Discussion: When You Were Mine – Rebecca Serle

When I was writing reviews with Michelle over at Galleysmith we would have book discussions from time to time. We have had quiet a few going for a while now and since Michelle is on a hiatus we decided to post them over here.

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Title: When You Were Mine[Amazon]
Author: Rebecca Serle[website]
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Gifted/Hardcore
Reviewed by: Andi & Michelle

Publisher Description:
In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale. What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy…and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….

Discussion:
Andi
: As a Romeo and Juliet fan, okay, I’ll admit it is the Leonardo DiCaprio version, I was so excited about this book when I heard about it and I have to tell you M, it lived up to my expected hype. It really was a fabulous take on a classic tale. It had a great story of friendship and love mixed in with heartache and longing. Serle took a classic, familiar story and made it into something modern and fresh and from a different point of view. For me having Rosaline, the much forgotten first love of Romeo, as the main character was pretty ingenious.  What did you think?

Michelle:  LOL!  You and your Leo….

I’m going to admit (and it likely won’t come as a surprise to many who know me), the classics in literature do nothing for me.  I can’t read them without being bored to tears and eventually giving up.  That is why I love me some retellings (classics, fairy tales, you name it).  Because I can get down with the general vibe of the original story and still enjoy the contemporary tone.

Serle did a great job with this retelling because I really did feel the irony and the Shakespearean nature without having to endure all of the “doest thou..” crapola.  I couldn’t agree more on the ingenious selection of telling Rose’s story as opposed to the more obvious choices of Romeo or Juliet. Seeing their story through her eyes and also experiencing her own story was fantastical.

A: It added something to the original that was missing, it added conflict. By making it more a ‘triangle'(and I use that word lightly), it gave the characters more depth I think and let the audience feel more. In the original I felt bad for Romeo and Juliet, but something about the addition of Rosaline made the whole story more gut wrenching. it also helped that I hated Juliet and Rob in this book. HAHA. Have you ever seen two more spoiled people that thought they deserved whatever they wanted? At one point I wanted to be the one to do Juliet in!

M:  UGH, yes!  Juliet was a shrewish b*tch.  I just wanted to throttle her at every turn.  I did want the background between the girls to be a bit more fleshed out though.  The controversy that lead to the family feud was too vague it needed more depth to really show why the events that were spurned occurred. It felt a bit contrived that Juliet went for Rob so quickly.  Sure, I got that it was revenge at the start but without that deeper backstory it just felt somewhat forced.

A: I guess that didn’t really bother me as much because even Rose didn’t know it was revenge so I didn’t feel out of the loop in terms of that aspect. But I do agree about the family feud. I didn’t really like it and didn’t get why it was an issue between  the brothers in the long run. It was definitely added to make the conflict bigger but I think if a different problem was the cause it would have flowed better.

M: By focussing solely on the teens I found that the story lost some of it’s punch.  If a teacher wanted to use this book as a tool to in a literature class it would definitely be lacking in giving the true perspective on the original.  However, that isn’t necessarily the goal here.  Being a retelling it’s goal is to differentiate itself from the original.  But it should also carry through the essence so that the reader who isn’t familiar with the original could go to it and see the similarities.  Serle definitely does this in spades with the relationship between Rose and Juliet and the boys but not much anywhere else.  Can you imagine how much more awesome it would have been if we’d seen more of the parents, the conflict and the interaction they had in the relationships?  I think that would have given me some of that awesome angst I so long for in a story like this.

A: And we do know how much you love your angst, don’t we?! Haha!

But seriously, I do agree to an extent. A little more background would have really upped the ante some. But I also liked that Rosaline was the main focus just for the fact that she is such a non-entity in the original. I think what may have helped a little more was more Juliet. Yes, I hated the character. She was definitely not my favorite at all, but with some more connection, whether through flashbacks, stories or current situations, between her and Rosaline and even Rob wood have made just a hint of difference and really showed the animosity she felt towards her cousin and why Rosaline was so betrayed by her actions.

M:  Word THAT!

Angst is one of the things I like best in a story.  Particularly when it’s done right and realistically!

To your point about Rose, I agree.  I knew very little about her so focusing on her as the primary point of view was a good thing.  Like you’ve said showing her through the relationships she’s built with Juliet and Rob would have gone a long way.  She seemed a bit bland for the most part.  Pining away for Rob when I didn’t see much chemistry there.  Also, what was it that Rob saw in Juliet to draw him away from his life-long friend?  Sure, she was beautiful and had money but there had to be more depth to it to really have him gravitating to her so quickly.  Don’t you think?

A: Yeah, I just didn’t see what was so hypnotizing about Juliet that Rob would do such a complete 180. The only thing that made sense was that whole ‘meant to be’ crap that is a massive theme in the Shakespeare story, but it wasn’t explored much in this book so it just kind of didn’t connect for me.

I will say there was one quote that I think perfectly summed up this book. I mean it is beyond perfect when you think about it.

“They died together; they’ll always be remembered together. It’s decided, once and for all. He was hers. The rumors don’t matter; they’ll fade…People may remember it was suicide, but my name won’t be attached. It will just be two lovers, fused together forever.”

That to me is the essence of the whole story and why I loved it so much. Rosaline is never connected to the story and I loved how Serle pointed that out so poetically with the simplest of statements.

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Gap Shopping Trip

On Friday I had an errand to run after work and decided to hit up The Gap as I knew they were having a sale. I wasn’t planning to buy anything really but they had SO MUCH STUFF! Wandering around the sale section I immediately noticed everything was an additional 40% off the already marked down prices. Being the bargain shopper I am(thanks for teaching me at a young age auntie!) I began to look for pieces I knew I had been on the hunt for or something that could become a wardrobe staple. When all is said and done I got 6 items(colors vary from the picture above) that originally would have totally over $230.00 for a grand total of $49.22! Not bad for a Friday afternoon.

gap1)1969 Neon Always Skinny Skimmer Jeans in neon mint green: I have been on the hunt for mint skinnies since October I think and I just couldn’t find the right ones. Not only did these fit amazing, the ended up costing me around $6.00!

2)Slim Cropped Pants in French pink: Another thing that I had wanted to add to my wardrobe for spring/summer. I found these on the final sale rack and they were just what I was looking for. And at a little over $4.00 I couldn’t pass them up.

3, 4, 5) Soda Wash Kanga T in Neon Violet, Bright Mandarin & Neon Green(not shown): I love shirts like these for a variety of reasons but mostly because they are so comfortable and can be worn with  anything. Shorts, skinny pants, boyfriend jeans… They really can do anything. And for $4-$6  bucks each, I had to get more than one. I just wished they have navy or gray in my size.

6)Fitted Boyfriend Flannel Shirt in pink(not shown): I was dying to get a nice fitted plaid shirt that could be worn to work or on the weekend. When I saw this I was in love. It was the priciest of my items at $20+ but it was worth the money as I have worn it twice since Friday.

 

What kind of deals do you score when you hit up a sale?

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Monopoly Money Monday

What better way to start the week then to spend money that isn;t real money??!! Welcome to Monopoly Money Monday!
One or two Monday’s a month, maybe more if the mood strike, I will spend a random $100 in Monopoly money and show you want I would buy if It was real. Sounds fun right? Truth is, this could get dangerous for me because usually after I “window” shop I need to buy, but here it goes.

level2Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Price: $11.36
Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

justonedayJust One Day by Gayle Forman
Price: $12.23
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

essieEssie Bikini So Teeny
Price: $7.79
A sparkly cornflower blue

sweaterOld Navy Sofest Blanket Wrap Cardigan
Price: $24.97
A cozy sweater that will look great with skinny pants or leggings whether hanging around the house or running errands or lunch with your girl friends.

ring JCrew Anchor Ring
Price: $38.00
Talk about charming: a cool anchor ring for a look that’s nautical and nice.

All ‘purchases’ came to a total of $94.35(which doesn’t not include any tax or shipping expenses but this is my fanatsy so that doesn’t count anyway.) Not a bad way to spend fake money.

What would you buy with a random $100.00?

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Second Chance Sunday – Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Over the past few years I have read some really greats books that I have reviewed over on Goodreads. Wanting to share the love I am starting Second Chance Sunday. Second Chance Sunday will consist of a book I have read, loved and gushed about and think it deserves a second look-d-lou so I can share the love.
And what better way to start off Second Chance Sunday then with none other then Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson:

summer

Title: Second Chance Summer [Amazon]
Author: Morgan Matson [website]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Purchased/Hardcover
Stars: 5 out of 5

Publisher Description:
Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

My Thoughts:
Some books reach you on such an emotional level that they quickly become a part of you. Second Chance Summer did exactly that. It was by far one of the most exquisitely written stories about love, loss, and second chances. It is a story of hope and trust and opening yourself up to the unknown even when it gets scary. It’s a story of growing up.

I was immediately pulled in by the story of Taylor. Since she was younger the one thing Taylor was good at was running when things got hard. A middle child with a genius older brother and a ballet protege younger sister, Taylor never really found her place in her family. She felt like the let down, the disappointment, of the family. The only place she ever really felt like you fit in was at the lake house her family went to every summer until she was twelve. With Henry her first crush/boyfriend and Lucy her best friend, Taylor knew she belonged. But in her 12th summer, the last year they went to the house Taylor did something that split them apart and instead of sticking around to fix things she ran and never saw them again. Fast forward 5 years and Taylor’s whole world is coming in on her. Her father has been diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and only has the summer left. Wanting to spend time with the whole family they pack up and go to their summer house. Now Taylor is not only faced with the memories and people she once left behind with no explanation, she now has to face the fact that in a few short months she will no longer have her father there for her. In a summer of second chances and making memories Taylor has to decide flight or fight.

I really don’t think I have the words to describe how much I not only loved this book but how it touched me in a way others books haven’t. Pancreatic cancer has been a huge part of my life. I’ve lost someone very close to me to it and I know how devastating it can be to a family when it is not caught in time(which is the case quite frequently with this disease). Morgan Matson used this in a way that was both true and emotional and I could totally put myself in Taylor’s place. It’s a scary disease and it works fast and that was captured perfectly and in a way that I had never seen in a book before. One second Taylor’s dad was fine and in the next he was in such pain he couldn’t even talk. It was heart wrenching in a very very real way. That alone made me love this book in a way that I haven’t loved anything else really.

Then there was Taylor herself. She was so terrified to get hurt, to live her life and own up to her mistakes that she constantly wanted to just run. She wanted to run far and she wanted to run fast. She had been doing just that all her life until her father, without knowing it, made her stand still. He made her go back to the lake house and face her demands and the people she had hurt in the past. Without meaning to her father taught Taylor to grow up and to learn that nothing was unfixable. Nothing was broken forever if you didn’t want to be. And with Henry and Lucy there showing her that people deserved to get a second chance Taylor grew in a way that I never would have imagined.

I bawled my eyes out for about the last 30 pages of this Sarah Dessen meets Jenny Han book and it was by far worth every tear I shed. It was deep and funny and a real coming of age story. Morgan Matson hit it out of the park with this book and it was completely worth all of the good things I heard about it. One of my favorites of 2012 and I look forward to for from them EXTREMELY talented story teller!

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What’s in my bag?

So if you are anything like me and read Us Weekly you see the “What’s in my bag?” article and can’t help but scour the items celebs and the people that pretend to be celebs(I’m looking to you Kardashian family!) carry around with them day in and day out. But if you are like me, do you ever notice how massive the bags are that they use? What about showing what can fit in a small bag?

As luck would have it I was too lazy to switch to me regular work bag on Monday morning so I used my smaller J. Crew Tillary bag and what better way to kick off my blog then with the all important “What’s in my bag?” post.

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tillary

1) J. Crew Tillary Bag: I saw this bag on a blog and immediately fell in love with it. The color was so vibrant and gorgeous I needed to have it. After checking a number of J. Crew stores and having a friend check one in a different state I searched eBay and found one for a great price.

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2) American Express Gift Cards: Like the commercial says, don’t leave home without them. You never know what you will find shopping.

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3) Marc by Marc Jacobs Travel Wallet: My aunt got married in Aruba in 2012 and I was her MOH. This snazzy hot pink number was part of my Bridesmaid gift and I take it every where with me. Not only does it hold travel documents and passports, but it doubles as a wallet in smaller bags. Sold out in stores, but I’m sure can be found on eBay.

joint

4)Kate Spade Striped Card Holder/J Crew Anchor Battery Charger: I love these two items and they go everywhere with me. I bought the Kate Spade case cheap at the outlets before Aruba so I could toss it in my beach bag with my room key and money. Now it hold my bus pass. The battery charger is one of the best things to ever come out of J Crew. I wanted one for Christmas and I was lucky enough to get the anchor one which wasn’t on line. My mom found it in the store and scooped it up for me.

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5)Dunkin Donuts GC/Keys/Mac Viva Glam Lipsticks: Dunkin Donuts GC are the one thing that never lasts long with me. I go to the same DD everyday and get a medium Iced Tea with 3 lemons. I can’t start my day without it. Keys are a given. Everyone needs them. And since we need them, why not add key chains of things we love. My keys have a Nomar Garciaparra key chain, a Swiss Army Knife(great for opening packages), and a Tiffany’s Star key chain. The Lipsticks are probably the most important thing in my bag as I never go out in public without any on and I’m always wearing MAC Viva Glam II and III together. It’s a must.

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6) Work ID: Can’t get in the building or on to my floor with out it. This baby has been through the ringer.

jcrewcase

7) J Crew iPhone 4s Anchor Case: Are you sensing an anchor trend? I freaking love them and I love that J Crew loves them too! Another gift from my wonderful mom that I didn’t expect at all but made me sublimely happy.

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8) Suri’s Burn Book bu Allie Hagan: This book is awesomeness! I have been following the tumblr account for quite sometime so I was beyond thrilled to see a book come out. I read the whole thing in a day and I laughed the whole time. I didn’t actually buy this in a book store. I bought it on half.com for way less then I would have and Amazon or Barnes and Nobles. For what it was it was the perfect price.

And there you have it. You now know what I had in my small bag Monday. What do you keep in your bag?

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