Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Published: September 10th, 2013

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.  Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan… But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?”

Okay,  I think I might have set a personal record with this book. I started this book on a Sunday afternoon at 5 PM and finished the entire 445 pages by Monday at 3 PM. Less than twelve hours. I was captivated from the very beginning. I did not want to put this book down.

This story is a journey of a teen girl, Cather, who has a twin sister, Wren, and they are both starting college. Read those names again. One more time. I actually threw my head back with laughter when I figured it out. I need a book that’ll give me the feeling that this book did over and over again. I want to read more, but I am scared that I will compare this book to others.

I am a person who understands the terms in this book. It’s about Cather writing fanfiction about a character named Simon Snow (who I think is supposed to be Harry Potter). Whether you understand fanfiction and the terms that come with it doesn’t matter because this book was fabulous regardless. However, it was even better knowing what Cather, Wren, and Levi (Cather’s love interest gone awry) speak about.

There were many memorable quotes from this book, but one stood out for me:
“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)”

I would give this book 100 stars if I could, but for now: ★★★★★

Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

Published: August 11th, 2015

“Wedding planner Avery Crosslin may be a rising star in Houston society, but she doesn’t believe in love–at least not for herself. When she meets wealthy bachelor Joe Travis and mistakes him for a wedding photographer, she has no intention of letting him sweep her off her feet. But Joe is a man who goes after what he wants, and Avery can’t resist the temptation of a sexy southern charmer and a hot summer evening. After a one night stand, however, Avery is determined to keep it from happening again. A man like Joe can only mean trouble for a woman like her, and she can’t afford distractions. She’s been hired to plan the wedding of the year–a make-or-break event. But complications start piling up fast, putting the wedding in jeopardy, especially when shocking secrets of the bride come to light. And as Joe makes it clear that he’s not going to give up easily, Avery is forced to confront the insecurities and beliefs that stem from a past she would do anything to forget. The situation reaches a breaking point, and Avery faces the toughest choice of her life. Only by putting her career on the line and risking everything–including her well-guarded heart–will she find out what matters most.”

Avery and Joe are lovely in this book. I loved the story of how the met, how romantic Joe is, and how insecure Avery is while Joe shows her beautiful she is. Lisa Kleypas targeted the women that don’t always feel good in their skin with this book. Avery is described to be plump and be bigger than a size 10. I couldn’t really see it with the woman on the front of the cover. However, Joe is described as a big, broad, rugged, Texan man that could easily carry Avery around anytime she liked. I liked that part as someone who struggles with insecurity. It shows that there is someone out there for everyone. I love that kind of classic romance. The story of how the relationship goes is engaging because of Avery’s constant denial and Joe’s constant battle to get Avery on his side. Love this book. Love the Travises series.

About The Author:
LISA KLEYPAS is the RITA award-winning author of 21 novels. Her books are published in fourteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband and two children.

Rating: ★★★★

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Published: December 28th, 2006

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.”

This book was an attention-grabber right from the start. I really had an issue putting this book down. Learning about the characters and how they thought and how they worked was extremely intriguing. The attention of this story gets scooped up to the “After” section, where if you are a crier (like me), you will need a TON of tissues. I’m not exaggerating. I went through two full boxes of tissues. Please use caution when reading this book, but it was so wonderful. John Green is an exquisite writer, and a personal favorite of mine.

About The Author:
John Green’s first novel, Looking for Alaska, won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award presented by the American Library Association. His second novel, An Abundance of Katherines, was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His next novel, Paper Towns, is a New York Times bestseller and won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best YA Mystery. In January 2012, his most recent novel, The Fault in Our Stars, was met with wide critical acclaim, unprecedented in Green’s career. The praise included rave reviews in Time Magazine and The New York Times, on NPR, and from award-winning author Markus Zusak. The book also topped the New York Times Children’s Paperback Bestseller list for several weeks. Green has also coauthored a book with David Levithan called Will Grayson, Will Grayson, published in 2010. The film rights for all his books, with the exception of Will Grayson Will Grayson, have been optioned to major Hollywood Studios.

Rating: ★★★★★

Siracusa by Delia Ephron

Published: July 12th, 2016

“New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist, travel to Italy with their friends from Maine—Finn, his wife Taylor, and their daughter Snow. “From the beginning,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy for Lizzie and Finn to be together.” Told Rashomon-style in alternating points of view, the characters expose and stumble upon lies and infidelities past and present. Snow, ten years old and precociously drawn into a far more adult drama, becomes the catalyst for catastrophe as the novel explores collusion and betrayal in marriage. Ephron delivers a meditation on marriage, friendship, and the meaning of travel. Set on the sun-drenched coast of the Ionian Sea, Siracusa unfolds with the pacing of a psychological thriller and delivers an unexpected final act that none can see coming.”

This story was a ride!! It was slow to start to begin, but once you start to get into it, it really gets good. I couldn’t put it down. I read most of the book in 24 hours. The characters were unlikeable, but that’s what gets you in the story. Then, there’s Finn and Taylor’s daughter, Snow. She is mysterious and shy, but this book will have you really thinking about her character. The reader will know when they’ve hit the motherload of the story because you will. not. stop. reading. Things get entirely warped, emotional, and captivating. Love love love this book. Would honestly recommend it to anyone.

About The Author:
Bestselling author and screenwriter Delia Ephron’s most recent novel is Siracusa. Her other novels include The Lion Is In and Hanging Up. She has written humor books for all ages, including How to Eat Like a Child and Do I Have to Say Hello?; and nonfiction, most recently Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.). Her films include You’ve Got Mail, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Hanging Up (based on her novel), and Michael. Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, and Vanity Fair. Her hit play Love, Loss, and What I Wore (co-written with Nora Ephron) ran for more than two years off-Broadway and has been performed all over the world. She lives in New York City.

Rating: ★★★★★

Saving Grace by Jane Green

Published: December 30th, 2014

“Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue. To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity. With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.”

This book starts out with Grace Chapman, who is married to successful author Ted Chapman, scared out of her mind at when her husband is going to finally break. This book focused on many different mental disorders. While Saving Grace was very informative, it was also slow to read. I had to put it down and pick it back up again to finish it. A plot doesn’t really take off until a fourth way in or so. Wasn’t my favorite book on the planet, but it definitely had many wonderful elements.

About the Author:
Jane Green’s eighteenth novel, Falling, is soon to be released with Berkley/Penguin; she is the author of sixteen previous New York Times Bestselling novels, and known as one of the world’s leading authors in women’s fiction, with over ten million books in print, and translations in over 25 languages. Previous novels have included The Beach House, Second Chance, Jemima J, and Tempting Fate. She joined the ABC News team to write their first enhanced digital book— about the history of Royal marriages, then joined ABC News as a live correspondent covering Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton.  A former journalist in the UK, she has had her own radio show on BBC Radio London, and is a regular contributor on radio and TV, including as well as regularly appearing on television shows including Good Morning America, The Martha Stewart show, and The Today Show. Together with writing books and blogs, she contributes to various publications, both online and print, including anthologies and novellas, and features for The Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan and Self. She has taught at writers conferences, and does regular keynote speaking, and has a weekly column in The Lady magazine, England’s longest running weekly magazine. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, Green is bringing out her first cookbook: Good Taste , with Berkley in October 2016. She is a storyteller for The Moth radio hour on NPR, and lives in Westport, Connecticut with her husband and their blended family. When she is not writing, cooking, gardening, filling her house with friends and herding chickens, she is usually thanking the Lord for caffeine-filled energy drinks. A cancer survivor, she continues to raise awareness for Malignant Melanoma, Hashimoto’s Disease, and Lyme Disease.


Rating: ★★★

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Published: May 31st, 2016

Didn’t you ever just simply want to…stop? Star athlete and straight-A student Nanette O’Hare has played the role of dutiful daughter for as long as she can remember. But one day, a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper—a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic—and the rebel within Nanette awakens. As the new and outspoken Nanette attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, she befriends the reclusive author and falls in love with a young, troubled poet. Forced to make some hard choices that bring devastating consequences, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion can sometimes come at a high price.”

The book starts out with learning about Nanette who is an awesome soccer player who is about to start her future. She’s a senior in high school, and finds herself reading a book that would change her life forever. When she reads this book, she has a crisis trying to figure out who she is and what she wants. Every Exquisite Thing was a capturing novel from the very beginning. Going through Nanette’s journey of finding herself with her was excellent. Empowering.

About the Author:
Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Oscar-winning film, and The Good Luck Of Right Now. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention. Q lives with his wife, the novelist-pianist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Rating★★★★★

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

Published: May 17th, 2016

“Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends-and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found. So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens…in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything. Told with Mary Kay Andrews’ trademark blend of humor and warmth, and with characters and a setting that you can’t help but fall for, The Weekenders is the perfect summer escape.”

This story starts with Riley Griggs waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry with her daughter. This was the weekend where Riley and her husband were going to tell their daughter about their impending divorce. However, when her husband, Wendell, doesn’t show, Riley has no choice but to freak out when she is handed divorce papers (or what she thought was divorce papers) on the ferry, leaving her daughter to have a meltdown of her own. The next morning, a sheriff shows up at Riley’s mother’s house to tell her that things have taken a murderous turn.

This book had a good amount of mystery, and the perfect amount of romance. It wasn’t my favorite Mary Kay Andrews book, but it definitely had wonderful moments throughout the story that keeps the reader entertained.

About the Author:
Mary Kay Andrews is the pen name of American writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck, based in Atlanta, who has authored a number of best-selling books under the Andrews pen name since 2002. Trochek graduated from the University of Georgia with a journalism degree in 1976. She worked as a reporter at a number of papers, and spent 11 years as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before leaving to write fiction full-time in 1991. She published ten mystery novels under her own name between 1992 and 2000, and switched to the Andrews pen name in 2002 to author Savannah Blues, which marked a change in her style to more Southern-flavored themes.

Rating: ★★★★