Mini-Reviews: Always and Forever, Lara Jean & Strange the Dreamer

Mini-Reviews- AAFLJ & Strange the Dreamer

Hi friends! Some of you may remember, but about a month ago I took a blogging hiatus. And, well, I got SUPER behind on reviews as a result. I had plans to review everything I read while on hiatus, but that quickly became very overwhelming and highly unrealistic. So I chose the books I thought would make for the most interesting post, and decided to do my first mini-reviews! If you guys do want to read my thoughts on some of the other books I read, you can always friend me on Goodreads!

Untitled designStrange the Dreamer coverTitle: Strange the Dreamer

Author: Laini Taylor

Rating: ?????

Synopsis: The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?
Welcome to Weep.

I’m actually just obsessed with this book. So far it’s my favorite book of 2017 (with the exception of Crooked Kingdom, which nothing will ever beat). Laini’s writing completely captivated me in Strange the Dreamer, and I could tell she’s gotten even better since Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Her sentences are so lyrical and poignant and utterly beautiful, I felt like I could drink her words and drown in her metaphors. Truly, I think Strange the Dreamer has the best writing I’ve ever read. It just spoke to me.

The world Laini creates is also just as intriguing, I could’ve spent twelve centuries wandering the streets of Weep and perusing the bright blue hallways of the citadel. I have to admit that many people may not enjoy this book as much as I did, because the plot isn’t super fast-paced. Not a ton actually happens, the majority of the time is spent building the complex world, and establishing the intense relationships between everyone based on old feuding and past events. But I was still entertained the entire time, and there are some really gasp-worthy plot twists!

The characters are all super adorable in their own ways, and I laughed quite a lot. Laini works in a peculiar, witty humor that really helped give the book character. The romance was sweet and perfectly heart-wrenching, while the friendships (or lack there of) were multi-dimensional and very believable. A lot of the book hinges on the blurred lines between good and evil; there’s no clear villian which kept me constantly on the edge of my seat. The ending also has an awesome climax and a rather killer cliffhanger, which has left me positively DYING for the sequel. I highly recommend this book for all high-fantasy lovers, especially if you enjoyed the DoSaB trilogy!

“Here, captured between covers, was the history of the human imagination, and nothing had ever been more beautiful, or fearsome, or bizarre. Here were spells and curses and myths and legends, and Strange the dreamer had for so long fed his mind on them that if one could wander into it, they would discover a fantasia.”

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A&FLJ coverTitle: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Author: Jenny Han

Rating: ??? + 1/2

Synopsis: Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.
Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.
When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Unfortunately, this book turned out to be disappointing for me. I read the first two books in the series and loved them, so I expected to love this one as well. And while I definitely enjoyed reading it, and there were many of the classic Lara Jean aspects that I loved, the overall story just fell flat. The majority of the book focused on Lara Jean’s indecision about what college she wants to attend, and after a while it got tedious.

But aside from that, I really did love reading about Lara Jean’s family and the interesting dynamics created as Trina becomes increasingly a part of things. Kitty cracked me up, and I related to Lara Jean as she battles with the fact that she’s leaving home.

The beginning was tough to get through, since it was mostly about college, but I had a lot of hope through the middle. The pace really picks up and I was enjoying it a lot more, but the ending was honestly a big let-down. I’m sure some people would disagree, but I felt like the characters were left off exactly where they started.

Also, if you’re mainly looking for romance in this book, I will warn you that I didn’t personally think there was much of it, at least compared to the previous books. Overall, I would still recommend reading AAFLJ if you enjoyed the rest of the series, but try to keep your expectations to a minimum.

“Families shrink and expand. All you can really do is be glad for it, be glad for each other, for as long as you have each other.”

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Have you read these books? What did you think? Thanks for reading my fellow bookworms!

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3 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: Always and Forever, Lara Jean & Strange the Dreamer”

  1. Love the mini-reviews! I also adored Strange the Dreamer! That book is too beautifully written. It breaks my heart to read it, it’s so gorgeous!

    1. Ugh me too! It’s seriously just perfection. I love everything about it, almost feel like I already need a reread ?❤️

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