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.

3 Alpha Female Romance Novels to Read Today

Even though the outdated damsel in distress romance novel heroine has turned into detectives, cops, veterans, and CEOs, more often than not it’s still the man doing the chasing.

But sometimes you want the females to be the ones pursuing. Even though alpha female romance novels get lost among alpha male and wolf shifter romance novels, they’re still out there and can be a refreshing change of pace. So here are three alpha female books to read now.

1) Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean

Genre: Historical

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.05 out of 5 stars

Page Count: 367 pages

There is no telling where a scandal might lead…

Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society’s rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London’s most practiced gossips… and precisely the kind of woman the Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.

Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening—risking everything he holds dear—he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety.

She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.

Get Eleven Scandals at your local bookstore today.

2) The Belle vs. the BDOC by Amy Jo Cousin

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT

Average Goodreads Rating 3.51 out of 5 stars

Shelby Summerfield is a Southern belle at a northern college in 1993, which is a challenge to begin with. And yes, Florence Truong, the object of Shelby’s lust and the only other woman on campus not wearing flannel, does catch her in what looks like a compromising position with a straight boy at pub trivia night.

But Shelby is a gold star lesbian and Florence’s dapper fashion sense makes her weak in the knees, so her rejection stings hard. To exact her revenge, Shelby cheats a little when putting together her own trivia dream team, because nobody strategizes to win like a Southern girl on a mission. And if trivia can’t settle their rivalry, then maybe the annual campus-wide game of assassin will do the trick.

Shelby’s gonna come out on top of Florence—in bed or out, one way or another. Bless her heart. And her silk pocket squares.

Get The Belle vs. The BDOC on Smashwords today.

3) A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai

Genre: Contemporary

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.87 out of 5 stars

Page Count: 262 pages

Shameless. That’s what she was.

Billionaire businesswoman Akira Mori can get anything and anyone her heart desires. Anyone, that is, except for a certain aloof author who has been dominating her dreams for over a decade. Accustomed to Jacob Campbell’s stern disapproval, Akira has turned provocation into an art, using every trick in her arsenal to keep the man from guessing the depth of her filthy fantasies.

Shameless. That’s what she made him.

Since the moment the sexy, sultry socialite sidled up to him years ago, there hasn’t been a time when Jacob didn’t crave Akira. But as guardian to his younger siblings, responsibility has controlled his life. Confining his darkest desires to secret, stolen moments maintains his carefully disciplined world…but a cold bed is the price he pays.

A single touch is all it takes for their simmering need to explode. As secrets and fears are stripped away one by one, shame becomes a thing of the past. They find themselves becoming addicted to each other, in bed and out—a frightening prospect for a man just learning to live…and a woman who thinks she doesn’t know how to love.

Get A Gentleman in the Street at your local bookstore today.

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The links in this article are affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you buy the book through these links, but at no additional cost to you. I donate 50% of my affiliate earnings to charity. Learn more about my affiliate policies here.

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.

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

My Sister Thinks She’s British (Also Bookish Quiz)

My sister took my quiz “Describe Your Perfect First Date and We’ll Tell You Who You Go With”. Coincidentally, her date is British, which Taryn was pretending to be in this video.

You can meet her date for free on Smashwords.

Who’s your first date? Find out here.

Don’t miss an update to Lover’s Quarrel and sign up for my newsletter. You’ll also get a free copy of Lover’s Quarrel’s Ultimate Reading List if you do.

Book Review: In Debt to the Enemy Lord

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.62 out of 5 stars

Genre: Historical

Page Count: 288 pages

Anwen, bastard of Brynmor, has fought hard to find her place in the world. But she’s forced to rethink everything when she’s saved from death by her enemy Teague, Lord of Gwalchdu. Instead of releasing her, he holds her captive. 

Teague trusts no one. So, which ominous messages threatening his life, he must keep Anwen under his watch, no matter how much her presence drives him wild. 

And when passionate arguments turn to passionate encounters, Teague must believe that the strength of their bond will conquer all!  Continue reading Book Review: In Debt to the Enemy Lord

The Ultimate Indie Book Reading Challenge

I’ve talked to many people who want to read more indie books (books published independently of the Big Five publishing companies) this year, and that’s excellent. There are a lot of indie authors writing high-quality works but remain relatively invisible in the book world. In fact, one-fifth of indie authors never get any income from their writing at all. 

If you want to read more indie books but you’re not sure where to start, then this challenge is for you.

This challenge will help you discover some new reads and maybe even some new favorite authors.  Remember to leave reviews for the books you read. It takes two minutes and helps authors get more visibility.

Continue reading The Ultimate Indie Book Reading Challenge

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