emails. Through their own travels and self-discoveries, Lucy and Owen must figure out how to close the geography between them.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Inspiration to read Jennifer E. Smith’s The Geography of You and Me came to me when I was craving a contemporary read. Blame it on the warm weather and summer quickly approaching, but I’ve been only in the mood to read contemporaries lately. I usually try to read one book at a time, but as I was struggling through a fantasy book that will go unnamed at the moment, I realized that I wanted a lighter read that I could fly through. I’m so happy that I picked up The Geography of You and Me when I did because it’s most definitely a new favorite contemporary read of mine.

The Geography of You and Me is told through third-person POV from Lucy and Owen. I tend to favor one POV over another in dual perspective reads, but I honestly adored both Owen and Lucy’s chapters. I think this largely had to do with Lucy and Owen being on two different personal journeys. Jennifer also didn’t reiterate what was happening from both characters, which I always appreciate in multi-POV books. Lucy learns how to adapt to life abroad and tries to form a closer relationship with her parents, while Owen and his dad are trying to find a new home of their own as they deal with the aftermath of his mother’s death.

Although the premise of The Geography of You and Me begins with Owen and Lucy being trapped in an elevator, I enjoyed how the scene only composed one chapter of the book. It was fun seeing Owen and Lucy explore a powerless New York City together before heading off on their trips. And while blackouts are not too fun in our digital age, it was really interesting (and difficult!) to imagine a darkened NYC. I also didn’t expect how much traveling there would be in this book, but Jennifer E. Smith transports readers through Europe and the western US alongside Lucy and Owen. The book truly speaks to the mantra that people can travel anywhere as long as they book in their hands (NOT TO MENTION THAT LUCY IS A MASSIVE READER HERSELF). But through Lucy, Jennifer E. Smith also demonstrates,

“That was the thing about books, she was realizing; they could take you somewhere else entirely, it was true. But it wasn’t the same thing as actually going there yourself.” (216)

In short, The Geography of You and Me features plenty of traveling, romance, and self-discovery. It a perfectly sweet & fluffy contemporary read that’s great for any season—we spend September through June with the pair. It is easily my favorite Jennifer E. Smith book. And yes I know that I’ve only read This Is What Happy Looks Like and Windfall, but I’m even more excited to carry on through Jennifer’s collection!

Have you read The Geography of You and Me? What are some of your favorite travel-inspired books? Share in the comments!

 

Book Con Survival Guide for the Best Weekend

If you’ve been around Fangirl Fury for a while, you know that I can work Book Con into any bookish conversation. The land of all the books, Book Con is an annual book convention held in New York City at the Javits Center- sorry for my Midwest readers, but this fangirl never wants the convention to move back to Chicago. I attended Book Con in 2015 and 2017, so 2018 will be my third time attending the convention, but only my second time going for both Saturday and Sunday.

Since I consider Book Con to be one of the best weekends of the year, I want to help you make Book Con your favorite weekend too! Even if you’re not attending Book Con, these tips can also be applied to other conventions and bookish events!

 

Plan ahead and stay organized- The Book Con schedule is typically available on its website and app a month before and is updated leading up to and during the convention. In general, the schedule includes autographing sessions (both in the autographing area and in-booth), panels, meet-and-greets, and new for 2018, writing workshops.

I highly recommend planning out what events you’d like to attend BEFORE going to Book Con. It may not include every thing you’ll want to do over the weekend (the Publishers Weekly guide available the morning of each day usually includes book-drops and events that aren’t in the online schedule), but I HIGHLY recommend having back-ups in case a line gets capped for an event.

You can use My Show through thebookcon.com and the Book Con app to keep track of both the convention schedule and your personal schedule on your devices. I also recommend creating a printed version of your schedule. I know a lot of people use Excel to create their schedule, and last year, I used Word for mine. I kept track of the events I knew I was definitely attending (the autographing sessions in the autographing area) and in-booth events that I wanted to attend. I brought three copies to the convention, two for me and one for my mom, my Book Con buddy. I also recommend bringing a pen so you can check off or add events.

Wear comfy shoes and clothes– By all means feel free to dress up to meet your favorite authors or even cosplay- there were so many awesome Six of Crows cosplays last year! But whatever you choose to wear, make sure it’s something that you’ll feel comfortable wearing and walking around in ALL DAY. For me, sneakers are definitely a must—Book Con requires A LOT of walking and A LOT of standing (although you’ll be able to sit in some lines). Last year, I wore sneakers, capris, and a t-shirt each day-there’s no better time to show off your Harry Potter and Hamilton gear. I also make sure to have extra hair-ties in my bag.

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Bring a tote bag or backpack- Speaking of bags, make sure you bring at least one tote bag (think beach bag size) or backpack with you. Publishers do an awesome job of handing out tote bags, but you’ll want to make sure that you have something to put all your books and bookish swag in! And in my experience, I’ve needed at least 2 bags by the end of each day to hold all my stuff! Book Con does provide a Coat Check/bag area, but I’ve personally never used this service. I bring a backpack to the convention, with a tote bag stored inside. Going back to dress attire, it’s also important to remember that you will be carrying stuff all day when planning your outfit.

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This was my Saturday 2017 haul!

If possible, have a Book Con buddy– I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but going to Book Con with a friend or meeting with someone at the convention can make the convention a bit more stress-free. I’ve attended Book Con every year with my mom, who’s also my ultimate reading buddy. We make a mother-daughter weekend out of it, and it’s fun getting to travel and wait in line before/during the show together. While my mom does attend events for herself and my bookish sister, she’ll also go to book-drops for me if I’m at another event.

Bring snacks and drinks– When you’re carrying books around all day, you’re going to need some food! In my trusty backpack, I pack snacks and drinks, like water bottles, granola bars, and fruit. I typically snack in line before the show floor opens and in line for signings.

Don’t be afraid to make some time in your schedule for lunch. While you can totally pack your lunch too, my mom and I grab food from the Javits Center if we decide to break for lunch that day. We took a half hour for lunch on Saturday last year, since we stayed at the convention until 5, but we skipped on lunch on Sunday, since we planned and did leave before 3. And yes, lunch at the Javits can be a bit pricey (I think it was $30 for my mom and I to eat), but you can never go wrong with chicken fingers.

Bring cash– While the Book Con/ReedPOP, the Strand (they provide books available for purchase at most autographing sessions), and the cafeteria definitely take credit, some booths may only take cash. ­­You don’t necessarily need to spend money at the convention, but in the past, I’ve spent money on autographing sessions that require a book purchase, lunch, Book Con merch, and at other booths.

Make sure to give yourself some time to explore the show floor, including its many vendors! The Strand typically has a big booth set up with their own merch, and this year I’m on the hunt for some new book sleeves and bookish candles.

Take the dust jackets off your books– If you’re bringing books from home to be signed and they’re hardcovers, leave the dust jackets at home! Obviously book sleeves can avoid damage to jackets, but give yourself a bit more peace of mind by avoiding wear-n-tear in your bags.

It’s not necessary to arrive at the crack of dawn– While the show floor does not open until 10AM each day, I believe the Javits Center opens for lining up between 6 AM or 7 AM. By all means you are welcome to arrive at Book Con as early as you want and yes the earlier you get there, the sooner you’ll get on the show floor at that 10AM start. If there’s an event at 10 AM that your bookish self MUST attend or really want to attend, it’d be a bit more advantageous of you to get in line sooner rather than later. But you don’t need to be one of the first in line at Book Con to have a good time. I typically get to the convention around 8:30 AM and I’m usually on the show floor by 10:10.

And for those of you who want to attend events at 10 AM before they’re capped, it is possible to attend them without being first in line. For example, in 2015, Rainbow Rowell had a Q&A and signing event scheduled later in the day, but in order to attend the event, you had to buy a copy of Fangirl from Macmillan starting at 10 AM. While I was not the first in line for getting on the show floor and even at Macmillan (I probably didn’t get on the show floor and figure out where I was until at least 10:15), I was still able to get a ticket.

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Have fun– I know it sounds cheesey, but have fun being your best bookish self at the convention dedicated to books! I admit that it’s easy to get stressed out over fear of not getting to attend certain panels or signings but just remember to breathe and stay optimistic! And it’s okay if everything doesn’t go to plan; I promise you’ll come home with some great books and a great experience no matter what. Remember to keep a smile on your face and be nice to others. I myself have stressed about getting certain books or ARCs. While it may be disappointing to walk away from the convention without your most coveted ARC, remember that you’ll be able to have a nice, shiny, finished copy soon!

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I’m very excited to announce that I will be also attending Book Expo for the first time ever this year! It’s honestly been one of my bookish dreams to attend Book Expo, and I cannot wait for these four bookish days!!

If you want more of an idea how much you can do in a day at Book Con, check out these posts about my Saturday and Sunday at the convention.

Are you attending Book Con this year? What are some of your convention tips? Share in the comments!

I LOVE COLLEGE YA & HERE’S WHY: American Panda by Gloria Chao Review

Summary: Mei has always tried to meet her parents’ expectations. After all, at seventeen year old, she should be a high school senior, not a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her parents’ biggest expectation? Going to MIT as a biology major to then go to medical school at Harvard and become a doctor. Mei’s biggest problem? Mei hates germs. Her dilemma grows worse when she only has eyes for Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese– only Taiwanese boys are allowed for Mama Lu’s daughter. After seeing her brother disowned by her family for dating the wrong woman, Mei can’t bring herself to tell her parents the truth, but she can’t live with lies either.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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College YA & American Panda Thoughts:

Spring break finally allowed me to read Gloria Chao’s American Panda. I’ve seen nothing but great reviews for Gloria Chao’s debut novel following a COLLEGE freshman. Why the emphasis on college there? BECAUSE I LOVE BOOKS WITH COLLEGE-AGED PROTAGONISTS OR CHARACTERS WHO ARE IN COLLEGE!

Young adults aren’t only found in high school, folks. YA, or at least YA contemporary, is typically categorized as such because the central characters often experience some sort of “first”. But let me tell you, college is filled with plenty of young adults and firsts, and I’m not just talking about having to do your laundry for the first time.

So why I am always on the lookout for college YA?

I’m a college student. Give me people who also live in dorm rooms and live away from home and have to operate on -3 hours of sleep and go to class.

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Growing pains. Yes, I love plenty of YA books with high school aged characters, but as I get more mature (fine, older), I find myself not being able to relate the problems that come with being a high school student and the drama as much.

So why did I love American Panda for being a college YA?

Mei is somewhat more able to stand up to her parents. Yes, potentially being disowned as a college student whose parents pay for your tuition has a lot of problems, but being away at school acted as some sort of barrier between Mei and her parents. I also appreciated her hot chocolate time with Darren.

MEI GOES TO CLASS AND DOES STUDENT-LIKE THINGS, INCLUDING HOMEWORK. Even though I still want to know if she goes to the dining hall or even has a meal plan.

The balance between school and family. I would say the biggest element of American Panda is family, but it was nice to see Mei be able to live her life at school and then spend time with her family. Contrary to her roommate’s belief, some college students (ME) don’t mind seeing their families on the weekend.

There’s no partying or drinking. Yes, this is definitely a no-no on her parents’ list, but I loved how Mei is never tempted to party and has no effect on the plot.

So what else did I love about American Panda?

Mei is Taiwanese-American, but her parents expect her to follow their Chinese traditions and expectations. I really enjoyed learning more about Chinese culture (sidenote: where can I found a Domaeron plush??), and I would love to see more books with characters and authors of such diverse backgrounds. While her family’s expectations drive Mei nuts, I liked how she still appreciated her culture. For example, a lot of Mei’s dancing is infused with Chinese dance, and she acts as a mentor/teacher for young girls of a similar background.

Mei’s mom’s voicemail intros for each chapter were hilarious. I liked how they became a bit more heartwarming toward the end (even though her wisdom and tidbits about Ying-Na were funny), and I’m happy about the state of Mei and her mom’s relationship at the end of the novel.

I read the entire book in a day! Plenty of people are able to read a book in just one sitting, but I haven’t had the opportunity to in a long time. Snow days are good for something! I also found myself not wanting to part with American Panda because I needed to know what happened then and there. I highly recommend reading American Panda for a readathon or de-reading slump motivation because it’s such an addicting read and on the shorter side (just over 300 pages).

While I loved American Panda overall, there were a few things I didn’t enjoy just as much:

There was a lot of MIT lingo that I felt could easily have been replaced with regular college lingo. For example, instead of Mei using the course numbers to say what class she was in, she could have just said Intro to Bio or Calculus 101. However, I think readers who are familiar with MIT/are current MIT students/are past MIT students/are MIT tourists like the ones we see in the book will really appreciate all the MIT-ness, and it was a cool personal touch from Gloria Chao, a MIT grad.

Some of the chapters, especially in the beginning, jumped around a tad much and I was quite confused. I’m specifically talking about Chapters 5 and 6, where Mei has to go to the medical center. I realize now it’s used as a jump start for Mei to realize she doesn’t want to be a doctor, but I felt like it was just thrown at us. We go from her having dinner to her parents to then going to the medical center at 3 AM and finding out she has herpes (trust me, not a spoiler) and having a weird encounter with Dr. Chang??? I really couldn’t distinguish between reality or if Mei was having a stress dream of sorts.

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Have you read American Panda? What college YA books do you enjoy? Share in the comments!

Reputation Book Tag

BIG REPUTATION, BIG REPUATION AHHHHHHH

Taylor Swift’s reputation quickly became one of my favorite albums of 2017 and my Taylor_Swift_-_Reputationlove for the album has carried into 2018. It’s one of the few albums that I can listen from start to finish without skipping any songs, not to mention the fact that I’m constantly singing ‘End Game’ around my house (and now on my blog). So when I saw the Reputation Book Tag floating around Booktube, I knew I had to do the tag as well. I’ll also be giving a short review of each song from reputation before giving my bookish answers.

This version of the Reputation Book Tag was created by Sarah of Sarah’s Bookshelves over on Booktube.

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1.Ready for It: I really didn’t listen to ‘Ready for It’ when the song was first released, but I instantly became obsessed when its music video was released.

A 2018 release you are READY FOR

Save the Date by Morgan Matson. While there were so many amazing releases in 2017, I really missed having a new Morgan Matson book come out.  I’m really excited about Save the Date because it centers on a WEDDING. For someone who has never been to a wedding, let alone someone who rarely thinks about her one day/maybe one, I love books and TV shows about them.

2.End Game: YES ED SHEERAN COLLAB YES YES YES

Characters that either SHOULD have been end game

Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood. I’m not the biggest fan of pairing off characters, but I think the two would have worked out well together!

3.I Did Something Bad: One of my favorite songs from reputation, I’m just obsessed with the beat and the lyrics (short example of how horrible I am with music terminology)

A character decision that was terrible, but you loved reading anyway

Okay, so I’m definitely the type of reader when a character makes a bad decision, I CRINGE THROUGH THE PAGES FOR THEM

4.Don’t Blame Me: I think ‘Don’t Blame Me’ really fits the vibe of the album, and this one is my sister’s current favorite

A book or series you are shamelessly addicted to

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. I recently explained this series to my sister and when I was talking about how the pants fit all 4 girls, I felt how ridiculous the description was. However, this series (and movies) will always be among my all-time favorites and I still think there a great way to branch into YA.

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5.Delicate: Im listening to ‘Delicate’ as I write this sentence, and I just love the beat/rhythm (again no idea how to describe this), it makes me dance in my seat!

A book that has a bad reputation, but that you enjoyed

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. Genuine Fraud was like nothing I’ve read before and I just really enjoy the psychological thriller side of E. Lockhart books. However, a lot of readers thought that that the book was just a current retelling/copy of an older novel that Genuine Fraud was based on.

6.Look What You Made Me Do: I was really confused by this song when it first came out (everyone talks about how 1989 was different from ‘old’ Taylor, but I think ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ was her new start) , but I grew to love it with the music video.

A book that Booktube made you read

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel, which was the book of Booktube-A-Thon 2017.

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7. So It Goes: love love love

A book you read but can’t remember anything about

The Infinite Sea by Rick Rancey

8.Gorgeous: This song is just so much FUN and I love putting it on repeat when I go running

A book with a gorgeous writing style

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (also PSA for a new Jandy Nelson book, please)

9.Getaway Car: One of my favorites from the album, I’m just obsessed with this song and love singing along to it (especially in my car)

Your favorite love triangle

I’m going with the love triangle that first comes to my mind—Katniss, Peeta, and Gale from The Hunger Games.

10. King of My Heart: Not my favorite, but I do like how it’s a little different from the other songs on the album

A character who is the king of your heart

Just one character is impossible, but let’s go with one I feel like I haven’t mentioned on the blog: Etienne St.Clair from Anna and the French Kiss. Thinking about him makes my heart swoon and reminds me that it’s time for a Anna reread!

11.Dancing With Our Hands Tied: Again, LOVE LOVE LOVE

A book that started off great but had a bad ending

My mind is blanking a bit for this one, so I’m going to with the general romantic contemporary ending where our ship sails AND WE DON’T GET TO SEE THEM ACTUALLY TOGETHER AS A COUPLE

12. Dress: If I had to pick a “least favorite”, Dress would be it. A new adult book you loved

London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton

13.This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: My answer changes every time I listen through reputation, but ‘This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ IS MY FAVORITE

Book that made you want to break everything you own 

THE ENDING OF EMPIRE OF STORMS BECAUSE HOW COULD SARAH DO THAT TO US AHHHHHH

14.Call it What You Want: I love the lyric video for this one

A book title you would have call something else

Making Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone universally be called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (even though apparently American children won’t pick up a book with philosophy in the title).

15.New Years Day: I’ve been in love with this song since Taylor’s performance of it on SNL. If she does an extended edition of reputation, I hope she includes an acoustic version of ‘New Years Day’

A book that you finished, but stuck with you the next day (and for life)

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

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Are you a Taylor Swift fan? Have you listened to reputation? Share in the comments!

My Experience Seeing Dear Evan Hansen ft. the Amazon Bookstore

Dear Fangirl Fury,

Today is going to be a good day because you saw the Broadway show you thought you’d never see a week ago. And that show was the INCREDIBLY DESERVING OF THE HYPE, Dear Evan Hansen.

My parents completely surprised me with tickets to Dear Evan Hansen for Christmas. I had only mentioned the show once or twice to my mom, and with how popular DEH is right now, I would have never guessed that’d I get to see the show. I even bought the book back in May because I thought reading would be the only way I could experience the show itself!

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So on a warm Saturday morning (please tell me this means that zero degree weather is over), my mom and I went into New York City and we grabbed lunch at our favorite Irish pub before the 2 PM matinee. Like when we saw Hamilton last January, we had a leisurely lunch and it was nice catching up, since I’m now back at school. We’ve already decided that if we don’t see a show next year, we’re still going to go have lunch at the same place.

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I rarely take photos of my food, but this pretzel bun was too precious

As you may have expected, I absolutely loved Dear Evan Hansen. Even though I was a tiny bit disappointed that I just missed Ben Platt’s run, I really enjoyed seeing Michael Lee Brown play Evan. He adopted the character so well (all of the actors in the show, including him, actually felt like high schoolers playing high schoolers) and his voice was amazing. I was totally impressed with everyone’s singing, and I highly recommend listening to the original cast recording even if you have no plans of seeing the show. I’d list all of my favorite songs, but then I’d be giving you the entire album! With the exception of Ben Platt and Kristolyn Lloyd, I saw the entire original cast, including Laura Dreyfuss, who I was really excited to see because I loved her on Glee. I think my mom especially loved Will Roland as Jared, who brought a lot of humor to this sad and deep show, and while I admit that I didn’t cry, I did feel some tears welling up during “Requiem”.

Outside of the singing, my favorite part of the show was the incorporation of technology and social media into the set. I loved the use of physical screens, which adding some more dimension to “on the outside always looking in”. The social media and phone projections, along with the lighting, were all really cool, and I’m curious to know if some of the video footage was prerecorded or if it was part of the live performance.

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After the show, my mom and I made a pit stop at the M & M store because my mom wanted to pick something up for my siblings (self-reminder for me to never step in that tourist trap again). A half hour later, with the belief that I could never look at a pack of M&Ms again, we made our way to Amazon Books on 34th Street. I’ve been really interested to see how the Amazon bookstores work and my mom wanted to see if they had a book that my dad was interested in; whenever my dad wants to read, we make sure if happens! While I like the idea of the prices matching the prices on the Amazon website, having to repeatedly scan the barcodes with the Amazon got old pretty quick. I ended up not picking anything up—I also agree with the general opinion that most of the books are bestsellers—but it was still a pretty cool experience. After that, we made our way home, planning out our next Broadway trip.

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As expected, I was too distracted by the books to take bookstagram-worthy photos

I’m now obsessed with the DEH original cast recording (I guess it’s time to give Waitress a break). I had listened to a lot of the album before I saw the show, but I stayed away from the last few songs, but why didn’t I listen to ‘Good For You’ & ‘Words Fail’ sooner??

Have you listened to Dear Evan Hansen? What are you favorite Broadway shows? Have you been to an Amazon bookstore? Share in the comments!

Craving Adult Contemporary?? Wedding Night and The Bookshop on the Corner Reviews

New week, new type of post.

Since my thoughts on Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner and Sophie Kinsella’s Wedding Night are a bit short and non-spoilery, I decided to change up my usual review format to include 2 reviews in one post (rebel I know). Plus, both books fall under the same genre: British, adult contemporary!

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The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Summary: Nina is a literary matchmaker, having plenty of practice as a librarian. But when the job she loves disappears, Nina is left with a lot of books and trying to figure out her next step. Taking her love for books and plenty of them in tow, Nina moves to a quiet village in Scotland, where the community is in dire need of reading. There, Nina buys a van and transforms it into a bookshop on wheels. Between sharing her passion for storytelling with the village and dealing with her grumpy, but caring landlord, Nina begins to feel more at home than she ever has before.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

28372019.jpgMy Thoughts:

Jenny Colgan captured my heart in 2017 with Meet Me at the Cupcake Café and The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, so kicking off my 2018 reading with another one of her books was a great start to my year.  

Obviously being a reader myself, I adored Nina’s appreciation for books and literature, and I found myself trying to figure how I could hypothetically open my own bookshop out of a van. After I finish writing this review, I’ll be off to Internet, looking for any fan art of Nina’s van/bookshop. I wish there was somehow a picture of it included in the book because I struggled to visualize it a bit (I know, minorish detail, use your imagination, Haley, but still!).

My favorite aspect of reading The Bookshop on the Corner was how cozy it made me feel. The majority of the novel takes place in Scotland, which I wasn’t expecting, but I loved this setting! I haven’t read any novels with Scotland as the main setting, and seeing Nina live on Lennox’s farm and participate in village life makes me want to move to the Highlands for a bit! Speaking of Lennox, I loved his role in the story, and it was really fun to see a whole new side of Nina come out when she talked to him. I also loved Surinder, Nina’s best friend, from pushing Nina to do something with her life to her comic relief.

Overall, if you’re looking for a book about books  or a cozy contemporary, The Bookshop on the Corner is the one for you. Personally, I love reading books about books, like Words in Deep Blue, so I would love to see a sequel to Nina’s story (even if it’s a just a small check-in).

 Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Summary: When Lottie’s boyfriend said that he had a big question for her, she thought it’d be finally be a marriage proposal, not a question about a trip abroad. Heartbroken, Lottie randomly receives a call from her first boyfriend and decides that it must be fate—a trip down the aisle seems like the right way to go! While Lottie is excited for this stage of her life, her sister Fliss feels the exact opposite. Going through her own divorce, Fliss is determined to end Lottie and Ben’s marriage with a ruinous wedding night.

My Rating: 3.75/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I’ve been working my way through Sophie Kinsella’s books (I think my local library has ALL of them!), and next up on my TBR was Wedding Night. I didn’t know too much about the book going in, but I figured I would enjoy the wedding aspects of the novel.17406464.jpg

Unfortunately, there wasn’t too much about weddings itself in Wedding Night, as the novel primarily focuses on Lottie’s rashness in her marriage with Ben and Fliss doing her best to sabotage their marriage for her sister’s sake. There is a considerable amount of wedding talk in the beginning of the novel, with Lottie overcoming her failed engagement to Richard and trying to “plan” a wedding with Ben. Additionally, I really liked the first half of the novel for its introduction to Lottie and Fliss, before the wedding night shenanigans begin. My favorite aspect of the novel was the dual POV from Fliss and Lottie. I liked learning about their backgrounds, like Lottie’s first trip to Greece and her mentoring college students to Fliss serving as head editor at the travel magazine. While reading about Lottie’s honeymoon mishaps from her perspective were quite funny, I liked Fliss’s POV a bit better, with her growing connection with Lorcan.

Wedding Night was a really fun and light read for me, between Fliss and Lorcan’s blooming romance and Lottie’s honeymoon from hell, but it was a little predictable and often dragged towards the end of the book. I figured that Fliss’s sabotaging Lottie’s honeymoon and wedding night would eventually lose control, and I saw some of the cracks in Lottie’s past history with Ben before she discovered them herself. The plot did become a bit ridiculous and far-fetched at times, but overall I think it added to the book’s romantic-comedy vibe.

In conclusion, I recommend Wedding Night if you’re looking for a light-hearted, rom-com-y read. I have two of Sophie Kinsella’s standalones left, and I’m highly anticipating Surprise Me, coming out in February 2018!

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Have you read Wedding Night or The Bookshop on the Corner? Share in the comments!

Review: Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan

Summary: Baking is in Issy’s blood- if not, there’s definitely plenty of sugar and butter! Raised by a baking extraordinaire of a grandfather, Issy can whip up the most delicious cakes and treats. After being laid off from her desk job, she decides to open up her own café. But Issy soon learns that running a business, even one inspired by her passion, isn’t a piece of cake.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts: 

As someone who loves British contemporaries and books featuring baking, I am in shock that I had never heard of Jenny Colgan’s books until a recent trip to the library with my mom. I was perusing through the adult books section of my library, planning out how I was going to read ALL the books during my winter break, when I found Jenny Colgan’s Meet Me at the Cupcake Café sitting on the shelf. I was going to put off this book about baking until my winter break, but I couldn’t help myself from going back to the library later in the week to pick it up. I am quite happy with my decision because I absolutely adored Meet Me at the Cupcake Café.

As you can tell from above, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café has a huge emphasis on baking, as Issy opens her own cupcake shop. The most unique element of the book is that it features recipes of many of Issy’s treats that she makes in the book. They filled me with desire to bake, especially for Christmas ( I may have been looking up gingerbread recipes when I should have been writing a paper), and I really want to try to make the Nutella cookies. They recipes are really special and important to the story because Izzy’s grandfather, Gramps, sends them to her through letters. Issy and Gramps have a super close relationship, as her grandfather raised Issy and he influenced her to fall in love with baking. The most heartbreaking element of the novel is seeing Gramps suffer from dementia, but through it all, he supports Issy’s opening of the café. Issy’s moments with her grandfather often brought tears to my eyes, and by the end of the novel I was full-on crying—the first book in a while to make me do so!

Moving on to the more heart-warming aspects of the novel, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café has such a funny and supportive cast of characters for Issy. Pearl and Helena were my favorite side characters, as they brought a lot of humor to the story, but they also supported Issy the most. What really made me laugh out loud were the interactions between Caroline and Pearl’s son, Louis. The following argument between the two made me laugh out loud:

“ “Caline,” said Louis seriously, leaning over to make his point. “Bad cake, Caline.”

“No, yummy cake, Louis,” said Caroline tightly.

“No, Caline,” said Louis. Issy hastily got in the middle before it turned into a genuine argument between a forty-year-old and a two-year-old.

There is a bit of romance in the novel, as each woman in the novel deals with their own relationships. I didn’t mind the romance, with the exception of Issy. Her relationship with her on-and-off again boyfriend, Graeme, frustrated me to no end, especially since she had a much better suitor throughout the story. However, the romance really doesn’t affect my opinion or rating of the novel that much because the baking and storyline made up for it immensely. I just fell in love with Issy’s story, the people in her life, and of course, the cakes. Although it’s an adult novel, if you love the baking aspects of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I Loved Before trilogy and want a book with even more of an emphasis on baking, pick this one up immediately!

I want to read ALL of Jenny Colgan books now, especially the ones that have to do something with baking and food! And she has so many books centered on Christmas, including the sequel to Meet Me at the Cupcake Café!

Do you enjoy books about baking? Have you read anything by Jenny Colgan? Share in the comments!