Happy Thursday! I’m so happy my Historical Fiction (among other genres!) loving friend from Twitter, Morgan (and fellow native Californian) is here for Day 7 of Falling in Love with Books. She blogs over at Gone with the Words and is sharing a book that is near and dear to her heart: Meant to Be! Enjoy!
I’ve always loved Valentines Day! As a kid, I would pick cards in January and then agonize over which card to give to which person in my class. And in college I’d bake cupcakes and cookies for friends, wear all the red and pink I owned, and watch a bunch of romantic comedies! It was never about having a boyfriend for me, though having my husband the past couple years has been nice 😉 Last year we sent Valentines cards with our wedding picture instead of Christmas cards! I just love festiveness and swoons and baked goods and love.
One of my favorite genres to read is YA Contemporary and the book that started it all was Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill.
I had read a lot of adult “chick lit”, or what I like to call romantic comedies, but not much YA. I was under the impression that most YA contemporaries were serious or dramatic, not fun and fluffy. But luckily I found Christina @ Reader of Fiction’s 5 star review for Meant to Be right when I discovered blogs! I LOVED the cover, I thought the story sounded awesome, and Christina’s review totally sold me.
An awkward bookworm in London stuck with a guy she couldn’t stand… or could she?
Yeah, that sounded like Morgan catnip and it SO was. I read it in a day, which was an enjoyable way to endure jury duty!
Julia, with all her rules and awkwardness, was easy to relate to, the London setting was vibrant, and Jason was completely adorable under that irritating layer 😉 I’d say my favorite thing in a romance is banter, especially between two people who “can’t stand each other.” It’s so Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy and totally amazing. I love watching it evolve into flirting and the realization that there are feelings beneath the supposed hostility. Eep!
The book was also very funny and had amazing pop culture references. And I know that teenagers shouldn’t drink (don’t do it kids!) but I adore drunk scenes in books and movies. They’re always so hilarious and lead to these amazing confessional and/or awkward moments.
I loved this book so much that my review only says this: “5 billion stars. Will write a proper review tonight. I fell in love with this book!”
I never went back to the review but mainly because it would have been nonsensical and full of OMGGGGGS.
If you love witty banter, awesome, relatable characters, foreign settings, swoooons, and Shakespearean levels of comic misunderstanding, you’ll love Meant to Be.
It led me to Anna and the French Kiss which I absolutely loved. And from there, the door was open for me to find more YA romantic comedies to fall in love with 🙂 I’ll watch a movie millions of times if I love it and I wanted books like that too. I’m glad Meant to Be helped me find them 🙂
It’s a perfect read, or re-read, for Valentine’s Day!
Witty banter? Awkward bookworm? London? I can’t believe I haven’t read this book, Morgan! My TBR is getting even higher than it was before, and I’ll be adding this book STAT. Thank you for sharing in this fabulous post with these superb gifs. 🙂
Ready for more books to fall in love with? Tomorrow Diana from Brilliantly Novel brings Glass Girl onto our radar!
Welcome to Lory from The Emerald City Book Review! I have been following Lory’s blog for awhile now, and let me tell you, it is delightful every time I stop by. If you want to read rich, descriptive, and thoughtful reviews and discussions, then by all means, go check out Lory’s blog. I was so curious which book she would choose for this feature, and I have to say I’m intrigued!
A book I fell in love with:
Beauty by Robin McKinley (Harper and Row, 1978)
Beauty is not the first book by Robin McKinley that I ever read, but I find it her most. . . loveable. I mean, how can a bibliomaniac not adore a book that contains the following description of a library:
This single room of the library was as large as our whole house in the city had been, and I could see more book-filled rooms through open doors in all directions, including a balcony overhead, all built from floor to high ceiling with bookshelves. “Oh my,” I said. “How do you reach the top shelves?”
A miniature staircase, complete with a banister on one side, rolled up to me; I had the feeling that it would have cleared its throat respectfully if it had had a throat to clear. “You remind me of our butler in the city,” I said to it. “He stood at attention just the way you’re doing now. Do you clean silver as well as he did?” It moved in a half circle backward, and I thought it was probably eyeing me in confusion.
“Don’t distress it,” said the Beast mildly. “It will try to clean silver to please you, and it isn’t built for it.”
I laughed. “Pardon me, sir,” I said to the waiting staircase. “I do not wish you to clean silver.” It settled down on its wheels with the faintest sigh of condensing springs. . .
. . . The rows of books tugged unrepentantly at the edges of my sight. I walked like one bewitched to the nearest shelf. “I didn’t know there were so many books in the world,” I said caressingly, and the Beast’s answer was heard only in my ear and did not register in my brain. “Well, in fact, there aren’t.”
Clearly our heroine, Beauty, loves books, which is one thing that immediately endeared her to me. She also loves horses, roses, and her family. There are no wicked sisters or foolish fathers in this retelling of the story of “Beauty and the Beast,” only a warm and wonderful circle of people I’ve often wished I could slip into as a younger sibling or cousin. Rather than being greedy and grasping, vainly regretting their lost wealth, they bravely set out to create a new home together.
From my first encounter with them, I loved all of the details of their journey and of their world, with its vivid beauties, homely joys, and a touch of magic.
Things Beauty does not love include her name, either her rather stiff and proper real name, Honour, or her wildly inappropriate (as she thinks) nickname. And once she comes to the castle of the Beast, she does not love him at all, for he is a fearsome creature. But as they spend time together and she begins to understand something of what lies behind the beastly exterior, fear turns to trust, and repulsion to respect. Can it turn into something warmer? That depends on Beauty truly knowing herself, and owning the truth of both her names.
The journey of two lonely people toward one another is one of the loveliest things about this lovely book. And it takes place in a charmingly mysterious enchanted castle—what could be better? If you haven’t yet read Beauty, this is the perfect season to do so. I hope you will, and that you’ll find as much pleasure in its pages as I have.
Lory Widmer Hess
Lory blogs about her reading journey at The Emerald City Book Review (www.emeraldcitybookreview.com).
Thank you, Lory, for sharing your love of Beauty! I don’t have the privilege of having read this, and I need to remedy that. I love Beauty and the Beast tales, especially when that story relates to “the journey of two lonely people toward one another” as you put it.
I wonder if others have read Beauty or, like me, they still have yet to read this gem?
Get ready for a really fun post tomorrow by Morgan from Gone with the Words as she gushes about Meant to Be!
The Falling in Love with Books Feature continues! It’s Day 5, and I’m happy to have the wonderful and well-read Selah from A Bibliophile’s Style sharing a fabulous book–and it’s about a beloved author…the famous JANE AUSTEN!
Enjoy this glimpse of a gorgeous coffee table book. And we continue with more Valentine’s Day traditions–Selah shares a splendid one…involving tea!
I first fell in love with all things Jane Austen in 1995, after watching Pride and Prejudice (1940). It was the perfect time to become a Janeite, what with the Pride and Prejudice mini-series and Sense and Sensibility both being released that year. Over the past 20 years I have read and re-read Austen’s entire body of work, watched the film versions, and enjoyed the many parodies and tributes that have saturated the market.
Enter Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Covers by Margaret C. Sullivan. This gem was first brought to my attention by the lovely Melissa @ Avid Reader’s Musings. After reading her review I just had to get a copy for myself! I knew I would enjoy it, of course, but I didn’t expect to fall in love with Jane all over again!
The gorgeous coffee table book offers insider information on the publishing industry, in Austen’s time through to present day. I can’t tell you how many times I said “Did you know . . .” to my husband while reading this book!
Sullivan’s snarky commentary on some of the less-than-stellar covers is as dry and hilarious as Jane’s writing. For instance:
Pride and Prejudice, from 1994, features a swooping rococo title and a frizzy wreath of rosebushes, beneath which Darcy kisses Elizabeth’s hand (and then probably serenades her with a crooned rendition of “Purple Rain”). The tag line may be the best-ever bad summary of the novel’s plot . . .
I’ll admit that part of the reason I chose this particular book was because it dovetails beautifully with the Valentine’s Day tradition I want to share with you.
Every year I have a Valentine’s Day tea party with my children. We dress up in red and pink outfits (sometimes we even wear hats), drink tea or juice from my fancy Red Willow China, and have heart-shaped finger foods (homemade sugar cookies, mini pizzas, sandwiches, and Little Debbie snack cakes). It’s a special time that I hope they don’t outgrow for quite a while.
Selah, what a fantastic tradition you have with your children! I love the idea of a tea party, and I can safely say that I love attending tea parties, and I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of that. The Red Willow China teapot is lovely. Thank you for sharing this tradition, and thank you for introducing us to Jane Austen: Cover to Cover!
Don’t miss tomorrow’s guest post from Lory of The Emerald City Book Review. She’ll be sharing her love for a classic fantasy, so all you fantasy fans, be sure to stop by!