ARC Review: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina GeorgeAuthor: Nina George
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
400 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC  of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Crown for letting me read this!

I am so sad about this one. From the synopsis, I thought this book was going to be absolutely perfect for me, but The Little Paris Bookshop is not at all what I was expecting. Perdu owns a literary apothecary, from which he “prescribes” books to people based on what they need from the book. He uses his ability to find the exact book a reader needs, even if it means forcing them not to buy something else. But he’s still haunted by an ex-lover from twenty years ago, and when he finally reads the letter she left him so long ago, he decides to take off and visit the South of France. Doesn’t that sound perfect for a book and travel lover??

The Little Paris Bookshop had an absolutely wonderful start. Perdu’s Literary Apothecary and the neighborhood where he lives in Paris are enchanting and I honestly wish I could visit his book barge – how cool would that be?! I loved the descriptions of his ability to prescribe the perfect book and the eclectic cast of characters that live in his building. Even twenty years later, Perdu is still heartbroken over his lost love, and the emotions he feels are quite beautifully and sadly described.

But then Perdu reads the letter from his lost love, Manon, and everything changes – for him and for the reader. He decides to set sail for the town where Manon was from, along with a bestselling author with writer’s block and eventually a lovesick chef. The story turns into this long, rather boring trip along the Seine with stops at cute little towns along the way. I really enjoyed seeing all these towns, with their underground tango clubs and interesting people. But after a while the story bored me. I was not longer enchanted by Perdu, especially because the whole literary apothecary thing is only really mentioned at the beginning. From about 50% to 75% of the way through, I was flipping pages as quickly as I can because I was bored. I wasn’t expecting this to be a romance in the most literal sense, and I’m not much of a romance girl. But there are a lot of people who are. I can see the merit in this one and I know a lot of people will fall in love with it. I can even see myself liking it a lot more in the future. Possibly. If you’re a romance fan, and would like to travel to France for a little while, check this one out.

At the end of the novel, we get “Jean Perdu’s Emergency Literary Pharmacy: From Adams to Von Arnim”. This was hands down my favorite part of the book. Books prescribed for certain “ailments” such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for “a sense of humor failure” or 1984 because it “reduces gullibility and apathy.” I wanted more!

The bottom line: Not what I was expecting or really in the mood for. It had a beautiful literary beginning but then fell a little flat for me from there. Much of the middle was dull and rather tiresome to read, in all honesty. I am so sad too because I really wanted to like this book about books.

Rating: 4 – Eh. This is bad.

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This past week (more like the last few days of the week) I read both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I’m going to post reviews to them at the same time, but I want to give you the option to only read the review of Anna and the French Kiss, though my review of Lola and the Boy Next Door doesn’t give much away (it’s probably pretty obvious what happens in the end of the first book). You can find my review of Lola HERE.

Anna and the French KissTitle: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Speak

Publication Date: August 2011

Paperback: 372 pages

Stand alone or series: First in a set of three companion novels

How did I get this book: Bought

So recently I’ve been reading a lot of heavy books (dystopian, sci-fi, Love Letters to the Dead), and I really needed something light and refreshing. Anna and the French Kiss was recommended to me by a friend, and I decided to check it out. I’m really glad I did; this book was exactly what I needed.

Synopsis (from the book jacket):

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Etienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken – and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

What I thought:

This isn’t the type of book I usually read; as I’m sure you can tell from my reviews so far, I am more likely to read a dystopian novel with a lot of action, powerful characters, and maybe even some superpowers. Therefore, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book, but someone whose opinion I trust told me to read this book. So I did. I wasn’t disappointed at all. I was quickly captivated by this book, and I raced through it in two days.

It is the type of book that takes time to make you fall in love with it. Though I was quickly charmed by Perkin’s writing and, of course, Paris, it took time for me to really start to love the characters. I actually liked one of the secondary characters, Josh, before I really liked Anna. Josh is funny, charming, and smart. St. Clair, Anna’s best friend and love interest, was somewhat annoying at first, and I was mad at him several times for the time it took for him to realize what he needs to do. But once Josh got me laughing, it didn’t take long for me to get into the other characters. And I did love seeing Paris through Anna’s eyes because she was nervous and afraid to go out on her own at first, something I could relate to with my own study abroad experience. I think this slow-to-love thing was actually quite genuine: most people don’t fall in love quickly and all at once, but slowly, cautiously, and sometimes with fights. Because of this, my enjoyment of this book was honest and sincere.

Once I started to really like St. Clair (and began rooting for him and Anna), I realized how much I loved their romance. It isn’t your typical “I just met him but I’m totally in love with him” YA romance. They’re best friends first. They get to know each other on a level that most people don’t. They realize that the other isn’t perfect, that they are flawed, but that they are both flawed. St. Clair is a real guy; he has problems and he doesn’t know how to deal with them. He doesn’t know what to do about his feelings for Anna. In fact, he acts like a complete idiot several times. Like a real dude. I feel like their romance was realistic; okay, at times I felt like it was a little ridiculous and the whole “I like you but I can’t be with you” thing went on a little too long for my tastes, but I enjoyed the book anyway.

I enjoyed getting to see Paris once Anna started to get around in the city. I would totally use this book as a tour guide if I ever get to visit the city. It’d be fun to go to the cafes Anna visits or walk on her route from her school to Notre Dame. Yeah, definitely adding this to my bucket list.

The bottom line:

This book was just what I needed. I don’t say this in a mean way, but it was a palate cleanser for me. It was a light, refreshing romance that was completely different from my usual read. I sincerely enjoyed reading it. Thank you, Georgie, for recommending it!

Rating: 7 – Pretty good

I’d love it if you’d read my review of Lola and the Boy Next Door, too! Have you read Anna? What did you think?

Reading next: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini