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The Before Now and After Then – Peter Monn

The before nowTitle: The Before Now and After Then
Author: Peter Monn
Publisher: Pen Name Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 304
My rating★★★★★

On Valentine’s Day I was able to ‘purchase’ a few new books for my kindle for free, thanks to my friend Suze. I kind of fell in love with the cover of The Before Now and After Then’. I love old cassettes and the way they remind me of my childhood.

What the book is about

Danny Goldstein has always lived in the shadow of his identical, twin brother Sam. But when a hurricane of events forces him into the spotlight, he starts to realize that the only thing he’s truly afraid of is himself.

With the help of his costume changing friend Cher, a famous gay uncle with a mysterious past of his own, two aging punk rocker parents and Rusty, the boy who will become his something to live for, Danny begins to realize that the music of the heart is truly the soundtrack for living.

What I think about the book

This is one of those cute young adult books that I just had to keep on reading. Danny is a teenager in search for himself. He has no idea of who he really is and losing his twin brother Sam has only made that feeling worse. When he and his mom move to another part of town and he starts a new school, things are changing for Danny.

I really loved all the music that was mentioned in this book. Even if most of the songs are from the 80’s they are certainly awesome classics. Music gives the characters in this story their personalities, it makes the story come alive. Some things are certainly really cute, like how Rusty makes mixed tapes for Danny (How cool is that!) I think that making a mixed tape for someone is very romantic.

Danny describes himself as a normal teenage boy who happens to be in love with another boy. I think that’s true. You could easily swap his character or Rusty’s for any other boy or girl. In love it doesn’t matter who you are and who you fall in love with. And this story makes it so normal that these two happen to be boys. I think that is a really good thing. So yeah, The Before Now and After Then is just a very cute love story of two normal people who both have been hurt before.

Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire

Beautiful disasterTitle: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1)
Author: Jamie McGuire
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Format: Paperback
Pages: 416
My rating★★★★✫

I have bought this book for it’s title and cover. There, I said it. Yes, sometimes I do judge a book by its cover, without even reading the synopsis. Well, in this case it was definitely a good guess, because I really loved the story.

What the book is about

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

What I think about the book

The first part of the story got me hooked. Travis is the ultimate bad boy and I had an instant book-crush on him. Yes, he is everything a girl needs to stay away from, but I do find that quite attractive. Like Abby, I would not rush into things. That seems like a smart thing to do.

Abby didn’t really seem like such a good girl herself, although there was nothing ‘wrong’ with her, I had no idea what was in her past. It became clear that she and her friend America left home for good reasons. When I finally found out what her past was like, it felt like a major plot twist. Whoa! It was not at all what I expected, but at least it made me understand why she was able to stand up to Travis the way she did.

And then there was Parker. I loathe guys like him, who think they can make girls like them with expensive dinners and presents that are over the top. I find it a bit creepy, as if they have no soul. I could not like him, no matter how hard I tried. Ugh. Exit Parker, hello Travis!

Of course Travis and Abby find their way together. You can feel that from the very beginning. Abby and Travis have this friendship / relationship going where things can go either up or down, but nothing in between. When it’s good, it’s awesome, but when it’s bad… You better hide. I can relate to that in a way. For some people it seems like a bad thing, but these two can totally handle each other, good or bad. I liked that.

While I found the beginning of the story total 5 star material, I did end up giving the book just 4 stars. It became a bit unrealistic near the end and things were getting out of control. I still liked it, but it was different somehow. When I finished it, I thought “Did that just happen to them?” and I wondered if the ending was okay. Maybe it was, but I wasn’t so sure. It didn’t change my mind entirely, I still loved Travis and Abby – and all the others in the book.

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance – Kirsty Greenwood

The Vintage Guide to Love and RomanceTitle: The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance
Author: Kirsty Greenwood
Publisher: Pan
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
My rating★★★★★

I have won this book via a Twitter giveaway of This Chick Reads. At that point I had just decided to read a few Christmas novels first, but as soon as the holidays were over, I grabbed this on from the bookshelf.

Over the past months I have been a bit annoyed with the main characters of chick lit novels, but Jessica Beam was quite a lovely character and I did like her.

What the book is about

Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she’s been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.

Things aren’t going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras!

When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads – by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.

The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda’s guides still work. It’s going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off…

What I think about the book

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance was a lovely read and I really enjoyed it. Jess Beam is crazy and I totally envy how she is up for partying and enjoying her life. But, like all people who live a wild life, there are two sides to the story. Jess has lost her mother when she was still quite young and has never known her dad. That has left a certain scar on her soul and she has trouble opening herself up for love.

So when she gets a chance to be transformed in to a vintage lady and try to win over London’s playboy Leo Frost, she only sees it as a quick way to earn some cash and a bit of a game. First of all she doesn’t believe in the vintage Good Woman guides, but she also doesn’t believe in falling in love. Of course she is completely wrong there. You can see that coming from miles away, but that’s no problem because it is written so beautifully. I was totally able to picture all the venues and the pretty dresses and I completely fell in love with Leo & Jess as a couple.

This book is a great choice if you are up for reading something seriously romantic!

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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Roxanne has read 0 books toward her goal of 50 books.