Book Review: Jane Eyre

To be honest, the book, Jane Eyre was a really complicated read with its dense sentence structure, its use of old English language, and difficult vocabulary. It is also difficult trying to connect with the history background of the 19th century.

Overall, Jane Eyre’s personality is very straightforward and she has an independent and hopeful attitude that I really enjoyed, especially since she went through so many hardships when she was young (such as being abused by her aunt, surviving at the strict and harsh Lowood School).

From the beginning of the book to the end, you can see a lot of maturation and moral growth from Jane Eyre. She became much more independent and was seeking for someone to be loved unconditionally. Jane seeks for a feeling of identity and worth in addition to romantic connection.

Ever since her parents died, she was looking for love in her aunt, she found none. In her teachers, she found none. Until, she met Mr. Rochester while being governess at Thornfield who she seemed to connect with and understand.

She finally began to feel that unconditioned love, until she found out on the day of her wedding that Mr. Rochester still had a wife. She fled to the countryside and eventually found that she had cousins (St. John, Diana, and Mary) and her Uncle who had passed away had left her a fortune.

She goes back to Mr. Rochester, only to find that he is blind and has lost one of his hands (Thornfield was burned down and he got injured trying to save everyone from the fire that his wife had caused). Rochester professes his love for Jane Eyre, and they live pretty much happily ever after!

This story is a great read if you want to feel the deep emotions and feelings that Jane Eyre narrates. It also helps you understand more about the hypocrisy and injustice of the 19th century social classes.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas

*this review may contain spoilers

First off, I would like to acknowledge that this book is a “sequel” to Armas’s The Spanish Love Deception so I would read that before reading this book. I LOVED The Spanish Love Deception which urged me to read this sequel. However, it did not live up to the hype and anticipation that was coming from this book.

It follows two characters, Rosie Graham and Lucas Martin who are mutuals between Catalina Martin. Rosie Graham is Catalina’s best friend while Lucas is Catalina’s cousin. They get in an awkward situation when Rosie decides to stay at Lina’s apartment while she is away on her honeymoon not knowing that Lucas was due to stay at Lina’s apartment as well. Instead of moving separate ways they learn to love being in one another’s presence and create a plan to simultaneously live in the apartment with one another.

Rosie has been struggling with her romance writing and looks at Lucas for inspiration for her novels. They begin a fake dating pact to help influence her writing but they end up falling in love for each other, I’m aware it is very cliché. They have one of the most romantic comebacks and have a happy ending.

The reason I said I didn’t really enjoy the book was because it didn’t exceed the expectation I had of Spanish Love Deception. Although I liked the characters, I didn’t feel bonded enough with either of them to fully enjoy the story. One thing I did like was that it was written in a dual POV so I got to see inside both the character’s thoughts and feelings about one another.

-Madison C.

The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas is available to download for free from Libby.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen follows the story of the Bennett sisters, whose mother desires nothing but to get them all married. Early on in the book, the family is introduced to a neighbor’s friend- a wealthy man named Mr. Darcy. The author beautifully develops the relationship between him and one of the oldest Bennett sisters, Elizabeth.

Jane Austen’s ability to realistically capture the struggles in a relationship is the quality I admired the most while reading this book. The author is able to eloquently show the obstacles one must overcome in order to find true love, such as pride, arrogance, and social class. While reading, I found myself at the edge of my seat, wondering what the outcome would be of the protagonists’ turbulent relationship. I also enjoyed how the novel shared the struggles of other family members as well, while still keeping the main focus on Darcy and Elizabeth.

I would recommend this novel to anyone interested in classics, or the romance genre in general, as this is truly one of the most iconic love stories of all time. Although it is difficult to adjust to at first, Jane Austen has an iconic writing style that demonstrates her creativity and elegance, giving her stories a tone that fully immerses readers into the same time period as their favorite characters.

-Aysha H.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther

Eighteen months ago, when Meredith Fox lost her older sister Claire, she locked everyone out and retreated within. This summer, on her family’s annual vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, she makes it her goal to reconnect with her old friends, find herself, and finally rejoin her world.

Meredith believes that winning her family’s yearly game of Assassin, this year at her cousin’s big summer wedding, is her perfect opportunity to honor Claire and move on from her depressive state. But everything changes for Meredith when she crosses paths with a charming groomsman, and a secret alliance is formed.

Meredith’s summer is flipped around when her heart—and her chances of winning the game—are suddenly put on the line. Weddings are perfect for flings, her friends tell her. But what if Meredith wants it to be more?

The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther was one of the most amazing romance novels I’ve ever read. It was so beautifully written, and each intricately crafted scene made me clutch at my heart and sigh with relief, gasp with shock, or jump for joy. This book made me feel a rollercoaster of emotions, and it was like the sparks had been sprinkled into the pages themselves.

I also loved this book (and came to read it) because it was inspired by the songs of Taylor Swift. I’m a huge Swiftie, so I couldn’t resist reading it, and every Taylor Swift reference was so perfectly placed, so I just loved it. The book itself was based on one Taylor Swift song in particular, which I will not give away, because the plot will be spoiled! Definitely give The Summer of Broken Rules a try if you’re a fan of romance novels, Taylor Swift; or, like me, a lover of both! Happy reading!

-Lam T.

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

This book was the most devastating masterpiece I’ve ever read. The story starts off in the POV of one of the main characters, Rune, as a child. He just moved to Georgia from his home town in Norway because of his fathers job. He met Poppy, his next door neighbor. Rune called her Poppymin which meant “My Poppy.” They instantly became best friends creating a bond that could never be broken, or so they thought.

*This review contains spoilers.*

The next chapter was in the POV of Poppy as a child where her Grandma she called Mamaw died. Her dying wish was for Poppy to fill up a jar with pieces of paper in the shape of a heart and on each heart she had to explain every one of her boy kisses. Her Mamaw wanted Poppy to fill the jar with a thousand boy kisses because one of her favorite memories were the kisses that her greatest love gave her. She wanted the same for Poppy so gave her this task as her last adventure.

Years later, Poppy and Rune are together fulfilling Poppy’s Mamaw’s last wish. But an unexpected roadblock got in their way. Rune had to move back to Norway for his father’s job, leaving his greatest love behind. They were of course devastated and a few months later after Rune moved back to Norway, Poppy dropped all communication with him, leaving them broken up for 2 years.

Rune moved back to Georgia 2 years later a different person. Dark, sad, and alone. Little did he know the real reason why Poppy cut off communication with him was because she was trying to save him from the burden of her terminal cancer.

I was crying throughout every chapter in this book, It completely broke me. Poppy and Rune rekindled their relationship even though Poppy had months to live. They stayed together throughout those last few months of her life trying to make those months happy for Poppy.

Towards the end of Poppy’s journey, Rune and her completed her Mamaw’s wish by completing the thousand boy kisses jar. The thousandth kiss was the one Rune gave her as she passes to the other side. Rune filled out the last paper heart for Poppy.

“Kiss 1000. With Poppymin. When she returned home. My heart completely burst.”

This book was the saddest most devastating thing I’ve ever read in my whole life. Poppy and Rune’s connection was so pure and they deserved the world. I loved this book with everything in me. 5/5 stars. Read if you want to cry but also read if you want to read a masterpiece at the same time.

-Kaitlyn D.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

I recently finished The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood and fell in love. This book brought me out of a reading slump. The story follows Olive who is a Ph.D student. She is trying to convince her best friend that she is over a previous fling. Olive convinces this friend (Ahn) that she is on a date, when in reality she is just working in the lab. When Ahn shows up unexpectedly, Olive kisses the first person she can find in the dark. It happens to be a known professor on campus: Adam.

From there the story takes off and follows Olive and Adam as they begin a fake relationship in order to convince Ahn that Olive is moved on, and Adam’s bosses that he is not a flight risk in order to get funding for his next project. While on this journey, the two begin to bond and grow closer and closer together.

Of course, the journey is not without bumps, as with every romance story, but Hazelwood keeps the readers hooked with a mix of fluff and real world problems as Olive navigates the science world. She is able to explain science to readers simply so that they feel as though they are a Ph.D student with Olive while also focusing on her growing love with Adam.

I would give this book a 5/5. Any book that can take an avid reader out of a slump deserves such a high rating. This book does have a reading age of 14 or above with some content that might not be as acceptable for younger readers. The book is good for anyone who loves a romance, fake dating trope, or even just science. I highly recommend this book!

-Danielle B.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby.

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

The War of Kinds had brought destruction upon the human race and prosperity to the Automa. Because of this war, resentment spread across the races, both knowing their loathing for each other but never explicitly stating it to one another. But their beliefs and actions have proved they consider each other enemies.

The Automa sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier, had no idea of this destruction. And she never really had no clear idea until she met Kinok and Ayla. Kinok is her soon-to-be husband who she is forced to marry for the betterment of her kingdom. Her father felt that the only way to subdue Kinok’s influences was to extinguish the threat of power he felt from recent times. But would this action create a difference?

Ayla is a human servant girl who wishes for nothing more than Crier’s immediate death. She believes wholeheartedly in the saying “An eye for an eye” and after the death of her family order by the sovereign himself, she thought to act upon this ideology. But as the book continues, Ayla begins to realize the true nature of Lady Crier and separate some Automa from others. And Lady Crier also begins to realize the true connection between the Automa and humans and how her father isn’t exactly who she thought he was.

From the way this book was written to the path of the plot, I couldn’t stop thinking about the book even when I wasn’t reading it. So many little things in the plot occur in the story that seem to have no meaning until it creates meaning into the story altogether. When reading, one wouldn’t see major plot twists coming until they approach it and read back on all of the clues Nina Varela left for them in obscured areas. The imagery was beautiful, unfolding the story in my eyes with vivid scenes and intense dialogues. And the symbolism wrapped the entire story together and the fates of the characters in the book. The story is also an enemies-to-lovers book so if you like that, you should definitely check it out!

-Saanvi V.

Crier’s War by Nina Varela is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Book Review: From Lukov With Love by Mariana Zapata

From Lukov with Love remains one of my favorite reads ever. I just finished re-reading this masterpiece. Mariana Zapata is a genius and amazing author.

This book is about a girl named Jasmine Santos who ruthlessly trained and trained for figure skating. She never made it very far in competitions as a single skater so she was determined to try pairs. But still, she has trouble succeeding in competition.

She gets offered an opportunity of a lifetime to skate with the great Ivan Lukov who has won many championships. Except, there’s one issue. She hates Ivan for teasing her all her life. He is Jasmine’s best friend’s brother.

Jasmine agrees to this arrangement. She and Ivan still hate each other but have to fake it for the sake of skating. Through banter and nicknames Jasmine and Ivan try to coexist. Slowly they start building a friendship and maybe don’t hate each other as much anymore. 

They are training for the championships and are determined to win gold. But, one day Jasmine lands wrong and her ankle is all messed up. She spends weeks recovering from the injury. They were behind in training but still picked up where they left off.

They ended up winning the championship and each other’s love. Jasmine and Ivan have each other’s hearts and are perfect together.

“I love you so much, I spend all day with you, and it still isn’t enough for me. I love you so much, if I can’t skate with you, I don’t want to skate with anyone else. I love you so much, Jasmine, that if I broke my ankle during a program, I would get up and finish it for you, to get you what you’ve always wanted.”

The book also reflects on the importance of family and friendships. Jasmine really finds herself by the end of the book and she realizes that it’s important to love yourself for who you are instead of comparing yourself to others.

“You are who you are in life, and you either live that time trying to bend yourself to make other people happy, or… you don’t.”

Though the book was a slowburn and the characters didn’t get together until the very end of the book, they still showed romantic elements and how much Ivan and Jasmine loved each other.

“I believe in you. In us. Regardless of what happens, you will always be the best partner I’ve ever had. You’ll always be the hardest working person I’ve ever known. There will only ever be you” -Ivan.

Jasmine and Ivan are everything to me and I will love them and this book forever. 5/5 stars.

-Kaitlyn D.

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

This captivating fantasy novel follows Kazi Brightmist, also known as the notorious pickpocket “Ten,” and her fellow members of the Queen’s elite guard to venture to neighboring settlements on orders to investigate disturbances in these areas. Upon reaching their destination, Kazi discovers Jase Ballenger, the newly crowned lord of the land after his father’s untimely death. Each suspicious of each other, they quickly become enemies but are forced to work together when they are captured by slave traders and chained at the ankle. Worried about his city and determined to complete her assignment, the two make the long journey back, finding themselves attached at the hip by the end of their adventure (or leg 😉). However, trials await the pair when their secrets threaten to uncover. Trying to outwit each other, they enter an exchange of ploys and tactics to each secure what they desire. They dance the dance of thieves.

This book is such a fun read. You are enveloped in the beautiful world of Venda and the Ballenger Empire with its endless deserts and colorful bizarres. Kazi is a strong, witty warrior who, despite all her hardships has become a member of the Queen’s personal guard. Jase is very clever and the leader of his large family and city. I really enjoyed the two protagonists’ banter and outwit each other in a constant battle to determine who was more clever. This book quickly became one of my favorites and I highly recommend you read it so it can become your favorite as well.

-Gia S.

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download for free from Libby.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A book truly unlike any other I’ve read.

After seeing this historical fiction-meets-romance book on TikTok (surprise, surprise) I decided to pick up a copy and see what the hype was all about. Not only did The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo tremendously exceed my expectations, but it has become one of my favorite reads of all time.

The book features the biography of the fictional character Evelyn Hugo, one of the greatest actresses of all time. Hugo is known for having seven husbands (hence the title), and delves into every detail of each relationship she had and the lessons she learned from each one. Each relationship Evelyn had with a different husband was dynamic and unique, and blended together to form the story of Evelyn’s life.

Throughout the novel, Reid delivers a style of writing unlike any other I’ve read before. Each chapter ends with a level of finesse and witty elegance that seriously had me grinning ear to ear in utter awe. Even as someone who is not a historical fiction fan, this book was so phenomenal that I somehow managed to finish all 400 pages in a single day!

I have no real critiques on this incredible must-read book, and would recommend it to anyone I know. Needless to say, Taylor Jenkins Reid has outdone herself with this one.

-Anusha M.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.