Review: A Work in Progress by Connor Franta

22886113A Work in Progress by Connor Franta

Published April 21st 2015 

In this intimate memoir of life beyond the camera, Connor Franta shares the lessons he has learned on his journey from small-town boy to Internet sensation so far.

Here, Connor offers a look at his Midwestern upbringing as one of four children in the home and one of five in the classroom; his struggles with identity, body image, and sexuality in his teen years; and his decision to finally pursue his creative and artistic passions in his early twenties, setting up his thrilling career as a YouTube personality, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and tastemaker.

Exploring his past with insight and humor, his present with humility, and his future with hope, Connor reveals his private struggles while providing heartfelt words of wisdom for young adults. His words will resonate with anyone coming of age in the digital era, but at the core is a timeless message for people of all ages: don’t be afraid to be yourself and to go after what you truly want.

This full-color collection includes photography and childhood clippings provided by Connor and is a must-have for anyone inspired by his journey. 

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I’ve never seen Connor’s videos before and I’m typically disappointed in books by YouTubers. But I seen so much hype around this book that I picked it up and I actually really liked it.
A Work in Progress is very well written and in a style that feels conversational. I felt like I was friends with Connor and was just hanging out, listening to his stories.
It was really interesting to read about Connor’s life and he seems like a really cool person. All of his stories are well spoken and not overly detailed.
I really enjoyed the photos scattered throughout the book and how unique this book felt compared to other memoirs I’ve read.

Overall, I really enjoyed A Work in Progress and would recommend it if you’re looking for a great non-fiction read.

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Review: The Lost Herondale by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman

23380998The Lost Herondale by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman

Published March 17th 2015

Simon learns the worst crime a Shadowhunter can commit: desertion of their comrades. In the early nineteenth century, Tobias Herondale abandoned his fellow Shadowhunters in the heat of battle and left them to die. His life was forfeit, but Tobias never returned, and the Clave claimed his wife’s life in exchange for Tobias’s. Simon and his fellow students are shocked to learn of this brutality, especially when it is revealed the woman was pregnant. But what if the child survived… could there be a lost Herondale line out in the world today?

 

 

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I always say I’m going to stop reading Shadowhunter books but I always get wrapped up in them. I love The Infernal Devices series to the ends of the earth but The Mortal Instruments series dragged on and on for me and I stopped liking them after book three. I didn’t plan on continuing with Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy but I was gifted a copy so I thought I might as well finish it.
I’m not a fan of Simon, never have been, so The Lost Herondale tested my patience pretty much 100% of the time.
I do love the writing style. Cassie Clare has so much talent and her world building is amazing.
I did like The Lost Herondale a bit more than Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy so that was a nice surprise.
Overall, if you’re a hardcore fan of TMI, you’ll probably love this book. But if you’re like me and tired of TMI being dragged out, you should probably pass on this book.

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Review: The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante

23281691The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante

Published May 5th 2015

Ever since her brother’s death, Dellie’s life has been quiet and sad. Her mother cries all the time, and Dellie lives with the horrible guilt that the accident that killed her brother may have been all her fault.

But Dellie’s world begins to change when new neighbors move into her housing project building. Suddenly, men are fighting on the stoop and gunfire is sounding off in the night. In the middle of all that trouble is Corey, an abused five-year-old boy, who’s often left home alone and hungry. Dellie strikes up a dangerous friendship with this little boy who reminds her so much of her brother. She wonders if she can do for Corey what she couldn’t do for her brother—save him.

 

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The Trouble with Half a Moon is such a heartbreaking story and beautifully written.
Because this book is told from the perspective of such a young girl, it made it so much more emotional.
I wasn’t a big fan of the direction of Miss Shirley’s character and I wished there was more communication between Dellie and her parents.
But other than that, I really enjoyed the story. It was a pretty short book but it didn’t feel rushed. I really like the writing style and I loved Corey and Dellie’s friendship.
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Review: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

25650078The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

Published July 21st 2015

YOU’VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

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This was such a fun, fluffy story. I really loved the plot and Lou. I wasn’t really a fan of Al just because he was so mean with his reviews and really didn’t seem to care about anyone. The romance between Lou and Al was pretty cute but it didn’t give me any overwhelming feels. The overall plot was pretty predictable but it was still enjoyable. If I wasn’t such a critical reader, I probably would have enjoyed this book a lot more.

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Review: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

23995231.jpgCircling the Sun by Paula McLain

Published July 28th 2015

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

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Circling the Sun is very different from the books I normally read and I was a little unsure of what to expect. I’m very impressed by how much I actually enjoyed it.

I loved the setting of this book so much. I’ve never read a book that took place in Kenya and I found it very fascinating. The characters were so well written and beautifully flawed. Beryl was such a wonderful character and I loved reading about her.
I did find that this book became a bit slow towards the end and didn’t hold my attention like the first half did. But other than that, I loved this book.
If you’re looking for a really great historical read, I’d definitely recommend Circling the Sun.

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