Monday, July 10, 2017

june reads : i just can't help falling in love with you

although I spent years and years of my life denying it, I do enjoy a good romance novel. actually, they are the one genre that I never really get tired of? plus they're typically pretty easy to read, without mind-boggling plots and twisted characters, so you can plow through several in question succession. at least, that's what I did last month. I probably read twelve or thirteen romance stories. but obviously, since I cannot/don't care to review that many in this post, I've narrowed it down to my favourites.

this was very hard, guys. I read so many good books in june and it feels like I'm betraying them by picking and choosing (as you can see by the fact that I went with EIGHT WHOLE BOOKS this month)...


+ when dimple met rishi +

if you're a part of the book community, you've probably heard of this one. A second generation Indian girl named Dimple is ready to get out of her home, to head off to college. She wants the freedom and the independence to do her own thing without having to deal with the expectations of her family. but when her parents agree to send her to a summer program, she's shocked and a little suspicious--and her suspicion is totally valid. turns out that her parents are setting her up with a guy she's never met in what's basically an arranged marriage. Dimple, of course, is horrified and wants nothing to do with this guy. but after certain circumstances continue to push Dimple and Rishi together, her view of this stranger slowly starts to change--and both of these young adults have to reevaluate their expectations and dreams.

I'm always hesitant about super hyped up books, and while when dimple met rishi wasn't quite as amazing as I expected it to be, it was still really good. Dimple was such a lovely character to read, and I actually liked how the POVs switched between Dimple and Rishi? I felt like that was a needed touch, and it was very well done. Rishi as well was adorable, and if you're anything like me, you cackled at his absurd awkwardness in the first scene where these two met. homeboy did not think that one through.

in my opinion, it's the characters that really make this book. yeah, the plot is okay, and I actually really liked Rishi's arc from "gotta do what my family wants" to "Imma do what I want to do" but I kind of felt like it lagged a little. very slow, very drawn out. but that's kind of how romance novels are, so I'm not too mad. the other thing that bugged me about this book was the way the chapters were divided? sometimes it chopped off in the middle of a scene without a real clear reason for dividing and that really messed with the flow of the book in my head? but once again, that's just a personal pet peeve of mine.

overall, really cute book about precious characters that has some minor plots/organization issues. 10/10 would squee over again.

+ wait for me +

I think I actually read this in May, but it was the at the end of the month so it totally counts, right? I am suuuuuuuper picky about my historical fiction, especially historical romance, and I really liked this book. it's actually set in the same time period as my other favourite historical fiction book (after the dancing days ftw) post World War I. but it was set in Scotland, and romance element is definitely different in wait for me than it was in after the dancing days, so it was different enough that I could enjoy it.

things that I really, really loved about wait for me? Paul and Lorna are freaking adorable. I also like that this book went into the fact that not all soldiers believe in what they're fighting for. Some are forced into war, without a choice. I also liked Lorna's best friend--even though she was a jerk sometimes and did not make the best relationship choices, I was really proud of both of them for standing up for themselves and each other. The dialogue was clever, and there was such a whimsical soft feeling to this book that I adored. not all war novels have to be gritty and hard--this one didn't hold back in showing the hurt and pain that came in the aftermath of the war, but it still presented it in a way that complemented the novel itself.

+ once and for all +

last year, I fell in love Sarah Dessen novels. I think I read five or six last summer, and I have never found a romance author that I loved as much as I do her. I don't know if I ever reviewed saint anything, but I freaking loved that book. Potentially my favourite romance out of ever. so I went into once and for all with a lot of expectations, what with that and the fact that this is probably her last book ever. and while I wasn't disappointed...I just sort of felt unfulfilled.

yes, this book is great. yes, it's funny and heartwarming and has a wonderful amount of adorableness, but just in general, it wasn't my jam. maybe it's because I'm not a big wedding person myself, or because I found Ambrose kind of obnoxious, or maybe it's because of the time jumps every other chapter (pls help why do I keep accidentally picking up books that do this IT BUGS ME TO NO END), but I just really couldn't get into it. I wanted to like it. I really did. but it just didn't jive with me, and that's unfortunate. but it's all good. I'll just go back and reread my favourites (along for the ride is also a huge favourite of mine, just fyi).

also, Dessen was the one who introduced me to my latest favourite song via twitter, and she also started my obsession with bleachers, so this entire experience was not a loss.

+ to all the boys i've loved before + p.s. i still love you +

these are actually rereads. I read to all the boys i've loved before two years ago? and semi-started p.s. i still love you shortly after, but immediately dropped it when I realized there was a love triangle and nrelationship drama. but since the third book came out, I figured I should give it another shot. and I am glad I did, because Lara Jean and Peter are great (although, technically, I just read these books for Kitty)

a lot of the same things I noticed last time still bothered me--aka, Lara Jean's immaturity. I get that Margot was the big sister and did so much for the family, but as a middle child myself, Lara Jean's behavior was just cringey and hard to read. and I couldn't stand Josh. not one bit. Peter was definitely my favourite kind of romantic lead, and I love contract dating stories that turn into actual relationships, but there were parts of his character that frustrate me to no end. but I did love the family dynamic shown in this book, and I especially loved the descriptions of Lara Jean's outfits. this book may have been a little over the top poetic/dramatic, but it was kind of reminiscent of when I was fourteen or fifteen and everything was a matter of life and death. so while Lara Jean was supposed to be older, I really feel like maybe if you go into the book thinking that she's a young teen, it helps with the cringe. kinda.

+ noteworthy +

if you're a fan of glee, you will love this book. although I never really got into the show, I watched enjoy to know that they are a match made in heaven. rivalries, team drama, all that...and romance, of course. now, I really loved the plot and the characters. all the guys were the greatest, but I think Nihal was my favourite. getting to see meaningful male relationship that don't involve constantly objectifying women and being dumb was really nice, because I feel like that's something that gets neglected a LOT in some YA dude books.  I also really liked Jordan and the way she chose to fight for what she wanted. that was cool. but what I didn't really love about this book was the romance, ironically. I totally expected it to go somewhere else, but it didn't, and that kind of disappointed me.

however, the friendships in this book are worth so much more than the romance, and I'm really glad that they showed Nihal's hurt at Jordan lying to him? even though she was concerned about her cross-dressing being an insult to the transgender community, she didn't even think twice about how her "lie" about her gender and her sexuality to her best friend could hurt him, and that bothered me a little. I feel like he should've been the first one she told her secret to, not her romantic interest. also, it was sort of refreshing to see a lesbian realizing she's actually bisexual rather than the typical straight girl YA character realizing she also likes girls. that was a new twist for me, at least.

+ looking for group +

this was the last book I read in June, and I'm still not sure I liked it. I mean, I definitely like parts of it, but there was a whole lot of it that just didn't jive with me. but first--a brief summary: Dylan has been sick for a long time. he's still dealing with the physical and emotional crap being sick has left him with, and thanks to a crappy mother, he's at the end of his rope. so in a spur of the moment decision, he decides to hunt down an internet friend of his who helped him through the days where he wasn't sure if he would make it out alive. when they meet up, they both decide to go on a quest of their own, to find a treasure and maybe figure out themselves along the way.

first of all--the things I did like! I really liked Dylan's voice. even though some reviews I've seen have called it whiny, I kind of get it? when you come out of a long period of illness, your brain isn't the same. you see things differently. and even if you may not be sick any more, you still have to live with all the scars that reside within. Dylan was a pretty good representation of that kind of baggage, I feel. one of the biggest scenes I resonated with was when Dylan was talking about all the things he's never done before, all because he was a sick kid. Dylan's thoughts on depression and anxiety were pretty good, and I'm so thankful we actually have a cancer kid story who made it through to the other side. yeah, Dylan's life isn't pretty, but it also didn't end with him dying of cancer, like so many other romanticized illness stories have done. and I am so here for his description for chronic pain. imaginary pain is such a weird sensation, and this book did an incredible job of describing it. I also really liked how Arden called Dylan out on literally everything. Dylan made some bad calls concerning how to handle her gender, and you could really tell they hurt her by how she reacted, and she made sure to point them out. that doesn't make Dylan right to have made those choices in the first place, but at least something was done to try and point out the flaws in his actions.

as for the things that I didn't really love? it's a roadtrip novel. I did not realize this when I picked it up. I am not a fan of roadtrip novels (ironically, as I once tried to write one). and most of the time, it felt really boring? like I was not very invested in the "quest" side of things at all. and that's another thing--I really wished we could have started the book somewhere else, maybe in the midst of Dylan's cancer treatment when he first met Arden online? it felt as though something were lacking in their friendship because we didn't get to see that development. granted, meeting your internet friend for the first time ever can be a little on the awkward side, but this book just didn't deliver what it needed when it came to their friendship. and finally, the thing that I'm still not sure I like--the ending. what on earth. it's kind of slow and confusing and super duper vague, and while it matches the rest of the book and has kept me thinking about it for weeks now, it was just kind of odd. and like I said, I haven't made my mind up about it yet.

but still--I think I liked this book. interesting characters, interesting perspective on illness and death and moving on and growing up.

+ honorable mention: grendel's guide to love and war +

it's not technically a romance really--more of a prank war with a side of romance, but it's a modern retelling of Beowolf from the monster's perspective, and I LOVE IT. it's also got a really good message, and the characters are fantastic. plus, that cover is amazing. GO READ THIS BOOK NOW.

what are your favourite romances? are you super picky about this genre, or are you more like me, who will pretty much give anything a shot? shoot me some titles, asap. I seem to have depleted my romance TBR, sadly (except for i believe in a thing called love, which I could not get my hands on last month... *sad face*)

have a great week, y'all!

xo ely

4 comments:

  1. I'm only into certain kinds of romance, I like the not gushy love-hate ones and the sweet ones that aren't full of unnecessary drama. Howl's Moving Castle is my favorite romance and it's not even really a romance.

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    1. I definitely feel you on only being into certain kinds of romance. I don't particularly mind a little bit of drama, but when it's over the top or could have been completely avoided with a little more communication on the leads' parts, that's when I tend to put the book down permanently.

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  2. When Dimple met Rishi looks adorable, I love the cover! I'm lookin' out for it <3

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    1. the cover is 90% of why I picked it up, despite all the buzz. SO CUTE.

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