Books

I See London, I See France- Sarah Mlynowski

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Sydney is headed to Europe with her best friend, Leela for the next five weeks, but when Leela’s ex-boyfriend and his cute friend show up things get a little messy. The four travel across London, Paris, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Italy and Greece as they navigate their messy relationships. Sydney has her mind on home however, as her agoraphobic mother and wild younger sister are facing difficulty without her there to help them.

This book made me really feel like I was traipsing around Europe while actually dealing with real issues in friendship, family and relationships. Sydney balances doing what is best for her and still caring about her family, her childhood and new college friends, and a possible love with her best friends. The writing is great and keeps you engaged for their entire trip and the characters are relatable. This is a great read for college students hoping to study abroad ( or remembering their own trips) and features a lot of wild travel stories that could only happen in your twenties.

What’s your favorite travel novel? I’m always looking for another one!

Girl Online- Zoe Sugg

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Penny, a 15 year old girl living in Brighton, England is only really herself online. In reality, she’s clumsy and awkward (especially around boys), but on her blog she can truly be herself. While dealing with increasingly intermittent panic attacks, she and her best friend head to NYC to spend Christmas. She meets the perfect boy, well at least he seems perfect. As she takes in all her holiday romance has to offer, her separate on and offline lives start to blend.

I think this book does a good job of describing panic attacks and anxiety, as well as ways to combat them, without romanticizing mental illness. At its core this is a romance novel, that borders cliche and cheesy, but sometimes you just need a real feel-good read. Penny and the other characters are an accurate representation of early high school drama especially as she starts to navigate her (negative) online presence and the beginnings of a relationship. The overall plot is a little unrealistic, but what romance book isn’t. It’s a great book for early adolescence, but doesn’t cross over into more adult audiences. I think that if I had read it in middle school or my freshman year it would have really resonated with me.

What’s your favorite feel-good read? I need to accumulate a TBR list for when school starts again…

A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue- Mackenzi Lee

 

29283884Monty, an earl’s son in 18th century England, is about to set out on a year long Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend, Percy and younger sister. He is very much looking forward to drinking  and gambling his way through Europe’s greatest cities all the while spending as much time with Percy, who he’s madly in love with. His father has other plans sending along a bear-leader to show the boys the sights and keep them in line. However, they’re trip is not what they thought it would be as obstacles (highwaymen, pirates, a little bit of treasure hunting) keep appearing allowing them to learn more about themselves and their relationships than they would have at the bottom of a bottle.

I was skeptical at first because the book is pretty long (500 pages) and travel narratives tend to lag and get repetitive but this one doesn’t. It was so refreshing to see the great European cities in their prime by going to a grand party at Versailles rather than just touring it. The romance is the type of slow burn that makes you ache for them to just tell each other their feelings already ( and makes it so much better when they finally do). And Felicity is a strong female character that would make any feminist proud, even if she is one of the only two female characters. This is a light fun read that will have you dreaming of far away places and keep you entirely enthralled in romance and adventure.

 

 

Books to Curb Your Wanderlust

Wanderlost- Jen Malone

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What could be wrong with a spontaneous trip through Europe, a caravan of the elderly, and a young hot cutie? Aubree acts as a stand-in tour guide for a small group of old people on their 22 day journey through Europe, although she does manage to lose her notes, phone and sanity on the first day.

Places visited: Amsterdam, Prague, Austria, Italy( Venice and Rome).

With Malice- Eileen Cook

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Jill wakes up in a hospital bed with a splitting migraine and no recollection of the last six weeks. That lost time includes the trip to Italy she took with her best friend, Simone,  and the car accident that killed her. Simone’s accidental death is tragic, but no one seems to believe it was an accident. Memories of Italy (and the hot Italian college guy) and an imminent arrest hover over Jill in recovery, but will she ever remember what really happened?

The Loose Ends List- Carrie Firestone

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Maddie’s final high school summer is swept out from under her when her eccentric Gram takes the family on an 8-week cruise around the world, only Gram is not returning at the end. The death-with-dignity cruise is designed to allow the terminally ill to go on their terms, and to tie up loose ends on the way. Maddie finds a tall, dark, handsome mystery guy to take her mind off the death surrounding the ship. This is the book that I’ve cried the most at in my entire life, and man is it worth it.

Places visited: Bermuda, Jamaica, Brazil, Iceland, Venice, Rome, Slovenia, Thailand

Anna and the French Kiss- Stephanie Perkins

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Anna’s life is uprooted from her beloved Atlanta when her father forces her to attend the School of America in Paris. She struggles to fit in and find her place among classmates that have known each other for years. As it is the most romantic city in the world Anna falls for the Parisenne/American with a British accent Etienne St. Clair (isn’t that the sexiest name). Navigating the waters of her new city and new relationships, Anna discovers the real meaning of home.

The Red Notebook- Antoine Laurain

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The Parisian bookseller Laurent feels the need to find the women connected to the handbag he finds in the street. There is no wallet or identification, just a few seemingly random items to lead him to her, one of which is a red notebook filled with the woman’s innermost thoughts. It’s a quick read with a very French feel.

The Heir and the Spare- Emily Albright

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Following a trail of letters from her mother, Evie jets off to finish her degree at Oxford. The letters outline a series of “quests”for Evie to complete, unearthing family secrets her mother never had the chance to tell her. There’s also stunningly attractive boy, who turns out to be the Prince: every girl’s dream. It’s a fabulously British, swoon worthy romance.

All the Light We Cannot See-Anthony Doerr

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Intertwining stories of a Parisian blind girl and a orphan German boy with a fondness for radios set during WWII. It shows how the war affected innocents on both sides with a dash of magical realism. If you’re into historical fiction it’s a must read.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue- Mackenzi Lee

29283884Monty, an debaucherous earl’s son, sets out on a grand tour of Europe with his best friend, Percy and sister Felicity. But all does not go as planned: highwaymen, pirates, a little bit of magic, and some treasure hunting. Also, a slow burning unrequited romance between Monty and Percy that is just so good.

I See London, I See France- Sarah Mlynowski

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Sydney, 19, sets out on a European journey after her first year of college with her best friend from High School, Leela. But Leela’s ex boyfriend shows up with his cute friend. Sydney’s plan fall to the whims of their tumultuous relationship allowing her and the cute friend to get to know each other a little better.