I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.Kiss Me in Paris by Catherine Rider
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Holiday
Published by Corus on September 4, 2018
Format: eARC (216 pages) • Source: Publisher
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Serena has just flown all the way to Paris for a special pre-Christmas weekend with her sister, Lara. They plan to retrace the steps of their parents' long-ago honeymoon in Paris, and create a scrapbook for their bereaved mother to remember it by.
It's supposed to be serious sister bonding...until Lara takes off with her boyfriend instead.
Jean-Luc is Serena's Plan B, a friend of a friend of Lara's, who has some space in a place where Serena can stay. Just like his latest relationship, his photography final has been an epic fail. He has one night to retake all his pictures if he is to stay in school.
Jean-Luc can't stand Serena's loud voice or her bright orange sneakers.
Serena can't stand his haughty manners or the way his camera is always in her face.
Together, though, they set out into a cold night that will warm their hearts, creating unforgettable photos and fresh romantic sparks in the City of Lights.
I didn’t fully think about the fact that KISS ME IN PARIS was actually a holiday story when I started reading it, so it quickly became a “Christmas in July” kind of read. I usually don’t enjoy reading Christmassy books outside of November or December but I made an exception for the sake of my Goodreads challenge (and yes my Netgalley percentage, okay). I was dying to read something short, quick, and sweet, and I determined this would fit the bill.
I loved the idea that the main character, Serena, would be retracing her parents’ steps when they first fell in love in Paris. The synopsis implied some good ol’ hate-to-love romance too, as the guy she has to stay with (Jean-Luc) isn’t overly happy about her arrival. The story happens over the course of one night, which I also love.
Some of my issues were surrounding the romance. The first thing, kind of related to that, is that the book is very short – just barely over 200 pages. This almost puts it in novella territory and I tend to struggle with rushed romances. Another issue with the romance was that the couple spent quite a bit of time either focusing on an ex (Jean-Luc) or debating a new-ish flame from home (Serena). I understand creating some conflict for the sake of a story but I just didn’t get on board with actually shipping the couple as a result. There was too much time in their heads thinking about the OTHER people for me to really care about THEM… especially in such a short book! The couple definitely had the hate-to-love thing going on but frankly there were way more genuinely mean fights and arguments than I prefer in that trope. Another random complaint: Serena and Ethan (the boy she knew from high school who was also in Paris) were texting and he used “X” at the end of his messages. These two are both American students, so I have no idea why they would be using that kind of British cultural thing? It was so out of place. If the author is British and thinks that Americans do that too, it wasn’t super well-researched!
Overall, I’m bummed I didn’t like this one. The holiday aspect wasn’t a strong plot point so it was okay to read in July. Unfortunately the romance wasn’t my cup of tea and I never really got around to shipping them together, mostly because of the tropes and other relationships involved, but also because the story was too short to develop that at the same time.
I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.Sadie by Courtney Summers
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Macmillan on September 4th 2018
Also by this author: The Project
Format: eARC (321 pages) • Source: Publisher
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Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.
When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.
I haven’t ready any Courtney Summers books yet because honestly they scare me a little? I’ve said before that I usually read the fluffier side of contemporary fiction, heavily focused on romance and flowers and rainbows. I don’t read many “issue books” and she writes a lot of books that may fall into that category. SADIE, on the other hand, was an insta-request on Netgalley for me. It’s more on the mystery/thriller side due to the nature of the “solving a murder and getting revenge” storyline. I’ve been into those lately. AND, to top it all off, this book features a true crime podcast element too. That’s what caught my eye because I listen to so many of those (recs here and here).
The podcast part was my favorite for the first 30% of the book, probably. I wasn’t as interested in Sadie’s chapters for whatever reason, but that changed after a little while. I was constantly dying to get from one perspective to the other to see what happened next. The podcast and Sadie’s points of view alternated, but there’s an indeterminate amount of time between them; you keep waiting for them to catch up to each other at some point. It was awesome to read the podcast transcript and wanting to yell things you already know. I can definitely imagine this podcast chugging along in the real world (outside of the book), trying to solve the case, much like Up and Vanished did.
I think the synopsis implies some twists and turns, but much of the story was straightforward to me? It was challenging to read and exhausting at times from the sadness and rage… but it wasn’t overly mysterious or thriller-ish. I was impressed by the story, how everything wove together, and the lasting impact it’s probably going to have on me though. I raced through the second half of the book and was so eager to see how it would all come together. The end was good and interesting and appropriate, I think, but I didn’t LOVE it. I don’t want to say more.
Sadie was so dark, but I couldn’t stop reading it. Utterly painful and so well written. Like you, I thought the podcast was brilliant, and they were so well interspersed with Sadie’s narration. A total winner for me. I liked Kiss Me in Paris a little more than you, but was disappointed that Rider spent so much time on the romantic side plots. I felt like we lost so much time with Jean-Luc and Serena, and I wanted more of their romance. I think the ending is what made me rate this a little higher. I thought it was very sweet, and I was happy to catch up with the characters from the previous book. But, yeah, the book was too short to spend that much time away from the central romance.