Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Synopsis: " “I made the wrong choice.”
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.
But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.
People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more."
Review: I was completely in the mood for a good ol' contemporary romance and this was perfect. Lina was a pretty standard young adult character with a somewhat unique young adult life and plot. However, I was definitely in the mood for this type of book so that only helped.
I have never traveled to Europe, but I loved the way this novel described the atmosphere of Italy and I felt like I could understand a part of Italy even though I have never been. The setup of Lina's story was also unique in that there were multiple crazy twists in her past. The entire story is cute and romance filled, with the standard sort of contemporary action.
My two favorite parts about this novel was the romance and the characters. As a contemporary YA novel, the romance part of this book was a given, but Love & Gelato provided a romance that I was just really drawn to and I found myself knee-deep and completely in love with their love before I knew it. Jenna Evans Welch also created amazing characters. Not only were they relatable, they were also unique and definitely had characteristics that really set them apart from other contemporary characters.
The only reason I had to rate this book a bit lower was the predictability. I was able to guess a bit more than half the book which wasn't horrible, but I found myself wishing Lina could read my mind and that wasn't what I was hoping for. However, overall I still really enjoyed the plot, even though I was able to guess the ending and it wasn't as fast as I preferred.
Love & Gelato is a great read for anyone in search of a love story with unique characters and a event-filled and cute plot!
Favorite Quote: "Her sadness was smeared across the journal like paint that had never had the chance to dry."
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Inked by Eric Smith
*I received a copy of Inked from the author, Eric Smith, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*
Synopsis: "Tattoos once were an act of rebellion.
Now they decide your destiny the moment the magical Ink settles under your skin.
And in a world where Ink controls your fate, Caenum can't escape soon enough. He is ready to run from his family, and his best friend Dreya, and the home he has known, just to have a chance at a choice.
But when he upsets the very Scribe scheduled to give him his Ink on his eighteenth birthday, he unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that sends the corrupt, magic-fearing government, The Citadel, after him and those he loves.
Now Caenum, Dreya, and their reluctant companion Kenzi must find their way to the Sanctuary, a secret town where those with the gift of magic are safe. Along the way, they learn the truth behind Ink, its dark origins, and why they are the only ones who can stop the Citadel.
Eric Smith takes you on a high-octane fantasy adventure, perfect for anyone who has dreamed of being different… only to discover that fate is more than skin deep."
Review: I really enjoyed this book, but before I get on with my compliments I want to go through the couple of things I didn't enjoy as much. I found this novel's action areas harder to read than I would other books. In my opinion, I would actually prefer this book to be a movie instead of a book, just because of many of the awkward scenes that could have been amazing movie scenes. I also found the pacing of the book to be a bit odd as some scenes were too slow for me and I had to skim those lines just to speed up. Despite these few setbacks, I loved this story!
The whole idea of Inked is pretty incredible (in short the each year people are inked and receive magic from that ink as a prediction of that person's job in society). I would say that every book is better than its movie, but I could see Inked being, potentially, an even better movie than it is a book. Not only that, but as a movie Caenum's world could really be seen in more depth which would have really drawn me in. My favorite part about this novel is really the ideas Eric Smith has for this world and that is why I am even more excited to read the next book Branded when it's released!
I have a slight confession about this book. I did not read the synopsis very carefully before reading this book, so for a couple of pages I automatically assumed that this book was narrated by a female lead character. This is how I know I've been spoiled for too long... Anyways I did actually enjoy reading from a male's perspective because I haven't read many recently and this was a refreshing experience. The writing is also beautiful and I can see how many lines of advice could also be brought into our world.
The plot line had surprises at many points, but at the same time it could have been better. However, I really have to stress the brilliance of the whole ink-tattoo-magic relationship. This interesting idea really helped pull me through this novel to find out more about the world Caenum lives in. Overall, I would recommend this story to anyone looking for a easy, breezy read (even though it took me forever because of school) as well as anyone in search of an interesting world with some adventure and hints of romance and action!
Favorite Quote(s): "Ink has a habit of leaving a stain on the world."
"Magic makes people dream. Imagine."
Someone I Wanted to Be by Aurelia Wills
*I received this book for free through Netgalley from Candlewick, but this in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
Synopsis: When an insecure teen starts impersonating someone else, her life spirals dangerously out of control in a realistic, relatable novel about finding yourself—and discovering your true friends.
Leah Lobermier dreams of becoming a doctor, but it’s hard to stay focused on getting good grades when boys make oinking sounds at her in school and her mother spends every night on the couch with a bottle of wine. Leah’s skinny and popular "friends," Kristy and Corinne, aren’t much better and can hardly be counted on for support. When the girls convince a handsome older man to buy them beer, Leah takes his phone number and calls him, pretending to be Kristy—coy and confident—and they develop a relationship, talking and texting day after day. But as the lie she created grows beyond her control, can Leah put a stop to things before she—or Kristy—is seriously hurt?
Review: Someone I Wanted to Be was not exactly one of my favorite reads. Although some points were enjoyable overall I was not given that kind of endless pull to read it or continue reading. I found Leah to be quite a likeable character but without the correct plot I just never connected with anything. It was like one of those movies you would watch at the theater and just sort of forget about.
I have to say that the ending was the most disappointing for me. It wasn't meant to be a cliffhanger (I don't think) but it left me asking ' what just even happened?' I was just clicking between pages on my kindle completely lost. Not very appealing.
My only liking to this book was that it really did touch on the teenage feel of life and some life problems and challenges which are clearly not easy to face or bring to the public eye. I liked that Leah was not just viewed as a 'fat' girl, but, to the reader, we could see all the troubles she faced whether it was at home, school, or with friends, Leah really did have a lot to go through which was really the biggest reason I finished the novel, to see if she could overcome her problems.
Overall everything felt too mediocre/ not attention grabbing which left me quite sad. However, feel free to pick this book up if a relaxed read is what you're into the mood for!
Favorite Quote(s): "I was a kid again. I was playing hideandseek with the whole world."
"The streetlights looked like burning matches sticking out of the sidewallk."
"I was alone. It was so familiar."
"no more kittens or puppies. They'd all grown up and run away."
A fan of anything fiction, furry, & fun.