My reading tips this week is the beautiful, heart-wrenching, sad and gripping All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. This is such a touching and lovely story that will stay with you for a long time and that will break your heart in pieces.
This is one of the most difficult reviews I’ve ever written. It’s almost impossible to describe the book in a way that does it justice. And I also just want to write about the ending, but I promise, I will make sure not to give that away…
Starting from the beginning instead, this is a story about teenagers Theodore Finch and Violet Markey who meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school. They are both thinking about ending their lives by jumping off it, but instead they end up saving each other. Finch is fascinated by death, but also searching for the romantic notion of the ‘perfect day’. Each day he plans to kill himself, but every time, something good or beautiful stops him. Violet’s life has been shattered by the death of her elder sister in a car accident, that Violet feels responsible for. When Finch and Violet pair up for a project at school to discover the wonders of their state, they both discover way more. About each other and themselves.
This is such an important book about mental illness and suicide that everyone should read. But most of all, it’s a beautiful book that will grip you and make you fall in love with the characters and make you cry your heart out. I love the writing and how the chapters are divided by the alternating POVs of Finch and Violet. I love the wanderings and how wonderful, strong and unique Finch is. I love the use of book quotes to add an extra layer to the characters’ thoughts and feelings. I love the raw feelings and that Jennifer Niven does not hold anything back. The only thing I did not like was Finch’s ignorant, abusive parents, but they are vital for the story.
Overall, All the Bright Places is a story that will bring tears to your eyes and break your heart, but that you in the end will be glad that you have read. I truly love this book and recommend it with all my heart, regardless if you like contemporary, YA or sad readings or not! This is truly a book that anyone will be affected by and start to rethink one’s own life after reading.
Find out more about the book and the author here: Jennifer Niven
Paper Princess by Erin Watt is such an utterly entertaining, surprisingly fun, roller-coaster and oh so hot read. The description of this book as “This generation’s Cruel Intentions” is so accurate.
This is normally not my genre, I don’t like too much erotica or too explicit content, but I have to admit that this soap opera is utterly entertaining. I do however want to point out that this is NA and has a lot of sexual scenes that should only be read by mature audiences. There are also other trigger warnings, such as physical and sexual abuse, bullying, toxic and even cruel relationships, attempted rape, alcohol and drug use, addiction, a lot of slut shaming and stereotype gender roles. That said, if you use caution before going into this book, it makes a good ‘guilty pleasure’ read. Sometimes you just want to be entertained...
What pulled me in to this story and got me hooked was the strong heroine, Ella Harper, and the twists, turns, angst, drama and the insane chemistry and hate-lust going on.
I was surprised by how much I liked Ella. She's strong and tough, but not over the top. She’s only 17, but ever since her mom died of cancer, she’s been making it on her own. She yearns for love and acceptance, hiding it behind a hard exterior, and her character was well-developed throughout the story. Out of nowhere, a man she’s never met, Callum Royal, claims to be her legal guardian and takes her home to live with him and his five sons.
The Royals are rich, privileged and entitled. They’re not really good people though, they're amoral but they are also utterly fascinating. These Royal boys can be brutal, especially the leader of their pack, Reed. Reed can be downright despicable and intolerable at the best of times. But I enjoyed how Ella handled them, never giving in to them. She always stays true to herself and says what is on her mind. And the sexual tension between Reed and Ella is off the charts. All the power play between Ella and Reed slowly develops into one of the most passionate hate to love relationships I’ve ever read.
One of my favorite characters, next to Ella, is Easton Royal. Poor broken Easton. He is so sweet, that you just want to cuddle with him and heal his broken heart, but he also has such a great sense of humor. And I like how he was the first to become a friend to Ella, when she most needed one.
All in all, Paper Princess is a fun, feisty, addicting and entertaining soap opera. There is so much drama, revenge, betrayal, love, friendship and jaw dropping moments than you will feel like you are on a roller-coaster. There is a lot of sex but I enjoyed the sexual undertones as well as the romance. And that cliffhanger ending… I can’t even.
As for the rating, I give this book full points for the addiction and entertainment, but I have to take off a point for the romanticizing of sexist and abusive relationships, which is never okay, no matter how entertaining the rest of the story is. So I rate this book 4 stars.
Find out more about the book and the author here: Erin Watt
My reading tips this week is the gorgeously cute and romantic Stay with Me by Mila Gray. From the first moment, this beautiful love story held me captivated.
Stay with Me is an emotionally, beautiful story about Didi, the bosses daughter who does her intern at a military hospital, and the wounded marine Walker. Didi is a sucker for romance, looking for the true, epic love to sweep her off her feet. Walker is bitter, broken and cynical without hope for the future. He was one of the youngest Lieutenants in the Marine Core. But the majority of his team died while he was left blind with a knee injury.
This is the second book in the Come Back to Me-series, but can be read as a standalone. In Come Back to Me, we met Jessa but in Stay with Me all focus is on her best friend Didi. Didi has her whole life planned out. She’s about to finish her degree in psychology and she's dating movie star Zac, a guy most girls would kill to be with. Her plan certainly does not include falling for one of her patients, especially not someone like Walker.
I really enjoyed the romance between Didi and Walker, it's such a slow build up as they become friends and slowly start to open up to each other. It was a great take with the POV switching from Didi to Walker, which made you see their hopes and doubts much clearer. And the sexual tension and angst was so addictive, it just kept me longing to read the pages as fast as possible…
I loved the characters, Walker and Didi of course, but also the other wounded soldiers, like the good-hearted and brave Sanchez, and troublesome Dodds. Mila Gray really shows the challenges soldiers face after coming home with severe injuries and how they all have different coping mechanisms. This story definitely wasn’t just a light and happy romance, there was so much more pain and suffering the ugliness of war that really added more depth to it.
My only complaint about this book is the ending. It sort of wrapped up too quickly after all the slow build up. I think the book would have benefited by having an epilogue. But maybe that will be in the third book in this series? Even though it’s another stand-alone, there might be some Didi-Walker appearances too I hope!
Overall, I really loved this amazing and emotional love story and recommend it with all my heart!
Find out more about the book and the author here: Mila Gray
My reading tips this week is the cute and romantic Field Party series by Abbi Glines. This series is the perfect read to get you out of a reading slump, I binge-read all three books in just two days!
The books in the series are light, fluffy and sweet, but still have more of a serious undertone than you might expect. The stories are all about high school, football, field parties, falling in love, but they also deal with difficult issues such as teen pregnancy and rape, sickness and loss of loved ones, absent parents, infidelity and mistakes that costs you everything, but they all leave you with hope in the end. This is a series about the healing power of love. How love can help you survive the most tragic events and make you strong.
Each book in the series has different narrators, so they can be read as standalones, even though they are continuations of the same group of friends in the small town Lawton, Alabama. My favorite book in the series is the first one, Until Friday Night, but I really enjoyed the others as well, and especially the appearances of the main characters from the first book throughout the series.
The books are full of clichés and have a bit too much of the strong male hero that needs to be saved by the sweet, gentle girl, but I have to admit that I loved it! I binge-read all three books in just two days.
I really liked that the stories had an overall very somber vibe as both the hero and the heroine face loss within their families or other tragedies. I also really appreciated how Abbi Glines allowed her characters to make honest, realistic choices and how she allowed her characters to grow throughout the series.
But yes, there are some things that were not great in the books. Like how they all follow the same formula with the popular rich bad boy and the poor, broken and innocent girl, the slut-shaming and the division of all girls as either saints or sluts, the love triangle in the second book, Under the Lights. But still, I would definitely recommend this series to anyone looking for a nice, pleasant read, with a serious undertone, or for anyone wanting to get out of a reading slump.
Find out more about the books and the author here: Abbi Glines
Hi! I'm Annie, a Swedish bookworm, YA addict and coffee lover, who writes romantic YA books in English. I'm the author of the Angelheart Saga series (First Came Forever and Forever Disguised).
I love YA books and want to share what I read with you too, so check out my reading tips here!
Below you can find the reviews per author as well.