Tag «Barcelona»

Series Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

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Synopsis for Anna and the French Kiss (from Goodreads):
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

breakdown

Series: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2010 – August 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I saw Anna and the French Kiss years ago at my local library but I never got around to picking it up (I think it was the hint at a love triangle). I actually thought it was related to Lauren Henderson’s Flirting in Italian Series (which I put on my TBR YEARS ago!). I never gave this book a second thought until I started following more blogs and noticed everyone seemed to love this book. So call me intrigued…I put this book on hold and waited to dig in.

I’m not a huge fan of stories where the object of affection is in another relationship. In general, I don’t enjoy books with cheating or love triangles; and while I didn’t think Anna and the French Kiss was going to be a book dripping in cheating escapades, it didn’t appeal to me too much. (Nor did its sequel that had a similar situation). But who can refuse a literary trip to Paris?

The Plot:

These books are your typical contemporary Young Adult fare. When I was just a few chapters into Anna and the French Kiss I already had a good idea of what one major plot twist was going to be; however, there definitely was one I never saw coming. It wasn’t that way with the sequels though. I had the story figured out for the most part and so that dulled my enjoyment moving forward.

Also, perhaps it is just due to the age of the characters but somethings just seemed needless overdramatic. This was especially the case in Lola and the Boy Next Door. Maybe I’m just used to reading older contemporary romances now but I kept thinking “that’s all that drove you two apart?”–I guess I was anticipating a larger falling out considering how reactive Lola was to his return.

I ended up DNFing Isla and the Happily Ever After around the 21% mark because the pacing was just off. It also didn’t seem to have a plot either other than Isla obsessing after the object of her affection.

The Characters:

I was a little hit or miss with the characters here and I think that has to do with everyone’s quirkiness. Every one has their own larger than life personality (especially Lola) and that may clash you with you. I know that was the case in Book #2 (Lola) where I wasn’t a fan of Lola but I enjoyed Cricket’s character.

One thing I will say is that even if you don’t directly relate to the character, you likely have experienced a similar situation when it comes to relationships with family and friends. We’ve all had those strained times between others and I think that is especially true when you are a teenager and are trying to find yourself.

The Romance:

I’m really torn over the romance of the novels. In all of the novels, I really loved the pairings. I thought everyone was a great match and the whole “find someone who loves you for you” motto really rings true.

However, I don’t really enjoy love triangles–especially ones where someone is already in a relationship. Emotional cheating (having romantic feelings for someone else) isn’t something I like to read about. I don’t like the revelations that the “perfect” partner isn’t so perfect anymore because you can find flaws in anyone.

Why both Books #1 (Anna) and #2 (Lola) needed that angle is beyond me because I think both stories would have been great without that particular trope.

My Audiobook Experience (Lola and Isla):

I enjoyed the audio productions. Most of my dissatisfaction comes from the actual story and not the audiobook. Perhaps if I had read the novel (which would have taken me a fraction of the time the audiobook did) may have allowed me to enjoy the story itself but I’m not entirely sure that would have been the case.

My Rating: DNF

Anna and the French Kiss 4/5  |  Lola and the Boy Next Door 2/5 |  Isla and the Happily Ever After DNF

overall

Perfect for YA contemporary fans who enjoy quirky characters and don’t need an overly complicated plot.

Read if You Like: YA contemporaries; lighter stories
Avoid if You: dislike drama, dislike love triangles
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Single Sundays: Crazy, Undercover, Love by Nikki Moore

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Crazy, Undercover, Love (from Goodreads):
Uber-feisty career girl Charley Caswell-Wright travels to Barcelona for a weekend assignment as PA to the gorgeous Alex Demetrio, CEO of Demetrio International.

But she’s there under entirely false pretenses: to get her life back on track. Having lost the job she worked so hard to earn, she’s determined not to give it up so easily, especially when she didn’t deserve to lose it in the first place.

Mr Dreamy CEO is her only chance of clawing back her career – and her reputation. So she has to keep things strictly professional… boy, is she in trouble!

Review:

This book was just what I needed–a fun yet heartwarming romance novel that put a smile on my face as I was reading and when I finished.

It was refreshing to read a story with a strong heroine and a CEO who doesn’t have some kinky sexy obsession or alpha male tendencies. I get that reading is fiction so it’s nice to lose yourself to a fantasy–but every once and a while it’s nice to read about some down to earth characters (all things considered).

Although this book takes places over a weekend, I really liked the relationship that develops between Alex and Charley. It felt genuine to me and wasn’t based on just their physical attraction to each other. And their conversations weren’t laced with innuendos or useless prattle but interesting topics. But, the sexual tension is right there from the start so I never felt like it was lacking in any means!

The reason Charley is in Barcelona is because she lost her job and wants it back–and this adds an interesting spin to the book. I really liked this plotline and it added a more serious tone to the book which kept things a little more interesting though the focus is mostly on the romance. But be warned if you are hoping to read more about the city of Barcelona, there really is only one chapter where the city is toured so not much is described if that is what you are looking forward to the most.

While this book seems straight-forward and most readers will probably have a good idea on where everything is headed before you even start the book, there were some good plot twists along the way that made everything a little more interesting and made the book that much more enjoyable.

Conclusion:

If you want a romance that is just a straight, “vanilla” romance that is quick and entertaining, this is it. Just a great, light hearted read that is delivered well and is simply charming to read.

Rating: 4/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit, Brit Lit, Travel, Workplace Romance
Recommended for: 26+ women
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: first person
Similar Reads: Worth the Scandal by Karen Erickson (Worth it Series #1)