Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Publisher: Simon & Schuster’s Books for Young Readers
Release date: May 2, 2017
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 336
Goodreads || Book Depository

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

MY THOUGHTS

Always and Forever, Lara Jean is the third and final book in the series so this review may contain spoilers for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

I think my rating for this book is probably closer to a 4.5 stars but it’s inflated just because of sentimental reasons. I’ve been waiting for this book since the first book came out. I really liked P.S. I Still Love You but this was the book that I wished that one was. If you love Lara Jean and Peter together, this is a must-read for you. There are no love triangles, I promise!

Always and Forever, Lara Jean is about the final few months of Lara Jean and Peter’s senior year of high school. Peter’s been accepted to the University of Virginia already and Lara Jean is convinced that she’s going to be accepted too. She’s already planned out her college experience with Peter and is extremely excited about being able to be with Peter, as well as close enough to home to visit regularly. However, things don’t always go to plan and suddenly Lara Jean and Peter find themselves having to alter their plans and learn who they are as individuals away from each other.

I really loved the plot of this book. It’s been a long time since I graduated from high school, but I felt really connected with this story because my co-blogger, Aila just graduated and was going through some similar experiences recently. I really connected with Lara Jean’s struggles when it came to figuring out what she wanted to do after high school, especially after her plans fell through. I enjoyed watching her character development throughout the book as she learned to become more independent and put her own needs and wants before others.

But of course, my favourite aspect of the book was the adorable romance between Lara Jean and Peter. This is the first book in the series where we get to see the two of them together for the entire book and it was so worth the wait. The two of them are so perfect together and I loved how Peter just indulges Lara Jean’s quirks. I enjoyed how they worked through their problems together and I just thought their relationship was sugary sweet and everything I needed.

I’m so glad that Jenny Han decided to come out with this third book in this series. I wasn’t super happy with how P.S. I Still Love You ended because I wanted more of Lara Jean and Peter’s story. I’m extremely happy with what we got in this third novel and I’m going to be binge rereading this on sad and rainy days for a long time to come.

Pastry Book Tag

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I have the biggest sweet tooth, so when Jesse @ Books at Dawn tagged me to do the Pastry Book Tag, I just had to do it. I was so excited that I even modified my usual tag header into a pastry-themed one.


CROISSANT: NAME A POPULAR BOOK OR SERIES THAT EVERYONE (INCLUDING YOU) LOVES

clockworkangel clockworkprinceclockworkprincessIs there anybody out there who actually doesn’t like The Infernal Devices?! I love this series so, so much. Clockwork Princess is probably my favourite series finale ever!


MACARON: NAME A BOOK THAT WAS HARD TO GET THROUGH BUT WORTH IT AT THE END

alittlelife Man… this book.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara was amazing but my heart suffered such a beating. This novel gave me so many feels and I just felt emotionally drained after each chapter. It was also a 720 page book so it took me forever to get through it.

But it was completely worth it because A Little Life has become one of my favourite books of all time. It’s truly beautiful.


VOL-AU-VENT: NAME A BOOK THAT YOU THOUGHT WOULD BE AMAZING BUT FELL FLAT

i-was-here I was expecting a lot of great things from I Was Here by Gayle Forman but unfortunately, it fell a little bit short. Just One Day is one of my favourite YA books, and I also loved her If I Stay duology, so I thought I Was Here would blow my mind. It wasn’t a terrible book by any means – I still gave it 3 stars – but I was just expecting a lot more from it.

I just found the plot to be a little bit lacking and I don’t think the issue of teen suicide was dealt with well enough. I also wasn’t a fan of the romance.


PAIN AU CHOCOLAT: NAME A BOOK THAT YOU THOUGHT WOULD BE ONE THING BUT TURNED OUT TO BE SOMETHING ELSE

findingaudrey Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella was one that I was pleasantly surprised by. Going into the book, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to connect with the main character, who’s only 14 years old. But I ended up loving Audrey’s voice and really connected with her.

I was kind of worried that the anxiety aspects of the book wouldn’t be handled well but I was so wrong about that. I was also a bit wary of the book because I thought it would be a ‘love cures all’ kind of story but I didn’t find that to be the case at all.


PROFITEROLE: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT DOESN’T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION

missperegrines hollow-citylibrary-of-soulsI read the Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children series recently and my mind was blown by how great it was! I also have reviews for Hollow City and Library of Souls.


CROQUEMBOUCHE: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT’S EXTREMELY COMPLEX

snowlikeashes icelikefireSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch has such a grand and complex world. There are 8 kingdoms in this world – 4 are Season kingdoms that only experience one season all year round; the other 4 are Rhythm kingdoms that experience all four seasons. The magic system is also really complex and will be explored further in Ice Like Fire, I’m sure. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.


NAPOLEON: NAME A MOVIE OR TV SHOW BASED OFF A BOOK THAT YOU LIKED BETTER THAN THE BOOK ITSELF

gossip-girl This is an interesting one. I can’t think of a movie adaptation that I thought was better than the book. And I don’t really watch a lot of TV (I mainly watch Japanese dramas and variety shows). But one that sticks out in my mind is Gossip Girl.

I read the Gossip Girl books by Cecily von Zeigesar about a year or two before the TV show came out and my 14 year old self thought they were really good. But the TV show is sooo much better than the book series. I’m glad it deviated from the books.


EMPANADA: NAME A BOOK THAT WAS BITTERSWEET

morehappythannot I don’t have an image of empanadas being bittersweet. To me, they’re just awesome, but we’ll roll with it.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera was a book that I gave 4.5 stars to. But I thought the first third of the book was just boring. I didn’t like the characters and didn’t connect with any of them and I was really close to quitting the book. But it got exponentially better after the 100 page mark, and the end of the book gave me so many feels. I ugly cried for a really long time.


KOLOMPEH: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT TAKES PLACE SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN YOUR HOME COUNTRY

theminiaturist Pretty much every book is set in a country other than Australia so I had a lot of options for this one. I decided to go for something a little different and not choose something set in the US or the UK.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is set in 17th century Amsterdam in the Netherlands. This is the only book that I’ve read that’s set in 17th century Amsterdam and I found the setting and the whole time period to be fascinating! I learnt so much about Dutch history from this book and I thought it was a wonderful read.


PATE A CHOUX: NAME A FOOD FROM A BOOK OR SERIES THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRY

toalltheboys ps-i-still-love-youI was not creative with this at all but I couldn’t think of anything.

Because this is a pastry/sweets challenge, I decided to go with all of the cookies and cakes that Lara-Jean from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and PS. I Still Love You. All the baked goods that were mentioned in this duology made me so hungry!


I TAG:


Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Author Duos I’ve Love To See Write A Book Together

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is author collaborations I’d love to see. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the team at The Broke and The Bookish. I feel like I chose a lot of authors who have similar writing styles to pair together, instead of being creative and choosing vastly different authors. But oh well. Why change things up when they work?


1. Jandy Nelson & Gayle Forman

jandynelson gayleformanCoincidentally this was the example that Jamie from The Broke and The Bookish gave for this week’s prompt. I agreed so much with it! I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson is my favourite YA book, and the Just One Day/Year duology by Gayle Forman is also one of my firm favourites. I would love to see a collaboration between them. It would have the most beautiful writing!


2. Tahereh Mafi & Ransom Riggs

taherehmafi ransomriggsThis is kind of cheating because I still haven’t read the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi… (I did recently read the Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children trilogy by Ransom Riggs though). I just had to put this down as a collaboration though because they’re a married couple. I think they’d work so well together and it would just be an awesome time!


3. Cassandra Clare & Rick Riordan

cassieclarerickriordanCheating again because I haven’t read anything by Uncle Rick yet. Sorry! I will get onto that mission soon. One day I will be caught up. One day.

A while ago when I was at a Cassie Clare event, she mentioned that she absolutely loves Rick Riordan. So for Cassie’s sake, I’d love to see them get together and write a fantasy series!


4. Jenny Han & Becky Albertalli

jenny han View More: http://thedecisivemoment.pass.us/becky-headshotsJenny Han and Becky Albertalli both write the sweetest books! I mean there are cookies and baked goods on almost every page of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and there are Oreos in Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Yup, I want this collaboration solely because of food. I have a sweet tooth okay?! Who can resist cookies?


5. Patrick Ness & Maggie Stiefvater

patrickness maggiestiefvaterI’ve only read one Patrick Ness book (as I’m writing this up I am reading my second, A Monster Calls), but I’ve been told by many that he’s a bit of a literary genius. Maggie Stiefvater is a jack of all trades and a genius herself.

What happens when two geniuses come together to write a book? Best. Book. Ever. Undoubtedly.


6. Sarah J. Maas & Sara Raasch

sjmaas sararaaschThe Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas and Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch are two of my favourites. They’ve both got AMAZING worlds and some fierce female protagonists. I’d love to see them come together and create another epic world and charming characters. Plus they’re both young and they could be besties (coz I’m totally in a position to decide this).


7. David Levithan & Patrick Ness

davidlevithan patricknessSo remember what I said about Patrick Ness being a literary genius? To me, David Levithan is a literary genius. I’ve loved every single one of his books that I’ve read. They’re both incredible writers and I think they could come together and write a fantastic diverse book. It would have great writing and can you imagine the feels you would get? (coz feels are totally additive like that)


8. Maggie Stiefvater & Holly Black

maggiestiefvater hollyblackMaggie Stiefvater is a really quirky writer and her books have a really great paranormal/creepy vibe (speaking from my experience with the Shiver trilogy and what I know about The Raven Cycle). When I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, I kind of felt the same vibe. They both write paranormal books set in creepy small towns.


9. Ransom Riggs & Marissa Meyer

ransomriggs marissameyerI think this would be a really cool collaboration! I LOVE Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and I also love Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. I would love to see a sci-fi series (maybe another fairytale retelling?) featuring peculiar children with special abilities. Or maybe the peculiar children from Miss Peregrine’s can time travel to the future?! I want this!


10. Sarah J. Maas & Susan Dennard

sjmaas susandennardI think this collaboration is already happening actually. If you weren’t aware Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard are besties. It would be awesome to write with your best friend. I think they’d bring out the best in each other and they probably know each other so well that their book would be super seamless and cohesive. Plus the writing process would be so much fun!


Do you agree with any of these collaborations? Which authors would you like to see write a book together? And which released collaborations do you love and recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Finished Series I Have Yet To Start

ten-series-want-to-start

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is actually Ten Finished Series I Have Yet To Finish, but I usually marathon series from start to finish, so I couldn’t really think of any series that I’ve started but haven’t finished. I decided, instead to feature finished series that I have yet to start (and want to start). As always, my list is in no particular order.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson:
This is on a lot of people’s all-time favourites list. I’ve been recommended this numerous times so I definitely need to get to it some time this year!

Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness:
This is a trilogy that I never paid very much attention to but recently it’s been catching my attention at every book store I go to. The concept of it sounds very interesting and it seems like something I’d enjoy.

Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta:
I’ve been recommended Finnikin of the Rock so many times in the past month that I picked it up at the beginning of August on National Bookshop Day. I’m excited to read it sometime in the next few weeks.

Divergent by Veronica Roth:
I know, I know. I should’ve read this a long time ago, but I’m not a very big fan of dystopians. I wanted to start the series when Allegiant came out but I was spoiled so I ended up not reading it. I bought Divergent in July so hopefully I can finally get around to reading it in the coming months.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han:
I’ve had this trilogy on my shelf for about 4 months. I keep forgetting that I own these books so I still haven’t read them yet. I’ll probably read them in December when it’s summer in Australia. I loved Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before duology so I’m sure I’ll love this trilogy too.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins:
Another dystopian trilogy that I wasn’t keen to read. I’m thinking of marathoning the books and the movies before Mockingjay Part II though. Because I feel really left out when even my non-bookish friends discuss The Hunger Games.

The Study by Maria V. Snyder:
A couple of people recommended The Study series to me in July when I was at a meet-up. Since then, I’ve been seeing a lot of rave reviews around so I’m really keen to pick this up at some point.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan:
PJO is a very well-loved series that I haven’t read. I’m a little intimidated by how many books Rick Riordan has out. But I promise to read these very soon!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor:
This is Katytastic’s favourite series and I’ve been meaning to pick these up since the first time I saw her talk about them. I’ll get around to these sometime in the next 12 months…..

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi:
I’ve always wanted to pick up the Shatter Me series but other books keep getting in the way. Now that there’s a TV show in the works, I’ll have to read this trilogy before the show airs.


Which of these series have you read and loved? Which one of these should I read first?

Review: PS. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

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Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: May 26, 2015
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 144242673X
Pages: 337
Goodreads || Book Depository

PS. I Still Love You is the second book of a duology. If you haven’t read the first book, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I’d suggest you check out my review of that book and pick it up first before moving on to PS. I Still Love You.

Continue reading

Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

to-all-the-boys-ive-loved-before-9781442426702_hr

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: April 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 1442426705
Pages: 355
Goodreads || Book Depository

Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.

They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the first book in a duology. This book was so cute and brought back so many memories of being a teenager.. except my life was never as exciting as Lara Jean’s.

This book doesn’t just focus on the romance. It’s also a book about family and self-identity. It’s about figuring out who you are and where you fit in. I thought the message in this book was great and would be relatable in some way to anyone reading it.

I think the best part of this book were the characters. They were so endearing and adorable. I thought Lara Jean was an easy character for any girl to relate to. At first, she seemed a little bit juvenile for her age but as the book progressed, I was able to get past that and noticed it less and less. I think Lara Jean definitely became more mature as a result of having to take care of herself and her little sister, now that her older sister isn’t around to play mum anymore. I really liked the character development I saw in Lara Jean. My favourite character was probably Kitty. I loved her sass and her personality, and I’d read the book all over again just for her! I really liked both Josh and Peter as love interests so I was a little bit torn as to who I wanted to end up with Lara Jean. But that aside, I really enjoyed how the boys interacted with Kitty.

I’m glad that the book didn’t have a strong focus on the love triangle. I was worried going into the book that it would be really cheesy, but I’m thoroughly satisfied with how the romance turned out. I’m also glad that not all of the boys she wrote letters to came back into her life because that would have been way too much.

The writing in the book was spectacular. It was fun, fast-paced and adorable, and I finished it in one sitting. The book ends on a little bit of a cliffhanger, but there is a sequel to this book that addresses some of the things that are left hanging. You can check out my review of the sequel, PS. I Still Love You, here.