Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Sneak Peek Sunday: The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse

Hi guys! I’m so glad to be here with you again this weekend to bring another great book. First and foremost, thank you The Novl for sending me an advance copy of this book for review. This has no inherent influence on how I read and review the novel.

Today I’m talking about the wonderful Cecilia Vinesse, author of Seven Days of Youwhich debuted last year. I even had the chance to interview Cecilia for Justine at her event in Naperville when she toured with her book in the U.S. This June, Cecilia is releasing her second book, The Summer of Us. 

Title: The Summer of Us

The Summer of Us
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Cecilia Vinesse

Publisher: Poppy

Expected release: June 5, 2018

A swoon-worthy story about five best friends on a whirlwind trip through Europe, perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Jennifer E. Smith.

American expat Aubrey has only two weeks left in Europe before she leaves for college, and she’s nowhere near ready. Good thing she and her best friend, Rae, have planned one last group trip across the continent. From Paris to Prague, they’re going to explore famous museums, sip champagne in fancy restaurants, and eat as many croissants as possible with their friends Clara, Jonah, and Gabe.

But when old secrets come to light, Aubrey and Rae’s trip goes from a carefree adventure to a complete disaster. For starters, there’s Aubrey and Gabe’s unresolved history, complicated by the fact that Aubrey is dating Jonah, Gabe’s best friend. And then there’s Rae’s hopeless crush on the effortlessly cool Clara. How is Rae supposed to admit her feelings to someone so perfect when they’re moving to different sides of the world in just a few weeks?

Author Cecilia Vinesse delivers a romantic European adventure that embraces the magic of warm summer nights, the thrill of first kisses, and the bittersweet ache of learning to say goodbye to the past while embracing the future.

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I picked this book up a few days ago and finished it in two days. I was in love. It was the perfect book to read after finishing Puddin’. (Review of that to come soon!) I remember how fast I finished Vinesse’s first book, and I couldn’t wait for a second book. Here are some initial thoughts from Goodreads:

I love Vinesse’s writing. I will always love it I think. I can’t wait for you all to read it this summer!! This is a perfect beach read or road trip read. It’s about beginnings and endings and the weird in between feeling. I found it extremely relatable and poignant

This book made me want to travel so bad! I haven’t been outside of the U.S. before and I’m dying to see what’s out there. It made me think of road trips across the U.S., and made me wonder what it would be like to do with my friends. I’m really looking forward to it, but I can see where things could go awry quickly.

It’s written in dual points of view in the third person, and I like that it was limited to only Aubrey and Rae. I feel that it was their story to tell, and while it would have been nice to hear from Clara or Jonah at some parts, I think it would have gotten too messy and lacking in cohesiveness. I love stories about best friends. I’ve had many best friends over my life time, and I think this is something that everyone can relate to. Growing up and growing apart from people is really hard, especially when the person is someone you hold in such high regard. Vinesse writes the dynamic between Aubrey and Rae and their friends so well, and I love the different ways they interact with each other.

Something else that I liked was that it deals a lot with the change after high school. After just going through it, I can attest how weird that period of time is. Everyone is hopeful for the future, but worried about what will come. I wasn’t scared to come to college per se, but I was nervous about making friends. It feels like a huge step in life to just up and move away from everything you’ve known, and I think this is captured perfectly in the book.

Overall, I loved the novel and the story itself. This is a perfect book to read this summer, and I really hope you check it out!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

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Sneak Peek Sunday: Love & Other Carnivorous Plants by Florence Gonsalves

Hi all! I haven’t been very active lately, and that’s mostly due to my schedule heating up in the past weeks. I’ve had a lot to do and very little time to do it. Unfortunately that means I’ve pushed reading and blogging to the back burner, but I wanted to pop in because I recently finished an amazing book that’s set to come out soon!

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher. That does not affect the way I read and reviewed this book in any way. Thank you, Little, Brown!

Title: Love & Other Carnivorous Plants

Love & Other Carnivorous Plants
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Florence Gonsalves

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Expected release: May 15, 2018

My rating: 4/5 Goodreads stars

Freshman year at Harvard was the most anticlimactic year of Danny’s life. She’s failing pre-med and drifting apart from her best friend. One by one, Danny is losing all the underpinnings of her identity. When she finds herself attracted to an older, edgy girl who she met in rehab for an eating disorder, she finally feels like she might be finding a new sense of self. But when tragedy strikes, her self-destructive tendencies come back to haunt her as she struggles to discover who that self really is.

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I was so excited to be able to read this book, and I was happily surprised when I picked it up from my mail. This book is set right after Danny’s freshman year of college, and I appreciate that this time is being written about. Here are some of my initial thoughts from Goodreads:

I had to set this down for a second because I had to read a different book by a certain date, but once I was done with it I came right back to L&OCP. This was a quick, sweet read altogether. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen, and I think it addresses the topic of mental health in an honest light. 

Between starting and finishing this book I had to read two books to prepare for interviews I had. (Hopefully I’ll have more to share on that later!) I was a little disappointed I wasn’t able to finish before those others, but that meant I couldn’t wait to get back to Love & Other Carnivorous Plants. I was curious to know what would happen, and I found Danny to be a compelling character.

The whole of the story focuses on how Danny struggles with the changes that college brings and how she feels unmoored going to Harvard. Something happens with her long-time best friend Sara that triggers Danny’s self-destructive behaviors. It’s interesting to see how Danny picks up the pieces afterward and how she decides to handle going to treatment.

This book does a good job of honestly portraying mental health. As someone who also struggles with mental health issues, I felt this was written with sensitivity and care without being too filtered. I know this isn’t representative of everyone’s experience with mental health, but I found it to ring a little true for me.

Another thing I really loved about this book was the way it talked about college.  I’m currently finishing up my freshman year and I can attest how hard the transition is. I can’t imagine ever going to a school as competitive as Harvard. I feel that a lot of the emotions that Danny felt and the change in her friendship with Sara are accurate in terms of what can happen. Again, I know this isn’t representative of everyone’s experience at college, but friendships change a lot when you go to college. Some adapt and flourish, others fade away, and some become broken beyond repair. It’s hard when things change. It’s hard when what you thought to be true turns out to be something else. I’ve had my fair share of changing friendships since coming to school, and it’s been hard. My heart went out to Danny and Sara as they tried to repair their relationship.

Overall, this book was compelling and I highly recommend it, especially to college freshmen or those soon to be one!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂