Tea & Book Chat: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill is a cute contemporary YA novel that will allow you to feel like you’re on vacation and traveling through London.  I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages as it’s been recommended to me by numerous people so I’m glad that I can cross it off my list and now say that I too enjoyed it!  The story follows Julia and her high school class who are traveling to London for a week during the year to absorb the culture but sadly her best friend is unable to attend.  She gets stuck being paired with an obnoxious and immature classmate named Jason and from the moment they get on the plane until the very end, hilarity ensues.

Meant to Be features a slow burn love / hate romance (my favorite!) but the pacing of the events in the story feel action packed.  Throughout the trip, our main character Julia is juggling several men while she sorts out her feelings, something she’s never had to do before and it shows.  She can be annoying at times (she’s your typical overachieving know-it-all) but she also has a much softer side that believes in everyone having an MTB (or meant to be).  Her partner Jason is one of the most immature YA guys I’ve ever read about and I could easily relate to her frustrations about him.  Julia is such a rigid rule follower that a free spirit like Jason often clashes with her in most situations.  The one thing I found slightly unbelievable were all of the awkward moments Julia found herself in.  It just seemed like too much to happen to one person but despite all of her faults, I found myself rooting for her.

Meant to Be

My favorite part of this book was exploring London with Julia and Jason.  Lauren Morrill makes the reader feel as though they’re also a first time tourist which is something I hadn’t been expecting.  They visited a ton of historical sites (such as Stratford-Upon-Avon, The Globe Theater, The London Eye and even Harrod’s) that I’ve always been dying to see but they also spent time during their trip doing several offbeat things which enhanced their cultural experience even further.  I found the overall plot to be predictable but it didn’t at all take away from the enjoyment I felt while reading the story.  I love witnessing character growth, especially when the main character is an uptight person who’s thrusted out of their comfort zone (and even more especially when said character is experiencing that growth in a place like London).  Julia modeled her dream relationship off that of her parents and I loved that comparison throughout the story.  Since Julia is away and doesn’t have a ton of access to phone calls she really has to rely on herself to sort out her beliefs and the way she chooses to act which I really appreciated.

Final Thoughts: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill is a darling contemporary novel perfect for anyone looking to lose themselves in a slow burn romance.  It’s also ideal for anyone with a case of wanderlust because traveling through London in Morrill’s words is so vivid that it’ll leave you feeling like you’re on a vacation of your own.  The plot of the novel is predictable but it’s everything the description and cover promise to be- swoony, engaging and fun!

Buy the book!

Rating 4

A girl with it all planned out discovers a romance she never expected in this funny debut about a class trip to London that HelloGiggles.com says you’ll love “if you’re into swoony romances with a little bit of history thrown in.”

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. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

Monthly Topic: Ten Most Anticipated Romances for the First Half of 2016

One of the 2016 Reading Challenges I signed up for this year is the Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Jess of Gone With the Words and Danielle of Love At First Page.  My goal is the Grand Slam which means I’m committing to 21+ contemporary romance reads which I think is very achievable for me!  Each month of 2016, the girls will be hosting a monthly link-up and they’ll announce a topic that anyone who signed up for the challenge can participate in.  This month’s topic is the 10 most anticipated romances for the first half of 2016.  It was actually really hard to narrow down my list (I feel like I say this ALL the time but BOOKS).  I’m hoping to catch up on a bunch of contemporary romances I already own in addition to the books I’ll be adding to my shelves throughout the year.

Top 10 Contemporary Romance Releases

Preorder the Books from Amazon!

The Unexpected Everything
P.s. I Like You
Bookishly Ever After
Firsts: A Novel
Tell Me Three Things
The Museum of Heartbreak
Summer in the Invisible City
Summer of Sloane
When We Collided
You Know Me Well

 

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My 2016 Reading Challenges

I’m really looking forward to 2016 because of all of the Reading Challenges I’ll be participating in.  Every time I’ve gone to pick up a book this month, I’ve hesitated because I’ve thought about how perfect it would be for one of the upcoming challenges I’m committing to.  I decided to pick 5 challenges in total which I feel are the most in line with my reading goals for the year.  The challenges listed below are all hosted by book bloggers but I’ll also be participating in some BookTube read-a-thons throughout the year (those tend to always be announced closer to the date they’re being held and are not a year long challenge).  All of the challenges mentioned below run from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 and most have giveaways on their monthly link-ups.  What are your 2016 reading goals?  Are you committing to any challenges besides the basic Goodreads one, or are you foregoing challenges altogether? I’ll be posting a monthly recap the last week of every month to track my progress throughout the year.  Anyway, without further ado, here are the 2016 challenges I’m partaking in!

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The Challenge: Flights of Fantasy

Hosts: Alexa Loves Books & Hello Chelly

The Goal: There’s no minimum, and the reader is encouraged to set their own goal for how many fantasy novels they want to read in 2016.

Official hashtag: #flightsoffantasy

Additional Info: This year, Alexa and Rachel will also be adding a new element to the challenge.  They’ve started a Flights of Fantasy book club!  The full schedule for the year has already been posted on both of their blogs and I’m so excited to join in, especially for the Robin Hobb and Jacqueline Carey books.  In addition, there will be monthly link-ups and two giveaways!

MY GOAL: 30 books

Some Fantasy Books I Plan to Read:  

1) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

2) Firefight by Brandon Sanderson (The Reckoners #2)

3) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #1)

4) Graceling by Kristen Cashore (Graceling #1)

5) Uprooted by Naomi Novik

6) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastards #1)

7) The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (The Magicians #3)

8) Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

9) Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

10) Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

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The Challenge: Contemporary Romance 2016 Reading Challenge

Hosts: Gone With the Words & Love at First Page

The Goal: There are different levels the reader can chose from for their 2016 goal, both of which can be found on the hosts sites.

Official hashtag: #ContRom2016

Additional Info: There will be monthly link-ups and giveaways!

MY GOAL: Grand Slam – 21+ books

Some Contemporary Romance Books I Plan to Read:  

1) Magnolia by Kristi Cook

2) I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

3) OCD: A Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

4) Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

5) Austenland by Shannon Hale

6) 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

7) The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

8) Boomerang by Noelle August

9) On the Fence by Kasie West

10) My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

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The Challenge: The Re-Read Challenge

HostsBelle of the Literati

The Goal: The reader chooses their own re-read goal.

Official hashtag: #ReRead2016

Additional Info: There will be monthly link-ups and giveaways!  If you write any re-read reviews you’ll get extra entries into the giveaways.

MY GOAL: 10 Books

Books I Plan to Re-Read:  

1) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling

2) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling

3) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

4) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

5) Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

6) The Archived by Victoria Schwab

7) The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

8) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

9) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

10) Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

1

The Challenge: 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Hosts:  Bookish Lifestyle

The Goal:  There are different levels the reader can chose from for their 2016 goal which can be found on the hosts sites.

Official hashtag: #2016TBRPile

Additional Info: There will be monthly link-ups and giveaways!  You can also join the book club (dates listed on Evie’s site) and the books are TBA.

MY GOAL:  Married with Children – 50+ Books

I own all of the books listed under the other challenges so those are some I’ll be reading!

1

The Challenge: 2016 Finishing the Series Challenge

Hosts:  Bea’s Book Nook

The Goal:  There are different levels the reader can chose from for their 2016 goal which can be found on the hosts sites.

Official hashtag: None

Additional Info: There will be a monthly link-up.

MY GOAL:  Level 4 (Expert Series Reader) – Complete 3 – 6 series

Series I Plan to Complete:

1) The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (Books left: The Winner’s Kiss)

2) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Books left: Dreams of Gods & Monsters)

 3) The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (Books left: City of Lost Souls, City of Heavenly Fire)

4) The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (Books left: The Raven King)

5) The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare (Books left: Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess)

6) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Books left: Queen of Shadows, The Assassin’s Blade, Untitled #5)

7) The Magician’s Trilogy by Lev Grossman (Books left: The Magician’s Land)

8) Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins (Books left: Miss Mayhem, Lady Renegades)

9) The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson (Books left: Firefight, Calamity)

10) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Books left: A Gathering of Shadows)

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Kristin
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