Monday, November 16, 2015

Mini-Reviews: Katie McGarry Edition

Title: Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits, #1.5) 

Author: Katie McGarry

Rating: 3 Stars

McGarry's books are the type of guilty-pleasure reads I genuinely feel ever-so-slightly guilty about reading. Not only are they chock-full of the type of predictable drama romantic comedies are full of--an ex-girlfriend appears out of the blue, a more sophisticated guy is interested in your girlfriend, etc.--but they also contain a nearly sickly-sweet romantic couple. Yet, I find that McGarry's writing is simply irresistible. She makes you FEEL for her characters and though I could see the conflicts coming from a mile away, they still made me gasp and my heart squeeze in worry. It's all Standard Romance Plot but, sometimes, that's precisely the kind of novel a girl needs to forget about her finals.

Moreover, what I did really enjoy about Breaking the Rules is the manner in which McGarry writes Noah and Echo's relationship. By the end of Pushing the Limits, it seems as if these two are riding out into the sunset and living their happily-ever-after. The fact that neither Noah nor Echo are completely healed from their pasts is a relief. The fact that they haven't had sex by the opening of this novel and take time to talk about it and discuss their insecurities and wait until they're both comfortable is yet another relief. Most of all, though, the fact that their futures aren't set in stone and are subject to change is a wonderful message. At its core, Breaking the Rules is a romance novel, sure, but it also has plenty of note-worthy New Adult qualities that I support. Now, if only Noah could get rid of that terrible habit of calling Echo his siren and we'd all be that much happier...

Title: Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1)

Author: Katie McGarry

Rating: 3.5 Stars

McGarry has a rare and fortunate talent in that her novels are compulsively readable. Despite the fact that Nowhere But Here takes awhile for its true plot to emerge, despite the fact that I cringed once or twice at the stereotypes and presumptions made in this narrative, despite the fact that there remains a tad bit too much angsty sexual tension (the kind where you roll your eyes and want to beat your head against the wall in annoyance, not impatience), I still managed to finish this. And, what's more, I might even be sticking around for the companion novel.

While I've struggled with McGarry in the past and fully expected Nowhere But Here to be my last venture into her work, I managed to become sucked into the world of motorcycle gangs that she depicted. I adore a YA romance that features family and individual growth and, alongside some action, that's exactly what this is. It still contains classic McGarry tropes that I don't love but, nevertheless, they aren't enough to completely drag down this narrative. If McGarry is a hit-or-miss author for you, I'd say it's worth giving this one a shot.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Monthly Rewind: October

Sadly, I am in the midst of midterm season. Again. Hence the reason I have been MIA but, I have to say, October was a rocking month! ;)

3 Things About My Life This Month

My best friend at Wellesley and I at Garba!

1. I visited my best friend since 5th Grade in NYC! It was so much fun! Admittedly, it was a whirlwind trip since I stayed over with her for two nights and then ducked home for two nights but it was so nice to catch up with her and get a glimpse into her life now. She lives in a wonderful apartment with five other roommates and they cook incredible food and are so independent, which is really different from my campus-centric life at Wellesley. Anyhow, it was a really fantastic weekend and it's so nice to now be able to put faces to the people she tells me about. (Just a clarification, she's not the friend in the picture. We totally forgot to take pics, believe it or not, but I did go to Garba this month with my friend from Wellesley and it's one of the only pictures I took this month, oops! Will take more in November!)

2. Um, party central? October was a month of crazy good parties. I don't mean a typical college party with frat boys and beer. No, I mean hanging out with a bunch of good friends and belting out to Taylor Swift while stuffing our faces with chips and guac. I mean dressing up for Halloween and playing Cards Against Humanity while discussing how to smash the patriarchy. ;)

3. I declared a  major! I am officially a math major, folks! Everyone needs a major adviser and I love my current math professor, so I set out to ask him on Monday and it kept getting postponed to Friday and by then I had stressed myself out so much. I was a nervous wreck but it was totally fine and he's my major adviser and...ahhh! *throws confetti*

Best Book I Read This Month

It's a tie between Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I read both of these on the bus rides to and from NYC over Fall Break and, let me tell you, I was an emotional wreck in public and didn't even care. Because these books. Read. Them. Now. 

Most Popular Post This Month

Mini-Reviews: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman, and After the End by Amy Plum. I don't often post mini-reviews, so I was really excited by the popularity of this post. Not to mention they're actually all fantastic, thought-provoking novels. Recommended!

Post I Wish Got a Little More Love

Just Another...Book Crush! Jennifer Donnelly is one of my favorite authors ever and These Shallow Graves is so, so lovely. I hope more people check out her work!

3 Things I'm Looking Forward to in November 

1. Thanksgiving! I'm going home with my best friend for Thanksgiving, which is going to be so much fun! She has a huge family and I've never actually celebrated Thanksgiving before, since my family really doesn't do much, so I'm really excited for my first taste of a real Thanksgiving! 

2. Dober Concert! Technically, this already happened but I was really looking forward to it and (spoiler alert!) it was great! Every Fall Semester the Wellesley College Choir joins up with another Choral Society to perform together during the first or second weekend of November. This year we performed with the Radcliffe Choral Society, on Friday and Saturday night both. It was exhausting but also incredibly rewarding.
3. Diwali! Diwali is this Wednesday and I am so excited! It's one of my favorite holidays and I have some gorgeous new clothes I'm going to be wearing, which is what I'm mostly looking forward to. ;) But, Diwali is always such a beautiful night, filled with lights and sparklers. I always miss my family most during Diwali but I know I'm going to have a great time.

How were your Octobers? Did you dress up for Halloween? If so, what did you go as? Anyone do any travelling like I did? What are you looking forward to in November? What are your Thanksgiving plans? Let me know in the comments below--I can't wait to hear! :D