Review Round Up | My Not So Perfect Life, Literally, ACOWAR, and Always & Forever, Lara Jean

Posted June 8, 2017 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 4 Comments

In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 reviews of already published books (either older/backlist or newer releases) that I’ve read or listened to recently. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews!


Review Round Up | My Not So Perfect Life, Literally, ACOWAR, and Always & Forever, Lara JeanMy Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Penguin Random House on February 7th 2017
Also by this author: Surprise Me, I Owe You One
Format: Hardcover (438 pages) • Source: Library
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four-half-stars

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

Man, this was cute. Seriously… so good, guys. If you like early Kinsella like Can You Keep A Secret, Remember Me, and I’ve Got Your Number, give this one a shot. I read all of those – plus a few more – back in the day and had been craving her style again. This book did not disappoint.

The story starts in London, where Katie/Cat is struggling to achieve the city life of her dreams. She’s soon let go from her job and returns home to her dad’s house in the country, where her stepmom and father have started a glamping business on their farm. She quickly settles back into life there and her scatter-brained ex-boss suddenly appears with her family on vacation. The book was pretty long and covered a lot more time than I expected, but it was nice to see all the different “phases” of her life to see how things progressed.

I loved learning more about her boss, Demeter, who was not who she seemed. I loved Katie trying to find herself, fit in, and/or put her talents to good use on the farm’s business. I loved Alex. I loved her parents. I loved Steve. Seriously, everyone was fantastic. I really liked seeing secrets get exposed and issues get talked out between everyone. There are your classic rom-com incidents, where miscommunication and assumptions run rampant, but nothing that annoyed me.

If I had any complaint, I would say maybe the book is a little too long? Again, I enjoyed seeing glimpses into her pre-farm life AND her back-on-the-farm life. I love books set at B&Bs or little hotel businesses like theirs. It was fun to watch her relationships grow throughout the story in different ways. However, 400+ pages felt long for a contemporary. I kept getting to another major turning point or big reveal and thinking “okay how is the book going to go on for X more pages after this?” and it always managed to toss something else in there. Aside from that, this book was perfection and so addicting to read.

Review Round Up | My Not So Perfect Life, Literally, ACOWAR, and Always & Forever, Lara JeanLiterally by Lucy Keating
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Harper Collins on April 11th 2017
Also by this author: Dreamology
Format: Hardcover (256 pages) • Source: Purchased
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four-stars

A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word?

The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”

Ahh man. There is nothing quite like reading a Lucy Keating book. I LOVED Dreamology because the premise was so unique. This book was absolutely no exception. Her stories are unlike some I’ve ever read before. It totally helped that this one was similar to the premise for one of my favorite movies, Stranger than Fiction. I’ve raved about this book on here for months so it was no surprise I jumped on reading it ASAP.

I liked the whole idea that the author was writing her life. It led to so many questions – did she have free will? Did Will actually have any power over his life too? The love triangle aspect would definitely frustrate triangle-haters but in this scenario, it was really cleverly included. I did get annoyed by it a few times but kept reminding myself of the point or premise of this story. For a book character within a book within a book (try to figure that one out), she was kind of boring and also annoying at times. I think Annabelle judged people too much or quickly and I didn’t actually get to know her. Again, maybe this is because of the story-within-a-story thing here.

There were plenty of other things happening in Annabelle’s life and Keating didn’t beat the storyline to death. It was a main point but didn’t feel overdone (or under-done). This was a super meta book that I really enjoyed overall! I think my expectations were a LITTLE too high but that’s my own fault.

Review Round Up | My Not So Perfect Life, Literally, ACOWAR, and Always & Forever, Lara JeanA Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by Bloomsbury on May 2nd 2017
Also by this author: A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, Throne of Glass, The Assassin's Blade, Crown of Midnight, A Court of Frost and Starlight
Format: eBook (705 pages) • Source: Purchased
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three-half-stars

A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

Sigh. I can’t believe I have so many mixed feelings about an ACOTAR book! I loved both (and realistically should have reread them before this) and totally expected to looooove this one too. While I still love SJM’s storytelling, these characters, and the overall plot of the series, I found myself a bit disappointed in this one.

I think the biggest thing that annoyed me is how repetitive her writing can be. The descriptions are ALWAYS the same and certain phrases are repeated way too many times. I wish I had a dollar every time skin was “honey brown” and someone gave someone else a “vulgar gesture.” Seriously. I was so annoyed reading the same thing over and over again. Also, she doesn’t write the best sex scenes either so I found myself cringing or turning the pages to get through it quickly.

The story hit a lull in the middle and I wasn’t as tempted to pick the book up as I was during the beginning and end. I know part of it was because of how busy I was over those few days and didn’t have much time to read, but a lot of it was the slow-moving plot. The beginning intrigued me and I read quite a bit in one sitting, and the same can be said about the ending. The middle section was dull and full of politics.

I liked a lot of the twists and certain character appearances at certain times! I think my major issue is that there are so many characters and the names get too similar to me – Azriel and Amren. Viviene and Variel. etc. etc. I know they’re not that similar but if I have to memorize a million names, I want them to be VERY different from each other. On the same note of character issues, View Spoiler » I was obviously HAPPY about this overall but it just wasn’t realistic.

And finally, she clearly sets up a few characters for the next books. I believe we know they’ll be companion / spinoff stories about other characters, so I’m hoping for a few different people! She left a couple open-ended ones so I definitely am intrigued to get inside their heads.

Review Round Up | My Not So Perfect Life, Literally, ACOWAR, and Always & Forever, Lara JeanAlways and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #3
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 2nd 2017
Also by this author: To All the Boys I've Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You
Format: Hardcover (336 pages) • Source: Purchased
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four-half-stars

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

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?

Yeah, I totally (unsurprisingly) cried. I think this was a perfect ending to Lara Jean’s story, as well as the rest of her family. I probably will miss all of them more than almost any other literary family. I loved the integration of Trina into their family and house, plus the natural complications that came up. All of the girls were so open-minded and wonderful about it though.

All of the high school, graduation, long-distance relationship feels really killed me with nostalgia. It feels like just yesterday I was going through all of those things. I had a serious boyfriend during high school and we were going to attempt the “long distance” thing even though it was really only an hour and a half away. We broke up pretty much immediately but we also had a garbage relationship, so I’m certain that Lara Jean and Peter K. fared better than that!

And of course, there’s Peter: I think the thing I love about him is that he has completely perfect moments where he’s way better than any high school boyfriend could be, but he also has moments where he’s a complete moron…so basically he’s a realistic teenage boy. Lara Jean’s birthday scenes were so perfect. I can’t believe how pure he is.

I couldn’t have asked for anything better for the Song girls and Covey family. There was some nice closure around John as well. (I really loved him in the previous book but needed Peter K. to still be endgame of course.) Even though this was the perfect wrap-up story, I would totally read a million books about these characters. (How about a Kitty-centered spin-off series???)

4 responses to “Review Round Up | My Not So Perfect Life, Literally, ACOWAR, and Always & Forever, Lara Jean

  1. I love Sophie Kinsella but My Not So Perfect Life didn’t completely work for me. I loved Alex though and wish we’d seen more of him.
    I can’t wait to read the Lara Jean series! They sound right up my alley. It sounds like the last book was a hit, which is awesome.
    You’re definitely not alone with your thoughts about ACOWAR. I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews. I have no interest in the series, but the hype for book 2 nearly drove me insane last year, so I’m glad that it calmed down with this one. Actually, I don’t think I saw any real buzz for it. But still, it’s sad when a finale disappoints.

  2. I really enjoyed My Not So Perfect Life. It was my first adult Kinsella title and I have to go back t her others. I think my expectations were way too high for Literally too. I liked it but I wanted more. I have to get back into the Lara Jean series now that it is all done. Great reviews 🙂

  3. Your spoiler section in your ACOWAR review is SPOT ON hahaha. Even though I had issues with ACOWAR I know I will pretty much read anything set in the ACOTAR universe because I am Rhysand trash lololol (and even if he’s not the main character the prospect of a glimpse is enough ;)) Also Literally looks so good! (I love the cover!) I feel like I’ve seen you mention it a LOT so I’m glad you ended up (mostly) enjoying it after all the anticipation!

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