The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Bol.com, Buy on Book Depository
For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.
Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.
It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.
As anything that Jennifer Armentrout writes is pretty much on my auto-buy list and so The Problem with Forever too found its way to my home. It pretty much inevitable that my Read-Everything-By-Jennifer-Armentrout-Obsession struck again… And boy, what a book! The Problem with Forever definitely won me over (as pretty much every book has done before). It was powerful and moving, and it broke my heart and mended it all within +400 pages.
Mallory was a complex character, sometimes her story was incredibly hard to read, but at the same time she’s relatable and tries so hard that you will root for her every step of the way as she tried to put her past behind her and overcome her fears. Her character grows SO MUCH throughout the story and has so much depth, it is on of the aspects of the story that made this book shine from beginning to end.
Then there is Rider Stark, who has the whole kinda-bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold going on. Rider and Mallory have so much history together and so much chemistry that all the feels and the sparks just fly right off the pages. He’s artistic and kinda (read: a lot) damaged, which is hardly surprising considering the past they share. Again, so much depth and complexity to his character. I dare you to not fall in love with his character (I’m betting you can’t).
The supporting characters were just as good as the main characters: Mallory’s adoptive parents, Rider’s foster family, Mallory’s best friend! Characters usually make or break for me, and The Problem of Forever is a perfect example of how they can make a book unforgettable. That, and the writing, because, as always, Jennifer Armentrout’s writing was beautiful and on point!
The Problem with Forever is an emotional and inspiring book that will break your heart and mend it again. It’s a beautiful story about what it means to be brave and moving past the difficulties of what is in one’s past. It has wonderfully complex characters with tons of depth that you can’t help but root for along the entire way!
Last week I ended up thinking about the way my reading habits, as well as my blogging habits, have changed since I started this blog March 2013. I came to the conclusion that they have changed quite a lot over the last four years. As I pondered on what may have caused that change, besides the fact that I have changed and therefore my habits are bound to have changed as well, there was only one other thing that I know did impact my reading habits: university.
That damned education, always getting in the way of my quality reading time… Haha. Nah, it’s not that bad. Honestly, I still read a lot! However, the amount of reading I do for fun, for nothing and nobody but myself, has cut back quite a lot since starting university. And really, the books I did read, mostly university related, weren’t all that to blog about. I felt like I didn’t have anything to contribute anymore and so it happened that my blog pretty much flatlined.
I never really realized how much spare time I had during high school. It didn’t really feel like it at the time, but even though I had homework and exams, I was nowhere near as busy as I am now. When I wasn’t in the middle of an exam-week, I actually had a very decent amount of time for myself. Moreover, busyness and stress aside, my social life wasn’t ‘all that’ either. Which left a LOT of spare time to read and blog, and boy did I do both of those things often.
These past three years of university have been great, but also really stressful and tiring. When looking back at my blogging, it is clear to see when studying got tough, because my blogging got erratic or turned completely absent. I struggled so much to keep up with my review copies, keep the blogging creativity and posts flowing, but I just couldn’t handle all of it together. I read so many books for university and that just leaves a lot less time to spend on reading for fun. When I realized that, I slowly started to realize that without reading the books I just didn’t have as much to talk about over here. Erratic blogging was the result. There was a period where I thought I simply had fallen out of love with blogging, but I realize now that I never really did… I just felt like I had nothing to contribute.
I have gotten a bit off track here. A necessary evil, as I wanted to explain how I think the change came about first. Let’s get back on with it: how have my reading habits changed?
Say Hello to a Picky Reader
First and foremost, I don’t just read EVERYTHING anymore. Since I have less time to read books for fun (thanks to tons of university reading) I have gotten more picky about what I read. I carefully choose the books I want to read because I want to spend the time I have on reading a book that I truly want to read, instead of reading for the sake of reading and finishing as many books as I can. Sure, it is fun to look back on a year and say you’ve read over a 100 or 150 books, but that is not what I want reading to be about. That just no longer for me. So yeah, I turned into a picky reader.
I have become a DNFer
Another way my reading habits seriously changed is that I don’t finish all the books I start reading anymore. I used to read whatever I could get my hands on and read it all regardless of whether I actually liked the book or not. Finishing a book was so important to me. Nowadays, when I get to the point that a book is just not working for me I DNF it. I might pick it up later on, but I no longer force myself to finish a book for the sake of finishing it.
I need to Take my Time
I used to be able to finish a book in a few hours. Thinking back I am amazed at how fast and easily I was able to read. Nowadays it can take me days, if not weeks, just to finish one book. Damn I miss those good old days, haha. Most of the time I just don’t feel up to reading the entire book in one sitting, I need breaks. Maybe I’ve gotten old…
My reading habits might have changed, but I don’t think these are necessarily bad changes. The opposite, I am quite content because I read whatever I want to read and don’t stress over the number of books I have read at the end of the year. I like to say I stopped focussing on quantity as much and started caring way more about the quality of the books I do read. So, let me end this post by telling you what summarizes my current reading habits: quality over quantity!
How would you sum up your reading habits? Have they changed much?
This post recaps my month: my personal life, the fun and not so fun; books I’ve read; movies/ tv-shows I’ve watched; and all other things worth mentioning.
If I had to sum May up in one word it would be hectic. As the post title suggests, there was a lot of university related stuff to be done, but even though I had a massive to-do list even I had some time to enjoy the sun!
I’m back on Instagram! I dusted off my SLR camera and am taking bookish pictures again. I forgot how much fun that was. I am, and never have been, good with props, so I am using nature as my props. I love grabbing a bunch of books and just going outside and see whatever catches my eye. The weather is just perfect for this approach right now! In the meantime, I will try and improve my inside picture-taking skills (while not sharing it because I usually do not like the way it looks).
Something I also shared on Instagram: I started a bullet journal! Well, technically I started one at the beginning of April, but as I have been trying out what works for me I have kept my trap shut about it, haha. I always loved journals. I love lists and keeping track of whatever I want to keep track off. I have tried SO MANY different journals over the last few years, but they never quite fit my needs perfectly… My solution was to taka matters into my own hands. I have tried quite some different layouts over the last months, and this is the latest development for my ‘weekly spread’. Since I started my Bujo I have discovered I love the start of a new month because setting it up is so much fun! The way I have set it up right now I am able to track my habits, can manage my blogging, and have an overview of what is to come the current month and in the future. Who knows, if you are interested, I might even do a post on it somewhere in the future, as it really is a learning curve.
In terms of working out, I have been slacking this May. Unfortunately, being hella busy at university means you have to make some sacrifices, and May is exam month after all. I haven’t been running as much, although I squeeze in runs wherever I can, gym time has been non-existent. However, all things come to an end, and so will my deadlines! If there’s one thing I am looking forward to about June it is the fact that I will have more time to spare. Which means BACK TO TRAINING!
Reading: reading-wise this is going to be a very sad score… Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
- Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Thorns and Roses. 4/5 (reread)
- Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Mist and Fury. 5/5 (reread)
- Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin. 4.5/5
- Gillian French – Grit (2.5/5)
- Blair Thornburgh – Who’s That Girl (currently reading)
Once Upon a Time season 1, episode 1 – 22. Never finished it before, loved it!
Thirteen Reasons Why season 1, episode 1 – 13. Very mixed feelings about this… So many mixed feelins I could write an essay.
Grimm season 5, episode 1-3. So addictive!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. SO MUCH LOVE.
Finding Dory. So freaking adorable.
Inside Out. Finally watched this, it was so good!
Moana. The bomb!
Trolls. Fun enough, not a whole lot of depth.
What did you do in May?
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Grit by Gillian French
Published by HarperTeen on May 16th 2017
Source: the Publisher
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Book Depository
"His presence beside me is like heat, like weight, something I’ve carried around on my back too long"
Raw and moving, this contemporary realistic debut novel will leave readers of E. Lockhart and Gayle Forman breathless as it unflinchingly unfolds the tragic secrets being kept in a small, deceptively idyllic Maine town.
Seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss has long held the title of “town slut.” She knows how to have a good time, sure, but she isn’t doing anything all the guys haven’t done. But when you’re a girl with a reputation, every little thing that happens seems to keep people whispering—especially when your ex-best friend goes missing.
But if anyone were to look closer at Darcy, they’d realize there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. Staying out late, hooking up, and telling lies is what Darcy does to forget. Forget about the mysterious disappearance of her friend. Forget about the dark secret she and her cousin Nell share. Forget about that hazy Fourth of July night. So when someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel act only someone with a score to settle would make—all of the things that Darcy wants to keep hidden threaten to erupt in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.
As the title of this post might give away, Grit wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. When I read the synopsis for the first time I expected a mystery or something thriller-ish, and that wasn’t quite what I got. The story was mostly concerned with Darcy, the main character, and the obstacles she has to overcome in the course of the story. Which is fine, just a slight adjustment of expectations, if it wasn’t for the messy plot the first third of the book.
The first third of Grit I felt like tons of things happen, but it doesn’t go anywhere at all. Despite the great writing, beautiful writing even, the first part just fell completely flat for me. This is such a shame because I think it would have been perfect if the plot had been cleaned up a bit. Between the job, the family, the mystery of the Fourth of July night, the pageant, and the budding romance there’s just too much going on to really enjoy the story. The plot felt too busy. All these different aspects just didn’t seem to click for me. I think the story could’ve done without the pageant bit, and instead delve deeper into some other aspects of the plot.
As for the protagonist, Darcy, I really enjoyed the dynamic she had going on with her sister and cousin. I appreciated how important family was to her, and I think she showed a lot of strength and determination with all that’s going on. But (yes there’s a but, I’m sorry) sometimes I just couldn’t connect with her. I felt bad for her because she didn’t deserve all the shit thrown her way just because of something she did in sophomore year (that circulated), but I found myself liking her less and less near the end of the book.
The writing saved this book for me. Gillian French knows how to use similes to her advantage, that’s for sure, and I liked how she portrayed the people inside the town. The second third of the book was done very well, especially the edge between Shea and Darcy. That edge combined with the sisterly love throughout the story made the story more or less enjoyable for me.
I did not know what to do with that ending. It didn’t work for me. I felt like it wasn’t in line with the rest of the story.
I really hate to say it, since I was really really excited about the premise of the book, but Grit was a bit of a disappointment to me. The plot was divided and just too much. I think a bit of cleaning up could turn this book from ‘okay’ possibly into something really good. The writing, the tension, and the sisterly love saved the story in my opinion, and for now, I’ll settle with saying that Grit was an ‘okay’ read.
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Fireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer & Bray on April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Source: the Publisher
Buy on Bol.com, Buy on Book Depository
From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.
It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.
But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.
It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.
Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.
Fireworks was and wasn’t what I was expecting. Cryptic sentence to open with, I know, but bear with me. Sometimes you just don’t know if the book you’re reading is going to knock your socks off or turn out not to be your thing at all, and such was the case with Fireworks.
So I’m talking about not knowing what I was going to get, but also that this book was and wasn’t what I expected it to be… That’s confusing. Let me break it down for you. What did I expect? I expected clichés. I mean, being discovered as a pop star, fame, a love interest that is destined to be the next big thing, it all screamed cliché to me. Not just cliché, but cliché in a big, bold, flashing neon sign kinda way. And I gotta admit those clichés were present in Fireworks. What didn’t I expect? For Katie Cotugno to work them so flawlessly into the story that I didn’t mind them at all. They were there, but they weren’t the most important aspects of the story.
Friendship and self-discovery were two of the most important aspects in Fireworks. I loved the protagonist, Dana. She was the kind of friend, had the kind of loyalty to her friends, that you can only admire and respect. Especially because as the story progressed it became clearer and clearer that her best friend, Olivia, was holding her back. Dana had to figure out for herself what she wanted to do with her life and she underwent a big transformation throughout the story.
If anything made Fireworks for me, combined with all things I mentioned before, it was that ending. I love how Katie Cotugno blew away all my preconceived notions of how I expected Fireworks to end in a cliché. That ending was anything but cliché and it was the cherry on top of a very enjoyable story.
If you’re looking for a fun and enjoyable contemporary read with a solid message attached, Fireworks is the answer. It’s a very well-written story with a sweet romance that you won’t be able to resist!
I’m going to warn you in advance, this recap will be filled with kitten spam. I take way too many pictures as it is and hardly share them online, so I will use my monthly recap posts to unleash them upon all you unsuspecting readers. What I love most about these monthly recaps is that at first the month in question seems so boring and normal, but when you think about it there are tons of small things that stood out and you can tell about!
Mid-March I had midterms, which isn’t all that extraordinary, but during my midterms the rumor spread that Emma Watson was supposedly in Leiden filming the BBC show the Miniaturist. The Rapenburg was closed down and off-limits fo two days and the whole city was in an uproar about it. The Dutch film company that filmed there firmly denied Emma Watson ever having been there, so who knows. Maybe she was here, maybe she wasn’t. I had exams anyway, so no time to gawk where they were filming, haha.
The Song Rising is out in stores! Doesn’t Fury look adorable next to that beautiful stack of books? I love that Bloomsbury released a limited edition that fits the original books as well (instead of the new cover designs) because I get so annoyed when my books don’t match. I do think a reread is in order though… It’s been a while since I read the first two books and the details have become a bit blurry. So The Song Rising has to wait a bit. Have any of you read it already?
Something that also happened this month: Beauty & the Beast! I was so pumped to see the movie and finally watching it was perfect. The cast was so damn good! The little extra backstory they gave the characters, the songs, just everything… I have so much love for this movie and I need to see it again, stat.
Fury and I took a little walk outside and it was adorable. He was so curious and a bit hesitant, after a while he started chasing flies. I live on the fifth floor, so he normally stays inside, but on the weekends I usually visit my parents and they have a huge garden. Perfect for little Fury to explore the outside world.
I haven’t read much besides thesis related books, but am already working hard on April (finished my first book already)! I am also working on a more regular post schedule for the blog. AND I started bullet journaling, maybe I’ll share a few pages with you in the next recap!
How did March treat you?