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Acquiring a New Opportunity

Brave Leap of Faith

I know it’s been quite a while since my latest blog post. I just haven’t had as much free time to read and write blog posts though. But it’s for a very good reason.

I know I haven’t mentioned this on my blog at all because my blog posts have been laser-focused on books. But I just recently acquired a new job, once again. I think the last time I mentioned a job was last October on this personal blog post where I talked about a position one of my dear friends from college recommended me for.

The reason for the job change is because the company I was working for due to my friend is very soon going to be done with the project I was working on. From what I’ve heard, their last day on site will be June 14th, which is next week. As a result, I would’ve likely been unemployed if I’d stayed until the very end of the project. BUT it’s actually because of the company I was working for that this opportunity came to me.

You see, the project I was hired on for with this company is on a construction site. Most of the people I’d worked for were electricians on this construction site that were hired to do work for a fiberglass plant here that’s in the process of opening. Well, someone in the maintenance/utilities department on site was looking for someone to help with some of their forms.

My previous employment was very pleased with my work for them. So, when they heard the maintenance department on site was looking for someone to help with their workload, they told that person about me. This opened the door for me to interview and then be offered this position, which I started officially on Monday, May 20th.

While I’m still sad to have left that job behind, I feel extremely thankful. I had no idea that working for them would give me this opportunity. Would give me the chance to get a more permanent full-time job that gives me even more work experience in an industry I’m still learning more about.  I feel like I’ll never be able to thank them enough for getting me employment after they’re gone from the site.

And so far, the job itself has been going well for me. Yes, I’m still learning all my responsibilities and it can sometimes feel overwhelming because there’s a lot I’m going to be doing. Like I’ll be handling our department’s payroll because I mentioned in my interview that I have payroll experience. I’ll also be responsible for keeping track of the equipment that’s on site as well as different forms of paperwork that our department will need to get approved to get the equipment we’ll need. A lot of my responsibilities are essentially administrative tasks and data entry work. But I’m still learning what all I’m going to be handling right now in this position so if the details sound vague to you at all that’s probably why.

I can tell you for sure that I’ll be a lot busier than I was before. Since I’ve started, I’ve yet to have an unproductive/slow day where I’m not handling some aspect of my new job, which I don’t mind at all because I love being busy and feeling challenged at work.

So that’s why I haven’t been blogging quite as much lately. I’ve been so busy with this new job (even working on Saturdays, which gives me overtime pay) that I just haven’t had the energy or time to focus on much of anything at all.

But I’m not going anywhere, I can promise you that. I’m still planning on blogging, continuing reading books I love, playing video games I enjoy, etc. I just wanted to explain to you all why I haven’t been quite as present on my blog lately and wanted to share the good news. Because I’m extremely thankful for this new opportunity and can’t wait to see where it takes me.

 

Book Review: Noughts & Crosses (Noughts and Crosses #1)

Noughts and Crosses Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

Sephy and Callum have been friends since early childhood. And that’s as far as it can go. Because theirs is a world full of prejudice, racism, distrust and mounting terrorist violence.

Despite all this, a romance builds between the two friends.

But this is a love that could lead them both into terrible danger…

The summary on the back of Noughts & Crosses doesn’t do it any justice. From the beginning, this book had me hooked, wanting to know how this story would go. It was an emotional rollercoaster that while in the moment didn’t produce any tears from me, it made me have an array of emotions when I was finished.

It tells the tragic story of Sephy and Callum, best friends since childhood who over the years of their lives fall in love with each other. But they can’t be together because of racism and terrorist violence which threatens to tear their lives apart.

I received this book through Blind Date With a Book Club, a website where for the next six months, you get a mystery book based on the genres you’ve chosen. This is the first book of the six I received, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it.

What I love about this book is that it emotionally hooked me into the story. As a reader, this story really pulled me in, made me root for Sephy and Callum to be together despite the many obstacles that stood in their way. I wanted so badly for their love story to work out even though I knew the chances were slim because of how dark this story became.

I also appreciate the honesty in which this story portrays heavy topics such as racism. This book gets seriously dark in the way it shows you as the reader how much racism can affect the world around you. How hatred for someone because of the color of their skin can really cause harm to the people that hatred is turned towards. This book does a spectacular job of showing you as the reader how this hatred can really hurt people, especially those you love. I’m not scared to admit that this dystopia world sometimes frightened me because it felt so real and it wasn’t that long ago that the world we live in acted the way the Crosses do towards the Noughts.

But experiencing that fear helped me because as someone with privilege, I know I’ll never understand what the Noughts went through. Though in this dystopia world, the author turns racism on its head, since Noughts in the story are white people experiencing racism from black people. I thought that was an interesting dynamic because it made me think and I feel like it helped me understand racism better. Especially since Malorie Blackman used a lot of experiences to show how terrible racism can truly be. Before reading this book, I felt like I understood racism, but I truly believe this book really showed me how dark it can get, and that people tend to take it way too far.

I felt like this book really spoke to me too. My partner and I aren’t the typical relationship you expect to see so I feel like I can relate to this story because of it. It made me think about our relationship and made me realize how much I truly appreciate my partner. Our relationship isn’t always easy, but I truly feel like we’re meant to be together despite the obstacles we’ve faced. So, in many ways, I feel like I can relate to Sephy and Callum’s relationship because they both went through some hurdles to be together.

My biggest criticism with Noughts & Crosses is that while I was rooting for Sephy and Callum to be together, there were moments where I didn’t understand why they still cared for each other. Throughout the book, their relationship is put through the ringer. Yet, both Sephy and Callum still end up caring about each other despite the many situations their put in during their romance. Situations that would typically result in one or both people involved wanting to separate from each other. The best example that comes to mind happens close to the end of the story and is the result of the way their romance ends. I won’t go too much into it because I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone, but I really don’t understand why these two characters chose that moment to do that. It was the worst timing on their part and I knew as soon as it happened it would cause the end of their relationship. It also just didn’t make sense to me because the situation they both were in wasn’t an ideal moment for them to give into impulses.

Like I said, I can relate to their relationship, so I do overall understand why they wanted to be together. But there were moments in the story where for their own safety, they shouldn’t have been. Or where they both made rash decisions that they shouldn’t have, which impacted not only them but those closest to them.

Another criticism I had while reading was that while I loved that this story was told from two points of view (Sephy and Callum), there were times I didn’t overall like the writing from their perspectives. I know both these characters are young, so I get that what they said or did sounded childish, but there were times for me when it was a bit too much. I especially noticed this a lot when the story was being told from Sephy’s perspective. Maybe part of that in the story is that Blackman wanted to showcase with Sephy her privilege through the way she acted during certain moments in the story. Either way, it was something I wasn’t too fond of despite liking that this story is told from two different perspectives.

But overall, Noughts & Crosses was a really gripping, emotional read for me to complete and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’m also happy that this was the first book I was given with Blind Date With a Book Club and can’t wait to see what book I’ll receive from them next.

 

Book Review: Shout

Shout Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

A searing poetic memoir and call to action from the bestselling and award-winning author of Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson!

Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.

This book was so beautifully written that I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it. The overall writing style in this book reminds me so much of Ellen Hopkins’s young adult, contemporary, poetry prose. Like her works, Shout does a wonderful job of telling Laurie Halse Anderson’s story in poetic format. The difference being though that her story is a memoir, based on her own life experiences that she had during her adolescence.

For me, that made this book that much more beautiful. I found her story from teenager to young adult relatable as she talks about her experience with sexual assault and how that helped shape her into the adult she is now. Her poetry style flowed very well and was easy for me as a reader to follow along. As a result, I found myself wanting to continue reading her story to see how she handled her life experiences.

Another element of this memoir I enjoy is the honesty with which Anderson talks about sexual assault. Not only with regards to how it affected her own life but also how she’s seen her writing about it impact the lives of others. I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned this in any of my blog posts before or not, but her book Speak is one of my favorite books. The first time I read it, I knew it was an important book that I’d always have on my bookshelf and it’s a story I’ve read countless times. With Shout, I find myself feeling the same way because the story being told within its pages is just as important.

I appreciate that this book brings up important topics such as sexual assault and censorship when it comes to allowing children to read certain books. Both topics need to be addressed, especially in books. It saddens me to see so little has changed when it comes to these topics and I appreciate Anderson’s words bringing this truth to light and letting us know she wants to continue being a voice of change.

There is very little with this memoir I didn’t enjoy, except maybe certain poems didn’t flow very well. Or that I found when reading certain parts of the overall story didn’t feel quite as strong as others. I overall loved each of the sections in this book, but I sometimes found the writing worked well in one section over the other. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy the content, I just didn’t find that section quite as enjoyable to read as the other. It was interesting and caught my attention but didn’t speak to me quite as much.

Either way, I overall enjoyed reading Shout. To the point where I’m at a loss of words to describe my thoughts on this book. It’s a good book, full of content that gets straight to the point and leaves quite the punch. If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend it, especially to those who love poetry/prose and memoirs. It’s also good for young adult readers and those who enjoy reading books that deal with difficult topics.

Book Review: Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls #1)

Born at Midnight Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

Don’t miss this spectacular new series that will steal your heart and haunt your dreams, Welcome to Shadow Falls camp, nestled deep in the woods of a town called Fallen…

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart. 

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

Born at Midnight is an interesting read. However, it’s also a story that falls flat in a lot of areas too, making it a book series I’m still trying to decide if it’s worth investing time into.

The premise of the story centers on a young girl named Kylie who finds her life going wrong in every way. Her boyfriend breaks up with her, parents are getting divorced and her grandmother has recently passed away. To make things even more difficult, her parents send her off to camp for troubled teens after being arrested at a party even though she didn’t smoke or drink anything. But she soon discovers this camp isn’t for troubled teens like it’s made out to be, but for young teenagers who are supernaturals with abilities. Despite not knowing what she is, Kylie finds that for once in her life, she fits right in. But her life at camp isn’t quite so easy either with her attention shifted between discovering who she is, her feelings for two different boys, and the problems going on at camp that could result in it being shut down.

What made this book an interesting read for me was all the supernatural elements in the story and the characters themselves. While I feel like they didn’t highlight the supernatural parts of the story all that much, what I found of them in between the pages was interesting enough to make me continue reading. I found the idea of the camp to be interesting even though some aspects of it were poorly executed. It reminded me a little bit of Camp Half-Blood from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series as well as the boarding school in the House of Night series. What I liked about the Shadows Falls camp that reminded me of both series was the one-hour session these teens had where they drew names and learned about the other person’s supernatural culture. While I felt like the way C.C. Hunter went about this wasn’t the best (aka, Kylie ended up most of the time getting the names of the two guys she’s debating between so I feel like most of the time was spent with her romantic interests), I still liked the idea and was intrigued to learn more about the different supernaturals in the story.

Another supernatural element in the story that interested me was learning about Kylie’s abilities. While during most of the story she tried the best she could to suppress her powers, I found that whenever Kylie did use them, it made the story that much more interesting to me. What intrigued me about her powers was that she didn’t have too much control over them, but also the way they were described in detail to the reader. It makes me interested in wanting to continue the story just to find out how as a character she grows into her supernatural identity, whatever that may be since that’s a mystery to us too.

While I enjoyed reading Born at Midnight, there are some flaws with this book too that need to be addressed. While I enjoyed learning more about the characters in the story and their different abilities, I wish there was more of a focus on character development. Yes, Kylie does undergo some changes because of where she’s at and her relationship with both of her parents completely shift. But at the same time, I still don’t see her character changing all that much. While she does seem to fully accept her powers and that she does belong at this camp, I still don’t see her fully coming into her own by the end of the story. Maybe that happens more so in the rest of the series, but I didn’t see that happening in this book. I know part of that struggle could be due to not knowing what type of supernatural she is, so I do applaud the author with having that struggle continue into the next book in the series. But for this book, it would’ve been nice to see her character develop more and see her fully come into her abilities.

Another criticism I have for this first book in the series is the love triangle between her, Derek and Lucas. It felt like with both boys there was an instant attraction, but for different reasons. Her feelings with Derek were due to him being a reminder of her ex while her attraction for Lucas seemed to stem from her past with him. But with both, it seemed like she was instantly attracted to them whenever she had some alone time to spend with them, which didn’t feel right to me. I also didn’t like this dynamic because I’m not fond of love triangles. I don’t like them because you as the reader get forced to choose between two different characters who both have an appeal but for different reasons. But in this book, I just didn’t see her having any chemistry with these two because it just felt like the author was forcing the romance when there wasn’t any.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed my reading experience with Born at Midnight. I loved all the supernatural elements included in the story because it made reading this book more enjoyable for me. I just wish there was a little more character development with Kylie and that she had some chemistry with her two love interests instead of the book forcing romance between them. Maybe the next book in the series Awake at Dawn will improve what’s missing from this first book and bring even more interesting details when it comes to the character’s supernatural abilities.

 

First Impressions: Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts 3 2

As someone who’s been playing video games since elementary school, the Kingdom Hearts games have been the biggest part of my childhood. So, when I heard about the release of Kingdom Hearts III, a game I’ve been waiting for the longest time to come out, I was so excited and ready to play it.

Kingdom Hearts III takes place after the events in Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, following when Riku and Sora take the Mark of Mastery test. As Riku and King Mickey go on the search for Aqua (another chosen Keyblade wielder whose story you learn more about in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep), Sora goes on an adventure of his own with Donald Duck and Goofy in search of reawakening his weakened powers and trying to learn the power of wakening. As Sora travels from world to world, he encounters Heartless, Nobodies and Unversed as well as runs into various members of the new Organization XIII whose true goals remain unknown.

While I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of Kingdom Hearts III, I truly believe it’s my favorite game in the series that I’ve ever played. One of the things I enjoy about the game so far is the combat. I love the different abilities (otherwise known as form change) that each of Sora’s Keyblades has that you can activate when you fight. I feel like each of them is unique to the Keyblade Sora is using but in a way that suits it.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Form Change
One of the form changes in the game.

There’s also a new ability in combat called attractions that I still have mixed feelings about. Just like the name suggests, attractions are an ability that Sora can use where he’s on different attraction rides that can cause damage to the enemy. I have mixed feelings about this new ability because some of the attractions you can use are very useful and others I just find to be very annoying and don’t like using in combat. But overall, I find the combat in this game to be the most fun I’ve had in a Kingdom Hearts game in a very long time and look forward to fighting whenever I play.

Another thing I’ve enjoyed with Kingdom Hearts III so far are the different worlds you can travel to in the game. I like the worlds you get to go into because most of them you’ve never been to in any of the other games in the series. I also like the role Sora gets to play in those worlds, whether he’s dressed like a toy and helps Woody and Buzz search for their missing friends or he’s a monster helping Mike and Sullivan get Boo back home. Sora is always getting himself into situations, making friends along the way and I love it just as much in this game as I do all the others.

Kingdom Hearts 3 3
Sora in the Carribean, one of my favorite worlds from Kingdom Hearts II that I’m glad they’ve brought back.

I also love the message of friendship these games bring with them. Of your friends even when they aren’t around still being a part of your life, close to your heart. This message always resonates with me and I feel like its exactly what I needed to hear. Especially with the personal stuff that’s been going on in my life.

There are, however, some issues I do have with Kingdom Hearts III. One of the biggest issues I have with the game is how they go about the plot. I’ve just recently started to get further into the main storyline of the game and while I do at times find it interesting, I also find myself left with a lot of questions that remain to be answered. I know since I haven’t completed the game yet I probably shouldn’t be complaining about this, but its something that bothers me so I feel like it needs to be discussed.

What I think doesn’t help is that a lot of the worlds Sora goes to the story doesn’t feel complete. You get some gameplay in these worlds, but I feel like you never truly get any resolution to the conflicts the characters in the world are dealing with. For example, one of the worlds I enjoy going to because the characters were a big part of my childhood is the Hundred Acre Woods from Winnie the Pooh. In the previous Kingdom Hearts games, you go to the Hundred Acre Woods and must help Sora find the missing pages of the book to see Pooh and the rest of his friends. In this game, however, Merlin shows you the book and Sora notices his image is missing on the front cover, so you go visit to see if anything is wrong there. It’s the shortest world visit in the game you experience and its one of many worlds in the game I felt were treated the same way, though not quite as short.

I also don’t like with Kingdom Hearts III that the worlds you go and visit don’t really tie in with the main storyline in the game. Usually, in these games, the worlds you go into playing as Sora there’s usually a reason he goes there that ties into the main storyline in the game. With this game, I didn’t see that truly being the case. I felt like you got some snippets of what the main storyline was, but not enough to really understand why Sora went to these worlds. The main storyline doesn’t take place until after you’ve completed these worlds. While I didn’t necessarily mind it, it’s different from what I remember in the other games, so it threw me off.

But overall, I’m enjoying my experience playing Kingdom Hearts III. I remember when I first got into the series, excited to play these games. This game has been no different for me because I’ve been waiting for its release for so long. I know I’ll be sad when I finish this game because this game series has been a part of my life for such a long time. But right now, I’m enjoying my first time playing through it and believe I will continue to do so despite my criticisms.

Grieving the Loss of a Dear Friend

Erin and I Great Strides Walk May 2017

My heart feels so shattered right now. This week has been one of the hardest weeks of my life. My best friend, who I’ve known since my freshman year of high school, passed away on Wednesday, February 13th. She was fighting for her life against cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects a person’s lungs and their ability to breathe, the pancreas and other parts of their body.

While I knew this day would eventually come (people with cystic fibrosis don’t have a long life span, most nowadays live until their 30’s and there’s still no cure), it still doesn’t make it any less hard for me to deal with the grief I’ve been experiencing since her passing. She was a good friend, someone I truly trusted with all my heart and soul, who cared a lot about everyone she encountered. She was strong too, always putting on a brave face even when she was in pain fighting against this terrible disease. In our friendship, I always felt like I could truly be myself around her and could talk to her about anything and everything.

She was the best friend I could ever ask for. It feels like just yesterday we were talking and creating memories together. I remember moments from high school, like some of the classes we had together and when we’d eat lunch on the senior balcony during senior year. Also, recent moments too from during and after I was done in college, like when we went to the zoo together with her oldest son, went to the beach with another friend because she loved the ocean, and whenever I went with her when she decided she wanted tattoos. There are so many other moments that stand out to me in our friendship, but these are some of the best ones. Now, she’s no longer here and I feel like a piece of me went with her when she passed away.

Erin and I At the Zoo June 2014

I know the next few weeks will be extremely difficult for everyone she cares about. She’s left behind so many good people who care so much about her along with a wonderful husband and her two young children who’ll now live without a mother. But I feel extremely lucky and grateful to have met her and know that our friendship will always hold a special place in my heart. I know one day, I’ll get to meet her again very soon, and that lessens the pain of her loss. Until then best friend, I want you to know I love you so much and can’t wait to see you again.

If you’re reading this post, if you can, please donate to the Go Fund Me page me and a couple of her friends have set up to help her husband and kids during this difficult time or donate to your local cystic fibrosis organization in honor of my best friend’s memory.

My heart is hurting, but I’m glad my dear friend isn’t suffering anymore.

Turning the Page on Life To 26

birthday cupcake image

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all having a wonderful week so far. So, January 14th is my birthday and this year, I turned 26.

When I was younger, I used to make such a big deal about my birthday. I’d get all excited every time it came around to the point where I’d tell other people it was my birthday just so someone would wish me a wonderful day.

Well this year has been a little different for me. For once, I was more relaxed about it being my birthday and not making as much of a big deal about it. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve come to the realization that it’s not something I need to make such a fuss over. That if someone wants to wish me well, they will and if they don’t then on well.

Either way, this year I felt calm about it being my birthday and just took the moment to enjoy the day no matter what happened. I was at work all day and it was busy because of payroll being due for me to turn in so it came and went quickly.

While I’m another year older, I don’t feel that much different than any of the days before. I feel like just the same person that I’ve always been and that not too much has really changed. But at the same time, I feel happy with where I’m at in my life and that there have been some changes that I’m proud of.

For starters, I’ve acquired a new job that’ll put me in the right direction in life. Not to say working in food service isn’t a noble thing, it just isn’t where I picture myself working for the rest of my life. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of this job because I originally wasn’t doing well at it my first couple weeks. But now, I feel like I’ve gained my ground and am starting to adjust to my job responsibilities and handling whatever tasks get thrown at me. If anything, I find I’m busier now than when I started out due to us hiring more employees and being given more responsibilities by my boss. I see this as a positive thing because I believe they wouldn’t give me more work if they weren’t happy with the way I’ve been handling things. While I don’t know where this work experience will get me in life, I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity and to get the experience.

I’m also thankful/happy because I have a poem published in an anthology. I know I’ve already talked about this quite a bit, so I probably won’t say too much else about it, but I’m still excited that a poem I’ve written is physically in a book that people can buy and read. One of my dreams is to one day be an author who writes her own stories and gets published. And I feel like with the anthology, I’ve accomplished my dream of being an author even if it’s just having one poem I’ve written getting published. While I hope that’s not the only piece of writing of mine that’ll be read, I still want to continue pursuing that dream and having more of my voice going out into the world. I know my blog here on WordPress also helps me accomplish some of my writing goals so I’m extremely thankful for that too.

All of this I accomplished when I was 25. So, I can’t wait to see what 26 has in store for me. Hopefully it’s as wonderful as being 25. I’m hopeful that it could be another great age but will wait and see what life has in store for me.

 

Book Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3)

always and forever lara jean

Rating: 4 stars

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

I really enjoyed reading this concluding book in this series just as much as I enjoyed P.S. I Still Love You, but for different reasons. While I didn’t want this book to end, I felt like this book was the perfect way to end the series because of it being Lara Jean’s last year of high school before she goes off to college.

It continues to tell the story of Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter, but also focuses a whole lot more on the pressure of getting into college and what comes with that. When Lara Jean doesn’t get into the college of her dreams, she faces a dilemma she didn’t expect. I enjoyed seeing that conflict with her because I felt like it was a realistic problem that I’m sure other teens applying to colleges experience. Part of senior year of high school is beginning the journey of adulthood and I felt like with Always and Forever, Lara Jean, Jenny Han tackled the subject very well when it came to Lara Jean’s beginning journey into adulthood.

I also appreciated seeing how talking about college impacted Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter. Especially because they both wanted to go to college together since they were planning on continuing their relationship after high school. While Lara Jean didn’t handle her plans changing very well at first, when she discovered another college that was very similar to the school she originally wanted to attend, I thought it was wonderful that she made the decision to go to that school. For once in these books, she actually made a big decision for herself instead of taking the easy road to get what she wanted. Seeing Lara Jean struggle with her decision on where she was going to college when her original plans failed reminded me of what the pressure of choosing college was like for me. While I can’t say my experience was anything at all like Lara Jean’s (because it definitely wasn’t), I felt like I could relate to her character when it came to college because that’s a big decision for a person to make for themselves.

What I also liked when reading Always and Forever, Lara Jean was that you as a reader slowly saw Lara Jean make big decisions. While she’s still pretty far from acting like an adult, I felt like she was finally maturing a little bit in this book. For once, she was finally making decisions for herself, not because her family and friends wanted her to make those choices.

My biggest criticism for this book would have to be the lack of conflict in it. While I sometimes didn’t mind because it made this book a fun, light read like the others, I felt like there should’ve been something more. I mean, yes there was conflict when it came to Lara Jean going to college and how her final decision impacted her relationship with Peter, but that was really it when you actually think about it. There wasn’t really a whole lot else going on that really caused conflict in the story and that did bother me a little bit because it was like certain characters who were featured in the previous two books never existed.

But overall, I still enjoyed reading Always and Forever, Lara Jean. As a whole, I enjoyed reading all of these books in this series because they were a light and easy read for me to get through. I also enjoyed seeing Lara Jean’s family dynamics and how close she is to her two sisters as well as her relationship with her friend Chris and boyfriend Peter. I enjoyed reading them as well because they reminded me of what it was like when I fell in love for the very first time and reminded me of what choosing a college was like for me. My biggest criticism for this series as a whole is the lack of character development, especially in the main character Lara Jean. She still has a whole lot of growing up to do, but I still find myself liking her anyway.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading this series and recommend it to anyone looking for something light and easy to read. But I recommend caution to anyone who reads these books that’s just gotten out of a relationship and is still dealing with that heartbreak.

 

Book Review: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2)

p.s. i still love you book cover

Rating: 4 stars

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times best seller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

I definitely enjoyed reading P.S. I Still Love You better than To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Like its predecessor, I found this book easy to read through. But I found myself even more invested in what’s going on because I found the story and plot itself more invigorating.

What I believe helps is that you continue to see Lara Jean coming more and more out of her shell as her relationship with Peter grows. It’s like their relationship really brings her to life and I enjoyed every minute of it. I think what helps for me as a reader is that I can relate to Lara Jean’s feelings because I’ve had those feelings myself. The first time you fall in love is one of the most wonderful feelings and this book reminded me of everything that comes along with it, including the most difficult moments of a relationship. While I’m no longer with the first guy I fell in love with, this book still allowed me to relate to it because of those feelings. It allowed me to reminisce without feeling sadness and regret over a relationship I’ve since moved on from and reminded me that you can find love again even after the heartbreak.

Like with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, this book continues to portray good, realistic relationships. I continue to love seeing the bond Lara Jean has with her family, her relationship with her best friend Chris, and her relationship with her boyfriend Peter. I also love seeing the new relationship she begins to form with John, one of the recipients of her love letters even though it doesn’t turn out the way you as the reader expect. You finally get to see how the letters getting out really affects her relationships and I enjoyed it.

If I have any criticisms for P.S. I Still Love You it’s that you don’t really get to see her relationship with John go anywhere. You can tell as a reader that feelings are going on between the two of them, but you don’t really see it turn into anything. While I understand why that’s the case, I actually wouldn’t have minded too much to see more interactions between the two of them. While I love Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter a lot, I wouldn’t have minded seeing her give John a chance and seeing where that went. Because I honestly really like John’s character a lot. So, I think my biggest criticism is actually that I think both Peter and John are good guys for Lara Jean and am struggling with which guy I think is truly right for her.

So, I overall loved reading this book a lot more than To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before because you see her relationships with everyone she’s close to growing and you can truly see Lara Jean falling in love. But I also love that the story realistically portrays first love, which is something I can truly relate to because of my own experiences. I just didn’t like that both of the guys she ends up liking are both likeable because it makes me as a reader have a difficult time choosing which of the two guys she should end up with. I can’t wait to finish reading Always and Forever Lara Jean, even though I know I’ll be sad that I’ll be done reading this trilogy.

I definitely recommend reading P.S. I Still Love You because it’s such a good read. But if you’re just getting out of a relationship, then this book might not be for you.

 

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