Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

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Title: Anne of Green Gables

Author: L. M. Montgomery

Published: 1908

Rating: ★★★★★


Summary: When the Cuthberts decide they would like to take in an orphan boy to help with the farm work, they are surprised to find a skinny red-headed girl at their door. Anne Shirley is a spunky and sensitive orphan who is doing her best to fit into a world that hasn’t always been kind to her, and now she needs to prove to the Cuthberts that she is someone they should keep.

Why I Am Recommending: Why haven’t I read this book sooner? I would actually like to pointedly ask my sisters, both of whom grew up reading and enjoying this book, why they didn’t force me to read Anne of Green Gables sooner. It wasn’t until I recently watched Netflix’s adaptation “Anne with an E,” that I finally understood why so many have loved the story. This timeless book is a delight. It is full of luscious description and the bright world that Montgomery creates through the sweet eyes of Anne. Anne is a great character. She is complex and interesting with a mind and mouth going a mile a minute. I was sometimes in awe at the writing Montgomery put into the character of Anne Shirley and her ongoing stream of consciousness. The setting of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island is rich and full of beautiful landscapes, which are easy to imagine through the words on the page. Anne is a multi-dimensional character whose monologues showcase how the world has treated her. Sometimes her point of view is heartbreaking, while other times it makes me rethink my tendency toward cynicism. I have actually noticed myself looking at nature and life and wondering how Anne may have viewed something or described it. I bought the whole 8-book set and I am looking forward to see what else Montgomery has in store for Anne and how she evolves her free-spirited nature into young adulthood. A big recommendation from me, but I suspect most have read this by now!

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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Title: The Wrath & the Dawn

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Published: May 2015

Rating: ★★★★


Summary: Each dawn, the young, cruel Caliph Khalid executes his newest bride. No bride has lived to see a second dawn. Shahrzad’s best friend was one of these young brides and she vows to avenge the senseless murder by volunteering as the Caliph’s next bride.

Why I Am Recommending:  I immediately liked this book. Ahdieh describes such a beautiful world full of fragrant flowers, spiced foods, and colorful clothing. I loved her writing and found it to be like unwrapping a decadent dessert. Shahrzad (Shazi) is a great character. She is a strong, independent female with a strong devotion to those she loves. She is also a story-teller, and I was swept up in them along side Khalid. Khalid is another great character. He is misunderstood, brooding, and sensitive, and I loved getting to know him. I completely relished the tension of Shazi and Khalid’s complicated relationship. I wouldn’t change a thing about the pacing or Ahdieh’s approach in telling this story. I will be diving directly into the second installment!

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Second Chance

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Title: Second Chance Summer

Author: Morgan Matson

Published: May 2012

Rating: ★★★★


Summary: When Taylor’s dad gets a grim prognosis, the family uproots themselves for the summer to spend it together at their lake house in the Poconos. Taylor has to face how she left things when she was last at the lake house 5 summers ago while she and her family come to terms with reality.

Why I Am Recommending: As the weather has turned warmer, I was drawn to a book about summer vacation. It was a bonus that this book was set in a locale not too far from my home, which made it easier for me to envision the characters and the setting. I found this story to be really heart warming. The heartbreaking situation Taylor’s family was in plucked at my heart strings and fully engaged my tear ducts. This book had everything I love, first love and emotionality. There were great characters throughout the book and I really felt like I understood Taylor. Her relationship with her dad was very sweet and I liked seeing her relationship develop with her siblings. Morgan Matson does a great job nailing what I remember being that age to be like. Her books always fill me with nostalgia, and this book is no different. 

List: 6 Swoon-Worthy Reads

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Above all topics, love is my favorite. I am a complete addict when it comes to all things romantic in the realm of books and movies. I used to play this addiction down because I thought a respected book guru would spend most of their reading time on the New York Times bestsellers list, which rarely leaves space for cotton-candy, feel-good, love stories. I have decided that life is too short to read books I’m just not that into, and so I am embracing my romantic, sentimental side and putting forth a list of some of my very favorite swoon-worthy love stories. Enjoy!

 

Title: Attachments

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Published: April 2011

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Summary: This is the story of how an IT specialist falls for a woman as he snoops on their email conversations under the guise of performing his duties. Although this can sometimes feel stalker-y, I promise it is a sweet love story. If my summary hasn’t piqued your interest then simply trust in the goddess author that is Rainbow Rowell. Her name is enough to endorse a gold standard in heart-warming fiction. Click here to look at my full post on this book recommendation.

 

Title: The Royal We

Author: Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Published: April 2015

Rating:♥♥♥♥♥

Summary: American college student, Rebecca Porter, studies abroad at Oxford where she meets the crown prince of England. Their romance unfolds from here and you will devour every word of this insanely sweet, cotton-candy read. Trust me, this one is killer. Click here to look at my full post on this book recommendation.

 

Title: Outlander

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Published: July 2005

Rating:♥♥♥♥

Summary: A WWII nurse, Claire Randall, is reacquainting herself with her husband on a getaway post-war in the Scottish Highlands when she falls through a portal and lands in 1743. This is a romance novel that also feeds the brain. Gabaldon does an impressive job describing life in the Highlands in the 18th century while telling an incredibly romantic story. I was skeptical of this book’s concept, but after seeing the pilot for the STARZ show I jumped at the chance to read the book. Every time I opened the cover I was immersed in this decadent tome. Click here to look at my full post on this book recommendation.

selection

 

Title: The Selection Series (#1-3)

Author: Kiera Cass

Published: April 2012, April, 2013, May 2014

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Summary: This is a YA series that follows America Singer as she competes with other girls to be chosen by the prince and heir of Illea. It is like a royal version of the Bachelor in a semi-dystopian world. I breezed through these books…both times, but I can only recommend books #1-3 (of the 6 books and additional novellas).

 

Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Published: December 2010

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Summary: This is another YA book. This story is about Anna, who is sent to a boarding school in France against her will, but she ends up finding her footing with friends and a dapper beau. This novel really captures angsty teenage romance, but also sort of reminded me of college, so there was a heavy dose of nostalgia when reading this swoon-worthy love story. Click here to look at my full post on this book recommendation.

Pride and Prejudice

 

Title: Pride & Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen

Published: 1813

Rating:♥♥♥♥♥

Summary: What list of romantic novels would be complete with out the créme de la créme of all love stories? This may have been the book that started it all for me and I am sure many others feel the same way. It amazes me that a book published more than 200 years ago is still relevant. Elizabeth Bennet is my all-time favorite character who has a good head on her shoulders and navigates an unlikely romance with Mr. Darcy in a most elegant way.

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

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Title: The Sea of Tranquility

Author: Katja Millay

Published: November 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★


Summary: Nastya leaves home and moves in with her aunt to escape the trauma and pressure at home after a terrifying experience that eventually results in her choice to stop speaking. Moving to a new town and a new school is a chance for her to reinvent herself, but how long will the facade be able to last?

Why I Am Recommending: I wasn’t instantly in love with this novel. I found the lead character, Nastya, to be sort of annoying. As I read further and gained some insight into her past, I began to forgive her for her hard exterior and instead understood why she felt the need for its existence. Millay did a nice job with pacing the story and the development of her relationships. There were some truly sweet aspects of this book, which I felt most especially on the very last pages of the read. This was a solid story that was satisfying and heartwarming along with a depth of story that kept my brain engaged.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

anna-and-the-french-kiss

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Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Published: December 2010

Rating: ★★★★


Summary: Anna is plucked from her comfortable life in Atlanta to attend a boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school, courtesy of her successful author father. Feeling like she has been dealt the worst at first, Anna comes to make an interesting group of friends and a new crush in the City of Light.

Why I Am Recommending: This book is such a fun read! I would put it into my “cotton-candy” category of delicious, easy, romantic reads. I actually did not read this book, but rather listened to it as an audiobook….twice. Kim Mai Guest is the narrator and she does a fantastic job of providing the voice to an emotional, angsty, teenager. I enjoyed stepping into this experience along with Anna and experiencing Paris through her eyes. The characters in this story are quirky and likable and all add humor and insight to Anna’s story. I found myself laughing out loud and sighing with hearts in my eyes right alongside Anna. Such a great read, or in my case, listen. Again–the audiobook is fantastic and I don’t know that I would do this book any other way.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Published: September 2016

Rating: ★★★★★


Summary: Aelin and her growing court are endeavoring to build an army to battle the darkness in Morath. In this effort, Aelin is making allies and enemies alike as well as beginning to learn what it really means to be a Queen.

Why I Am Recommending: I have become a big fan of the Throne of Glass series since I first began reading them in 2014. Aelin is such a strong female character, but the book has several other strong female characters, most especially shining in this 5th installment. This book was the longest of the series, but I enjoyed every single page of the 693 page tome. I think the use of multiple perspectives is at its best in this book, which allows for a multi-dimensional story and the ability to leave secrets. The content of this book was the most adult of any in the series, which makes me finally make the assessment that although this follows young adults, it should not be categorized as a YA book series due to the more mature content. There was seriously so much about this book that I loved, but don’t want to give anything away. I will be waiting with bated breath for the 6th and final book of this series to release later this year. I can’t remember being so into a series of this size in a long time…dare I say since Harry Potter. Maas has done a great job creating this world and large cast of characters that has left me enjoying all 2,728 pages of the series and anxiously waiting for more. On a very excited side note, I have read that Hulu is developing a series on their streaming service, which will be called Queen of Shadows!