I am beginning to lose track of the days, but after checking, I found out we are on Day 17 of the Fire and Ice Tour. Over half way through. Be sure to enter these giveaways today:
Christy@Love of Books: Victoria Scott: The Collector
Ron@Stories of my Life:
Melissa@Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Penny Watson:Lumberjack in Love
I have an adorable and fun book for you all today: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet, antagonistic romance that unfolds in London! Before we get to all that I want to introduce you to author Lauren Morrill. Here is her bio:
LAUREN MORRILL grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was a short-term Girl Scout, a (not so) proud member of the marching band, and a trouble-making editor for the school newspaper. She graduated from Indiana University with a major in history and a minor in rock & roll, and now lives in Macon, GA with her husband and their dog, Lucy. When she's not writing, she spends a lot of hours getting knocked around playing roller derby. Meant to Be is her first novel. You can find Lauren on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Goodreads.
Lauren is here to share with us a few behind the scenes secrets of Meant to Be. Here is Lauren:
Behind the scenes of Meant to Be
In honor of Valentines Day, a holiday which (love it or hate it!) celebrates all that is swoon, I'm going to take you behind the scenes of Meant to Be and share some juicy "making of" details. Don't worry, I've marked the spoilery bits, so you can enjoy even if you haven't read MTB yet (what are you waiting for?).
1. When Julia mentions that she dated a guy who wore a cape to school ... well, that's something drawn from real life. When I was a junior in high school, I dated a guy who rocked the goth look (what can I say? This little prepster was in a rebellious phase), and one day he wore a floor-length velvet cape to school without any explanation or sense of irony.
2. Other details drawn from real life? Julia's parents' song is "Here There and Everywhere" by the Beatles, and Julia mentions that her mom walked down the aisle to the song. In reality, that was the song I walked down the aisle to when I married my husband in 2007.
3. Chapters 3 and 4 from the time Jason suggests going to the house party until the big fight when Julia and Jason run away, were the first scenes I wrote and remain almost the same as they appeared in the first draft.4. Remember the nerdy dude who Julia meets at the house party? The one who can't stop talking about Princeton and Yale and parties at the embassy? In the original draft, he had a much larger role, popping up in various scenes (including a cameo at Harrod's). Unfortunately, every time he'd appear I couldn't help but say, "What are you doing here! Go away!" and so away he went.
5. SPOILERY! In fact, that nerdy dude was actually supposed to be in the final scene, the one where Julia finally meets C. He was in Mark's place in the final scene, but again, he just didn't seem to play well with Julia and the gang. I had to banish him to character heaven, where hopefully he's figured out the appropriate way to socialize at a party.
6. Because I've never been to London, a lot of the scenery was drawn from extensive Google Map and Google Street View research. The scene on the tour bus where Julia and her classmates are riding from the airport to the hotel involved many hundred million clicks as I Google Street Viewed the entire route.
7. Julia was inspired partly by Rory Gilmore, while Jason has a bit of Logan Echolls in him. But when I pictured casting Jason, I always pictured Shaun White, the Olympic Snowboarder, also known as "The Flying Tomato".
Seriously! She has never been to London? I would have never guessed that after reading the book. Hopefully, Lauren you are planning on visiting there soon. I totally thought the geek was going to show up at the end as well. Anyway, Thanks so much Lauren for being here today! The wonderful folks at Random House are allowing me to do a giveaway on Lauren's behalf. One lucky U.S. Resident can win a copy of Meant to Be and Lauren will send along some signed swag. Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question. It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be"). But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love. Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Four stars: A light, fluffy feel good romantic read that will make you smile.
The plane swoops and Julia's stomach lurches to her toes. She absolutely detests flying. To make matters worse, Jason, an annoying, immature class clown, is infuriating her with his sophomoric comments. She just needs to get off this plane safely in London and start her dream trip... she closes her eyes and focuses on her MTB's (Meant To Be) face. Mark...sigh...she has been crushing on him since she was five and now he is back, and she just knows that someday soon they will get together. Julia is certain that Mark is her meant to be. He is surely mature and smart and everything that irritating Jason is not. Once Julia arrives in London, her trip takes a turn for the worse as she manages to run into a model and land into a puddle of coffee. Great! It doesn't help that Jason has revived her old nickname "Book Licker". Then her teacher assigns Jason to be her trip buddy. That means she must endure him as her partner for all activities for the duration of the trip. What Julia doesn't expect is to learn that there just might be a bit more to Jason than meets the eye, and sometimes you can find love when you are least expecting it.
What I Liked:
- Meant To Be is one of those charming, light feel good reads that can only make yousmile. Sure it is a bit predictable and cliched, but no matter it is exactly what I needed to perk me up during the gray winter months. It is one of those funny, sweet, adorable books filled with the angst of teenage crushes and first loves. It swept me back to my younger years as it brought back many memories. If you are looking for a fun, simple romance book that will leave you smiling definitely read Meant To Be.
- The romance in this book is my favorite kind: an antagonistic romance, where to people who are constantly at odds eventually come together and find the spark of attraction. This book presents two characters who are the epitome of opposites attract. Julia is quiet, shy reserved, smart, a perfectionist, someone who follows the rules and aims to please. She believes in fate and true love and is convinced that shewill get the happily ever after with her childhood best friend. She grasps tightly to her immature ideas of love and has the perfect image of her meant to be in her head and forced someone into this mold, despite the fact that she doesn't really know him. She is much like a little girl waiting for Prince Charming to sweep her off her feet. Jason, on the flip side, is loud, gregarious, somewhat immature, funny, good natured, and incredibly sweet. He hides his softer side and the fact that he is in fact very smart. He is a rule breaker and always the life of the party. Once the two are paired together, friction and mayhem ensues, but along the way they learn surprising things about each other and perhaps that they might have more in common than they ever would have thought. Watching the two butt heads and eventually become friends is so much fun. It is one of those attractions where the boy is constantly teasing, just like a grade school boy pulling the pretty girl's pony tail. I personally loved his nickname "Book Licker" for Julia. You can't help but smile when you read this one. Yes, Jason might be boisterous and obnoxious at times, but he he is also incredibly endearing. I think he will take many girls by surprise.
- I adored the London setting. As the pair tromp through London, the reader is dragged along. The descriptions are vivid and well done to the point that I almost felt as if I was there. I loved experiencing all the sights and stops of London with Jason and Julia. This book was a bit reminiscent of Anna and the French Kiss. So if you are a fan of Anna, definitely check this one out. If you haven't read it, do it! Another wonderful feel good read.
- I loved the humor in this book. There is so much witty banter and fun stuff that you can't help but be drawn into this book. Watching Julie with her uptight personality struggle with Jason's madcap adventures is hilarious. If you enjoy comedic romances this is a good one.
And The Not So Much:
- This book is predictable, you just know from the onset that the pair is eventually going to get together, but who cares.....the fun part is experiencing the tension and drama that finally leads up to that magical moment....it certainly doesn't disappoint!
- I was a bit let down by the ending. Don't get me wrong, it is sweet and a happily ever after, but I just felt like it was missing something and for me that something was that I wanted more of Jason't perspective. I felt like I didn't get enough of his feelings. I wanted to know how he felt about Julia all along. Was he attracted to her before the trip or did the sparks fly once they were on paired together? At what point did he realize he was falling for her? I guess I expected him to be a bit more forthcoming with his feelings. I think that this book would have been even more fun if it were done with a dual view points. I would love to jump inside Jason's head and see everything through his eyes.
- This is a sticky point for me, but it kind of bothered my how Julia was so quick to traipse all over London as an American teenager who is a foreigner to the city. She even went out by herself at night. I don't know I just thought that was a bit unrealistic considering how uptight she was. Being someone who sticks to the rules, I thought it was a little strange for her to break all the rules and run around the city unchaperoned.
- This is a book appropriate for younger readers, there is no sexual content other than kissing. The only caution is there is drinking.
Meant To Be is one of the books that was the perfect pick me up read, just what I needed. It is a sweet, fun romance that sweeps you back to the angst and drama of teenage love. Life is fickle and sometimes our ideas of "meant to be" don't exactly line up with reality, but in the end all that matters is love. This book is a reminder that opposites attract. Pick this one up if you are looking for a book that will leave you smiling. I loved it! This is Ms. Morril's debut book, and I will happily be picking up her next.
"Great. Now I'm at a party, surrounded by strangers, in a skirt that's too short, and I'm all by myself. I'm like a walking after-school special. I pull my glass closer to my chest to shield it from wandering roofies and date rapists."
"Good work on my part. You're making a lovely transition from Book Licker to Sexpot."
"I think if someone had written that sentence down a week ago and showed it to me, my brain would have exploded and oozed out of my eye sockets."
"So you're looking for someone just like you?" "Sure." He shrugs. Then he grins widely. "But with boobs."
"I can't imagine that love only comes around once, and I know your dad would say the same thing. You can't simply turn off love. It's part of life, and it's everywhere. You have to reach out and try to take it."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
That's it for today! See you tomorrow for Valentine's Day with The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck.