[Book Thoughts] Save The Date by Morgan Matson

Book Details:

Format: eARC & Hardback
Source: Publisher & Bought
Read: July 2018

Synopsis:

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

My Thoughts

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for an e-copy of this book for review!

Oh, Morgan Matson. My first introduction to the books of Morgan Matson was reading Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour back in 2012, then moving on to Second Chance Summer – both books I absolutely LOVED. I feel like since then I’ve been trying to get the same feelings I had reading those first books – especially SCS – but nothing has come close. The last two books have been just okay for me and I really think that it’s time for me to stop reading books by Matson.

Of course, that’s not to say her writing is terrible – really, I think Morgan Matson would write great screenplays – but I just don’t think her books are working for me anymore. Save The Date sounded like it would be a lot of fun, but I felt like it lacked emotion and those really in-depth family conversations and struggles that I was looking for. I loved the storyline of Mark and his mother and wanted more of that in this book, but I got a LOT of silliness instead, something that would’ve translated better on the screen than in a book. The story was definitely cute to begin with, but it just started to get predictable as everything that could go wrong, goes wrong, and eventually it felt too unrealistic and even though it’s a work of fiction, I would like to have something that still feels real.

There’s also Charlie, the main character, who I really, really disliked. She was stubborn and selfish and just plain mean. There’s a great character in the story, Brooke, and Charlie is horrible to her. I also felt like her worries about school were completely overshadowed by the so-called “romance” in the story – I didn’t get the obsession with Jesse in the beginning and there is a majorly forced romantic relationship as the story goes on, with a character who gets barely any screentime. There’s pretty much no chemistry at all and I knew the story would go downhill after we barely see Charlie’s love interest and then her sister tells Charlie that she thinks that the guy likes her – like, HOW did she come to that conclusion when we barely see this character to begin with?

I also had a hard time with Charlie’s mother, who writes a very popular comic strip about their family, The Grant Family. She seemed completely delusional about the separation between work and family, not caring who she would hurt in the storylines she created in her comics. As a mother, this completely horrified me! As for the rest of the characters, we barely get to know anyone. For a book that’s over 400 pages, I’d like to end with actually knowing someone in the story, but everyone is pretty forgettable because we just don’t go very deep into anyone.

Anyway, this story was just not for me and I think it’s time that I stop saving the date for Matson and try other authors. This story was way too long (I pretty much started skimming and felt like I wasn’t missing anything at all) and the characters way too forgettable. I’m kind of mad that I bought a copy of this book, thinking I’d love it, since it’s now going into my donate pile.

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[ARC Talk] Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock

Book Details:

Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Raincoast Books)
Read: August 2017

Synopsis:

A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Debut author Tiffany Pitcock delivers a spot-on depiction of first love and the high school rumor mill in Just Friends, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads.

My Thoughts

Thank you to Raincoast Books for a review copy of this book! 

I always love getting contemporary romance books for review. I’m kind of over the dystopian, post-apocalyptic books right now, but a good contemporary book I can always devour.

This book started out just how I love my books – quirky and fun, with adorable characters who have great chemistry. I loved the relationship between Jenny and Chance but while it was cute in the beginning, it seemed to get pretty serious crazy fast. And this isn’t romance that I’m talking about! Can insta-friendship be a thing? Like, one moment you didn’t know this person and the next they’re your best friend the only person you would do anything for. It just wasn’t believable.

I also thought that this book could have done well enough on its own with two people falling in love (not totally a spoiler, since it’s in the synopsis), but there was way too much drama thrown in, especially parental drama. The parents weren’t realistic at all to me. I also kind of despised the romantic drama in the book and I felt like a lot of it gave the wrong message to young readers.

I did like that this book was told in alternating POVs, something I love reading, and it’s nice to get into both of the main characters’ heads in a story. Ultimately, though, that wasn’t enough for me to really enjoy the story the way I wanted to – there were just too many flaws. I did enjoy reading it and especially loved the first half, but it’s probably not a book I’d recommend.

[Book Talk] Lucky In Love by Kasie West

Book Details:

Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Read: July 2017

Synopsis:

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture.

Maddie doesn’t believe in luck. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment —

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun… until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.

My Thoughts

Without a doubt, I absolutely love Kasie West. I’m sad because I’ve now caught up on ALL of her books and now have to wait for the next new one! And this book I was really looking forward to reading because I also read Jennifer E. Smith’s book Windfall earlier this month, which is another book based on a teen winning the lottery. While I thought that one was good, but not great, I was eager to read this one to see if my thoughts differed.

Honestly, while I love Jennifer E. Smith’s writing, I feel like Kasie West’s book was much better. There’s just something about her writing that made this book not about the money but all about the money. It’s very much about relationships and I adored the romance in this book. It was slightly cliche, the whole idea of someone not knowing about your fortune so they can’t treat you any different, but I loved it all the same. I loved the zoo setting and how we got a glimpse into Kasie’s parents’ relationship – also, that we didn’t get all of this information until after the lottery win. It was nice to get a good background rather than the story starting off with such a big thing happening. Like any book about winning the lottery, this story was about finding who your true friends are and really figuring our who you are after such a life change.

Can we also just talk about how perfect the cover is? I love that I can see the characters as Maddie and Seth, and they’re right there at the carousal in the zoo. Too many times I look at a book cover and wonder how it fits in with the story but this one was perfectly planned. And the colours are just gorgeous! It’s the perfect summer book cover.

I might be biased, but I love Kasie West. She’s one of my favourite YA contemporary authors in that she writes stories that are full of relationships, from familial to romantic, as well as fun situations that seem both normal and out there situations. I can’t wait until her next book!