Review: Just One Day – Gayle Forman

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Title: Just One Day(Just One Day Series) [Amazon]
Author: Gayle Forman [website]
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Purchased/Hardcore
Stars: 5 of 5

Publisher Description:
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.

My Thoughts:
I have been stained by Gayle Forman and this book. Completely stained from head to toe all over my body. For those of you that have read this amazing book then you know exactly what I mean. And for those of you that haven’t, stop reading my rambling words and go get the book ASAP. It. Is. That. Good. No, I’m wrong. It isn’t that good, it is that awesomely amazing that it needs to be read by everyone and read often!

Just One Day is a fabulous story of Allyson, an American girl that has graduated from high school and is sent to Europe by her parents because college starts. Allyson is the girl with the good head on her shoulders, the girl that always does the right thing, the girl that parents and teachers love. Well when Allyson decides to bale on a planned group viewing on a Shakespeare play in order to see a street version of Twelfth Night, Allyson’s life is put on a path she never expected. Soon Allyson is headed to Paris on a train with a boy she just met and acting in ways she never thought she would. Sadly after her one day remarkably, unforgettable day with Willem, Allyson finds she has been abandoned by him and nothing is the same. Now she must figure out how to get along with her life even though she misses him desperately and would like nothing more to capture a time when she felt like she could do anything. Told from Allyson’s POV entirely, you are taken on a journey of self discovery, standing up for yourself, and seeing just how important love is.

Did I mention how awesome this book was? In case I didn’t let me say it again…AWESOME! It is by far the best Gayle Forman book I have ever read, and this is coming from a girl that was insanely in love with her If I Stay series. Just One Day managed to put all my favorite elements into a book while giving me the same feeling I get when I watch the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset movies. Allyson and Willem’s story made me believe in the fairytale of love at first sight and that things aren’t always what they seem. And sometimes it is worth it to take a chance because you may just find out who you really are. And Allyson did exactly that in the year since she saw Willem. With an overbearing mother(really overbearing isn’t even strong enough of a word for that woman) planning every aspect of her life Allyson was able to figure out that even if she felt Lulu was gone, she was a part of her and always would be. She figured out that you can be the good kid but have faith in some adventures and that’s it’s okay for plans not to work out because unexpected things are the way of life.

Like I said, I have been stained by this book and will be forever. It was that awesome! Now get out of here and go read it. SO. GOOD.

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Discussion: Time Between Us – Tamara Ireland Stone

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Title: Time Between Us[Amazon]
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone[website]
Publisher: Hyperion
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: ARC/Paperback
Reviewed by: Andi & Michelle

Publisher Description:
Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

Discussion:
Michelle: In reading some of your thoughts on Twitter and Goodreads it seems like I may have liked this one better than you.

Anna’s struggle to overcome her introverted and somewhat isolated life to befriend, then ultimately fall in love with Bennett grabbed me from the jump.  Ha ha, get it….jump…  Oh alright, lame.  Anyway, even though the story started a bit slow for me I was not at all disappointed with the progression of Anna and Bennett’s relationship.  Her confusion paired with the desire she felt for him add a definite tension throughout the story.  Add to that the fact that there were the three different secrets that were being revealed over time and I was pretty well hooked.

In fact, the pacing of the reveal of the three secrets did quite a lot to make this story a winner for me.  The onion layer metaphor definitely fits this story as it was so layered both from the plot and character standpoint that I was intrigued to find out what was going to happen next.

Andi: Yah, I wasn’t 100% crazy about this one. It was too much like The Time Traveler’s Wife for me and I really didn’t like that movie (no, I never read the book). I thought the movie was annoying and confusing and contrite and I honestly think that lead to my lukewarm feelings on Time Between Us.

I almost wish I never saw the movie because then I think I would have liked this way more than I did. Sure I thought the pacing was a bit off and slow, with nothing happening until like page 200, but I loved both Anna and Bennett and I loved how their relationship unfolded.

M: I saw that movie (didn’t read the book either) too.  I actually liked it so maybe that is another reason why Time Between Us was a winner for me.  I liked the concept of jumping through time and still attempting to maintain relationships.  There was that difficulty there but still no matter what time and place Bennett jumped to there was this bond between them.  The discovery of why and the exploration of how they could maintain it given the circumstances was enthralling.

A: I did like that part of the story, the reason why they could maintain a bond. That really kept my interest. I was fascinated by how it all worked and I loved how Anna figured it out in the end with Bennett’s help and that she finally started to live for herself. But everything else just fell flat for me and I don’t know why. I can’t pinpoint what I didn’t like the most and why I had no connection to any of it. Maybe I just don’t work with time travel. 🙂

M:  It was interesting how Anna’s independence at the end was what finally brought them together.  It was like Bennett was able to feed off her strength in order to materialize back into her life.  That was a fabulous way to end the story.  Usually I don’t like the ambiguous ending where you’re left to imagine what is going to happen in the future but it really worked here.  I could tell that no matter what they would be in each other’s lives in some capacity.

I did, however, struggle with the idea that Bennett’s family knew of his ability and proceeded to react the way they did.  I guess I think that was a bit unrealistic.  Not so much the father being a con artist and wanting to use it for profit (though even that seemed convenient) but that his mother would allow him to embroil his sister.  I have a hard time believing any parent would be keen on that.

A: OMG yes!! I get that you need to suspend reality in books like this since you know, time travel isn’t possible, but it still needs to be believable. Sure they had to get Bennett to Anna somehow, but the fact that it was because he lost his sister just didn’t really work for me. I didn’t buy it at all.

I also didn’t like Anna and Bennett changing an event to make it easier for Anna and her friends. I totally got why she would want to do it. That I didn’t have an issue with. What I hated was that Bennett did it and they made it into a game. As much as I hate it, things happen for a reason and part of growing up is dealing with them, even the hard stuff. By changing the tiniest of things she took something away from her friends and she had no right to do that. Can you tell that irked me?! HA

M:  LOL! I couldn’t tell at all. 😉

Also, I think that there could have been a bit more exploration of the problems that playing that game really caused.  It was certainly touched on but perhaps a bit more tension between Bennett and Anna.  Or a bit more infusion of how doing so threw things off just like Bennett taking his sister with him did.  There was a lot to this time travel theory that I enjoyed but some of it (mainly the scientific elements) felt unfinished.  Then again this wasn’t a sci-fi story or a book where the main exploration was on that science.  It was a primarily character based story and a good one at that.  That could be another reason why I liked it.  I could suspend the reality of the science because I knew it was more about Bennett and Anna’s emotions and character.

A: And maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much, I just couldn’t separate the two. I had a hard time reconciling the logical part of my brain with the creative part. I just wanted things to make more sense and because it didn’t to me, I lost some of the feel of the romance and the emotion.

M: Understandable, not all books click with all people.  It’s kinda refreshing that there are a few books out there that we don’t agree on.  It’s so rare!

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Paper Dolls

As you may have noticed I have become obsessed with Polyvore and as I call them, my ‘adult paper dolls’. You’ve seen a couple of the ideas I have had and now it is your chance to tell me what you would like to see in one of my Paper Doll posts. Fill out the survey below and I will create a post of outfit ideas. If you want to see something not listed feel free to comment and tell me what you want.

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NOOK/Kindle Hoarding? Part 2

Next up in my NOOK/Kindle book hoarding series is Heather. Heather and I became friends a few years ago with our mutual love of television. Since then we have spent a lot of time discussing everything, and I mean everything, under the sun over email all day, every day.  Below is Heather’s NOOK and Kindle apps from her iPad and a brief description of her reading likes. Let’s give Heather a warm welcome ABCers!

I’m one of those people that reads all different types of books, however regardless which device you are looking at what you will find the most of the ones I have on my ereaders are romance novels and YA titles.

Thanks to the kind generosity of a couple of my very good friends, I was gifted a NOOK for Christmas in 2011.  I’ve loved every second of reading on my NOOK and while looking through the titles that appear there, it doesn’t take long to notice that the other thing that I love are series books.  I am a sucker for a good series and love the thought of following the characters through until the end.  Love, love, love it!  I also normally end up reading most, if not all, of the books that an author writes if I find I really like them.  Again, that’s evident on my NOOK!

On my Kindle you’ll see that again there are mostly romance novels and a vast majority of them are of the free variety since I don’t actually own a Kindle (however, I’ve asked for one for my birthday!) and I do most of my reading on one of the available apps.  I also tend to borrow a lot of books from friends on the Kindle too since Amazon has a lot more titles that are lendable.  I have started buying more books from Amazon as I find the selection (and sometimes the prices) to be better there.

Whether NOOK or Kindle, the bottom line is I pretty much stick to romance and YA.  What can I say, I’m a girl and I like sexy, hot heroes! 😉

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1) Hardball by V.K. Sykes
After years of hard work and keeping her nose firmly to the grindstone, Dr. Holly Bell has finally achieved her dream: a position as a pediatric surgeon at a prestigious teaching hospital. Children’s lives rest in her skilled hands. That means total dedication to her work and her patients without letting anything or anyone get in the way. And a hot affair with a superstar athlete is most definitely getting in Holly’s way.

Nate Carter, star pitcher for the Philadelphia Patriots, has the world in the palm of his baseball glove. He’s at the height of his game, a west coast team is about to lure him with even greater riches, and the most gorgeous women in town are in full pursuit. Nate has everything he wants, or at least he thinks he does, until he meets the beautiful and brainy Dr. Holly Bell. He’s totally up for a hot affair, and Holly turns out to be the hottest.

But will Holly be willing to play his game? When the lovely doctor starts changing the rules, Nate realizes he just might be playing for keeps.

2) Perfect for You by Kate Perry
A Laurel Heights Novel, Book 1

Freya Godwin’s muse has gone MIA.

With Freya just hired to redesign the top adult website company in the country, her muse couldn’t have chosen a worse time to disappear. Determined to get her sexy back, Freya puts an ad online, hoping to find the right man to inspire her.

Unfortunately, all roads point back to her upstairs neighbor Greg Cavanaugh. He’s everything she doesn’t want: a playboy and scumbag lawyer. Except if he’s so wrong for her, why does his touch feel like magic? And why does being with him make her believe anything is possible?

3) Bound to You by Vanessa Holland
A night of passion has forever bound Jenna Morgan to a man she thought she would spend her future with. Instead, he dumped her with barely a word of explanation and left the state. Three years later, she’s a single mom struggling to provide for her son and young sister, and harassed by an obsessed stalker.

After leaving home three years ago to run his aging grandfather’s ranch in Texas, Sam Strickland returns to Tennessee to discover a child he didn’t know existed. He thought he was saving Jenna’s future when he left home, and left her behind. He never dreamed he’d return to see a child with eyes the same shade as his own – and Jenna in serious trouble.

Sam thinks his only dilemma is whether he can earn back the trust of the woman he loves and commit to the responsibility of fatherhood. But Jenna’s life is more complicated than he could have imagined and he finds himself involved in a dangerous situation that could threaten his new son’s life.

4) How You Remind Me by Julie Leto
—  He knows things about her that he shouldn’t…
—  She can’t resist a lover who plays out her most intimate fantasies…
—  Will the truth about how he learned her secrets set them free…or destroy them forever?

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1) Just One of the Guys by Kristin Higgins
Being one of the guys isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…

So when journalist Chastity O’Neill returns to her hometown, she decides it’s time to start working on some of those feminine wiles. Two tiny problems: #1–she’s five feet eleven inches of rock-solid girl power, and #2–she’s cursed with four alpha male older brothers.

While doing a story on local heroes, she meets a hunky doctor and things start to look up. Now there’s only one problem: Trevor Meade, her first love and the one man she’s never quite gotten over–although he seems to have gotten over her just fine.

Yet the more time she spends with Dr. Perfect, the better Trevor looks. But even with the in-your-face competition, the irresistible Trevor just can’t seem to see Chastity as anything more than just one of the guys….

2) Jacked Up by Erin McCarthy
She’s holding tight. He’s hanging loose.

Eve Monroe is a stock-car PR pro who puts her career first—until an on-track wardrobe malfunction reveals more than the sexy smile of jackman Nolan Ford. The video’s become an internet sensation, and it’s Eve’s job to calm the sponsors and put a spin on the unexpected exposure.

And they both have the same drive.

It may be a public relations job, but now that Eve’s seen what’s under Nolan’s crew suit, it’s gotten personal. After a few dates she has Nolan pretty revved up. If only she’d learn to relax and enjoy it. Nolan’s sure that the spontaneous birthday bash he’s throwing for Eve in Las Vegas should loosen her up. Somewhere between cocktails and a smoking-hot motel-room derby, it does more than that. Now Eve’s wrestling with feelings she never expected, as everything about her personal jackman gets harder than she ever imagined.

3) More Than A Friend Request by Julie Prestsater
Sometimes there is no escaping the past.

Hannah Jones is a relatively happy woman doing a job she loves, counseling high school students, owning her own place and working with her best friend. She seems to have everything she ever wanted. The only problem is she still wants the one who got away. Adam Cooper. The love of Hannah’s life and the man who broke her heart. She hasn’t heard from him in fifteen years and suddenly there he is asking her to be his friend on a social network. Faced with a choice, Hannah must decide if she should open herself to potential heartbreak once again and accept him, or hit decline and run as fast as she can.

Adam Cooper walked away from the one he loved fifteen years ago. But the passing time has done little to make him forget the sexy woman with wild hair and big brown eyes. Not a single day has gone by that he hasn’t thought about Hannah and wished she were back in his arms. Now, his little sister has convinced him to make an account on a social site and he can’t help but search for the woman who has invaded his dreams for more than a decade. He has the perfect job and the perfect family. There’s only one thing—or person—missing and he’s finally ready to get her back. But first, Hannah must be willing to accept his request.

4) Insurgent by Veronica Roth
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

So there you have it, Heather’s NOOK/Kindle. Stay tuned for next week when you get a look at Michelle’s Nook and Kindle apps.

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Giveaway Winner

Thank you all those that entered the Miranda Kenneally pre-order, nail polish and penguin bookmark giveaway. The winner has been notified via email. Keep a look out for more giveaways to come.

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