Book Talk: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Book Talk: Lock and Key by Sarah DessenLock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Published by Speak on May 14, 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 422
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Ruby can take care of herself.
She's used to counting on no one and answering to nobody. But all of that changes when her mother vanishes and Ruby is sent to live with her older sister, Cora. Now Ruby's got her own room in a fabulous new house, she's going to private school, and—for the first time—feeling as if she has a future. Plus, there's the adorable and sweet boy next door, Nate. Everything should be perfect. So why is Ruby so wary? And why is Nate keeping her at a distance? Ruby soon comes to realize that sometimes, in order to save yourself, you've got to reach out to someone else.

Initially, I didn’t feel so good about my read all the Sarah Dessen plan, but now I’m feeling incredibly vindicated as I read great book after great book. Dessen’s books are a bit atypical in that they ride the line between issue books and fluffy ones. They’re also less bantery than most of the contemporaries I love, but the characters are well drawn and have realistic, complex relationships with one another. These books make me feel in ways aside from my usual shippy banter feels (still the absolute best feels, don’t get me wrong), and I love that. Lock and Key just might be my favorite so far.

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Backlisting

One of the weird things about being a book reviewer is that you generally end up leaving backlists, well, in the back. You’re all about that shiny new frontlist, desperately wanting books announced for 2020 and already over the hype of titles that actually haven’t even come out yet, but that you got to read early because #bookbloggerprivileges (there aren’t a ton; let us have this hipster pride, okay). For the first few years I was blogging somewhat successfully (which discounts the first couple years when I was blogging to myself and my audience of roughly just me), the only backlist titles I read were parts of series, so that I could read the latest title.

As a young person, though, my reading philosophy was to find an author I liked and then exhaustively read through all their books in publication order. I started missing that old me, and in the last couple of years, I’ve been making an effort to get back to working through author backlists.

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May 2018: Month in Review

What I’ve Been Up To:

This post is a bit, ummm half a month, overdue, but to be fair I was on vacation when I meant for it to post, and then I was just lazy. Which is a completely legit excuse for skipping your hobby. And exercising. Yeah? Yeah.

May was, like much of this year, both a great and stressful month. I’m still trying to emotionally work through a personal matter without any closure (therapist says that I need to find my own closure, which makes perfect logical sense but which my emotional self absolutely does not want). Work meanwhile is going through a bit of a rough patch, so that’s pretty fucking stressful. But I took my first more than long-weekend vacation of the year, and that was really fun. Especially good is that, at the end of it, my boyfriend and I still get along. I met the parents, which was certainly interesting. And our day at Cedar Point was really awesome.

I rode this giant penis coaster, and it rocked!!!

Don’t ask me how the writing’s going, because ummm it’s currently not, but I do hope to get back to that soon. :/

Music:

Given the state of the world, I’m still not listening to too much new music.

Movies & TV:

I don’t think I actually saw any movies in the theater during May. Mostly I’ve been continuing to introduce my boyfriend to my favorite pop culture that I think he might enjoy, but for some reason I’m not keeping a list, so oops.

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Book Talk: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Book Talk: The Truth About Forever by Sarah DessenThe Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Juvenile on May 11, 2004
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 374
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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A long, hot summer...

That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to question her sheltered life.

Is it really always better to be safe than sorry?

My goal of reading through all of Sarah Dessen’s novels has had its ups and its downs. With This Lullaby and The Truth About Forever, Dessen seems to have really hit her stride. They’re better characterized than her earlier weeks, and shippier too, which is obviously the most important thing. The Truth About Forever is a book about grief, family relationships, and figuring what you really want.

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Book Talk: Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini

I received this book for 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 Talk: Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna ReboliniPublic Relations by Katie Heaney, Arianna Rebolini
Published by Grand Central on May 9, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Young PR star Rose Reed is thrown into the big leagues when her boss leaves town the day of the firm's meeting with Archie Fox, a young, hot, internationally famous British singer-songwriter. The meeting is going badly until Rose suggests a staged romance with up-and-coming, young indie star Raya. He'll do it, but only if Rose becomes his publicist. As the faux-mance begins to rehabilitate Archie's faltering career, Rose finds his herself having unexpected, inconvenient and definitely unprofessional feelings for the crooner. But do late night texts and impromptu burrito binges mean he feels the same? In the end, Rose will have to decide whether to let her fantasy crush go, or to risk her reputation to be with the charming, handsome, scoundrel-y but sweet pop star she's grown to love.

Finding adult contemporary romances that work for me has been a bit of a struggle. I’m more into the rom-com kind than the more traditional kind, and those are a bit hard to find since the crash of “chick lit” and Red Dress Ink. Ever since The Hating Game, though, I’ve has a desperate need for more truly exceptional contemporary romance. Public Relations was exactly what I needed, a fun romantic comedy that adds some depth to the traditional celebrity romance trope.

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