Eleanor and Park: First Love at Its Finest

Genre: Teen, Contemporary

Page Count: 328 pages

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

I did this book for a reading vlog without knowing anything about it and that turned out to be a mistake. This book was a lot heavier than I anticipated. Trigger warnings for domestic violence and child abuse for those who want to read it.

Together, Eleanor and Park are excellent. They have witty dialogue full of 80’s references and general high school silliness. The two of them together made me nostalgic for high school with their cuteness.

That was definitely needed because the rest of the book was really dark.

From the start, Eleanor isn’t doing well. As the new kid in school, she is an easy target for bullies and has no friends to turn to (at least until Park). But her home life is even worse. After living off a neighbor’s couch for a year, Eleanor was finally allowed to move back into her mom’s house, where her mom and siblings live under the tyrannical rule of Ritchie, a violent and abusive alcoholic.

In Eleanor’s house, the feeling of danger and unease is always there, heightened by nightly fights between Ritchie and the mother and having no bathroom door. Eleanor only really feels safe in the house when Ritchie isn’t there.

Her escape becomes Park, the quiet boy on the bus who let her sit next to him and lets her read comic books over his shoulder. Slowly they develop a reluctant friendship which turns into love.

I really like Eleanor. I think she’s really smart and witty and very relatable. She’s insecure about her body and the abuse definitely took a toll on her emotional state. But in general, she’s just a normal teenager.

Park is a typical teenager as well. He’s frustratingly insecure and angsty, which makes him act like a jerk to Eleanor sometimes, especially in the beginning. But despite that, he’s usually a really nice guy who cares deeply for Eleanor. He’s pretty understanding about her home life and is patient with her, which I really like. He does a lot of things that he thinks are small, like lending Eleanor comics and making her mixtapes, but they mean the world to Eleanor, and it’s really sweet.

The only time I didn’t like him was when he found out someone was writing dirty messages on Eleanor’s textbook and he accused her of writing the messages herself. That was really out-of-character for him and was pretty horrible. Aside from that, though, he was nice. He was, in general, a normal, realistic teenage boy.

My biggest problem with the book was the ending. It wasn’t satisfying for me because it ends abruptly and I didn’t get enough closure about Eleanor’s family. It’s hinted at that they move out of the toxic house but it’s never confirmed. So because of that, it’s only 4 out of 5 stars, but still definitely worth reading.

You can get Eleanor and Park at your local bookstore today.

Disclaimer: this is an affiliate link, which means I get a small commission if you purchase this book through this link but at no additional cost to you. 50% of my affiliate earnings are donated to charity.

Lover’s Quarrel’s Top 5 Picks from Smashwords’ Summer/Winter Sale

Every year, Smashwords hosts an epic sale for the entire month of July, which means deep discounts on books from hundreds of participating authors– even books 100% off!

Here are Lover’s Quarrel’s top picks from the Summer/Winter Sale.

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Girl Doesn’t Take Her Mate’s Crap in this YA Fantasy Romance Novel

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Word Count: 86,170

Average Goodreads Rating:  3.75 out of 5 stars

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Faith thought she was a normal human girl. Then she turned 18 and started developing abilities. Around the same time, a mysterious girl named Belle showed up and explained to Faith that she was really a Halfling, who belonged to an alien planet. Not only that, but she had the powerful ability of Forewarning, a skill that was highly coveted, especially by the Loverias and the Wincrests, two rival royal families on the brink of going to war with each other.  Things get even more complicated when Faith forms a mated bond with Prince Davio Loveria– right before finding out her long-absent father is  Prince Alexo Wincrest, Davio’s sworn enemy.

Continue reading Girl Doesn’t Take Her Mate’s Crap in this YA Fantasy Romance Novel

4 Cozy Romances to Read Before Spring

This winter I’ve become fascinated by the Danish concept of hygge, or coziness. Growing up in Maine, curling up with a hot cup of tea and a good book was how I kept my sanity with three feet of snow on the ground. It turns out the Danish had a very similar idea. Even though I’m spending the winter in  Florida this year, I still love books that inspire a feeling of coziness. Here are four novels that have made me feel cozy and warm inside even if it was miserable outside.  Continue reading 4 Cozy Romances to Read Before Spring

Read for a Better World: December Edition

Lover’s Quarrel’s mission is to make the world a better place through the power of reading, which is why 50 percent of all affiliate commissions go to charity. The “Read for a Better World” series features books with high percentages of affiliate earnings, which means more of your money goes to charity with every purchase. However, these high earnings are only guaranteed for December 2017. After that, the authors may lower the amount they give to affiliates, so don’t wait to buy your next favorite book and read for a better world.

Don’t forget to send a screenshot of your receipt to loversquarrelbooks@gmail.com to enter to win a $10 Visa Gift card. The winner will be announced on December 31. 

Continue reading Read for a Better World: December Edition

Read for a Better World: November Edition

Lover’s Quarrel’s mission is to make the world a better place by promoting self-published books and books from independent bookstores, which is why half of all Lover’s Quarrel affiliate links go to charity. 

Help Lover’s Quarrel reach its goal of donating $100 to charity in 2017 by purchasing a book through one of these affiliate links.  The romance novels featured on this list give higher affiliate earnings than usual so you can maximize your impact with your purchase. 50 percent of the affiliate earnings from these books will go to the Malala Fund. 

As a bonus, you can also enter to win a $10 gift card when you purchase one of these books. All you have to do is send a screenshot of your receipt to loversquarrelbooks@gmail.com.

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Interview with Mark Calde, Author of Bascomville

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Mark Calde is the author of Bascomville. You may remember it from his book spotlight and my review for Bascomville. Today, I am pleased to have him for an interview on Lover’s Quarrel. It’s been awesome working with him and I wish him the best in future endeavors and I hope we do get to see a sequel to Bascomville someday.

Tell us what Bascomville is about.

Bascomville is a literary romance that functions on several levels. It is the story of Max and Janice, who begin as childhood friends and gradually fall in love. It is the story of Max’s family and how he relates to them. And finally, it delves into the notion that, for better or worse, we each create our own special universe.

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