Romance Review: Vespertine by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

VespertineVespertine by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

Published by: Ledra

Format: Kindle Arc

Buy It Now: Amazon

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Reviewed by: Liz

What we Thought: Beautifully written, if not always entirely believable, and left us wanting a slightly different sort of struggle, perhaps, but overall hopeful, engaging, and hot. Read More

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YA Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Published by: Simon and Schuster

Format: Paperback

Genre: YA

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: all of the stars ever given anywhere, ever

If you’re here on I Love YA Fiction, you more than likely know that I…well, I love YA fiction. Really love it. I love the character development, the moment of self-awareness, the deepening maturity and the subtle change from child to adult. It’s a heady mix and beautiful to read. Only problem? I read so much of it over the last three years that it all got rather tired and monotonous; the dreaded B word cropped up quite a lot whenever I talked about books. You all know the B word, right? It’s the kiss of death for authors and reads alike: BORING. That’s right. All the YA books I read were just boring.

So when a friend suggested I give Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe a shot, I was skeptical and ready to be bored bored bored.

But ya know what? I was wrong wrong wrong! This book is outstanding! It’s all the best parts of YA with none of the BS. And if you’re anything like me, it’ll hook you just as quickly…

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That Wedding by Jillian Dodd

Title: That Wedding by Jillian Dodd

Publisher: Self-Published, 2012

Format: Kindle Edition

I’m not going to lie, I’m feeling a lot of pressure on this review. Usually I just read a book, drink some wine, think up some (I think) snarky/sarcastic/witty/drunken comments and bang out a review. But this one is different because the review of the first book and Jillian Dodd’s responses were what made me realize that maybe people other than Judith and I care what we have to say about books. Or are at least kind enough to pretend they do. Whatever, I’m just going to have a glass of wine and let’s get this ball rolling.

Oh but before we do that – if you haven’t read That Boy then STOP right now. Seriously. I try to keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible so you’ll actually want to read the book if you haven’t already but obviously I can’t talk about a sequel without talking about the action in the first book. Plus it’s just a seriously kickass book and you’ll be so grateful you read it.

Plot: This book picks up exactly where the first one left off – Jadyn and Philip (squee!) have just gotten engaged and spend a blissful night together. Then the next day Jadyn is suddenly being wedding-attacked from all sides about when they’ll get married, where, themes, colors, etc. As you can guess from the title, the book focuses on Jadyn and Philip’s wedding planning, along with some serious issues like marriage counseling, honeymoon stages, Lori’s pregnancy, financial issues, first fights, awful nightmares about melting faces and turning into a burning bush (hehe) (yes, I’m 12), and Jadyn finally grieving over the loss of her parents. But in the end we all know that the love between JJ and Philip is strong enough to survive anything – they just need to realize it themselves.

Review: I’m sure this will come as no surprise but I LOVED this book. Now are we talking the rating I gave the first one (I’m too lazy to check but I think out of a scale of 1/10 I gave it 1 zillion,500,010?) no, because it’s a different sort of book. But I still laughed, and cringed, and squeed, and cried, and loved it. First off – I love how blindsided Jadyn and Philip are about the suddenness of wedding planning. Jadyn actually reminded me of my brother’s fiancée who said to me “um, we just got engaged, why do people expect us to start planning right away!?” (insert panicked voice). Also Philip’s suggestions on themes were awesome – togas, boats and hoes, total frat stuff. But in the end they have what sounds like the best wedding of all time. Their after party isn’t some stuffy club thing but a sports bar with kegs and pool and “ping pong” tables (we all know the latter will become beer pong tables).

Wedding stuff aside it’s the progression they make as a couple along with Jadyn’s individual growth which form the core of the book, the wedding planning is just the conduit that leads to this growth. Danny’s father is completely correct when he tells J that being lifelong best friends is one thing, being married is another and I really liked that he basically bribed J to go to marriage counseling. Did I think J was going to screw up one time too many? Yes. Did I understand why she was making poor decisions at times? Yes. Did I worry Philip was ever going to say “you’re too much work” and walk away? Hell no. Because he loves her! He’s loved her forever and they’re meant to be and Philip is awesome and….okay. Breathe. I’m stopping.

Yet again I’m sure this isn’t a shock but I’m giving the book 10/10. It deserves it. Go buy this book!!! (Oh and if by some miracle you’re reading this and haven’t signed up for our free giveaway you still have a few hours!)

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 10. So I’m not going to lie when I was reading the book I was completely ready to downgrade J to a less than perfect score just because she kept making some really stupid decisions. And then I remembered what I said in the first review is still true – Jadyn and I are way too much alike. Yes she’s making stupid decisions, and she deep-down realizes it (but she’ll never admit it because she always has to be right), but sometimes when your life starts spiraling out of control all you can do is make it MORE out of control – this time on your terms. I did love that planning her wedding, and finally opening herself up to memories of her parents, led to a wedding that in so many ways encompassed her parents. The location, the colors, the size of the wedding, even her dress were all influenced by her parents. It was really touching.

How much did I like the love interest: 10. Was there ever any doubt? What I loved about this book is that Philip isn’t perfect. Toward the end of the book he acknowledges that he’s been rushing Jadyn through this whole process – hell they got engaged on their first date! – because he loves her so much he doesn’t want to lose her. Even accounting for that flaw Philip is still, well, (squee) he’s amazing. He understands everything that’s going on with J, is with her every step of the way, doesn’t put pressure on her to plan a wedding any specific way, and I love the whole protective vibe. When Philip stood up to his mom about the whole marriage counseling thing I think I almost died. Oh and his wedding gift to Jadyn? I cried but was also yelling “NO! She’s just had her makeup done! It’s photo time!” but then cried a little more.

How believable is the plot: 10. I loved it all, especially the wedding stuff. As an acknowledged wedding junkie (seriously: I love Friday nights because it means I get to watch hours of “Four Weddings”, “Say Yes to the Dress”, and sometimes “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”) and someone who has had almost my whole wedding planned since I was 9 this was right up my alley. But now I can add “sports bar after party” to my list! (Side note: NO JOKE the song that I want to dance with my mom at my wedding just came on my iTunes! It’s a sign from above!)

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 9. Okay I have one complaint – maybe it was just my version but the text messages were WAY too light in color. I could barely read them.

How much did I want to keep reading: 10. I think in order to stop me you’d have had to rip my Kindle out of my hands and then prepare yourself for one heck of a fight (I did get my yellow belt in Tae Kwan Do while in college – what what!).

Glasses of wine I drank while reading: 2. Just because I kept getting so mad at Jadyn. And then realizing that’s because she’s doing stupid things I’d do. And then drinking to forget I do stupid things. It’s a vicious cycle.

Final Score: 10/10. BUY THIS BOOK! And the first one, if you haven’t already. I’m not sure if there will be a third book but I might be alone in saying I hope not, I think that the story is perfect ending right here.

Also I want to take this opportunity to thank Jillian Dodd SO MUCH for everything she’s done for us. Not only did she (completely unsolicited) read my first review and then write back but when That Wedding was coming out she offered Judith and I free copies, plus said she’d give away a copy to one lucky reader! She let us interview her, responds to our tweets, and doesn’t seem to think

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we’re swimfan-level crazy (fingers crossed). Oh and the woman creates a new martini almost every week. Obviously she’s an awesome human being.

****Disclaimer: I got this book for free from the author. I swear I didn’t bribe her in any way, or get paid for my review. And we might not be legit enough to need this disclaimer but after working at a law firm for many years it’s better safe than sorry!****

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