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review 2017-01-02 05:52
Review: Return to Paradise (Leaving Paradise #2) by Simone Elkeles
Return to Paradise - Simone Elkeles

My first official read of 2017 (though technically speaking I started this last year). My overall impression is that this narrative had some good points and some very bad points (keywords: rampant cliches and overly drawn out drama), but overall left a neutral impression on me. I think once the story got back to the main plot conflicts, I found a path to follow through the novel to the very end. Plus the audiobook narration was very good on the parts of Elizabeth Cottie as Maggie, and Nicholas Mondetti as Caleb.

"Return to Paradise" begins a little bit where "Leaving Paradise" left off, and finds Caleb and Maggie reuniting in a by-chance scenario. Caleb's gotten in trouble with the law again, and under his parole officer's wing, finds himself traveling with a group speaking to different kid/teen groups about how he ended up in prison/getting in trouble with the law and how it changed his life, in addition to having to stay at a campsite for a time. Conversely, Maggie travels with that same group talking about her experiences and how she ended up with her life-changing injuries. Suffice to say - Caleb and Maggie having to actively tell two sides of the same story is awkward and creates tension between them given their history. Caleb did a complete progress reversal of character of sorts since the last novel. He became worse for wear - being physically/mentally/emotionally abrasive - with Maggie being fully subjected to that abuse and lashing out. I hate romances like this, because it's like "Dude, Maggie was hurt because of circumstances that you were a part of, can you be more selfish and manipulative with your affection/possession/jealousy of her?"


I started following the narrative better after two things happened: 1. When the cat was let out of the bag with regards to the accident's events and 2. when the book actually got back to Paradise, with Caleb and Maggie both having to wrestle with how people in Paradise had changed since they'd been away. I appreciated the attention on the family conflicts and relationships, with a keen eye on the difficulties of starting over. Yet I almost feel like things in this novel were too easily resolved with respect to the central conflict in the way it was presented. Not that I couldn't believe that this could/would happen with both families having to come to terms with the truth of events, but it was the way it was presented. I found that I liked some of the supporting cast of characters in the book, but feel like they still primarily served as catalysts for the relationship between the protagonists of the novel.

Overall, it's not one of my favorite series depicting this kind of subject matter with the romantic inclinations, but I was still able to appreciate parts of it.

Overall score: 2.5/5 stars.

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review 2014-11-18 14:46
Return to Paradise
Return to Paradise - Simone Elkeles

Meh...I guess I was expecting more romance and a grovelling Caleb after the way he left her in the last one and we didn't really get that. No it was all arguments and then apologies and then more arguments.


If I'm honest I was going to give it two stars up until the epilogue, and then one bit bumped it up half a star or so because Caleb from Leaving Paradise appeared and made good on something he said in the first.


As for some of the other characters. They really grew on me, Lenny definitely had by the end after some of the stupid things he'd said and done in the first part of the book. Julio wasn't such a bad guy. Kendra...huh.

Leah did the right thing. Lou and Maggie's mum getting together was nice.

(spoiler show)



I wasn't all together impressed with this but there were some quite sweet bits and some rather hot bits that made it worthwhile if you want to read how Maggie and Caleb's story ends.

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text 2014-08-04 23:21
July Wrap Up & August TBR

Name, Date Finished, Rating, & Mini Review

So I read six books this month, which wasn't as many as I had hoped but it was still a fair amount seeing as I have a lot going on like working and spending time with family.  But I really enjoyed all of the books that I read, so I don't consider it a failed month for reading.


July Wrap Up


READ: Monday 7th

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige {4/5 Stars}

~This is the first novel in the Dorothy Must Die Trilogy...? Is it going to be a trilogy? I'm not really sure.  Anyway, it was a fast paced novel. A great start to the series.  Though it was slow at times through the middle when the world was developing which I understand was needed to show the contrast between the old Oz and the new.  Which was extremely interesting to read about


READ: Friday 11th

The Elite by Kiera Cass {3/5 Stars}

~ The second novel in the Selection Trilogy.  I usually don't agree with the general public when it comes to books.  I have to agree with everyone when they say that America is infuriating in this novel.  She seemed almost bipolar in this novel.  As well, I've never really enjoyed the idea of a love triangle, and it was sort of there in the first book, but I could ignore it.  In this novel it's a main aspect, and I find that the love triangle makes American another typical whinny YA character.


READ: Monday 14th

Head Over Heels created by Francine Pascal written by Kate Williams {3/5 Stars}

~ This is book eighteen in the Sweet Valley High series.  This follows Regina Marrow and Bruce Patman two side characters, along with the usual two main characters the Wakefield twins.  I enjoyed reading about Regina and Bruce.  I overall enjoy the Sweet Valley High series because of books like this where they tell the story of different characters throughout the town, so i really gives you the feeling that you're in Sweet Valley.  You get to see the entire community, which you don't often get to see in novels.


READ: Wednesday 16th

Tomorrow's Kingdom by Maureen Fergus {5/5 Stars}

An amazing conclusion to the Gypsy King Trilogy.  It was face paced throughout the entire book.  All loose ends were tied up very nicely and practically.  I absolutely loved the ending, it was extremely satisfying, in my opinion.  Just an overall great book.


Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles {5/5 Stars}

The second novel in the Leaving Paradise Duology.  I have nothing but amazing things to say about this novel and the first novel.  I absolutely love the characters Maggie and Caleb.  Simone Elkeles always has the most amazing book boys who are ever so swoon-worthy! I love the change of scenery, and how different it is from the first book, and how it still seems to work.


READ Thursday 24th

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell {5/5 Stars}

A stand alone contemporary, although Rowell is reportedly working on or contemplating a squeal.  Everything about this book was phenomenal!  Eleanor and Park's relationship was adorable.  The novel was nicely paced.  Events and situations were real and relatable.  Eleanor was refreshing because plainness, she isn't the typical pretty, thin and bubbly character.  She's just a regular girl.  Definitely a work of art!


August TBR



1. Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout (& maybe the rest of the series...?)

2. The Notebook by Nicolas Sparks

3. Crash Into You- Katie McGarry

4. A Walk to Remember by Nicolas Sparks

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text 2013-10-13 05:34
30 Day Challenge


30 Day Challenge: Day 7

Most underatted book:



Honestly, it was hard to choose, so I picked a few of them.



-Finnikin of the rock and Froi of the exiles by Melina Marchetta: Fantasy, romance, frienship, action....That series has it all. It's almost as good as Harry Potter and in my opinion, it should be just as popular!


-Leaving Paradise and Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles. I know a lot of people know about Simone Elkeles and her Perfect chemistry series but so few people know about this amazing duology! And it's so much better than in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I liked Perfect chemistry but I love Leaving Paradise and Return to Paradise.

And it's a duology! I don't know about you but I love duology. It gives you just enough time to get to really know the characters and to care for them but you don't have to have to wait years before you can get ''closure''. 


-You don't have to say you love me and Unsticky by Sarra Manning: Sarra Manning is one of my favorite author and so many people don't know about her and her work. If you love contemporary books and flawed (some of them are very flawed but they're also so complex!) just stop what you're doing and go buy/borrow one of those two books. You'll thank me later ;)



-The Ashford affair by Lauren Willig: I was lucky to win an Arc copy of this book earlier this year and I'm so thankfull I did because I'm not sure I would have ever find out about this book if it wasn't for it. I haven't heard about it anywhere :blogs, goodreads, booklikes: nada. And that book is great! 


-Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr: I can see why a lot of people don't like this series but it's a very special one to me because it was one of the first series I've read in english and what can I say, I grew to love those characters and the world that they live in. Again, I can see why some people don't like it but most of the reviews I've read about it were so negative and I think sometimes they were a little too harsh. 

I brought Desert tales a few days ago and I can't wait to get back into that world. 


-The Sea of tranquility by Katja Millay: I guess that book is popular and the reviews are good but I still don't think this book gets the attention it deserves. I wish it was as popular as Slammed by Collen Hover of books similar to that one because TSOT is so much better than many contemporary books that gets more attention.








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review 2013-09-10 00:00
Return to Paradise - Simone Elkeles Return to Paradise, the sequel to Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles, is about teenage drama, family drama, the typical love that a man and woman fight for.

I started this book right after I finished writing the review for the first book (Leaving Paradise). I wanted to know what would happen next because I hate cliff hangers so much.

The book started off with the reckless Caleb and what his life has been since he left Paradise. I was okay with Caleb in the first book, he was like a lost confused puppy who doesn't know what he wants and doesn't know how to deal with his life after he got released.
In this sequel, I have to say that I'm very proud of Caleb and how he's grown from a coward who runs away (literally runs away) instead of facing his problems head on into a mature independent man that would do anything for his girl.

Maggie, I also have to say that I'm super duper proud of Maggie and how much confidence she grew. She's no longer the Maggie that was scared and hated how she looked because of her disability. She's stronger, proud and way more confident in herself.

I enjoyed this book much more than the first. It made me giggle from the very beginning and that one person who made me burst out giggling (either than Mrs Reynolds, RIP) was Lenny. I found him gross at first, but I've grown to like him. He's so random and laid back. I love characters like him and Mrs Reynolds, they can always brighten up a book like this one.

I am so happy that Elkeles wrote a sequel to Leaving Paradise.

This is a mild YA novel, it's a great book for when you just want to read something small that's out of your genre. It is filled with young adult drama, runaways, and lets not forget the thriving hormones (don't worry it's clean). It is also funny and heartwarming!
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