Posts Tagged: Travel

Early Review – Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman

August 22, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, YA 4 Comments

I received this book free from First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle FormanJust One Year by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2
Published by Dutton Children's on October 10th 2013
Pages: 336
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Travel
Format: eARC
Source: First to Read Program
Amazon
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Also by this author: Just One Day, Just One Night

three-stars

The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

 

Just One Day series
Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

‘It was like she gave me her whole self, and somehow as a result, I gave her more of myself than I ever realized there was to give. But then she was gone. And only after I’d been filled up by her, by that day, did I understand how empty I really was.’

Finally. We have Willem’s story. Just One Day left readers contemplating what possibly could have gone wrong, why he never came back to Allyson and if they were ever going to be able to find each other again. Just One Year possesses the same melancholy feel as its predecessor with Willem stumbling around in an apparent daze, unable to trust the stability of his feelings for Allyson because after all… they only knew each other for a single day.

‘…it’s Lulu I miss, and I know it must be displaced, my loneliness a heat-seeking missile, her the heat. Only I can’t seem to find a new source of heat.’

This is a tough one for me to figure out how I feel about. Willem was a tough nut to crack and I went through the majority of the book not feeling any sort of compassion towards him, no pity for his plight, when I think that would have been the regular response. He gave up his search for her very early on and considering we already know what Allyson went through physically and emotionally makes me sad for her. Willem was convinced to start looking for her again by friends and as much as he kept saying he was still looking for her that whole time, it wasn’t an active search. It felt like he was simply sitting back and waiting for something to happen, for her to find him.

‘The truth and its opposite are flip sides of the same coin.’

Willem’s story became less about their romance and more about him discovering things about himself and becoming a better person because he met her. This is actually what I had originally hoped for her in Just One Day; for Allyson to recognize the incredibly transformed person she had become (and she did) but that even though it resulted from her meeting Willem that she didn’t need him to continue to be as such. Willem found the independence and strength their meeting imbued and used it in a positive manner and while I’m glad at least one of them did this, I never quite liked Willem enough in order to root for him. I never saw what appealed to Allyson and I never understood quite why they transformed each others lives in the first place.

While I’m glad to have the closure of Willem’s side of the story, I still can’t help but feel the ending would have benefited from… more. I needed to see Willem and Allyson’s transformations being applied since we as readers were only afforded a quick glance before reaching the final page.

Just One Year is a tale of transformation, of finding happiness, of finding love and finding yourself.

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Early Review + Giveaway! Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman

December 15, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2012, YA 4 Comments

I received this book free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review + Giveaway! Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle FormanJust One Day by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #1
Published by Dutton Juvenile on January 8th 2013
Pages: 368
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: ARC
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Just One Year, Just One Night

three-stars

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

 ‘We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.’

Admittedly, I do believe I started this when I was in the completely wrong sort of mood. I totally killed this story for myself in the beginning and could not get into it. I was mentally flashing to scenes from ‘Taken’ and kept waiting for her to start using her brain and NOT get on the train with the complete stranger BY HERSELF to PARIS where she’s never been before, barely has any money, and can’t speak the language. I can understand getting caught up in the moment and feeling a connection to someone so much that you just lose yourself in the moment… but this was just downright reckless and so potentially dangerous that it sucked all enjoyment out of it for me.

Allyson was such a strange and unrealistic narrator. Always the smart girl, the girl who played it safe, and then she meets Willem and he unlocks a side of her that she herself didn’t know existed. Allyson had been on a tour of Europe for several weeks but had never got to see Paris, so he asks for her to go with him there. And this is where I get even MORE disturbed. They have one single day in Paris and it ended up being the most random, jumbled and seemingly unenjoyable day. So it wasn’t the type of day spent in Paris like you see in the movies but they didn’t even DO anything! So much beauty surrounded them and for part of it they ended up taking a nap in the park? Are you kidding me? If I had a single day in Paris and I needed to nap I’d be pounding the red bulls and trying to get the most I could out of that day.

‘We kiss again. This next kiss is the kind that breaks open the sky. It steals my breath and gives it back. It shows me that every other kiss I’ve had in my life has been wrong.’

I’m not saying that it’s impossible to meet someone and only after a single day they have somehow managed to change a piece of you forever. I believe that can happen; I’ve felt it. But I didn’t feel it while reading this and I was left dumbfounded and confused to what Willem did exactly to evoke such a long-lasting reaction. I just didn’t’ believe it strongly enough. My other issue was with the fact that she attributed this other her, “Lulu”, as a result of being with Willem. It was disheartening to see her give up that new her just because he disappeared. I would have liked to see her take the situation for what it was: a life lesson that opened her eyes to how different she could live her life and actually enjoy it in the process. But instead she crawled deeper into her shell than she had before.

The Ending. Spoilers! For real. Don’t click.

View Spoiler »

Of course I have to read the follow-up because it’s obvious that Allyson was lacking in answers and I can only hope we receive some resolution (that is logical too) from Willem’s side of things. And hello cliffhanger, thanks for that. Not terribly pleased with the story itself but there’s really no denying it, Gayle Forman can write one entrancing story.

*All quotes taken are from an uncorrected proof*

This is for my personal (ARC) copy of Just One Day and since I am covering the shipping charges this is open to U.S. addresses only. Sorry international followers!

Giveaway ends December 31st, 2012

To enter use the Rafflecopter form below. Remember to come back for more entry opportunities daily!!

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Book Review – The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson

September 13, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2012 0 Comments

Book Review – The Rum Diary by Hunter S. ThompsonThe Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson
Published by Simon & Schuster on November 2nd 1998
Pages: 204
Genres: Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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four-half-stars

Begun in 1959 by a twenty-two-year-old Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary is a brilliantly tangled love story of jealousy, treachery, and violent alcoholic lust in the Caribbean boomtown that was San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the late 1950s. The narrator, freelance journalist Paul Kemp, irresistibly drawn to a sexy, mysterious woman, is soon thrust into a world where corruption and get-rich-quick schemes rule and anything (including murder) is permissible. Exuberant and mad, youthful and energetic, this dazzling comedic romp provides a fictional excursion as riveting and outrageous as Thompson's Fear and Loathing books.

‘Here I was, living in a luxury hotel, ,racing around a half-Latin city in a toy car that looked like a cockroach and sounded like a jet fighter, sneaking down alleys and humping on the beach, scavenging for food in shark-infested waters, hounded by mobs yelling in a foreign tongue – and the whole thing was taking place in quaint old Spanish Puerto Rico…’

I would guess that in the time that lapsed in this story, a couple tons of rum was consumed. I suppose that explains the title. But serious, these people had to be staggering around drunk all the time. It’s amazing they actually got anything done. Oh wait. That’s right. They didn’t. But considering this story is set in the late 1950’s I suppose that would explain their behavior as well.

“We’re all going to the same damn places, doing the same damn things people have been doing for fifty years, and we keep waiting for something to happen. You know – I’m a rebel, I took off – now where’s my reward?”
“You fool,” I said.” There is no reward and there never was.”

Gritty and raw with a tinge of desperation. Paul Kemp in addition to everyone else he’s become acquainted with since his arrival on the island of Puerto Rico have only ended up there in hopes of escaping to something better. After quickly realizing that Puerto Rico (at the time) is far from their original vision of paradise, the spiteful and bitter attitudes begin making an appearance. It doesn’t take Kemp long to become just as bitter after the realization that a person can work so hard to have a better life, have more money, and to accomplish your dreams and never actually get anything done except wasting time and getting older.

“We keep getting drunk and these terrible things keep happening and each one is worse than the last… Hell, it’s no fun anymore – our luck’s all running out at the same time.”

The Rum Diary is simply that, a diary. There isn’t even that much of a plot, really. It’s almost like a pilot episode, a small glimpse of what’s to come but unfortunately there isn’t any full episode to look forward to. Despite that, I find myself extremely fascinated and I now have an incredibly strong desire to read anything I can get my hands on of Hunter S. Thompson’s. The Rum Diary is his second novel which he wrote at the age of 22 is semi-autobiographical because Hunter himself flew down to Puerto Rico as a journalist to write for a newspaper. Despite writing The Rum Diary in the early 1960’s, it was never actually published until 1998 because no one was interested and he was constantly rejected. Fortunately, he revisited the idea of publishing it several decades later and he finally succeeding in releasing it to the world.

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Book Review – Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy Thomas

February 1, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 4 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy ThomasParis, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (And Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas
Published by Sourcebooks on February 1st 2012
Pages: 305
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Part love letter to New York, part love letter to Paris, and total devotion to all things sweet. Paris, My Sweet is a personal and moveable feast that’s a treasure map for anyone who loves fresh cupcakes and fine chocolate, New York and Paris, and life in general. It’s about how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a sliver of cheesecake and about how the life you’re meant to live doesn’t always taste like the one you envisioned. Organized into a baker’s dozen of delicacies (and the adventures they inspired) that will tempt readers’ appetites, Paris, My Sweet is something to savor.

*sigh*… Paris.

And pastries. 🙂

What could be better?

‘I guess it goes to show that you just never know where life will take you. You search for answers. You wonder what it all means. You stumble, and you soar. And, if you’re lucky, you make it to Paris for a while. Here’s what happened when I did.’

On top of tales of wonderful sweets, the author shares her own personal story about finding her way in a foreign place, gaining a new perspective on life and simply learning to be thankful for what life dishes out to you. It was quite a delightful surprise that I enjoyed immensely; am so glad that I requested this book.

Despite my attempts to read this only on a full stomach, I still ended up with one serious sweet tooth by the end of this book (or even by the end of each chapter…or page). The author describes in extreme detail the sweets she eats, and makes each and every one of them sound positively heavenly.

’…her signature pretzel-covered, sea-salted caramel that had crackly, salty pretzel bits coating the 66 percent cocoa shell and creamy caramel center.’

Oh… my… gosh. Who makes these and how can I buy some of these goodies? Apparently her name is Rachel Zoe Insler, owner of Bespoke Chocolates. I was drooling so heavily over the descriptions I went so far as to try and find her online… only to find that her business had actually closed earlier this year. I was one seriously sad puppy. (If I had simply kept reading I would have realized the author spoke of the business closure at the end of the chapter haha). At the end of each chapter, she also tells where to find some of the best cupcakes, macarons, truffles, etc. in New York and Paris. Definitely made me want to take note and write down more than a few for when I eventually make it to each city.

I found myself using Google Translate often and searching for Frenchie terms that I had no idea the meaning (Vélib’ is a bicycle sharing system, fish are sold at poissoneries, and there are twenty arrondissements (or districts) of Paris. I think normally this would have irritated me having to stop every few minutes to figure out what exactly I’m reading, but being that I personally have a crush on anything Paris and cannot wait to go there personally someday, having to search for unknown items and words was actually quite a fun experience for me.

I also quite enjoyed taking a look at the author’s two blogs Sweet Freak© and God, I love Paris. If she didn’t do a good enough job in her book describing all the delicious goodies, the pictures she posts on both blogs are bound to get you. Sure makes this gluten-free girl quite sad (but has me definitely contemplating getting off my butt and at least trying to find and modify recipes for goodies that I can eat too. Inspiration! :D)

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