Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

373 pages

Synopsis: Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that? 

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! 

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. 

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless. 

“You’re bolder than before.”

I usually don’t like books by YouTubers, but Again, But Better really exceeded my expectations. It’s fun, it’s cute, and it’s a fast but emotional read. I loved the characters and the drama between everyone- especially Shane and Pilot and Shane and her parents- and Shane’s development throughout the book was really great.

Christine Riccio made studying abroad and all the places the people in the book visited sound vibrant and exciting with great descriptions.

The writing was not spectacular, but decent for a debut. It had an overload of references to 2011 (when the first half of the book was set) and Shane, the main character, seems very similar to the author, Christine Riccio. However, the book had a lot of funny moments and nostalgic vibes. The pacing was done very well, with a good balance between school, work, and hanging out with friends.

The plot twist was definitely unexpected, though I would have liked to know more of the background behind it, and have the ending fleshed out a bit more.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

xoxo,

Adeline

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One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

One Summer is Paris tells the story of two women, Grace and Audrey. Grace’s husband has just announced that he wants a divorce, and she must take the trip to Paris she planned for their twenty-fifth anniversary by herself. Meanwhile, Audrey, an English girl, wants to get away from her difficult home life by spending a summer working at a book shop in France (though she hates reading). When an unfortunate incident causes the two to meet, they become friends.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun vacation story, but it had darker moments and a lot of great lessons to learn about discovering yourself and successful relationships. The characters were able to grow so much and become amazing, kind, and independent people. Though a little predictable, it was a captivating storyline with very fun, relateable characters and a dash of romance and humor. Overall, a fantastic book.

Thank you to NetGalley, Sarah Morgan, and the publishes for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

xoxo,

Adeline

The East End by Jason Allen

9780778308393_rhc_prd-24 stars. The East End centers around two families living in the Hamptons. Corey, a working-class teenager about to leave for college, spends his summer breaking into local mansions. One night, he breaks into the Sheffield estate, where he and his mother work. At the same time, a poolside accident is occurring with Mr. Sheffield and his lover. Unfortunately, Corey saw what happened.

The book is both thrilling and heartbreaking. It’s a crazy series of events over just a couple days, filled with threats, incorrect assumptions, and many story lines. The explosive climax was very interesting, but it came really fast, leaving a couple of threads untied. I did love most of the characterization- all of the people had such compelling backstories and motivations for doing things-, and the imagery Jason Allen used to describe the settings. The East End painted a beautiful picture of the reality of socioeconomic disparity, with memorable characters and a remarkable story line.

Thank you to Harper Collins, NetGalley, and Jason Allen for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton

Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton 

Summary:  WHEN ESTHER THOREL, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God’s will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping ‘madam’ is too good to refuse.

INSIDE THE THORELS’ tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two women forge an uneasy relationship. The physical intimacies of washing and dressing belie the reality: Sara despises her mistress’s blindness to the hypocrisy of her household, while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets to see Sara as anything more than another charitable cause.

IT IS SILK that has Esther so distracted. For years she has painted her own designs, dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. When he laughs at her ambition, she unwittingly sets in motion events that will change the fate of the whole Thorel household and set the scene for a devastating day of reckoning between her and Sara.

THE PRICE OF a piece of silk may prove more than either is able to pay.

4 stars. Blackberry and Wild Rose tells the stories of two young women in eighteenth-century London. Sara has just arrived in the city, where she is manipulated into becoming a prostitute at a tavern. She is rescued by Esther Thorel, the wife of a master silk weaver who wants to design silk herself. But the Thorel household is not as perfect as it seems. I thought that Blackberry and Wild Rose was a very interesting, well-researched book. I enjoyed learning about how silk is made, and about the revolts of the silk journeymen in London. The plot was unpredictable, and the characters were well-developed, though the two main characters seemed very similar at times. This is a book that I think a lot of historical fiction readers would love. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

This book will be released on May 7th.

Note: I was provided with a free ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

International Book Fairs

I’ve attended some really excellent book fairs in the past, both locally and while traveling, and I thought some of you might enjoy this extensive list of fairs all over the world. It was written by a fantastic blog for readers, Kotobee, and lists several book fairs for every month this year, where you can meet authors and publishers, interact with other readers, and pick up some new books!

Here’s the link:
https://www.kotobee.com/blog/international-book-fairs-2019/

I hope you enjoy this great resource and thank you to Kotobee for sharing this with me!

xoxo, Adeline

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

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Fixie Farr works in her family’s housewares store, picking up the slack from her siblings. One day, a stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop, for which Sebastian, the computer’s owner, gives her an IOU scribbled on a coffee sleeve. Fixie doesn’t imagine she’ll every use the IOU, until her childhood crush, Ryan, moves back to England looking for a job. So begins a series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie.

This was such a fun read. All the characters are well-developed, and Fixie is an adorably quirky main character, who is very realistic and likable. You really get to see her grow and develop throughout the book. The first half of the book is a little slow to get going, but once you get the middle, the plot really advances. I loved the cute development of Fixie and Seb’s relationship. Overall, a really interesting read that kept me turning the pages.

I was provided with an e-galley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Literary Places by Sarah Baxter

Literary Places was a stunning compilation of descriptions of the settings from twenty five of the most famous books in history. I loved the writing style- it had the power to make even the ugly seem beautiful- and it really made me want to visit some of the places it described or read some more of the books it mentioned. I truly felt immersed in every place described in the book. It was very well-researched, and gave plenty (but not too much) background on the historical context of each region. I also loved learning more about how each place influenced the book that was set in that area, and how instrumental the setting was in the construction of the story. Most of the books I had never read before, and I definitely added a couple to my TBR list after reading this book. Each place had several accompanying illustrations by Amy Grimes, which were absolutely amazing! This was such an inspiring and beautiful book, and would make a fantastic gift for any lover of literature.