'First Comes Love' Book Review

ARC Book Review: First Comes Love

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Synopsis from Amazon:

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious, relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing, Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes, their delicate bond splinters.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter is assigned to her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms, and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover that they need each other more than they knew—and that in the search for true happiness, love always comes first.

*I received a free digital advanced reader’s copy of this book from Ballantine Books via NetGalley. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on June 28, 2016.*

For the record, although I personally wouldn’t buy this book I didn’t hate it I just didn’t love it as much as I had hoped I would.

First Comes Love is told in the alternating point of views of Josie and Meredith. While Meredith has a more type-A kind of personality and a seemingly perfect life, Josie is more carefree and a little crazy. The sisters handle the death of their brother, Daniel, very differently. For Meredith she feels like she has to be the perfect daughter for her parents and do whatever will make them happy. Josie, conversely, doesn’t discuss her brother’s death and tries not to think about it all.

I found Meredith to be irritating. I just didn’t really like her personality and I definitely sided with Josie for most of the novel, though Josie does make mistakes as well. I was also confused by the direction of the plot, particularly Josie’s storyline. There’s three significant men in Josie’s life: Will (her ex), Gabe (her best friend), and Pete (a guy she kind of dates). I was surprised by how Josie’s relationship with all three of them played out and honestly, I didn’t really like it. It just seemed like a strange ending to me and I didn’t get it at all.

I did, however, like how Meredith’s story ended, or more accurately, how it was kind of left open ended. Meredith definitely grew on me towards the end, but Josie is definitely my favorite of the two sisters.

Overall, I just didn’t love this book. Out of all the characters I think my favorite was Gabe but I still didn’t really connect with him. As always Emily Giffin’s writing was superb but the plot itself didn’t enthrall me, which is why I won’t be adding it to my shelf.

Stars:

3 stars

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Book Review: Where We Belong

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*This book is part of my POPSUGAR 2015 Reading Challenge*

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.

*This review will contain minor spoilers!!!*

I fell in love with Emily Giffin’s books when I read Something Borrowed I don’t even know how many years ago. I haven’t had a chance to read a lot of her books but thankfully one of my friends bought me three and I finally got a chance to dive in.

Where We Belong tells the story of Marian who’s world gets turned upside down when her daughter, who she gave up for adoption, shows up on her doorstep. Marian has been keeping the secret about her daughter for the past 18 years. Only her mother knew about the baby and the adoption and Marian has been trying to keep it that way ever since.

Unfortunately for her Kirby, Marian’s daughter, not only shows up at her apartment but comes with questions, mainly who’s her father? Marian is then forced to confront the past she’s so nicely tucked away. This is made even worse when she’s right in the midst of trying to convince her long time boyfriend to marry her.

Switching between the points of view of Marian and Kirby, Giffin crafts an amazing story of love and family. She shows how one decision Marian made when she was only 18 changed her life forever and how Kirby’s life completely changes when she herself turns 18. It’s interesting because although Marian is 18 years older than her daughter they both seem to grow up in this novel just in different ways. For Marian it was realizing what she really wanted for herself and her life. For Kirby it was finally realizing that her life, despite it’s craziness, isn’t as bad as she first thought it was.

I fell in love with both Marian and Kirby (I loved Kirby a little bit more) and was rooting for them the whole book. I really like Kirby’s wit, sarcasm, and love for music and I loved the relationship Marian and Kirby create together. It’s awkward and hard to understand but it’s also a good one.

My only problem with the book was the ending. It wasn’t terrible but I definitely wanted more from it. I could’ve used two more chapters at the end to tie things up. Otherwise, this is definitely a must read.

Favorite Line:

But now I can see that there is redemption and beauty in an accident emanating from love.

Stars: 4 out of 5. I really liked it but the ending just didn’t do it for me. I want to know more!!!

Borrow or Buy: Definitely buy. This is a goodie y’all want on your book shelf.

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Book Review: The One and Only

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Synopsis from Amazon:

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

 

I absolutely fell in love with this book. I’m pretty sure it took a week for me to finally move on from it. I just kept rereading my favorite parts over and over again because it was that good to me.

That being said I don’t think this book is for everyone just because it is a unconventional love story but in my opinion those are the best love stories.

The story centers around Shea Rigsby whose life is turned upside down when her best friend, Lucy’s, mother dies from cancer. Shea has lived her whole life in her same small town, Walker, Texas (except for the first few months of her life when she was in New York) loving the same college football team where she attended school and then stayed to work.

The death of Mrs. Carr makes Shea start to rethink her life. She’s start to rethink her career goals, her relationship with her boyfriend that doesn’t really seem to be going any where, and what she really wants from her life and for herself.

With the help of Coach Carr, her best friend, Lucy’s, father, Shea starts to make some changes in her life and begin to realize what it is she really wants.

This book was funny, heartbreaking, gives you butterflies, makes you question everything, and all in all amazing. I fell in love with this book and I will probably continue to reread it when I need to take my mind off something because it so easily pulls you right back in.

If you haven’t read the book yet stop here because now I’m going to get into some spoilers. Okay, here we go.

I truly liked Shea and Coach Carr’s relationship and I so knew that was going to happen but it still surprised me when it did. I totally get that it’s crazy and that’s her best friend’s father and it’s kind of weird but I just loved it anyway. That’s the thing about Emily Giffin, she’s make you support things you normally wouldn’t.

That being said I have to be honest and say I think a lot of the reason why Shea and Coach Carr’s relationship works is because she’s worshipped him her whole life. Everything he likes she likes but this is only because she’s been kind of in love with him her whole life. He drinks his coffee black, so does she. He likes glazed doughnuts, so does she. He’s the coach for Walker, she’s a die hard Walker fan. They drink the same kind of beer. The list goes on.

However, I do think that’s why Giffin had to include the whole thing with Coach Carr not reporting Ryan way back in the day because that shattered Shea’s idea that he was a perfect human being. With that I think it made their relationship more real because Shea had to see for herself that he isn’t perfect but the fact that she’s able to move past that and love him anyway made me really root for them.

Again, I still think it’s kind of weird but they were just too cute together for me to be totally against it. In fact I ended up being all for it. I know people disagree but I for one loved this book and now I want to go reread it. Again.

Also, I think it’s important to note that there is a central focus on football in the novel but I myself know near nothing about football and I still really liked the novel so don’t let that be a turn off for you.

Favorite Line:

He stared right into my eyes and said, “You know anyone who fits the bill?”

“I might,” I managed to whisper.

“Oh?” he said with as much charm as a man could possibly have without being too charming. “You might?”

“Maybe,” I said.

“Well let me know … Because short of that woman, the one I just described … I’d rather be alone … Just sitting here, alone, watching football.”

Stars: 5 out of 5. I haven’t been so caught up in a book like this for a long time. I loved it.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! Definitely something you’ll want on your book shelf.

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Liebster Award

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I’ve never been nominated for this before and I think this is really cool idea. The idea is I have to find 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers and help them hopefully gain new followers and they in turn tag your blog when they make their post. Thanks to Orly (Coffee Beans and High Heels) I got my first nomination and can now get in on the fun.

Rules:
1. Post eleven facts about yourself
2. Answer the eleven questions provided by the person who nominated you, and then create an eleven-question set for the next group of nominees
3. Choose eleven people to nominate and link them in the post
4. Let your nominees know they’ve been tagged- and no tag-backs!
5. Nominate blogs under 200 followers

Facts

  1. I’m a Christian.
  2. I go to Georgetown University.
  3. I’m a rising senior (scary!)
  4. I love to read and write.
  5. I watch about 20 TV Shows.
  6. I love Netflix.
  7. I spend most of my money on food and books.
  8. I’m currently interning at People magazine but it’s almost over. 😦
  9. I have two dogs that I love.
  10. My favorite color is pink.
  11. My nickname is Ziggy.

Questions

1. One thing you can live without

Drama
2.Who do you admire the most?

My mom.
3. Coffee or tea?

Tea
4.Best book you have read

Oh this is really really hard. How do I choose? Okay I’ll qualify this as the best book I’ve read this week and say The One and Only by Emily Giffin.
5.Why did you start your blog?

Because I love to write and it seemed like a good way to express myself and talk about the things I love.
6. Favorite food?

Lamb chops
7. In which country would you live for a year if you have the chance?

England
8. What is your biggest addiction?

TV
9.One fashion trend you don’t understand

Sperry’s. I just don’t get the hype. Never have, never will.

 

10. Are you a kindle or book person?

Kindle. Love my Kindle.
11. What is your biggest pet peeve?

When people take selfies on a regular. Once a week (or a month) is enough. Save selfies for Snapchat where they can quickly disappear.

Questions for you

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  2. What’s your favorite movie?
  3. What’s your favorite book?
  4. What was your favorite TV show as a child?
  5. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
  6. What’s your dream job?
  7. Where did you grow up?
  8. Choose one: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr
  9. How much do you want to go to Comic Con on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 10 (it’s all I’ve ever wanted)?
  10. Do you have any hobbies?
  11. X-box or Play Station?

Nominations

  1. Stephanie’s Book Reviews
  2. Temitayo Tales
  3. SKG Talks
  4. Busy Streets
  5. Bookshelf Battle
  6. Opinionated Bookster
  7. Cageofedenaddict
  8. Crafted in Carhartt
  9. Sydney Joto
  10. Playground of Randomness
  11. A Bottomless Book Bag

Book Review: Something Blue

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I loved Something Borrowed (both the book and the movie) but I resisted reading the sequel for so long because I didn’t like Darcy and wasn’t sure I cared to know what happened to her.

However, Emily Giffin has this amazing ability to show more than one side to a character and I found myself understanding Darcy’s side of things and actually beginning to like her.

The novel continues right where Something Borrowed left off, showing us what was going through Darcy’s mind when she find out her best friend, Rachel, was hooking up with her fiancé, Dex. Talk about awkward.

Not that one could really feel bad for Darcy when she cheated on Dex with his best friend, Marcus, and got pregnant. Yeah, that relationship was doomed from the start.

Through the novel we see Darcy try to understand her new world in which everything’s not the way it was. She can’t fathom how someone like her (beautiful and well dressed) could be dumped for someone like Rachel (book smart but no fashion sense). Besides that she begins to question if she made a mistake choosing Marcus over Dex and worrying about the future of her baby. As Darcy begins to realize her perfect life isn’t so perfect she finds herself beginning to question everything she once held so near and dear and wondering what’s really important in her life.

By taking a trip to visit her childhood friend, Ethan, she begins to discover that there’s more to people than just what’s on the outside and that she’s more than just her looks. She begins to do things on her own and became a character I truly adored.

I loved this novel. At first I wasn’t Darcy’s biggest fan mostly because of left over resentment I felt from the prequel. However, once I stopped comparing her to the Darcy from Rachel’s POV and start really just seeing her for who she was I understood why she acted the way she did in the first novel and at the start of this novel. Not that it’s an excuse for her actions but still. Also, it made me look at the other side of things and realize Rachel was not at all innocent in any of it either.

It was very interesting getting another point of view in this story and I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed all the romance and seeing Darcy fall but then pick herself up again. What I loved the most though is how Darcy’s love for her baby and her growing into motherhood really change her.

If you haven’t read Something Borrowed yet definitely pick that up and then read this book. It’s great.

Favorite Line: “Love and friendship. They are what make us who we are, and what can change us, if we let them.”

Stars: 5 out of 5. I really enjoyed this book and I’ve already gone back and reread parts of it. So good.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. I bought this book and it was worth every penny. Do it.

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