Mini-Reviews: Anna and the French Kiss, Forbidden and The Last Beginning

Hey everyone! How the hell are you?

Everything is kind of hectic at the moment (wow, wedding planning is all-consuming, right?) but in the midst of trying on big, white dresses and visiting venues I thought I’d try my best to shoot out a little post. I’m not sure when I’ll be 100% back in business, but I’ll be slowly easing myself back into the habit of blogging over the next couple of weeks at the very least.

Now, what have I missed?


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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I read a sample, decided I kinda liked it and then downloaded it to my Kindle one Saturday night (wild, I know). Fast forward about three and a half hours and I emerged from my reading coma, blinking and realising that the boyfriend  fiancé had abandoned me for sleep a good while before. Basically, that’s just a really long-winded way of saying that I absolutely loved this book.

Although this book is absolutely cute, heart-wrenching and sparkly as and where you’d expect a YA romance to be, I also thought it was deceptively comforting and poignant in some places. These kinds of books always have the potential to feel super one-dimensional, but I generally felt like Stephanie Perkins avoided this pitfall by making her characters and their relationships interesting, flawed and multi-layered.

There were some aspects of it that I didn’t like so much (*cue rant about girl hate and glamorising cheating*) but on the whole, it was a sweet, fun read – perfect for a lazy Saturday night or a sunny day at the beach.

In Summary…

  • Rating: 4/5 stars.
  • Publisher: Usborne
  • Pages: 372

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

From cute French boys to falling in love with your brother. I like to keep things interesting on

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my bookshelves, y’know? As far as romance goes, this book is about as far away from Anna and the French Kiss as you could possibly get.

The story focuses on a sixteen year old girl and a seventeen year old boy who fall in love. Unfortunately for them, they’re not friends or acquaintances and they haven’t met each other by chance: they’re brother and sister and their relationship is forbidden.

Forbidden is undoubtedly one of those books that will rub people up the wrong way. Naturally, people will discard it on principle and that’s fine, but it doesn’t take away from how beautifully drawn the characters and relationships are and how poignantly it is written. Tabitha Suzuma has a wonderful touch, and although dealing with a taboo subject matter, there isn’t any sense of sensationalism or moral policing. The book asks tough questions, but at the same time it never tries to convince you of where you should and shouldn’t stand.

It’s emotionally draining, for sure, but I doubt those who are brave enough to pick it up will be left disappointed with this heartbreaking portrait of a family in disarray.

]In Summary…

  • Rating: 4/5 stars.
  • Publisher: Definitions
  • Pages: 432

The Last Beginning (The Next Together #2) by Lauren James 

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The second (and final…I think?) book in the The Next Together duology by Lauren James is time-travelling, futuristic, mind-bendingly good fun.

Sixteen years ago, notorious young scientists Matthew and Katherine disappeared without a trace, leaving their baby daughter Clove Sutcliffe to be raised by her uncle. Now old enough to know the truth, computer genius Clove is determined to find out what happened to her birth parents.

I fell in love with The Next Together when I read it last year. It’s definitely one of the books that I credit with my burgeoning interest in the sci-fi genre, so when I heard that Lauren James would be writing a sequel I was pretty stoked, especially because the first book finished on a massive cliffhanger!.

Although I have to say I enjoyed the first book in the series more, there are lots of things to like about The Last Beginning. From a smart, funny, clever female heroine who is a whizz with computers and code to a great examination of mother/daughter relationships, to time travel and LGBT+ romance, this is snappy little novel that pretty much has something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a book which will ease you gently and lovingly into the sci-fi ocean, then look no further than this super fun, utterly fresh take on the genre.

In Summary…

  • Rating: 4/5 stars.
  • Publisher: Walker Books
  • Pages: 352

What have you guys been reading whilst I’ve been gone? Tell me all! ❤

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20 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: Anna and the French Kiss, Forbidden and The Last Beginning

  1. I’ll be honest I probably won’t be reading Anna and the French Kiss simply because I read, and struggled through, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins.
    I think I’d like to read Forbidden actually. As you mentioned it does have to do with a taboo topic but I feel like these types of books are the important ones to read. Questioning things is never a bad thing.

    I am so excited for you and your fiance. Will you be putting any pictures up of this adventure? (If you have I’ll check around for them on your blog but I haven’t been around much lately) I look forward to reading the small updates though 🙂

    You asked how am I doing? I’m not doing too bad. University is slowly draining my soul though lol. Unfortunately I have not been updating my blog (though I have continuous ideas forming in my head but I forget to write them down) but hopefully April means I will be posting more. I have some important things happening in April that will be mentioned in my monthly wrap up post!

    Have a fantastic day!

    x Bre

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  2. Great reviews for all three of these books Sammie. I haven’t read Forbidden but I have read Anna and the French Kiss and The Last Beginning and enjoyed both of them myself.
    Admittedly I wasn’t a fan of the girl hate and cheating parts of Anna and the French Kiss but as far as fluffy and quick contemporary stories this is still a good one. I actually enjoyed The Last Beginning more than the first book in the duology. I found it easier to connect to Clove and I loved that there were so many answers in this second book to all the questions I had left over from the first.
    Again great reviews! 😀

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    • Thanks very much, Beth! 🙂 Yeah I agree with you – those were the only parts of the book that grated on me but overall I thought it was pretty good for a short, contemporary romance. 🙂 I don’t read many of those kinds of books so I was pleasantly suprised about how entertained I was through it. 🙂 Yeah I remember you saying! I loved the answers to all of the puzzles and questions in it, too. It was a satisfying ending too, I think! Thanks so much lovely! x

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      • That’s all right, and I suppose if that’s the only part of the book you didn’t enjoy then it was a good read overall wasn’t it?
        I think that’s part of why I enjoyed the second one more than the first, because it was a satisfying ending. I feel that was something missing from The Next Together.
        That’s all right! 😀

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      • This is very true! It must have been an enjoyable read anyway, because it only took me an evening to demolish it haha! I totally agree about the ending – although I am a fan of a delicious cliff hanger, haha. I’ve just seen this afternoon that she’s releasing a new sci-fi YA novel soon – definitely one for the TBR! x

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  3. I’m so glad to hear that you ended up enjoying Anna and the French Kiss. I adore that book! Though I agree with you about the girl hate and the cheating aside from all of that it’s definitely a cute read. One that I need to reread soon because I miss the characters lol. And I’ve had Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma on my TBR for so long. Part of me is really intrigued and wants to pick it up and then part of me thinks I wouldn’t like it. Maybe one day! Great reviews, Sammie!! 😊♥

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  4. Sammie!!!!!! It’s so good to see a post from you 😀 I hope the wedding planning continues to go well ♥

    I’m suuuuper interested in reading Forbidden. I’m all about books that deal with controversial topics and I’m glad that you enjoyed it! Great reviews!!

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    • Heeeeeeeey buddy! 😁 It’s going really well thank you! ❤ A bit hectic and very expensive but I guess that’s weddings for you haha! Forbidden is really good – totally heartbreaking and very hard to read in places but so well written. I think you’d like it a lot! Thanks so much. Can’t wait to catch up on all your posts – so sad I missed your one year Q&A! 😦 x

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  5. Hi there! I just came across this post of yours and your blog in general and I couldn’t help but comment and tell you how much I love this! Keep up the great work, I am going to follow you so I can keep up with all your new posts!

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  6. Yay! I’m glad you loved Anna and the French Kiss too! I read that one a couple of weeks ago and had a hard time putting it down, so I didn’t LOL. Finished it in a night. Such a cute and fluffy read, but I think I had the same issues with it as you did. Despite that, I really enjoyed it! And I don’t know if I’ll be able to read Forbidden (don’t know if my fragile heart can take it), but I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 And haven’t heard of the last book, but it sounds really interesting! May need to add it to my TBR haha. Great post, Sammie! ❤

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  7. Hey girl!!! I miss you around the blogosphere, but totally understand everything that goes into wedding planning. Enjoy it 🙂

    “There were some aspects of it that I didn’t like so much (*cue rant about girl hate and glamorizing cheating*)……”

    Yuck!!!! This is so harmful… especial in a YA book 😦 But it sounds like you still enjoyed it despite a few problematic parts.

    I had never heard of Forbidden before! I feel like this may be one of those things that people are fascinated by even though they can’t help themselves… Like when you hear about a heinous crime and you read all the gory details. You can’t seem to stop yourself.

    And I couldn’t read the last mini-review as it is the second book in the series that I haven’t read ((but still could some day lol))

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  8. Ahh I’m the same about Anna and the French Kiss- I did like the characters- although I always have trouble with the whole glorifying cheating thing. I’ve heard similar things about Forbidden- not gonna read it though, I just know I’ll be in the category of “people it rubs the wrong way”. Good that you enjoyed all of these!! Great post! 😀

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