Tag: relationships

A French Read: Hiroshimoi

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Hiroshimoi
Bonjour, bonjour! I’m The French Guy! I’m here to talk about French books and stuff. In French, of course. But a little in English too. Now let’s start with one very new and shiny book: Hiroshimoi by Véronique Grenier.

Passion et fantasme, espoir et résignation, directement de ta mère. Huh? Eh oui! Les éditions de «Ta Mère», irrévérencieux jusque dans leur nom – ou peut-être à cause de leur nom – te présente ce récit d’amour franc et direct. Il va droit au but, long de ses 65 pages et va te laisser «flabbergaster» comme aime dire l’héroïne de cette histoire.

«Un jour, dans un rayon de soleil tu te tiendras tout près de moi
Le vent sera doux
Ce sera un jour de semaine sur un trottoir entre deux fentes les passants nous frôleront tes mains sur mes poignets tout ce temps que prendra ta bouche pour se rendre jusqu’à la mienne.
On restera là jusqu’aux étoiles à se lancer des regards mous.»

Here you go, that was one page. Easy, right? In short, it’s a short story, with short pages and short sentences. And it shows you real French, something you won’t learn in school. Get it now through our online catalogue!

Cette pièce est seulement un des nouveaux livres disponibles à la bibliothèque. T’en veux d’autres? Voilà la liste!

Know another nice French book you’d recommend us? Looking for a French book we don’t have? Have some ideas for activities in French? Leave a comment and we’ll talk about it!

À la prochaine~

Unrivaled

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For me, Alyson Noël’s books are either a hit or a miss, go one way or the other. I never know what to expect when I read books written by her. Sometimes, they go amazingly and I can’t help but squeal about the summer-related story that has captivated many readers. Other times, I am so disappointed (specifically with her fantasy novels) that I just have no other choice but to DNF them. It’s been a few years since Alyson released a new novel, and when I heard about Unrivaled, later seeing its cover, I knew I was in for a good read. Well, it sucks to say, I was completely wrong. I seriously didn’t like this one. Unrivaled was just a catty book full of complaints, gossip and drama that I couldn’t care less about because I cannot relate to the story or lifestyle of these spoiled teenagers living in Los Angeles, having “the time of their lives.” Would I even recommend this to fans of Private by Kate Brian? No, because at least that story was realistic. This is no way realistic unless you’re a heiress and live like these characters do.
This was a chore to read. I barely was able to finish it. I skimmed the last fifty pages or so and found out that WOW, nothing changed! This was just a snoozefest that had no passion in it. It seemed that Alyson was basically struggling her way to write this novel and make it entertaining. Normally, I don’t mind these kinds of books because I like drama. I have read books by the author of Gossip Girl and enjoyed those tens of thousands of times more than I enjoyed this one. WHY DIDN’T I LIKE IT, UGH. I really wished I enjoyed this because it has a gorgeous cover and it looked interesting. I didn’t see almost any good in it.
The only positive I was able to see was the beginning of the book. I liked the beginning of the story, and the twonice, promising quotes that kind of spoke to me were found in the beginning. I wanted to read about the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, California, a city I have always wanted to visit and fall head over heels in. (It may happen soon, who knows?!) Alyson gave readers a hugely negative image of Hollywood and the tourism image. I don’t feel naïve enough to believe it because we had a group of nasty characters, but you know, it could be true.

“For Madison Brooks, the boulevard was everything she’d dreamed it would be. Maybe it didn’t look anything like the snow globe she’d had as a kid, the one that showered small squares of golden glitter over a miniature version of the Hollywood sign, but she never expected it would” (2).

You see, I found that quote on the second page. After a few chapters, things plummeted down. I WANTED THE BEAUTIFUL MALIBU CALIFORNIA SETTING WITH NICE PEOPLE, SURFING, AND THE GOOD LIFE. Not clubbing. That’s not my kind of thing, whoops. Also, there was a big focus on Layla, who sticks as one of the “normal” protagonists, and her gossip blog. Adding to all of the boyfriend-girlfriend drama occurring in the book, this is an addition. Wow.

As mentioned before, the characters were nasty. Madison, Aster, Tommy… they were all trying so hard to impress each other even though they had no brain cells in them. Honestly, they made the worst decisions and I would never do the things that they did. Mateo and Layla were the only reasonable ones, and I found that was true because they were normal. Ugh.

“LA was a town of actors and storytellers, populated by those more comfortable playing an imaginary role than being themselves, and the prize always went to the one who faked it best” (136).

Unrivaled is a book that perhaps people who enjoy books with no plot would actually love. I remember it being one of my most anticipated reads this year, and I just wanted to love it after grabbing it. The gorgeous cover is the only good part, aside from two normal characters and a nice beginning. Otherwise, I wouldn’t waste my time reading this at all. It was as if I were forced to read it, and I still don’t know why I continued.

The Unexpected Everything

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | noun | 1. a book that is the pure definition of summer and everything that it holds. 2. a book that features tons of cute dogs where readers grow overly attached to them. 3. a beautiful story of friendship, real love and all of the good stuff in life.
Morgan Matson is my favourite contemporary author of all time, residing with John Green in my golden shelves of awesomeness (one day, I vow that I will actually possess this shelf), but if you know me, you mostly likely already knew that. The Unexpected Everything was probably my most-anticipated read of the year, and it definitely reached its expectations, though a tiny bit on the lower side. As usual, Morgan’s writing drags, just like mine tends to do when I’m in school, writing an essay and I discover that I can’t stop overdosing on words. That’s exactly what happened in this case, and what has happened with every single book by Matson. When I first saw the page count, 517 pages made me feel giddy, overly excited. Honestly? How could a YA novel that is all contemporary-romance stem towards a 500+ page count? You have to be an amazing writer, which Morgan is, but you also have to have this idea that doesn’t get boring and that could progress into this greater page count.
The Unexpected Everything was expected for me to enjoy. I just knew that I would love it. Dogs? A nerdy-cute love interest? A girl who’s smart and obsessed with school? A book that is written throughout a period of a whole summer? These all looked like things that I would love about this book, and it seriously is true. This was such a good read. Now, I don’t know how I would be able to live a summer like our protagonist, Andie, had, because that was just chaotic (and awesome at the same time), and as always, I just loved the mentality and extra moral that Morgan adds to her stories time after time.
Before we get to anything, we NEED TO discuss the puppies/dogs. I actually never had a clue that Morgan’s story would revolve around dogs. At all. I just thought the cute dogs on the cover huddled around the model (who is supposed to be Andie) were just a nice addition. EVERY DOG MENTIONED, I WOULD JUST GO BACK TO THE COVER. Guys, you see the adorable, big, fluffy white dog? THAT IS BERTIE. NOT “BIRDIE” (that made me laugh out loud honestly), but Bertie. He is the cutest thing on Earth and I seriously was so overly-attached to him that I want to name my future child Bertie. (Even if I have a girl) Bertie is “Clark’s dog,” without stating any spoilers. I love him. And Clark. But especially Bertie.

“Books were everywhere. Not in haphazard piles—there was absolutely nothing about this place that seemed haphazard—but there were floor-to-ceiling built-ins on all sides of this very large room, and they were absolutely rammed with books. It was the kind of room—big couches, comfy chairs—that you would expect a TV in, but I didn’t see one anywhere. All I could see were books” (116).

I would also like to thank Morgan for appreciating books. A big theme of this story is booknerds and loving books in general. Our protagonist, Andie, never really reads unless it’s school-related (HOW DARE SHE?!), but once she meets Clark, secret book-nerd/author, her appreciation grows. Morgan also adds in excerpts from what would be Clark’s books, which I also formed a bond with. Man, this author just makes readers bond with everything/everyone!

Basically, this story is so relatable. Not about dog-walking or the romance between Clark and Andie, but because of Andie herself. I LOVED HER. Andie is the daughter of a Congressman, who is a single father after Andie’s mother died from ovarian cancer. She loves school, plans on going into pre-med, is looking into internships, plans everything out, has her life planned out, and has a great group of friends who always support her. It sounds perfect, right? Her internship fails. Her father doesn’t act like a father. Her relationships only last three weeks. Her summer job is dog-walking. I loved how Morgan looks at imperfections and creates the summer of a lifetime (with many flaws) for Andie and her friends. Friendship was a hugely important theme of this story, and I loved how tight-knit Andie’s group was. Toby, Bri, Palmer, Tom and Clark all had their own personalities which made this a really fun read. I couldn’t just pick my favourite character. They were all astonishing.

As Morgan had in every book of hers, especially Since You’ve Been Gone, romance is a big factor, but not everything. That is why I like to call Morgan’s stories real and inspiring, because they closely live up to the lives of teenagers. BUT THE ROMANCE WAS REAL. Candie, Ark, whatever ship name you would like to provide the two,t hey were perfect for each other. Clark was just the happiest, most hilarious fictional boyfriend of any heroine and I just loved how awkward he was and how quickly he did become comfortable with Andie.

Cheers to the father-daughter relationship and how Matson keeps implanting the fact that Andie’s life isn’t perfect. I must admit, I hated Andie’s dad for the first half of the book, but he kept making me smile and laugh. I have to praise that precious relationship, you know?

“We said our good-byes and headed out shortly after that. I got into the Mustang, running my hand over the steering wheel for just a moment before checking the time and realizing I had to get going. There was someone I needed to meet” (516).

So at times, this book dragged. It became boring and I just wanted that boring phase to get by before the good stuff came around. There were those every now and then, and I honestly wanted this book to be perfect, and to be honest, it wasn’t fully. But I still loved it. IT’S TOO LONG, ALTHOUGH I LOVE MORGAN’S WRITING. If this were fantasy… that’d be a different story.

If only I had a summer like this… *sighs* Cheers to dogs, Bertie, romance, pizza, scavenger hunts, road-trips to tell someone you love them, Diet Coke and fantasy novels! As always, I am so impressed with Morgan Matson’s work and this is the reason why I read contemporary-romance: to get in a specific mood. Now? I need to go to the pool and kind of wash my brain a little because it hurts. Five-hundred-and-seventeen pages in a row (basically) does hurt your head.

The Rose and the Dagger

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My fellow Caliphs and Caliphas, the story of Shahrzad and Khalid is actually over. Thinking about the fact that I will never be able to see a new cover being released for this series, or that I will never be able to hold the two books in the duology as if they were new and as if I never heard of them before just cracks my heart in half. All in all, The Rose and the Dagger is beautiful, electrifying and gives me the feels once more. I’ve been waiting a year (or so) to read this sequel, and I actually just discovered that it’s a duology (well, before I read this) so I had so much rage in me. Looking back at the ending and how Ahdieh, as always, unfolded everything and answered all of us readers’ questions, I am truly satisfied. This couldn’t have ended in a better way.

I loved this; don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t as good as the first book. I initially predicted that I would rate this five stars, because the first book changed me in more ways than I would ever expect (especially with how I look at the high fantasy genre), but this book was weaker in a few ways. Listen, I have always loved the characters, romance and ideas/themes that Ahdieh presented. My love for those book characteristics never changed or diminished. Shazi and Khalid are still my favourite couple in the entire universe, their characters/personalities as a whole are so fearless and strong, more strong than most books’ characters have, and I have always loved the setting of the desert and Khorasan and basically… everything. 

Before I get to the positives, I feel that it is best to speak about the issues. This book didn’t feel as put-together or as wholly as the previous novel, or how I would like a book to feel. Yes, our questions were answered and it turned out pretty great, but the book felt so (it’s hard to describe honestly) stiff. There were parts where I was bored (especially through the middle) and I constantly felt this tension that a random war would pop up in the midst of the story (which it kind of did/didn’t) and I was waiting for that. Also, I would have appreciated more Khalid/Shazi moments, but it is completely understandable how they had to part ways for a huge portion of the story because of the events/curse that got in their way. Also, what happened with that curse?

“You continue to wound me, you awful girl. Because I know. Had I spent a single night with you, I would never have wished for us to be parted from that day forward” (66).

As you may have known, Khalid’s curse is a large theme of book one because this affects his relationship between him and Shazi, and how the world around him looks at him, his reputation. I can’t really pinpoint what the goal of this book was. Question-answering, absolutely, romantic development, sure, but the curse was rarely mentioned and there was hardly any fantasy magical things occurring. Listen, I am not your diehard fan of spells and whatnot, but I love the way Renée approaches it, and that barely occurred. Yeah, we see Shazi experimenting with her magic carpet, but that was only a short instant. Those were the issues I spotted.

Now, to the positives, because there were a ton. I loved how Ahdieh reminded readers of who was who, what meant what, and where the characters were in terms of time and setting. I didn’t feel like re-reading the first novel because (A) my TBR pile is huge and (B) I had no time to prepare myself for the sequel so I just bought it. Thank you, Renée! I seriously needed that recap. This novel takes place right from where the first left us off. Each character is basically in a different place, and we feel this tension when Shazi and Khalid are trying to find each other.

As always, Ahdieh has handled the perspectives well. I’ve enjoyed her writing of this series because it’s written in third-person perspectives. Therefore, we could easily discover who Ahdieh is writing about because their names are mentioned. I loved every character, their rivals and their relationships.

Shahrzad is as fearless, strong and kick-ass as always. Since the time I read The Wrath and the Dawn, Shazi has resided as my favourite heroine in all of YA and in all of every single book I have ever read. I love her independence, how she doesn’t need someone by her side to get the job done. There are many scenes where she goes to find something/someone, and she goes on her own, secretly.

“When I was in the desert, I woke each day and carried on with my life, but it wasn’t living; it was merely existing. I want to live. You are where I live” (173).

BUT GUYS WE HAVE A NEW STAR CHARACTER. Irsa, Shazi’s younger sister! I adore sister relationships because they can only remind me of my relationship with my own sister. Ahdieh introduces Shazi’s character in the first chapter, and she remains an important part of this sequel because she is always by her sister and would do anything to save her, even though she is younger. We even see her fall in love, confess her deepest worries to people that we would never expect her to, and most importantly, we see a huge character development. She’s amazing.

KHALID AND TARIQ, MY FRIENDS. These are the hottest YA guys in all of the universe. Some people may disagree with me, but I actually liked their feud, because it made sense. They had reasons to hate each other. It’s a love triangle, people, what else do you expect?

The Rose and the Dagger was just absolute joy and greatness. I adore Renée Ahdieh’s writing so much that she is an instant-buy for me and I would sell all of my books to get a new book by her (okay, that is nuts and I don’t think I’d do that haha). This was just a perfect ending to the story and there were so many shocking moments, plot twists and the amount of suspense at the end of every chapter was astonishing. YOU’LL EXPERIENCE EVERY FEELING; I ALMOST FELL APART AT THE END because of something shocking and sad. Goodbye, Shazi and Khalid. I love you! (I’ll reread this series eventually because it’s too good)

Nantucket Blue

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Nantucket Blue is one of those books that I added on to my TBR list ages ago when I underwent some kind of YA contemporary-romance chick-lit phase. It happens. I never stopped wanting to read it, either. I finally found a copy of it available when I went to the new library by my house. Seeing a copy in good condition also intrigued me, you know? I borrowed it, sat down in one of their uber-cool noise-cancelling chairs, and read half of it there. The other half? At home. It’s currently summer vacation, and although I won’t be spending any time on the beach until August, Leila Howland converted me from reality into Nantucket. You cannot imagine how much I want to visit Rhode Island, tour Brown University and take a ferry to this gorgeous island that I now know so much about. For some, this may be a cheesy chick-lit where we could all predict the ending. Yeah, it was extremely cheesy, but that’s the fun of it. I really loved Nantucket Blue, and I am excited to read the sequel!

This story revolves around soon-to-be-seniors in high school, Cricket and Jules. They have been best friends since the eighth grade, and since Cricket doesn’t have a good relationship with her divorced parents, Jules’ home has become Cricket’s, in a way. After a huge tragedy strikes, the two friends’ lives change forever. This is right at the start of summer vacation, and Jules’ family is still going to their summer home on a small island called Nantucket. Cricket follows Jules to show that their friendship still exists and gets caught in a summer fling in the midst of it all… yada yada yada.

You can most likely predict it if I tell you all about each of the characters and how Cricket gets involved with them. That’s not why I read the book, to catch the predictability and make fun of the story. I read this book because I was looking for a book that will capture the great moments of summer and make me have this inexplicable feeling. This book is your perfect beach read, a book that you will fly by in a sitting and squeal over.

Leila Howland is just such a good writer. This story was fast-paced, and although it takes place over a matter of two months, it never got boring. Boringness is a HUGE book pet peeve of mine, and if I get bored reading a book, I feel like it’s a waste of time for me to read. Nantucket Blue was just so addicting and like bliss. It had this kind of 90210-like drama, but it was narrowed down a touch and made extra fun.

Our protagonist, Cricket, was kind of the issue at times, but I liked her anyway. Overly attached characters are no fun. There were moments where I just wanted to slap the book and scream at it because Cricket never made the decisions that she should have made! Like seriously, making out with two guys in a day? Being nice and overly attached to your ex-best friend? NOOOO. Cricket Thompson is your stereotypical example of a bi*chy teenage girl. I honestly am so against stereotypes (they’re the worst things possible), but Cricket Thompson fulfilled the ones that have been made for years because of shows/books like Gossip Girl. She had no respect for her parents, didn’t care about anything she did, and was so boy-crazy that it blew my mind.

At least the romance was cute when it came around. Screw Jay though. I can’t believe that Cricket was obsessed with this douche-bag. ZACK, GUYS. I don’t understand what was the big deal with the whole dating-best-friend-brother thing. I guess people have different opinions on all of this. The age difference kind of frustrated me, though. (Zack is a sophomore. Cricket is a senior).

My favourite thing was Nantucket itself. I’ve read books about The Hamptons, about Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod, but never about Nantucket. I wouldn’t have known about Nantucket if it wasn’t for Leila Howland’s duology. I WANT TO GO THERE. I want to eat fried clams, as well.

Nantucket Blue is one of the most summeriest books you could possibly read. Next time I go to the library, I’ll have to grab a copy of the sequel and be introduced to another summer of Cricket’s in Nantucket. Any lover of Melissa de la Cruz’s contemporary novels should definitely go for this pretty.