Month: May 2013

Confession: I Can’t Read When I’m Sick

Posted May 31, 2013 by Jana in About Me / 21 Comments

When I get sick, I get REALLY sick. It’s never a “man, I feel a little under the weather” kind of sick. It’s always a, “Stop the world, I’m dying” kind of sick. So, I’m laying here extremely sick, taking meds ’round the clock, and diving into my second large box of tissues as I type this.

One thing I have learned during all my sick times is that when I am sick, I am completely unable to concentrate or pay attention to anything. I remember this one time I was sick, I watched the movie Somewhere in Time. My mom loves this movie. She says it’s so romantic and amazing. I kid you not, I watched it three times one day (when I was sick) and I have NO idea what it’s about. None. It confused the heck out of me. Two years ago I watched the first season of Modern Family while sick. I remembered none of it. I watched the season all over again a month or so later, and it was liking watching it for the first time.

My main point here is: I also can’t read while I’m sick. And it’s SOOOO frustrating. I know many of you who read, like, 5 books during your sick times. I could get SO much done! I can’t even write reviews when I’m sick! I tried yesterday, and I could not form a coherent sentence about the book. I’m laying here in bed, for hours of my life, with my bookshelf staring at me, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Instead, I’m watching Angel re-runs and coughing my guts out.

So, tell me. Is there anyone like me out there, or am I all alone in my delirious state of sickness? Can you read when you’re sick?

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt (Book Review)

Posted May 30, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 10 Comments

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt (Book Review)Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on March 26, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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3 Stars

When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars).

The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

When I think 1960’s, I think cute clothes, Doris Day (I’m obsessed with old movies), The Beatles, JFK, Martin Luther King, The Sound of Music, etc. What a fun time period! I’ve always wanted to go back in time and visit the 60’s, so I was very excited to read Going Vintage. This was a very cute book, and as always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I love the idea behind Going Vintage. Mallory swears off all modern-day conveniences like the Internet, computers, iPods, cellphones because this technology is what she lost her boyfriend to. Online gaming ruined two relationships of mine, so I totally know how Mallory felt when she found out her boyfriend was cheating on her with an online girl named BubbleYum.

2. I thought it was so much fun that Mallory’s desire to go vintage was inspired by a list of her grandmother’s goals for her junior year of high school. I just wish I liked her grandma more. I actually didn’t like anyone very much in Mallory’s family, especially her mother. Her mom is horrendous, and makes money off her daughters’ misfortunes. I could take or leave her sister, Ginnie, and her dad wasn’t memorable enough for me to have an opinion about him.

3. I also was not the biggest fan of Mallory. She was rather naive to think that life was easy in the 60’s because there was no Friendspace (basically Facebook). If you think back on history, there was a LOT going on in the 60’s that made it hard. It wasn’t all Doris Day and Cary Grant. I liked that she took action to get over Jeremy, rather than curl up in a ball and rot… but I just did not connect with her. And to be honest, I was never convinced she even liked Jeremy. I felt like she mourned the loss of a relationship (she couldn’t make out anymore) than the loss of him.

4. I loved Oliver, the pep-club president. He was charming and swoony.

5. There was a lot going on that had nothing to do with the main idea of the story. It was a little discombobulated for me at times.

6. I appreciate the fact that Going Vintage made me consider my own relationship with technology. I couldn’t help but think of all the time I have wasted online scanning Twitter or Facebook stalking people. I do feel like it rules me a bit too much, and that a technology ban might be beneficial.

Overall, I’m not left with a ton to say about Going Vintage. I was in the mood for a light, fluffy read, and that’s what I got. I loved the idea behind the book, but I feel like there were some things that were missing for me.

3 Stars

Armchair BEA 2013: Blogger Development

Posted May 29, 2013 by Jana in Discussion / 65 Comments

Armchair BEA is a fun online event that those of us who could not attend BEA in New York City can participate in! There’s ways to network with other bloggers, posts on blogging tips, giveaways, and happenings at BEA from people who are there. Visit the Armchair BEA blog to see a schedule of events!

Wow… blogger development. What a daunting topic! I always feel inadequate to discuss how to become a better blogger, because there are so many times when I feel like a little newbie blogger, even though I’ve been doing it for almost 3 years! Well, I’ve been solo blogging for about a year and a half. Solo blogging is WAY different than collaboratively blogging with The Broke and the Bookish, let me tell you. And I’m still learning! Here’s what I’ve taken away from my experiences over the last year:

1. Be outgoing and make lots of book blogger friends! Everyone feels like a newbie at some point, no matter how long they have been blogging, or how awesome they seem to be. Just like in life, we all have our own insecurities. For this reason, and I’ve noticed this with most book bloggers, people in this bookish community are incredibly accepting and supportive. Lean on them for support, ask for advice, and be gracious.

2. Utilize Twitter. It’s an amazing tool that has produced and forged some of my best friendships! Plus, it’s a great way to get the word out about your posts AND find out about fun things in the book world.

3. Jump on the blog tour bandwagon, especially if you’re new. You get lots of awesome opportunities and you can meet a lot of cool bloggers and bookish professionals.

4. There is a fine line between an acceptable amount of memes and WAY TOO MANY. If you want to participate in a bunch of memes, don’t do EVERY one EVERY week. I do Top Ten Tuesday almost every week. Sometimes I’ll do a book haul post or a Waiting on Wednesday, but not every week. Try to come up with your own unique ideas that keep people coming back. Otherwise, you’ll fade into the huge crowd of book blogs out there.

5. Branch out of your reading comfort zone, and try something new. Chances are you will end up discovering something amazing. Before I was a blogger, I did not read young adult. I didn’t read contemporary, or dystopia, or paranormal. I read mystery and historical romances. Boring! I’ve become such an eclectic reader, and it’s thanks to my blogger friends. This might not do wonders for your blog, although being a versatile reader is very appealing, but it will enrich your experience as a blogger.

6. Support indie authors. In my experience, self-published authors are some of the most supportive authors out there. I’m not saying publishing house authors aren’t, but these indie authors are in the same boat as you are! They are trying really hard to get themselves out there, just like you are! And if you help them, they will help you. That’s how I got my name out there.

7. I really do not recommend follower memes or follower giveaways. You do not want to buy your readers. You want to earn them because they like you. Nobody makes true friends in school by giving them stuff. They sit and talk with them, establish a common ground, and hang out together. That’s how the book blogging world works, too. Go visit blogs, post sincere comments, and continue. You’ll make friends instead of followers.

8.  Ask your readers for their opinions. People LOVE explaining how they feel. Hosting discussions on your blog is a great way to meet people, gain friends, and learn something!

9. Don’t be afraid to show people who you are. Make your posts personal. You don’t need to give your address or full name to your readers, but let them know you as a person rather than a blogging machine.

10. Blog because you love it, or you will burn out fast. In the beginning, I was totally high strung. I had to have followers, I had to read every book everyone asked me to read, I had to post a review a day, I had to schedule out a few weeks of posts in advance, I had to comment on every blog I could find, etc. I stressed myself out! You can’t do that. You will never enjoy blogging if you turn it into a huge job. I did not want to dread reading or blogging. Once I realized I was doing this for myself, I began to have a lot more fun. Never, ever do more than you want to do. And if you hate a book, quit reading it. Life’s too short to read books not worth finishing.

Well, these are just my insights. When I get discouraged, I think of these pieces of advice that have been passed down from blogger to blogger. And yeah, it’s really hard to do all the right things all the time and have any kind of life, which is why the last tip is the most important. Do what you can, be happy with it, and know that it’s enough for you. And a reward system really doesn’t hurt. Go ahead and buy yourself that book you’ve been wanting. Blogging is awesome, we’re all learning as we go, and you’ll have an amazing experience no matter what happens!

So, what do you think? What are you doing to try and develop your blog, as well as your online presence, in the book community? Do you have any words of advice that I might also implement? Leave your links, and I’ll stop by!

Discussion: Reading Order for The Chronicles of Narnia

Posted May 28, 2013 by Jana in Discussion / 23 Comments


Ok. I am SOOOO confused. I’m about to begin this series for the first time ever, and I have seen the controversy over what order to read the books in.

There’s the order in which they were written:

1.    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
2.    Prince Caspian
3.    The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”
4.    The Horse and His Boy
5.    The Silver Chair
6.    The Last Battle
7.    The Magician’s Nephew

There’s the supposed chronological order:

1.    The Magician’s Nephew
2.    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
3.    The Horse and His Boy
4.    Prince Caspian
5.    The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”
6.    The Silver Chair
7.    The Last Battle

And there’s the publication order:

1.    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
2.    Prince Caspian (1951)
3.    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
4.    The Silver Chair (1953)
5.    The Horse and His Boy (1954)
6.    The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
7.    The Last Battle (1956)

What on Earth am I supposed to do? This is worse than the Star Wars movies. I’ve read compelling arguments for all three orders… but I still have no idea! I mean, I’m kind of leaning most towards the publication order, but I don’t know if it’s the best!! Plus, the Barnes and Noble leatherbound classic (from Kimberly!!) has them in chronological order. Ahhh!

I figured I’d go to the experts: you. How did you read the Narnia books? Have you read them in multiple orders? I need to know the best order for a Narnia newbie.

Armchair BEA 2013: Say Hi to Jana!

Posted May 28, 2013 by Jana in About Me / 50 Comments


Armchair BEA is a fun online event that those of us who could not attend BEA in New York City can participate in! There’s ways to network with other bloggers, posts on blogging tips, giveaways, and happenings at BEA from people who are there. Visit the Armchair BEA blog to see a schedule of events!

To kick off this awesome week of virtual BEA-ness, here’s a few things about me I thought you’d like to know!

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? 

Well… I’m Jana, and I’m 25 years old. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in graphic design (art history minor) in December of 2009, and I’m starting up grad school this fall to get my Master’s in Library and Information Science. Yep, crazy, huh? Needless to say, my fellow graphic designers were rather surprised when they found out I was aiming for a MLIS instead of an MFA (Master’s of Fine Arts). An artsy librarian? Heck yes! I also love to sing, and have been doing so since I was a tone deaf 3-year-old. Luckily I have perfect pitch now. I travel a lot (for pleasure), love shopping, design and make jewelry, and have an obsession with art books. I’ve been blogging with The Broke and The Bookish since June of 2010 (when we started), and I started this blog in November of 2011. I love sharing my opinions on books, so why not blog!? :)

2. Where in the world are you blogging from?

I live along the Wasatch Mountain Range in Utah, USA. It’s gorgeous here, and I love it! (Although I have documented proof that I am allergic to every tree, grass, weed, flower, and plant in the entire region.)

Just in case you ever go on Jeopardy, here are some fun facts about my awesome state:
– The Great Salt Lake is eight times saltier than the ocean.
– In 2002, Salt Lake City hosted the XIX Olympic Winter Games.
– Utah has the highest literacy rate in the nation. Woooo!
– Utah is the Jell-O capital of the World.

3. Tell us one (or a bunch of) non-book-related thing(s) that everyone reading your blog may not know about you. 

Umm… string cheese and popcorn are my comfort foods. I get sick a lot. I’m obsessed with polka dots. I’m a font snob. I did some freelance graphic design work for Microsoft XBOX. I fall into the tree in my front yard while putting up Christmas lights almost every year. I am deathly afraid of spiders. Even the ones you can’t see without a microscope. I hated hamburger until I was 17. Pretty much the only time I make my bed is right before I go to sleep.

4. What is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013? 

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill! It’s an adorable YA rom com with travel aspects, young love (but not insta-love), and some really endearing characters. If you’re interested, my review is here.

5. If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why? 
That is REALLY hard. Probably Sam from Josie Meadows’s Incarnate trilogy. He has lived for a very long time, and has lived so many different lives. I’d love to hear stories of his past, and get a firsthand account of how the world has changed over time.

Well, thanks for visiting! I’m excited to “meet” all my fellow Armchair BEA participants! Link me to your intro posts, and if you’re not participating, tell me something about you that I don’t know!

Top Ten Warm, Happy Reads

Posted May 28, 2013 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 30 Comments


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at my other blog, The Broke and the Bookish.

I’m really excited that today is a freebie, because I’m TOTALLY in the mood for some warm, summery books to read poolside, on deck, and in the sun.

I absolutely love light, happy reads that leave you with smiles and giggles. Mostly they take place on beaches, on vacation, by the lake, or during summer. Check out my favorites! They are all romantic, and they are all contemporary. And I love them ALL.

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Carrie Goes Off the Map by Phillipa Ashley

My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite
Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald


So, have you read any of these ones? What are some of your favorite summery reads? I need lots of recommendations!

RiverTime by Rae Renzi (Mini Book Review)

Posted May 27, 2013 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

RiverTime by Rae Renzi (Mini Book Review)RiverTime by Rae Renzi
Published by Carina Press on February 14, 2011
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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2 Stars

Casey Lord needs a break. Her great-on-paper boyfriend, Reed, is pressuring her to marry him--but she's not sure if he sees her merely as an asset to help his political career. A river-rafting trip in the remote wilderness provides the perfect opportunity to clear her head. Until a flash flood sweeps Casey away from her group--and straight into the arms of Jack, a mysterious man also stranded by the flooding river.

Jack won't tell Casey his last name, and her innocent questions about his life are met with evasive answers. Yet they have to trust each other to survive, and as the pair await rescue, their uneasy truce slowly blossoms into friendship--and love. They agree to keep secret whatever differences may separate them in the real world.

When rescue finally arrives, will it spell an end to their budding relationship?

I have a major thing for books with survival elements, and I absolutely ADORE the Grand Canyon (which I was not even sure was the setting for this book until I started reading it), so this book sounded perfect for me. I even ended up buying it without reading many reviews (which I forget), because I thought is sounded amazingly romantic and exciting. Sadly, I wasn’t really impressed.

The book starts out while the flash flood is in progress. It’s exciting and grabbed me immediately. The synopsis leads you to believe that Jack saves Casey, but she actually saves him. They both have baggage and frustrating lives, so they agree to forget about it all and live in “Rivertime”, which they treat like a parallel universe of sorts. Anything that happens in the canyon stays there, and will not impact their real lives. I didn’t like this element of the story. By turning this time into something that only mattered in the present, they both made decisions I did not agree with. I lost respect for them because of this.

I liked Jack, and his snarky sense of humor. Casey was your typical heroine, and did not really make an impression on me. With a setting as dynamic as the Grand Canyon, very little was done with it. For all I knew, they were stuck in a forest somewhere. I would have liked more scenery. And considering that this is a survival story, not much surviving happened. There were no animals, no chance of dehydration, no nothing really, except for some rain. I feel like a lot more could have been done with this as well. Casey also has this thing with comparing people to very detailed pieces of chocolate (with nuts and caramel, etc.). That got really old.

I don’t like relationships that that start out as pure lust. They both wanted to have steamy times, and they were each others’ only option, so it happened. This was a very insta-love kind of story, to the point of creepiness. I honestly don’t feel like they were stranded long enough to form a realistic relationship. They fell for each other before they even knew each other, which made it really hard for me to believe that their “love” could withstand their tumultuous real lives. Love needs a strong foundation, and you can’t just form that in a week or two.

I think my disappointment all boils down to the fact that this book spun out of control extremely quickly. Jack and Casey’s time in the canyon was a VERY small part of the story. The rest of it was spent on politics, cheating, misery, and weak characters having a hard time making decisions. Jack and Casey’s realities brought so many details and needless drama that I didn’t care about at all. I feel like the story would have been so much better if they had just been left in the canyon. I continued reading because I hoped things would get good again, but after the first quarter of the book, things went downhill and stayed there. And the ending… well, it was pretty terrible. Everything was wrapped up into a WAY too convenient and implausible bow. I love happily ever afters, but they need to be realistic for me or I end up scoffing. With a promising beginning, Renzi should have quit while she was ahead and written a novella instead of a novel.

2 Stars

Heist Society by Ally Carter (Book Review)

Posted May 24, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 8 Comments

Heist Society by Ally Carter (Book Review)Heist Society by Ally Carter
Series: Heist Society #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 9, 2010
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 287
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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4 Stars

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

I don’t come across many YA mysteries or adventure stories that sound good very often, but after reading Heist Society‘s synopsis and so many wonderful reviews, I pretty much knew I would enjoy this one! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I really like Kat. She tried so hard to leave the family business, but re-entered the crime world because of her family. I love her devotion to her dad. She is confident, but not to the point of cockiness. She understands her limits, but has no trouble pushing those limits as far as possible. She also has this constant battle going on in her head between her conscience and her mission. She’s pretty awesome.

2. Kat’s friends and family, Hale, Simon, Hamich, Angus, and Gabrielle are all amazing and fill the spots in Kat’s heist society. Each of them has a special talent, and when put together, they form this amazing band of criminals. I absolutely love the strength of their relationships, and the lengths they will go to for one another. These people are willing to put everything on the line to protect Kat’s father. I love that. Talk about pure devotion. I have never read a book with such strong familial relationships, and I loved it so much more than I thought I would.

3. I loved Hale so much. He’s rich and classy, and is always looking out for Kat. His previous life goes to show how unlikely a candidate he is for Kat’s crew, but he fits in so well because you can tell how much he cares for her.

4. In the midst of all the hard things they have to go through, these characters say some of the funniest things! Here are a few of my favorite quotes and excerpts from the story:

“Can I see you outside for a second?” Kat glared at Hale, then walked to the patio doors and out onto the veranda. As Hale closed the door behind him, Kat heard Angus say, “Ooh, Mom and Dad are going to fight now.”

“Thanks to you, Gabs, we just figured out a half dozen ways not to rob the Henley.”

 “If you die of pneumonia, I’m pretty sure there are at least a dozen guys who’ll try to kill me and make it look like an accident.”

“Do you understand any of this?” he said, pointing to the lines and symbols that covered the massive screens.
“Some people understand the value of an education.”
Hale stretched and crossed his legs, the settled his arm around Kat’s shoulders. “That’s sweet, Kat. Maybe later I’ll buy you a university. And an ice cream.”
“I’d settle for the ice cream.”

SO fun! I love their interactions and silliness. They are all so mature and worldly, but their dialogue helps remind us that they are just a bunch of extraordinary teenagers.

5. Heist Society travels to so many awesome places in the USA and Europe. We get to visit New York, Las Vegas, Sabina Valley, Naples, Vienna, Warsaw, London, Paris, and Rome. I loved all the jumping around the globe we got to do!

6. I read so many YA contemporaries, that it was rather refreshing to have so little romance this time. There’s a little tension, and a little sweetness… but, for the most part there’s no romance. I have a feeling there will be more in the next book, and I’m SO excited about that because I just love the characters so much.

7. The writing style was so perfect that I barely noticed it. Does that sound strange? It just fit the story so perfectly that I forgot I was reading. So often, I focus on a writing style because it is SO bad. And yes, there are other times when I focus on it because it’s so beautiful. This time, though, not noticing it is the best compliment I can give.

This was my first Ally Carter book, and I absolutely loved it! I need to go check out her Gallagher Girls series now, because I love Ally’s strong characters and her storytelling. I’d definitely recommend this to people who are looking for something outside of the normal romance, vampires and werewolves, heavy issues kind of YA books.

4 Stars

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill (Book Review)

Posted May 22, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 15 Comments

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill (Book Review)Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on November 13, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

First of all, look at that cover! I love it, and it’s actually what prompted me to investigate the book. Then I read the synopsis, and I was sold all over again! A heroine who sounds quirky like me, London, breaking rules, and mysterious suitors? Yessssssss! I’m only sorry it took me so long to read it. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Lauren Morrill paints an absolutely lovely picture of London for us. I’ve never been, but I could still picture the quaint streets and the exciting buzz of such an amazing city.

2. I always wanted to go on a class trip to a far off place and make amazing memories with my friends, fall in love, and look back on it fondly forever. This book was my class trip. Well, it’s as close as I can get to one now. I felt like I was there, wandering the museums, running in the rain, and soaking in an old fashioned bath tub after a long day of walking.

3. Book Licker. Oh my. This is Julia’s nickname (given to her by Jason), and I just adore her for her bookishness, her nerdiness, her obsessive compulsiveness, and her hilarious personality. She’s always reading, spouting off random factoids about everything, tripping over her words, following the rules to a tee, struggling to be perfect at everything, and failing at flirting. And she is deathly afraid of geese. I identified so much with her… and I’m not sure what that says about me! Haha.

4. And then we have Jason, her partner (buddy) on this class trip. He is her polar opposite, her arch nemesis, and the thorn in her side. But he’s funny and suave and cute, and he’s getting her to do all these new things and experience London in a way that she never predicted. And he can be so sweet and concerned sometimes. And boy, does he pick on her! I loved watching him burrow his way into the little soft spot she formed for him.

5. Meant to Be is charmingly hilarious. Jason gets drunk, and I could not contain my laughter during this scene. And remember when I said Julia is scared of geese? You have NO idea. And then there’s a street performer… and a pond incident, not to mention the witty dialogue.

6. It’s SO romantic. There’s mud kissing, sightseeing off the beaten path, deep conversations, and a slow burn. I love this kind of romance. It’s a 180 from insta-love. It’s so realistic and believable.

7. Even though these are high-schoolers, I never felt like they were! Julia and Jason are so mature, smart, and well-spoken. They make some very teen-like decisions, but their outlook on the world, and their insights on those decisions make them relatable. Honestly, these two are any age you want them to be. I loved that this is a YA book that adults and kids can enjoy and pull different things from. I just know I will be reading this with my future daughter someday.

8. I loved the smattering of Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Winston Churchill quotes. They just added a little something special!

9. The ending was really something special, and I could not have seen that coming. This is definitely not a predictable book.

I think I might have found my new favorite YA contemporary romance, and that’s really saying something! I love Julia and Jason, and am quite sad that my time with them is over. I’m also sad I had to leave London and fly back to the USA with them. Meant to Be is such a fun journey, and I loved every single word. Finally, I love that the cover matches the content! Both are absolutely beautiful. If you loved Anna and the French Kiss, Just One Day, and Instructions for a Broken Heart, you will love this! And if you’ve never read any of these, you’ll still love it. It’s full of heart, travel, young love, and humor.

I’m Back from Vacation!!!

Posted May 19, 2013 by Jana in About Me / 8 Comments

Hello, all my beloved blogger friends! Wondering where I’ve been over the last two weeks? Well, I’ve been cruising the Caribbean aboard the Carnival Freedom. When the ship was not in port, I sat on deck reading to the sound of the waves. I ate a lot of food, slept a lot, swam, read, and had an amazing time with my family. I also got to see some amazing places… and have some interesting experiences (a man came up to me on the street in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and whispered in my ear, asking if I wanted to buy some marijuana… scared the crap out of me. BUT I did see a dolphin jumping in the open ocean, right at my stateroom window while we were cruising!!! Another life goal accomplished.). I also visited Key West, Florida; Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos; La Romana, Dominican Republic; Aruba; Curaçao; and Grand Cayman. It was amazing! I plan to post some kind of trip recap here soon, but I wanted to make sure you all knew where I was!



I read a TON of books while I was gone, so keep your eyes open for lots of reviews coming up! I’ve got lots of catching up to do, but hopefully I’ll be back in full swing soon! And I have some other exciting news I’ll be announcing soon! I missed you all, and am so glad to be back to my bookish friends!