Taylor Jenkins Reid Mini-Reviews

Perhaps this is surprising, but this is my first time reading any of TJR’s books! I thoroughly enjoyed my TJR experience and I’m kind of amazed how her books vary in style and subject matter. These reviews are in the order that I read them.


After I Do

This is the first TJR book that I got my hands on and I was very pleasantly surprised. I could see bits of myself and my husband in both Lauren and Ryan. Obviously my relationship isn’t exactly like the one portrayed here, but I feel like there are some underlying truths in this book about relationships and marriage that could be a beneficial reminder for most couples. I thought this book had a really great resolution. I think it could have been done in a way that felt…insincere? But instead, I felt like the character development was realistic–both Lauren and Ryan changed and made some discoveries. I also liked that Lauren admitted that they didn’t necessarily have to be separated to come to the conclusions that they did. It’s all about WANTING your marriage and relationship to work. Obviously there are some situations where that’s not the case, but I think any relationship is going to have it’s tough elements and you need to make sure you WANT to get through it, or else it’s never going to work. Overall, I really liked this book and there was so much in here that resonated with me. 4/5

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One True Loves

First off, I’m just going to say that this is the literal ONLY case where a love triangle is acceptable in my mind. It’s not one girl falling in love with two guys at the same time, instead she’s fallen in love with both of them at different times and there are huge extenuating circumstances. I thought this book was good, but I didn’t like it quite as much as After I Do. The choice that Emma had to make kind of hung over the whole book and made me a little uncomfortable for the whole book pretty much. It felt obvious to me, too, who she was going to end up choosing (and who the author wanted the audience to want her to choose). I wished that things felt a little more even between Jesse and Sam–I didn’t want to be told who the “front runner” was. Besides that, I really liked the sister relationship between Emma and Marie. I enjoyed seeing how their relationship developed from when they were growing up to what it became as adults. I also thought Olive was a truly delightful character. 4/5

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Maybe In Another Life

I thought the premise of this book was really interesting, but it didn’t necessarily translate to an enjoyable reading experience. I still liked the story and the characters, but it was difficult for me to switch between narratives from chapter to chapter. It just didn’t feel very smooth to read. I also didn’t love the repetition that existed between the narratives (which is why I HATE Groundhog Day-type stories). I understand why the repetition was necessary, but I found it boring to read. Plot-wise, I definitely had a favorite timeline though it was hard to choose between them. There were some minor plot points that I felt needed to be addressed sooner than they were. The things I had questions about did get addressed eventually, but chapters after I feel like they should have been. Overall, I thought this book was really interesting. It makes you think about how one small decision has the potential to make this huge impact on the rest of your life. But at the same time, there are some things that may be inevitable. 3.5/5

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Daisy Jones & The Six

In the beginning I found it tougher to get into this book than TJR’s other ones. I’d come to expect one kind of story from her and this was so different. I found the interview format to be interesting, but harder for me to read. There were just so many characters and I had a tough time keeping them all straight sometimes. This seems like a book that would be AMAZING as a full cast audio, though. With that being said, I did get into the book eventually and found myself enjoying the story. I obviously can’t comment on what it’s like to be in a 70’s rock band, but it felt really authentic. TJR did a great job showing all the great times while also not shying away from the negatives (drugs, fighting, etc.). I found myself a few times looking up characters that were mentioned and I actually can’t believe that NONE of these characters actually exist! I don’t want to spoil anything, but I thought the twist regarding the author’s identity was really well done and surprising. In the end, I felt like Camila was a real MVP. I hadn’t given much thought to her in the beginning of the book, but she’s such a powerful, compassionate woman and a great example of what it means to fight for and to choose your marriage. 4/5

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Am I missing something here? | An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American MarriageRoy and Celestial had only been married for 18 months when Roy is falsely accused of rape. Despite Celestial’s testimony that he had been with her all night, Roy is convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. 12 years is a long time and Celestial and Roy both have to come to terms with what this sentence means for their relationship and for them as individuals.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

TL;DR – In a book where the characters are super important, I found Celestial and Roy both to be mildly unlikable.

I really feel like I’m missing something here, guys. I’ve only heard good things about this book! Now don’t get me wrong, I thought the writing was good (probably even great) but I just found Roy and Celestial both unlikable and was not a fan of their relationship. Even from the beginning.

Roy is a confident man–maybe too confident for my liking. To me, he just seemed immature, manipulative, and entitled. And he doesn’t seem to have any qualms about flirting with other women–even going so far as to get their phone and room numbers (even if he doesn’t actually go their room). It’s just…disgusting to me. How can he claim to actually love Celestial if he’s pulling crap like this? The entire book he’s setting himself up as this victim–and to an extent he is–but sometimes I just wanted him to own up to the other stuff.

When I really think about it, what happened to Roy is clearly awful–I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. I also recognize that going to prison would change anybody, but I had such a hard time pitying him because of his attitude. He’s going around like everyone in his life (especially Celestial) owes him something and I don’t feel like they do? Am I just a horrible and callous person?

Celestial, while more sympathetic, is no more likable to me. Both Roy and Andre describe her as being this super strong and admirable woman, but I feel like the reader doesn’t get to see any of that. She doesn’t ever really stand up for herself and she let’s both Roy and Andre tell her what to do. In the end, she chooses the path of least resistance and it’s just so frustrating to me! There were so many times when I wanted Celestial to show a little backbone, but she always ended up disappointing me.

In the end, I just couldn’t get over my dislike for the characters. Secondary characters were pretty good–I liked Andre and both Roy and Celestial’s parents. I liked how Roy’s time in prison was told through letters, but I wish that there had been dates maybe? Sometimes it would skip a few years and you wouldn’t find that out until halfway through the letter. I thought the ending happened suddenly and it felt too tidy and convenient to me. I feel like there was no win-win situation here, but somehow the author created one. I don’t know…I just feel like I’m missing something.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Moderate
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

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TTT | I WILL go down with this ship

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top Ten Tuesday Blog

Favorite Couples In Books

1) Iseult and Aeduan from the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard

I just finished Bloodwitch and I love these two together! They will find each other no matter what. I believe it.

2) Cress and Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

These two are so sweet together! I love every scene that involves them in the series.

3) Macy and Wes from The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Wes was probably my first big bookish crush. I love their dynamic at Wish Catering and their entire truth game.

4) Kaz and Inej from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

These two are so low-key, but there’s also so much underlying tension–so good.

5) Lupin and Tonks from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


6) Karou and Akiva from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor

This is an ultimate Romeo and Juliet type relationship. They’re up against so much opposition, but their love is so pure.

7) Khalila and Dario from The Great Library series by Rachel Caine

Even though these two aren’t the “main” couple of the series, I still love their relationship. I love that Dario is so protective of Khalila and she lets him even though everyone knows, she doesn’t need protecting.

8) Amy and Roger from Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Cute couple on a road trip! Such a good slow burn romance.

9) Bailey and Porter from Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

I don’t really know why I loved this book so much, but I did. Bailey and Porter have a great hate-to-love type thing going, but actually they just like each other the whole time.

10) Kitty and John Ambrose McClaren from the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han

Okay, so I know this couple doesn’t actually exist, but just listen. Lara Jean clearly does not deserve John Ambrose even though he is literally the most perfect boy ever. She would obviously be upset if Kitty started dating him, but Kitty wouldn’t care. She would appreciate John Ambrose’s perfectness and John Ambrose would appreciate Kitty’s spunk. Plz Jenny Han let this be a thing.

Who are some of your favorite bookish couples? Do you disagree with any of my picks?

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Recommended from this post:

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy [ARC]

Jaycee’s brother Jake died the day of his high school graduation and every year since then, Jaycee has revisited Jake’s favorite hang-out for a macabre homage to her brother. This summer, she finds a map left behind by her brother with a list of dares and she decides to complete each of his dares in order to feel closer to him. What Jaycee doesn’t count on is the people who decide to tag along and the truths that she will discover along with the dares.25679559

I was not expecting this book. McCarthy deals with some heavy topics such as death, abusive relationships, and uncertain futures. The characters in this book are much deeper than I usually see in Young Adult fiction because a lot of the time the plot is the main focus. The book switches off between five different perspectives so we really get to know three of the characters very well. Only three because Mik’s chapters are graphic novel-esque and Bishop’s feature a piece of art that he’s created. I just want to say that I LOVE the variation in the chapters. I enjoyed reading the book, but I also felt really eager to reach one of Mik or Bishop’s chapters.

The characters were well thought-out and I liked that nobody and nothing was black and white. There were some “bad” characters, but things also weren’t as simple as they may have seemed on the surface. McCarthy has the reader dive into each of the characters and as the book progresses, each character learns something(s) about themselves. The character development in this book is CRAZY and even the secondary characters have depth. Characters did have a tendency to be a little immature at times, but not necessarily in an unrealistic way.

The settings in this book are excellently described and it makes me want to do a little bit of urban exploring myself. The different places that the group visits match the mood of the overall book and the characters themselves in a haunting way.

Overall, I thought this book was a good read that dealt with some important themes and issues. There was quite a bit of content, however, and because the issues are so heavy I would only recommend this book for older teen readers.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Heavy
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Heavy. Several scenes throughout with teenage drinking.
Sexual Content: Heavy. Nothing too explicit, but a big part of one of the story lines (talked about a lot).

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

BOOK TAG: The OTP Book Tag

I was tagged by Deanna @A Novel Glimpse.


I seriously cannot think of anything for this one. Sorry!



America and Maxon. I really liked Aspen at first and was kind of ticked when America started to have feelings for Maxon. In the end, though, I really like them together.


Etienne St. Clair and Anna from Anna and the French Kiss. If you’ve been following my blog, you already know why.


Cinder and Kai. We all knew it was going to happen, so Cinder just needed to let it happen!



I don’t know if this counts since it was part of the love triangle, but Lara Jean and John Ambrose. I like them together WAY more than Lara Jean and Peter.


Ryan Chase and Max from  The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord.


Four and Tris from the Divergent series. I don’t particularly care for these movies in general (even though I really liked the books) but their relationship in the movie just feels really stiff and fake to me.


Alice Garrett and Tim Mason from The Boy Most Likely To. Okay, I don’t know if this is actually classified as “popular”, but it’s all I could come up with. I just don’t really like these two together.


I guess Alec and Magnus?


Cress and Thorne. Do I even have to say anything else?


I tag anyone who wants to participate!

The Start of Me & You by Emery Lord

In her small Indiana town, Paige is known as the girl whose boyfriend drowned. It’s been over a year since Aaron died and even though they only dated for a couple of months, Paige still doesn’t feel like she can move on. But it’s the start of her Junior year and if there’s one thing she can do, it’s make a plan. So Paige creates a list of five things that she wants to do and she calls it “How to Begin Again”. 1) Parties/social events; 2) New group; 3) Date; 4) Travel; 5)Swim.

41ds3cq4zql-_sx331_bo1204203200_First let me say that I know this is not the most common cover, but this is the cover that was on my Kindle and I kind of fell in love with it. Anyway, there are hardly words for me to explain how much I loved this book. We have a quirky main character who just seems so real. She has this realistic conflict going on because she feels guilty for being happy when Aaron’s never going to have another happy day. She also feels guilty because she doesn’t feel like she has as much of a right to mourn him as his parents or friends since she and Aaron dated for such a short amount of time. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be in Paige’s shoes. Your boyfriend dies in a freak accident? That’s hard to deal with at any age, but Paige has to do it while she’s still in high school.

I love that our main character is smart and has a unique talent/hobby/interest (screen-writing). That only serves to make her more real in my book. I also loved that she joins Quiz Bowl. If this was any other book (or movie for that matter) about high school she would have gone out for cheerleading or drama or something that would make her awesome and super popular all of the sudden. Again, the fact that she joins Quiz Bowl instead makes her more real to me. I also liked that several scenes in this book are set in a bookstore(/coffee shop). We need more bookish characters!

I absolutely love the secondary characters in this book! Every secondary character served a purpose and felt well-developed. I was having serious envy over Paige’s relationships with her grandma and her three girl friends. First, I love that her grandmother was her confidante and the advice that Paige receives is always spot on. Second, I am basically in love with these four girls. I love how in sync they are and that there was no extra/unnecessary drama between them. It’s obvious that they all really care about and support each other despite their differences. I LOVE THEM.

The overall plot was great and I felt that the characters developed in a realistic way. There was nothing that I was forced to suspend my belief about and that made this book so much better to me. Lord did a great job of dealing with death and grief in a respectful but realistic way. I really appreciated that she wasn’t flippant about certain details. It felt like every serious moment in this book had appropriate weight if that makes sense.

Overall, this book completely shattered my expectations. You know when you just pick up a book randomly to have something to read and then you actually start reading and are completely blown away by how good a book it is? That just happened to me in a major way. I will DEFINITELY be reading more from Emery Lord. Welcome to the #instaread club.

Overall Rating: 5
Language: Mild
Violence: None
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild

Not Okay, Cupid by Heidi R Kling [ARC]

Hazel has her entire future planned out. She and her boyfriend are going to get into the same college, then the same grad school, and then they’ll have 2.5 kids together and live in a house with a white picket fence. At least that was the plan until he cheated on her with her best friend Kimmy. Now Hazel doesn’t know what to do. Luckily, someone else does. Felix the Player of La Playa (also Kimmy’s older brother) has a plan for revenge.

518w2bi66fml-_sx331_bo1204203200_This book had so much potential. I really mean that. The premise of this book was great, but the execution was not. The whole book is very surfacey. I felt like there was the potential to go in depth several times with the characters (since Hazel’s dad had died and Felix’s was out of the picture) but nothing ever happened. The book just stayed on the surface when it could have been so much deeper. The story really would have benefited from some character development throughout, but I feel like all of the character development (and there wasn’t even very much) was packed into the last few chapters of the book. This made it hard for me to really care too much about the characters. They didn’t seem deserving of my feelings.

Another thing that seriously bugged throughout was the multitude of inconsistencies that this book had. First Felix’s eyes are blue–glacier blue. Then they’re “sweet chocolate brown”. Next they’re green, only to end up turning back to brown by the end of the story. Other inconsistencies: Does Felix have his surfboard or not? When did they get out of the car? Did Hazel see Felix waving from the shore or not? Does Hazel see Felix while he’s standing by the punch bowl or is the first time she sees him out on the dance floor? Just A LOT of inconsistencies that made it hard to lose myself in the story. I ended up having to reread certain pages to make sure that I didn’t miss something that was there. It almost seems like the author had the beginning and the end of a scene planned out, but then forgot about what she had planned while she was writing the middle. Just very frustrating as a reader.

The last thing that I was so confused about was the relationship between Felix and Kimmy. Okay, we know they’re siblings and we find out pretty early on that Felix is older than Kimmy. But at the same time I thought Kimmy and Hazel were the same age and we know Hazel is a senior…so does that make Kimmy and Felix twins? But that’s never mentioned and I feel like if they were twins, that would have been said at least once. Finally we find out (very near the end of the book) that Felix is older than Kimmy, but he was held back a year so they’re in the same grade. I just feel like this should have been explained much earlier in the book. Or Kimmy and Hazel should have just been juniors or something.

Overall, I was not happy with this book. As I said earlier, there was so much untapped potential! Based on their family situations, Kling really had the opportunity to make us care about these characters but she didn’t capitalize on it. I just feel really frustrated as a reader because I can see what this book could have been but wasn’t.

Overall Rating: 2
Language: Moderate
Violence: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

HW Assignment: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Note: This post was used as a homework assignment and 23009402may contain spoilers.

First let me preface this by saying that I absolutely love Sarah Dessen. I have read all of her books and loved almost all of them. This book is definitely no exception. I feel that Dessen defines her audience for this book best with her dedication: “For all the invisible girls” (dedication page). I do feel like this is a book that “invisible girls” will relate with, but at the same time, I think there are some aspects to it that are unrealistic.

Throughout the book, Sydney often thinks about how she’s invisible—especially to her parents. It comes as a shock, then, when the Chathams seem to notice her. This is essentially the aspect of the book that I have an issue with. There are plenty of invisible girls out there, but very few of them come across a Layla Chatham. This is the description that the reader is given of their friendship (emphasis added): “If I was the invisible girl, Layla was the shining star around which her family and friends revolved. We didn’t form a friendship as much as I got sucked into her orbit. And once there, I understood why everyone else was” (pg. 77). Layla chose to be friends with Sydney. Meanwhile, Sydney didn’t have to do a thing. This is not realistic! I wish that Dessen had made Sydney a little more proactive with making new friends and un-invisibleizing herself. I like that Dessen has relatable characters in her books—they really seem like normal girls—but more often than not they have a perfect friend who comes into their lives at the most perfect time. This might teach readers to be more complacent than they should be if they want to develop the kinds of relationships that Dessen writes about.

With all that being said, I really did love all of the friendships portrayed in the book. I was extremely effected when Layla moved her air mattress to block the door at that first sleepover—this is not your everyday kind of friendship. I also liked seeing that Sydney was able to maintain a relationship with her old friends.

Throughout the book Sydney’s dad is kind of a non-factor. Where Sydney’s mom has thrown herself into Peyton projects, her dad has thrown himself into work and has chosen not to be as present with his family. There are times, though, when his relationship with and feelings towards Sydney are apparent. I thought it was so perfect that Sydney’s dad is the one to save her from Ames. There are too many YA books where the love interest is the one who saves the girl and I love that Dessen chose to make that “savior” her dad instead.

I would recommend My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick as a read-a-like. It also features a girl meeting and being “adopted” by a family. Another good read would be Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park which deals a bit with sibling dynamics and potential feelings of inadequacy in comparison. Saint Anything got me thinking about the different saints. For anyone else who was curious, you can look them all up here (and yes, there is one for librarians/libraries).

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Taylor is unremarkable. Her older brother, Warren, got a perfect score on the SATs and is already preparing for a career as a lawyer while her younger sister, Gelsey, is on her way to becoming a child prodigy in ballet. Partly due to their busy schedules, Taylor’s family has become distant. But when her father is diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, they pack up for one last family summer at the lake house. If Taylor’s willing to stop running away from her problems, this summer could be full of second chances.

cvr9781416990680_9781416990680_hrGet ready for the feels, guys. Because this book has lots of feels. I really, really loved this book. It’s the second book that I’ve read by Morgan Matson (the first being Since You’ve Been Gone). Matson does a great job of writing summery books. Since You’ve Been Gone also had the distinct summer feel, but the thing that I loved about Second Chance Summer is that there was more depth to it. You could really see the relationships between Taylor and the rest of her family members grow as the book goes on. I loved, loved, LOVED, seeing the developing relationship between her and her dad. In some ways, I feel I can really relate. Growing up, my family wasn’t very close either. Like Taylor’s family, we weren’t big on showing or expressing affection towards each other. It was kind of just something that was known, but not said. So as I was reading this book, I could really put myself in Taylor’s shoes. I could understand why she had a hard time talking with her family about her father’s illness and I for sure understood her hesitation to tell her father that she loved him.

This book doesn’t have much of a plot, but I didn’t find that I minded. I think anything else going on beyond what was included in the book would have been too much. Even though Taylor is the narrator, I feel that the focus isn’t really on her. Instead, Matson is focusing on relationships and how they can change. This book doesn’t NEED a driving plot because this book isn’t about what happens, but rather how it happens, why it happens, and how the characters will choose to react to what happens.

Speaking of characters…what a cast! Taylor is relatable. She’s unsure of herself–especially being sandwiched between two exceptional siblings–but not to the point where she’s annoying about it. Warren and Gelsey are both quirky and act like you’d think siblings would act. I thought Henry was a little too perfect, but I was okay with it. Like I said earlier, any additional conflict would have been too much for the story. So I understand why Henry didn’t really have any flaws. I really liked the feel of the family as a whole. They’re far from perfect. They’re just this imperfect family dealing with this really hard situation. Their reactions and emotions feel real and legitimate. There were times when the book just felt so raw. I couldn’t help but wonder how it would feel to be put in Taylor’s position or her mom’s position.

This book is great. Make sure you have a box of tissues handy, though. The last scene between Taylor and her dad was so perfect and beautifully written. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it… Read this book, guys. READ IT.

Overall Rating: 5
Violence: None
Language: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood [ARC]

Several things happened to Dan at once. First, his mother inherited the use of a house. Second, his dad’s business went under (they went broke). Third, his dad came out as gay and left Dan and his mom to fend for themselves. Now Dan is living across the city and going to public school. He and his mom are readjusting to a life with less money but are having a hard time with it. His mom has started a wedding cake business, but keeps convincing her clients not to get married. The only bright spot in Dan’s life is the girl next door, Estelle.sit-cover

Oh, how my heart ached for Dan and his mom! It was so hard for me to read about the difficulties that they were having getting back onto their feet. First the business is failing and then Dan is getting mildly bullied in school. That’s an issue that I have a really hard time reading about: bullying. I was never bullied in school myself, but it’s astounding to me how cruel some kids can be. I just have so much sympathy for people (and characters) who have to go through that. Life gets better everyone! High school doesn’t last forever and when you get out into the world, there will be people out there who will be nice to you. You just have to ignore the idiots and not lose hope.

Anyway…I got a little sidetracked. I’ll just step down from my soapbox now. Overall, Dan was a pretty likable guy even if I didn’t agree with all of the decisions he made. I will admit, there were times when I found myself not liking him, but I always felt sympathy for him (not pity, just sympathy). He felt a little older to me than he was written to be (he’s supposed to be 14/15) and that goes with the other characters as well. I absolutely loved both Fred and Lou–I thought they were really likable characters as well and just great friends for Dan. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Estelle at first. She seemed nice enough, but maybe a little self-absorbed (though I guess most high school girls are). I also really liked the people from the neighborhood. Oliver was great as well as Mrs. Da Silva. Actually, I take that back. Mrs. Da Silva was AWESOME.

The plot was not the focus of the book. Instead, we were focused on the characters and the growth that occurs–especially for Dan and his mom. That being said, I liked the plot. There was enough conflict without it feeling too hopeless. The relationships that the plot was able to help develop felt real. The tension between Dan and his father especially was really convincing.

Overall, I liked this book quite a bit! I haven’t read anything else by this author, but I’m definitely going to look her up. This book is a cute, light contemporary romance from a boy’s point of view (which you don’t get often). Six Impossible Things comes out August 11, so make sure to pre-order yourself a copy!

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Moderate (some brief, strong language).
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from The NOVL in exchange for an honest review.